Saturday, June 23, 2012

If you had $1000 to spend on a...

Last week's blog took up the arrangement of our work spaces to make them more conducive to creativity and productivity. I viewed such a rearrangement as working with what we already have. Then I thought, What if an extra $1000 came available to fix everything wrong with our writing areas and/or design a brand-new one? I like to play make believe, so...

Requirements for new desk:
  • built-in place for printer on right side
  • built-in place for external hard drive, router, thumb-drive storage, etc.other similar devices
  • shelves for copy paper, photo paper, cardstock, etc. beneath built-in place for printer on right 
  • nicely divided drawer for pens, markers, stapler, stamps, etc. in midde
  • hooks/hangars on middle inside to store various chargers (phone, Kindle, camera, etc.)
  • slide-out for extra keyboard above middle drawer
File cabinets:
  • two four-drawer wood on rollers
  • one above desk for favorite photos and displayed keepsakes
  • one above desk (within reaching distance) for necessary resource books e.g. thesaurus
  • large whiteboard for making writing notes, plotting, creating characters, etc.
  • large bulletin board for keeping reminders, favorite inspirational quotes, etc. 
  • small refrigerator for Diet DP stash
  • shredder within reaching distance
  • bay window for desk
  • chimes to hang outside bay window
  • Adjustable with massage function and built-in foot-rest
Could I get all that for $1000? Probably not--but then again, $1000 isn't going to free itself from the budget and come drifting down as if from Heaven either!

Can I rearrange/reorganize to make do with what I have?  Absolutely!

So what would YOU do in your workspace if you had an unexpected windfall?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Creativity or Chaos?

UPDATE: Rosemary Gemmell is the winner of the PDF.

NOTE: I will be drawing a name from the commenters on last week's blog tomorrow. An unexpected medical emergency trip to San Antonio TX to be with my 3-month-old grandson has put me behind. Liam had open heart surgery at six weeks and is back for other issues. With his daddy working out of state this month, it was necessary for his Nanny to step in to provide support for mommy. I'm sitting here with him now, watching him sleep, and wishing I could unhook everything and take him home! Maybe another couple of days...

This week's blog addresses the place(s) where we create our masterpieces--our romance, adventure, fantasy, whatever our muse dictates. A thought-provoking article in the June 2012 issue of The Writer's Digest, "Declutter Your Writing Space in 2 Days" (Cynthia. J. Drake) told me what I already knew--but a quote from Milwaukee designer DeAnna Radaj brought it all clear as day:

Do you love it?
Do you use it?
Do you need it"

Obviously, if you can't answer 'yes' to each of these questions, you probably don't need IT in your workspace!
I'd never thought in terms of doing more than organizing items in the usual way. I'm re-thinking! My study will bear close scrutiny when I get home and back to work. I'll have lists in hand and a sketch of how things might be rearranged for easier access and being able to grab things 'on the go'. 

What does YOUR workspace look like? Is it you? Is it conducive to productivity? What changes could you make immediately?

And the clincher: if someone handed you $1000 to re-create this most important area, how would you use it? That's my subject for next week!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

P & P

The topic of "promotion" has been addressed previously here at The Word Place, but after reading a recent issue of Hope Clark's "Total Funds for Writers", I have a new perspective. Unfortunately, since it's a subscription newsletter, I can't include a link However, check out the website online anyway. (If you don't already subscribe FREE to "Funds for Writers" and "Small Markets", you should. "Total Funds for Writers" is a bargain at $15/year.)

I digress. We all know the standard social marketing program--Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. a blog, a website, ad nauseum. I must admit I am alternately frustrated and bored with the whole thing. But Hope brought up another P which needs to go hand in hand with the first one (platform)--and that's PASSION. Do we write because we are passionate about writing and what we have to say? If so, the people we are trying to reach won't know it unless we tell them. 

So now I have to think--a tiring process, especially after I just finished a re-write of the first of six cozy mysteries I hope to "go indie" with one of these days. I have to think--WHAT am I PASSIONATE about? And how will I let that passion shine through and encourage readers to want to learn more about it in my books?

I like making lists, so here goes:
  • history
  • genealogy
  • travel to historical places
  • mysteries (especially real ones)
  • meeting people 
  • learning new things
  • new perspectives on other cultures
  • and last but certainly not least, my faith because it's the catalyst for everything I do
Now comes the hard part: HOW do I incorporate one or more of these very real passions into my platform and reach those who share them? That's going to take more thought, but I'm determined to do it, so stay tuned.

What are your passions? Do you--can you--how will you incorporate them into your writing platform? Leave a comment, and I'll draw a name at the end of the week for either a PDF or a Kindle version of The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall--a novel, by the way, which built on three of the passions listed above: history, genealogy, mystery. Or, if those subjects don't rattle your cage, you can opt for a PDF of Dancing with Velvet, a WW II romance set in my West Texas hometown.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What does one have to do with the other?

I just returned from the Arkansas Writers Conference sponsored by the Pioneer Branch of the National League of American Pen Women (of which I'm proud to be a new member). The keynote speaker was Charles W. Sasser, author of 50 books and thousands of magazine stories/articles. He's lived at least a dozen lifetimes in his 70 years. During his final speech, he told us that in order to be a writer, one must live life to its fullest. Can I get an 'amen' to that?

For 60 years, I lived life to its emptiest. I thought survival was sufficient. Then I wised up. The revelation hasn't come without a price, but I wouldn't go back. A public blog is not the place to share one's private epiphany. but I felt Mr. Sasser's advice was worth sharing, especially with you younger writers out there who can salvage more of life and gain more years than I can.

I don't think living life to its fullest means 'letting it all hang out', or 'if it feels good, do it'. There's the personal responsibility thing.  Years ago, an older friend whom I loved very much and for whose own empty life I ached, shared this quote with me: For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.

Here's a more recent quote found on Facebook:
In the end, we only regret the chances didn't take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make. (attributed to

And yet another:
Chances, Choices, Changes: You must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change. (attributed to

Once I was young and full of dreams, and life was out there waiting for me. It's not too late for me to find it--and I'm off on the quest. Will you come along with me?