Tag Archives: Kristen Lamb

“It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish!”

This is what I try to tell myself everyday as I work on my manuscript. Don’t worry Karen about that piece of crap you’re writing. What really matters is how it comes across at the finish.

It isn’t really a piece of crap. Well, maybe it is. Perhaps it may not be. No, it’s a piece of crap. Oh, I’m sure it isn’t. But then again, what if it is?

Since I feel so overwhelmed by this whole process, I thought I’d try to draw some inspiration from NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and the Daytona 500.


Oh, what do I get myself into?

I wrote a story a couple of years ago and sent it to an editor for an opinion. Ha! That was the brainless idea of the century. Okay, maybe a decade. But, what was I thinking? I crashed and burned. I got creamed. My little heart was smashed into pieces. Thankfully he did it with humor. But in the end, I was bleeding. It was a painful experience, really. I was a horrible mess. I thought I’d never see daylight again as I licked my wounds under the duvet with a box of Kleenex.

I had made every mistake in the book a new writer makes. Only I didn’t know it. The editor never told me. I felt like an idiot and for months I was devastated. I lost my confidence. And it took away something else from me—the willingness to just let it rip, to let creativity flow and allow myself to make mistakes. I then became my own worst enemy.

Yet, as time went on, I regained a measure of confidence. I started writing again. But this time, I was more prepared. I equipped myself by reading a number of craft books. Then off I went with vivacious verbosity, laying the foundation for another story.

I was halfway through when I took a craft class from Bob Mayer. During the class I had an Aha moment. In one of his lessons, Bob asked the question, “Do you finish what you start?”

It caught me off guard. I was not prepared to answer his question. Why?

Because when it came time to asking myself that important question, had I really finished what I had started? No, I had not.

After my defeat, I put my focus on another project. I had run away from the challenge–the challenge to finish what I had started. After all, my failure was only a first draft. Yes, I had sent a first draft to an editor.

Now I ask you, who does that sort of thing?

Me. 🙂

So, after finishing Bob Mayer’s class, I jumped right into Wana and Kristen Lamb’s Blogging for Brand class. I was now going to create my own platform. Yet, I didn’t even have a book to launch. But I was determined to make this work and gain experience.

During this time, I met a friend of Kristen Lamb who lives in England, Donna Newton. In fact, she was the first guest on my blog. After getting to know one another, she asked me to send over the bullet points from my first manuscript. After she read them, we had our first Skype session. And she was excited.

“There’s a story here Karen. But…”

What? You thought there wouldn’t be a but?

But she liked the story!

Yes, but…“you’re not showing it and I’m not going to let you get away with it! In order to do this, it needs a lot of revision.”

Then she asked me, “Will you be up to the task? Or do you want to throw the manuscript into the drawer?”

The drawer? What is the drawer really? Is this a code word for crap?

Well, I had to ask myself, what would Danica Patrick do?

It was only last year that Danica was forced to start in the back of the field after crashing during her qualifying race and was caught up again in a crash on lap three of the Daytona 500.


But did she give up?

No. She forged ahead. And since she made her debut in the same race last year, Danica Patrick will now lead the field to the green flag for this year’s 500 after qualifying at Daytona International Speedway. Danica posted the fastest speed at last Saturday’s two qualifying practices and she’s the first woman to win a pole position in Sprint Cup Series history.

People may say what they want, but this woman driver has earned her way to first position.

Now I’m not saying that this is my quest. It has never been my dream to be the fastest car in front of the pack. But if I can duplicate Danica’s persistent drive and attitude, I may just have a chance to write a pretty good story.

So I have to keep reminding myself, the race isn’t over yet. I’m in it for the long run and “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!”

So what do you think? Do I have what it takes to make it over the finish line? Or should I shoot myself now and get it over with? To what extent have you had to revise an MS, past or present? What sage advice was given to help pull you through the process?

Thank you so much for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


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Guest Post by Julia Whitmore

I am so excited to have Julia Whitmore here today. Many of you may remember Julia from last October when we took a blogging class together with Kristen Lamb.

Julia started out as a writer and says she somehow just ended up in law school.

Somehow? How does one just end up in Law school Julia? 🙂

Then afterwards, she married and devoted her time towards motherhood.

Sounds familiar, right?

Yet, it wasn’t until the youngest child headed off to college that Julia decided it was time for her to return to writing fiction. And then somehow she found herself published in the Oregon Quarterly magazine.

Somehow? Whatever you say girl.

