- 50 Tension Techniques
- About Kristi Holl
- De-Stressing the Writing Life
- More Writer’s First Aid
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- Writing Mysteries for Young People
- I’ve Moved! Come Join Me!
- How to Take Charge of Your Writing Life
- Three Reasons Your Writing Life Isn’t Working–and What To Do
- What’s Hindering You?
- Putting Your Writing First by Using Accountability
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February 21, 2011
(Bear with me–today is nothing but shameless self-promotion! The Table of Contents with sample chapters is at the bottom.)
If you liked
then you’ll love
You won’t actually find bandages or medicine in More Writer’s First Aid. But in 48 short chapters, you will find cures for dealing with disappointment and jealousy, writing despite physical and emotional pain, banishing procrastination once and for all, and combining writing with parenting (from infancy to adulthood.) “We’re all in this together” has been Kristi’s constant reminder to readers of her first book and her blog. (Read sample chapters below in the Contents.)
Kristi has had nearly 40 books published in 30 years of writing, taught writing for the Institute of Children’s Literature for more than 25 years, and has guided, mentored and taught hundreds of aspiring writers (both as an instructor and blogger for more than 55,000 subscribers.) “I started writing on an Iowa farm, very isolated, with no Internet and no other writers around,” Kristi says. “It’s not about how talented you are–and it’s not who you know–that gets you published. Most often the published writers are simply those writers who refused to quit. I can help you persevere until you publish.”
In addition to the uplifting encouragement you found in Kristi’s first book for writers, More Writer’s First Aid e-book includes:
- eight more articles (48 versus 40) to inspire you [See Contents below]
- a new “family matters” section on combining writing with parenting children from birth to adulthood
- advice on current time management issues like e-mail and information overload
- portability for today’s modern reader–keep it handy on your computer’s desktop
- live links within the chapters leading to referenced books, classes, websites, and authors
Only $12.95 (pdf) requires Adobe Acrobat
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE (immediate direct download)
“More Writer’s First Aid should be within easy reach on every writer’s desktop,” says published author Patricia Curtis Pfitsch. “Kristi’s insight and advice guide us around the subtle traps of our 21st century life that can derail even the most talented writer’s dreams.”
“Author Kristi Holl knows what counts and what works when it comes to ‘getting the writing done!’ She not only provides action steps but she is also sensitive to a writer’s emotions, family obligations, and personal challenges,” says Karen O’Connor. “Written in a conversational style as though she is sitting across from you over a cup of tea, Holl encourages all writers to honor themselves as artists and to live in a place of mindfulness–taking our lives and our writing one day at time. I’m inspired and know you will be too.”
Only $12.95 (pdf) requires Adobe Acrobat
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE (immediate direct download)
“Whether you’re a starting-out writer or well down the published road, you’ll find a ton of value in Kristi Holl’s book,” says published author Sherryl Clark. “Her wisdom, born of long experience as a writer, is like a guiding light. This is the book you need for good and bad writing days!”
I ENJOYING THE WRITING LIFE—EVERY DAY!
Honoring the Writing Process
Dealing with Disappointment
Striving for Contentment
Breaking the Procrastination Cycle
How Tight Is Your Bow?
Joining a Work in Progress
Writing through Physical Pain
Mentors or Tormentors?
Mindful or Multi-Tasker?
II WRITING HABITS THAT HELP YOU
Change: Making It Stick
Counting the Cost
Focus: the Power of Scheduling
Getting the Writing Done
Undo It Yourself
Timing is Everything
E-mail: the Hidden Enemy
Finding Time: Pruning before Prioritizing
Procrastination: Have You Tried An Unschedule?
The Power of Writing Things Down
III A WRITER’S EMOTIONS
Write What You Love
Facing Your Creative Fears
Stages of Writing
Sorting Out the Voices
Conquering the Green-Eyed Monster
Give Up Your Perpetual Maybe
Dealing with Rejections and Setbacks
Writing after Major Losses
Get Your Fear Shot!
IV FAMILY MATTERS
Set Boundaries to Write More
Creativity and Noise: Do They Mix?
Hats Off to Mom Writers
Writers: Always Working
Busy—or Crazy Busy?
Writing through Relationship Struggles
Combining Babies, Bylines and School-Age Children
Writing during the Teen and Early Adult Years
Running on Parallel Tracks
Cherish the Commonplace
October 1, 2010
Two weeks ago I was supposed to meet with six writers at an SCBWI conference to discuss manuscripts I had critiqued for them. I was unable to be at the conference, so I mailed their manuscripts and did phone conferences instead.
(FYI: I missed the conference for the best of reasons. My middle daughter flew home that weekend from her third long deployment in Iraq. We went to Phoenix to meet her plane. Hallelujah!)
