Friday, March 9, 2012

Getting The Page Count In! with Guest Blogger Carol Moncado

I squealed. Out loud. Then passed out. Just a bit.

When Tina asked me to be on Seekerville, I knew I'd arrived. Who needs an agent or a book contract when you've got a Seekerville invite?!

Then she said I needed a fancy dress. A debutante dress to be exact. Uh... the last time I dressed up that fancy? When I got married. Fifteen years ago.

I did find a couple of dresses, but I can't decide which is better so I'm going with all three. Hey – if those sweet sixteen girls can, so can I! And we're going to pretend I'd look like that in them.
 But I've pulled myself together in the pink dress (the purple one is for afternoon and the black for evening) and put out a full spread from Panera for us to enjoy. There's all sorts of bagels and breakfast sandwiches for the morning crowd. Soups, sandwiches, paninis and more for lunch and dinner. And chocolate. And pastries. Lots of them for us to munch on throughout the day.

So word count. Whether for Speedbo, NaNoWriMo or just to work on a manuscript, blog post or magazine article, you've got to have the word count. Daydreaming about it is great, but if you never get the words on the screen, they don't really count. I'm the queen of that, by the way.
But there are ways to get those words on the page. They do take some dedication but they are doable. My high word count on NaNoWriMo was 100K. (We won't talk about how GOOD those words were... ;)). My daily high is about 13K. If I could do that daily, I'd be almost as prolific as Mary. Almost.

Since all days aren't like that, here's some ways I like to use to bump up the word count. My goal for the Speedbo is 70K words on a new manuscript. I don't have to turn off my internal editor. She runs screaming when I start writing a new WIP. I think she vacations in Bermuda (or possibly the now-uninhabited Unpubbed Island) but she never takes me with her. Maybe if I learned to plot and edit as I go but... what's the fun in that?

Here we go...

1.    Panera
 We all know my very favorite place to work is my local Panera. I get super yummy food, great service and hours to spend pounding away on my latest WIP.  Pray my favorite booth is open (the one in the back where there's less people – being closest to the soda machine and bathroom has nothing to do with it – nope, sure doesn't), pop in the earbuds and away I go. I prefer to listen to a WOW playlist I have but I don't really listen. It's more like noise to drown out the conversations nearby because otherwise I'd be transcribing them for future use ;). When I'm in the zone, I average about 1500 words an hour while I'm there. Some hours more, some less (like when I have dinner ;)), but it's a great place for when I need to get the words flowing and it often bleeds over after I get home, too.

Pretty much anywhere can work, though. If you don't have a Panera, what about a Chick-fil-A? Or McDonald's? Or library? There's lots of other options (though not very many have cinnamon crunch bagels. Just saying) – where do you go? Julie's back deck sounds nice, too, but if we all went there, none of us would get anything done ;).

2.    #1K1HR
There's two ways to #1K1HR. The first one is on Twitter. That's where it originated, though don't ask me how (or maybe this is it...). I learned about it from the super cool, Friend of Seekerville, Erica Vetsch. You tweet using the hashtag and see who's around to join you. I've had some... interesting writing buddies that way...

The other way is to join the #1K1HR Facebook page. We created this a few months ago after Erica did a post about it here on Seekerville and a couple people lamented that they weren't on Twitter. So there we go. Same principle applies. Post a note a bit before you get started and see who joins in. If you're like Ruthy and up before the crack of dawn when all decent people are still sleeping, you may not find anyone to race with you, but you can bet that you'll get encouragement when sane people wake up at a more reasonable hour, so be sure to report back in. Even if you don't get a full thousand words, we love to encourage! Join us, won't you?!

I do this while at Panera or at home. Personally, I set a timer for 15 minutes, stretch for 30 seconds and go again, four times. Then a short break for a drink or bandage any wounds the kids managed to get during the hour and back to it if I can.

3.    Snatch and grab
These are places where laptops come in really handy. But if you don't have a laptop/netbook/tablet/AlphaSmart, that's okay. Does your phone have a notes feature? Especially one where you can email it to yourself. Or a notepad. You know the kind. With lines. And a spiral on the side. And one of those things called a "pen". It's a bit old-fashioned, but it'll work ;). And some people prefer it.

a.    Making meals
 Friend of Seekerville, Pepper Basham, did her own shadow NaNoWriMo and she grabbed a lot of words in between times getting meals ready. A couple hundred words waiting for water to boil, a hundred more between stirrings, and before you know it, you've got a thousand words, or more!

b.    Pick-up line
               "Am I dead, Angel? Because this must be heaven."
                "Do you have a map? I keep getting lost in your eyes."
                 "If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put U and I together."
                 "If you were a library book, I'd check you out."

Er, wait. Wrong kind of pick-up lines.

Do you pick up your kids from school? Wait in an impossibly long line at the pharmacy? Or the bank? Or get stuck at a railroad crossing?  Go shopping at Wal-mart at 5:45pm on Christmas Eve?

This can be a great time to squeeze in a few words! I use my netbook or iPhone notes app. Depending on how early I get there or how long the line is, a few hundred words isn't unreasonable for the pick-up line. For the other lines, well, then it depends on just how long the line is, how many kids you have in tow, and how distracting the tabloids (or person in the next car) are.

c.    Play time
If your kids are like mine, they love to play outside.
And I love to let them.
But it never fails, they want to go just as I'm getting to a good part.
So what to do?

Grab that laptop, netbook, phone, notepad or whatever and take it with you. Me? Well, since we got a new van right before Christmas, I use it. Stow-and-go seating, baby! Fold one down, prop the laptop up on the other, use the external keyboard and voila! Mini-office in the back of the van and still able to watch the kids as they play cops and robbers, princesses and guards, or heaven only knows what else they concoct.

d.    Doctor's office
Similar to the pick-up line stuff up there, of course, but you know how doc's offices often are. You get there fifteen minutes before your appointment. Fill out the paperwork. Wait thirty minutes before they call you back. Talk to the nurse and do vital statistics like blood pressure, temp and, ugh, weight. Another forty minutes before the doc comes in. That's an hour of writing time. And lots of doc offices have wifi these days so you can always hop on the #1K1HR bandwagon  and see what you can get done while you wait. Last week, my 4yo had an appointment at the last minute. I already had my netbook with me and I was able to get a good start on rewriting a synopsis for Genesis (again /sigh/).

e.    Other times
Lunch breaks, commercial breaks when you can't find the TiVo remote, surgery waiting room, long drives in a motorhome (right, Sandra?), waiting for a meeting to start when you got there way earlier than you meant to, while trying to ignore Disney Junior – just about any time can be a good time to grab a few words. They add up faster than you realize!

4.    Writer's retreat
Ah this is one I'm looking forward to doing some day! This summer, Novel-sistas Jessica Keller (Koschnitzky) and Kristy Cambron and I are planning a weekend to do nothing but write. Well, and watch LOST. And they're apparently going to try to indoctrinate me into all things Jane Austen. And Downton Abbey. But the main goal is to write. A lot. With good friends. My current goal for that weekend is 35K in 3 days.  With my daily personal record at about 13K, it's possible. Of course, Kristy wrote a 90K manuscript in November without the benefit of a writer's retreat (and her words were waaaaaaaay better those of mine I mentioned up at the beginning of this blog), so it's quite likely I'll be way overshadowed by her counts, but that's okay. I'll love her anyway. This is one thing I'm so looking forward to and wish we could schedule one for Speedbo, but instead I'll have to manage with the other ways to get words in.
What about you? What are some ways you can squeeze some words in? Think outside the box, my friends! Where can you find your word count?

Bio: When she's not writing about her imaginary friends, Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband and four kids in the big yard of her southwest Missouri home, teaching American Government at a community college, reading, or watching NCIS. She's a member of ACFW and RWA, on the steering committee for Pentalk Community, and the editor-in-chief of the Pentalk Community Blog. She is a founding member and current facilitator for the MozArks ACFW group. Her first publishing credit is an essay released in the Christmas anthology Celebrating Christmas with Memories, Poetry and Good Food (December 2011, Hidden Brook Press). She took first place in the 2011 SVRWA GOTCHA! Contest and is a finalist in the 2012 NTRWA Great Expectations Contest. Be sure to visit her blog at

In honor of Carol's Seekerville blogging debut (and the dress) we're giving away a 15 page critique of a general romance or inspirational romance manuscript to include Woman's Fiction, YA, Contemporary, and Historical. Winner announced in the Weekend Ed. And don't forget to vote on the best dress for Carol in your comments!~

 Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. /waves and leaves out sweet tea and soft drinks but leaves the coffee for Helen/

    Thank you so much for having me, Seekers! I'll be around most of the day but for now, I'm taking my 16041 Speedbo words and heading to bed because it's been a very. long. day.

    Love you all!

  2. Carol:

    I love pink and black together, so I vote for the pink dress to go with your black hair.

