Monthly Archives: February 2013

Finding inspiration from the Oscars

I love the Oscars! I love seeing all the fashion and seeing people live their dreams. I was thrilled for Anne Hathaway and loved her quote, “I had a dream…and it came true.” We all have dreams. For me, seeing others accomplish their dreams further inspires me to push for my own “dream come true.”

I may not write screenplays but writers are writers. With every movie I see I think, “Someone wrote that.” Every story began with a not so pretty rough draft. Sometimes I look at my disorganized drafts and wonder if anything pretty will come of it. Everything must get a little dirty before fluffing up to become “dream” material. I’m sure all of this year’s Oscar winners went through periods of doubt. Would they ever win an Oscar? Many of the nominees are still thinking just that. This industry is full of long waits and doubts but we see the payoff, if not in our work yet then through the work of others.

Hearing the acceptance speeches and seeing the tears makes the reality that dreams do come true easier to believe. Anything really is possible through hard work. So with that being said, do the Academy Awards inspire you? Do you think, “that can be me” when others achieve success? I do. So enjoy this brief interview by the now, Academy Award Winner Anne Hathaway. We all have dreams, no go make yours come true!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Don’t forget to check out my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop happening in March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop
Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.
Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation
Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.
Register HERE

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Writing conferences mommy style

I love conferences. I enjoy dressing up in my beautifully professional suits, meeting new people (or maybe agents) in the Starbucks line, going over and planning my workshops out to detail that could rival my old college course schedule and yes, I really love laughs with new friends at the bar.

That was the outlook of my younger self. Now I have one BIG issue keeping me from most conferences and it comes in a small, blonde and highly energetic package. Conferencing it up as a mom is very difficult. However, thanks to the wonderful World Wide Web, conferences are becoming more virtual. Parents are finding it easier to maintain a professional presence while cartoons blare from the next room.

WANA International, which “empowers artists of a digital age’ is hosting the first WANA Con: Worldwide Writing Conference in just a few days. This is a conference that accommodates writers that may not have an easy flight to a big city. I definitely understand if you are nodding your head to this one. I live and work from Saudi Arabia. WANA Con is the perfect conference for writing moms (and dads too) who can’t easily leave because of a child, dependent furry children and/or needy spouses also count.

You do pay a registration fee but look at the money you save on travel, food, that pretty new “power suit” you’ve had your eye on, etc. From the comforts of your home or as WANA Mama, Kristen Lamb says, “a party in your P.J.’s, the ultimate writer fantasy.”

And you’ll still get that networking feel (just provide your own “adult” beverage.) WANA A.I’s or “artistic instructors” will be in the virtual “hallway” and “classrooms” chatting with attendees. You’ll have web time with instructors of various topics. This is a great opportunity to learn about future workshops prior to signing up. There’s no better person to ask such questions to than the instructor.

WANA Con also is bringing the benefit of agent pitches right to your computer. Really! You are getting those benefits of a great conference experience without leaving your home!

So when you’re tired, struggling to write thanks to your third cup of coffee and praying your toddler honors their bedtime take a big breathe. There is a conference for you that no tantrum can ruin. Dust the cheerios from your shoulder and brush up on those pitches. It’s time to sign-up for WANA Con.

P.S. Anyone who signs up for WANA Con is eligible for a special discounted rate off my upcoming “Writing Moms (and Dads!)” workshop as well as the consultation component. Just let me know when you want to sign-up for my workshop and I’ll ensure you get the discount.

Oh and there is a pajama contest during the conference. Yep, you don’t want to miss this! Sign-up for WANA Con!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Due to my surgery, my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop will be in March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop

Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.

Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation

Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.

Register HERE

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How to tap into your child’s endless energy

How many of us look at our children and wish we had that kind of energy? I asked this question probably on an hourly basis for the first year of my daughter’s life. The truth is, I discovered that her energy is contagious. I mean this in the best way possible. Of course, as a moBahrain beach 2m almost all of my working breaks are spent with her.

It’s so much fun to see the world through her eyes. From her point of view the world is full of endless possibilities. Everything is shiny and new and a new toy can make anything better. I love seeing her excitement for life and all it brings. It is easy to lose sight of this. I know I’m guilty of not noticing the small miracles at work around us each day because I’m pushing to reach a writing quota.

Spending time with my now two-year-old makes me notice the little things in life. I laugh more and I’m much more active. This combination of happiness and getting your blood flowing is the key to finding energy even when you are physically and emotionally drained. At least that has been my experience.

One of my worries when I had my daughter was how I would be the mom I wanted to be while following my professional dreams. I truly believe that people find a way to make something happen if they really want it.

If you’re a working mom or dad struggling to get it all done, sometimes getting some good quality time in with your child is better than that third cup of coffee.

Where do you find your energy source? Do you also find it in your children or do you look elsewhere such as in nature?

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Don’t forget to check out my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop happening in March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop
Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.
Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation
Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.
Register HERE

Ok…you’ve read this far so here’s a treat. If you sign up for at least one day of WANACon then you will get my March Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop for a discounted rate. Please email me at NatalieCMarkey@gmail.com if you qualify.

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Share the love this Valentine’s Day

We all lead busy lives. I’ve never met anyone that can honestly say, “I have nothing to do with myself.” Because of this, it is so easy to forget to praise people that deserve it. Valentine’s Day is a great occasion to take time and show others how we feel.

This Valentine’s Day my husband and I are taking a 24-hour vacation. Yes, my father is watching Baby Markey and the Hubs and I are going to Bahrain to enjoy a day of massages, beach lounging and fine dining. We need this. We haven’t been on a “date” since our move. This getaway has also been a great incentive for me to reach some goals prior to this weekend.

I’ve also prepared a little Valentine’s Day gift sack for Baby Markey. What little girl doesn’t need another teddy bear with a rose? And I’ve prearranged electrCyberHugonic cards to go out to our family. It’s easy to think of those you love on Valentine’s Day but will you remember those you respect?

I read many blogs and follow some amazing people within my industry on various social media outlets. Sadly, I admit to reading posts and thinking, wow I should comment but then I get distracted and forget. Valentine’s Day is a great time to think about anyone in your life that deserves some love, even if it’s cyber loving.

So this Valentine’s Day I’m sending a big thank you out to some people that are amazing at what they do and are well deserving of a big cyber hug this Valentine’s Day!

I highly recommend visiting these outstanding blogs today and often:

Kristen Lamb has a new fun and informative post out today, “A Party in Your PJs—PAJAMACON The Ultimate Writer Fantasy. I am really looking forward to WANACon.

Bob Mayer’s blog is always one of my go-to-spots for industry specific information and great guest posts. Plus I love seeing Cool Gus and Sassy Becca pics when they appear.

James Scott Bell recently posted a fantastic piece over at Kill Zone Authors on how to work on more than one book at a time. I really loved this and it’s probably one of my favorite recent blog reads.

Jenny Hansen’s blog, More Cowbell always makes me laugh!

Who do you want to send a digital hug to?

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Due to my surgery, my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop has moved to March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop
Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.
Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation
Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.
Register HERE

Ok…….you’ve read this far so here’s your treat. If you sign up for at least one day of WANACon then you will get my March Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop for a discounted rate. Please email me at NatalieCMarkey@gmail.com if you qualify.

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Embrace the crazy!

Let’s face it, life can get crazy and you never know when that craziness will strike. Crazy can come in the form of an illness to either you or worse, your child. Crazy can be moving. Wherever you move, it’s going to be CRAZY! And crazy always hits us around the holidays but such crazy can be good. Learn to embrace the crazy and make it work to your advantage.

This past week I continued to catch up after my surgery and then it happened. Crazy struck my house again! Baby Markey woke up with a fever. Of course all morning plans were tossed out the window while I got her ready to be at the clinic when they opened. Luckily, we were in and out of the doctor’s office in an hour. Once we got home it was medication time and the day of taking it easy on the couch began.

But something amazing happened. In between phone interviews and forcing fluids into my daughter I managed to hit my daily word count and more. Yes, busy me is apparently superhuman productive me. Oh and I managed to cook an amazing homemade stew (who cares if it was in the slow cooker!)

The fact is, when we have less idle time the more productive we are. I experience this all the time. Whenever I have a day with little planned that’s when I get distracted. Suddenly Facebook calls my name or I want to catch up with a great book. The tighter my schedule gets, the more I get done. Yes, it sounds crazy but that’s what embracing the crazy is all about.

This all comes down to setting yourself a schedule. Make yourself accountable for deadlines even if they are set by you. Stick to goals no matter what craziness happens. Use the crazy to motivate you past distraction. Embrace and make the crazy work for you.

Exciting stuff is on the horizon so please read the announcements and find a treat below ☺

WANACon is coming. Catch great speakers and agents during this two-day event. You can sigh up for the 1st, 2nd, or both days and sign up for agent pitch sessions. It’s all online so no matter where you live (like me waving at you from Saudi Arabia) you can attend. For more information, click here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Due to my surgery, my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop has moved to March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop

Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.
Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation
Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.
Register HERE

Ok…….you’ve read this far so here’s your treat. If you sign up for at least one day of WANACon then you will get my March Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop for a discounted rate. Please email me at NatalieCMarkey@gmail.com if you qualify.