The Things We Say!
Anyway, listening to the writers during the conference calls, I was struck vividly by the differences in their words. Some sounded like they could write “Murphy’s Laws for Writers”: everything was negative, they just “knew” that they wouldn’t sell anything anymore, “everyone” said you couldn’t publish unless you were a “big name,” etc.
On the other hand, about half were the most positive people I’d talked to in a long time. They knew the economy was challenging right now, but they were buckling down, writing more, and finding unusual markets for their work. They found silver linings for the dark clouds, sounded a lot happier, and were sure enjoying their writing more.
Surprisingly, each group had newbie writers AND much published writers. That wasn’t a factor in the attitudes. Then what was?
Power Thoughts for Writers
I think I found the answer when I started reading Joyce Meyer’s new book called Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind. (I highly recommend it.) I’ve done many past posts on retraining your brain, but I’m going to push it again. What we allow ourselves to think and believe is critical.
On Wednesday I asked you to leave a note about how the 100-Day Challenge was coming along, and I got some great responses (see below). I think they’re terrific examples of changing the thoughts-feelings-behavior cycle. Thanks to each of you who left a comment and shared great ideas.
Writers Who Are Changing
These comments came in Wednesday–you’ll find them encouraging in your “bit by bit” changes. I know I did! Each one had to start by changing her thinking.
- Deanna: I’m on the way. Determined my goals, strengths, and obstacles. Created a timeline worksheet and a master task list. Posted the “Seven Essential Habits” near my desk. Completed a couple of twenty-minute tasks. Now to stick with it! [Wow! KH]
- Ally M: Here’s my update. I’ve got a long list and my large goals/projects aren’t too clear but my list is getting done. I’ve only listed items which take no more than 30 minutes to do. If I do find a listed item that takes longer I cross it off my list & break it down into smaller pieces. I plan to work on my goals/projects this weekend. [I had to do the same "second breakdown" myself. KH]
- Vijaya: Yes, every day I am able to work on my novel. I missed a couple of days because I was mucho sick, but that’s life. At least the kids and pets were taken care of and they are far more important than any novel. [Very true! KH]
- Andrea: I’ve been keeping a daily record for my fifteen minutes of daily writing. The first day I wrote “Wrote, time not measured, too many interruptions from children,” can you hear my lack of enthusiasm? As I continued to give it my best shot I wrote things like ‘I think I wrote,’ to ‘starting to adjust to writing in a busy and loud environment,’ to ‘getting lots done.’ [What a change in your thought patterns! Great! KH] The comment I recorded that really showed progress was the one that said, “Wow. Not so much writers block, everything is advancing faster, the quality and quantity is remarkable and I can focus while my children make the legs of my chair a May-pole!” I have not lost anything from sparing fifteen minutes (or so) each day, I have gained – in fact, I gained more than I thought I ever would! [Fantastic! KH]
- Yvette: “Every day can be a successful day.” Yeah. I’m totally going to print that out in three-inch letters and wallpaper the wall beside my desk with that phrase! (Can’t hurt for the rest of my family to be reminded either!) As far as my challenge, if I can finish a scene, I’m successful. If I keep going and finish a *chapter*, I’m golden! So far, so good. [Wallpaper the wall--love it! KH]
- Laura: So far I’m loving “chunking down” in the 100-day challenge. Instead of putting big tasks on my to-do list like “research X” or “edit Y” I write “research X for 30 minutes”. I now feel like I’ve accomplished my goal for the day because I’m not writing down a big goal that takes a lot of time to complete as a daily task. [Yes! We have ways of discouraging ourselves--this turns it all around! KH]
- Trudy: Kristi, how do you make short enough tasks to do in only 20 minutes? I struggle with this, because I’m too much of a perfectionist, I guess. I like to complete a task, not feel like I’ve left it undone. [I struggle with this too! KH] For example, my task was to find a market for a particular devotion. By the time I check out the market guide, find some fits, look online for more information, and rule out some markets, I was well over the time and able to add to my task list. Do I need to narrow down my tasks even more or am I just slow? [You're not any slower than I am. Yesterday finding two markets for a book manuscript and addressing envelopes, etc. took me two hours-or six of my 20-min slots. I guess we could give ourselves a BIG REWARD on those days! Want to do chocolate and a chick flick with me? KH]
- PatriciaW: 100-Day Challenge – Wrote 1200 words last night. Planned for 20 min; wrote for 45. Tends to happen that way. But I’m planning on the 20 min, 5 nights a week to finish my wip by January. Then multiple 20 min intervals on weekends to work on freelance stuff. I’m enjoying this part. A little hung up on the “hidden assets” though. [Great progress, Patricia! Sometimes it takes a writer friend to know your hidden assets, I've found. KH]
- Beth Mac: That’s so true. Large is overwhelming. Small consistencies are better. I love SparkPeople, by the way. Thanks to their bite-sized exercises on Youtube, my jeans now fit much better after two months of small consistencies. A war is won in the small battles, I think. [Beth, truer words were never spoken! KH]
THANK YOU to all who shared by the time I wrote this post. I love surrounding myself with such positive, encouraging writers!