Julia lives with her husband in beautiful Eugene, Oregon, where other than writing, she grows apples, pears, blueberries and lots of flowers. It is Julia’s passion for nature and the environment that inspired her to write this post today.

Now before you read on, I must tell you that I had planned on writing about a similar subject, that was until I read this post on Julia’s blog the other day. And wow, was I ever impressed. So impressed that I wanted to share it here with you.

Why? Because it is a very important subject that involves the livelihood of those involved and the future of our wellbeing.

August McLaughlin has touched on this subject, but this post comes from a different side of the issue: The farmer and the worldwide community that consumes their food.

So without further ado, here’s Julia!

Thank you Karen.

Gas vs. Grass: Canola War in the Willamette Valley


In one corner, canola growers.

How lovely and benign-looking. A canola field.

In the other corner, seed producers, opponents of genetically modified crops and fresh vegetable farmers.

In Oregon it’s a long-standing feud.

“Reservoir Dogs” Mexican Standoff

For the last decade or so, Oregon’s Department of Agriculture weighed in by prohibiting canola from being grown without special permission on 3.7 million acres in the Willamette Valley.

Why? Canola likes it here a little too much. It’s a good rotation crop that doesn’t need to be watered, which means it grows like, well, a weed. It takes off quickly, and happily cross pollinates with other members of the brassica family, including grasses, radish, turnip, mustard, rutabaga, cabbage. This is fine for farmers who need to give fields a rest with an alternate crop, or are looking for a quick buck with an off-season crop. It’s not so good for the $32 million a year specialty seed business, which depends on 100% pure and untainted seeds.

Unlike most agricultural states which focus on a crop or two en masse, say corn or soy, Oregon farms produce over 200 crops, many grown for seed, which is internationally famous for high quality and purity. If you’re a fan of saving seed species diversity, this valley is heaven.

Canola is a problem for organic farmers. About 90% of the canola grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides. Canola’s prolific cross-pollination means that unintended crops end up with GM genes, and organic farmers lose their licenses if their produce is crossed with a GM crop. The USDA doesn’t make a distinction between GM and non-GM canola, so Oregon’s Department of Agriculture doesn’t either, and offers no relief.

GM canola’s tendency to spread beyond its fields also causes problems if farmers re-plant tainted seeds, even if they do it unknowingly. See Monsanto v. Schmeiser. Why? Because once a company creates a genetically modified plant, all its offspring are the private property of said company, forever and ever. It sounds a little like me taking credit for my son’s senior college project, but whatever. Farmers have been sued. Courts have ruled in company-creators’ favor.

From the incomparable Willamette Valley Cartoonist J Compere

If all that isn’t enough, canola attracts cabbage maggots, is susceptible to stem cankers and black mold rot and other insidious plant illnesses, which then spread to other crops.

This issue, like all issues, is complicated. There are different kinds of canola, which is actually a variety of rapeseed, used throughout history for lamp oil, but until recent incarnations, too bitter for food. Recently developed strains are now usable for animal and human food, produced from the seeds. The name in fact comes from the abbreviation Can. O. L-A (Canadian Oil Low-Acid).

Anyway, on with the story. Canola’s well-documented problems were taken note of by Oregon’s Department of Agriculture, and a relatively small slice of the state was set aside as canola-free. All is well, right?

Enter biofuels. Rapeseed oil, it turns out, works pretty well as a biofuel, and so the pressure to open up more acreage to GM canola heated up. Permits for test plots in Rickreall and Baker were issued, with 3-mile protection zones set up around them, and all went well, according to the canola growers. Then the Department of Agriculture tried to pull a fast one.

On Friday, Aug. 3, just before 5 p.m. the department sent out a news release announcing that they were going to “refine” (i.e. shrink) the no-canola zone. Temporarily. (Making it temporary allowed the department to sidestep public notice or comments.) Planting to begin immediately.


Oregon, however, is not a state of slackers. Within days, seed growers, farmers and environmentalists filed suit against the temporary ruling. Over 10,000 people signed a petition asking the department to hold its horses. 23,000 people world wide signed the petition, which gives you an idea of how much people care about this, everywhere.

Given the immediacy of the question, the Oregon Court of Appeals granted a stay to the temporary rule (i.e., in favor of the no-canola plaintiffs),

which will be in effect until …

… the newly drafted permanent rule, which makes the temporary “refinement” of the no-canola zone immutable, takes effect. Follow all that? Translation: canola will be allowed into the protected zone unless in the coming month public pressure convinces the Department of Agriculture otherwise.