    I seem to require quiet and solitude for writing, so going to McDonald's or some place like that is not for me. I can't produce anything like the word count you do.

    I'm plodding and have tunnel vision. only able to concentrate on one project at a time. But I produce consistently, and I finish them.

    Looks like you need coff to go with your breakfast feast. So I've got it ready.


  3. Hey Carol! Wow! Rubbing elbows with the cool kids in the lunch room, huh? Cool.

    Like the dress, too. Just don't wear it to the playground with the kids. Just sayin'.

    You've given us some great ideas for pushing that word count up. My favorite place to write USED to be my school room turned office - - until someone started building a house on the hillside twenty feet away, right outside the window where I can be distracted by caterpillar tractors and bobcats going all day.

    Like Helen, I need quiet (Mozart playing in the background) and no one around me talking...or moving dirt.

    I'm going to have to start pulling Ruthy hours, I guess!

    I have to say, though, you were a genius to start that 1K1HR group on Facebook. There's nothing like knowing I'll need to 'fess up at the end of the hour to keep me going for those extra hundred words...

  4. I want the black dress and I'm willing to bribe you for it!!

  5. And I want to know why you bring an extra keyboard with your laptop.

  6. First? I declare that I love this dress! Pink is usually not my first color choice but then... that's the power in the dress you chose. Very chic. (And tres Audrey!)

    Second? May I just go ahead and declare how amazing the #1K1HR Facebook group is? I have found endless encouragement in my word counts, have met other Novel-Sisters, and have truly enjoyed spending time with other writers who are mad in their love of beautiful words. There's my plug... Join.

    Lastly - Carol Moncado is the author that will very soon take up space on your favorite bookshelf. She's just that good.

    Love and Word Counts!

  7. OOh, I vote for the pink dress! I'll live vicariously because I could NEVER wear that color. It would clash with my head. But it will look great on YOU!

    I think the extra keyboard is ergonomic, Tina.

    And now I have van envy. My kids are too young to 'watch while I write', but I seriously love that fold down seat area. COOL. Mobile office! I would probably end up storing groceries there...

    And I'll be the bazillionth person to say how much I love the 1K1HR group! Stroke of brilliance!

  8. Just this morning I used the "while waiting at the doctor's office" snatch and grab suggestion.

    I have many many times used my two 15-minute breaks at work to write--unless I'm really struggling with a scene, I can usually write about 250-300 words in 15 minutes. Though more often then not, I use break times to wade through tons of research.

    We don't have Panera here in AZ (at least I don't think so) but I love to occasionally go sit at Chick-Fil-A and write. Their stores are always so neat and clean, the staff pleasant, it's just a nice place to write.

  9. Lovely attire, Carol! :)

    You are a writing machine!!!

    Thanks for starting the #1k1hr FB group. I NEVER use the twitter version now. :)

  10. Hi Carol! Thanks for explaining the 1K1HR group. I saw it and even joined the page on Facebook, but was afraid to post in case I didn't reach the 1000 mark. Now I think I may try it. :)

    I'm with Tina, why the external keyboard?? More comfortable? If this is how you pour in 13,000 WPD, I may have to invest in one.

    Oh, yes. LOVIN' that pink dress.

  11. Carol, thanks for the suggestions. This week, I learned I can get up early like Ruthy when grandmother duty calls. I learned my word count is around 500 per half hour. I learned my husband remembers I told him my goal is 70,000 and he is keeping tabs. Nothing like a supportive spouse.

    For health reasons, I am restricted in the time I am allowed to spend typing. Oh, the days when I could spend all day and into the night typing with barely a break. I miss them. Speedbo has been a great motivator to work around my restrictions.

    Your phone suggestions are wonderful. I can send dialogue via my phone which has a wonderful voice to text feature. Hadn't thought of using it for grabbing words. THANK YOU! Yes, I am shouting that one to the heavens.

    I have learned for me it is about getting words in AND carving the time out. My 2500 daily goal translates to five thirty minute writing sessions with at least an hour in between. So my office is the best place for me.

    The three Rs help a lot too.

    Reward - Thirty minutes in the AM when I am fresh. I use the new Seekerville posts as incentive. Type 500 words and I reward myself with good words of encouragement, breakfast and Helen's coffee.

    Reduce - Cut out other non-writing related typing. Why type words on Facebook status updates when I could be writing dialogue? My email has decreased too. I am still a FB addict but I have cut down, really.

    Ruminate- If I am not typing, I am thinking. I can get more words out if they are already in my head at the moment I sit down at the keyboard.

    Thanks to you for such a wonderful post. Thanks to Helen for the coffee.

    Peace, Julie

  12. I want to know what shade of pink you are wearing. Hot? Carnation? Blush? Must have the deets please.

    Peace, Julie

  13. I love it when our guests bring their cheerleaders! Welcome, Kristy. Can we SHARE the amazing CAROL (who will let me have the black dress) today??


  14. I guess I'm going to be odd duck here and say I love the purple one.

    I have to have an external keyboard for my laptop because I wrote so much with it my keys were falling off.

  15. Purple, I especially like how it fades at the hem. Eighteen year old son likes the pink. And now we both really need to go to bed but I had a nice talk with him tonight.
    I lost what I had typed even though I know I saved it and this weekend I am going to a couples retreat with my husband ( well I should hope SO!) and next week our daughter and fam are coming so I will probably not get to write much. But that is all okay. I am just re writing and finishing a book I started um something like 18 years ago.
    Good job with all of it Carol, I have been looking forward to seeing what you had to say.

  16. Thank you for the great tips, Carol - and the reminder that daydreaming about our stories (while very important) won't get those words on the page! :) The past few days I've devoted time to other things, including reading... (thanks, Mary Connealy for distracting me with the very enjoyable Montana Rose, LOL!). Anyway, hoping to actually get some words down on the page tomorrow (Friday)!


    P.S. That black dress is lovely. :)

  17. Eek! Love this post, so much good advice that I needed to hear. I have to start using your trick of sneaking in time for more words.

    *LOVE* there dresses! All of them. Although, I must say in advance, dresses will not be the requirement for our writing retreat, maybe something more along the lines of pj's....

    And Kristy is 100% right, I can't wait to go to your first book launch!

  18. My favorite place to write is in the church. Not during service. (smile) I take my laptop and external keyboard (consequences of spilled coffee), set up a small table in between the altars, and confiscate a chair from the platform.

    I also keep a notebook and scribble a few words during services too.

    Carol, thanks for starting the 1k1hr facebook group. I haven't had a lot of time to spend there lately but when I do, I Velcro a kitchen timer to my office door along with a "1k1hr" post it. My kids and my husband know that interruptions are not allowed.

    Helen, I'm with you on the distractions. Although McDonalds sounds quieter than a 4 hour road trip with thirty young people. I'm packing for a weekend youth conference.

    The dresses are gorgeous but the black is my favorite.

  19. Melissa, you started a fashion trend! I'm going with purple too.

    Oh for the days when I could have worn such a gown. Skin's too old now. ;0

    Carol, I may have said this here before but I've become such a master at writing in the "snatched times" that now I have difficulty concentrating when I have long stretches.

    I used to love to write while my daughters were at dance class. I'd grab a cup of coffee and a cookie and write away (longhand) in the back room while they danced out front. Then there was the half hour I'd snatch between when I got off work and they got our of school. Loved that coffee shop with the window seat. Alas, it's no longer there.

    Then there were the days I sat and wrote in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden while they played farmer in the Children's Garden.

    With space at a premium in NYC, there aren't too many coffee shops that would let me sit there for hours like you do at Panera. ;(
    But I actually write well at home, especially early in the morning.

    Happy SPEEDBO Friday. I'm so jealous of Tina's day off.

  20. Oh - if you're looking for some food inspiration today, I have a recipe for a Tropical Shrimp Salad over at Yankee Belle. Easy and delicious.

  21. Hi Carol,
    I'm leaning toward the purple dress for you. It's grown up without being too serious. MOO.
    I'm forcing myself to spend a little time on my synopsis each day. Right now I've got 2865 words on it.
    My new WIP is up to 13568 words.
    My son is coming home from college for spring break. He's hoping to spend time with other friends at home too, so I may find some time to write this next week.
    Otherwise, I want to spend as much time with him as I can.
    Thanks for sharing today. I enjoyed it, and now I'm craving Panera.
    Have a great weekend!
    Jackie L.

  22. Oooo, the pink dress is divine! I love it! I couldn't get away with wearing it, but I absolutely love it!

    Can I just say my jaw dropped to the floor at your incredible word count numbers? Seriously, I am so impressed. I must be lazy.

    I have a question for you. Do you outline before you start so that you know where you are going in your writing? I would think to move along that fast, you would have to have a pretty good road map. Maybe not...:)

  23. Good Morning, Carol,

    Lovely post from a fashionably dressed woman!

