Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Writing Conferences Pt. 2

Here's a few do's and don't for attending writing conferences.

DO study and research the agents and/or editors that will be there if you are going to pitch to them.  If they don't deal with what your write, don't waste their time or yours.

DO be friendly.  Talk to others, mingle and make some new friends.  Need  a conversation starter?  Just ask the other person what they write.  Works every time.

DO take business cards but DON't be annoying with them. When you get cards from others, make a quick note on them so you'll remember that person better.

DO be professional.  DON'T hog the pros.  Everyone wants to chat with that agent or editor so be considerate of others.

DO plan which workshops you want to attend beforehand.  This way you know where you need to be and when you need to be there.

DON'T expect an agent or editor to take your manuscript home with them from the conference.  They don't need another thing to lug around and on the plane.

DO have fun, enjoy the experience.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writing Conferences

I just spent the most wonderful weekend with a bunch of great people - writers - at the annual NETWO (North East Texas Writers Organization) spring conference. There was a Friday afternoon workshop then time to get to know each other.  Several of us sat up chatting after everyone else called it a night which was very nice.

Saturday was filled with sessions by an agent, an editor, a PR guy (excellent info) and several authors.  I had a nice but very quick meeting with an editor from Berkley and met some really nice writers.  And while I wasn't ready to come home, I'm even more excited about my WIP.

So, the point of this you ask?

You need to go to a writer's conference.  Yes, you do and here's several reasons why.

Meeting other writers - I'm made quite a few friends from conferences.
Meeting agents, editors and other industry professions in a relaxing setting - they really aren't scary. :-)
Learning about craft or  the business aspect of writing - this year's PR session was GREAT!!!
Networking - getting to know others in the business is always a good thing.
Pitching to agent or editor - this often gets you a request for more and is a step in the door.

And, most importantly...

Recharging your creative self - sometimes life isn't nice and stomps on our creativity.  Writer's conferences are a great way to recharge.

It's not to late to find a nearby conference for this year so check out Shaw Guides.  They don't list them all but it's a nice place to start.  You can search by state, month, season and several other things.

Also, do the Google thing.  Your state and writer's conferences should get you some hits.

I encourage each of you to commit to attending at least one conference this year.  You won't regret it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kill 'em

For all you mystery and triller writers out there.  This is just too funny!!!

Shamelessly stolen from Janet Reid's blog.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Toy...

The other night we were killing time at Target and ended up in the electronic section where I found this.  After reading the box, I just had to have one.  I waited a couple days to see if the urge to splurge would wear off and nope, it didn't.  So, I gave in and bought one.

I'm so glad I did.  This is such a cool tool for a writer.  For example, taking notes at a conference while recording the session at the same time and having your notes linked to the audio. How cool would that be?  And what about interviews?  Or attending lectures? 

For those times you don't want to record the audio, you can still have your notes uploaded to your computer without having to retype them.   I haven't used all the features yet but I look forward to doing so.

There is an online tutorial to walk you through the learning process so it's not hard to figure out.

Also, there are quite a few apps you can download from the website for very little cost that makes the SmartPen even smarter.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I enjoy writing the old fashioned way with pen and paper. It just has a whole different feel about it and now with the Pulse Smart Pen, I don't have to type in all my scribbling.  I just upload it into the computer and go from there.

All in all...I'm impressed with this new gadget.  And no, no one paid me to say so.:-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Market Monday

The Western Online - this looks like an interesting place.  Everything western goes here but be sure to check out their guidelines.  They are also looking for western art.

SpaceWesterns is looking for western type stories set in outer space along with several other things such as steampunk and space opera. 

Rope & Wire - Wants western stories along with cowboy poetry They even accept contemnporary western stories.

Daily Love is a new market that publishes romance online everyday.  They like flash fiction so if you have anything this might be the place to send it.

Moon Washed Kisses - another relatively new online "zine" that wants flash and poetry.  Nothing erotic though.

Stony Meadow Publishing has a Robot Romance Novella contest going along with another short romance contest that happens monthly.  Again, no erotica.  They also have songwriter and poetry contests.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday Free For All

Today I'm sharing things I think you might be interested in. Such as...

Here's a really nice post on setting up Business Cards for writers

Vista Print is a really reasonable place to get business cards.  They are always having some sort of sale and sometimes you can pick up some cool free stuff too.

Y'all might want to follow Editorrent also.  It's a very nice "editor" blog.

Here's a confession...I LOVE Donald Maass.  I've read his books and drool at the thought of being at one of his workshops.  (Now if one will ever come this way...sigh.)  So naturally I love THIS!

This Procrastinator's Flow Chart is kinda cute and mostly true.  

Here's an interesting post on writing and editing.

And lastly, How to Start a Novel.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It's not too late to start thinking about taxes for next year.  Here's a couple good links to start you off.

Agent Rachelle Gardner's blog post.

