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Category: On Writing

NANOWRIMO Begins in Two Days

NANOWRIMO Begins in Two Days



National Novel Writing Month begins on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 and runs through the end of the month. In case this is your first introduction to #NANOWRIMO, the goal is to write 50,000 words during the month. If you’re a math whiz, you’ll know that this equates to 1,666 words per day. Or, very long weekends!

Although I’ve written 30 books, all of them are non-fiction. However, I did my best to prepare by taking two online courses: J.F. Penn’s How to Write a Novel and Sara Rosett’s How to Outline a Cozy Mystery. I considered doing a time travel novel as that’s more where my heart is, but for now I’m going to try my hand at the cozy.

Honestly, though. I get so hung up in worrying about plotting that I make myself nuts. Right now I think the best thing I can do is just start writing and see where the stories leads. I guess that makes me a pantser, not a plotter. Ok.

I’m going to do my best to check in here every Friday with a word count and comment on the process. I invite you to join me. Let’s see what we can create.


How to find a whopper of a story

How to find a whopper of a story

What short story does this photo make you want to write?

Want an idea for a great story?  Read on . . .

I’m an avid iphoneographer and I love driving around town taking shots. This one was taken with the iPhone 6S and the Hipstamatic app. (Sergio Lens, Maximus LXIX film). It’s a picture of the Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first of the California missions.

Looking at the picture, I’m drawn into a story of my own making. Native Californians, Jesuits, Spanish soldiers . . . religion, tradition, superstition.

If you’d like to have some fun with me, in a sentence, tell me what your picture-inspired short story is about.

Mine: Spanish soldier deserts the priests and the military to seek gold in the local hills, gets lost in the desert and is saved by . . . ?

How a Cow and a Wildflower Saved my Writing – Kicking Writer’s Block

How a Cow and a Wildflower Saved my Writing – Kicking Writer’s Block

kick writer's block

All writers get stuck.Call it writer’s block, or call it losing a plot or outline. For me it was slogging through the opening paragraphs of an article I was writing for Astronomy Magazine. No matter how I tried coming up with a slam-bang opening paragraph, everything I wrote stunk. I just couldn’t get my teeth into the heart of the article.

In desperation, I got out photos I had taken during the assignment (to the Very Large Array in New Mexico) and there, staring me in the face, was the answer to my stuck-ness: A cow and a wildflower. Duh. I had forgotten to take my own advice and use visual imagery to add magic to my words. From then on, I’ve been a visual writer and would like to introduce you to my book, Vanquish Writer’s Block! (once upon a time titled The Visual Writer).

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Now’s Your Chance to Write a Novel

Now’s Your Chance to Write a Novel

Write a novel todayI write non-fiction books and articles. But do I want to write a novel (or more than one)?  Yes!

I’ve been following Joanna Penn for a long time (never miss her podcasts) and was thrilled when she released her brand new course How to Write a Novel. I’ve signed up for the course and am almost finished with Module 1 (of 5) and actually feel pretty confident that I can do this.

If you’ve been looking for that “PERFECT” course for novel writing, this is it. I’ve read a ton of books about writing but honestly, getting the info from someone like Joanna who has written so many books is so much better. That’s because I KNOW for certain, she knows what she’s talking about. If you want to write a novel too, I encourage you to go take the class. Let’s compare notes and cheer one another on.

My Top 5 iOS Apps and Why None of them Have to Do With Writing

My Top 5 iOS Apps and Why None of them Have to Do With Writing

Yes, you read the headline correctly.My top iOS apps have nothing to do with the craft of writing; in other words, you won’t find a word processing tool here.  But they have everything to do with running a writing business. These are the five apps that have made my writing (business) life easier. I use them every day, many times a day.
1. Flipboard: Not only do I use Flipboard to keep up on the news, it’s my primary source for curating my own Flipboard magazines, my Facebook page and Twitter accounts. Nope, couldn’t do without it.

2.  Feedly: My secondary source of curated material. This free app allows you to set up topics and it pulls in articles for each topic. You don’t have to use it for curating – just use it to find great articles on topics of interest.

3.  Word Swag: I love making those cool poster-y things (like this one). WordSwag does it all and makes it easy.


4.  Pushbullet: I love this app. It’s my primary tool for uploading photos from my iPhone to my PC. It has made getting photos off of my phone and into my computer so easy – I use it all the time. I love placing photos in my blog posts or Facebook – Pushbullet is my #1 choice.

5.  BlogPad Pro: There are many apps for posting remotely to your WordPress site. I’ve tried most of them and this one meets my needs, primarily because of the ease of adding images into my posts. This is my go-to WordPress app for blogging when I’m on the road.

Do you have an app you can’t do without? Leave a comment, my friend!