Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pitch Perfect Proposal and The Length of Brilliance

Two new Lit Coach columns this month!

Over on Lisa Rivero's Everyday Intensity blog, I consider marketing guru and publishing pioneer Seth Godin's take on the length of brilliance, what that means to someone like me who has trained my ADHD brain (for 30 years!) to focus and what that means to writers in general. Stick around on Lisa's blog - she never fails to deliver something to chew on.

Also, for you nonfiction writers ready to craft your nonfiction book proposals, check out my latest column for Pitch University about how to hook an agent with a clean and thorough Markets section. If you haven't had an opportunity to thoroughly check out Pitch U, I encourage you to find the time - a fantastic free resource for writers.

Happy Summer, all!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Five Tips for Gaining Confidence in Your Writing - A blogshop with author Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

We're wrapping up our month on Confidence in a writer's life this week and I've been thinking about the source of confidence all month - we all would like a little more of it at those critical times when it's most needed, yes? Confidence is our gut's way of telling us, "you got it in the bag, my friend!" But so often, when our gut isn't telling us that, we look for positive reinforcement from others - and this is natural. However, there is a difference between a superficial confidence that comes from a few pats on the back than Confidence (with a capital C!) that springs from a solid and continuing education about the process and craft to which you have dedicated yourself.

Author Wendy Nelson Tokunaga is here to share with you 5 rock-solid Confidence gaining tips to instill confidence in your writing career. No. You know, tips is too light a word - consider this list your 5 MUST-DOs to building a strong writing foundation. Read and heed.

WNT: It wasn’t until my fifth manuscript that I finally got an agent and a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press. For years my hobbies seemed to be honing my craft and getting rejected. Here are some things I learned along the way that kept my confidence up in the face of rejection and allowed me to eventually reach my goals as a novelist.

1 ~ Have Your Manuscript Critiqued – One of my first steps was to join a critique group—a tremendous help. But eventually I needed the fresh eyes of a professional who could read my entire manuscript and tell me not only its strengths, but its weaknesses and what I could do to fix them. I sought advice from published novelists who offered manuscript consulting, but you can also look to professional developmental editors.

2 ~ Network With, but Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Writers – I put together a group of women writers I met online who lived nearby. We gathered together not to read each other’s work, but to discuss the business of writing and our latest struggles in trying to get published and beyond. At first it was difficult because most everyone had an agent except me. But instead of comparing myself to them and feeling sorry for myself I tried to learn everything I could from them. Realize that every writer’s path is different and you’ll feel better about your own journey.

3 ~ Attend Juried Writer’s Conferences – There are tons of writer’s conferences out there and they all have their purposes. But to gain more confidence try applying to one where you must be accepted on the basis of your writing. I applied to the Squaw Valley Writers Conference, but didn’t get in on the first try. But it gave my confidence a real boost when I was finally accepted. It was such a great experience that I returned the following year.

4 ~ Further Your Education – My first stab at creative writing was a short story writing class at a community college. The assignment was to write three stories in a semester. It sounded daunting but I felt accomplished to actually pull that off. I continued taking classes from university extension programs and private author workshops and then finally made the leap to an MFA in writing program. By then I’d been through hundreds of rejections for my novels. I knew that getting an MFA wouldn’t guarantee that I’d get published, but it was a thrill to be able to concentrate on my writing for two years. And, coincidentally, it was right after I started the program that I got my agent and my publishing contract.

5 ~ Write Another Book – You’ve written one book so now you know that you can do it. So why not write another? Putting a book on the back burner after rejection doesn’t mean you’re giving up on it or that you’ve failed. Move forward, build your confidence and write that next book!

About the Contributor:

Wendy Nelson Tokunaga is the author of the novels, “Love in Translation” and “Midori by Moonlight,” both published by St. Martin’s Press, and the non-fiction e-book, “Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband.” Her novel, “No Kidding,” won the Literary/Mainstream Fiction category in Writer’s Digest’s Best Self-Published Book Awards in 2002. She is also the author of two children's non-fiction books, and has had short stories published in various literary journals. Wendy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from University of San Francisco and teaches writing classes for Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio and University of San Francisco. She also offers private manuscript consultation services. Visit her at:

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Lit Coach's Top 11 Agent Dos and Don'ts

Rather than a full-length post on yet another aspect of confidence in the writer's life today, I'm feeling a need to be listy. I love "Top 10" lists and I'm feeling nostalgic about my literary agenting days. Plus, I thought of a "Must Not Do" so awesome I had to throw it in. So I give you...

