Friday, August 31, 2007

Write as if You Were Dying

“Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an
audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case.
What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say
to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?”
(Annie Dillard)

Barbara Demarco-Barrett of Pen on Fire, is responsible for me finding the essay Write Till You Drop, by Annie Dillard which was published in the New York Times May 28, 1989. I know that was quite sometime ago, but some words are timeless and I think Dillard's are just as relevant to the 21st Century as then.

Dillard says that every book has an inherent impossibility, which is what a writer will notice as soon as the excitement for the project begins to dwindle. You write in spite of it. You have an idea, a plot, THE story, it has come to you on wings with your name on it, maybe just one line at a time but it is there nonetheless. I love Dillard’s words, “It’s like something you memorized once, and forgot.”

What do you write? Complex stories, poems, articles, essays? They all have the same difficulty as does a long novel. But do you think it is better to throw yourself into a bunch of little projects or should you exhaust your energy into one big book? Dillard says you should spend it all in one long project.

You know the saying “use it or lose it”. Creativity should not be bottled up or saved for another time. Ideas are saved and planned but when the words begin to flow don’t try to stop it. Give everything you have. Don’t lock it up. Write about winter in the summer.

Remember the last time a line or a few words were delivered to you magically, or so it seemed, and your fingers went flying over the keys. You couldn’t stop until you had spent all that you had received. This is the experience I am talking about. You are sitting at the keyboard or writing pad. Tapping your toe; thinking; “I wonder if Diane is going to call me.” Your mind is wandering from one place to the next like the balls in a lotto drum going round and round and never landing. You never see the words coming until they are in your face. You write till you drop.

Further, as writers we are also readers, so what do you look for in a writer? Are you looking for wisdom or courage? Why else do you read? I must admit I read for knowledge and entertainment. I am always inspired by other people’s words.

Write it down,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Are You Stuck in a Rut? Here's a Ladder

That’s not very helpful. Giving you a ladder really will not help you get out of a rut or learn why you got in the rut in the first place. Hope Wilbanks at Hope Writes wrote an article titled “Writing Ruts – What not to do when stuck”

Her four suggestions of what NOT to do are 1) Don’t Hide, 2) Don’t stop writing 3) Don’t throw it all away and 4) Don’t bury yourself in work.

Read her article in its entirety below:

In "Writing Ruts: What To Do When You Get Stuck", I shared some things every writer can do to get "unstuck." Now I want to briefly talk about the things you should not do when you're feeling stuck. It's all too easy for a writer to self-sabotage. So if you're feeling low on inspiration, or if you feel like you just cannot write another word, stop right there.

What Not To Do:
1. Hide. Let me tell you, I understand how it is when you can't write. You don't want anyone to know about it. You want to retreat and pretend like everything is okay and you're writing everyday. Don't pull away though. Keep in touch with those who will encourage you and cheer you on through your block.

2. Stop writing. Whatever you do, don't stop writing. I know you think it's impossible, but you can write, even when you don't feel like you can. Keep a journal. Write out your frustrations by hand. Write about how you can't write. Write how it makes you feel. Sometimes all you need is to work out those inner frustrations.

3. Throw it all away. I've heard way too many writers talk about how they threw away their rejected manuscript. Rejection hurts. But don't throw away all your hard work, just because someone said, "No." Just get up and try again.

4. Bury yourself in work. Writers on the other end of the spectrum think that if they bury themselves in what I call "busy work" they'll eventually be able to write again. If you can't write, then don't punish yourself by doing other things to keep yourself busy. Do something productive, or write in your journal.

If you're feeling stuck, I hope these tips help you out. Remember to be gentle with yourself. The inspiration will return. In the meantime, stay focused and be encouraged!

Do you need an article like this for your business? Hope Writes articles, blog entries, newsletters, press releases, and more for small business owners.

Write it down,


Friday, August 24, 2007

Your Niche is Your Cubbyhole in Life

On your first day of preschool or kindergarten, you were assigned a cubbyhole. A 2 x 2 square box attached to twenty-five other cubbyholes, painted in various colors. Each square box had a placard with a students name neatly printed on it. Everything of value would be placed in your cubby like lunch box, papers, crayons, and pencil boxes. You were told to take care of the things in your cubby.

However, this did not always work out because as Murphy’s Law would have it, cubbyholes would and could not hold everything.

Cubbyhole sounds like something cute and snugly but take away the fuzzy wuzzies and you have a Niche: 1) a snug or cramped space or room; 2) a small compartment, 3) a category, especially an overly restrictive one.

Niche’s are much like definition #3. It is written all over the blogosphere that finding and marketing your niche is very important to your business. I won’t disagree with that because niche’s can be very profitable. However, I liken a niche to a college major. Any one who has attended college knows that your major may change many times before you choose one to focus on.

