Sunday, March 24, 2013

Southern Kentucky Writer's Conference



Friday, April 19, 2013

Knicely Conference Center

East Lobby Entrance

2355 Nashville Road

SouthernKentuckyBookFest

Generously supported by


Kentucky Writers Conference


At A Glance



Session 1: 9-10:15 am

Session 2: 10:30-11:45 am

David Bell

, Room 112, Creating Suspense in Fiction

Allie Pleiter
, Room 113, Crafting a Career in Category Romance

Virginia Smith
, Room 175, Stories that Sparkle: Grip Your Readers with a Story that Sparkles with Life and energy

Carolyn Wall
, Room 112, Plot: Fleshing Out the Bones of a Story

Molly McCaffrey
, Room 113, To Tell the Truth: The Implications of Honesty in Memoir

Marcus Wicker
, Room 175, The Prose Poem

Session 3: 12:45-2:00 pm

Lee Martin

, Room 112, I’ll Be Brief: Crafting Flash Forms of Fiction and/or Creative Non-Fiction

Chuck Sambuchino
, Room 113, Chapter 1 Dos and Don’ts

C.J. Redwine
, Room 175, Query: Everything You Need to Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed

Session 4: 2:15-3:30 pm

Janna McMahan

, Room 112, Act Like You’re Somebody! What Your Grandmother Knows about Character Development

Cynthea Liu
, Room 113, Top Ten Manuscript Mishaps That Are Holding You Back

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
, Room 175, Revision as Reconstructive Surgery

Chuck Sambuchino
, Auditorium, Building Your Freelance Portfolio

(Writing for Magazines and Newspapers 101)


Kentucky Writers Conference Sessions


Friday, April 19, 2013


SESSION 1: 9-10:15AM



1. ROOM 112

Creating Suspense in Fiction
– Even though publishers have created an entire category of books called "suspense," it would seem that suspense is a vital component of all good storytelling. Isn’t this why we read? To be held on the edge of our seats, turning pages as quickly as possible to see what happens next? This workshop will explore the creation of suspense in fiction. We will discuss techniques for grabbing readers at the opening of a novel or story as well as the best methods for doling out information to the reader so that they know enough to keep reading--but not so much that they don’t want to read on. We will also discuss the role that character, setting, and dialogue play in the creation of suspense.


David Bell
is an assistant professor of English at Western Kentucky University, where he won the Potter College Research and Creative Award in 2012. Before beginning his writing career, Bell received an M.A. in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, OH, and a Ph.D. in American Literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. Since then he has co-edited an anthology of short fiction—Commutability: Stories about the Journey from Here to There—and published four novels: The Condemned, The Girl in the Woods, Cemetery Girl, and The Hiding Place, which Publishers Weekly called "an artfully constructed tale—a powerful, provocative novel." His fifth novel—Never Come Back—will be out with Penguin’s NAL imprint on October 1st. All of his novels are available as e-books, and his most recent novels are also available on audio. Bell’s fiction has been translated and published in France, Italy, China, and Taiwan, as well as the U.K. Bell has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times and was a finalist for the Kentucky Literary Award in 2012.

Moderator:

Trish Jaggers

2. ROOM 113

Crafting a Career in Category Romance –

Category romance has been the Launchpad for many fiction careers. In today’s volatile market, it still remains one of the best places to begin, supplement, or even be the mainstay of a working writer’s career. That doesn’t mean "those little books" don’t have a few drawbacks. With over 800,000 books out there in readers hands – from single title fiction to non-fiction to chick-lit to historical to category – longtime Kentucky Writers Conference favorite Allie Pleiter will show you the "Yea!"s, "Nay!"s, and "Meh!"s of category romance.

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic,
Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The "dare from a friend" to begin writing has produced two parenting books, sixteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing.

Moderator:

Paul Bush

3. ROOM 175

Stories that Sparkle: Grip Your Readers with a Story that Sparkles with Life and Energy –

Through a series of "Sparkle Tips," this course will address fiction writing techniques such as the proper spacing of plot points, seamless sensory description, creating tension, avoiding throw-away words, pulling readers into the fictional world from the first sentence, and adding back-story that enhances the plot without hijacking it. Then learn a 3-step revision process sure to put that final polish on your story. Handouts, discussion, and plenty of examples make this workshop a must for fiction writers.

