Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sailing is Like Writing Because...(a new & updated version)

I've been sailing, and living aboard a sailboat, for most of the last 30 years. I'm also a writer, and have worked at some combination of writing, editing, publishing, and teaching writing for the last two decades. So, I know a little bit about both pursuits. I wrote an earlier version of this a few years back, which I just updated, below.
Sailing is like writing because:

You need a destination, but often the best part of the voyage happens when you get off course—assuming you don't end up on the rocks. We write to get to the end of the story, but often we don't know what that will look like, until we get there.

Getting there is not just half the fun, it's all the fun; sailing is about enjoying the moment, being completely in the here and now, not rushing toward some arbitrary goal (if you were in a rush, you'd have a power boat, or an airplane!).

It's something people all over the world have been doing for thousands of years, in order to explore, learn, and reach out—it is still fun to do, and nearly impossible to get to be an "expert" at!

Most people think it is easy, even if they've never done it. It's enviable, but somehow people still think they could easily do it, too, if they just had the time...Wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, "Gosh, that must be such a fun life, traveling and living on a boat." Sure it is, sometimes, but it is hard work a lot of the time.

Those who don't sail don't "get" it—and that's okay. It's impossible to explain what's so darn great about it, if you don't experience it yourself, in just the right way.

Sailing, like writing, uses your body and mind for an activity that often taxes them, but combines and unites them in unique ways that can sometimes be transcendent—allowing us to glimpse what is eternal and true.  
We are sailing north, and have gotten as far as the Santa Barbara Channel. Tucked into Channel Islands harbor, we are awaiting the proper winds to continue on our journey. This isn't like writer's block (which I don't believe in), this is simply us being patient, and taking care to stay safe (if you have all your eggs in one basket—watch that basket!). 
You almost never have to stop writing to save your life. In fact, sometimes you have to write to save it. So that is one way that sailing is NOT like writing. 
Good news is, I did some writing today—and not just this blog post. I'll keep you updated on our travels.
hasta pronto!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Fortunate Me, Fortunate Us


Yeah, I know...We have all been taught to keep the good stuff to ourself, or a few good friends. And that no one wants to hear about how good our life is, when it is.
But maybe that isn't true.
Especially now, when so many of us are struggling with being "stuck." Stuck at home, stuck with bills and without work, stuck in our writing projects.
So, I just wanted to say that I am feeling so grateful for the following gifts:
1. To have a wonderful partner in all of this madness... a best friend (and lover!) to spend my days and nights with, to go walking with, talk with, watch documentaries and dumb movies with, sip wine with, try recipes with.
2. To have work I love, that I feel is pretty important—relatively, not like brain surgery—and that contributes to good in the world (more great books!) and that does not pollute, promote evil, or even celebrate mediocrity.
3. That Russel and I both work from home, so that we can keep on working through all this madness. Though we hoped to be sailing up the coast by now, being stuck in San Diego on a boat is not a terrible place to be.
4. My great friends, who I chat with on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, text with occasionally, and even meet with on Zoom once in a while. And great clients who keep the work coming in...many of whom have become great friends.
5. That all of our family members are healthy (so far) and feeling fine, which is undoubtedly the very best thing of all.
See if you can come up with 5 things you are grateful for. You don't need to write the list down, but it may help. Why not? You have the time.
Take care, my friends—stay safe, and hasta pronto!

Monday, March 9, 2020

It is (almost) Spring and Visualization is Key


It is almost officially Spring and I came home from my morning walk today with a handful of wildflowers, so I'll start by wishing you all a Happy Spring. We are expecting showers in So Cal, so that is another big reason to celebrate.

This rainy week will be the perfect time for me to batten down the hatches, make veggie soups, and get some work done. I'm currently line-editing Angel Flight—the follow-up to Flygirl by R.D. Kardon—which will be out in September. There is plenty of time for you to read her first book, if you haven't already!

 Nope, this is not my bouquet, but it looks similar, and it's a pretty image.

I am using this month's blog post mainly to share an article I wrote for "Books & Buzz," an online magazine. This is my fifth article for them, I think, and may well be my favorite so far, because I feel so strongly about the subject.

Don't just visualize doing it, click here to read my piece about visual writing.

hasta pronto!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Show Yourself Some Valentine's Day Self-love at SCWC


Yes, it's February and this weekend is the Southern California Writers Conference here in San Diego.  I always look forward to this conference with great expectations, knowing I'll learn a lot, even as I teach a couple workshops!

1. I know I've said all this before, but bear with me as I remind you of a few reason to attend SCWC:
To find your "tribe"! The most important reason of all—we all need people in our life that "get" us and "get" our writing...You can find them at SCWC!

2. To meet industry professionals, and not just see them at a panel. Where else can you chat with agents and editors and successful authors in an informal setting like coffee or drinks? (Too many conferences are "cattle calls" where the pros all hang out together and you never actually meet anyone except other first-timers.)


One of the industry pros you'll meet is my friend and client Gayle Carline, whose newest (and best!) mystery arrives on Friday, Feb 14 just in time for Valentine's Day and SCWC!


3. To get professional eyes on your work. Amateur authors often submit their manuscript when they finish their first draft, because they're tired of working on it...but the book isn't ready to be published. Whether you take some pages to read and critique meetings or go to late night (or early ones like mine at 7am Sunday) “rogues,” you'll learn what is working—and what isn't.

4. To learn more about craft and story in hands-on workshops like my new class on POV Sunday afternoon, and to learn what's happening in the industry. From workshops on publishing, marketing, & promotion for your published book, to great speakers who have a wealth of experience to share with you.

5. Because it's so dang fun! We all need to get out and meet other writers and socialize once in a while. And who doesn't want to hang out with a talented, inspiring, upbeat group of creative souls? So, show yourself some love and take yourself to SCWC—your work is worth it and so are you!

And yes, you can register the day it begins—Valentine's Day—hasta pronto!