Once you discover or choose your niche, are you stuck with it? No. But just as with a college major, it is OK to experiment with different niche’s for a while or even a year or two. Nevertheless, somewhere down the line you need to grow up and stay in one place for a few years before venturing off to another cubbyhole.

Write it down,


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Writing Is Like Dancing

Everyone wants it but not everyone is willing to do what it takes to be successful.

With hair neatly pulled back in slick shiny pony tails, sparkling black patent tap shoes gleaming from their feet, I drove my talented twin girls to the local dance studio. They danced around the house all the time and I knew they were full of natural talent.

Soon my fantasy turned into the reality of turned in toes, bent knees, rounded backs and $400 a month! This was not the picture I had of my little darlings in the limelight. Stardom was going to take a little longer than I had imagined.

I filled out the enrollment form for the weekly 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon combination class.

Week one: Ballet, jazz and tap all taught in 55 minutes. (what did I know?) At this rate they would learn one dance in nine months that would be performed at the annual recital.

Week two: Flap, flap, ball chain, shuffle, grapevine… Dance slang… So exciting… I was learning more than my seven year olds. My feet were itching to get out there with them.

Week three: My daughters were beginners but they had talent. I am sure the teacher would recognize it if she would just take her eyes off the Shirley Temple Clone in the cutsie leotard.

Week four: At last! The individual attention I had been waiting for. Each child was to gracefully walk across the floor on their little tippy toes while holding their arms as if they were carrying a large beach ball, with heads high and shoulders down…. It was obvious my darlings had never carried a large beach ball.

Week five: Repetition of weeks, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Thirty-six more weeks to go.

Before the thirty-six weeks were half over, I knew that one dance class a week was not going to make anyone in that class a dancer. In order to become good at what you do, you must do it daily. This is what dance taught me and my daughters.

Six years after that first week, one daughter was dancing with the Theatre Ballet of San Francisco and performed in their Nutcracker for two seasons. Also she performed with the Oakland Ballet Nutcracker five seasons. She is now fulfilling her passion as a ballet teacher.

The second twin’s passion was not dance but she loved the discipline it taught her and performing. Dance helped her to overcome her shyness when she tried out for Cheerleader and nailed a place on the team.

Writing is like dancing. It is a discipline and it must be practiced daily.

Write it down,


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Win Up To $500 in Writing Contest!

Dina Santorelli is publisher of the bi-monthly online magazine, W.H.Y. (, a magazine dedicated to entrepreneurs of all types, work at homers, telecommuters, and part time work at homers. W.H.Y. is conducting their first annual writing contest.

You don't have to be a work at homer or even a writer. If you have an interesting story, fiction or non-fiction you can.....well don't listen to me. W.H.Y. can explain it much better. Go here to find out all the details.

While you are there take a look around W.H.Y. Their articles are upbeat and they have the latest scoop on work, home and you.

Write it down,


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Are Article Directories Worth Your Time?

The answer is Yes!

Especially for the beginning writer. Where else can a novice go to publish their words? There is a line in a song sung by Jerry Lee Lewis that says (loosely translated) “I keep giving my music to the man, he doesn’t know that I would sing to him for free” and many times when I am walking my trail and listening to my favorite walking songs, this one in particular inspires me because I feel the same passion about my writing that Jerry Lee felt when he sang about giving his talent away.

Well, “the man” does know we will write for free in the beginning and that is why there are article directories like Ezine Article Directory available. I do understand that some article directories will pay and also there are some that get more exposure than others. There is always a need for good content and article directories are one place to look for it.

Since I have been having conversations with the group of authors who are participating in the LKarticlechallenge, my learning curve is growing. Chris Smith of TecknoCoach graciously compiled a list of article directories in order of their ranking. What a great resource this is for writers who are looking to get their name out there. You can view it here.

Yet, there is an element of danger in submitting your writing for free to article directories. Plagiarism! Even though the instructions are quite clear that an author’s resource box must be included with any article that is published by someone else on another site or blog, this does not mean it will not happen. We all know that in the real world, unethical people are waiting around the corner to steal from you.

I took the risk and began submitting articles to Ezine. It was a daunting step for me because of the unfamiliarity I have with article submissions. As in my post about Pulverizing Procrastination by Andrew Grant taking the first bite of the elephant is the most important step of pulverizing the beast. I encourage you to read Andrew Grant’s seven tips to pulverize procrastination again and move forward with your writing.

Also I have two articles that have been accepted to Ezine thus far. You can click here for #1 and click here for #2. I would love to hear your comments. Your input is important to me.

Write it down,

Friday, August 17, 2007

You're Not Done Pulverizing Yet. Here's More.