    I really depended on 1K per hour when I was writing my third book last year.

  24. Carol, great post! And how fun to have you on the OTHER side of the Seekerville sign, LOL!

    Lots of great ideas here. Oh my stars, you are the mother of writing invention. This makes my corner of the kitchen table pale in comparison.

    You've learned to do what you gotta do. Good for you!

    I'm loving the Panera buffet. Cinnamon Crunch bagels... Oh, yum!


  25. Carol's rubbing elbows with the cool kids????


    Dagnabbit! Missed them again! Just like high school.

  26. Terrific post, Carol. My muse has begun to reappear after three long years of divorce-induced silence. I'm trying to take advantage of any time I can squeeze out of a day. Had an 1100-word day yesterday. Of course, last Friday we had tornadoes and I had a 0-word day.


  27. Oh, and I use an external keyboard too. Typing on a laptop is brutal for me since I'm so used to a regular keyboard.


  28. Carol, love those dresses! May I borrow the purple one? You've got great taste in clothing. :)

    Oh, loved your post, too. :) You gave some wonderful ideas for upping the word count. I hadn't thought about the doc's office before. Great idea!

    I always bring my computer to my kids' appointments, and to karate (which I'll be doing later today). When we have breaks (like spring break), I hire a baby sitter and go to a coffee shop for a few hours. Being in a new place helps my brain to kick into gear.

    One other thing I've found helpful (as a plotter) is to plan out where my story is going ahead of time. Then, I can just sit down and write. And write without stopping to figure out where I'm going next.

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  29. Morning Carol, Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for posting with us. I'm with Ruthy. Where are the cool kids? I missed them too. LOL

    What great ideas to get those words in. You must have followed me around one day, I get so much done waiting in those lines and at the doctors office. Everyone else is complaining and I go "Yeah, time to get some writing done." That's why the Alphasmart goes everywhere with me.

    And you're so right. Those long drives in the motorhome are perfect times to write. (While dh drives of course. But even when I drive, my mind spins away.

    Yum, the panera spread is too delightful. Thanks for the goodies.

    Have fun today.

  30. Hey, not that I don't love Erica (and she knows this) but our post on 1k1hr was actually Donna Alward because I discovered it when I was checking out hosting Romance at Random from Donna's group blog and there was 1K1HR...

    So I gotta give her credit Vetsch. And HEY, someone already stole your name and MY PICTURE so we have to be nice to Donna. Because she likes us!


    I love stopping in over there. And I've been remiss this week because of blogging and sick kids, but I've got facebook back up and running!

  31. Definitely pink.

    I'm with Helen and some of the others. It has to be quiet. I've tried the library and Hastings. Both places I wind up just watching people and ease dropping on their conversations or glancing through books. (I know, I shouldn't ease drop...but people are so funny.)

    I write in my bedroom, messy or not, on my laptop. Set the kitchen timer for 21 minutes, hurry to the restroom, and fill my water glass so I can get in a full 20 minutes. Take a 10 minute to several hour break and then go again. After I get my first 20 min. segment out of the way,the rest come easy.

    After a few months I plan to up the time to 30 min. segments.


  32. I'm partial to purple, but all the dresses are gorgeous! :D

    Great blog, my Missouri sister! I carry a little 4x6 notebook in my purse that I pull out to jot down lines or notes for an upcoming scene. Most of the time, I get my word count in at home while the big boys are off to school. I can also write while in the thick of things, though there are also times like last night when I get in a few words during commercials.

    My SpeedBo count is at


    but I have to take the day off today for hubby's birthday and Winter Jam with the family. :-)

    Happy Writing!

  33. EEK! I knew I should have double checked the #1K1HR post on Seekerville! I so associate it with Erica [she's one of the cool kids btw ;)] because she's the one who introduced me to it on Twitter [okay - I was cyber/Twitter-stalking a bit and saw her post about it... ;)].

    Anyway - thank you all so much for the lovely comments! I'd planned a day of next to nothing so I could hang out here all day but have to take the 10yo to get her glasses fixed before school so I'm getting ready to head out for an hour or so but then I'll be back and par-tay!

  34. Carol, great to have you on the dark side of Seekerville!!! ;-)Fun post! Thanks for terrific ideas for squeezing in writing time. Impressed with your productivity!

    Love all three dresses, but the black is my favorite.

    I write at home, mainly because I can't type fast on the laptop. Never occurred to me to take an external keyboard. Is the pull of chores the reason you go to Panera?


  35. Did somebody say Tropical Shrimp Salad?

    *sprints to the Yankee-Belle Cafe*

  36. Great post! I've been having an awesome week writing. Working on a wip and it has kept flowing all week long.
    Jamie Salisbury

  37. CAROL!!!! Love, love, LOVE you, girlfriend -- you are SUCH a hoot and ALWAYS make me smile!! Now I ask you, how appropriate is it that you live on Jester Street?!!

    GREAT BLOG, my friend,and shhhh ... do NOT open my lower deck up to anyone else!! I have enough problems writing with all the squirrels, Cooper Hawks, deer and turkeys distracting me as it is. And no, I am NOT talking about Ruthy, although if she were there, she would be QUITE distracting, I guarantee you!! (Just teasing, Ruthy-kins ... about the "turkey" part, not the distraction. We all know THAT'S true!!).

    I SOOO admire you, Carol, for your drive and stamina with writing. Gosh, by the time you get published (in the not-too-distant future, if I have my guess), you're gonna have more books written that first year than I have my whole career. Sigh.

    Happy weekend, all, and Carol -- get back to work ... ;)


  38. Hi, Carol! Great post! Boy, you sure have that "have laptop--will travel" thing down pat!

    Like you, if I really want to crank out the word count away from my desktop and there's a place to put it, I take along a lightweight, full-sized keyboard. I hate typing on a tiny netbook. I also have what's called a "vertical notebook riser" by 3M that I can set my netbook on and it elevates the monitor to a comfortable level.

    I've gone to parks to write at a picnic table while I eat lunch, but have never gone to a restaurant. Wasn't sure how that would be viewed by owners and waitresses. Do you only go there during slow times so you're not taking up a table that would normally have a high turnover of paying customers? Or do you just eat A LOT and tip BIG?? :)

  39. Thanks for the heads up about #1K1HR facebook page. I'd never heard of it... even though I'm friends with many of the authors already involved. It would be great to have such accountability. :D

  40. Carol, fantastic encouragement to use every minute during March!

    Love it, especially your make-shift office in the back of your van.

    Kids play; Mama writes. Win-Win. Everyone's happy.

    You're Southeast Missouri? I lived in NE Missouri, actually Kirksville, when hubby taught ROTC at what was then NE MO State University. Now it's Truman State. Long, cold winters but great people with warm hearts.

  41. Most Tuesday, I'm at our local Panera's with my cp...

    Recently, the eatery started limiting wifi over lunchtime. After 30 minutes online, they cut off service.

    Evidently, they don't want folks lingering over their computers when customers need a table.

    CP and I eat as we work on hard pages instead of computers. Surely, they don't want to get rid of us. :)

  42. That would be most TuesdayS...plural.

    (Hope the Grammar Queen doesn't spot my typo!)

  43. Umm, Debby? NE Missouri? Long, cold winters?

    Honey, you ARE a southern gal ;)

  44. Rats -- didn't know this was a dress up affair. It's jean day at work! And my last work day for a whole week so I'm a tad giddy with the wonder of it all.

    I want to know what people at Panera (which I never heard of before until Seekerville!) think of you hunkered down there all day. I'm thinking how J.K. Rowling created Harry Potter in such a place! Do you tell them you're writing a book?

  45. I'd have to go with the black.

    Great ideas! Thank you, Carol.

  46. Okay - I'm baaaaaaaack! [said with the inflection of the guy at the end of Independence Day when he flies into the big weapon dealie before it shoots green light and kills everyone]

    The guy couldn't fix 10yo's glasses but he was able to do a better temp fix than my white medical tape - AND they're under warranty! So they've ordered a new pair of frames and we'll be all set. /whew/

    Okay - now, onto comments...

    HELEN: I can't write in quiet. But I can't write with huge distractions either. So I try to sit in the back with earbuds. So proud of you for your ability to focus on one project and finishing!

    JAN: The cool kids sit at the Orange Rhombus table - or so I'm told [right, Erica?] - What about blinds or curtains to block the window when you need to get serious? And earplugs if you don't like music etc to drown it out. So glad the 1k1hr group is helping you out!

    TINA: You can borrow the dress. But I want it back. Cuz I <3 that dress and wish I could pull it off! I've used it in a WIP. Or two. :D

    And thank you, dear friend, for inviting me! You totally made my year! And it was only January!

  47. I LOVE Carol - and I'm all about the pink and foofoo Congrats on your Seekerville blog post. WOOO!

    Don't have a MS that qualifies for an edit, so leave me out.