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Writing towards a prize

Bribery is a powerful thing. The power it holds over my potty-training toddler is hard proof. Since my emergency gall bladder surgery I’ve been powering through my days hunched over my laptop and pages trying to catch up. Being stuck in the hospital for a week is never good for ones career. However, my husband gave me the best present for Valentines Day (and no he didn’t give it to me early.)

We need a date night. Since our September move to Saudi Arabia, life feels like it’s spinning out of control desperate for some regularity. Things are settling down. Routines are being established. Just receiving our shipment turned our company-furnished home into a place that felt like home nearly overnight. Life is calming down so naturally I’m ramping up my writing in efforts to make up for lost time. The problem now, yep I’m a workaholic. Lucky for me my hubby see’s the signs and knows how to help me before I crack.

For Valentine’s Day this year he has scheduled an overnight trip to neighboring Bahrain. If you haven’t been to Bahrain its gorgeous and very “Bahrain beach imagewesternized” as compared to my home in Saudi Arabia. It has beautiful beaches, malls, romantic hotels and “adult” beverages. We will be treated to a couples massage, movie date, fantastic dinner and I’m sure, a lovely sunset over the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. Bottom line, it’s exactly what I need. Hubby did well.

Now, I just need to focus until the 14th but having a prize in sight brings a boost to my work. Knowing that I have a 24-hour spectacular holiday in the near future gives me reason to hunker down and work like never before. I feel fine pulling the long, eye-straining hours because I will have a prize-worthy break.

You don’t have to schedule a vacation, or in my case a very “minication.” Set a goal and assign a prize. Have it be something that truly excites you. Set money aside to by that pair of shoes that you wanted but don’t “need.” We all love bribery. Use our nature to help your work and have some fun along the way.

What prizes have you rewarded yourself with? How do you celebrate breaks and push through hard work to the prize?

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Due to my surgery, my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop has moved to March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop
Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.
Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation
Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.
Register HERE

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Importance of a hobby (other than writing)

I became a writer because I love it. I love to read. I love creating new characters and places. I even got excited over my color-coded college AP Style book when unpacking from the move. Yes, I’m officially a writing nerd. Writing and reading began as a passionate hobby. Now it’s my passionate career but I truly feel it’s important to find a hobby outside of your career, even if you love what you do.

My hobby outside of work is cooking. I take pride in creating something healthy and tasty for my family. My kitchen time is relaxing and peaceful. spaghetti picWhen I was recently on bed rest after my emergency gall bladder surgery, cooking is what I missed the most. It clears my head after a long day of pouring over my keyboard and computer screen. It forces me to get up and take an interest in something that can always be different and new. Finding and mastering a new recipe is the best and returning to old, favorite recipes is like going home.

You may hate to cook. I have friends that sew but the one time I tried that ended in a disaster involving needles and blood. My one sewing advice to you: remove all pins when making a pillow. Pins do not make for comfy stuffing. Anyway, whatever you do just do it. Find a new passion. Learn something new. Time away from your writing and work can only relax you and make you a better writer.

What do you do to relax? What is your hobby?

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Due to my surgery, my popular “Writing Moms (and Dads)” WANA International workshop has moved to March. See details below:

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Online Workshop

Date: March 4th, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Description: Plot, character arc, transitions, climax, revise, rewrite, make that deadline, blog, check social media sites, continued education, volunteer for local writing group, read critique partners manuscript, research agents/publishers, read books within your genre, read a craft book and network. These are ALL things that go through writers’ minds on any given day. But what if you had to add: Make bottles, keep up with diaper/Gerber/ formula supplies, feed baby, play dates, bathe baby, wipe up thrown sweet potatoes, shower to get sweet potatoes out of your hair, more playtime, hope for a naptime (for baby, you must write,) read to baby, and hope baby actually goes to bed at the designated time.
For many writers, this is reality. In fact, many full-time writers are made because of a child being born. Some amazing mothers write late at night, around their day job. However you do it, being a writing parent is a challenge but very doable and rewarding. Learn easy self study tactics, time management tips and suggestions from a ten-year freelance journalist, published author and speaker who also has a two-year-old daughter and a high maintenance dog. You can have it all without losing your mind.

Register HERE

Writing Moms (and Dads!) Personal Consultation

Dates: March 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013
Length: Two 45 min. phone consultations. The first consultation will be within the first week of the four-week Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop. The second will be scheduled prior to completing the workshop.
Description: Take what you learn from the Writing Moms (and Dads!) workshop and get one-on-one guidance on developing the best plan for making you a smarter writer. The first consultation will be a detailed interview followed by a discussion of time constraints. The second will be about developing the best plan for you based off your first consultation discussions. You will also get personalized methods for implementing, testing and carrying out your plan.

Register HERE

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