Just Saying No

no-1532789_1920Gosh, it’s hard to say no, isn’t it?

I don’t mean when your three kids are little and you’ve dragged them all to the grocery store and you’re only in the first aisle and already, each of them have asked at least ten times for Gooey Candy Bars or Krispy Chocolate Cereal or Saturated-with-Sugar Soda. It’s pretty easy to say no then…well, until you get to the last aisle and your head’s about to explode from the 5,769th question and you scream, “Fine. Get the candy! Get the cereal! Get the Coke! I don’t care as long as you don’t ask me ANY MORE QUESTIONS!”

Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, for writers, saying no is a whole ‘nother story. We take jobs we really don’t want to do, or we get involved in jobs that are so demanding that we’re losing money with all the rewrites, or we commit to a project that we know we don’t have time for. And then we’re miserable and wishing and wondering why we didn’t just say no.

I don’t have all the answers, but I had a couple of ideas that might help you the next time you want to say no–when you should say no. Take a look over at The Muffin at “Just Say No: When It’s Time To Give Up A Writing Gig.”

I mean, if you have time to take a look. Or you want to take a look. You can always say no and I won’t mind a bit!

September!

chalkboard-944042_1280September–or more specifically, that day after Labor Day when school started–has always given me a little bit of a fresh start spark. The beginning of a new school year was so full of promise and suspense. I mean, that was exciting stuff, back in the day.

Oh, wait. You have to be a person of a certain age to remember when school started after Labor Day, when the summer break was three months long and going back to school was…well, it was a big deal.

See, we didn’t have tons of summer activities to fill up the days; we did have camp, if you were lucky enough to have parents who’d send you. We had a lot of long, hot days of playing outside with the kids who were in your immediate neighborhood. So when school started, even the most hardened-against-school kid was ready to go back and hang out with friends again.

Until we got to high school and could drive. Then nobody wanted to go back to school. But that’s another story. The story we have here is one about September and the new school year and fresh starts. And there’s a connection to writing here but you’ll have to hop over to the Muffin for “The September Feeling” if you want to know what I’ve been up to in my September new year. And then you can tell me all about what you’ve been up to!

Hey! It’ll be just like that first day back at school when everyone talked at once, catching up with each other, and life was good until Sister Mary Whatever wrote out a homework assignment that took up half the board.

Quick! What Grabs Your Attention?

hook-159682_1280Don’t overthink it, y’all, just quick consider what almost always hooks you, whether you’re reading the first chapter of a book, the first paragraph or so of a short story, and especially the opening paragraph of an article.

Want to know if you came up with the same surefire hook as I did for my Muffin post this week? Then go check it out here.

And then maybe you could let me know if great minds really do think alike! Did you come up with the same hook? I’d sure love to know.

(Also, the BIG deer now has BIG antlers. Which will make much more sense to you after you read the Muffin post.)

And Another Thing

Like most authors/writers, I have this love/hate relationship with Amazon. These days, I’m perilously close to the highly annoyed side not so much for me, but for several of my author/writer friends.

They’re losing book reviews–or they’re worried about losing book reviews. You can read more at my post over at The Muffin, “Keeping Book Reviews on Amazon.” And if you have any experience and/or suggestions, I hope you’ll join in on the conversation.

I like to write book reviews. But I don’t write a review for the mega-selling author; Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, BIG MAGIC, is wonderful, but she doesn’t need my review. My newly-published friends of a more modest selling background, on the other hand, appreciate every single review. So to lose a review is a big deal to them.

How can we make sure a friend keeps a review? Because I don’t want to boycott Amazon. I need a new phone case.