Guest Blogging Today

Hi guys!

I’ve been busy in a good way lately. Wrote a few guest posts, working on an article for a magazine, essays, assignments for an online class and a few projects are still in brainstorm mode. {Actually, I’ve still got newsletters brewing in my head. Do any of you find it helpful for your business? Would you like to see an inspirational writing one from me?}

One of the posts I recently wrote was on self-care for the self-employed because I know how you guys roll. I know how hard you work. The papers piling up on your desk. The books that don’t get read. Cause who has the time? The emails still sitting in your inbox waiting to get answered.

I know your story because I’ve lived it too.

The thing that’s changed most for me is that I started to re-prioritize my life. I’m still busy, but now I make time for the things that I love most. There will always be more “stuff” to do tomorrow. That’s the life of a writer and any entrepreneur. I will get to it. But for now, a cup of tea and a good book.

And this guest post on “6 Self-Care Tips for the Self-Employed” for writer friend Cathy Miller.

The Holy Trinity of Writing

{Photo credit} Some days I feel oh so lucky! That’s what I felt with author Dina Santorelli asked me to guest blog for her and then sent me this jewel of a post here. If you’ve ever wanted to be an author, then you’re in luck too. Read her inspiring story about how she completed half her first novel in about 6 weeks! All you NANAWRIMOs out there will appreciate this one.

On August 9, 2010, I completed my first novel, Baby Grand.It was one of those wonderful, fulfilling moments when you not only finally achieve a career milestone, but accomplish a lifelong dream.

I’m often asked how I managed to do it, finish a 279-page book while nurturing a family, a household and a freelance writing career. Truth be told, part of my incentive was having an agent waiting for my manuscript on the other side of the finish line. A deadline lit a fire under my butt and got me churning out 1,000 words a day, every day – I wrote more than half of Baby Grand in six weeks.

But beyond the deadline and the agent, there are other, less tangible but more important, things that got me here. And can get you here too. I call them the Holy Trinity of Writing:

1. Belief in Yourself. I know this sounds basic and cliché, but I can’t tell you how many people rely on others to give themselves validation or encouragement. This is a lesson you need to learn and learn now: No one else cares about you writing a book, but you. Sure, you have supporters and cheerleaders, and they’re terrific – parents, BFFs, professors, book club buddies – but they’ve got their own dreams to follow, their own lives to lead. They can’t hold your hand, as much as they might want to. In the wee hours of the night, it’s YOU who’s doing the typing. It’s YOU who has to crawl out of bed an hour earlier to spend an hour writing before heading off to work or making lunches for the kids. If this book is going to be, you are the only one who will make it happen.

2. Optimism.You have to believe that you can write a book. That it’s not only possible, but likely. Visualize it. I’ve seen so many talented writers who are full of excuses: “Oh, it’s who you know… No one’s interested in my story… The business is changing… Blah blah…” Is it surprising that those people are not novelists today?

3. Drive.Baby Grandis a book that was 15 years in the making, beginning as random notes and chapters when I was in my twenties. And although I wound up putting the novel away for a while to live life – travel, marry, have babies, start businesses, grow a freelance career, go back to school – it was always there, in the back of my mind, waiting to come to fruition, even during those long nights spent with vomiting children. ESPECIALLY during those long nights with vomiting children.

One of my professors once asked us during class: “Why would anyone want to be a writer? There are so many other fun things to do in the world rather than sit in front of a computer by yourself.” She’s right. Those people who sit in front of their computers and write, the ones who forgo sleep or nights out with friends or homecooked meals – do it because they can’t NOT do it. They have to write. They want to write. And if you do too – I mean, REALLY want to – you have to put it first. Make room for your book in your life. Treat it as you would your paying jobs. Because if you treat it as a hobby, that’s all it will ever be.

Dina Santorelli has been a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years. Most recently, she served as the “with” writer on the book, Good Girls Don’t Get Fat, by Robyn J. A. Silverman, Ph. D., which was published in October 2010 by Harlequin. Dina’s debut novel, Baby Grand, is represented by The Stonesong Press, LLC in New York. Her blog titled, “Making ‘Baby Grand,’” celebrates the writing life and chronicles the angst-filled days leading up to (fingers crossed!) the publication of Baby Grand.

