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Thursday, November 19, 2015

10 Ways to Jump-start Your Writing

10. If the seat in which you park your behind is a good one, you'll park it more often. A while ago, someone told me about her office chair. It has an exercise ball in it. It's actually part of the chair. If you use an exercise ball to sit on but are balance-challenged, this is for you. Then, you can be to be a balanced writer.

9. Have your muse readily available...capture it in a jar. If James Scott Bell can keep "the boys in the basement," I can keep my muse is a jar. In fact, my critique partner Jessica Dotta made it for me. It's amusing to look at (yes, the pun was intended) and will remind me to start creating.

8. Keep chocolate handy. Okay, it's not that new of an idea, but my new take on it works. Allow yourself one M&M for every forty words written. That way you get twenty-five M&Ms for every 1000 words. It's not enough to get fat, unless you're like Karen Kingsbury, who writes 10,000 words a day.

7. Start the week off right with a clean desk. I try to pretend I'm neat. I like to be neat. I write better with a clean desk. But at night, while I'm asleep, the dust bunnies come out to play. They leave an awful mess, stacks of books, notes and scraps of paper, empty M&Ms bags. There's nothing I can do. They're an endangered species.

6. Stacks of colorful sticky notes help keep you organized. I attended my local ACFW chapter meeting (go ACFW North Georgia!), where an author told us about her method of editing. It involved different colors, sizes, and shapes of sticky notes. It worked for her, so I figured it would for me, too. The next day, I hurried to the store and $90 later came home with a bag full of every color and size imaginable. The next day I tried it. I discovered this method of editing doesn't work for me, but I'm good for sticky notes for the next five years.

5. Hang inspirational pictures & sayings around your desk for those times when you are not creative. Am I the only one who stares blankly at a screen for eons? I thought my brain had turned to grits. So I hung pictures of my characters, quotations in a pretty frame, anything to fire those synapses in my head.

4. Writers' accoutrements. I have a clock, made by one of my writer friends, Linda Rorbaugh. It makes me smile and reminds me that tossing and retrieving are all part of the process of writing. But at nine o'clock there's the submit part that leads to publishing. However, last year, I made it to 12 o'clock. That's PUBLISH!

3. A getaway, no matter how small, is good for writers. It tricks you into thinking you're like Steinbeck or Hemingway. Okay, maybe not, but Starbucks does not have a telephone that rings for you. Nor does it have washing machines or vacuum cleaners that know your name. So, do yourself a favor and break the dull routine you've gotten into.

2. Hang a laminated "Do not disturb ~ writer working" doorknob sign for the office door. Oh, and be sure you shut the door and hang it on the outside. I got a really nice one from My Book Therapy. Of course, it didn't come with a guarantee that the hubs wouldn't open the door and ask if I'm busy. And our mastiffs, Shadrach and Oliver, can't read, so they woof outside until I can't ignore them a minute longer. They have a doggy door a linebacker could fit through, but no, they want personal service. Maybe I should write a manual for authors: How to Train Husbands, Children, and Dogs. Hmm, I could make a fortune...if it worked. Somehow I have my doubts, though. Which leads to... 

1. Turn a blind eye to dust and clutter. Remember #7? Dust bunnies are an endangered species, so do your part. Give them undisturbed breeding grounds (they breed best amidst clutter). That frees you up to write. It all makes sense if you look at it the right way. 

Chapel Springs Survival, coming Dec 3, 2015

A mail-order bride, a town overrun with tourists, and illegal art ~ can Claire and Chapel Springs survive?

Life is good for Claire Bennett. That is until the mayor's brother blabs that her nineteen-year-old son, Wes, has secretly married a Brazilian mail order bride. When she tries to welcome her new daughter-in-law, Claire is ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus. 

Lydia Smith is happily living alone and running her spa—then the widow on the hill becomes a blushing bride. Along with her new husband, she has a dream to expand the spa by adding guest rooms. Things are going according to plan until her groom's adult son moves in—on everything. Will her dream survive her stepson?

From the first sighting of a country music star in the art gallery, The Painted Loon, to the visit of a Hollywood diva, Chapel Springs is inundated with stargazers, causing lifelong residents to flee the area. When her best friends put their house on the market, Claire is forced to do something or lose the closest thing to a sister she’s got. 

With her son's future at stake and the town looking to her to solve their problems, Claire isn't sure she can survive this whirlwind of trouble.

While a floppy straw hat is her favorite, novelist Ane Mulligan has worn several including pro-family lobbyist, drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane writes her Southern-fried fiction in Sugar Hill, GA, where she resides with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.


  1. "Dust bunnies are an endangered species." That's frame-able wisdom right there. Thanks, Ane!


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