Showing posts from October, 2010

You Might Be A Writer If ...

View of sunrise from my hotel room at SCWW conference I spent last weekend at the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) 20th Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach. Conferences give writers the chance to rub elbows with the powerful in the publishing world--agents, editors, and published authors.  We pitch our work and commiserate with other would-be published authors while learning more about the craft and industry. This year's keynote speaker, Joshilyn Jackson, shared her circuitous, and humorous, route to publication with us on Saturday night. She reminded us that only crazy people try to write.  Why?  Well, if you're a writer, you: Spend most of your day alone , typing (or staring) at a keyboard Examine mundane objects trying to create a new and exciting way to describe them Venture out in public to analyze the behavior of normal people (you do this everywhere you go, actually) Wake up in the middle of the night with the most amazing prose running through you

No Texting, Email, or Babies

Picture from: I have a ground rule for my training classes that I call Electronic Etiquette.  I ask participants to turn their phones off or put them on vibrate or silent mode. Any calls must be taken out of the room. About a year ago, I had to expand this rule to include texting, email, and the internet. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head at the inability of people to recognize what is or isn’t acceptable. Not all training disruptions involve a lack of courtesy. Sometimes, people show up without pen or pencil. Really? You’re going to spend all day in class, and it didn’t occur to you that you might need to write something down? I carry extra pens and pencils, now. It’s just easier that way. But, sometimes, an unexpected challenge comes along that you just can’t anticipate. This week, a woman in my class kept shifting in her seat, taking deep breaths, and rubbing her very pregnant belly, I asked her when she was due. She smiled and

Miner Success Is Major

The world stops to participate in very few events.   Drama and crises dominate our news, but how often do they grab everyone’s attention?   It’s rare.   Even rarer are the success stories that the media deems newsworthy. Today, the world did stop for a drama that promises a feel-good success.   As I type this, people still watch and wait.   Why?   The rescue of the thirty-three miners in Chile.   What an amazing story!   Over two months underground in a small space—limited supplies, no true sanitation, crowded together whether you like each other or not. It’s a nightmare.   One initially estimated to last until December. Nightmares bring us together.   The miners’ nightmare ends well.   Better than well, it ends successfully.   Of course, I’m jumping ahead because five are still underground at this moment. Remember when you first heard of this catastrophe?   Then we heard how long the rescue effort would take—four months!.   Who would have thought these miners had any chance or that re

That Thing I Do

Do you know that I love the word that ? In fact, I love the word that so much that I use it in every possible situation that presents itself to use that . That’s right! Thanks to great feedback from a friend who read my work in progress, I discovered my overuse of the word that. In fact, without her feedback, I would have written the last sentence to say: I now know that I love the word that. Thanks to the Find feature in Word, I resolved to correct this problem. After two hours, I was up to page fifty! Two hours later, I had made it all the way to page eighty.  Woohoo! What? How long was this going to take? Like any good writer, I still had a copy of my original file, so I opened it and ran a Find All. It counted 1241 occurrences! Yep. That’s right. One thousand ... Two hundred ... AND Forty-one ... Do the math. If I spent an average of sixty seconds on each occurrence, trying to decide whether to delete, edit or change the word, it would take me twenty hours.