My Next Articles

Excited to announce my article for Jazzgroupiez.com will be on Petra Van Nuis, a talented singer with a a fantastic voice and great stage presence. Looking forward to writing this up in the next few days.

The following approved article (waiting for confirmation of interview) will hopefully on Andy Brown, Petra’s husband. Matt & I were incredibly impressed with his playing, and I look forward to catching him live again soon at either the Green Mill or Cellars Bar and Grill, where he gigs regularly.

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Writer’s Resource: Write or Die

Last night during our writer’s group, this site came up. I thought I should share it, for any fellow writers out there who haven’t seen it.

Write or Die

A site that times you as you write–giving sound-byte rewards for completing a set period of time writing, or punishments if you stop writing during that pre-set time. Maybe some good prep for NaNoWriMo. Or, depending on exactly how the updated version of this works, great for NaNoWriMo. Check it out beforehand. See if it’s effective for you. Use it if it is!

Today’s Interview

Just finished up a great interview with a delightful singer here in Chicago: Petra Van Nuis. She loves cats, sings jazz, and has gotten to perform in the Radio City Rockettes Spectacular.

I’ll be pitching her piece soon (initial pitch already out there with one publisher), so I’ll expect links to be forthcoming.

In the meantime, check her out: Petra Van Nuis.

My First Article for Jazzgroupiez.com

Here it is. First published piece with jazzgroupiez, on an amazing musician, Don Stille. Published under my “stage” name (i.e. my maiden name).

Enjoy!

Don Stille for Jazz Groupiez.com

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12 Tips for Scheduling Your Writing Time for NaNoWriMo

I’ve had many people ask how I can make time to write NaNoWriMo every year. I’ve had another friend tell me, “Not this year, but next year. It will be less crazy. Then I can do it.”

All of you heard that excuse she gave. You know that friend won’t get around to NaNoWriMo next year, either, unless something in her attitude changes. November is always a crazy month, in a crazy season, leading up to an even crazier season. That’s just how it is.

So, how does one schedule around this craziness called life, and, you know, work and earning a living and things?

It’s both extremely easy, and exponentially difficult at once–and it all comes down to decision and commitment, and a few simple steps.

NaNoWriMo “schedules” you to write 1,667 words per day to reach that 50,000 word count goal within the 30 days of November. But here are my tips on how to actually reach that goal.

  1. Aim for higher than 1,667 words per day. This not only gets more words in, but also gives “make up word counts” for days on which you cannot fulfill the minimum words.
  2. Set a higher goal than merely 50,000 words–why? Because then if you don’t make that 75,000 word goal, you’re still more likely to have reached 50,000 words.
  3. KEY: set side 1 hour per day, minimum, every single day of NaNoWriMo, for writing.
  4. Set everything up for your writing nook before November 1.
  5. KEEP YOUR WRITING NOOK ORGANIZED.
  6. If at all possible, have that writing nook separate from your normal work or play space–set up just for the month of November. This helps with keeping it organized and ready each day for writing.
  7. Write at any free moment you have. 10 minutes waiting in a doctor’s office? Bring your laptop with you, or download an app that will let you write. Dump it to your computer that night.
  8. Bulk up on your writing “supplies” before November 1. Need tea to keep you going? Buy it in advance. Need pens because you’re old-fashioned and do it all by hand? Have enough around that you don’t have to shop for them (or any other supplies) during November.
  9. Tell your family, roommates and/or friends that every night from 8-10pm (or whatever your writing time is), you are unavailable for phone calls, emails, texting, Words with Friends or any other thing that takes you away from writing. You are WRITING, and only emergencies will be observed. (And only things like uncontrolled bleeding, massive vomiting and anything bordering on death constitutes emergencies.)
  10. Set an alarm or other reminder that goes off each day (with advance warnings, if possible) to remind you to get started on your writing.
  11. Set an alarm to end that scheduled time. This keeps you on schedule. You’re busy, we get that–so respect your own time.
  12. Write away from the internet as much as possible. This helps to minimize distractions. (My husband uses a word processor for NaNoWriTing–no internet access at all possible!)

Every year that I’ve done these things, I’ve more than written 50,000 words in 30 days or less.

NaNoWriMo Prep Day 1: Sharing a Writing Space

It is October. So you know what that means–NaNo Prep time!

This year, I’ve got a whole new experience awaiting me as I write for NaNoWriMo. Last year, I co-wrote a book with my then fiance. This year, we’re writing side-by-side, in the same apartment, as husband and wife!

I’ve written books with others around before. But I’ve never attempted this feat with someone so…distracting around before. Last year as we co-wrote, he was in Florida while I was in Chicago. And we only spoke for about an hour a day on the phone. Now, however, he’s merely feet away at any given moment (both the pro and the con of both working from home)…and terribly distracting to me in many ways.

So this month, a lot of my prep time for NaNoWriMo will actually be adapting to having a handsome, silly man around who wants to talk story, theology, music, writing, kittens, and movies all day long, during work breaks.

Today, my assignment is to create a check-list for the NaNoWriMo, including anything to assist in avoiding distraction by the hot husband.

  1. the best playlist ever for NaNoWriMo
  2. sound neutralizing headphones
  3. a closed door between handsome man and myself while writing
  4. fitness attire washed and ready to go (1 week’s worth at a time, folded and placed in bathroom, ready to put on immediately when I rise)
  5. store of amazing teas to sample and possibly blog about
  6. healthy snack foods, prepped twice weekly (celery sticks, carrot sticks, green peppers, etc. cut and stored)
  7. healthy meals prepped for reheat on stove (prepped once weekly)
  8. writing hour boundaries discussed and set with hubby
  9. research and source materials in place by October 31
  10. candles galore!
  11. lighting pre-planned for optimal writing times
  12. cat toys to throw at cat when she attempts to add her own distractions
  13. outline
  14. (working?) title
  15. cover
  16. novel set up on NaNoWriMo.org by Oct. 25
  17. list of blogs to write for October by October 5
  18. list of blogs to write for November by October 31
  19. plenty of cat treats for leash training cat on writing breaks
  20. 10 cozy additional mystery books read (unless I choose to go a different route than currently planned)

That should be more than enough to work on in the midst of my various gigs and big events this month.

NANOWRIMO IS COMING!