    I LOVE pick up lines and doctor appointments for writing (and I use one of those spiral things usually LOL). It's amazing how much you can get written in those "in between times."

  48. KRISTY!!!! Novel-sister of my heart! Thank you so much for stopping by today [and for posting links too!] I probably need to get out a pen and paper to track the dress preferences... Hmm... So glad you're in 1k1hr with us! Your encouragement means so much to so many! And for those of you who don't know Kristy - her name will be gracing your bookshelves before you know it too!

    Virginia: Uh, we're operating under the delusion that I'd actually look something like that if I were to wear those dresses... I <3 the stow and go seats! We've only had the van since Dec and I LOVE that part of it!

    BK: Good for you! And uh, AZ has Paradise Bakery. Same thing. Different name. We, uh, won't mention how much research I did into that to find a Panera alternative there - because it was KEY to chapter 1... And Chick-fil-A? Yum! [Wonder if you go to the one owned by my old boss...] The problem for me going to CFA is that I know too many people [worked for the owner of this one for about 5 years].

  49. Carol,
    I so needed this today! And love the dress. My Speedbo has hit a Speed bump when I injured my back last week. I have a June 1st deadline and miles to go on current manuscript. I'm considering a writing retreat for an entire week in May and perhaps some little ones along the way if I can swing it.

    Blessings to you!

  50. ERICA: So glad to have you over there! Glad it's been a help! And can we all sit with you at the Orange Rhombus table? Cuz that's where the cool kids sit ;).

    NATALIE: Don't be scared of us! We don't bite [well, unless Ruthy's around - then you gotta watch out!]] I'll post on the external keyboard in a bit :D.

    JULIE: Up early?! /shudder/ I'm a night owl and think it should be illegal for the day to start before about 11 in the morning... OOooo! Voice feature! Good! I do have DragonDictation [or something like that] on my phone but it only records for about a minute at a time. But I never use it. I may have to. Good for you working around your limitations and finding what works for you!

    JULIE: Uh... pink. Carnation, pink?

  51. I'm voting for the black dress. Love it. Can I also vote for the other dresses? :)

    Carol, why do I want to say you have a day job too? When do you get everything else done? I'm really amazed.

    I joined the FB group a few days ago because right now I don't tweet. I used it last night for the first time, and it was great, especially when the teenaged boys behind me started talking about who they took love advice from. I thought, nope, can't stop to listen to that. Time's a-ticking!

  52. Carol, sweetie, I've always loved that picture of you in the pink dress.

  53. Great tips, Carol, and congrats on the Seekerville blog. Very cool!

    I'm amazed at how fast you produce copy and that you know how to hook up your computer, mouse, extra keyboard, etc without help, lol. Can't tell you how many times I've gone somewhere to write and ended up returning home because I couldn't figure out how to get my electronics working. Someday.

    I like the black dress, btw. And thanks for the Panera bear claw. Been ages since I had one. Yum...

  54. The thing with Panera is (btw, there isn't a panera within 50 miles of me) if you sit next to the pop and coffee...and the bathroom...the two seem to be you have to pack up your computer and all that other stuff everytime you... ahem... powder your nose?

    These are daunting questions.

  55. Wow, Carol, are you the Energizer Bunny or what??? You could give Ruthy a run for her money, that's for sure! And Julie, too!

    I have never mastered the skill of squeezing writing into mini-sessions. If I don't have at least a couple of uninterrupted hours, I can't seem to get my brain focused.

    On the other hand, I often use waiting-room time or longer car trips to brainstorm. I'll just sit there thinking about my wip and see where my mind takes me.

    As for the dresses? I'm going with the black. It's just too, too classy! THAT'S what I want to be wearing if I ever get the chance to walk across the RITA stage at RWA.

    Of course, by then I may need a walker and rubber-soled shoes.

  56. Have any of you seen Die Hard Four? The kid ... the young man ... in that movie was a computer geek and he had this keyboard he could roll up. All floppy plastic and he carried that keyboard with him rolled up in his pocket and he'd snap it out and hook it up and he could get a full sized keyboard with anything, including a smart phone or whatever.
    Do those really exist?

  57. Also wanted to add I LOVE Julie Hilton Steele's 3-R approach!




    That's a great way to make the most of the writing time you DO have!

  58. Laughing with Jan...yes, anything under 60 degrees and I'm cold.

  59. Great post! I'll vote for the purple dress - it's my fav color with pink and black right behind! You can't miss with any of them!

    I always carry a pad of paper with me, and I often take notes at stoplights. I also use the 15 minute timer for writing. I'm amazed at your word count. You're my hero! ;-)

  60. Mary, you have to write with a partner so she can watch the table while you powder your nose.

  61. The folks at our Panera's know we're writers, and they haven't complained yet.

    Although they did change the wifi rule. A subtle hint perhaps?

    Some years ago, I was in a group that met at Atlanta Bread Company. We gave them free books so they loved having us there.

  62. You look stunning in all the dresses, Carol!

  63. TINA: Kristy rocks! And yes, you can have the dress. For today. ;)

    MELISSA: I love the purple one, too! Okay I love all them! On my old laptop, I had rubbed off at least half of 2/3 of the keys. When I sent it in to get fixed under warranty they replaced it. By the time the now-4yo spilled milk on the keyboard, about 1/3 were partially rubbed off again... :p

    MARY: Good for you for rewriting a book from nearly two decades ago! That's wonderful! As for losing what you wrote... ugh. I think we've all been there [thank God for auto recovery!] but someone [maybe it was here on Seekerville - you learn all kinds of random stuff around here...] told me about an author - a big name author whose name we'd all recognize - who writes her rough draft, deletes it, and starts over. And then writes her final draft [or mostly final anyway].

    The mere thought of it gives me hives, but I believe it'll work even better when you rewrite it!

  64. I was wondering the same thing, Mary, cause if I left my computer unattended at a restaurant table, I don't know that it would be there when I returned from the little girls room - not in Chicago or the 'burbs.

  65. I'm with Myra. The black dress is a RITA dress. For sure.

  66. Waving to Marilyn!!!

    We were praying for Huntsville during the tornado last week, Marilyn. Glad you're okay.

    Congrats on the word count. YAY, you!!!!

    Go SpeedBo!

  67. AMBER: One of these days they're gonna figure out a way for us to 'think' our words onto paper. You know how fast we could write then?! We could CATCH UP to Mary!

    JESS! My other novel sister of my heart! Seriously, Seekers/Seeker friends - God brought these two women into my life in the coolest of ways and I thank Him for them daily! You've had a rough couple weeks writing wise and we all go through times like that. You'll come through it better than ever!

    BRIDGET: Ooo a church! Good call! I've, uh, written during service. My pastor knows this. Mostly because when something gets stuck in my head and I have a flash of brilliance [hey - gotta take 'em where you can get 'em!], I tend to obsess over it so I won't forget it. If I write it down, then I know I won't and I'm free to focus on pastor again. Glad the FB group is helping you, too! You have my sympathies for the road trip ;).

  68. Carol,

    The purple ... at Panera ... I dare ya :-)

    I gave up writing in public places. I'm too much of a people watcher. I am also easily distracted by the cadence of the different voices, noting the sounds and thinking how to describe them, on and on.

    Long waits, I read. Short waits, I mull over where I am in a scene and play out the next part in my thoughts. That, however, can lead to cars honking to make you aware the light has turned green.

    And 16,041 Speedbo words? Excellent! Cheering you on.

    Nancy C

  69. MARY: I think I mentioned earlier... we're operating under the shared delusion I could actually get away with wearing those ;). Those are some great ways to grab some extra words! I saw a thing on the news not too long ago about Starbucks in NYC not allowing people to stay too long and outlawing? computerish devices... I can understand that. Doesn't mean I'd like it ;).

    JACKIE: Good for you! Synopses are scary! Though Linnette certainly helped us earlier this week! Definitely spend as much time with him as you can, but surely you'll be able to grab a few minutes here and there :). Make the most of them! I know you can!

    SHERRINDA: My fellow finalist! No jaw dropping. It's the only way I can make up for the days with a big ole goose egg ;). Outline?! What is this outline of which you speak?! Seriously, I'm not QUITE a total pantser but I'm pretty close. I have a pretty good idea where it starts, where it ends and maybe a stop or two in the middle, but that's it. I just... go... ;) Half [or more] of the fun for me is the discovery as I go.

  70. ROSE: Three books! YAY! 1K is awesome - for the challenge and the encouragement!

    RUTHY! Cinnamon crunch. Sigh. Wish we had a Panera in my town. It's not FAR [about a 15 minute drive] but too far to go JUST for one of those /more sighs/. There was only 15 of us in my graduating class, so I always rubbed elbows with the cool kids, but I never really felt like one of them. Erica's Orange Rhombus table is where they hang out these days - or so I'm told :D.

