Keeping Butt In Chair

 

(graphic from)

I think all writers have gone through times when we’ve wondered, “What the hell am I doing? I can’t seem to string more than a few words together and even they don’t make much sense.”

Then there are days when all we need to do is sit down at the keyboard, take a breath and brilliance comes shooting out of our fingertips.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve had more of the former than the latter during my career. Continue Reading…

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Are you following your bliss?

I just had a birthday, and let’s just say I’m closer to entering retirement than I am to entering college. For readers who may be way younger than me, you might not “feel” what I’m going to write about (although one day you will).

I used to think I had all the time in the world to accomplish my goals. But this year it dawned on me that all those trite, old sayings are really true – time goes by quickly, it doesn’t last forever and at some point we all need to follow the Nike admonition to “Just Do It.”

Aren’t we all busy? Don’t we all sort of complain about what we “wish” we could do if we could just find the time (or the energy or the money or the courage). I know I do.

Life’s little wakeup calls 

It wasn’t just the birthday that caused these thoughts to bubble to the top of my head. I also lost my 82-year-old dad this past year, and when I started doing the math, I realized that his ripe old age is only about 25 years away for me, give or take a few.

Twenty five years. Sounds like a good chunk of time, but is it really? Anyone over 40 knows how quickly the years zoom by, all in little bite-sized increments — one year here, five years there, then suddenly 20 years or so have passed. Continue Reading…

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Book promotion 101 – relationships are key

 (Author Patti Murphy (L) talking with Amanda Turner, host of Radio Boise’s Writer’s Block show)

A lot of writers hate the idea of having to do self-promotion. Trying to pitch someone on why they should do a story on you and your book can sometimes feel uncomfortable. For me it conjures up the words of my grandmother, “No one likes a braggart. Just work hard, and people will notice.”

Sorry grandma, I have to disagree.

Media relations is all about making personal contacts and building relationships.

How do I know? Because I’ve been a public relations consultant for more than 30 years. People hire me to promote them, their businesses and their achievements because they aren’t sure how to do it and they are uncomfortable doing it themselves. It’s my job to get them in the news so they can tell their story, and its always easier to have someone else (your PR rep) talking about how great you are than to try and do it yourself. Continue Reading…

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25 things writers should stop doing

Today as I was jotting down thoughts for a New Year’s blog about some of the things we writers (me especially!) need to stop doing this year, and other things we might start trying to do, DING, DING, DING!, a friend forwarded to me this blog link from terribleminds.com, called “25 things writers should stop doing.” All I can say is Wowser!, this is what I was thinking except he says it in a much more, um, shall we say, persuasive way than I ever could.

“Stop the moping and whining,” “Stop playing it safe,” “Stop trying to control shit you can’t control,” “Stop being afraid.”

So, props to blog author Chuck Wendig for his great ideas. Note: there is profanity in the blog post. I think it gives it a bit of urgency…what do you think?

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13 things I learned in 2011

I don’t know about you, but 2011 has probably been the most difficult, bittersweet year I can recall. It was a year in which I excitedly published my first book, and then lost my dad a few months later. That sort of year, if you know what I mean.

There are a few quotations that come to my mind in describing such a year, “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” Or “A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.

But life, once it’s gone, there are no do-overs. There’s no backspace button. No deletes.

What I know for sure is that adversity and challenges suck, but they also lead to knowledge and insight and growth. So, I’d like to share some of the lessons that came to life for me in 2011. Continue Reading…

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A job loss doesn’t mean a loss of identity

“All the world is a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and entrances;
Each man in his time plays many parts.”

 ~ William Shakespeare
(photo source)

 

Often we see ourselves through the filter of our job titles. Our work becomes such a large part of our identities. And why shouldn’t it? We spend so much time working, making a living, getting ahead, and thinking about how we fit into our workplace that sometimes its difficult to separate who we are from what we do.

When we meet new people, one of the first things we ask each other, right after names, is “What do you do? Where do you work?” Continue Reading…

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I write, thanks to those who believed in me along the way

Those of us who become writers likely have a zillion people to whom we can be thankful. Teachers, parents, bosses, all the editors who have rejected our submissions – each of them have pushed us (or kicked us) along the way to follow our bliss and live our dream of being a writer.

So, on this Thanksgiving 2011, I sincerely thank:

- My dad Pat, a lifelong journalist, freelance writer, political commentator and all around great father for teaching me, talking to me and spending time encouraging my writing career. You’ve always been there when I had a question about grammar, journalism, interviewing someone, or simply figuring out the right approach to a story. Dad, you’ve been my mentor and friend and I owe so much of my writing career to you. Continue Reading…

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