As with so many of the things we care about these days, the jury is out. Will canola be grown in Oregon’s protected agricultural zone? Does the need for fuel outweigh the need for untainted seeds and crops? Can canola be grown safely in areas where cross-breeding crops are grown? To be continued …

Whoa is right Julia! Thank you so much for bring this to our attention.

No, thank you Karen. And thanks to everyone who came by to read my post today. As you can see, I feel very passionate about this subject, but I feel it’s important for all of us to be aware of this. It doesn’t just affect us locally, but this is somethng that affects the whole world.

I’ll say it does. Thanks again Julia. And please keep us informed as this situation plays out.

To read more great posts by Julia Whitmore, please click here.

So what do you think? Granted, it was a pretty heavy subject today. But how does this affect you? Were you aware of this problem? Are you concerned about how GM foods may affect you and the health of your family? Do you think that GM foods should be labeled? What steps do you and your family take to eat healthy?

Thank you everyone for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


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ROW80: Kicking and Screaming!

Why do I still say Kicking and Screaming?

Besides loving that caricature on the left,

I have never liked setting goals!

Someone last week encouraged me to keep putting myself out there. And as that person may not have been referring to my ROW80 goals, I think this is an essential way to move forward to meet that challenge. 🙂

So here we go…

The dreaded check-in

First I’d like to say a big thank you to all who have dropped by to support me with my ROW80 goals! You guys are fabulous! Really, I mean it! Since Jenny Hansen didn’t get a chance to stop by last week to kick my butt into gear because she is so super busy (No duh!), I kinda feel like I got away with something! But I can’t expect that to happen two weeks in a row! So I best get busy! LOL!

Let’s take a look at how I did last week, shall we?…

Goals for Round 1:
1- Work on my current WIP five days a week.
Uh, nope. Nothing happened again. Then I read Kristen Lamb’s post on Friday, which I must say was one of the best blogs she has ever written! “3 Steps to Freedom—Grab Hold of Your Brilliant Future!” I’m sure the post wasn’t written specifically just for me. I’m mean really who am I? But oh boy, did she ever make me think. Whew! I’ve been so overwhelmed with everything lately that I haven’t known where or what to start working on. Well let’s just say that her post really helped.
2- Check in with Donna Newton at WWBC once a week.
Yep, talked to Donna about my dilemma with my WIPs.
3- Participate in my online class to help authors balance writing and business with Bob Mayer.
This week Bob gave us an assignment that was an emotional brain burner. Really Bob, it took me days to get through it. I wanted to take my time and get the most out of the exercise. It was about our personality traits and how we can get in our own way and keep ourselves from succeeding. Amazing stuff.
4- Blog at least once a week.
Well what do you know? Yep, I posted on Wednesday and it was my very first Mash-Up! That seems to be a good day for me and I’ve received some awesome comments and support. Thank you all, I really appreciate it! 🙂
5- Visit and support 5 bloggers per day.
Check. Did that. There are some awesome blog posts out there. It’s nearly impossible to get to them all. So following Fabio Bueno’s advice, I set up a system. I took our WANA1011 class list with everybody’s blog site. I go down the list, one by one, and when I’ve finished reading a blog, I date it. That way I know when I last visited that blog. I’m trying to work through the entire list and visit everyone. Of course I’ve added others who were not in our class as I visit them.
6- Tweet at least once per day.
Check. Did that at least twice, if not three times per day. It doesn’t take that long. Ten minutes perhaps at a time. I like to skim through the columns to find tweets to RT. Again, it is my intention is to support others!

7- Exercise on my elliptical twice a week.
Well, uh…not much. I got on that thing on Monday and it felt great. Then the week fell apart. But at least I got on it last week, which is more than I can say about the week before. Baby steps. 🙂

So now I’m looking forward to a fresh new start to this week.

Whew, okay I did it. That wasn’t really so bad. And I’m not alone. There are others that are right beside me to help me along the way. So that I don’t irritate my wonderful supportive subscribers, feel free to delete my ROW80 posts if they start to irritate you. They probably won’t be all that interesting, unless…

Unless I can temp you all to join us over at the party at ROW80! Feel free to jump in anytime. See you there! 🙂

So what do you think? How did I do? I wasn’t able to meet all my goals, but are you all still behind me? Can I still count on your support?

Awe, thanks guys! I knew I could count on you!


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ROW80: Kicking and Screaming!

Why do I say Kicking and Screaming?


I’m way out of my comfort zone here! But okay, I’ll do it!

You see, I need to kick my rear into gear. I need to get back to novel writing and put some balance back into my life. My life—after Kristen Lamb.

