Tag Archives: Motivation

Writing is my Oxygen…

Easiest blog EVAH to pen.

Why do I write? I could wax prolific for 500 words here, but there is no need to. As the title of my website tells you, writing is my oxygen.  Writing breaths life into my existence. A day without writing for me is a day without breathing. If you don’t breath, you die. Simple enough.

Now excuse me, please, because I need to go…..breathe!

You might want to stop by the other authors in this blog hop to see why writing is so important to them.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, Romance, Strong Women

“After a hurricane, comes a rainbow”

I put the title in quotes because it’s from the Katy Perry song Firework.    The reason I’m quoting that song today is because I need to say something about what’s been going on in the UK for the past 2 weeks.

While I won’t address the atrocities–they’ve been given enough coverage by the mainstream media–I do want to honor the courage, strength, and fortitude of the British people. A people, so kind, so good hearted, so friendly, that their uniformed police officers don’t even carry guns to police the populous.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit London and the UK several times with my daughter and husband. London itself is a metropolis filled with thousand-year-old English history but is a veritable Babel of languages and cultures all living, working, existing together. And every single Englishman I’ve met on my travels, no matter what their color, religion, or political party affiliation, has been polite, courteous, friendly, and–to use a British euphemism–Brilliant. One of my brothers-in-law is from the UK and he is just as kind, loving, and,  yes (again!) brilliant as his homeland mates.

During World War II when Britain was getting bombed and gassed by its enemies, Winston Churchill told his people “..never flinch, never weary, never despair.” That well known British stiff upper lip and backbone of steel has served the people of the UK well for generations and will continue to do so.

The outpouring of love for the people of Manchester and the victims, families, and citizens of the London attacks, from around the world is an example of what never giving into evil can accomplish; of remembering that love is unbreakable like a diamond whereas evil is like a deadly virus that must be isolated, treated, and eradicated for the good of all.

In a game of rock, paper, scissors, love is always the rock, the winner. Love crushes everything else – every evil, every terror, every atrocity. Love always wins.

Always.

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#Dreaming Big; #MFRWauthors #Blogchallenge

 

OMG! I could so totally take pages and pages and reams of paper to write this one!!! After debating with myself for the entire week about my choices, I narrowed it down to the following:

  1. Meet Matthew MacFadyen ( don’t laugh! Lovelovelove him!!!)
  2. Be a size 4 for the rest of my life no matter what I eat. ( Okay, you can laugh at this one because I don’t have the body frame to be a size 4!!)
  3. Star in a Broadway play ( again, laughter is okay because this is a PIPE dream!!! I can’t act, sing, or emote!)
  4. Make the NYT bestseller list, or the USA Bestseller list, or ANY FRIGGIN’ BOOK LIST!!!!
  5. Get a publishing contract for MMP and/or Hardcover.

After numerous hours of time wasting – er, I mean, debate (!) with myself, I figure 1-3 ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime. 4 is a slim-to-none possibility, especially since the NYTimes has recently changed and only lists HARDBACK books in their list, no more mass market one. ( DOPES! The NYT, that is)

So, number 5 is the winner-winner-chicken dinner!

I can actually SEE myself someday ( hopefully before I die!) getting a mass market paperback book deal, or even a hardcover deal. And I always think that if you can actually SEE your goal in your mind, give it weight, and do something about it, the dream will come true. In fact, because I give such weight to physical things, I actually make book boxes for my book giveaways. Here’s the latest one for Cooking With Kandy:

 

As you can see, it’s Hardback sized, has my picture on the back “cover” and it looks like a book!

There’s an old saying that “seeing is believing.” I’d rather say, “Seeing it makes it happen.”

So that’s my biggest dream!!!