Part II

I love the way Andrew Grant compares killing procrastination with elephant eating. After all, procrastination is the category 5 of “dragging your feet until they fall off” don’t wanna’s. According to Andrew, and I agree, it does not have to be difficult to beat this cloud that follows us around. (Ok, it follows me around too but I just didn’t want to be the only one out there.) Andrew continues with Part II:

Tip #4. Chunk it down. As someone once said, you can’t eat an elephant in one bite, but you can eat it, one bite at a time. So step 4 is to define those bites. In our example, Bite 1 is “go to the store”. Bite 2 is “buy the crates”. Bite 3 might be “clear the contents of the small area directly under the stairs, sorting it into the appropriate crates and throwing out what I no longer want” . Note down all the little bites on your goal map, but take care not to fall back into ‘pencil sharpening mode’ again and spend all night on your ‘Bite chart”.

Tip #5. Take the first bite. This is the toughest one of the lot. Get in the car, get down to store and buy those crates. It’s called taking action and is the stage where most people fall right down in their carefully mapped-out tracks.
Tell yourself that you’re only going to do this one thing, focus entirely on that and get it done.

Tip #6. Review and reward. Once you’ve done it, take a tiny break and review progress. When you get back from the store with your new crates, go back to your goal map, cross off Bite 1 and give yourself a little pat on the back.
You have taken action and you deserve recognition. Don’t get carried away, though; you’re not a Nobel prize winner yet.

Tip #7. Eat the rest. After your brief review and reward break, transfer your focus to Bite 2 and take some more action. Do it; review and reward again; then take Bite 3 and so on. Don’t worry, you won’t be constantly stopping and starting.

I guarantee that you’ll feel so good about yourself after two or three bites that you won’t want to stop and you’ll be so thrilled with progress that the whole job will be finished before you know it.
Try this seven step technique next time you are stuck in reverse and you’ll soon see that procrastination is a pathetically weak enemy, that you can beat with your eyes closed.

Hi, my name is Andrew Grant. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you would like to read more great articles on self improvement and making money online, I'd like to invite you to subscribe to my free newsletter, which you'll find at :
Article Source:

Write it down,


Thursday, August 16, 2007

You CAN Pulverise Procrastination


I am the Procrastination Queen in my house! Andrew Grant is one of about 70 authors who are participating in the LKarticlechallenge. Thirty articles are to be written by September 30. Each writer who accomplishes this achievement will receive the Golden PJ’s Award. This is a wonderful exercise for writers who are looking for more exposure and experience in writing articles and networking. In addition, you can expand your learning curve.

Another great reason for entering the LKArticlechallenge is you get to meet great writers like Andrew Grant and you get to give some link love and promote their work. Enjoy this article on how to kill procrastination. I am sure many people will be able to identify and learn from it. I am posting in two parts. Andrew writes:

"I hate procrastination. It is one of the most infuriating parts of my personal make-up and is responsible for so many missed opportunities, wasted hours and failed projects that if it was a person, I’d probably be doing a life sentence for its murder by now.

Fortunately, I’ve found some less violent ways to eradicate this dream destroyer from my life. Here are my 7 top, procrastination beating tips, that will work for you, whether you are climbing a mountain or just tidying up your basement.

Tip #1. Recognize it. You have to know your enemy and procrastination is a master of disguise, so it can sometimes be hard to spot. But when you hear yourself saying things like. “Before I do (my target) I just have to…”, or “I can’t start (my target) till I have…”.

This is what I call the ‘pencil-sharpening mode’ – spending all your time in preparation and never actually doing. Learn to spot these excuses.

Tip #2. Stop it in its tracks. Once you’ve flushed your procrastination into the open, you must take positive action to prevent it taking over. Listen to your excuses and do two things. Firstly, tell yourself to stop being scared of the task you have set yourself and hiding behind these pathetic walls and secondly, incorporate the excuse into the solution, by including it in the next stage.

Tip #3. Define the task. Whatever you want to do, it is no use being nebulous and vague about it. You must define and measure your goal. Write it down, map it out, make it real and tangible and most importantly, take the excuse from stage 2 and include it as part of your road map.
For example, if you keep telling yourself that you can’t tidy the basement, till you have gone to the store and bought a set of plastic crates; make “go to the store” the very first step on your goal path."

Hi, my name is Andrew Grant. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you would like to read more great articles on self improvement and making money online, I'd like to invite you to subscribe to my free newsletter, which you'll find at :

Write it down,


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Paradoxical Commandment #10

I do want to apologize to you all if I caused you any unnecessary clicking by my absence. The important issue is I am going to post the final Paradoxical Commandment. Number Ten.

Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

This commandment sounds crazy. Who in their right mind would want to get kicked in the teeth more often than they do already? Are you a glutton for punishment?