The Lit Coach's Guide Top 11 Agent Must-Dos and Don'ts

11. Don't ever think it's a wise idea to have your parent, spouse, partner or business partner contact your agent to negotiate ANYTHING. Unless they are your writing partner and their name will also appear on the agency agreement, it's best to negotiate your own terms. Even so, if there are more than one writers on your book, there should be one person assigned to communicate with the agent. If you feel you need a third party to negotiate on your behalf, hire an attorney who understands intellectual property and/or entertainment law. Does this happen? Unfortunately and surprisingly, yes. And it makes the writer look completely unprofessional. Having your parent negotiate the terms of your agency contract is allowable if you're under 18.

10. Do your research on agents you feel would be right for your book and approach only them to start. It's been said over and over again. And I'll say it again until people figure out I haven't been agenting for several years...but again, thanks for thinking of me!

9. Don't sign with a bad agent. No agent is ALWAYS better than a bad one. The best agents are listed on AAR.

8. Don't approach agents with a badly self-published book that has not been professionally edited (or at least proofread by someone terribly well-read other than yourself), has not had a cover professionally designed and has not experienced at least modestly successful sales in less than 6 months time.

7. Do continue to build your platform by freelancing, submitting to literary journals, guest blogging, etc. This is still the best way to build your platform and lure an agent.

6. Don't expect your book to be your platform if you have yet to build your expertise as an "expert" or "advocate." Agents won't be interested. Publishers will definitely not be interested.

5. Do value your talent and your time and find an agent who does, too!

4. Don't sign with an agent who insists on an iron-clad agency agreement longer than a year. You can always re-negotiate after a year provided both parties are still in love. Also, ethical agents don't charge for reading, editing and critiquing services - all part of the job.

3. Do write the book you want to write and expect your agent to provide feeback to help direct you. Don't confuse this with writing the book your agent wants you to write.

2. Don't turn toward your agent for validating hand-holding when you need a confidence boost. She has work to do and clients to serve. Sure, agents care for you, they provide you valuable professional perspective, but it's not their job to validate your place in the literary landscape. They liked your work and they liked you...why else would they enter into a professional relationship with you?

1. Do plan a budget for your book PR efforts. You'll need money to buy your own promotional materials, web design, ad space, supplementary PR by an independent book publicist (highly recommended), scores of copies of your books to give away and to cover your travel expenses. Plan on $5000 on the very low end; $10,000 is more like it to get you started. Of course, more is better, but don't let those numbers scare you.

Knowing what to expect with your author/agent relationship is the best way to instill confidence in your writer's life. If you have Agent Dos and Don'ts to share, let's hear them!

Have a fruitful week, writers!


Not sure if you're agent ready? Email me to explore and arrange your agent-readiness session.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Difference Between Blind Ambition and Educated Confidence

Ambition: 1 b: desire to achieve a particular end.
Confidence: 1 a: a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or reliance of one's circumstances.

Whether you're a traditionalist or an indie, it's a great time to be a writer (so what's with that dark scary forest pic, Lit Coach? Hang on). No doubt about it. More and more, writers are taking the reins of their career and guiding themselves toward self-made success. After thoughtful planning and execution, they're e and self-pubbing with great results; traditionally and indie published are reaching out to their readers in ways that continue to amaze and delight me. They've turned something that most artists abhor, the act of selling, into connecting - and through those connections, the sales follow.

Sounds so easy! Most of us have read the articles about how J.A. Konrath and Amanda Hocking have made thousands (millions?) off their books. Konrath found the e-route via Amazon more lucrative than traditional publishing and Hocking decided to let one of the Big Six publishers take the reins after she successfully became a self-made millionaire through e-pubbing her own books.

I love these success stories, but...