    MARILYN: SO good to see you friend! We, uh, won't mention how long we've known each other [or how we know each other, kay ;)]. We're both writers. Guess that's enough of an explanation :D. So glad your muse is coming back! We'd love to have you join us in 1K1HR! Even if you can't devote a whole hour, you'll find someone to join you :).

  71. JEANNE: Of course you can borrow the purple! Great idea with the babysitter! I'm so not a plotter but I do sort of let my imagination run wild :).

    SANDRA: I have an AlphaSmart but for some reason it doesn't work well for me. I think I'm gonna give it to my 10yo to write on [you know /sigh/ the one who has article coming out - getting paid for writing before Mom]. One of these days I want to have a motor home to roam around in :). It's gonna be a while though...

    RUTHY: Thanks for straightening me out. In such a kind way :).

  72. Hey, girleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

    I have a few questions. Okay, so when you are at Panera with your laptop and keyboard, what do you do when you have to go to the bathroom? Do you leave your stuff on the table? Pack it up and take it with you in the bathroom? I love to write away from home, but it's the details like this that cause me problems.

    And I think I like the purple dress best, although all three are stunning.

    I so need a netbook. But I love my laptop. I lug it around with me all over the place.

    Carol, if Jessica and Kristy like Jane Austen and plan to indoctrinate you to like her too, then they must be awesome girls! I love them too! (I already love Jessica because she loves my book! LOL!)

    Great post, Carol! Great ideas! You rock!

  73. LINNETTE: Thanks darlin'! Commercials are a great time to pick up a few words. Jillian says you can use that time for a bit of exercise instead. Like during Biggest Loser. Usually, I'm more likely to hit Facebook. Or Email...

    JANET: So THIS is the dark side! My 10yo has a T-shirt with a picture of Darth Vader holding cookies and it says "Come to the dark side. We have cookies." We have cookies here yes? As for the chores... Good thing you can't see my house ;). I'm a horrible housekeeper, always have been. What usually happens is I don't write because I feel guilty writing when laundry is calling my name, but I don't actually do the laundry either... It's the opposite of a win-win situation... ;)

    JAMIE: GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love it when that happens!

  74. Carol, these are fantastic ideas!!! Some I'd never even thought of. I love your van office! LOL I'll have to try it in the back of my Expedition. :)

    You love lovely in your evening gowns, dahling! :)

  75. Oh, and YUM on the cinnamon crunch bagels!! With honey nut cream cheese. YUMMO!

  76. Purple. Definitely the purple.

    I haven't really mastered "writing" in short bursts, but I'm really good at brainstorming during those times. Like last summer, when I was waiting in District Court (for my job!) for a case I'd been following to come up for almost an hour. In that time, I managed to outline the entire final third of of my novel and write the closing scene. I often brainstorm or write notes when I'm in boring board meetings, too. (Shh, don't tell!)

  77. AND Kristy loves Audrey Hepburn! DEFINITELY a kindred spirit.

  78. JULIE!!!!!! DH so didn't even want to look at this house because there was no way he'd live in a house on Jester Street! But then we sold our old house and were getting desperate. And we LOVE this house so... There we go. Ruthy? Distracting? No ways! While you may be right about 'more' if you add up all the pages... you win hands down!

    GLYNNA: I forgot to send the pic of me and the 10yo working at McD's while the little kids played ;). I CAN type on the netbook if I have to, but it's NOT my preference. I have two external keyboards [the ergo and a regular one] and love them. I love my Panera and they love me :D. Working on a post for my blog today about it [will post the link when it's done]. I usually get there about the time lunch is finishing up and stay until close. I eat a big dinner [see it in the pic there? :p] and am nice to them.

    And name characters after them ;).

    That story is one of those 'you can't make this up' things :D.

    DAWN: You're in, friend! So glad to have you!

  79. Wow you are a fast writer:) Thanks for sharing all your tips of where's and how's to get the word count in! I definitely need to get mine consistently up there:-)
    Thanks for the tips and inspiration!
    Would love to be entered for a 15 page critique...I think that would really help:)

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

  80. DEBBY: I'm actually in SW MO about 10 miles from Springfield. DH's cousin went to Truman! That stinks about cutting it off :(. At least it's only during lunch? I'd probably get more done without the wife ;). Could still check 1K1HR on my phone but less Facebook distraction :D. When I get in the zone, I'm good but until then...

    JAN: LOL!

    KAV: Y'all can keep believing I'm wearing the dresses and not sitting at home in my fave pajama pants and a long sleeve T. Because that would be wrong... I didn't tell them about the books at first, but as I got to know them, I certainly have.

    NATASHA: I <3 the black. /happy sigh/

  81. I'm all over the pink dress for my Rita debut.


    Total girl.

  82. JOANNE: Love that you use a notebook :D. I usually read in the pick up line these days because it's the few minutes I let myself. If the book comes inside, that's all I get done for the rest of the day! So I left poor Julie locked in my van for about 4 days over the weekend/early this week. Then I brought her in and spent several hours finishing Sean and Emma's story ;). Write now Jill Eileen Smith and Sarai are locked out there. Then it's gonna be Kristy's MS I'm reading or Mellie. Or... so many books, so little time.

    JILLIAN: So sorry about your back :(. Had a rough time last month when I had surgery on my nose end up more complicated than it should have. My 'blessing' in it is that I'm not on deadline. A whole week writing retreat?! That sounds like heaven on earth!

    SALLY: Sure - vote for as many as you want ;). I do have a day job. I work six hours a week. Most weeks. :D I teach two classes at a community college. This week I was really good about writing between them - about 1k both days in 1:45 [that's not ALL I did during that time, but a netbook sits nicely next to the copy machine when you're waiting for 30 sets of 8 page, double sided, stapled handouts to print off ;)]. SO GLAD you're finding it useful!

  83. Carol! I know what you mean about arrived. When I was invited to blog in Seekerville I told Ruthy I almost wet my pants, LOL.

    I vote for the purple dress. The reverse fade is really pretty. And I would SO love a critique please of the new WIP which WILL be finished by 3/31! I love how most of you can write anywhere. I've never had a laptop and my phone isn't "smart" hehe so I don't know if I could. Seems like it would help a lot. Maybe my birthday gift to myself this summer =)

  84. Oh come on, Carol. You posed for those pictures, admit it!!!!

  85. MARY: You are too sweet, my friend. Don't tell Ruthy I said that.

    LYNDEE: Thank you friend! A wireless mouse should stay hooked up as you travel and a USB keyboard SHOULD just plug in [of course, it doesn't always work that way :p] - we won't mention how many times that copy has to be edited before it's worth reading...

    MARY: Well, keep in mind where I live. I'm not in NYC or Chicago or wherever. It does make me a bit nervous to leave my stuff and run to the restroom, but I've never had a problem with it. I try to sit near the restrooms so I'm gone the least amount of time as possible. When I sit near the front of the restaurant [where that pic was taken] it makes me way more nervous. I do take my purse with me, but not the rest of it. I lock the computer though :D.

  86. MYRA: I love the black /happy sigh/. I do best with a couple uninterrupted hours, but do try to catch snatches when I can. Pepper was the master of that over NaNo. She's my hero there.

    MARY: I've seen it once. Yes. They do exist. The reviews on them are split good and bad. I looked at getting one for my netbook or to take with me to Panera since the ergo takes up so much space and finally decided not to.

    MYRA: I love it too!

    DEBBY: You and me both, friend!

  87. REBECCA: Aw - you are so sweet! I've not ever been anyone's hero - not that I know of ;).

    DEBBY: See my note to Mary up there. I stalk the good booths. If someone is sitting there eating, I find a table nearby and wait them out ;). Or I've been known to move after a few hours. The day I was at the front table [in the pic], I missed moving twice :(. Once I ran into someone I knew, talked for about 2 minutes, and someone snagged the table before I got back there. Missed it by 5 seconds /sigh/. Check out the post I'm working on for later to see how my Panera and I get along ;).

    NANCY: Sweetie, If I actually looked like that in the purple dress, I so would wear it to Panera :D. And that's where the earbuds [or ear plugs come in]. One day I did listen to an entire convo about how we were being taken over by aliens... but once they started talking, I couldn't miss the rest of it ;).

  88. MELLIE! Mary asked the up above, will let you scroll to see :D. I use my netbook and laptop for different things. If I'm going to WORK, I take my laptop. If I'm just out and about somewhere, I usually have my netbook as it fits in my purse. Jessica and Kristy are awesome - and yes, Jess and I did discuss you over the weekend :D.

    MISSY: Would love to see you with an Expedition office! Of course, I'd love an Expedition. More room for the kiddos to spread out ;).

    STEPHANIE: Good for you! Even if you can't write [either because you don't have the stuff with you or it just doesn't work for you] during those snatches, brainstorming is a great alternative!

  89. Hi Carol:

    You sure hit a home run on your debut post! You covered the bases! Excellent post!. Isn’t Tina great to work with? Such talent and she works so hard too. Just wonderful.

