My thoughts on preparing for conferences

A Quick Stream of Consciousness blog on conference prep

Read this list one bullet at a time – SLOWLY – in place of the bullet say your name

  • schedule a time within 7 days AFTER the conference to go over you notes to correct and organize – schedule one hour of every day you attend – you may need less – for this conference I have schedule 3 hours over two days the Tuesday and Wednesday I get back
  • Define Goals – Don’t be vague. Example – One of my goals this year is to send out 3 tweets a day. (I almost never tweet, like one a month)
  • Get an early copy of the program and  have a plan, but don’t force yourself to rigidly stick to it
  • bring a Tide to Go Stick
  • Hydrate – AC is a conference attenders biggest enemy. Rooms are cooled by removing moisture from the air…you do the math
  • Carry snacks – my go to snacks are apples, almonds and good granola bars (not chocolate bars)
  • Eat breakfast, I don’t care if you never eat breakfast, eat breakfast, Oatmeal or Fruit/yogurt/granola
  • Water, or a sports drink – not pop
  • Dental floss or dental picks
  • Try and limit your coffee consumption. This is VERY HARD, dare i SAY  IMFRICKINPOssible for me.
  • Deodorant
  • No aftershave
  • Antacid – I take Gavscon – that’s what I like
  • Power outlets are your friend
  • Don’t be afraid to say hello to a stranger, it may be Brandon Sanderson
  • Ask questions
  • Thank people, especially the volunteers
  • Take notes, there is no way you can remember everything you want to remember at the conference, find out if there are notes available for sessions.
  • Find the nearest local grocery store and stock your fridge
  • Napping is fine, use the alarm on your phone to wake you up
  • Laugh – enjoy the humor
  • There are two sides to writing – creative and editing – feed both sides of your writing at the conference – you will thank me later
  • Buy Books – bring cash – small publishers get more money in their pockets – get recommendations from the small publishers.
  • Take the free stuff, go over it when you get home
  • Expect to be super-saturated – there is nothing wrong with being overloaded with information, it will stretch your little grey cells

/End of the list

My goals: 3 tweets a day (already mentioned), volunteer at the conference (3 x 2 hour sessions booked), Eat healthy, Blog every day about the sessions I attend every day, thank Randy McCharles (Done!)

Back On The Band Wagon…

With the holidays and the Christmas workload over, its time to get back to serious matters – writing! First resolution is finished! A dedicated branded website – welcome to! (I promise to stop using ! soon!) Second goal, the bane of many author’s, being active on social media. I have decided to go with a facebook page and a twitter feed. More news as they get up and running. BUT, the links are there.

On the right hand side of the page you will find the current status of what I am writing. The intent is to develop this into a tracking tool to include more information. Right now it is a simple list.

Tanner Kindly – is the project that started this all. Still working on getting a first draft done

Orunn and Jothin were the result of NaNoWriMo

What you don’t know about is the YA idea I am working on. Here are the two working log lines:

  1. After a High School Teacher discovers one of her students has found a flaw in Einstein’s theory of relativity, she must protect him from a corporation that wants to control him and build the first faster than light starship.
  2. A math student’s GF is mysteriously killed after a science fair where he demonstrates a flaw with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Now he must decide to trust either the military or his father’s business with the secret of space flight.

I am also looking at submitting flash fiction and stories. To do all this requires a schedule. Fortunately, one of my son’s requires driving to volleyball practices. While he practices, I will write. This should work out well. (He is at practice right now!)

But my main goal is to write every day. There is no reason that I can’t get up a little earlier and write for 20 minutes. NaNoWriMo taught me that I can a couple hundred words in 20 minutes – thank-you Edmonton NaNoWriMo’s 

PS – the secret level goal is to get something published somewhere by January 6 2016. But don’t tell anyone its a secret!

Be Well – dcd

When you lose momentum

Life happens, we all know this truth. As a new writer, losing momentum has proven to be my biggest challenge, so far. Not “writing”, not “taking criticism”, not “finding time to write”, not “ideas”, not “writer’s block”.

All of these I thought would be bigger problems. For me the biggest secret to writing, is writing every day. I can’t take pauses of days, I lose the time too easily.

For me I think the easiest way to write every day is to have options, like this blog, or flash fiction. Something that gets me writing. Finding time for writing has required me to rethink my daily schedule. Change what I do and who I am.  None of this is new to any of you who write, but I think that all writers have some sort of “Achilles Heel” that is our own personnel weakness. For me that is not writing every day.

Writing is a solitary work, but doesn’t have to be done in solitary confinement.  Eventually stories want to be read by someone other than the author. Yes there times when we have to be immersed in the world we are writing about, but not always. To keep momentum I am tring these three suggestions:

1) Post It Note, White Board, Fridge Note – “DCD Writing tonight at 7:00 Starbucks”. Don’t do this all the time, as it will then become easier to ignore, twice a month, no more!

2) Once a month, near the end of the month, get someone to read what you are writing, just a snippet, a couple of pages. It doesn’t matter what they say, or it does, the point is you have to have material ready for that person to read what you are writing. The key here is only a couple of pages.

3) Here’s the hardest one, once a month, near the beginning of the month, your Facebook status is your current word count and [drum roll] what your goal is.

Lastly, something that should be second nature to anyone as a writer, encourage other writers to write, ask them how they are doing. Nothing lifts your own burden, then helping someone else with their’s.

Be Well – dcd

A Coffee, A Chair and a first draft by July? That’s just crazy talk…

As I mentioned, I met with a writing coach. She doesn’t just do coaching, she also is an editor. My first impression is that she is way way, way over qualified to be working with me, the first time hack.

I had a great time, and a great experience with

 Erinne Sevigny from

Having never met Erinne before we met at a wonderfully cliche location; Starbucks. I haven’t be able to frequent pretentious coffee shops in a long time. It has been, and continues to be, one of my favorite pastimes. Writing is allowing me to enjoy this experience once again!

My goal, is to complete the novel.(Yea, I know you are tired of hearing this) Publishing is not something that is on my goal list. But I do want the novel to be as professional as possible, and as much like a novel as possible. Not just mindless drivel streamed together like a collection of baby drool.

Here are the goals that have been set out for me through discussion with Erinne.

1) NO MORE REVISING! This is the hardest short term goal that came out of our discussion. Picture overweight white older man pouting…


2) Keep an accurate count; how long I write for, how many words and how often I get “SQUIRREL.!


3) Write short stories and submit them to credible Sci-Fi magazines. This is for “pub cred”, publishing credentials. Oh and you don’t get to count these stories to your word count. (Evil!)

Pretty reasonable goals. (why yes I am muttering about not revising)

Currently I get to write about three times a week. I get in about 1500 words. If this is consistent, week in and week out, I should have 100,00 words by July. WOAH! That’s a lot of words.

I must have over estimated how much I get done in a session.  Sadly, its very accurate and if I use it for a goal for a session, it keeps me on track.

Erinne thanks for giving me hope, encouragement and rules to get this work done. You are a good person, even if I can’t revise…

Be Well – dcd