Again, I repeat, writers have more options today and that is a very good thing. However. It takes years of writing, editing, reading and connecting to make this dream come alive. It does not happen overnight. You will not be able to pay next month's rent on the e-book you self-pubbed this month (Konrath and Hocking will tell you as much). I'm joining the other agents and publishing experts who've shined the light of reality on this hot-topic discussion because it still bears repeating.

When I was an agent I was approached by a lovely writer with a fun idea for a niche market nonfiction book. Loved her writing style and voice. She was highly professional and had a mind for marketing, so I knew connecting her with any number of editors would not be an issue - I was confident of the whole package...well, mostly. The only problem was, she had no platform. She spoke with authority, sure, and her passion for the project was contagious, but nobody knew who she was. Even so, I couldn't stop thinking about her book. I knew I could sell it if she had a little more road under her. Rather than pass on the project because of the platform issue, I signed her.

And then we hatched a plan.

She needed to become visible as an "expert" in her field. So, I suggested she start an interactive website (this was about 7 or 8 years ago). The website became a place where she would share her daily advice on her subject matter and share the stories (and pictures) of others (her potential book-buying audience). She began a Q&A column and a book club, further connecting with her online community. She was consistent and organized in her approach. It worked. I still remember her enthusiastic email letting me know she had readers in Ireland and the UK. Her message spread from there. She started freelancing articles to the magazines and websites her audience read. Eventually one of the major morning news programs contacted her for her expertise. Other organizations invited her to "be the expert" on their websites and on their boards, etc. All the while, we honed her book proposal and continued to work the plan. After about 18 months of hard work and patience, it was time to send out the proposal. I was confident the time was right - we worked the plan. I submitted and we made a deal. Eighteen more months later, her book was released and it continues to be a strong backlist seller to this day.

The point? Ambition is good, that's the energy that gets our butts off the couch, but you need a plan to direct that energy otherwise you'll be frantically running through a thick, dark forest without a flashlight...and all that blind ambition ain't gonna come in handy when you've invested your time, energy and money into a project that has not been fully fleshed out. If you're a nonfiction writer, a solid platform is a must BEFORE you create your book proposal. If you're a fiction or a nonfiction writer, create a business plan - you are a small business owner. What realistic steps will you need to take to eventually earn money from your craft? The plan is your map, flashlight and compass through this forest.

Share the plan with people you trust, ideally, business-minded people and ask for their feedback. Be open to their suggestions. Publishing is a business and you've got to work the plan to succeed. If you do, you will spend less time running through dark, scary forests, you will have less time for fear and anxiety, you will be focused, confident and you just might sell your book. I really hope you do.

Action: Take some time to create a solid publishing plan. Be realistic about the time you'll need to create success. In my author's case, it took nearly two years to build her platform. If you're new to writing or if you've yet to successfully publish, plan to spend those two years getting to know the business, getting to know your audience and finding ways to get your name out there through freelancing, blog contributions, interviews, you-tube videos, social media, etc. Continue to work the plan (and most of all, your craft!) until you have a solid product and an invested audience.

Have a fruitful week, writers. Work the plan.

Want to get started building your author platform or creating your publishing business plan? Email me:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rebuild: 7 Ways to Pick Yourself Up After a Painful Rejection - a blogshop with author Terri Giuliano Long

Rejection takes it's toll on a writer's confidence. Author, instructor and blogger Terri Giuliano Long is here to share her best tips on how to cope after hearing those dreaded words..."No thanks, this isn't for me."

Let’s face it: rejection stings. A tactful “no, thank you” from an agent or editor makes us feel like a jilted lover, hurt and alone. The dreaded form letter rejection reduces us to nameless obscurity, and can destroy a sensitive writer’s teetering confidence.

If we’re to move forward again, we need to figure out how to heal our bruised ego. Here are seven constructive ways to rebuild confidence after a painful rejection.

Indulge. Like a virus, rejection damages the psyche. Take a 24-hour breather, and doctor yourself. Treat yourself to a bar of rich dark chocolate or a glass of white wine. If you prefer physical release, scream, cry, swear, punch a bag, go out for a run. Go ahead and write that cathartic letter. Give the agent or editor a piece of your mind; cite, in bold letters, the idiocy of rejecting your work – then hit delete or throw the letter away. Don’t ever hit send.

