Get the word out. . . and down on paper!


National Novel Writing Month


My 2010 New Year’s resolution is in jeopardy.

Yes, I still want to write a book in 2010. But the book about Cortez, the domination of Mexico and the role of his interpreter/spy Malinali is still in the early research phase. It turns out, my high school world history class, and one semester of college level history is a woefully inadequate foundation for a serious work of historical fiction.  (Who Knew?)

Fortunately I have 3 things working for me.

1.   Next month affords me several stretches of potentially good writing time. First week, I am taking a business trip which leaves me  stretches of time in a lonely hotel. The second week, I have a vacation in New Orleans, where great writers like Anne Rice, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and others have written amazing things. The third week, I have Thanksgiving which gives me a few extra days off. Now, all I have to do is leverage all that time for writing.

2.   November is National Novel Writing Month. That wild and exciting time where writers creep out of their solitary dens to intermingle and beat one another into a wild, frenzied word orgy of prose proliferation.

If you’ve never heard of it. The purpose of National Novel Writing Month is to reach anyone who has a story to tell and encourage them to pledge the month of November to the telling of it. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. (actually, in literary terms, that makes the work a “novella” not a “novel.” Still, you can add a sub-plot and some back story in the revision phase and easily get that up to the full 80,000 word minimum to turn it into an honest-to-goodness novel in the re-write.) National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) is also taught as part of the Young Writer’s Program in high schools and colleges across the country to encourage both the consumption and creation of literature. It’s also just plain FUN!

3.   The last thing I have going for me is: Zombies. You heard me right, zombies, rotting, staggering, moaning victims of Voodoo-gumbo-ya-ya, ZOMBIES!

Throw a zombie in a story and you have the perfect excuse for wild writing abandon! Crazy plot twists and verbose scenes of wordy mayhem, what else does a writer need to bash out 50,000 words in 30 days?  Except lots of coffee, of course.

Want to learn more about NaNoWriMo? Want to read my plot synopsis and monitor my progress? Better yet, want to join us with your own story? Click on my novel’s title banner below. It will take you to my profile page at:

Published in: on October 16, 2010 at 2:37 am  Leave a Comment  

The side effects of making dreams come true

Spring is here and I’m ½ way through my copywriting course. I am even working on my first spec assignment. (That means I write it for free and if they like it they buy it. I think they’ll like it. I just hope they like it BEST!)

      I have also finished the outline for my novel and written a 10 page synopsis. Now I’m researching history and details of the period before I start writing the first full draft. No – that’s not procrastination. (Yet) I’m still meeting my personal deadlines and am on schedule for a finished book by the end of November.

      So far my new year’s resolutions are on safe ground. But I have a problem. All this “butt in chair” writing, reading and researching has cut into my active time. Since my day job is another “butt in chair” kind of thing, said butt is getting bigger. Gulp. I’m not comfortable with this. It is time to troubleshoot the unexpected side effects of making dreams come true. No one told me writing caused augmentation of the posterior.

     Here’s my plan:

  1. Go back to Curves. A quick 30 min trip around the circuit before work will do me wonders! I don’t write before work anyway. I watch the news, update facebook and drink coffee. I think I can safely cut back on those activities.
  2. Go back to Weight Watchers. . . but NOT at the local meetings. I’m joining the on-line Weight Watchers community. That way I won’t get those nasty phone calls accusing me of stealing a scale when I actually bought serving spoons. (Don’t ask – it’s still too painful.)
  3. Now that the weather is nice, Darling Husband and I can return to our evening walks at Pickerington Ponds. We enjoy a lovely trail there that registers just under 5,000 steps on my pedometer. After I log out of  work for the evening, we go to Rita’s Ice (They even have a sugar-free ice-of-the-day.) and take our walk.

Now, if I can keep it simple, I’ll succeed. I know this about myself. The more complicated the schedule, the less likely I’ll keep it up.

Curves every work-day but Monday (That’s Darling Husband’s day off.) and a walk ever work night but Tuesday (That’s when I take my copywriting class.)

See, the complications are already jumping up. Down boy! DOWN!

Any body got a whip and a chair?

~Angela TaoDiva

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oatmeal Anyone?

Ok, this is really embarrassing.  I used to do this cleansing fast ever 6 months or so while training in a very strenuous Kung-Fu program 2 hours or more at a time four days a week and practicing tai-chi on my “off” days. In other words, I was VERY athletic.

     Yesterday I awoke with mild symptoms of hypoglycemia, tremor and headache. I drank my cleansing “lemonade” because the formula includes an organic sugar source in order to maintain blood sugar while the lemon provides a gentle cleansing to the newly scraped and exposed walls of the digestive system.  Only it didn’t work. Headache got much worse and I went from tremors to clumsiness and was easily confused and disoriented.

     So I drank a little orange juice.  At this point my husband is very worried.  I give the orange juice some time to get into my system and still have all the symptoms of hypoglycemia.  So he talks me into some vegetarian vegetable soup, which I gratefully accept. After about 8 ounces, I’m feeling cognitively myself again and the headache is just a mild version of itself. So I get dressed and we go to the movies.

     That might not have been the best decision and Shutter Island might not have been the best choice of movie. I became nauseous, the headache returned strong as ever and I lost my ability to control my own body temperature. I began to wonder if it had nothing to do the cleansing diet at all and maybe I was coming down with the flu.  When we got home, Wayne tucked me into bed, gave me some more soup after my stomach settled and I slept for over an hour.