Some basic info on recordkeeping.

Interview with John Caton, CPA who does taxes for writers.

And just for laughs... A Tax Form for the Marginally Employed.  Be sure to read the fine print.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I have to admit, I don't do discipline well. I think it has something to do with the time I spent in the military. I'm not very organized either, though I've gotten better in the last several years.

What's discipline got to do with writing you ask?

Just this…if you want to write a novel within a reasonable amount of time, you have to be disciplined. This means writing on a regular basis. It's one of the things that serious writers have in common. They write on a schedule. They make their writing a priority.

I had problems with this. Call it procrastination or call it lazy but it isn't a good thing. So, I followed the advice of many writers and decided to make writing a priority for me. To make it something important in my daily routine.

About this time, James Scott Bell tweeted about completing his Nifty 350. Meaning, his goal for the day is 350 words, written in the mornings. I took this idea and ran with it, so to speak.

I decided on a "First 500" and put my self on an internet diet. Harsh yes, but it really worked. I took my laptop into the bedroom so first thing in the morning, I could fire it up and get to writing.

The first couple days, it took about 4 hours to get those First 500 words. Now, I'm one of those writers who tend to write, edit, rewrite and then revise each sentence as I go along so that's not a long time for me.

After the first week, I found myself looking forward to writing first thing in the morning and the word counts rising and not taking as long to get on the page. It only took a couple days of  doing this before  I started to get between 1,000 to 1,500 words in the same 4 hours.

I also learned that the internet won't wither up and blow away if I'm not there. I discovered that many of the things I did online, once thought of as necessities, really weren't.

And I've discovered I like writing more than reading many other writing blogs. Sure, I still have a favorite few I read on a regular basis but now I've gotten my priorities in the right order and when I spend some time online, I don't feel guilty because I haven't written.

I don't have any books to recommend to you however, if you have a problem with procrastination, check out Procrastinating Writer.

Then, take a look at your schedule and make writing a priority.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Market Monday

Realms of Fantasy will be putting out a special "Women in Fantasy" issue for August 2011.  This is for women writers only though the protagonists don't need to be women..  They'll be needing women artists too.

Basement Stories - This is a new mag looking for short sf & fantasy stories up to 6k.  They also take poetry.  To get things kicked off, they are holding a contest too. 

Singularity - Here's another new mag that looks really good.  It's based in the UK and only accepts snail mail subs.   I really like the look of this one.

Moon Washed Kisses - Looking for romance flash fiction and poetry.  They do not want erotica so be sure to read their guidelines before submitting.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Market Monday

Due to a really nasty case of troll flu, Market Monday is late and sparse.  But since I felt  like a zombie for most of today, very apt.

May December Publications is all about zombies.  They have three anthologies taking submissions and they also publish zombie novels.  So, all you zombie writers...err, I mean all you writers who write about zombies, stop by, take a look and see what they have to offer.

Oh, troll flu is very different from the regular human strain.  First there is phase 1 or the approximately 24 hours of "please, just let me die" then you have phase 2 which is the 12 hours of "I think I might live afterall" followed by phase 3, about 6 hours of "I survived troll flu and am lucky to be alive but when will I feel normal" again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bonus Saturday - Contests

First, a couple posts from the judges point of view...

How to win a creative writing contest.

How not to write a story.

Now, for the contests...

My Favorite Grandkid Story - for writers over 55.

Tell Your Love Story

PARSEC SF/F Contest - themed "the color of silence"

Novel Beginnings 1st Chapter Contest

The Christmas Spirit

On The Premise - another themed contest.

Be sure to check and follow the guidelines.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Relax and get inspired

Tonight I had to take son to piano lessons which means for an hour I need to find something to do.  So, after a quick trip to Walmart I headed to Sonic for a blue coconut slush and some quite reading time.   Reading material tonight was Woman's World. 

One article included helpful hints on getting out of a rut and getting inspired.    Several of them really applied to writers.  Such as...

*  Trying new experiences.  By stepping outside our comfort zone, we look at things differently.  And I bet some great ideas for stories would be gotten too.

*  Gardening.  Apparently gardening has been proven to relieve stress and increase intuition.    I think it has to do with the mind being focused on one task while the subconscious is working on another such as plotting that story.  I know quite a few writers who swear by washing dishes to get ideas flowing.  While I rather play in the dirt and be out in the air, I often plot or ponder characters while doing the dishes.

*  Take a fifteen minute nap.  When my kids were small, we called these power naps.  Give 'em about fifteen minutes of sleep and they woke up recharged and ready to go for hours and hours.  Naps may not be feasible for most of us but maybe a quiet break of just deep breathing would work.  I think I  may give it a try.

So, my question for all of you is...what do you do to get relaxed, get the ideas flowing and get inspired?  Long walks, hot baths, sudoko, taking a drive???  Share your favorite method with us!