Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What are your get-to-work essentials?

Psychologists have come up with the term conditioning and apparently, having routines or objects that you associate with productivity can help condition your mind to get into work mode!
Here are some of my essentials:
Philosophy grace hand lotion
and a space to think.
(Also, not shown here, but fine pointed Sharpies, Post Its, and Rosebud lip gloss)

I love knowing other people's working processes.
What's on your desk? 

P.S. “Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.” 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

On balancing multiple projects

Let's be frank here. I abhor the sound of my alarm clock and by abhor, I mean, the first thought that comes to my head when I hear it is Must. Go. Back. To. Sleep.
But lately, I've unearthed a novel appreciation for it when it comes to balancing multiple projects. I struggle with balance, that word so many articles are written about, that we all toss around like a prize we'll someday get. 
This past week, I realized that if I set an alarm for each project (say, 30 minutes or 2 hours), it enables me to use that time efficiently. Once the clock rings, time is up!
Now I realize that not everyone has an issue with focusing or procrastinating or anything else that permeates this status update/Tweet culture. But I have different weaknesses on different days. And well, this alarm clock, it just might be the key for now.

How do you balance multiple projects? Do you set time limits? Or just wait until certain tasks are finished? 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Push them up (and other tips)

No, this post isn't regarding bras. Instead, as I'm embarking on another round of edits, my agent brought up valuable suggestions for tightening and adding tension:
Push up the scenes that add tension.
More specifically, if there is an "oh my gosh" moment in chapter ten, try seeing if it can happen earlier in the manuscript (maybe in the first several chapters). This keeps the first part of the manuscript as an action packed exposition. 
Ask yourself, if I skipped this chapter, would I still be okay to read the rest of the story? Or would I be confused? 
In my exposition, I introduced the M.C.'s family and then didn't have them really playing a role again until the end. I nicked out their intro (and the rest of the chapter). 
Don't have any two scenes where the setting and action are the same, even if the plot point is different.
My M.C. and her two best friends frequently meet in her apartment and at a cupcake shop. While that's fine to show their routine, it doesn't add an element of freshness to the work.

Monday, August 13, 2012

On plagiarism

Many writers will experience something about this topic at some point. We revolve our lives around words: giving them, taking them, pasting them together.

 I raise this question because of the news about Fareed Zakaria "borrowing" passages from a New Yorker article to write his own. Some are saying he should be dismissed entirely. Don't you think that's a bit harsh? Yes, people make mistakes but should they have to lose everything for it? 

My main question has more to do with the why than what. Why do people do this? Is it a mistake entirely? A simple lapse of judgment? In many cases, it's seen as an attempt for advancement (whether that's personal, one's reputation or image, professional, etc.) and the idea that they'll get away with it. It's crushing to see someone take credit for your spin on your thoughts. But still, that doesn't mean everyone sets out with bad intentions. It's many times a simple mistake, nothing more. 

At least he admitted to his mistake instead of wallowing in denial or blame. Mistakes will happen but it's how they're handled that may show true character. 

What are your thoughts? 

33 Ways to Stay Creative

From here

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quotes of the moment: some words of wisdom from tonight's yoga class

"Success can be as dangerous as failure."

"Hope can be as hollow as fear."

"There's always an advantage to being underestimated by others, by yourself." 

"Many times, all it takes to be happy is to reinterpret the experiences you've had." 

Happy Tuesday :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My best friend's wedding

This past weekend, my oldest friend married a man who appreciates and uplifts her. She and I met through our parents who went to residency together. We shared dresses as little girls, make-up tips as teenagers, and our dreams as young women. From milk bottles to martini glasses, she's shaped me. 
She taught me that confidence is a trait that deserves cultivation and that often, nothing is as curing as a conversation. 
I never thought anyone would be good enough for her and I'm elated to be wrong.
(Indian weddings = a flood of color, food, outfits, and rowdy laughter.)

 (We had to hide her somewhere before she walked down the aisle and this back office was the only place open!)