Now don’t get me wrong. Kristen Lamb has my utmost respect as the Super Social Media Queen of the Universe. She really knows her stuff and I really loved her class. But…

I’m way out of sync and it’s time to whip myself into shape!

This sounds way too much like exercise. Do I really have to do this?

Okay, okay. Here it goes!

Here are my goals for round 1:

1- Work on my current WIP at least 5 days a week. In saying this I mean work at it like it’s my job. Do I want to put a word count on this? Uh, well…no. I know what’s normal for me and I’m happy with that. I think it’s a quality verses quantity thing. So this being my first Round of Words in 80 Days, I’m keeping it simple. Low pressure sounds good to me.

2– Check in with Donna Newton over at WWBC once a week. If more often I’m afraid I would drive poor Donna nuts. lol
3– Participate in an online class for authors taught by Bob Mayer. This should be good. I’ve taken a class by Bob before and I learned a lot from him. He’s teaching authors the business side of writing and how to balance both.
4– Blog at least once a week. (If I can post a blog twice a week, that’s great. But I know that I can at least post one blog. I’ve got Hubby’s spinal surgery coming up in two weeks and rehab, so I’m cutting myself some slack.
5– Visit and support 5 bloggers per day. I consider this a priority. I want to support the success of other bloggers!
6– Tweet at least once per day. Helping promote others on Twitter is another priority.
7– And because I mentioned exercise at the beginning of my post, this has to be an important goal. I’ve been walking a few times a week, but staring at my elliptical isn’t cutting it. So I’m making it a goal to get on that machine at least twice per week. This way I can whip myself into shape in more ways than one! Not that I’m in bad shape, but I know Hubby will certainly like this and I’ll feel better about myself!

Whew, okay I did it. That wasn’t really so bad. And I’m not alone. There are others that will be right beside me to help me along the way. So that I don’t irritate my wonderful supportive subscribers, feel free to delete my ROW80 posts if they start to irritate you. They probably won’t be all that interesting, unless…
Unless I can tempt you all to join us at the party over at ROW80. See you there! 🙂

So what do you think? Can I do it? Will I be able to meet my new goals with renewed zeal and exuberance? Are you all behind me? Can I count on your support?
Awe, thanks guys! I knew I could count on you!

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Guest Post by Angela Peart

I can’t tell you how excited I am for Angela Peart to be my guest. Like most of you, I was drawn to her gravatar on Twitter and Facebook. Have you ever seen anyone exude so much happiness within a single shot of their face?

Yet, I have learned there is much more to Angela Peart than simply meets the eye.

She was European born and raised in the country of Poland and now resides near Seattle, Washington while balancing her many responsibilities as a wife, mother and writer of Adult, YA and Children’s literature. She is a hopeless romantic, a self-appointed organic food ambassador and an environmentalist with a passion for watercolor paints.

A romantic organic environmentalist? Love that!

It can be no surprise that Angela prefers sunshine over rain, loves all types of music from Train to Chopin along with one of my personal favs, jazz musician Jesse Cook landing somewhere in-between. She has an exceptional flair for salsa dancing. Arriba! And on any given day she can be seen wearing her designer heels to the least of appropriate places.

Her son’s soccer practice? Okay, we won’t go there.

So with the everyday juggling act that Angela has to face, how is it that she is able to keep her focus and what has helped her to achieve her many goals?

Well with 2012 just around the corner, Angela is here not only to answer that question, but she is going to share with us her highly motivating formula for success!

So without further ado, I am thrilled to introduce to you, Angela Peart!

Thanks Karen and hello everyone!

As was mentioned, our lives can easily get in the way of our main objectives and achievements.
What I’d like to do is share with you what has helped me and many others to change that by
keeping us accountable while successfully achieving our goals.

What’s the best thing about it?

It really works…

ROW80 Straightened My Twisted Perspective on How To Achieve My Goals.

We all have goals. It must be in the human nature to realize what our desires are and to shape them into the quantifiable and time-targeted intentions simply called “a list of goals”. Some of us have a long list, while others might only have a few items on it.

Or maybe there is just this one goal that is strategically placed in front of other goals—we consider it most important for our immediate future. Perhaps we have a list of goals that are connected to one another, like stepping stones: the completion of some of them strictly depends on achieving the preceding ones.


Our goals are usually formed on a realization that our life is currently lacking something—a better job, a slimmer body, healthier eating habits, a fulfilling hobby, etc.

The list might include the goals that have formed simply because we have achieved this one specific goal in the past, but until now we haven’t attached any strings to it.