Take 24 hours. When the time is up, however you feel, go back to your desk.

Remember: decisions are often related to taste or circumstance. We tend to think of rejection as an objective assessment of the quality of our work. Sometimes that’s true - and sometimes decisions are purely subjective. Maybe the agent dislikes your genre or prefers a different writing style; perhaps the editor recently bought a piece similar to yours. Unless you’re one of the lucky few to receive an explanation, you’ll never know why your work was rejected. If you believe in the piece, let the rejection go and move on.

Separate yourself. The work was rejected, not you. You are an individual, separate from the work you do. Sure, rejection feels personal, but it’s not. Agents and editors dislike pieces for any number of reasons. Unless you’ve violated a rule or sent sloppy work, the rejection is not a reflection on you.

Remind yourself of previous successes. Do what athletes do: learn from your mistakes and move on; focus on what you’ve done well. Draw up a list of successes; keep it handy and pull it out whenever you need an adrenaline lift.

Maintain a supportive network. Writing is a lonely profession, and that loneliness wears on us. Supportive friends can buoy our spirits, pull us out of the depths. Share your everyday life with a friend, lover or spouse. Share writing woes with a trusted writer friend, who understands the nuances of the business and can offer advice, and be sure to return the favor graciously.

Circulate. A friend offered this advice, and it’s among the best I’ve received: as soon as a rejection arrives, reprint and send the piece out again. Never rely on a single work to make you or let one unsold piece break you. Work on multiple pieces; if you always have something in the mail, you’ll have hope.

Reframe. Rather than focus on hurt feelings and negativity, think of rejection as a call to action. Use it to motivate yourself to improve. Read the rejected piece closely or ask a trusted friend to assess it for you: what are its strengths and weaknesses? Figure out where you need to improve and then do it. Work on becoming the best you can be. Learn, practice - and reach for the stars.

TLC: All great tips, Terri! I especially love the idea of Circulate....don't rest on your laurels and conversely, don't allow a rejection to sideline you. The only way to sell your product is to continually put it on the shelf!

About the Contributor:

Terri Giuliano Long is the author of In Leah's Wake. She teaches writing at Boston College and hosts a blog that educates and inspires writers. Terri received her MFA at Emerson.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shout Out to My Readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to send a big THANK YOU to those of you who have provided a link to my blog on your blog. I notice the steady traffic and I'm truly flattered and appreciative.

And, I'm also SO grateful for ALL of you who read, subscribe and share. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Special Shout Outs Go To! (in no particular order)

William Wolfe's Writing Den
If I've left you out (and I know I didn't see some on my analytics that I've seen before), I apologize. Please accept my most sincere thanks and let me know (or rather, remind me) about you!

And thanks to the many of you who have mentioned my pieces in your blogs, who've sent out links to my blog in your newsletters and who have also helped promote the great stories, advice and tips from my visiting authors, agents, publishers, and other experts.

Let's continue to share the good stuff.

You rock!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Four Confidence Saboteurs...and How to Address Them

Fact: There are several areas of personal and professional development a writer must master or at least have in check to succeed with their craft and writing career. One of those areas is Confidence. If you don't have it, and some to spare, success will be for those other writers who believe in themselves and their work.

But I know it's not that easy. Some days you feel pretty good about your work, feel pretty good about your progress, feel great about some positive reinforcement you received, feel pretty good about your bank balance. Everything is copacetic. And then there are those days where you feel you're as original as a post-it, turtles have covered more ground than you, your email is staring blankly back at you and you're too scared to check your bank balance online because you a minus sign might surprise ambush you. So what's the big difference between those days when all is right with your writer's life and the "nobody likes me, everybody hates me" days? Some days you park your self-doubt at the curb and forge ahead and other times you let it invite itself over and sleep on your couch for a while.

Self-doubt is the number one killer to your self confidence, no mystery there. But let's break it down into the four most common saboteurs that very sneakily work their way into your brilliant head and slam the breaks on your forward motion.