    Which dress is best? That depends: do women dress for men or do they dress for other women?

    The pink dress is so captivating I wanted to buy the book! At first sight I thought it was the cover of your new book! It looks like a RIVA cover. Besides that’s an award winning photograph in and of itself. Did you notice the composition? How the woman’s arms make triangles to match the triangles in the background structure? The whole composition just flows in perfect genius. BTW: any woman in that dress is going to own the room she enters. I think I love her.

    GLYNNA: You rascal! “High Country Hearts” literally has a ‘happy dance,’ happiest ever, HEA! After reading the Epilogue I would have happy danced, too except it was three in the morning and I would have woke up my wife. For the last third of that book, putting it down is not an option! I don’t care how late it is! Be sure to enter “High Country Hearts” in every contest. The judges will certainly remember it. Talk about a last impression. That book will sell a lot of your other books.

    TINA: Your wrote: “I love it when our guests bring their cheerleaders! Welcome, Kristy.”

    Can’t you be a cheerleader if you would have been here anyway? : )

    LINNETTE: You’re an inspiration on Speedbo. (9,652 words!) Keep the reports coming in. I’m still working on my endless ninth chapter and I need the inspiration. (I might finish the 9th today. Did you know that many great composers never got beyond their 9th symphony?)


    I think you covered the best writing ideas so I’ll mention a few of my favorite pre-writing ideas.

    1. when in church, think how the lessen of the sermon could be used in a story.

    2. before going to sleep, program you mind to dream the next scenes in your WIP. This always puts me to sleep within three minutes but sometimes I come up with good ideas.

    3. Keep a mini digital recorded in your car for traffic jams. Record fresh ways to express your exasperation. There’s nothing like coming up with descriptions of emotional states when you are actually in those states. Never waste a tantrum. Record the emotion in your voice! : )

    4. If you are in a dull, endless, business meeting, actively take notes writing down anything that might be of use in a story and note the expressions and body language of the participants. (Also make the speaker think your are highly interested in the talk. A speaker will never, ever forget that. You win points, you’re paying attention, and you’re getting paid to work on your WIP. Not bad.

    I think the difference between a writer and a non writer is awareness. A writer will even daydream to a purpose. Store those words up in your mind for your next parade of pantserism.

    Well, I have to go work on my 9th. : ( I wonder if Beethoven and Mahler felt this way. : )


    P.S. Emeritus copywriters have a license to use more than three exclamation points in a post.

  90. Hi Carol,

    Great tips! You just prove it's all a matter of determination.

    I also use a separate keyboard, because I started get carpel tunnel symptoms from stretching up to reach the laptop.

    So now I have a separate keyboard on a desk with a tray that pulls out. MUCH BETTER!

    My speedbo is not going well for some good reasons (proposal request!) and some bad reasons (sick :( ) And my plot is stuck :(. But I plod on! Any words is better than none - as your post so aptly proves.


  91. LORNA: Thanks for dropping by! A 15 page crit from a Seeker? That'd help anyone!

    NANCY: I think I sent about 10 text messages before I even responded to Tina ;). I told hubby/BFF 'I know you guys won't truly get this, but trust me when I say it's huge. I GET TO BE ON SEEKERVILLE!' They were appropriately excited ;). You can always use that notepad thing with the spirals some people resort to... :D

    MARY: Sweetie, you are good for my ego ;).

  92. Great post!

    The 1K1HR on FB has really helped me on my word count. It's also a great group of writers.

    Tuesday all three kids have dental appointments and I will be bringing my laptop. We do virtual school and spring break starts on the 19th. That means I have a whole week of writing time coming up very soon!

    Now it's time to go write before I fall behind :)

  93. VINCE: Thank you for stopping by! You've got some great ideas! And lots of them!

    SUE: My other fellow finalist! Using a separate keyboard = love for me. No carpal tunnel, but love the ergo!

    JAMIE: So glad we can help you out over there! Love having friends to hang out with! YAY! for spring breaks and dentist visits! As long as there's no cavities of course ;).

  94. Okay - now that I'm caught up...

    The External keyboard...

    I can use a laptop just fine, and do often [someone up there mentioned the laptop keyboard causes them problems]. My problem comes in the laptop itself. I'm so hard on them. I replace my laptop every 15-18 months. Using it on your lap, especially if you're in bed or with a blanket or heavy clothes etc. can make it overheat and causes the fan to work a lot harder. By using the external keyboard, I leave the laptop on a table/tray thing where it has plenty of room for the fan to work properly.

    That's at home.

    At Panera, I use it because I like the ergo keyboard a lot and I'm more comfortable with it.

    In the van, etc, it's because it's easier to set aside quickly [or throw aside if someone were to get hurt etc] if the need arose.

    So that's why the keyboard.

    Now if I could just find my non-ergo keyboard to put in the office I've been working hard to get put together. :p Can't find it though... /sigh/

    I don't use it all the time, but often enough :).

  95. Well that is interesting on the Ergo keyboard. I have one for my PC but never thought of one for my laptop.

    Learn something new daily in Seekerville!!

  96. Why I Love Panera

    Off to pick up the kiddo :). Be back in a bit to get some writing done and hang out with all the cool Seeker peeps.

    And change into the purple dress ;).

  97. Mary, did Carol answer about the computer and the powder room?

  98. VINCE:
    Awe, thanks! Your words are such an encouragement! I'll definitely keep you all posted. Today's hubby's birthday and Winter Jam with the kiddos tonight, so this day will end up a wash. Tomorrow is my writer's meeting and then out to dinner with the family for more birthday celebrating. Then, I never write on Sunday unless I'm home sick. So.... Monday will be a huge catch up day for me. But I will report back in. :D

    I discovered something about myself during SpeedBo and I'm wondering if this is normal for anybody else. Since I'm writing Tiffany's story pantster style (didn't have time to get an outline in time for SpeeedBo), I'm finding that I'm doing a lot of telling in this first draft. I realize I can go back later and fix this, but I'm wondering if its a normal thing for anybody else. Especially you pantsters.

  100. Oooh, Carol. Very pretty dresses. Very floaty. Glamourous. Ethereal.

    Thanks for reminding me of all the creative ways I got the writing in during NaNo. Been struggling a bit during Speedbo, but I just have to open myself up to the possibilities, no matter where I am.

  101. Great post, Carol!

    I borrowed my older dd's laptop to use so I can sit in the van while my youngest is at dance. Last night I got a lot of work done. It's amazing how productive I can be when there aren't any distractions at home.

    I'm considering going to our shop during off hours to write.

  102. Awesome post, Carol! I'm trying very hard right about now not to be jealous at your ability to write 13K in a day. The most I've done is 11K and I don't really wish to repeat that if I don't have to. Phew.

    Great post! I wanna be able to wear one of those gowns too. Sigh. In my novels, right!?!! :D

  103. Linnette, I think our basic writing comes out when FLYING by the seat.

    I write dialogue mostly when doing this.

  104. Linnette, I do that sometimes... And then go back and dump that part.


    But it sets my head and mindset in the right direction. So it works for me.

    Vince, you are such a noticer. I love that about you. Ergo keyboards.... Sheesh, what I don't learn in S'krvl. I just changed to a higher stool.

    That worked and it was free.


  105. DEBRA: Yeah - it's up there somewhere. I do leave my stuff. I'm comfortable with that in our area though I wouldn't be in lots of other areas. And I'm very careful never to be gone more than a couple of minutes [and don't leave the restaurant]. I even stalk the 'good' tables to reduce the amount of time I'd need to be gone. And take my purse with me all the time.

    LINNETTE: Have fun at Winter Jam!!

    PATRICIA: Welcome to 1K1HR! You should be good to go over there! :D I wish I had reasons to dress up like that, but alas, I don't. Not often at all [/cough/fifteen years/cough/].

    CHRISTINA: Good plan! Go for it!

    And now... to try to get some words of my own in ;). Need about 3K today. Just gotta figure out HOW my heroine ends up talking to the hero... /sigh/ Silly kids. If only they'd done the right things years ago. But what else would you expect from a heroine with the last name Connealy? And hero named Harders?


  106. Hey girl!

    Very proud of you!!! I think you need an 'after hours' blue dress with red and yellow highlights and some sharp looking boots!

    You go, girl! Miss you and I love you!


  107. CASEY! Those 10-13K days are rare - I'm lucky to get one a month in a Speedbo/NaNo type month. Most of the time a 2-3K day is stellar. And you're right. By the end I feel like I ran a marathon and don't care to repeat it for a while ;).

    TINA: Me too!