     I felt much better after waking up I had an ALT sandwich (that’s like a BLT but with avocado instead of bacon) I felt very much myself again. Headache was gone and I was able to concentrate and read. I still took it easy and, this morning, started my day with coffee and oatmeal.  Homemade fruit smoothie and salad for lunch and tonight for dinner, we’re having soy-burgers on whole grain buns.

     When you just plain eat healthy, maybe you don’t need a cleansing fast.  What am I trying to cleanse out anyway, Soy residue? <shrug> So, chalk one up for the “it seemed like a good idea at the time” department and move on.  Still, it does hit me that maybe I’m not as strong, and resilient as I once was.

     Maybe I just need to respect my (amazing, hot and lovely) 40-something-year-old body and just be nice to it.  I don’t mean “here have a chocolate sundae and watch TV” nice. I mean “enjoy a walk in the fresh air instead of a brutal workout” and “have some salad in a 100% whole grain pita instead of a three day fast” kind of nice.  Is that so bad?

     Buddha was right when he advised “the middle way.” The trick is finding the center. Lesson learned and thanks for the oatmeal.


Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Scariest Word

     So, we’ve all been taking a few minutes each day to work through the 21 day success principles mentorship program, right?  If not, go ahead and click on that link to the right of this post, the one labeled “Jack Canfield’s mentorship course” there is still plenty of time.  (If you are getting this “blog blessing” in an e-mail, you will have to go to the site to access all the links. 

     Just for a moment, I’d like to discuss that scary word “responsibility.”  The first principle of success (as outlined by Jack) is to take 100% “responsibility” for your life.

     Our culture uses the term “responsibility” interchangeably with “burden,” “blame,” “fault” or at the very least, “obligation.”  But actually, “responsibility” is simply the characteristic of being able to respond.

     Being responsible means not sitting in your dissatisfied state thinking “if only this, then I could do that.”  That is NOT responsible.  There is no virtue in a patience that is just sitting “waiting for the world to change” (one of the most irresponsible song lyrics EVER!)  I mean maybe you can’t do the “that” that you have in mind but surely you can do “something” to cultivate yourself so you are ready when “that” comes into range.  Or do something else productive while watching for opportunities for “that.”  Or (here’s a radical notion) let “that” go and cultivate an awareness of alternate possibilities.  Seriously, is “that” all there is?  I don’t think so.

     To be “responsible” you just do a little thing I call “Acting from where you are.”  

      OK – So now apply this logic to the concept of “misplaced responsibility.”

. . . Ouch! . . . Yeah, that one hit me hard too. Let’s contemplate on it a little, shall we?

TaoDiva is going back to her cushion now. . .

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 12:50 am  Comments (1)  

Healthy, Wealthy, Happy and Wise

     OK, I know it’s not even Christmas, but have you thought about your New Year’s resolutions yet? Seriously, Christmas is a great time to reflect on your life and consider your values and deep meanings and of course telling others what you want. I suppose you could do this at any time of the year but the ending of the calendar, birthdays and important life transitions naturally lend themselves to the concept of new beginnings, fresh starts and “do overs.”     

     Lately though, I’ve noticed people talk about New Year’s resolutions as if they were quaint or childish fantasies. If I hear one more person wave me off and whine “I don’t make resolutions. No one keeps them any way.” I think TaoDiva just might have to clock you one! Committing to specific goals is not like believing in Santa Clause! No one thinks making a resolution is like wishing on a star. No, making a resolution is examining where you are and where you want to go and deciding it is worth the trip to get there. Unless you are already totally satisfied, at peace with yourself and have everything you want out of life, you need to set some goals. Why is New Year’s Day so scary to you? Even if it’s true and you don’t achieve your goals, just working on them for a while will build your will-power muscles and teach you what works and what doesn’t so you are better prepared the next time you try.

     Maybe it would help to balance your goals? Jack Canfield recommends focusing on several basic areas of life. Something physically health related, something financial or career oriented and something of personal importance. I would add something of intellectual or educational importance to give you the “healthy, wealthy, happy and wise” formula of goal setting. This way, you are balancing your effort and attention over your whole being. It also takes the pressure off any single goal so success not a “pass/fail” test but more of a “pleasure curve.” Here’s an example

     My New Year’s resolution for 2010 is “mastering the art of balance.” So I have balanced several goals that I want to accomplish in 2010. Some are easy and just take a simple decision and a single action step, like my financial goal of contributing 10% of pre-tax income into my 401K. To do that, all I had to do was visit to my human resources website and schedule a 1.5% increase in my automatic contribution per quarter and DONE! I don’t have to worry about it anymore and by the end of the year I’ll be exceeding my goal. Now that’s what I like; a goal with wiggle room and on auto-pilot! 

     Then, of course, some goals need more attention to carry out, like my personal goal of writing the novel I conceived of over 20 years ago. I always wondered if I had the discipline to draft a complete novel. This year, I’ll find out. But for this goal I will need to organize a plan, break it down into steps and schedule time for it into my regular routine. And if I don’t finish?  Technically, that’s a “failure.” But just think what I will learn about myself, while “failing.” Now that’s what challenges me, excites me and (gulp) scares me; a goal that requires consistent attention, additional learning, maybe a writer’s workshop or two and a level of talent I’m not entirely sure I have. But I’m going to LOVE finding out!

     Don’t worry; I’m not going to outline all of my goals here. This is your resource for creating your own balance. So take a look to the right. Do you see that link to Jack Canfield’s mentorship course? Go ahead, click it. It will take you to a sign up page for a free 21 day program to help you clarify your goals and stack the deck of life in your favor to achieve them. Best of all, there is still time to do the program before the year ends so you can plan the journey to balance your own goals for 2010.

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment