Monday, October 19, 2009

The Inspiration of Fall

Fall is always my greatest time of creative inspiration. When the air turns chill, blankets get piled higher, and the magic of the holidays approaches, my brain goes into fantasy overdrive. It's been this way for many years. This year, I'm determined to take full advantage of this phenomenon. Because inspiration, without it's evil twin, perspiration, produces nothing.

So to produce more this fall, I have a daily plan. The foundation of my plan is to carry my Alphasmart Neo everywhere I go. If you've never written with one of these little jewels of productivity, I highly recommend it. I've found that I can easily do two or more pages during a child's piano lesson, 500 words while sitting in a static carpool line, and I won't embarass my doctor by mentioning how many chapters I can get done in the waiting room.

Bumping my productivity is a weekly meeting with my critique partner. One day a week we have a write-in of our own. We set a goal for the day, use a timer for 15-30 minutes at a time, and take occassional breaks to discuss plot problems. We try to limit our general chatter and the timer is instrumental in helping us do that. Writing with others can be more productive than you realize - if you agree on the rules.

To put my productivity into the highest numbers, I'm joining in the annual writing challenge for the month of November. If you want a real challenge, join me in the National Novel Writing Month next month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Feel free to join me by going to I didn't get 50,000 words last year, but I guarantee you that I wrote more than I would have otherwise.

These are my plans for Fall productivity. Please feel free to share ways that you plan to boost your own productivity this season.


Carol Burnside said...

I joined NaNoWriMo too. GULP! I'm also going to a writer's Hermit Week, where we concentrate on nothing but writing all day, then socialize in the evenings.

Maybe we'll both surprise ourselves with our productivity.

Tammy Schubert said...

Write-ins. I try to do at least one a week. Sometimes I'm lucky and do two. Writing with a bunch of others increases my productivity an unbelievable amount.

Carol, what's hermit week? It sounds awesome.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Carol: You will find Nanowrimo so inspiring. Just remember, it's about quantity with the nano, revise and make perfect later. Add me as a buddy, dlk777 and I'll add you. That way we can see each other's progress and egg each other on!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Tammy: Two a week? I am so jealous! You go, girl! Do you guys have a format or any tricks you use when you get together to keep productivity up?

Marilyn Baron said...

I won't be able to join the annual writing challenge for November because I'll be out of town for half the month. But that sounds like a great idea for the future.

I co-wrote my current WIP with my sister and she keeps me in line. We talk on the phone all the time to discuss character motivation, etc.

The NEO is a great productivity tool. I just got one. We must have the same doctor because I get a lot done in the waiting room.


Dianna Love said...

I love fall and winter for writing, too, Debbie. I'm motivated to work a lot when the weather is cold or rainy so I can do something fun outside when the sun shines.

I like your plan to make higher productivity your goal. I wrote my first book on an Alphasmart while running a project in a baseball stadium where I had cranes and crews of men working. I'm on my second Alpha (Neo) and use it for my drafts.

I'd love to know if you have any "ah ha" moments while Nanowriting as stream of conscience writing usually produces that. Good luck on everyone's 50,000 word goal.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Marilyn: At least you can still take your Neo with you!

Hi Dianna. Yes, I had some of those moments last year. Can't wait to see what this year produces. I'd love to see you do the juggling between the cranes, crews, and writing sometime. I'd probably get tired just watching, LOL!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Okay folks, play among yourselves for a while. I've got jury duty today and am headed out the door. I expect to read a lot of ways to boost productivity when I get back!!!!

Pam said...

Hi Debbie,
Your post was very inspiring. I am a beginning writer, and can see that having a critique partner and participating in group writing experiences would be helpful. And I just googled AlphaSmart; now I see Ineed one of those, too! ;) I will get right on all of that, just as soon as I finish the 6000 words due by midnight Thursday in my online writing class! If I actually make it (and I will!), I just might consider NoNoWriMo!

dawgcrook said...

Fall is my favorite writing season, too. And I'll add my kudos to the AlphaSmart Neo. Such a great tool, and if you love writing outside, you can see the screen, unlike laptops.

