It’s Not Snake Oil, Really!

Promoting your writing can sometimes feel like you’re waving a flag in a crowd of deaf and blind people with better things to do.

crowded street

Really.

It feels like that.

It also feels like the physics homework I had back in eleventh grade where I regurgitated all the stuff the teacher told me but I never understood.

physics problem

I’m doing all the things I’m supposed to do and ever hopeful that this will bring about the desired result. And yet, Continue reading “It’s Not Snake Oil, Really!”

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Blog On, My Friends, Blog On

I can while away entire mornings reading and commenting on other people’s blogs.

And when I consider the number of bloggers out there blogging away, it baffles my mind.

Some of them post every day, a few more than once a day.

I’m tempted to think that these are people who have too much time on their hands,

wasting time

but then I realized Continue reading “Blog On, My Friends, Blog On”

Writers Gotta Write (about something)

I always have something to say. (Just ask my husband.)

This is usually true about writing, also. I always have something to write about, but oddly, not today.

Today the distractions have me and my tired-I-didn’t-sleep-so-well mind.

squirrel

This blog is about writing and the writer’s life. Obviously, there is much that could be said about that, but….

The internet is smothered in writing wisdom. It is everywhere because, well, writers write.

It’s not like horseshoers or knitters or firemen. Continue reading “Writers Gotta Write (about something)”

I know that place, I’ve been there too

For whatever reason, I’ve been running into a lot of frustration lately.

I’m not the frustrated one, nope, I’m in a good place (for now). But a lot of the writers I know have recently shared their own head-banging-the-wall moments.

I know that place; I’ve been there. It’s part and parcel of being a writer, heck with being a person, really.

There are days, hours, okay maybe even weeks and months, but hopefully not years, when you feel as though all this slogging through the mud is getting you nowhere. No one, not even the dog, seems to appreciate your efforts. And let’s face it, basically, you suck at this. Continue reading “I know that place, I’ve been there too”

Up for a Challenge?

I like challenges.

Especially when life feels like it’s drifting towards auto.

In the past, I’ve challenged myself to wear everything I own or donate it, try 100 new recipes in a year, shop only local for three months, and write a novel (see where that got me?).

Of late, I’ve challenged myself to read 52 books this year (goodreads is keeping me accountable) and finish my current novel-in-progress by April.

challenge

Big challenges are all splashy and fun, but it’s the little stuff that can make you batty. It’s also the little stuff that can change your life.

The minutiae that nag at your conscience (and your soul) can bog down your days and your to-do list. You know what I’m talking about – the tasks that won’t stop your world from turning if they don’t get done but would certainly improve your world if they did get done. You probably remember these things while you’re brushing your teeth before bed and then promptly neglect to do them again the next day.

And once you tackle these insidious little jobs, there’s room for inspiration and ideas and projects. All of which are accomplished one little insidious task at a time!

So I have a plan for me and YOU—so we can get some stuff done, maybe even change our lives.

This past week, I was the host of one of my publisher’s Facebook groups – The Back Booth: Talking Women’s Fiction. (btw, you’re WELCOME to join – we’d love to have you! The Back Booth offers daily discussions and visits with its authors and members.)

On Monday, I challenged members to post one thing that had been languishing on their to-do list– a task they would accomplish that week. I called it their Monday-Must-Do.

Lots of people were game and shared tasks big and small (make a doctor’s appointment, put away Christmas decorations, update a resume). On Friday I checked in with all of them and guess what? – nearly everybody had taken care of their Monday-Must-Do!

Telling people you’re going to do something, especially publicly in writing, creates accountability. It worked last week and it’s worked for me time and again when I took on challenges publicly via my blog.

So, for all our sakes, I’ve decided to create a way for us to challenge ourselves each week publicly, for real, on my little corner of the internet, and then hold ourselves (and me) accountable.

Even though many of you are dissing Facebook at the present (but please, who actually thought Facebook wasn’t collecting your stats and selling them?), I’m going to do this on my Facebook writer page.

You can follow along like a commoner lurking in the shadows OR you can join in! Every Monday I’m going to be telling you what my MONDAY MUST-DO is and asking you for yours. Are you game? Want to change your life, or at least get *hit done?

Monday must do

On Friday, I’ll follow up with you and ask how it went. Me, and my thousands hundreds (for now) of followers will want to know.

What I’m hoping, is that most weeks you’ll discover that if you push yourself, just a teeny-tiny bit, you’ll succeed.

