As I explain in “Goal Setting With the Help of An Accountability Buddy” (December 29, 2016), there are real advantages of having someone regularly push you to stay on track. I’ve never worked with a creative partner this way so I welcomed the idea when a friend asked me if we could goal-set together. Having had our first weekly call this Monday, here are my thoughts: Creating my “to do” list to share with someone else takes time but it forces me to seriously reflect about macro and micro objectives, decide how many hours I ought to allocate to each activity and rank what has to get done first. It feels good to be able toRead More →

Anyone who attends workshops or reads articles about becoming a better writer has no doubt heard the message that word goals and schedules are important. You need to write before you have something you can sell. How you get the magic to appear on paper is another issue altogether with variations aplenty. Some outline. Others see where the first words lead them. Night owls say goodnight as the larks commence their morning workout at the typewriter. Some folks write here and there. Others throw themselves into a project for months at a time.  Some are calm.  Some are frenetic. The important thing is to discover what makes sense for you, acknowledging that yourRead More →

For the last year, I’ve been reading books and attending events about writing technique, how to market one’s book, what to look for in a contract, how to work with an agent and much more. After a whirlwind week at ThrillerFest 2016 during which many of these topics were addressed, I’ve decided that a writer has to do it all, especially if one is contemplating self-publishing one or more books. Even if an individual has an agent and/or is publishing with a traditional firm, my view is that it is still smart to inform yourself about topics such as intellectual property rights, cost-effective ways toRead More →

National Teacher Appreciation Day on May 3 was a nice reminder of the many individuals who generously shared their wisdom and knowledge with me. One gentleman in particular comes to mind. In charge of my high school Advanced Placement English class, Dr. Graham taught his students about the ups and downs of creative writing. Under his guidance, we had opportunities to stretch our talents as authors, poets and playwrights without the kind of reprisal that might discourage beginners. His feedback was always positive even when it was negative. I realize that now even though I did not always appreciate his candor back then. Still, he must have seenRead More →

It’s such a joy to look up from my desk every once in a while and catch a pop of pink, red, yellow, purple, white or green. I vary the colors of flowers I buy and try to feed my floral fix every week. It’s a little way to reward myself for hard work done and more to do. When I attended a writer’s event a few months ago, I asked the panelists about where they write and whether they exercise. My goal was to understand how accomplished authors stay productive or disconnect from the word game when they need to lessen stress. Not surprisingly,Read More →

I’ve been practicing yoga for a decade and try to take class four or five times each week. As my schedule permits, I bike, hike or lift weights. I used to think of exercise as a time sink but try now to think of physical activity as an important part of my daily routine. Getting stronger is a terrific benefit but something that happened slowly with interim bouts of frustration. Not every day is a walk in the park. To the contrary, there are days when I drag myself to the gym or the yoga studio because I am tired or pressed to meet aRead More →

Most people I know do not have scads of free hours to tackle something new, let alone a big project like writing a book. To the contrary, they tend to be overbooked and overstressed. In my case, I have long juggled many balls. When I worked in banking, I went to school at night or pursued a professional designation. I still work on deadline and have to be organized. It’s not always easy. Life intrudes or something ends up taking longer than originally expected or I just want to take a break to exercise or see a movie. I am a consummate maker of listsRead More →