Tag Archives: healthy

No Laptops in the Operating Room


Let’s be honest sometimes when we are writing life gets in the way. I would love to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but if I did that I would waste away from lack of junk food and television. Besides the kids might complain if the electricity went off because I was so busy writing that I forgot to pay the bills.

The truth is there are some times when writing has to take a back seat. Case in point…next week I have to have surgery and I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that the surgeon isn’t going to allow me to take my tablet into the operating room. I am going to have to take a few down days and you know what…..that’s okay.

I know a lot of writers who write themselves into illness. They get so busy writing that they forget to take care of themselves. While this isn’t the case with my surgery, I have had years when I have been sicker than most other years and I know it is because I haven’t taken care of myself. For instance, two years ago I had the flu so bad they thought about putting me in the hospital. I know why it got so bad…when I first got it I refused to lay down and take it easy. I kept pushing until my body said, “Okay, lay down now….all systems stop”. What sucked was that in doing that I ended up losing more time than I would have if I had just taken a couple of days to allow my body to heal.

I learned my lesson that year but you don’t have to learn the hard way. I am here to tell you that if your body is trying to tell you to slow down…do it. In the end it will be better than pushing yourself until you can’t stand. It’s okay to love what you do but don’t push yourself so hard that you can’t actually do it anymore. Take time for yourself and make sure that you are around to write another day.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on January 22, 2023 in Healthy Writers, Writing


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What Does Support for Your Writer Look Like?

support-writersWriters are a unique breed of animal. We need alone time but crave attention. We want silence but need the noise. We want to be left to our own devices but we need someone to tell us that we are good at what we do. I think it is safe to say that we, as writers, don’t often know what we want or need for that matter.

For me personally I can be both needy and independent and often at the same time. It can be confusing for my family and my friends who don’t write. They have no idea what is happening inside of my head so they don’t understand the daily battle I wage to win the war of story. While I am hobnobbing with those in the waking world I am also usually deeply immersed with the people inside my head too. While my spouse is explaining the ins and outs of hosting the family weekend with all the relatives I am also trying to decide whether or not to kill Peter. Sometimes the details of Peter’s death drown out the voice of my spouse and when I look at her and say “huh?” She gets upset and thinks that I was just not listening to her. The truth is I was trying to find just the right way to kill Peter, without getting caught;mI really wasn’t ignoring her.

The thing is, there is no way that my spouse could ever understand the dilemma that is my world. A non-writing person doesn’t have conversations inside their heads about stories that haven’t happened yet. They are not constantly in a flux of creation, determining the lives of people not yet in existence. They have never given birth to a character and then held that characters life in their hands trying to decide in a God-like manner what to do next. There is simply no way for the non-writer to truly understand our world.

So how then does a person support a writer? The answer is simple….be there. Here are eight ways to support the writer in your life.

  1. Understand that the world of the writer is complicated and often crowded.
  2. Get that your writer is not ignoring you but instead is just huddled in a corner of their minds somewhere hashing out the plot.
  3. Be patient – The live in two worlds and they are both busy.
  4. Be kind - Writers often put themselves down; be kind to them because they won’t do it themselves.
  5. Feed them - because they often won’t feed themselves. It is easy to get caught up in the work and forget.
  6. By them “writer stuff” – No one understands this one but it is important. Buying your writer something as stupid as a mug that says “I am a writer” shows that you support them.
  7. All them the quiet – Writers need some time to themselves. Understand that inspiration often doesn’t work on the clock and be understanding when they jump out of bed at 3 a.m.
  8. Love them despite their flaws – This, of course, could work for anyone but it really works for writers. We know we are damaged; it’s what makes us good writers…love us anyway.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on January 16, 2023 in Healthy Writers, Writing


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Working Sick – Writing vs. Throwing Up

thToday’s column is based on something that I am obviously experiencing today…I’m not feeling well. My spouse, who works in the medical field, brought home a bug and has systematically shared it with each and every member of our family…I am the last to get it. I had things to do today and I write every day however today I am feeling physically bad as well as guilty for not being able to get any work done. What’s a writer to do?

The truth is we are all human and there will be times when a flu or a bad cold will catch up with you no matter how much orange juice you down. It’s easy to get up anyways and push yourself especially if you work at home to begin with but I am here to tell you…don’t do that. I have discovered over the years that just one day of actual rest will make all the difference in the world. Sometimes you just need to let your body rest and that’s okay.