And all those little tiny successes, week after week, add up to big things—of this I know. It’s how I wrote all my books. It’s how I’ve saved over 100 dogs. It’s how I took the toxins out of my house and my life. One little challenge each week. That’s all it takes to change your life, or at least make it a little bit better.

Up for the challenge? Follow me. (and be sure to click the notifications tab so you don’t miss my reminders! I promise I won’t nag, I will be only balloons and champagne, and if some weeks your To-Do gets the better of you, I’ll just casually look the other way and nod my head in understanding. We all have those weeks.)

I’ve got another challenge for myself brewing, but I’ll need a running start for that one. Look for it in next week’s post!

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.

Honored,

Cara

If you’d like to know more about me, my books, and where you might run into me, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

 

COMING AUGUST 2018 FROM Pegasus Books:

Another Good Dog cover

But lucky you! You can preorder your copy now!

 

24/7 Writer Brain

Year of Yes cover image“Being a writer invades my life 24/7.”

When I read that line in Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes, I thought, Exactly.

All day long I take mental notes of everything I see. I can’t not do this, even when I want to shut my brain off. Even when I notice stupid details that will likely never make it into my writing, like how cigarette butts pile up in intersections where people empty their ashtrays while their cars idle or how the smell of the dollar store clings to you even after you’ve been out of the store for hours.

And I wonder about everything…The Wal-Mart employee with the raccoon eyes, snapping her gum as she stands frozen, starring at a shelf, a product in her hand. Is she putting away returned items? Is she doing a price check? Has her brain frozen in place? Does she know her eyeliner is running? Does she care? Maybe she’s depressed? Maybe her boyfriend just broke up with her this morning after he used her toothbrush and took the last bagel. Maybe….

The squished toad on the driveway, guts spewed out its flattened mouth. Did the driver notice before they ran it over? Did I run it over? The flattened skin has the same texture as a football.

The pink hue to the light at dusk and how it makes everything softer, the same way snow makes everything look cleaner. How do you capture its essence in words?

Walking the dog, I find myself narrating my actions as if I was in the story itself. “They crested the hill and scanned the woods for the fox that keeps watch over the chicken pen. A hawk circled overhead– was it a sign?”

busy beesI can’t seem to stop my brain. I tell it to chill, but it doesn’t listen. Maybe I should sign up for yoga or learn to meditate. Something to stop my busy brain.

Sometimes I’m frustrated when I can’t seem to put into words what I truly feel in my heart. The perfect words that floated through my thoughts as I ran along our country roads this morning, escape me when I finally sit down to type them out. When I read the writing of someone like Shonda Rimes, who so easily, almost embarrassingly, spills her heart on the page, I think, “Yes! That’s it!” I’m grateful for her talent and strive to open my own heart unfiltered as she does.

I find there to be a magic in writing, a power well beyond me. So I’m grateful for this 24/7 invasion. It makes my days richer, even as it means that my mind is preoccupied and sometimes I forget about the clothes on the line or the tea I left steeping on the counter.

Writing makes life more real for me. I’m awed by the potential power it holds. Maybe this next sentence will change a life or lift a spirit, bring back a memory, or at the very least, make someone wonder. Maybe it will shine right through, all the way from my heart to yours.

maybe it will shine

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.

Honored,

Cara

If you’d like to know more about me, my books, and where you might run into me, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

COMING AUGUST 2018 FROM Pegasus Books:

Another Good Dog cover

Changing the World

I have a speaking engagement coming up tomorrow in front of a tough audience.

Elementary school students.

It’s Career Day and I was invited to an Elementary School in Maryland, along with lots of people who likely have much more exciting careers than mine. I’ll have just 10 minutes per group to talk about what I do and answer questions.

I’m in a quandary about what I should tell them.

Writing is pretty boring. At least the act of it.

Unless you’re inside my brain, I appear awfully sedentary. Most days I bore my office mates to sleep.

IMG_3613

So, what should I tell the kids?

Obviously, they’ll find my dog writing much more interesting than my women’s fiction writing or my occasional freelance pieces about parenting or organics or writing. They probably know more than me about marketing yourself via social media. And I’m pretty sure that talking about the largest part of my writing day – editing – would bore the life out of them, as it does me.

My tentative plan is to dazzle them with the dogs. I’ve even printed out a few 8x10s of some of my more exciting foster dogs to flash them.

My biggest dog- Whoopi. Continue reading “Changing the World”