August 2, 2010
You meet an editor or agent in an elevator or the banquet line. They turn to you and ask, “What’s your book about? Why are you the person to write it?”
Which One Is You?
Do you give a confident 30-second talk summarizing your book’s main points and why you’re the only one who could do the project justice?
Do you say, “You know, that’s a good question. I’m a lousy writer! Who do I think I am anyway, masquerading as a writer? It’s a dumb book idea.”
Of course you don’t spout that second example!
And yet, many writers do that very thing to themselves every day. That evil little voice in your head or over your shoulder whispers, “That’s a stupid idea” or “That’s been done before–and a lot better” or “You’re never going to finish that story.” And like agreeable little twits, we nod and tell ourselves, “This is a dumb idea. I’m never going to finish this. This concept was done last year–and a whole lot better!”
Then, discouraged for another day, we head for the ice cream.
Pitch It to Yourself!
The name “elevator pitch” means a short speech you have ready for that opportune moment when you can market yourself or your book idea to someone that might buy it. Every day–even many times a day–you need to pitch your writing project and yourself TO YOURSELF.
How are you going to sell your story idea to yourself? What elevator pitch can you give to yourself when you’re surprised, not by an agent or editor in the elevator, but by your own nagging questions?
- When “voice in the head” says, “This is just too hard!”
- You say, “I have done many hard things in my life. I can do one more difficult thing.”
- When “voice in the head” says, “There’s too much going on in your life for you to write now”
- You say, “Writing is at the top of my To-Do list because it’s important!”
- When “voice in the head” says, “Editors and agents scare me!”
- You say, “Even when I feel anxious, I can act like a professional.”
- When “voice in the head” says, “I can’t write because I can’t tolerate rejections”
- You say, “NOT writing is the only rejection that matters. It’s a rejection of my dreams. I can write a little each day.”
Write Your Own Now
Take a few moments today and write at least three elevator pitches of your own, counter-acting the voice in your head. Write the pitches on cards and tape them to your computer. When the “voice” badgers you the next time, read one of your cards OUT LOUD. Several times.
And if you’re feeling very brave, add an elevator pitch in the comments section (up to three pitches) that you can begin pitching to yourself today!
July 9, 2010
Two of my daughters were in Italy this spring, and (knowing I was a fan of the movie “While You Were Sleeping”), they bought me a snow globe from Florence, Italy.
It sits on my writing desk, and when I’m mulling something over, I shake it up and watch it snow all over Florence Cathedral. Little did I know it would become a catalyst to help me settle down and write.
Get in Your Write Mind
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have trouble settling down at my desk to work. My thoughts resemble corn popping. Should I work on this part of the revision or that? Should I do a bit more research on the setting or just get to the writing? Should I blog or am I just trying to avoid writing?
As Maisel says, “When you shake up a snow globe, first the snow swirls chaotically, then it begins to settle nicely, and then all is quiet again.”
He contends that many of us use those “wrong mind” thoughts to stir ourselves up, the equivalent of shaking the snow globe. Our wrong negative thoughts create inner chaos and worry. We can’t sit still then and get to work.
He suggested using a snow globe (or just the image of one) to give yourself a visual way to picture the chaos, then the settling, and then the quiet. I tried it while repeating some of my own “write mind” positive comments. As the snow settled, so did my thoughts.
Make the Substitution
When you’re churning your mind (the snow globe shaking stage), you’re telling yourself things like “My mind is so noisy that I can’t think straight” and “I must be ADHD because my mind won’t focus more than thirty seconds” or “I’m a mental wreck, so how can I write?”
Instead, tell yourself that you can quiet your mind. You can focus. You can think just fine. Use the “Write Mind” thoughts in Maisel’s little book (choose from 299 of them!) Or make up your own. (I personally use a lot of Scripture.)
There’s no need to continue to suffer from a chaotic mind. You might be all shook up right now, but sit tight–and watch your mind settle along with the snow. Take charge of your own thinking–it will change your life.
How about you? Do you have any visuals you use to settle down and get to work? I love hearing about other writers’ rituals to get started. Share if you have one that works for you!