    RUTHY: Higher stool works too ;). I bought a folding bar stool thing for the classroom when I was pregnant with #3. There wasn't a good place to sit which I needed to while I taught. My other classrooms all had a convenient table/desk at the front. Anyway, I felt so bad the next year [baby was born before the semester was over] when I went into the room and took my stool back. Poor teacher guy had been sitting on it... But it did have my name on the bottom... ;)

    I heard a rumor my hubby might be checking this out. He's heard me talk about Seekers/friends for 18mos now so he could be all lurky in the comments for a while today ;). He may or may not even make a comment. That remains to be seen :D.

    And now... word count.

    Unless someone else has had something to say. And then I'll do that. And find a piece of candy for the 4yo. Ruthy, how do you get them all to lay down at the same time? Cuz he's so over naps /sigh/.

  108. MISSY!!!!! Leave me in tears why don't ya?! How are you?!?!?! I haven't heard from you in EONS! I need an email girlfriend! Or a phone call! Or a nice long chat session! Love you too! {{{{MISSY}}}}

    Oh and boots? Uh, yeah. Not if I actually want to be able to walk... ;)

  109. SQUEEEEE!

    Here you are, Carol!! Tanfastic... And here comes May with her FAVE toy, ready to play too!

    Congrats on being this side of Seekerville.

    Great tips and MY don't you look lovely! Good on ya!

    I must discipline myself to adding some of these to my repertoire. Great resource, this post. Thank you so much!

    *munch munch* And thanks for the goodies too. YUMMO!

    My Speedbo has been lacking several days this week since working the election, but it's about to kick into high gear. Stand by!

  110. Glanced through comments (no time right now) and saw Vince comments.
    OH MY is this brilliant!

    4. If you are in a dull, endless, business meeting, actively take notes writing down anything that might be of use in a story and note the expressions and body language of the participants. (Also make the speaker think your are highly interested in the talk. A speaker will never, ever forget that. You win points, you’re paying attention, and you’re getting paid to work on your WIP. Not bad.

  111. My lips are sealed, Carol. LOL!

    I'll have to pass on the 1K1HR invite. I don't perform well under pressure as last year's NaNo word count proves. I do best with a legal pad in a back booth at a cafe or coffee shop. For some reason I can't write at home very well.

    *Waving back to Debby*

    Hope to see you at the luncheon in May.

  112. Carol:
    Thanks! :D

    Sigh... glad to know I'm not alone. I probably won't dump it, but I'll end up totally rewriting it which amounts to the same thing.

    Thank you! I tend to focus on the dialogue, too. Whew! I'm so relieved to know you do that, too. Sometimes when I'm typing away, I forget the details and stop to try to fill in and that frustrates me and interrupts my flow. So, now I have permission to just write dialogue if that's what's coming and I can fill in later. :D

    (((Hugs))) all around! :D

  113. Thanks for the great inspiration and motivation, Carol. I'll be checking out the 1K1HR group.

    The black dress - Wow! Although all are similar styles (the slightly high banded waist which is so lucious), the black it has to be!

    Question: It seems all the requirements for prizes are for romance stories. Is that a Seekerville exclusive focus? I signed up for the Speedbo experience for the motivation and accountability, but I'm not writing romance. I'll keep at it, of course, but just wondered - would love to have a 15 page critique.

  114. Linnette,
    Pantser here, and I fall into that same trap when I'm writing off the top of my head. I keep writing though. Then I go back to that scene and rewrite it 'properly.' Sometimes I just need to flow with the thoughts. Those scenes are almost like a road-map of what I'm trying to say. I find them easy to convert, as long I concentrating.

  115. Linette - you brought up an interesting point I hadn't thought about - that of writing a lot of telling during the first draft. Yes, we know telling is a no-no eventually, but it occurred to me just now that "telling the story" first allows you to get the STORY down so you know where you're going. If we keep in mind that we will have to rewrite, the showing can come in the rewrite.

    Others commented on a habit of writing a lot of straight dialogue without fleshing it out with setting and action. Same situation. Write what comes naturally, knowing the rewrite will show what needs to be adjusted.

    Both of those thoughts really motivate me today, because my inner editor trips me up even though I've vowed to ignore her. Tough job!


  116. And VINCE, Mahler is my all-time favorite composer.

    I liked your list of ideas as well, recording impressions during meetings, sermons, traffic, et al.

  117. Thanks for the reminder! I've written articles and essays....budget your time like you budget your money...yada, yada, it's time to practice what I preached to others!

    Still a bit intimidating to get back in the swing of actual writing but I'm actually looking forward to the weekend!

    Great post!

    Please enter me for the critique.

    Good luck & God Bless EVERYONE at Seekerville!

  118. I think the pink dress is the prettiest....
    And Hi Carol!
    I had a horrible story block last month -- I wrote and wrote and wrote in circles. Finally a phone call with a friend unlocked the problem, and now the words are flowing... but so is the Editress Within.
    I'm working hard to wrestle her to the ground to get all of the story out this month!
    Thank you for the tips!

  119. Vince, did anyone answer your question?


    Okay, I'll answer you. IMHO, women dress for other women.

    Unless, of course, the woman is single and dating a cute guy. Then she wants to impress him. :)

  120. Marilyn,
    I won't be at the Huntsville Readers' Luncheon this year. Big family event that day. Plan on me for 2013 though!

    See you at RWA?

  121. Waving to Pamela!!!

    YAY, GRW members rock!

  122. So Carol, which gown HAVE you decided you like best (hoping for your leftovers) and tell us about the msc you are working on unless Genesis entry prevents you from doing that.

  123. CAROL: My Novel-Sista with Jess!!! Heart you lovely women of God!

    As for Panera? I have been wondering what that place looks like. Now when we're texting, I can picture you in your writing spot. (P.S. Was that broccoli cheese soup? That;s what I always get.)

    MELANIE: Wait a minute... Just clicked PURCHASE. Okay. Reading The Merchant's Daughter as soon as it's on my doorstep. You'll have a new fan! : )

    RUTH: I love your name. (Had to say it - I have always loved that name!) And alas, I missed hanging with the cool kids too. Glad I get to hang with cool peeps now in #1K1HR! : )

    TINA: Where are you at - on Facebook? You are a sweetheart! (We'll have to share Carol and Jess Keller with the greater reading public soon, but that's okay. I am still going to be the first in line at their book singings!)

    VIRGINIA, MARY, MARILYN: I enjoy your comments on here and bumping into you on #1K1HR

    It's the weekend, friends. And that means... Binge Writing! : ) I will be on #1K1HR all weekend and maybe, just maybe, complete my WIP with your word count help. (It's at 80k and I am going to 100k to finish.) Yay Jesus!

  124. Wow! Love all the advice. I can't believe you can manage 13,000 words in one day! What? My goal is usually 2,000 words a day and sometimes that still doesn't happen.

    Good luck to you and everyone on your Speedbo goal.

  125. Me???

    I think it tells it all.

    Born into a rich Italian family, but kidnapped and sold by the gypsies to an pirate. This is why Jack and I get along so well (Sparrow). Finally crawled back to claim my crown. Well the rest is history.

  126. Since I had no formal education I am still struggling with spelling.

  127. Welcome to Seekerville, Carol! I love your gowns!!! You have great taste.

    I wish I was a writing machine like you are. If only I could write faster. I type fast enough, but the words don't always flow. So it's a slow brain problem. Sigh.

  128. First. I feel like the creepy kid on the playground because my picture isn't working. I promise I'm real. I do have a picture linked to my account but I'm not on blogger so maybe that's the issue?

    Two: Carol has told me a million times to come to Seekerville and I always put it off, now I feel like a crazy fool because this is the most encouraging and fun group of people ever. I'm now officially in love with Seekerville and will be a daily visiter. Maybe someday the cool kids will ask me to sit at their lunch table (I'm not above bribing...I make killer cookies, cakes, and brownies...just saying)

    Three: Melainie Dickerson, I love you. Since I posted on your wall I've convinced 4 friends to order and read your books. One is already done with both (she's a librarian so quick reading goes with her territory) and we talked the other day for over an hour about how amazing you are. She ordered the books for her library too. Tell us the SECOND your next is available because I'm hooked.

    Four: Kristy is amazing. You should all know her. I can't wait to pre-order my first copy of her book and go to her first (and 50th) book launch. Carol too! I'm going to have shelves dedicated to my Novel-Sisters! They're my roommates for conference and I can't wait (hope september comes quickly!)

    Five...I think that's all.

  129. Jess Keller, welcome to Seekerville!!! I stalked you yesterday! I had like five minutes free time and checked out your amazing blog. That Dorothy Love post was awesome and I am so making that strawberry cake and NOT sharing it.

  130. Tina! You stalked me! I'm so glad (where else would you hear that). Thanks for the welcome, I love it here already. And yes, Dorothy's cake (and book) are a must! I have recipes every Tuesday (I do love to eat). I already am planning a huge menu for when Kristy and Carol come to my house for our writer retreat

  131. Oh, and I never put in my vote for a dress!

    Carol - I'm saying the pink, although, I'm slightly concerned that the model is standing on the ledge of a building.

