Tag Archive | writing life

April 28 – Arbor Day

Today is Arbor Day, International Astronomy Day, Great Poetry Reading Day, Kiss Your Mate Day and the birthday of Harper Lee, Terry Pratchett, Charles Cotton, Karl Kraus, Rowland Evans, Carolyn Cassady, Lois Duncan,Roberto Bolano, Ian Rankin, Jennifer Rardin

Tip: Start a spreadsheet or ledger sheet, one for each manuscript you have, and track who it is sent to, when, how much it cost you to send, and what the response was.

Thought: “I write plays for people who wouldn’t be seen dead in the theatre.” –  Barrie Keeffe

Teaser: Your character is a workaholic but is being forced to take some time off. What does s/he do for “fun” or to “relax”? Does s/he go somewhere? Or stay home and keep working in secret? What drives him or her?


Note: A very long time ago, in a town far, far away, my husband and I owned five acres of farmland in the middle of nowhere. We were both in love with trees and this land had none. Not even bushes. So we bought saplings and planted some. 5000+ some. Mostly pines, firs, and other evergreens, but we also planted fruit trees for a small orchard. I went back there a few years ago just to see the old place and wow. We grew a forest and it is beautiful. As I think of what we did there, I also think of Dr. Zeuss’s book, The Lorax and the best line ever: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, things won’t get better. No they will not.” Do something good for the planet today.

April 27: Tell a Story Day

Today is Babe Ruth Day, National Prime Rib Day, Take Your Daughter to Work, Tell a Story Day and the birthday of Mary WollstonecraftJessie Redmon FausetJules LemaitreLudwig BemelmansRuth GlickDana Milbank
Tip: Collect motivational statements about writing and perseverance. Use them when you’re having a bad day to keep yourself going. You can do this. You really can.
Thought: “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

Teaser: Finish this using sunshine, ice storm, valentine: The day I died…


Note: Today is “Tell a Story Day” – though I am a writer and a teller of stories, my dad was one of the best storytellers I ever knew. He could make you laugh, cry, wince… he made you feel like you were there. You were there during the wars he fought in – and though he always made the stories fun and interesting, you could tell from his face that not all memories were good. You were with him as he chipped stones as a ten year old to help make a road. You were there as he regaled you with stories of his life – a hard one – but he never complained, never stopped going. For me, my dad was the greatest storyteller ever. May you have someone like that in your life. They are priceless.

April 7 – National Walk to Work Day

popcornToday is Caramel Popcorn Day, National Beer Day, National Walk to Work Day (since I work from home, this is an easy one for me!),  No Housework Day (YAY!), World Health Day, and the birthday of: William Wordsworth, Gabriela Mistral, Donald Barthelme

Tip: Listen to songs – the lyrics often tell a story all by themselves. Look up lyrics, especially to old songs, and see how succinctly they tell a story.

Thought: “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but by perseverance.” – H. Jackson Brown.

Teaser: What is one thing from your past that would completely embarrass you in the eyes of your friends and/or family? Write that into a scene for your character.

April 6 – Sorry Charlie Day

Today is April 6. It is California Poppy Day,  National Tartan Day, New Beer’s Eve, Plan Your Epitaph Day, Sorry Charlie Day

Today is the birthday of: Merle Haggard (yes, the musician, but he was also a writer)

Tip: Love what you do. If you don’t enjoy writing, it will show. Yes, this job can be like any other job and get to you sometimes, but if you don’t like it at least some of the time, it will creep into your writing. Today is “Sorry Charlie Day” – a day to reflect on rejections and realize it happens to everyone. Yes, it hurts, but it’s also a way to make you stronger. Keep going even in the face of adversity. You can do this.

Thought: Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement – Robert Schuller

Teaser: When was the last time you laughed hard? Or cried harder? What happened to make that moment so emotional? Write this as a scene, focusing on the emotions you want your reader to feel.

April 5 – National Dandelion Day

Today is the birthday of: Robert Bloch, Hugo Claus,

Tip: Think about putting some classical music on to write by, especially Mozart. Because of the mathematical purity of his music, it is especially stimulating to the brain.

Thought: “Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand—a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods—or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.” – Willa Cather

Teaser: In China, Qingming is a day when people visit the graves of their ancestors. Take a trip to a cemetery – the older, the better – and note dates, ages, names epitaphs if any. gravestonePick one – or several – and come up with reasons why they died.

April Fool’s

April is the fourth month in the Gregorian Calendar. It was originally the second month of the Roman calendar and had twenty-nine days. When the calendar was changed to having January as the first month, some people continued to celebrate April as the beginning of the year and thus were called “fools”. This is also: National Humor Month
International Guitar Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Kite Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Welding Month, Records and Information Management Month, Stress Awareness Month,
Sexual Assault Awareness Month and today is National Tatting Day so go out there and tat something! 🙂
April 1 –
Today is the birthday of: Edgar Wallace, Edmond Rostand, Augusta Baker, Anne McCaffrey, Samuel Ray Delany

Tip: “There” is a placement word (I put the book over there). “They’re” is a contraction for “They are” (They are not going to the movies). “Their” is a possessive (It is their house).

Thought: “Enjoy the little things. One day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

Teaser: This is April Fool’s Day. In your current work in progress, would your character be the one playing the jokes – or be the butt of them? Why?

March 15 – Beware the Ides of March!

Today is the birthday of: Paul Heyse, Lawrence Sanders

Tip: Do you have a compelling opening sentence? One that draws the reader in and sets up the following action.

Thought: “Leave out the parts readers skip.” – Elmore Leonard.

Teaser: March 15, the Ides of March, is famous for being the day Julius Caesar was killed. Though it has been written about often, most famously by Shakespeare, write the assassination scene from Brutus’ point of view. Why did he do what he did? How does he feel about it?

March 14 – Pi day!

Today is the birthday of: Hank Ketcham, Pam Ayres, Kevin Williamson

Tip: Do you have compelling hooks at the ends of your chapters? Things that make your reader want to keep reading? Or do you put your characters to sleep—and thus your readers.

Thought: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Teaser: Today is “Pi” day (3.14 – a mathematical term but also today’s date.) What kind of pie would your character like to eat? Does s/he bake it from scratch? Or buy one and pass it off as his/her own?

Daily writing:

March 13

Today is the birthday of: L. Ron Hubbard, Giorgos Seferis, Robert Lanham

Tip: What is the action that sets off the rest of the action in your book? In a murder mystery, this would be the discovery of the body.

Thought: “Fiction writers are strange beasts. They are…observers first and foremost. Everything that happens around them is potential material for a story.” – Terry Brooks.

Teaser: You glance out your window late at night and see your neighbor digging a deep hole. You’ve always thought he was a strange character. Do you go out for a sneaky but closer look? Or do you do it overtly? What is he digging the hole for?

March 12

Today is the birthday of: Jack Kerouac, Edward Albee, Gabriele D’Annunzio

Tip: Make sure your characters have goals. They need something to strive for. What do they want? Why do they want it? Why can’t they have it? How do they get it? That’s your story.

Thought: “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.” – Ernest Hemingway

Teaser: There is a ghost haunting you. Why? What have you done that brings this spirit to you? Is it a vengeful spirit? Or protective? Or impish?