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Time Flies! Don’t Let Procrastination Cost You Money

September 7, 2014

The year has flow by and we are already into the month of September! We know you’re busy and we’ve been busy too – preparing for the Annual Florida Writer’s Conference. While you’ve been hammering away at novels, scripts, and poems, we’ve been getting ready our most comprehensive conference to date.

We have more workshops, more New York Times bestselling authors, and more opportunities to network than ever, and we can’t wait to see you in October.

The registration fee goes up on September 22, so if you want to save money, now’s the time to register for the conference.

Flyer Color2 for Group leaders (1)

“Stars of Florida Writers” Annual Conference

October 23-26

It’s only $355 for the entire weekend, which is from Friday to Sunday with ALL of your meals included. ($35 additional for Thursday evening workshops)

We’ve also got a special Hollywood theme going on so it’s your chance to walk down the metaphorical red carpet to the Awards Banquet for the Royal Palm on Saturday night.

You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to learn more about writing, editing, and publishing at this year’s conference. It’s also a chance to network and get your book title in front of more people. You can always add your book to our onsite bookstore as well!

Registration details can be found here.

Remember that you can always register for a single day if you cannot come for the entire weekend. However, if you do want to come for the whole weekend, be sure to get your registration in before September 22 for the chance to save a few dollars. Those dollars could be used toward an interview with the faculty member of your choice or to bid on something amazing at the Silent Auction.

We can’t wait to see you!

Am I a Writer?

September 5, 2014


Hello, again! I hope you’ve all been having a great week and have been getting some writing in! I have the next part of my series of posts on ways to save in the publishing/promoting process coming, but I wanted to share this with you in the meantime.
I love the message of this post. It reminds me of what Whoopie Goldberg said to one of the students in Sister Act: If you wake up every day thinking about singing, you are a singer.

Too often, we come across the idea that unless you are published by a big house and making lots of money off of your book, you’re not a “real” writer/author. I couldn’t disagree more. As long as the ideas are getting written down and you’re putting some time into your writing, you are a real writer. Hang in there and enjoy the process! Let it be about the love of it, not about the result.

Originally posted on R Scott Boyer:

Upon having an idea for a book or short story, one of the first questions many people ask themselves is: am I really a writer? They may have a plot, or perhaps a character begging to be brought to life, but they also often have a day job, a wife/husband, kids, mortgage, and in some cases, all of the above. The focus and commitment required to actually complete a novel can be overwhelming, prompting many people to ask themselves if they truly have what it takes.

'I figured if you liked the first paragraph I'd go ahead and finish the book.'Years ago when I was taking writing classes at UCLA Extension, I met many people pondering this question. In fact, every class was full of them. As I explored the depth of this topic on their behalf as well as my own, it occurred to me that most of us fell into one of two categories: (1) those that wrote whenever they had time…

View original 445 more words

Exercise Wednesday: Facing the limits of age

September 3, 2014

One of the worst parts of getting old is seeing what you used to be able to do, and then finding out that you just can’t do it any more. It’s a painful lesson, both for the person going through it and for those who see it happening.

Baseball fans of a certain age may remember Willie Mays misplaying fly balls in the 1973 World Series. Maybe you heard Casey Kasem’s last version of American Top 40 and were shocked by how his velvetty full voice had become wispy and hollow. Maybe there’s a singer you loved years ago and went to go see now, only to see a shell of the performer you once loved. Or maybe it’s a loved one who used to do specific things and doesn’t accept that they can’t any more.

Today, your character gets to have that experience–to fail at something that used to be easy. What’s it like? How do they feel? Do they accept their limitations or fight against it? Are they blind to the effects of time? How do the people around them react?

Time limit: 35 minutes

Three Tools for Writers I Use Every Day

September 1, 2014

Every day it seems there’s a new app or other technology being pushed as “essential” for writers. I’m attracted to shiny techie things, and I try just about anything new, although I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up will all the innovations.

After trying out the new stuff, I find I keep coming back to a short list of  tried and trues that make my writing life easier.

Here are the tech tools I use every day.

Toggl is a simple time tracker.

In a small app window on my computer’s desktop, I type in what I’m working on, start the timer, and stop it when I’m done. I can access the week’s times in the app, and all my data via my account on the web. I use it primarily to track and report time I’ve spent on projects for clients,  but it also keeps me honest with myself about how much time I’ve spent on my own creative writing.

Google Drive provides a private place to  backup and share files on the web.

When I put a file in the drive, it’s accessible via the web from any location from my  laptop, tablet, or phone. I can also create public folders on Google Drive to share work easily with others.

I used to use Dropbox, but since it offers only 2 GB of free storage, I kept running out of space. Google Drive gives me 15 GB, so I made the switch.

Evernote is a note-taking and scrapbook tool.

With Evernote, I can write and store notes, create reminders, save images and videos, capture ideas on the fly, and—with a quick tap to its browser add-on “Webclipper”clip and save articles and links as I browse the Internet. It’s easy to organize ideas and information for projects with Evernote’s folder and tag systems.

Everything  I store in Evernote is available to me online or offline  using any of my devices: my laptop, iPad, and iPhone.

All of these tools are free, although for a price they offer additional features. What free or low-cost tech tools do you use on a regular basis to make your writing life easier?