I will be honest and say that I do still attempt to get something done such as this column today but I pace myself. Small amounts for short periods of time and then it is back to the couch. I could push myself and make it worse but then I lose several days instead of one. So if you must write while you are sick do so in small doses but hit that chicken soup and the cold/flu meds or you’ll just be down longer. Your writing will get done eventually and no one really expects you to kill yourself, not even your clients who expect the work “right now”. Everyone gets sick…even writers…so take the time and heal first.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on January 15, 2023 in Healthy Writers, Writing


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Feeling like a Failure for 2013? Don’t…..

shameless_self_promotion_by_raaynee-d6diywuSo here we are at the end of a long and crazy year. 2013 has been fraught with crazy economics, faster than the speed of light publishing changes and an ever changing landscape of what is a book…it’s all been enough to make you scream. But… know what…..??? It’s almost over which means you get a new start.

I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to in 2013. I wanted to be a better writer. I wanted to have published five books. I wanted to completely understand the world of e-publishing. I learned a little more about writing but I don’t know if I would say I feel like I am “better” at it. I published 3 books and never quite got through the editing of the other 2. And understanding e-publishing…well that is a work in progress and I have a feeling it may well always be just that…in progress. But does not meeting my goals make me a failure? Hardly…has it made me a writer who is still trudging forward.

We set goals at the beginning of the year for two reasons. 1 – we think we are supposed to because everyone makes New Year’s resolutions and 2 – because we want to think that we can meet the goals we set because, well, by-god we set them. I’m unsure why or when the whole resolution thing began but it’s dumb. Shouldn’t we be setting new goals all the time? And as far as the goals for our writing, well, I personally have to reset those every single day because, let’s face it, life happens.

Here’s how I see it, setting those first of the year goals is not a good thing. We, as writers, tend to be tough on ourselves as it is so setting ourselves up for goals that we may not reach is setting ourselves up for a possible fail and why do that to yourself? I would propose instead that we set daily goals that are adjustable as life needs them to be. Writing is a fluid and every changing occupation that is often predicated on the things we face every day. Daily goals are achievable and adjustable and that’s just what we need.

So before you set yourself up on those grandiose yearly goals, stop and consider instead setting smaller more obtainable goals. As a writer it is important that our self-confidence stays in tack and the only way that is going to happen is if we can reach our goals. So change your thinking and set your goals daily. Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to and less of a letdown to fail a day’s goal that a whole year.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Are you Over Thinking Your Writing?

1012837_740539185973405_359533633_nWe all do it. We are working on a story…tolling along…when we suddenly realize that we are thinking about our story 24 hours a day. While taking a shower, while driving, while in conversations with other people…hell you are even lying in bed, wide wake running through character traits. How do you know when it is all too much?

The answer is, when all you can think about is your story or if your child is on fire after trying to make bacon and you find yourself trying to figure out just the right description for what the fire looks like as it fries him/her…you are way too obsessed with your manuscript. Writing is supposed to be fun and if you are obsessed the writing is no longer fun…it’s work and work sucks.

I do a number of things when I realize that I am obsessing about a story. I can usually tell when I am over thinking it all when I begin to go over and over the same line or scene rewriting it 50 or more times because it just-doesn’t-sound-right. I know that you all just want to finish the damn book but I have heard stories of writers who over think too much and end up not publishing a thing. At some point you have to more on and stop trying to polish a hole in the page.

So how do you stop over thinking? Here are some ideas…feel free to add more in the comments section.

  1. Put down the pen mam’ and step away from the desk – Breaks are essential to any good writing. While it feels like we could just sit and do it forever, we really shouldn’t. Take a break.
  2. Put it away for a while – Put that manuscript on a time out. Stick it in a drawer for a predetermined amount of time and then come back to it. Sometimes, like good wine – it just needs to breathe.
  3. Read to a friend – This often works for me. I grab the part I am stuck on and run to my favorite reader and biggest fan…my spouse. Trust me, if it sounds like bird poop, they will tell me.
  4. Retype the previous 4 pages – I have tried this and if actually worked. Sometimes as writers we simply loose our rhythm. Rewriting will run us right up to where we are stuck and hopefully over the hump.
  5. Put a bullet in it – I know that this is extreme but I have been working on manuscripts that just were never going to get finished because I have either lost my passion for the story or it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s okay once in a while to just file a manuscript in the round file marked crap-I-shouldn’t-have-started-in-the-first-place.

These are just a few suggestions; I know that other writers also have ideas. The thing to remember is that every writer has this problem. The thing to figure out is are you going to let it stop you all together or can you simply move on?

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on December 23, 2022 in Healthy Writers, Writing, Writing Tools


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A Book is A Book is A Book


I have a Kindle. I also have an extensive library of good old fashioned paper books. I also own a Galaxy 10.1 that has the Kindle software on it and I have occasionally, while waiting in the car for my spouse to finish shopping, read on my smartphone. I like to read but more importantly, I don’t care what format a book is in….it’s still a book.