Come to think about it, what kind of person does not give their best? Certainly not you, the writer, designer, parent, or business person. We all give our best and if we get kicked in the teeth are we willing to continue giving our best?

Why would anyone want to give their all just to be knocked down? Because the bottom line is, if you are not giving your best in this world what world are you saving it for? This is it guys, when you leave this world there are no more chances to “get it right”.

Recognition. I recently wrote this word down as something that I desire from my peers, family and community. But I am discovering that recognition and applause do not provide as much meaning as loving and helping others.

Yes appreciation is desired by all of us but a person who craves applause will focus on the applause instead of meeting the needs of others. Not everyone remembers to applaud so if you are depending on the whims of others, you will not be satisfied.

Anyway is a neat little book that delivers a big punch. Author Kent M. Keith is a prime example of how the paradoxical principles work. These principles were first written when Keith was a student at Harvard in the 1960’s. Since then, unbeknownst to him, they have been quoted, circulated and appropriated by countless people. When Keith learned that his Paradoxical Commandments had traveled the globe and had even been taped upon the walls of Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, he was moved to put them in this modern credo for living well, being happy…and doing good anyway.

Write it down,

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rock On!

I am proud and honored to accept the Rockin’ Girl Blogger award that was bestowed upon me by Lisa Gates of Design Your Writing Life. Thank You!

Lisa is a real trend setter because she included some fabulous Rockin’ Guy Bloggers as well. Just to name a few. I think we all love a little Rock ‘n Roll.

The sky is truly the limit. As Lisa Gates teaches us to focus more on meaning than success, the world will truly start to make sense.

I am going to pass on this Rockin’ badge of honor to the following because I have learned so much by visiting each and every one of these people and this is only the beginning.

Yvonne Perry, Writers In The Sky

All the wonderful women and men at Lieurance Group
Billie Williams at Printed Words
Write it down,

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Paradoxical Commandment #9

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

I totally relate to this one. Independent person that I am, (I even added the word Independent to my business name) I have never been able to accept help easily. As far back as I can remember my mantra has always been, “I’d rather do it myself”. Besides, no one can do it better than me. :) Sound familiar?

We all need help at one time or another with decisions, moral dilemmas, coping and our lives. Nobody knows it all inasmuch as we would love to think we do. I have a sign in my office that states “I know it all – I just can’t remember it all at once.” I leave that sign there to remind me how silly it is to think I can do everything alone.

Another reason someone may not want to receive help is that they cannot face their inadequacies. This is called denial. I don’t know where or when, in our society, the seed got planted that it was cowardly to accept help but I think it takes courage to admit you are not a superman/woman and it’s OK.

What about the saying “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. Sometimes this is an unspoken motto among unscrupulous people. I have known people who have held grudges for years because their neighbor, friend, or relative did not reciprocate “favors”, therefore, they would never help anyone again unless they were assured the deed would be returned.

How can you determine if someone is in true need? People in need may be struggling with their pride or self-image. Sometimes it is hard to acknowledge that life just isn’t what it used to be. Think about the basics. People need food, clothing and shelter. They need friends. Don’t let their attacks toward you stop you because more often than not, they are not attacking you personally.

A statement from "Anyway" author Kent M. Keith says “Others have helped you over and over again. Now it’s your turn. Enjoy the deep meaning that comes from assisting others in appropriate ways and improving their quality of life.”

Write it down,

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Chambers & Bloggers - A Good Mix

In my post Social Conversations, I compared blogging and social networking to chamber of commerce’s mixers. Let's take a look and find out how blogging/social networking stack up against an organization that has been around since the sixteenth century. I don’t think you can really compare the two entities fairly, however there is one important statement that fits both worlds.

Responsible bloggers do encourage and support a climate where writers, designers, copywriters, coaches and many more entrepreneurs can be productive and profitable. Instead of meeting face to face, we meet screen to screen providing factual information and motivation for learning. We are all citizens of this blogging community and communities are what their citizens make them.

Internet marketing has also made a huge impact on chambers of commerce. Click here to see a video of how this North Sacramento chamber markets to prospective new members via YouTube. Their energetic message, Lead, Serve, Inspire is riveting.

Entertainment is sometimes used to liven up a chamber mixer. Bloggers have access to all kinds of entertainment as well but this local chamber really knows how to get your blood pumping. Sign me up! I think the content of this conversation is self explanatory. Chambers of Commerce have joined the global bandwagon too.

I hope this helps those of you, (who are like me), to understand what people are talking about when they have conversations about conversation. The conversation is the glue that holds relationships together. I think I’m getting it now.

I highly recommend that you join your local chamber of commerce. All you need to do is spend a total of two hours a month handing out business cards and meeting other people who probably need your services.

Write it down,