  132. See Carol, it's obvious the pink is the dress for you.


  133. Hi Ruth: you said:

    “Vince, you are such a noticer.”

    Why not? I grew up watching and hearing Yogi Berra make his Yogisms live and for the first time.

    “You can observe a lot by just watching”.
    Yogi Berra

    Hi KC: Philosophers are devious. :)

    Hi Lois: Mahler is also my favorite. Dvorak is second. Elgar is third.

    DEBBY: You are so honest. IMHO that’s the same thing every man thinks, too.

    Hi Linnette: Enjoy your weekend. My writers meeting was last Saturday. This weekend I’m writing full speed ahead. I hope to post some results.

  134. The black dress is the best one. Only 2700 words today, but I will catch up tomorrow. Thanks for the tips and helpful blog post today.


  135. Linette, I am the same!

    Carol, thanks again.

    Peace, Julie

  136. /waves to everyone again/

    Will be back in a bit but we're headed to Texas Roadhouse for dinner - spur of the moment thing :D. DH was very impressed with all the comments. He didn't read them though ;).

    Love you all!

  137. Hi Linnette:

    About your question on Pantsers telling more than showing in a speed writing situation: I asked this during NaNo about having a greater percentage of dialogue than normal. Many writers said they also wrote more dialogue during these events.

    I’m not a pantser but when speed is of the essence, I find that dialogue and telling move the story along with the least delay. Of course, it would be nice to ‘show’ by habit and not layering later. Maybe someday. : )


  138. Oh, Jessica, you are AWESOME!!! :-) Thank you thank you thank you for the word of mouth publicity!

    And Kristy!!! Hope you like the book!!!!!

  139. VINCE!! Sure am glad you didn't wake your wife up at 3 a.m. happy dancing even if it WAS because you liked the ending of "High Country Hearts!" Thanks so much for the "shout out!" :)

  140. CAROL - Your Panera sounds like a wonderful writing "hide out!" Love the naming characters after some of your "buds" there!

  141. KC! Thank you darlin'! Get that word count in! I know you can do it!

    MAY: bark bark woof woof bark woof bark bark bark

    LOIS: I think I got you all set up earlier. But I just got back from Texas Roadhouse and am a bit overly full... ;) Tina would be the one to ask about the prizes etc - seekers at seekerville dot net - Most of the info around here is good for just about any genre but I think all of the Seekers write some variation on romance [historical, RS, etc].

    LINNETTE, LYNDEE, et al: I'm the same way sometimes. I tend to go heavy on the dialog then heavy on the... whatever it is we call the non-dialog sections, then have to go back and break up the 32 pages where no one says anything... ;)

  142. PAM T: Sometimes it's so easy not to take our own advice isn't it? I list all these things, but I don't always do them real well either ;).

    PAM M: GOOD FOR YOU! Getting past the writer's block is great! A huge step in the right direction.

    KRISTY: Think I've got you and Jess hooked on Seekerville. I'm tellin' ya - this is THE place to be! The Seekers and Seeker friends are FABU! I just sent you and Tina a friend suggestion [okay, I sent one to Tina and Jess first because I thought she was the one who said that, but in my defense I read it on my phone earlier... ;)] You will LOVE Merchant's Daughter! and that was baked potato soup - my go to, but broccoli cheese is my backup because my Panera only has potato Mon/Wed/Sat. YAY for binge writing and 1k1hr here in a few :D.

  143. ANNIE: My goal most days is 1200-2000 but if I'm spending 8-10 hours at Panera, I expect at LEAST 1K per hour. Usually more.

    TINA: Sounds like a book to me. You should so write your life story ;).

    CARA: Thank you, dahlink! I type fast and think fast. What I didn't mention here is that while I can do 70K of a rough draft in a month, it's often in such rough shape it takes another 3-4 mos to edit :p.

  144. JESS: Creepy kid? Nah! I'm tellin' ya! This is the place to be! And there is no support group for Seekerville. Because who doesn't want to hang out here?! And she does make great brownies and Oreo balls. She sent me some after my surgery. Isn't she sweet?! Mel's next book is available this summer. Yep. Snow White's story. Forget the title though :).

    And yes, Jess, Kristy and I have formed a mutual admiration society. In case anyone was wondering ;).

    Seriously, I thank God daily for bringing these two amazing women into my life!

    VINCE: I love that quote! It's so true. And so obvious that so many people miss it!

    PIPER: Great word count! Good for you!

  145. GLYNNA: My Panera is awesome! I just wish it had a room you can reserve but it doesn't :(. There's a couple others that do, but not 'mine'. I go to one of the others for our local ACFW meetings and then usually stay there to write afterwards and it's just not the same /sigh/.

  146. Great post, Carol!
    Yay for you and Seekerville... and wordcounts.

    And lunchbreaks (for two reasons :-)
    I don't think I'll ever match your wordcount numbers. Wow! Way to Go! I can't even imagine getting a Panera break.
    Maybe that's for...well, another time in my life :-)

  147. Oh, and I like the black dress.
    Oh la la

  148. Okay - the pink dress it is! Added up the comments and it was close, but the pink dress won ;).

    VINCE: I totally meant to comment on this part and then missed it somehow:

    The pink dress is so captivating I wanted to buy the book! At first sight I thought it was the cover of your new book! It looks like a RIVA cover.

    You are totally my new best friend! No, no book contract and so no cover, but I will have to use the dress in a book sometime soon so that it COULD be the cover ;).

    TINA: That means you get the black dress, dahling!

    The new MS? It's not in Genesis [just started it March 3 after all...] so:

    Travis [with the faux-hawk, named after a manager at my Panera] works in the mall under the Towers on 9/11. He's not at work though because of some news he got that morning. Three months later, he shows up on his parents' doorstep with his newborn daughter and no clue how to take care of her.

    Fast forward 15 years and Travis Harders and his daughter Kimmie are doing just fine. He's the drama/theater teacher at the local high school. She's just had a boy ask her to prom and has a strong secondary role in the spring musical. He's thinking about asking his girlfriend [Kristy Keller...] to marry him.

    But then... Abi Connealy shows up. Kimmie's birth mother. Out of the blue. The last time Travis saw her, she was 18, he was 21. They were at a coffee shop on Long Island, she went to the powder room and sent a note telling him the baby in the stroller was his. And now she has a request that absolutely blows their minds.

    That's the prologue and first couple chapters. Think I'm on Chapter... 6 right now. I know Abi doesn't sound very sympathetic there, but I'm hoping by spending some time in her head people will sympathize with her. She was 18 and felt she had no choice and she'd rather leave her baby with the father than put her up for adoption.

    Okay - off to research the games my sis just bought for her new xbox 360 because they can't figure out what they're doing...

  149. Great post, Carol! My vote is definitely the PINK dress*smile* (of course that might be because my favorite color is pink--but I do think you'll look lovely in it!). Really enjoyed all your great tips for getting those words in. I'm probably the only writer who's never written in a coffee shop, LOL. But since we have a Starbucks less than 5 min. away from my house, I think I just might give that a try! Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

  150. Great post, Carol!

    I vote for the pink dress, hands down! It's stunning.

  151. 1011 for the day takes me to 16048 for the month/manuscript. Not as much as I'd hoped but I'll take it given the unexpected nap/dinner out :). Plus hanging out here a good portion of the day ;).

    PEPPER! My twin from another mother! So good to see you! You totally inspired me with your sneaky word counts in November! Go you!

    PATTI JO: I doubt you're the only one, but you should try and see if it's for you :). It's not for everyone, but it's worth a shot!

    And PAM! Thanks for stopping in! Love you!

  152. Carol, you had an amazing debut!!!

    Thank you so much for being our guest and inspiring us on our Speedbo journey!

  153. And thank you from the bottom of my diva heart for the black dress.

    I'll wear it when I accept my Oscar for best supporting role of a Seeker.

  154. Wow, Carol, you sure know how to get the word count in. I'll take some of your tips. Thanks for all that Panera food. We don't have one of those here where I live. Oh, by the way, I think the black dress looks stunning on you!!!

  155. Even though I like the purple dress, the black appeals to me more. I always look forward to escaping once a year to the Saint Davids Writers Conference where they have a retreat, and I'm always picking up a few words here and there waiting for the kids at the bus stop and sports practice and music lessons. I love the tip about your van, I never thought of doing that in mind, but I just might. :)

  156. Wow! This was so much fun to read! :) Love all these tips.

    The pink. Definitely.


  157. Vince:
    Thanks for the info! It's nice to know I'm not the only one! :D

    Lois Hudson:
    Thanks for the encouragement! Very insightful comment! I'm feeling much more free to just write.

    How interesting! Heavy dialogue and sections of heavy non-dialogue. Hmm... We'll see if I end up doing that, too. I think I'm more like Tina, though... heavy on the dialogue.