Virginia Smith
is the bestselling author of more than twenty traditionally published novels and over fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. Her books have been finalists in ACFW’s Carol Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the Maggie Awards, and the National Reader’s Choice Awards. Her romance novel, A Daughter’s Legacy, received a 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

Moderator:

Marya Davis Turley

SESSION 2: 10:30-11:45AM


1. ROOM 112

Plot: Fleshing Out the Bones of a Story –

Create the core of your story. Using nineteen kinds of details, learn when and where to add characters, setting and conflict. Then follow these simple tricks to always find the resolution!

Carolyn Wall
is the author of two widely acclaimed novels, Sweeping Up Glass and Playing With Matches, both published by Random House. Sweeping Up Glass was the winner of the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction. Playing With Matches received a Publishers Weekly starred review and was chosen as Target’s Bookmarked Club Pick for July, 2012. Across the US, Carolyn teaches and lectures on writing from the heart, adding the subtleties readers love. Her third novel nears completion.

Moderator:

Sandy McAllister

2. ROOM 113

To Tell the Truth: The Implications of Honesty in Memoir –
Memoir has become an extremely popular genre over the past twenty years: memoirs from writers as diverse as Frank McCourt (

Angela’s Ashes) and Patti Smith (Just Kids) have stormed the bestseller list. The rise of the memoir has raised many questions: Is it ever acceptable to embellish (as James Frey did in A Million Little Pieces)? Does the memoir writer owe it to the reader to be completely honest? Also, is it appropriate to re-create events and dialogue that the writer doesn’t remember verbatim? And then there are the questions about the other people who appear in the memoir: When is too soon to tell family stories? And what does the writer do when family or friends are not happy about or have their feelings hurt as a result of appearing in the memoir (even if their names are changed)? What is your obligation to those people? And how do you balance your desire to tell your story with others’ desire for privacy? Also, what happens when the writer’s subjects disagree with the writer’s version of events (like they did with Augusten Burrough’s Running with Scissors)? Of course, all of these questions raise an even bigger one: Simply, what is the truth? And can we, as writers, ever do it justice? This workshop will address those questions and offer an approach to dealing with these complicated issues.

Molly McCaffrey
is the author of the short story collection How to Survive Graduate School & Other Disasters, the co-editor of the short fiction anthology Commutability: Stories about the Journey from Here to There, and the founder of I Will Not Diet, a blog devoted to healthy living and body acceptance. Nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, an AWP Intro Journals Award, and Scribner’s Best of the Fiction Workshops, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and currently teaches English and creative writing classes at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is at work on her first memoir, You Belong to Us, which tells the story of McCaffrey meeting her biological family.

Moderator:

Trish Jaggers

3. ROOM 175

The Prose Poem -

In this class we will read contemporary prose poems by Zbignew Herbert, Jericho Brown, Russell Edson and others, paying close attention to the ways in which natural language and tapered pacing contribute to epiphany and consciousness. We will also begin a writing exercise that will help you generate an original prose poem.

Marcus Wicker
is the author of Maybe the Saddest Thing, selected by DA Powell for the National Poetry Series. The recipient of a 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, he has also held fellowships from Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Indiana University where he received his MFA. Wicker’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Third Coast, and

Ninth Letter

, among other journals. Marcus is assistant professor of English at University of Southern Indiana and poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review.

Moderator:

Tom Hunley

SESSION 3: 12:45-2:00PM


1. ROOM 112

I’ll Be Brief: Crafting Flash Forms of Fiction and/or Creative Non-Fiction –


This session will explore the writing of flash forms of fiction and creative nonfiction, those forms that create their effects though the art of compression. How do writers create something so memorable and resonant in fewer than 750 words? We’ll look at some samples and talk about some of the strategies involved in the art of the very brief story or essay. Then we’ll do a writing activity to create a flash piece of our own.


Lee Martin
is the author of the novels, The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction; River of Heaven; Quakertown; and Break the Skin. He has also published three memoirs, From Our House, Turning Bones, and Such a Life. His first book was the short story collection, The Least You Need To Know. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such places as Harper’s, Ms., Creative Nonfiction, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, and Glimmer Train. He is the winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. He teaches in the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, where he was the winner of the 2006 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Moderator:

Brent Fisk

2. ROOM 113

Chapter 1 Dos and Don’ts -

This workshop examines that all-important Chapter 1. It spends a lot of time going over what not to do – listing clich├ęs and overused techniques that repeatedly pop up in chapter 1 manuscripts, with comments from agents and editors alike. Following a discussion of agent pet peeves, the workshop addresses what writers should be doing to draw readers in.

Chuck Sambuchino
edits the Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His first humor book, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack (gnomeattack.com), had its film rights recently optioned by Sony and director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future). His second humor book, Red Dog/Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political (July 2012, reddog-bluedog.com), is a humorous photo collection of dogs doing stereotypical liberal and conservative things. In addition, Chuck has also written two

other writing-related titles: the third edition of
Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript (2009), and Create a Writer Platform (fall 2012). Find him on Twitter

(@chucksambuchino) or online (chucksambuchino.com).