These days there is a war raging between those who embrace technology and those who think that we are killing off the original book formats, hardback and paper back. Those who embrace technology will say things like;

·         I can now read wherever I want.

  • ·         I can take my entire library with me at all times.
  • ·         I can easily order a book and wham, there it is. No waiting for delivery.
  • ·         I’m saving trees by reading on tech.

Those who fight for the original book format say things like;

  • ·         The tech will eventually cost you your eyesight.
  • ·         We are losing the “art” of reading.
  • ·         You aren’t a “real” reader if you use tech.
  • ·         The death of books (in the paper format) means the death of the book altogether.

There are other things they say too but the bottom line is that this is a subject that has clearly divided readers and writers and it shouldn’t have. Here are my thoughts….a book is a book no matter what format it is in. I kind of side with Margaret Atwood on this one and say, hey however folks want to read, yeah…they are reading. What does it matter of someone orders my book in paperback or in a digital format? They are still buying my book, right?

I remember when I was young hearing the same argument between hard covers and paper backs. Book snobs thought you should only own hard covers while the rest of us understood the value of both buying paper back (cheaper) and the fact that the size of the book made it easier to take with. Now…some 30 years later, that argument is back only now it is digital vs paper book and you know what? It’s the same argument but with two different formats and the bottom line is still the same…at least readers are reading.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Get the Hell Out of your Chair!

37757ceaa70e5ed2fe8b6c469c7053acHoly crap is it cold outside. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we never see temps lower than 15 degrees and so far this weekend we have barely seen over that. Blame it on Global Warming or Mother Nature PMSing, it don’t matter, it’s still cold.

Yesterday I tried to get some writing done but it was just too darn cold in my office. I have a small space heater but even that wasn’t working so I was faced with the question, “how do I write without having to sit at my desk?” The answer became clear when my spouse turned on the fireplace…I simply moved to the living room.

Many of us get pin-holed into the concept that we can only write at our desk and that is simply not true. We live in the age of laptops and tablets which allow us to get out of the box so to speak. I have both a laptop and a tablet but even I tend to fell less motivated to write once I am away from my desk. I think the reason for this is that we have gotten use to the desk as a part of our writing; we have to get over that.

Writing, thank goodness, can be done anywhere. You can write in the bathroom if you prefer (although the kids might get irritated) or you can grab your tablet and leave the house. The beauty of all this technology is that it can be a bit freeing. What you will need to do, however, is shove past the notion that you need that desk.

I challenge you this week to embrace the concept of writing elsewhere. Take your laptop or your tablet and find a quiet spot in another room. I like to write in front of the fireplace because it is warm but I can pick up and write anywhere; you can too. So grab those mobile devices and get out of your office chair! Trust me; it’s warmer by the fire right now.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on December 8, 2022 in Writing


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How do You Know You Are a Writer……


When did you know that you were a writer? This is a question I get within the first few minutes of every book reading I have ever done. It is an interesting question albeit sort of annoying after the 100th time. I use to wonder why people feel they need to know the answer to that question. I mean if they are asking are they just being nosey or are they thinking that they too may still yet have some moment of clarity where they can declare that they too are a writer and want to know what that moment might look like? Whatever the reason, it has made me look in the mirror once or twice and ask myself.

I don’t remember a moment when I realized that I was a writer. I can honestly say that I have just always been one. I have never desired to be anything else nor have I apparently been capable of being anything else. I tried bartending, retail sales, radio hosting; I even did a stint at McDonalds as a French fry cook  in my early years (got fired from that one for stopping a robbery with hot French fries but that’s a story for another time)but I have always come back home to the pen and paper.

I think that many things can make you a writer but I also believe that if you are a writer, you know in your heart that you are a writer. I have always been long-winded when it comes to story-telling. I have never been able to leave a “simple” note for anyone; mine are always at least a half a page….”went to the store and while I’m gone I’m going to…” I read books like most people eat Lay’s Potato Chips…never just one but the whole book shelf.

