This is It by Lao Tzu

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Whenever I struggle with staying in the moment, I reread this short, insightful poem by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

More #NaNoWriMo Success Stories

nanowrimocrestIt’s hard to believe that it’s Day 25 of the NaNoWriMo writing challenge. When I started writing at the beginning of November, I had no idea what to expect. Several friends wished me luck and proceeded to ask for updates throughout the month. Others were more cautious, not knowing whether to ask or wait for me to bring it up.

I feel the same way about my NaNoWriMo buddies. Whenever I update my progress, I check to see how they are faring. Many are staying the course (like me), a few are speed demons (Peggy Jaeger!), while others are floundering. I thought I’d boost everyone’s morale with today’s post.

Here are four NaNoWriMo success stories:


Alan Averill wrote the first chapter of The Beautiful Land several months before NaNoWriMo and then put aside the manuscript. When he learned that his friends were planning to participate in NaNoWriMo, he decided to join them. He wrote 60 percent of the novel and finished the rest in January. He credits the experience with helping him create a fast-paced book: “One of the great things about NaNo is that you don’t have time to think about what you’re doing. You’re basically a Writer Shark, and if you don’t keep swimming forward at all times, you’re going to die.”

In 2008, Marissa Meyer (author of Cinder) heard about a contest in which the Seattle-based writer who clocked in the most words during November would win a walk-on role in an upcoming episode of Star Trek. A chronic overachiever, Marissa took on the challenge and ended up writing three novels: Cinder (70,000), Scarlet (50,000), and Cress (30,000). Unfortunately, she didn’t place first but finished three novels that she polished over a two-year period. While much of the original material was scrapped, Marissa has no regrets: “I may not produce anything of quality during NaNoWriMo, but I always come away with a great road map.” She had offers of representation from three agents, and when the series went to auction, Macmillan’s Feiwel & Friends placed the winning bid.

Carrie Ryan started writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth during NaNo 2006. During that month, Carrie wrote between 20,000 and 30,000 words and then kept on writing afterward, finishing the first draft in April 2007. Later in 2007, Carrie sold the rights. The first of a trilogy, the book became a New York Times best-seller, and the film rights have been optioned by Seven Star Pictures. Carrie’s advice: “If you want to sell a book, you have to write a book. And if NaNo is what it takes to motivate you, then jump in with both feet. If you fail, the key is not to give up—the key is to keep writing.”

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen wrote the first draft of The Compound during NaNo 2005. It then took six months to edit and polish the manuscript. The book sold to Feiwel and Friends in July 2006 and then went through another fourteen months of editorial revisions before final publication in late 2007. A long journey, filled with ups and downs, but definitely worth the wait. Seven more Young Adult books followed. Stephanie’s take-away: “This book is a symbol of how never giving up helped me realize a dream.”


At the Fall Fibres Show

Yesterday, I decided to take a creative break from NaNoWriMo. And to reward myself for staying on task for the first eleven days of the month. On average, I have written 1700 words each day, just above the suggested quota of 1667 words. While several activities beckoned, I selected the Fall Fibres Show at the Wellington County Museum in Fergus, a short, thirty-minute drive away.

Hosted by the Guelph Guild of Handweavers and Spinners, the show featured demonstrations and unique items handcrafted by local fibre artists. I was impressed by the variety of crafts, among them spinning, weaving, basketry, felting, bobbin lace, braiding, and beading.






I especially enjoyed chatting with several artisans who shared their passions and invited me to attend their monthly meetings.


A vibrant and welcoming community, the Guelph Guild meets monthly on the second Wednesday for weaving programs and the fourth Wednesday for spinning. Guests–at all skill levels–are invited to attend. For more information, visit their website.

Free…And One by Me!

cookiescocktailsTreat yourself to recipes for all kinds of cookies–bar, cookie cutter, drop, no-bake, specialty–and hot and cold drinks (with and without spirits) from the kitchens of The Wild Rose Press authors.

I’m happy to share my Raisin Cookies Recipe on Page 47.

Happy Holidays!