Mary Ann de StefanoMary Ann de Stefano is the editor of The Florida Writer (the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association) and MAD’s Monday Muse. She is also a writer, editor, and organizer of writing workshops with 30+ years experience in publishing and writing consulting. Besides working one-on-one with writers who are developing books, she designs author websites. Mary Ann does business at MAD about Words, named as a play on her initials and love for writing.

Join Bestselling Author Marie Bostwick for a Writing Workshop You Won’t Want to Miss

August 31, 2014

What would you say if someone offered you the chance to get advice and tips from a bestselling author on starting a novel or finishing the one you have in progress?

If you’re like most of us, the answer would be a resounding yes!

Interested? If so, you’re in luck because that’s just what internationally acclaimed author Marie Bostwick is offering in the upcoming workshop, Conception to Completion: A Bestselling Author’s Guide to Writing.

The all-day workshop will be held on October 23, 2014 at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary and Marie will cover everything you need to get your novel from start to finish.

If you’re just getting started or have a work in progress, this workshop might be just the thing to help you get going or finish that draft. You’ll gain a solid foundation in major story elements and advice on writing, including:

  • plot and character
  • outlining and revision
  • getting help and support
  • making time to write

For those who have already completed a novel, Marie has you covered too! She’ll go over what comes next once that final draft is done.

In addition to the benefit of learning the art and craft of writing from a pro, you’ll also be helping others by attending this workshop. Your registration fee is tax-deductible and helps support the Florida Writers Foundation, Inc.’s, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and enhances writing skills in children, youth, and adults. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Register Today!

Don’t miss this opportunity! Register online or download a registration form today.

About Marie

Marie Bostwick-2013-credit Lisa Sundell

Marie Bostwick is an NYT bestselling author and master of warm, compelling fiction. Marie’s novels, published by Kensington, include Apart at the Seams, released in April 2014. She is a Best Historical Fiction nominee by RT Book Reviews Reader’s Choice Award for her book, On Wings of the Morning. She also was nominated for Best Mainstream Novel in both 2012 and 2013 for Ties That Bind and Between Heaven and Texas, respectively, winning that award in 2012.apart at the seams

Marie is also a 2012 nominee for the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award in Mainstream Fiction and served as the Collections Person of Renown for Revisions: Stories of Starting Over: Florida Writers Association Collection #7.

Visit Marie’s website or find her on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

Better Late than Never

August 29, 2014
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What an apt title for this post considering today’s post is a bit late. I was just reading through my WordPress feed and this one really touched my heart, so I wanted to share it with you all.

This post is exactly what I am dealing with right now. I have been so focused on whatever gigs are coming my way, I have forgotten to write what I want to write. Just because. For that reason (except for one release that MUST be done tonight), I have been purposefully avoiding any work for the past day or two so I can get back in touch with my muse so to speak.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time browsing writing prompts on Pintrest and looking up myths/legends to write about. I have to say, it was an a fun experience and I am right now about to start writing up a couple of other blog posts.

I can’t wait. :) I am fired up and looking forward to seeing what comes out. That said… when was the last time you wrote something? Not because someone paid you to do it or anything. Just because a topic inspired you and you felt like it? If you haven’t done that in a while, I challenge you to take a day and just have some fun. Write a diary entry, a poem, a blog post. Whatever moves you. And do it for the joy of it.

Until next time!

Originally posted on The Christ-Directed Life:

It’s amazing how often we procrastinate on the things that impassion us. 

I write professionally as a social media manager and copywriter for my day job, but I also dabble in freelance journalism. However, writing for the sake of writing rarely crosses my mind anymore. Money motivates our choices more than we realize, a lesson I learn more or less every day. Not to say that I’m not grateful for what I do; three years of post-grad jobs not related to my field have made me incredibly grateful for the opportunities presented to me. However, I know that blogging, journaling online, whichever nomenclature that we assign it, provides a chance to, as Hemingway said, “sit at a typewriter (computer in this day and age), open up a vein and bleed.” 

A willingness to “bleed” or explore our minds and hearts is difficult. In our hyper-information age, we know that once…

View original 316 more words

Exercise Wednesday: Talking to your future self

August 27, 2014

Young Jennifer (Elizabeth Shue, right) meets old Jennifer (Elizabeth Shue, left).

In just about every form of storytelling that involves time travel, there’s a situation where a character winds up talking to their past selves. We even used that as a writing exercise at one point, imagining your character talking to a past version of themselves and dispensing wisdom.

Today, we flip it. Instead of writing from the point of view of the older, more mature, presumably wiser version of the character, we take it from the younger side.

The seventeen-year-old who isn’t quite as responsible as he should be and is about to get fired from what seems like a meaningless job. The early-twenties woman who’s dating a guy who isn’t good for her and is about to say yes to his off-handed marriage proposal. The parents who struggle to keep it together through the sleepless chaos of new parenthood, who are certain they are the worst parents ever. EVER! (Please let me sleep. Just a couple hours. Please? Can we put some Benadryl in the formula? Wanting to do that doesn’t make me a monster, does it?)

Pick a character–or even yourself–and write a scene in which future and past versions meet, but write it from the point of view of the younger version. Is he disdainful of his older version? Dude, you sold out.

Does she think her older version doesn’t understand what it’s like to be going to everyone else’s weddings when you don’t have a date?

Will the parents listen to their older selves and either cut themselves some slack or, if necessary, step up their game?

Figure it out and write it down.

Time limit: 30 minutes


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