Friday, December 29, 2006

Slay those dragons

The new year's coming, and there's no better time to break bad habits, right?

The problem is, we can't break a habit unless we know what motivates it. Sure, through sheer will power we can force ourselves to (exercise, meet our writing quota, insert good habit here) or tie our proverbial hands behind our backs to keep us from (procrastinating, telling ourselves we suck, insert bad habit here).

But will power only lasts so long without a deeper understanding. That's where a class like Margie Lawson's Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors can make the difference.

Margie Lawson is a counseling psychologist, so she knows all the tricks our heads like to play with us to avoid achieving our goals. She's a ton of fun as an instructor, but she also accepts no excuses. If you're really ready to change their work style, if you're frustrated with your inability to get things done, then I can't recommend a better class.

It's all done online through e-mails (which you can receive in a digest format to avoid deluging your inbox), so you don't need to "show up" at a certain time. You can fit it around your work schedule.

Here's a sample of topics covered in just one month:

  • Address the three fears that paralyze writers
  • Analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
  • Eradicate Faulty Thinking
  • Redirect resistance
  • Boost the impact of your Right Brain/Left Brain
  • Manage your moods
  • Duct-tape your Inner Critic
  • Consider the Stages of Change. Where are you? Why do you get stuck?
  • Stimulate creativity
  • Protect your priorities
  • Dig Deep--Think Bigger. Your books. Your writing career. Your joy.

You can register now at Writer University. At $25, it's a bargain that could change your life.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Xmas wrapup

Favorite gift: Ray Lewis jersey (and watching the Ravens crush the hated Steelers on Christmas Eve--at Heinz Field, no less, where they've never won before--and then having the Colts lose to the Houston Texans (snicker!) to give the Ravens the No. 2 seed in the AFC)
Least favorite gift: Viral gastroenteritis

Favorite moment: 2-year-old nephew playing with (loud) musical Thomas the Tank Engine* in the middle of church
Least favorite moment: See least favorite gift above

*the source of which may or may not have been the writer of this blog


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Xmas Pain

And here's a guy singing "Jingle Bell Rock" with no lyrics except the title words. Again, courtesy of The Sneeze (which you should all be reading daily so I won't have to tell you the funny parts. Which are all of them).

Remember, I bring you these gifts because I love you.

Word Watch 2006
Count: 226,974
Remaining: 23,026

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Proposal in!

The hard part, anyway.

The synopsis is "finished," which is to say I put together nine pages of what sort of seems like a coherent storyline. It's got more loose threads than my cats' scratching post, but it's only the first go-'round. I'll turn in the first chapter or two tomorrow, once I get them polished.

Just for yuks, I took a peek at last year's proposed outline of Voice of Crow. It's awful. I can't believe I actually thought of doing those horrible things to my characters. OK, I actually ended up doing different horrible things to them, but at least they were logical horrible things that were propelled by the characters themselves instead of the whim of a sadistic god(dess) hopped up on allergy medicine.

Anyway, I'd love to sit back and reward myself with some eggnog, but I've got to write 2,000 words before 8:30 Eastern Time, at which point you'll hear me say a certain phrase for the first and last time all year:

Go Bengals!

Word Watch 2006
Count: 226,034
Remaining: 23,966


Friday, December 15, 2006

Totem animal story

While Googling "deer totem meaning" (I'm putting a Deer Dude in Wings of Crow and wanted some ideas of what his magical powers might be), I found this lovely story by Lorna Tedder on how her elementary school-age daughter found her totem animal.

It's a really nice outline of how anyone can find their animal (my quiz notwithstanding), barring a trip to an actual practitioner of shamanism.

Word Watch 2006
Count: 224,098
Remaining: 25,902


Thursday, December 14, 2006

This must stop

OK, I have officially read everything on the Internet in an effort to avoid working on my proposal (due tomorrow!) for more than five minutes at a time. I even read an article in which Paris Hilton defends Britney Spears's "partying ethics."*

I am so desperately avoiding work that twice this week I have actually...exercised!