For example, let’s say Susie bought a gift certificate for Amy at a craft store. Amy, who has never been very crafty, went to that store and examined various items without really knowing what she should be looking for. Finally, some fabric caught Amy’s eye and she spent her gift certificate on the fabric along with some thread and needles (per the store clerk’s suggestion). Amy took all her purchases home, but she had no idea what to do with them. Susie brought Amy some quilting magazines to look through, and Amy decided that she loved the way the quilts look. So what happened next?

Amy had a goal!

Her goal was to sign up for a quilting class, which she did. But she needed a sewing machine. So her next goal was to save enough money for that purchase. This was Amy’s goal number one, and as you can see, it made it to her list because of the completion of her previous goal (taking the quilting class), which was also on that list because of another preceding goal—spending her gift certificate on something crafty.

This example shows us how we end up with some of our goals without even planning them ahead of time. Just like Amy in my example, we might end up with one goal creating the next and then the next and so on. Amazing how these things work.

A list of goals might be quite straightforward but the road to completion is often filled with many obstacles. Every now and then we throw our arms up in frustration and quit. Sometimes a goal slowly slips away from our focus and we conveniently “forget” about it. Other times we seriously try to achieve a goal because we know all too well that without completing it we might lose something we don’t want to give up. This is a “working under pressure” scenario that most of us know from experience.

I have set up all kinds of goals in the past—some of them I have accomplished, but some I have discarded for various reasons. I’m sure everyone has done their own share of both: great achievements and epic failures.

Then last summer I’ve heard for the first time about ROW80.

One of my WANA711 buddies Kerry Meacham was participating and posting updates on his blog. I got very interested in learning more and, after doing a bit of a research, I decided to join several of my other WANA711 friends who were signing up in October.

There is a bunch of us participating in the current ROW80 round, which ends on December 22nd.

I’m already planning to sign up for the next round, and my main reasons are explained below:

1. ROW80 is a simple way of structuring and working toward achieving our goals.

2. There is a certain amount of camaraderie and support among the participants.

3. By participating in ROW80 we naturally become a part of a fabulous, compassionate and inspiring writing group.

4. We put our goals (and a pledge to achieve them) on a display, which makes us accountable in the eyes of the other participants (and anyone who reads our updates). In my opinion, this is one of the greatest kinds of motivation.

Number 4 is my favorite part of ROW80 because if I am not held responsible for meeting some my goals, I might never achieve them!

Everyone who takes part in the ROW80 displays in their blog the official badge that looks like this.

There is also a hashtag of #ROW80 on Twitter where the participants not only post links to their updates, but simply socialize, exchange advices and words of encouragement.

Sometimes we set a goal that we truly believe we are capable of achieving but, in the process, we might learn otherwise. The reasons behind us not meeting that goal might be completely out of our hands.

Carrie Spencer’s post on trying to fulfill her dream to learn how to juggle is a great example of it. Carrie has discovered that she has a problem with depth perception—thus will not be able to ever master the art of juggling.

I also would like to share with you some of my ROW80 friends’ goals and methods of reporting their semi-weekly or weekly achievements or failures.
Check out Natalie Hartford’s list and her swanky calendar-based reporting. Quite impressive, isn’t it?

Gene Lempp is one of the ROW80 Round 4 sponsors. He only has listed three goals, but they are quite substantial. The first one is to participate in the NaNoWriMo by writing fifty thousand words and editing it. By the way, Gene was one of the winners of this year’s NaNo challenge. His other goal was to complete Kristen Lamb’s Blogging for Writers course, which he did. I highly recommend this workshop for every writer who wants to learn how to successfully build his or her online platform.

And last but not the least, the brain behind ROW80: the fabulous Kait Nolan! Make sure you visit her Blog and follow her on Twitter.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes on goals:

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint

Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.

Goals are dreams with deadlines.
Diana Scharf Hunt

You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.
Charles C. Noble

Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.
Fitzhugh Dodson

In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are.
Arnold H. Glasgow

May I encourage you all to keep setting your goals and to consider ROW80 to help you achieve them!

So thank you everyone and to Karen for having me here as her guest.


No, thank you Angela!

After this encouraging post I think we’re all ready to join you over at ROW80!

I know I am!

So what do you think? Do you create lists of goals? And if so, how do you stay focused on achieving them? Do you participate in ROW80? If not, would this be something that could help you stay on task? I would love to hear your ideas and stories of success and/or failure.

If you enjoyed this post, I encourage you to follow by email for future posts.

Thank you for your many thoughts and kind comments everyone!


And a big thanks to all my new WANA friends and all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!

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