Moderator:

Nancy Baird

3. ROOM 175

Query: Everything You Need to Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed –
Learn how to write an amazing query letter! Course focuses on basic query structure, do’s and don’ts, how to target the right agent for you, and how to identify your basic plot and conflict to use in writing a stellar hook. If time permits, C.J. will do on-the-spot query critiques.


C.J. Redwine
loves stilettos, lemon bars, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of Defiance, the first in a post-apocalyptic fantasy trilogy from Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband, four kids, two cats, and one long-suffering dog. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at cjredwine.blogspot.com.

Moderator:

Portia Pennington

SESSION 4: 2:15-3:30PM


1. ROOM 112

Act Like You’re Somebody! What Your Grandmother Knows about Character Development-

What makes unforgettable characters? The best fictional people somehow exemplify the best and the worst in us. But how do you create complex characters we love and love to hate? Do all protagonists have to be likable? How can you make an antagonist relatable? Learn how motivation and decisions under pressure are central to developing characters your readers will remember. Find out the secret your grandma knows.

Janna McMahan
is the national bestselling author of the novels Anonymity, Calling Home and The Ocean Inside and the novella Decorations. She has won numerous awards for her short fiction including being named a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Fiction Award. Visit www.JannaMcMahan.com

Moderator:

Trish Jaggers

2. ROOM 113

Top Ten Manuscript Mishaps That Are Holding You Back –

Children’s book author and manuscript consultant Cynthea Liu will cover the top ten manuscript mishaps she sees most often when reviewing work for publication. She will cover all genres and formats in the children’s fiction book market (picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade novels, and young adult). Find out what might be holding your manuscript back. Better yet, learn some tips and tricks to avoid these common mistakes and get your manuscript back on track!

Cynthea Liu
is author of Wooby and Peep (Sterling, ages 4-8) and Paris Pan Takes the Dare (Putnam), a humorous mystery novel for grades 4-7. Her book The Great Call of China (grades 7-12) is part of Speak’s bestselling S.A.S.S.

series. Based in Chicago, Cynthea has spoken to a number of schools in Illinois and across the country. She has also been a guest speaker for national


conferences organized by the American Library Association, National Council of Teachers of English, and the International Reading Association, among others. She is also a writing coach and faculty member for conferences associated with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and local universities and colleges. She has been featured on ABC’s Chicago 7 and the Chicago Sun Times. Finally, she is the woman behind the website www.WritingforChildrenandTeens.com, a top ten website on the subject.


Moderator:

Roxanne Spencer

3. ROOM 175

Revision as Reconstructive Surgery –

Writers and editors often liken a revision to a "deep-tissue massage" of the material, but in actuality, revision is more often like reconstructive surgery: a total rebuilding of the story on its framework. These five tips will help writers see which parts of their stories are essential and which are extraneous. Examples from Kristin O’Donnell Tubb’s new middle-grade novel, The 13th Sign (Feiwel and Friends) will be shared.

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
’s fantasy debut, The 13th Sign (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan 2013), is the story of 13-year-old Jalen Jones, who awakens the mysterious 13th sign of the zodiac, causing everyone on earth to undergo a personality change. Tubb is also the author of Selling Hope (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan 2010), set on the 1910 vaudeville circuit. In it, Hope McDaniels cashes in on the fear of Halley’s Comet by peddling anti-comet pills. In a starred review, Booklist said it was "a bouncy tale populated by a terrific cast of characters." It is a winner of SCBWI’s 2011 Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award and a finalist for the 2012 National Homeschool Book Award. Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different (Delacorte Press/Random House 2008), an historical fiction account of the beginnings of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was selected by the Tennessee State Library to represent the state of Tennessee at the 2009 National Book Festival and has been nominated for the Volunteer State Book Award (2011 – 2012).

Moderator:

Sean Kinder

4. AUDITORIUM

Building Your Freelance Portfolio (Writing for Magazines and Newspapers 101)

– This presentation studies the basics of freelancing – how to write articles for magazines, newspapers, and websites. It targets writers new to the arena and shows how to identify markets, how to realize your own specialties, how to structure a magazine query, how to come up with ideas,

how to resell ideas, and more.


Chuck Sambuchino
- See biography on page 5.

