make money writing

Writing Inspiration: What Do Your Nerves Tell You?



Gazing at me may make you feel calmer.

Yesterday I told you I had a kick-ass (one can only hope) post on letting go ready for you. Then I got distracted by the need to write about the Sopa Strike. And now here you are and you're reading a post on nerves.  What gives?  It makes more sense to write about nerves first and then letting go.

At least to me.

So, here's the story.  On Sunday, I wrote up the notes for Session Two of my Make Money Writing class.  I did a dry run. I was happy, I felt ready. 


Monday morning I awoke with a vague sense of nervousness and when I thought about it, I realized it was around the class.  Now, I always get a little nervous when I'm presenting a class.  And in this case, a few little nerves are good because they are about me wanting the class to be good, and full of useful information. 

But on this day it was more than just pre-class jitters.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized something was wrong.  So I went back to the notes.  Realized I had to rearrange one section.  And add another.  Did another dry run.  This time I felt peace.

 And the class was great.  (At least, I thought so.)

But this incident got me thinking how often nerves are a signal that something isn't working.  There are nerves and then there are nerves.  And we need to learn to pay attention to nerves.

The same thing happens in writing.  The feeling may not manifest exactly as nerves, but in an emotion closely related.  You may have a vague idea that something isn't right, but you don't know what.  Or perhaps it manifests as an inability to get to the page.

Pay Attention

And here's the deal: that feeling is always a signal that something is wrong.  Always.  It may be something as simple as needing to rearrange and add things, as with me.  Or it could be that the scene you are writing is taking place in the wrong location.  Or with the wrong people.  Maybe it is in the wrong order in your chronology.

So the moral of the story is to always, always, always pay attention to the feeling and try your best to identify what might be wrong.  (Good ways to do this include the usual suspects of meditation, free writing, playing hooky, flopping about dramatically on the couch–whatever works for you.) You'll save yourself tons of time in the long run if you pay attention to your nerves.

Has anything like this every happened to you?

A couple of points of interest:

1.  Jessica Baverstock, of Creativity's Workshop fame, is celebrating her 100th blog post today!  She's appeared in these pages regularly, so go pay her a visit to congratulate her.

2.  I have an interview over at Melissa Balmer's  Its about "Finding the Female Advocate's Voice," and its pretty cool.

Don't forget to sign up for a subscription to my bi-weekly newsletter, The Abundant Writer.  The form is to the right, and you get a free Ebook, too!

Photo by D.C.Atty, from Everystockphoto.  And check out the cool new feature on Typepad–captions, yay!


Writing Contest Week Three Winner Announced

Santa_noel_pere_269264_mIt is Friday, and time to announce the winner of the week three contest, which just so happens to be a spot in my Make Money Writing class which begins in January.

I've been trying to think of some brilliant ideas on winning to include in this post, but I fear that that word is now permanently linked to Charlie Sheen, and though he's dropped out of his news since his meltdown earlier this year, he really doesn't need more publicity.

My only thought on this contest is that I wish every single one of you who entered could win!  I do so appreciate each and every one of my readers.  But I ran the names of everyone who entered in the handy dandy random name selector and it came up with….

Are you ready?

Sandra Pawula from Always Well Within.

This makes me happy because Sandra said she really, really wanted to win!

Sandra, email me and I'll send you info about the class.

And, guys?  I've got a Merry Christmas email planned for tomorrow, so come on back by if you get a chance.  And don't forget that on Monday you'll have one last chance to win a December prize!


December Writing Contest Week Three

Everystockphoto_176620_mI like to call my little December promotion a writing contest, because, after all, you do have to write a comment to win.  But even if you wrote the crappiest comment in the world and the random selector chose you, I would give you the present.  So don't worry about composing the Great American Novel or anything.

Since this is week three, let's do a little recap.

The prize for week one was a Moleskine journal, and the winner was Nicole Wolverton.  (Nicole, I'm still waiting for your mailing address.)

