Archive for September 11, 2014

Writing Retreat 2014: Memorial Interlude

September 11 is one of those days where the words fail. Every year on the anniversary, I send up a prayer for those who died, their loved ones, and for the residents of this planet to remember and maybe be just a little kinder to each other today, and in the future.

I also remember spending that day at work, unable to concentrate, worried about an uncle and a friend both in the New York area (they were fine, but it took a long time to get that news), then going to my parents’ house to find my dad making dinner. It was such a simple, routine thing that I remember feeling myself relax for the first time since hearing the news that morning.

I don’t remember what we said, but he gave me one of his patented hugs – a bear hug that would re-align your spine, but also reassure you that everything was okay, even if just for that one moment. It was a simple thing, but we both needed it, and I’ll never forget it, especially since my dad passed away three years ago.

Go about your day, but be kind to each other…


Writing Retreat 2014: Day 2


I spoke too soon when I said I’m usually quick in polishing a manuscript. WORDS! Sometimes the words just don’t happen. I found myself stuck far too many times yesterday, trying to find the perfect replacement for just one word. The thesaurus was not my friend, nor was my brain.

The music was, though. And my stubbornness. And I think they’re what’s going to keep me going today.

Sometimes only Dory can make it better. Just keep swimming…

Writing Retreat 2014: Day 1


It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since my first writing retreat, when I gave myself a week off from my day job to finish a current manuscript. That book is making the rounds of agents, and I’ve been working on its sequel, but in the meantime, a couple of other novels that needed polishing have languished. I’m working on those, and if there’s time after their completion, I’ll move on to the sequel or…maybe whatever the muse suggests.

Re-reading that paragraph, it sounds as if I zip right along and finish a book quickly. I laugh at this. And cry a little at the same time, because even though I’ve gotten faster, I’m still a slow writer. I can, however, do a polish fairly quickly, and that’s what I’m hoping for with these two.

So I spent the day two days ago cleaning the house, baking gluten-free, sugar-free cookies (link to recipe below – they are yummier than they sound), and lounging about with a good book. I do this to be sure I can remove as many potential distractions and excuses as possible for when I finally sit down to write. So what happened yesterday? I could NOT get motivated. I dawdled. I lingered. I wondered if the bathroom needed to be cleaned again.

It wasn’t until I started up the playlist of songs based on this novel that the ON switch got flipped, and I was unstoppable. Editing until about 1:00 a.m. But I finished that round, and now I’m on to the final polish. There’s something about music, and especially connecting certain songs to my characters and their conflicts, that gets the wheels spinning for me.

This is one of my ongoing motivations…

* The cookie recipe is from the Against All Grain blog. I double the recipe, and use this insanely expensive sugar substitute called Lakanto, but it’s really the only cookie I can eat, considering my diet.