When the World Doesn’t Like Your Freelance Schedule

Carson Brackney’s back and better than ever. Lucky for me he’s written a new guest post that will blow you away. It’s all about freelancing and time scheduling. Thanks Carson!

So, you have the schedule thing all figured out. Everyone talks about how tough it is to maintain any semblance of a reasonable life as a freelancer, but you aren’t worried. You have the calendar. You have the time slots all lined up, filled up, organized, planned and your work life for the week will be so smoother than Yul Brynner’s scalp after a Crisco application.

Yeah, right.

The kid? She’s gonna get sick. Your wife? She forgot to tell you about that thing Tuesday at five. The car? I’d tell you to check the left rear tire now, but it’s probably too late. Be careful when you decide you need a tomato slice for your sandwich on Tuesday, too. That Wusthoff is sharp and you’re going to wait for an hour at the ER before they even talk to you. Plus, the stitches will slow your typing more than you think. Oh, and you’re about to get the flu. Sorry. (more…)

Be My Guest…

Between starting the longest article I ever undertaken and working as an Associate Editor, I barely had time to hop onto this blog and my inspiring one. But I somehow managed to fit in a guest post.

And I feel really honored to do so.

Why?

The person I was guest blogging for is Dina Santorelli, a freelance writer with published articles and a book to her name. Someone I admired dearly.

Somehow she found me on Facebook and asked if I would guest post for her on something inspiring.

And I did with great excitement.

So here it is: 5 Tips to Inspire Writers

Guest Post: What in the Hell am I Doing Here?

Hi. Just in case you didn’t realize it, this isn’t my blog. I don’t own it. I don’t run it. I didn’t even make a dollar for writing this post. I even have a blog of my very own.

So, what in the hell am I doing here?

I’m contributing a guest post. Brandi and I recently swapped one post for another during the 2010 WordCount Blogathon and we decided to keep the door open for occasional future guest posts. That’s why you’re reading my words instead of hers right now.

You might be wondering why we’re doing that. There are only so many hours in a day. Wouldn’t it make more sense to concentrate on building more content for our own site own site? Not necessarily.

Brandi and I get along very well, but I’m not writing this purely out of the goodness of my heart. There are some big advantages to doing the guest post thing.

Reaching Out to a New Audience (more…)

Special Guest Post: McCabe, Mrs. Miller and Handling Criticism

The “Perfect” Movie
McCabe & Mrs. Miller is among my favorite movies of all time. I think it’s better than any of the other revisionist westerns of the early 70s. I love the way Robert Altman allows dialog to overlap. I think the Leonard Cohen soundtrack is perfect. I can’t think of anything else Warren Beatty has done to compare to McCabe and Doctor Zhivago is the only reason I can’t say the same thing about Julie Christie.

I’m not alone.

Roger Ebert considers McCabe & Mrs. Miller a perfect movie. It scores an impressive 89% freshness rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Charles Taylor’s review of the 1971 film at Salon is typical of the critical response. The experts absolutely love the tale of McCabe’s travails in Presbyterian Church:

For me, “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” is the standard for a sort of emotional purity, a movie whose feeling permeates you without ever once forcing a thing. Emerging from it, I always feel like the town drunk who attempts a jig on the ice in one scene: drugged, unsure of my footing, as if one step would send the whole enterprise crashing to the ground. I try to clutch the images to me even as they seem to evaporate like smoke. Like all things that are beautiful and unalterably sad, “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” by its final scene — the hired guns tracking McCabe through a quiet, persistent blizzard — achieves a deep sense of peace. Your heart is breaking, but you can’t help being struck by the loveliness of the snow that, like Joyce’s, settles over all the living and the dead.

It’s an outright, no-doubt-about-it, inarguable classic.

Maybe.

Pretentious and Obvious? (more…)

Guest Post: Writing Lessons I Learned Twice

I’m happy to welcome super talented writer and owner of the fabulous a.k.a. writer blog, Jesaka Long! Although I haven’t had the chance to meet Jesaka in person, I’ve had the fortune of networking with Jesaka online and feel lucky to have done so. Jesaka is not only a talented writer, but has become a valuable writer friend. I was honored that she asked me to be a guest blogger on a.k.a. writer, and was doubly excited when she agreed to be a guest on mine. Without further ado, please welcome Jesaka! I know you’ll enjoy reading her post as much as I did. (more…)