So my answer to the question of when is simply always and I believe that’s a great answer because it is true. If you are a writer and you find yourself in front of a curious non-writer asking that same question answer honestly; if you have just always been, then say so. I have found over the years that many people who ask that question are in awe of what you do and that’s okay, trust me, your writing ego needs it; that validation wrapped in admiration for the craft. I believe that many of us are born to do what we do and despite those who insist that it can be taught one need only look at the successful writers out there and what they say in their interviews about why they do what they do…almost every one of them answer the same way, “I can’t not write” which is simply writer code for, “I’ve just always been a writer”.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on October 16, 2022 in Inspiration, Writing


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It’s Okay for Your Kids to Be Proud of You

1006333_675391002488224_2147200493_nI have four children and tons of “adopted” children. As those of you with teenaged kids know, they bring all of their friends home and, if you are a cool parent, they all start calling you mom and dad. I don’t mind the pasture of children we have…I like kids, and these particular kids are actually proud of what I do for a living and I have to tell you, that is kind of cool.

Let me be clear here and say that it has not always been smooth sailing in terms of my kids’ acceptance of what I do. When they were young all they knew was that I was home all the time and that meant easy access. I had to train them to leave me be until 5 p.m. Now that they are older we still have some of those issues but it is easier for them to understand. Before they were, “yeah one of my parents is a writer, it’s okay” but now that they are older I have become somewhat of a novelty within their circles of friends. Their response to what I do is now quite hilarious, and it’s gotten me in trouble a few times. For instance, all of my boys (there are 3) have gone to school on career day and told their fellow classmates and horrified teachers that their parent “kills people for a living”. I have been to the office a few times over that.

Their reactions to my writing is definitely determined by their age.

Aaron (30) –  “My mom is a writer and I did my college dissertation on her first novel. The dissertation was about how twisted the human mind is.”

Ryan (25) – “Yeah my mom is a writer….so….

Jordan (20) – “My mom is a writer and it is the coolest thing every. She once killed off a guy who was bullying me in high school. Not actually “killed” but in her book “killed”.

Jessa (13) – “Whatever”

Although they have these reactions outwardly, each of them have come to me and told me how proud they are and the youngest, Jessa, is not writing her own “book”….how cool is that? So if you think that as a parent you are failing your kid by spending so much time at the typewriter remember that they are watching you at all times and that is a good thing. What my kids see is that I work twice as hard as anyone else and I stick it out to the end; those are important lessons for a kid. If you have children and they are proud of your writing count yourself lucky and then draw them into your world. What better role model could they have than a writer?

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Beginning Writers 101 - 6 Things to be Aware of When Starting Out


Writing is hard. I know that many of you out there deal with others making less of what you do but let’s be honest…they are wrong…writing is hard. While I would love to tell all of you aspiring writers out there that it gets easier…it doesn’t. People will always make light of what you do and you will never get the credit you think you deserve and, in the end, you will stand mostly alone behind your work. It is the nature of the beast. No one can make it better and only time will tell if you have the tenacity to see it through.

The thing about writers is that we are writers hard or not. Even though it is one of the most thankless jobs running we will do it anyways despite the ups and downs because we can’t help ourselves. So since I can’t stop you young writers from jumping in I have come up with a few pearls of experience that may help a little. Veteran writers will nod their heads to each one of these because we all learn them somewhere down the line…and if you haven’t learned them yet, you will eventually.

1. Talent is nice but not necessarily necessary – Let’s be honest here, talent is great but there are more than a few writers out there who had a spark that they nurtured into a career.  In the end, to be a good writer requires hard work and dedication as well as that spark. Pure talent would be nice but the Universe doesn’t work that way. Persistence paves the way.

2. Write everyday – This is a biggie…you have to make the time to read and write every day no matter what. The sad thing is that it is incredibly easy to blow off writing time for life in general. We spend our lives with folks telling us that what we do isn’t all that important and so it’s easy to put it off….fight that. To hone the craft requires an everyday commitment.

3. Be honest with yourself – If there was a number 2 on the actual biggie list this would be it. As a writer you must be honest about your writing. It is a complete waste of time to work on stuff that isn’t working and to waste time on things that are all wrong. Commit to the work every day but be honest about where that work is headed. If it sucks, start again.

4. Everyone needs a neighborhood – It takes a village of sorts to write a book. Networking is important both during the process and afterwards. Build your reputation and make those connections with writers, publishers, editors, anyone who can help you spread the word. Sometimes the difference between being published and not is a simple handshake at a book signing.

5. You need a mentor – No one, and I mean no one, does it alone. We all need someone to aspire to, a mentor who will see our work through experienced eyes and help when things are going stupid. A good mentor will lend you their experience, expertise and support.

6. Read – I can’t stress this enough. Not reading as a writer is like being a chef who doesn’t eat…it’s pointless, how else will you know what “good” looks like? Read to study, read to compare, and most of all, read to be inspired!

These are just a few of the things I wish I had known in the beginning; it would have saved me time. Honestly there will always be some things that you have to learn by tripping over them but if those of us who have been around for a while can help you newbies, we should…it’s only right.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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