Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jim Carrey is My Hero

Hey all! What does my new book, Everything Matters, Nothing Matters have in common with Jim Carrey, one of Hollywood's top actors? (and one of my favorites!) Find out by reading a review in the May issue of PITTSBURGH Magazine, on newsstand now!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Need More Time to Write? Get Organized!

Several clients have said to me recently that they cannot seem to find time to write. There’s a lot I could say about that but for the moment, I’m going to suggest that one of obvious ways to find more time to write is to get organized. These five tips, when followed, will make you more productive.

1. Get in the Zone

Pick one task to accomplish and stick to it. Set a goal in your mind that your chosen project will be finished by a certain time (lunchtime, end of day, before next week). Zone out and tune into that project only.

Multi-tasking certainly has its value (and so does its opposite, multi-slacking, ha, ha) but when we split our attention among tasks, oftentimes none of them get done right. If you find yourself in a perpetual state of having projects started but not completed, then multi-tasking may be working against you. Choose one assignment and move it to completion. Trust me, you’ll feel good afterwards.

2. Get Out of Dodge

Once you commit to number 1, above, don't allow yourself to be interrupted by unnecessary phone calls, emails, texts, office visitors, etc. Screen calls, close your email inbox and tape a do-not-disturb sign on your office door, if necessary. (Just pretend you’re at a hotel.)

3. Get in the Habit

Once you’ve mastered 1 and 2, make them a habit. Use a trigger to remind you to do so. I set my writing time as a task in Microsoft Outlook. If you keep a timesheet, block out writing time just as you would for other work projects. I treat myself like a client—meaning that I honor my writing time as much as I do my billable client time.

4. Get Good Tools

Using the right tools on any job can increase productivity, and writing is no exception. Some of the latest software that offers templates for outlining and plotting a novel, e.g., could be just the ticket. Upgrading to a faster-running PC may be what you need. Even low-tech stuff, like having a supply of ink pens that actually work can be helpful. And using a comfortable, ergonomic chair is a must.

5. Get Inspired

Before you dive into your chosen project, take a few minutes to clear you mind and free your heart for the work ahead. Go for a quick walk, do a 15-minute meditation or gentle yoga stretches to get the blood flowing, or take a few minutes to pick some flowers from your garden to enliven your workspace.

So get organized, surround yourself with the proper tools, stop briefly and smell the roses . . . then get to work. After all (as I always say), writers are people who write!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009 BookExpo / Writer's Digest Writer's Conference

Write Better, Get Published
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City

I had the pleasure of attending BookExpo America last year in Los Angeles as a new author. What an exhilarating event . . .so many people who love books in one place (as many as 50,000 people)! My publisher, St. Lynn's Press, arranged for me to sign at BEA, and I was in great company along with Barbara Walters, Mark Victor Hansen, actress Marilu Henner and a slew of best-selling fiction authors.

The Writer's Digest Books Writer's Conference is in its seventh year at BEA. This one-day intensive conference has become one of the country's leading writing conferences, with motivating workshops where aspiring writers can learn how to hone their craft in all genres of writing, as well as receive information on getting published. Admission is $199. Register at

Perhaps best of all, it's being held this year in Manhattan, one of my fav places on earth. What's not to love about being in the Big Apple around a bunch of book lovers?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lack writing focus? Try these tips!

A question that I’m asked frequently by aspiring freelance writers is this: “How do I get and stay focused on my writing?” If you’re just starting a freelance writing career and need a bit of help in this regard, here are some tried-and-true tips.

1. Give yourself time to brainstorm and make a list of all the things you would like to write about. Then breeze through that list and narrow it down to your top areas of interest. Write on these two topics for awhile and set aside all else for the time being.

2. At the beginning of your week, sketch out a plan for the week and include only tasks that include your two chosen topics. Whatever you’ve decided to write about—whether molecular fusion or growing a patio garden, for example—focus on the kinds of articles you want to write. Studying various publications and get a feel for the kinds of articles they publish. Then, get busy and write some queries to a few of these markets.

3. Start small by making a few simple changes in your life that give your writing greater priority. If you're trying to develop a freelance career while working a full-time job, ease into it. Giving yourself just 30 minutes each day to write queries, research markets or polish an article draft will be enough to get you moving in a productive direction. It doesn't matter when you schedule those 30 minutes—it could be early morning or on your lunch hour. The important thing is to do it consistently.

4. Part of your weekly plan should include networking with other businesses and writers, even if it’s just through Facebook, blogging or joining a local writer’s group. Contact with other writers will keep your passion for writing alive, even when the pressures of work and family threaten your focus. Of course, networking can result in writing assignments, as well.

5. Have fun. Writing should be a joy not a chore. If you’ve tried all these things and are still unfocused, consider hiring a writing coach (me or someone else) to give you an assist in this area. It can make all the difference in your writing path spiraling up instead of out of control!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yes, You CAN Write a Book!

For writers in or near the Pittsburgh region, consider joining us for what is sure to be a informative and inspiring conference. Here's the low-down:

Yes You CAN Write a Book!
Tuesday, April 7, 9am to noon
Registration & Book Signings begin at 8:30am
The Sheraton Station Square
300 West Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Have you been thinking of writing a book, articles, blog or workbook for life or business? This inspiring workshop will get you started! Would you like to meet and get tips from women who have been there...done that?

Meet these dynamic local authors:
Jennifer Antkowiak
Gina Mazza Hillier
Eleanor Schano
Dr. Nancy Mramor
Mary Jo Rulnick
Carole Obley

The panel will be sharing their experiences and tips to help YOU! Come and rub elbows with the finest and most accomplished business women in the area. Meet the authors in person for book signings before and after the workshop.

Cost: $35 for Members and $39 for Non-Members
Register now ONLINE ( or call 412.928.3663