I hope to join you guys with the NaNo thing. 50,000 words in one month sounds awesome.

Good luck on the jury duty.


Maxine Davis said...


That was a very good post! I have got to get more of a schedule! Now I feel guilty. I have a doctor's appt and no AlphaSmart Neo. Oh, well, I'll cry in my iced tea (or stronger) this evening.

Tammy Schubert said...

Pam, welcome to the world of writing. One piece of advice I would like to pass on is to not let fear keep you from writing. I'm talking about the doubts that creep in about how good your writing is, etc. Just push through it.

Debbie, I try to get two a week in as school allows and when someone is available. It helps if you have a set schedule so everyone can rely on those days.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi all: Back on a lunch break. I'm an alternate on a trial starting in an hour.

Pam: Welcome to writing! The Neo is the version you want. I tried to find them used, but it seems like once some one gets one, they keep it!

Cici: If you join Nanowrimo, be sure to give all of us Petit Fours your ID on there and we can encourage one another!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Maxine: That's what legal pads and pens are for, LOL! Even if you only sketch out a plot.

Tammy, yes, a set schedule is one of the keys to making those writing days work. Sandy and I have fallen off the wagon after Moonlight and Magnolias, and other committments, but we have to jump right back in to it.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Okay, back out the door. Wouldn't want to explain to the judge why I'm late. Somehow, I just don't think he'll take answering blog comments as an excuse :)

Susan May said...

I won my Alphasmart at National four years ago and I don't know if I'd won a car I would have gotten more use out of it. I carry my Alphasmart to school and anywhere else I go and work. It is great. I plan to finish a book in Nov. I want the Finish a Book money in December.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Susan: I'm in the Finish the Book contest too! Let's both finish and then we can wrestle for it, LOL!

Ana Aragón said...


Great inspiration! I'm in for NaNoWriMo and plan to write my fingers to the bone. Tammy S is one of my writing buddies and we picked up two new ones since M&M. It's great to have someone to answer that quick question, "What word am I looking for?"

So are you still on jury duty?

Linsey Lanier said...

Very inspiring post, Debbie. I need to plan better. Good for you. I usually finish a book before November and haven't planned the next one enough to do NaNo. Next year for sure.

Good luck, everyone!


Tami Brothers said...

I agree with all the comments, Debbie. Very inspiring... I also joined NaNo and am looking forward to seeing exactly what I can accomplish. The hardest part will be not to edit myself...

Hope jury duty was fun...grin..


Nicki Salcedo said...

Debbie, I love plans. Thank you for getting us organized. I'm raekatjae on NaNo. I'm looking forward to a month with no editing!

Carol Burnside said...

Someone asked about the Hermit Week. Here's the scoop:

Mansion on the Isle of Palms. Quiet, beach walks, relaxing, awesome sunsets, great food in the evenings with other writers. It's fabulous!

J Perry Stone said...

All of these are fabulous ideas, Debbie.

And I'm slobbering after an Alphasmart Neo of my own. It's definitely going on my x-mas wish list.

Also, I'm going to tell my CP--you know who you are, Cindy--to do one of these write-in days. We have to meet early (to get the talking out of the way) and then we can get to buisness.

Great post.

Cyrano said...

Boy I hope you get this Debbie.
Sorry I'm a day late. Yesterday was crrrazy.
I love the idea of a critique group write in. That's fabuloso.
Every fall (I love fall too by the way!) Me, Mary, Connie and Pam go on a retreat. We stay at a nice hotel, have great meals and stay up til dawn plotting. A write-in retreat would be great too.
I'm gonna suggest your idea to the girls.
Thanks for the post.
Have a lovely, lovely Tuesday,

Darcy Crowder said...


Thanks for the wonderful inspiration. I've had a Dana (but it died), so I've just ordered a Neo - hope it gets here before Hermit week! See ya soon, Carol (waving)

Tamara - I LOVE the idea of a plotting retreat, what fun. :)

I think you all have convinced me to try my hand at NaNoWriMo...going to go sign up now.