The prize for week two was a set of disposable fountain pens, and the winner was Zan Marie Steadman (who should win prizes all the time simply on the basis of her name). CORRECTION: I have just been informed (see first comment) that it is Zan Marie Steadham, not Steadman.  Sorry, Zan Marie!  I still love your name!

There are two weeks left, but since this week is the week before Christmas (just a little reminder for you, in case you had forgotten), I'm giving away the big one, the Grand Kahuna, the mother of all prizes.


It is a free pass to my Make Money Writing class.  I'm not going to spend a lot of time hyping the class here, because this is about you guys, my wonderful readers, not me.  But you can read more about it on the class page, and let me just say this: people ask me all the time how to make money writing and this is my answer.

And by the way, should you be a non-writing civilian who has chanced upon this page, I'm feeling generous and gracious today, so if you leave a comment you can enter on behalf of a loved one.  Okay? Okay. 

Here's the question you need to answer in order to win (and remember, you're not being judged): If you could be guaranteed that anything you wrote made money, what would you choose to write?

I'll post the winner on Friday, Dec. 23rd, two days before Christmas, according to my calendar.  Don't thank me for the reminder, I like to be helpful.

***Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, and get your free copy of my ebook on creating a vision board for your book.  The form is to the right of this post.

The photo is of you writing and making money at it, and its by Zion, from Everystockphoto.

Where Do Writing Ideas Come From?

Scfiasco_bunny_bunnies_745196_hLike Oprah, here are three things I know for sure:

1.  Energy breeds energy

2.  The more you write, the easier it gets.

3.  Ideas generate ideas

About that last truism, I have this theory that ideas actually breed like rabbits.  If you note ideas in your journal, or corral them in an idea book, they find each other, mate, and multiply.  One idea sires a whole new generation of them.  And before you know it, you're overwhelmed with ideas.  Then the lovely problem you have is how to not fall prey to bright shiny object syndrome. ("I think I'm going to write this short story instead of the novel I'm working on.  No wait, I want to start working on that mystery.  Oh no, I've got it, I'll write my memoir.")

Try it.  Make an effort to write down ideas and see if they don't multiply.  It is quite magical, actually.

But, you may ask, where do ideas come from in the first place?  Good question, because writers and creative types need a constant stream of them.  Without fresh ideas and energy for your work, you'll eventually stagnate and quit creating.  So ideas are the lifeblood of our creative practice.  How to get them?  Where do they come from?

In my mind, ideas flow from:

1. Observation

Never underestimate the power of observation.  Simply writing down something you saw (A man walking down the street wearing red shoes) can spark an idea  One of the best ways to begin cultivating ideas is just to write stuff down.  Doesn't have to be original or unique, you simply need to make a note of it.  Because when you write down several observations, the rabbit breeding thing happens, and before you know it you simple little observations have combined into full-blown ideas.  Voila!

2. Speculation

The other wonderful thing that observation sparks is speculation.  (Why is that man wearing red shoes?   Doesn't he realize they are ugly?)  You can actually force ideas using speculation.  And, the thing is, at first when you're working on cultivating ideas, the process feels a bit forced.  But soon the ideas are coming so quickly that you realize they were there all the time, waiting for you to start noticing them.

I'm thinking a lot about ideas these days because I'm going to be teaching an online class about them in December.  Actually, ideas are half the class.  The other half is about taking those ideas and making them tangible through goal-setting.  It's going to be held on two successive Tuesdays in December and you can access the class by phone from wherever you happen to find yourself.  I'm teaching it in December for a couple reasons.  The first is because I always find the dark days of December to be an intensely creative time for me and the second because holding it then will set you up for massive productivity around your writing in the new year.

So check out the class here.  (I'm also teaching a class called Make Money Writing in January.  And I'm offering a special discount for people who sign up for both.  Check that class out here.)  I'm keeping the cost of both of these classes low, because I know a lot of people want and need this information.

And tell me: how do you cultivate ideas for writing?  Do you have any tips for keeping the flow of them coming?

Photo by SC Fiasco, via Everystockphoto.