And because this is a blog hop, here are some other authors who are dreaming big. Stop by their blogs today and find out all about they’re big dreams.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Foodie, Friends, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

#Music to write by…or not. #MFRWauthors

badge-blog-challenge-updated

The topic of this blog is supposed to be the music we, as writers, listen to when we are in the creative mood. I have to be honest about this – I need total silence when I’m in writing mode. If I put on any music – even classical without words(!) music, I will invariably stop what I am doing just to listen. God forbid I put on pop music. Then all I will do is sing along. And believe me – no one wants to hear my rendition of Baby, Baby, or Stop in the Name of Love.

Insert full body shudders here at the thought!

Music is very distracting to me when I write, so I’m going to talk about the music I listen to as  I Prepare to Write.  That, at least, is something I do, do.

Once I have my characters thought out and the storyline plotted, I go back to the characters and insert little idiosyncrasies into their backstories, which include the kinds of books they read and the music they listen to and favor. For my newest release, COOKING WITH KANDY, my heroine Kandy Laine is a total pop/rock-diva listening gal.  If she is alone at home, or driving in her car, she will have Pat Benatar, Madonna, vintage Joan Jett, or the Heart sisters blasting away and she will be singing at the top of her lungs, not caring a whit she can’t carry a tune in a bag! These rock warrior women are her musical soul sistahs. In the privacy of her kitchen she will dance like no one’s looking, a wooden spoon as her microphone as she belts out Heartbreaker or I Love Rock and Roll to her heart’s content. When I was trolling around on Pinterest trying to find the perfect image of Kandy, these were the ladies I listened to in order to find Kandy’s essence.

My hero, Josh Keane is a little more, shall we say, sedate, in his musical tastes. He’s a Jazz and Blues man, pure and simple. He’s got Al Jarreau and Miles Davis CDs by the truckload in his car and when he’s doing corporate computer research, or simply kicking back in his condo with a glass of Glenlivet 21 after a hard day, he’s a man who likes the complex simplicity of a solitary horn or a raspy, tortured voice weaving a tale of love, loss, and redemption. As Josh’s soul and spirit came to me, I had my iTunes opened, listening to jazz and blues by the hour. Those discordant chords and slip-timed keys brought to my mind the man Josh was, through and through.

Listening to music is, like writing, an individualistic endeavor. Whether for inspiration, motivation, or clarification, music helps a writer dig deep down, straight to the heart and soul, to bring forth the crux and core of character and story.

Plus, singing at the top of your lungs like no one’s watching is pretty fun to do!

When I’m not listening to music, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

Stop by the other #MFRW authors participating in this 52 week hop and leave them some love.

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Blog Hoop Author:

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#2017…one month in

goals2

Goals are wonderful things. They give you intention, allow you to focus on an outcome, prepare you for the future. Goal setting is something, I feel, most people do between 12/31 and 1/1.  I know I do, and most of the people surrounding me do, as well.

Which brings me to my goals for 2017. We are only one month into the year but I’ve already had to shift and re-evaluate some of those goals. And again, I don’t think I’m the only one.

So, my goals were split into two categories: profession and personal.

goals

We’ll evaluate the professional ones first because there hasn’t been too much deviation there. Yet. For 2017 I set out to: write 3 books, post to my blog 3-4 times per week – every week – and increase my social media presence with new formats. Since no one can write 3 full-length ( greater than 75000 words) books in 31 days ( go ahead, I double dog dare you to!) I have to evaluate the other two. In the month of January, I posted 24 new blog pieces. That’s an average of 4-5 postings every week. Woot! More than I planned for, so YAY me so far. Second. Social Media. I joined TRIBERR and not only devised my own TRIBE, Strong Women. Loving Men, but followed several others, all linked to my Twitter account. I started January with 1,1oo followers ( I don’t even know 1100 people personally!) and by January 31 I had 1,347 followers. Yowza. Goal 2 already skyrocketing! On the professional side, I’m moving along at break-neck speed.

Okay, so now the personal. And I will tell you right away, break-neck speed does not describe how this is moving.

