Monday, September 3, 2018

WRITER’S CONFERENCES – Are they worth the time and expense?


WRITER’S CONFERENCES


      Are they worth the time and expense?





JEFFREY DEAVER 


            Before judging the value of a conference, it’s important to decide what you want to get out of it. If you’re a writer and want to receive tips on writing, you need to find one that offers educational workshops.
Many conferences are geared to readers. The Bouchercon is probably the most popular of that kind. I attended one in St. Louis in 2011, and I did enjoy it, but there were no educational sessions for writers. Almost every breakout session consisted of a panel of writers discussing a particular topic. Panels of writers tend to be more entertaining than educational, although it’s possible to pick up some writing tips.
The conferences I enjoy the most are ones that offer learning experiences, those that teach and inspire. I attended Killer Nashville last week and it was a wonderful experience. The quality of the breakouts was excellent.
For an extra fee, I attended a 2-hour workshop with Jeffrey Deaver. What an amazing experience! In addition to being one of the world’s best thriller writers, Mr. Deaver is an excellent teacher of his craft. Having the opportunity to meet and learn from Mr. Deaver made the conference the best I’ve ever attended.

Considerations before investing in a conference:

1.     Is the conference geared to writers or readers?

2.     Are there breakout sessions that are educational for me?

3.     Is the conference specifically for writers of my genre?

4.     Is the conference geared mainly for traditional writers or does it include independent writers?

5.     What do I, as an individual, want from a conference?


Dear Readers,
I must apologize for the huge gap in my blog posts. No excuses. Just a promise to keep in touch in a timelier manner.
Hope your life is moving in the direction you want,
Marla

Monday, February 26, 2018


Two months into the New Year -  And I'm still fat!






By the end of February resolutions have already drifted from our minds. We’ve joined gyms, signed up for diet programs, started the latest fad diet, with no noticeable results. Or, just as bad, took off a fast ten or fifteen pounds only to gain it all back in a week or two after giving up.
What happened to our fresh resolutions?
A resolution, from the word resolve, is defined as firm determination and sounds way too much like restriction.
How about goals? Unlike a resolution, a goal is a something positive that we want to achieve, not a restriction. Positive is good.
The holidays, along with all the food temptations that come with them, have been over for weeks. It’s time to resume normal eating. Normal? Normal might be defined differently for each of us. For me, there is no “normal”. I’m either closely watching my caloric intake, or overeating, seldom anything in between.
It is time to dust off those New Year’s resolutions and turn them into manageable goals. A goal can be as simple as a mental picture of something you want to accomplish or can be a formal outline for a goal’s accomplishment. The most important thing is to choose goals you are excited about achieving in order to motivate you to complete them.

Some goal guidelines:

1.    Write them down. Give them the added formality of typing them and printing them out. You might want to have a separate list for your goals for the week, month, and year. Anthony Robbins advocates a five-year plan—think about what you’d like your life to look like in five years—it’s an eye opener!
2.    Have your goal sheet somewhere you will see it every day. I keep a set of weekly goals on an index card next to my computer.
3.    Don’t try to do too many goals at once. Pick two or three, or even only one if it is something important to you.
4.    The more difficult the goal, the more necessary it is to have a list of action steps you will do in order to achieve it. Divide the steps into long and short-term solutions.
5.    Procrastination can be overwhelming, thus emphasizing the need to have increments toward the achievement of your goal. Begin with that baby step—but begin!
Many years ago, I was stuck in a job I found unfulfilling and I made a goal for the year to change my career path by taking advantage of the tuition reimbursement plan my benefit package offered. I wanted to go back to school for my Master’s degree, a huge task that involved a lot of work just to get started. I took an immediate first step and contacted a university for information about the programs. It was a small step, but the catalogue they sent made the goal real and feel more attainable.
I began classes that spring and graduated three years later.
Make that first step a small one and make it today. You’ll be surprised how it inspires you to keep going.

Dear Readers,
An accomplished goal does not happen by throwing a coin into a fountain and making a wish. If you tucked those resolutions you wrote on New Year’s Day into the pile of detritus on the top of your desk, that’s most likely where they‘ll stay—buried.
Whatever your goal, keep it in sight and take a first step toward its completion. What you focus on becomes more and more real to you.
I wish all of you a healthy and amazing new year!

Marla







Friday, January 5, 2018

The holidays are over.
 Now what?




My last blogs were designed to encourage myself and others like me get through the holidays without gaining weight—or at least only gaining a pound or two. Since most of us have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight in 2018, I thought talking about how to accomplish that goal would be helpful.
An accomplished goal does not happen by throwing a coin into a fountain and making a wish. One of the best ways to achieve a goal is to use creative visualization. Athletes use the technique to get in their optimal zone by picturing a winning season. What you focus on becomes more and more real to you. If you tuck those goals you wrote on New Year’s Day into the pile of detritus on the top of your desk, that’s where they‘ll stay—buried and forgotten.

Using visualization:

1.                    Twice a day, assume a relaxed position, close your eyes and picture what you and your life will look like when you’ve accomplished your goal.

2.                    Make sure to include a mental video of you making the steps necessary for success.

3.                    Picture yourself overcoming the obstacles that are sure to fall into the path to achieving your goal.

4.                    Incorporate as much sensual data into the picture as possible.

5.                    Remember, don't forget that what you focus on becomes more and more real to you. Rerun that picture of your goal in your mind throughout the day.

Whatever your goal, keep it in sight and take a first step toward its completion. join a support group, begin an exercise plan, start a food diary. Make a list of the steps involved in reaching your goal.
If I’ve learned one thing about losing weight, it’s this—no one method works for everyone. Part of your goal is finding a plan that you can live with.


Dear readers,
      Thank you for following me through this series of weight-control blogs. I am an author of suspense novels, and also a woman who has battled with my weight since I was a child.
      Many of us who love to read and write have an even more difficult time, as our favorite pastime does not burn calories!
Wishing you a happy, healthy and successful new year,


Marla