FIND YOUR BOOK'S TOPIC NOW--even if you have no idea what to write!

No Noise

I checked my phone for the third time.

No new emails. No texts. Not even any new posts on Instagram?

That’s when I knew something was seriously wrong.

Turns out, our internet provider (one of the biggest in Canada) was completely down—in fact, down all over the country.

At first, it didn’t seem all that different from any other Friday, since my morning routine doesn’t involve very much internet use. As usual, I walked the dogs, I did some Qi Gong, I showered, I ate a good breakfast.

So far, so good.

By 9:30 AM, hubby was checking the TV (the non-cable channels were still working) to see if there was any news. “Country-wide outages. . . no end-time given for repairs. Teams are working on the problem and it will be fixed as soon as possible.”

And so, I got to work.

And you know what? It was an incredibly productive, enjoyable day.

I created some text for a new program I’ll be introducing in the fall (can't wait to share...

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I Don't Regret It

There we were, at the art opening of a friend of a friend: abstract oil and acrylic on canvas, plus some random photographs, at a bona fide art gallery in downtown Toronto.

(Please don’t ask me the name of the gallery. . . I was in university at the time, way too young to pay attention to such things. But I do remember that it was in Yorkville, down the street from the Cotton Ginny store where I bought my favorite overalls). 

While I meandered around the space gawking at the canvases, my friend helped herself to the free wine and cheese. Then I saw it: bold, wide strokes of orange and fuschia, sprinkles of red and blue, a cross between Willem DeKooning and Jackson Pollock. I peered down at the tiny price tag: $275. A fortune for a grad student! 

I decided to think on it for a while. I circulated the room again, stopping at the cheese station to pick at some olives and Asiago. I sipped wine from a plastic wine glass. Then I moseyed back toward the painting.


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When You "Don't Know What to Write."

One of the best holidays I ever had was a side trip to Washington, DC, in my early 30s, while doing research for my PhD. 

I spent my days at the University of Maryland in College Park, less than an hour from Washington. After hunkering down for eight hours a day in the bowels of the library perusing microfiche copies of essays and journals, poring over delicate, sepia-stained letters and papers, and examining every details of caches of old photos, I reserved the final three days of the trip to be a tourist. 

I had conferred with friends and checked out a few books and websites (this was just before the days of Expedia or whatnot), and booked a room in the Marriott, in the heart of downtown. 

Ricki back in the day

On my list of “must see’s” were the White House, the VietNam Veterans memorial and the Museum of Natural History, but had no ideas beyond those. After a week of isolation in the university library, I was itching to get to the city. I...

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It Didn't Even Sound Like Her

It certainly wasn't the way I would have done it. 

I took an online course with a well-known author, who shared his writing process and how he had written three bestselling novels. 

Someone asked about how he revised: did he rewrite directly on the page, or use the first file as a template to then rewrite the content elsewhere?

He did neither.

“I use my first draft as a way to really discover what it is I want to say,” he told us. “I actually find my story and characters while writing. Then, when it’s time to revise, I don’t even look at the first draft again. I just write the novel from scratch as it now exists in my head.”

Wow. Seemed like a lot of work!

My own method couldn’t be more different. I might begin a draft and then revise certain scenes along the way, most often before the entire manuscript is even completed. Further revisions follow.

When I hired a book coach, her approach was different still.


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You Absolutely Can Do This

I remember the first time I was asked to speak at a conference. My immediate thought was, “But I’m a writer, not a speaker! Who will want to listen to me? I've got nothing worthwhile to say. . .”

Far too many of us fall into this trap of “I’m not good enough” when we consider what we’ll write, too. The problem is, we’re comparing ourselves to the A-listers out there, the famous writers--and we see ourselves falling short.

For instance, I thought about all the great TEDx talks I’d watched on YouTube and how wonderful those speakers were. Or the keynote speakers I’d observed online, where I listened to big names like Tony Robbins, Brene Brown or Simon Sinek. 

Well, compare yourself to those guys, and no wonder it's hard to measure up.  

But here’s a different perspective. I learned this from my mentor in university, and have found it really useful over the years.

When I started sending...

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