I always want/need/dream to lose weight. This year, I added going to the gym 5-6 times per week in order to help with that desire. Days January 1- 26, I went to the gym 19 times, which for me is monumental! Day 27 I pulled my back out and day 28 I got the flu. So. I didn’t exactly finish the month on an up-sweep. I did manage to go 19 of 31 times, so even though that’s not the 5-6 times per week ( which would have ended the month between 25 and 29 times) I didn’t do too too too terribly. But I also didn’t lose any weight, so yeah. There’s that.

goals3

So this puts us to February’s goals. The professional ones continue on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The personal ones have gotten a little kick, though, because I just found out I will be dancing in the Keene Dancing With The Stars fundraiser again this year and I’m doing a wicked fast and lively dance.

dwtsWeight loss is almost guaranteed ( yippie) but I also have to be in shape to manage not to have a heart attack while I’m hot footing it. So that means even if I’m tired, sick, infirm, or aching, I go to the gym 6 times per week. Bar none. No excuses. None. Niente.

I’ll check in at the end of the month and let you know if I’m alive…I mean…how I’m doing.

When I’m not setting/achieving/failing goals, you can usually find me here :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Project Graduation, Romance, Strong Women

The benefits of writing sprints….

On my last NaNoWriMo post,  I told you a dirty little secret about how I bribe myself to continue writing when I’m getting tired/bored/unfocused. I give myself little incentives –aka BRIBES — to keep going and then reward myself when I’m done.

Another way I’ve found to keep myself motivated and typing  when I really want to do something else —  like watch a Real Housewives marathon or dive into the new J.D. Robb book on my Kindle — is to do timed writing sprints.

They don’t have to be very long, 15- 30 minutes at the least and 60 at the most ( mainly because there is no way on God’s green earth I can sit still longer than 60 minutes without imploding!) During these timed writing sprints I write as much as I can, knowing that I may have to stop in the middle of a sentence or a thought when my cell phone signals the time is up. I can justify this by knowing that the next time I get set to write I am prepared with what I want to say, how I want to say it, and how to carry the scene/dialogue/plot onward. Plus, this process keeps my body fresh and my mind sharp.

Knowing that my time is limited I can stay focused and set on getting my thoughts down on the page and not worry about spelling, tense, format, etc. I can always go back and fix that later on. The most important thing is getting everything I want to say, SAID, ( or written, in this case) before the time runs out.

If you’re one of those enviable people who can sit for long stretches of time, composing on end, without a break, know first that I hate you, and second, you are blessed! I have too much energy to sit still for long periods, which is why I hate to fly long distances or drive anywhere for more than an  hour before I need a break to stand up, stretch, and realign my body and soul. Writing in timed sprints allows me to do what I have to do – namely, get the words on the page – but also lets my body have a respite from sitting for too long.

Truly, my a** is big enough  – I don’t need to expand it further it by spending hours on end on it.

SO, writing sprints: they’re a good tool to use for NaNoWriMo.

When I’ not sprinting you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+

And for a little writing motivation/inspiration, here you go…. from me to you.

nano24

You’re more than welcome!

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, NaNoWriMo, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Bribery…and why it works so well during NaNoWrimo

So this is a totally ridiculous, narcissistic blog post today. I’m going full honesty here and tell you how I stay motivated to write so much during the NANOWRIMO challenge. Be prepared…you may learn something that clouds your opinion of me forever.

Okay…Taking a huge, cleansing breath…Here goes.

I bribe myself to keep writing.

I know! How awful is that?? I should be writing because I want to, not because I’ll get a reward if I do. The 50,000+ word book SHOULD be the reward. The ONLY reward.

But no, it’s not.

I start off with a mountain of motivation each morning as I sit at my laptop, fingers flying across the keyboard, giving full vent to all the thoughts and scenes and dialogue that have been running through my brain for the previous 8 hours – the time I should be sleeping but, well,  you know. Chronic Insomnia. The brain that never shuts down. That’s me.

Anyhooooo….

I start off like a speeding train and about hour 2-3 I start to get a little fatigued, a little distracted, a little, well, bored. I know I have many more words to write – can feel them jumping out of my fingertips in their efforts to break free from my mind – but I start to wane. To keep myself glued to my chair ( figuratively, folks) I’ve developed little bribery rewards for my diligence. Here are just a few of the things I pamper myself with for my perseverance at the laptop:

  • If I get another 1000 words down, I’ll have a cup of tea and a Peppermint Patty
  • If I finish this chapter I’ll troll thru Amazon and look for new books to read
  • If I hit my 2500 minimum daily word count, I’ll schedule a facial this afternoon
  • If I can get this dialogue perfect in the next 20 minutes, I’ll go get lunch at Panera.
  • If I exceed my daily goal I’ll go shopping for makeup/skin care products/perfume, in other words, I’ll go to Sephora.

See how this works???

And isn’t it ridiculous? I didn’t raise my child to do what’s right in life by bribing her. I would  have never even thought of that. Her father and I taught her to do what is correct simply for the reward of getting it right. We didn’t say, “do you your homework and you’ll get a cookie. Get an A on a report and I’ll take you shopping.” We never even gave cash for good report cards. The end result – the good grades – was its own reward. None other was needed.

Why can’t I, then, as a fully formed and functioning adult, heed that wisdom?

See? I told you your opinion of me would get clouded.

Le sigh….

When I’m not ruminating on my hapless state or bribing myself to go on, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+

And if you are in need of it, here’s a little distracting motivation for you to peruse and ponder…nano23

you’re welcome………

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A question of personality….

My daughter – just for fun, mind you – performed a personality profile on me the other day. This is the link to that profile: http://www.personalitypage.com/ISFJ.html. Apparently, I am typed as THE NURTURER. I am introverted, use my five senses to coordinate through life, feel a great deal of emotion about things, and am judgmental.

Uh – BINGO!

Part of the profile states, “has a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They( nurturers) constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away.”

Uh – BINGO, again!

Hellooooo!  Doesn’t this description sound like a writer to you??

As a pysch major, I know the value I put in my character’s motivations, feelings, habits, and lifestyle decisions. Every action has a meaning, reason, and reaction and it’s my job to keep them all spinning in the air on the page so the reader is entertained and the characters are ultimately fulfilled. But just like people, every character has his/her own distinct personality. And again, it’s my job to know every facet of the character, every flaw, every quirk, every subtle nuance that makes them, well, them.

When I used to write mysteries, I did detailed character profiles, especially for my villains. I needed to know exactly why they were doing what they were doing – namely, murdering people. Since I am not a murderer myself ( thank you, Jesus!), I needed to know what goes into the psychological makeup of a person that would entice them and then compel them to kill another human being. I had to dissect their internal motivations, compulsions, and desires to find the one fatal piece of their internal makeup that could enable them to take a life.

At the time I read extensively on the “Killer’s Mind.” Book after book, page after page of forensic psychology on why killers kill. It was a dark time in my mind and I think it showed in the kind of work I was producing. When I found myself going to dark places in my head once too ofter, I stopped writing for while. Or in this case, about five years.

Then I started writing happy things again like romances. Believe me, my brain – and my family – thank me daily.

Even though I am no longer writing about people who have slunk low on the  humanity scale, I still need to  know who my characters are. So I still do mini psych profiles of them in order to get inside their heads while they are inside mine.

Okay, this is starting to sound like a Stephen King book premise….but I think you get my drift.

You can find many personality profiles on line if you like arm chair psych-pop, but you can also get insights from a few well known books as well. My three favs are:

Writer’s Guide to Character traits, by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.d

A Writer’s Guide to Characterization, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

45 Master Characters, also by Victoria Lynn Schmidt,

You will get a wealth of knowledge and insights into internal and external motivations for characters’ responses, as well as an ability to track and assign personality traits to your characters, if you are in need of that knowledge.

Oh, and my own personality profile – the one I listed at the top of this page – it was spot-on accurate. You might want to click around on the link and find out how you are characterized, and discover just what it is exactly that makes you tick.

Eyeopening is a good way to describe how I felt when I read mine through. Eyeopening and maybe just a tad frightening as well.

 

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue

What motivates you to keep writing?

NaNoWriMo2014 is over and I was lucky enough to reach the goal of 50,000 words early this year, due to a kick-ass and thorough plot line/outline and the ability to devote time to it every single day. I’m not done with the story yet, not by a yardstick. This challenge is a huge motivator for me to keep on writing after November 30th rolls around. The fact I’ve been able to keep the writing momentum up and sailing is a major reason why I’m so far along in my w.i.p.

With the holidays just next door, this ability to devote so much time every day to writing may – out of necessity – take a back seat. I don’t want it to, and I’m planning on it not, but life does intervene. It’s difficult for anyone, whether they’re writing, or training for a marathon, to keep the momentum at such a high level. So this got me to thinking: How do you stay motivated to keep on writing? What, exactly, motivates you to continue?

For me, the story and the characters won’t leave me alone until I commit them and their antics down on the page. This is the truth: I get woken up from a deep sleep many nights by storylines and characters intruding on my slumber. They want their stories known. Now, before you start to think I suffer from delusions or latent schizophrenia, hear me out.

When my mind rests ( as in sleep ) my characters come out to play in my dreams. They say exactly what they want to say, do exactly what they want to do, and basically tell me what I should be writing about them.

Okay. So maybe it does sound a little delusional and schizophrenic.

What can I say?

Anyway. These characters and their stories inspire me to put their lives down on paper.

And there are a lot of them hanging out in the backroom, tiny recesses of my mind. They will not leave me alone and get out of my head until they are locked into my laptop, so I have to give them a platform. This kind of sounds like a Stephen King plot line: irate characters torment fiction writer until they literally pop-out on the page!

You know…..

So, for me it’s the characters and their desires to be freed from the confines of my imagination.

What motivates you to keep writing? What will be your driving force to keep the momentum going  after NaNoWriMo 2014 is but a memory?

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Motivation

The dictionary definition of motivation is the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something (Merriam Webster).  Deb Dixon, in Goal, Motivation and Conflict, tells us “Motivation is the “why.” Why do characters want something? The motivation is what drives characters to achieve their goals.” She also tells us that motivation is both an internal and an external concept.

Your characters  must be motivated towards a goal. Otherwise, they will just be dancing around on the page, happy and carefree with no worries. How do you spell b-o-r-i-n-g? They need to be moving towards or working towards a goal and the reason for that goal is what is motivating them. I think this holds true in real life as well, not just simply in our fictional characters.

Some days, when the words are flowing through my mind faster than my typing fingers can keep up, I never question what motivates me to write. To me, writing is like breathing: I have to do it or I will surely die. My tag line for this blog is Writing is my oxygen. I mean that.

Then there are days where I can’t get my mind to tell my fingers what to type. My brain is clouded, cluttered, and non-cooperative. But even on those frustrating days when the words don’t come easily, I still never have to question my motivation to write. I just have to or I know I will die. Sounds melodramatic, doesn’t it? Yeah, that’s me:  Melodrama’s my middle name. You thought it was Mary, didn’t you? Na-uh! Margaret-Melodrama Jaeger.

If I were a character in a novel and Deb Dixon was analyzing my character motivation, it might go something like this: External motivation: needs to write in her blog everyday so she doesn’t die. Internal motivation: writing is the one thing that is mine and mine alone, that gives me unlimited pleasure, and makes me feel worthy of living. I need to write just like I need to breath.

I think I’ve got this one; no worries. Now, applying it my characters may be a tad more difficult. And it should be. Otherwise my characters will be – here’s that word again –  boring!

My quote from today is from ubersuccesful writer Barbara Kingsolver: “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is to live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.”

What I hope for is the ability and freedom to write until I take my last breath. Seems to me like my hope and my motivation are pretty much the same thing!

Any thoughts?

 

 

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