Not only that, but to fit the exercise machine in front of the television, I had to move the new coffee table out of the family room, where it was usefully situated next to the old coffee table, into the guest room closet, where its 12 under-the-surface compartments have allowed me to organize our sheets for the first time since we moved here in 2003.

An accomplishment, to be sure, but not what I get paid for.

Shower, then work.

*I think Partying Ethics 101 should be included in every university's mandatory curriculum. I also think the notion deserves its own blog post. I will endeavor to devise the core principles of such an ethical system for your holiday pleasure.


Word watch Day One

Word count 2006: 222,932
Words remaining: 27,068

Godspeed, little fingers. Godspeed.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The unholiest of nights

I've often thought that a virtuoso performance of Verdi's Requiem can make a believer out of an atheist.

Now, courtesy of The Sneeze, I've found a song that will do the opposite.

(There's a streaming audio button you can hit, but which is barely visible in Firefox. It's right above the words 'or download the mp3.')

Merry Freakin' Christmas.

UPDATE!! The antidote, courtesy of Xmas Xtravaganza. The angel's name is Antonique Smith. It's a Christmas miracle.

Another Update: The bad 'O Holy Night,' with zombies. (I actually find it funnier to hear the song without visuals, but Your Mileage May Vary.)

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


[T]his discontent is the basic trait that turns a person into a writer. To become a writer, patience and toil are not enough: we must first feel compelled to escape crowds, company, the stuff of ordinary, everyday life, and shut ourselves up in a room. We wish for patience and hope so that we can create a deep world in our writing. But the desire to shut oneself up in a room is what pushes us into action.
--Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, from his acceptance speech

After six weeks of putting myself "out there," promoting the new book, I'm ready to crawl back into my creative incubator and get some work done. First, the proposal for Wings of Crow, due Friday. Then a madcap two weeks in which I write ten pages a day of anything, anything at all, to make my 250K goal.

I might blog during that time, or maybe not. I haven't felt like it lately, as you can probably tell.

I'm tired of the world outside my head. Because I'm a lousy compartmentalizer, it's encroached too much upon my created worlds. My idle thoughts--while driving, showering, or housecleaning--have been turning to real life issues rather than those of my characters. When I hear a song on the radio, I hear it for me, not my protagonist. And that's just wrong.

So it's into the cocoon, without which there'd be no books and stories to share with you in the first place.

If we don't talk before then, Happy Holidays!

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Contest for "The Wild's Call"

My online serial short story, "The Wild's Call," is almost over. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? Free words!

There's a contest associated with it that I probably should have mentioned here sooner. It's a contest of skill, not chance, so you have to read the story and...

Name Darien's boat.

There are no limit to the number of entries per person. E-mail your suggestions to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com or use the contact form. The deadline is 11:59 PM EST, Thursday, December 7 (that's tomorrow!). I'll pick my favorite and announce it on Friday, December 8, when the last chapter posts.

The prize is a black onyx bear pocket totem. It comes with a velvet carrying bag and a card explaining the meaning of the stone and the animal.

After the story is over, it'll be archived somewhere on my publisher's site. I'll update all the links so you can still read it if you haven't yet.

Have fun!


Monday, December 04, 2006


As you might have guessed, I was out of town for several days and had no time to blog (I barely had time to download my e-mail and then for some reason couldn't send replies, so if you've written me, just hang on a bit and I'll get right back to you).

Friday night I went to Glen Burtnik's Xmas Xtravaganza concert in New Brunswick, NJ. It was awesome, one of the highlights being Spiraling's version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" to the tune of "Baba O'Reilly." Trust me, it works, and you can buy it off iTunes or Rhapsody (my preference should be obvious).

Think I'm getting a cold now, so 'scuse me if I take a day or two to recover from the trip.



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Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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