Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Sky's the Limit This Month

Chinese food has given me a green light to rock this month. Too bad there's only 4 days left.I received a magical fortune two days ago. It informed me that my month was going to rock. There were only four days left to the month, so I was left wondering how I was going to make that happen over a weekend. Of course, the whole thing was silly. My month had already rocked.

Aside from a productive month writing, a wee bit of drawing, and being listed as one of 6 Awesome Adults with ADHD over at, I had an opportunity to attend the Superstars Writing Seminar and took it.

My life has been permanently enriched. My eyes have been opened. I was doing everything all wrong, yet, miraculously, I came away enthusiastic, not devastated.

Something about being in the presence of other would-be authors, as well as successful authors who share their experiences openly, was a heady mix for me. Almost euphoric.

Here are some highlights:
  • Kevin Anderson's 11 tips on successful writing was worth every cent I spent attending the seminar. If I had heard those tips last year, I might have finished my book by my birthday as I had planned.
  • Telling people in a forum to come up and talk to me was not desperate, as one author (perhaps jokingly) informed me, but brilliant. I met so many people because I did that.
  • Talking with strangers wasn't as painful as I had feared, though I don't know how the experience was for those on the receiving end.
  • Don't have lunch with Eric Flint and two authors from the Grantville Gazette if you have only read one of Eric's books. Your mind will swim during the discussions of wooden tanks and other anachronistic minutiae.
  • Rebecca Moesta has ADHD and writes books for a living, so there was proof for me that it could be done.
  • Sitting in the back of the room to make frequent exits to prevent the onset of ticking worked phenomenally well. It also helped offset ADHD boredom whenever I got fidgety.

Although I took something away from every guest author, Kevin's tips were truly the most impactive for me. They built on a discussion I had with Carol Lynch Williams a week before. Basically, because I edited while I wrote, and because I wrote without an outline, I was making more work for myself. I'd finish one chapter, come up with cool ideas in the next chapter that would demand revisions of the previous chapter, then write another new chapter that would demand revisions in the previous chapters, etc. As the chapters stacked up, revising would take longer. I was heading nowhere fast.

I knew this could not possibly be how books were written.

Kevin's tips, succinctly boiled down as bullet points for a presentation, took me to the next level. I needed to dare to be bad, I needed to separate editing and writing, and I needed to utilize whatever time I had available to me. I always tell my family at there is no Golden Moment. We must carve time out of our days to do the things we want, not wait for spare time to arrive. I needed to apply my own advice to writing.

Over the next few weeks I will go over the different things I learned, but for now I am fired up with focus. The conference didn't concentrate on the elements of craft. It honed in on the elements of productivity and application. It was perfect for a frazzled mind such as mine. If I can swing it, I will definitely attend the conference again next year in Las Vegas. In the meantime I may only have a day and a half left to my month, but the sky's the limit so I expect good things—for this month & beyond.

Follow me on Twitter for my ADHD escapades at @SplinteredMind or my novel writing project over at @DouglasCootey. And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well.