Moderator:

Cindy Gaffney

Special Saturday Presentation


by Chuck Sambuchino



Knicely Conference Center

- Auditorium -

1:00pm


Create Your Writer Platform
– A writer’s platform is as important as ever now. This speech teaches writers the basics of what a platform is and why it is necessary. Then we delve into the building blocks of what can constitute a platform, from media appearances and speaking engagements to social networking, Twitter, and more.

Chuck Sambuchino
edits the Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His first humor book, How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack (gnomeattack.com), had its film rights recently optioned by Sony and director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future). His second humor book, Red Dog/Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political (July 2012, reddog-bluedog.com), is a humorous photo collection of dogs doing stereotypical liberal and conservative things. In addition, Chuck has also written two other writing-related titles: the third edition of Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript (2009), and Create a Writer Platform (fall 2012). Find him on Twitter (@chucksambuchino) or online (chucksambuchino.com).

What You Need to Know!
• All sessions are held at the Knicely Conference Center. They are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-come basis. No pre-registration is required, but groups of five or more are asked to call (270) 745-4502 prior to the Friday conference.
• Beginning writers and high school and college students are welcome! Free parking is available. Sessions are subject to change without notice.
• You may bring your lunch or there are restaurants nearby.


For more information visit:

www.sokybookfest.org

or contact Kristie Lowry at kristie.lowry@wku.edu or (270)745-4502


Directions to East Lobby Entrance


From Nashville:

Follow I-65 North to Bowling Green. Use Exit 20 (Natcher Parkway). Follow Natcher Parkway north to Exit 6 (US 31-W). The Knicely Center is on the left about one block past Campbell Lane. It is located adjacent to WKU South Campus.

From Lexington and Louisville:
Follow I-65 South to Bowling Green. Use Exit 20 (Natcher Parkway). Follow Natcher Parkway north to Exit 6 (US 31-W). The Knicely Center is on the left about one block past Campbell Lane. It is located adjacent to WKU South Campus.

From Owensboro:
Exit Natcher Parkway at Exit 6 (US 31-W). The Knicely Center is on the left about one block past Campbell Lane. It is located adjacent to WKU South Campus.

Notes

Notes


After the Kentucky Writers Conference,

please join us for...


SouthernKentuckyBookFest

Southern Kentucky Book Fest

Saturday, April 20, 2013

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Knicely Conference Center

654 Campbell Lane

Bowling Green, KY 42104
Meet award-winning authors for adults and children, including Henry Winkler, Mary McDonough,
Obert Skye, Julie Kagawa, and Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Attend author presentations and panel discussions.
Purchase signed books for yourself or gifts for others.
FREE ADMISSION!

For a list of all authors, illustrators, and activities,

visit our website at sokybookfest.org.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo


If you haven't already, go join me and some friends at http://www.campnanowrimo.org/sign_in. And write your novel in a month!!!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Little Moh-tuh-vey-shuh n....

Motivation.....

According to dictionary.com

mo·ti·va·tion

[moh-tuh-vey-shuhn]
1.the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way: "I don't understand what her motivation was for quitting her job." motive, inspiration, inducement, cause, impetus.
 
2.the state or condition of being motivated: "We know that these students have strong motivation to learn."
 
3.something that motivates; inducement; incentive: "Clearly, the company's long-term motivation is profit."
    Today, and here in the past I have found my self lacking motivation.  I talk to Stacey about writing, and it's almost like a tiring out.  Is it my daily life and routine that has sucked the life out of my drive to write?  Is it bad habits such as not setting realistic goals, setting time aside to write on a daily routine, or just pure laziness?
    I think that all of the reasons above, and my habit of procrastination have thrown my motivation out the window.  Now, to turn this conversation around, how do I get it back?  Below are just a few ways to get mojo back if you are also one of these people who are having my same issue.
Therefore, I turned to another reference by Leo Babauta, 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You Are in a Slump.
  1. One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
  2. Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things.
  3. Get excited. This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated? Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
  4. Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
  5. Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.
  6. Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
  7. Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. To this end, posting the goal on your wall or computer desktop (as mentioned above) helps a lot. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.
  8. Get support. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.
  9. Realize that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.
  10. Stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you’ll get there.
  11. Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
  12. Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise for 2 minutes? (If that’s you, I apologize.) And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.
  13. Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.
  14. Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Email me. Join an online forum. Get a partner to join you. Call your mom. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice. Ask them to help you overcome your slump. It works.
  15. Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Exercise sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. The benefits of something will help energize you.
  16. Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.
Today, I am going to analyze just a few of these methods, and put them to good use.  I am hopeful that here in the next few days I will be able to report progress, instead of skepticism.  I wish you luck, and myself on our journey of getting motivated and pushing for our dreams.