1. FEAR of the Unknown. What an ugly word. I really dislike the look and sound of fear. I really hate what it does to people, but we have to take a look at this beast for a minute. I want you to see it clearly for what it is and choose to kick it to the curb. Fear looks like you not moving forward with your work, speaking up or being social because of a multitude of reasons...I can't possibly list them all but oftentimes the root of the reason is lack of education...we fear what we don't know enough about. So if there's something you need to wrap your brain around before you will allow yourself the freedom of forward motion, by all means, educate yourself and/or get the help you need.Unless you're doing something unlawful, unethical or ill-advised, you have nothing to fear about writing the book you want to write, about reaching out and connecting with others who you could learn from or who could help you, about selling your books out of your trunk or at an event, about creating a social presence. Most people love good books and enjoy connecting with authors, so give them what they want (and hey, you'll benefit too!). We all love a good success story, so choose to become a success story. It begins with you. Nobody is going to get that ball rolling for you.

Please note, if there is no rational explanation for your fear, and you feel it's debilitated you to a low or non-functioning level, please seek professional medical help immediately. Sometimes it's not possible to talk or read your way through your issues and that is totally OK. Get the help you need.

2. FEAR of Failure (also rejection). Failing at anything stinks, it makes you feel lousy, worthless and small but that's just life, my dears. Who doesn't fail in this life? Read any biography and you'll find out that most everyone who ever achieved their dream failed 99% of time before they finally did what they wanted to do. The good news about failing is that you learn from failure - you learn what to do and what not to do again. The key is, not doing the stuff that helped you to fail again. (But I still see writers maintain this paradigm even though they know it's totally non-productive and not healthy...we'll get to that later when we dig into discipline as a virtue). To combat fear of failure, you need to first pin point the failures that did their best number on your self-confidence. What did it mean to fail? What were the steps that led to that particular failure? Could you have done things differently and have expected a different outcome? Could you have better prepared yourself for success? Now, this is VERY important...don't beat yourself up over your past failures. Let them go. Learn from them and move on. Remember this, it is just as easy to succeed as it is to fail. To succeed, all you need to do is adjust your course when you feel you're heading off track, get counsel when you need it and never give up. Don't let fear of failure become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

3. LACK of Resources. There's another word I dislike, "lack." But lack of resources is a big reason why people choose not to succeed. Lack of money, lack of education, lack of connections, etc. Well, it's all fixable. It just depends on how long you want to work to correct your "lack." Don't have enough money to attend conferences, go on a book tour, hire and editor or consultant to polish your work and approach to the industry? Take a look at your budget. Where does your money go? You'd be surprised by how little you actually "need" to get by. Have you whittled down your expenditures to the bare minimum and sold most of your worldly possessions to keep gas in your car and a roof over your head? Keep working. In fact, if it's that bad, get a second job. No job is beneath you if it means providing for yourself, your family and having a little extra to get the resources you need.

Don't have the connections you'd like...the ones that could actually make a difference in your writing craft and career? Time to start getting social. Make it a point to surround yourself by the most talented people you can find in your community and online. You are who you surround yourself with, so make it a point to get to know people you admire. If this girl who grew up in rural Iowa can make cold calls to overworked New York City editors at 6 am Pacific time to sell a book, you can reach out to those people you'd like to get to know better.

Sometimes money and connections are not the issue, rather it's a lack of education that's holding you back. If you have an idea for a book but are deathly afraid to write it by yourself, start researching ghost writers or someone who would be open to co-authoring your book with you. Othertimes you may feel you're an ok writer but just not to the level you'd like to be. So get the education, coaching or editorial services you need. Check out the writing programs offered through the local universities, online writers' workshops, adult learning centers, community education centers, humanities groups, etc. Check out your local library or bookstore to see if there are any industry professionals or authors scheduled to appear/speak who you could learn from and better yet, connect with! Are you writing genre specific fiction like sci-fi, romance or children's? Check out the local chapters of organizations that support education and community for those who write and read within that genre. And then there are the consultants and coaches like me and many others who will help you, too. (Hey, I have to pitch myself and my fellow coaches once in a while, you know?) Bottom line is, lack of resources can be corrected if you put your energy toward addressing the lack. Ask for help, act on tips and advice, save your money. This is a pattern you will continually follow...when you don't have what you need or want, figure out a way to get it then follow-through on the getting it!

4. LACK of Clarity. Many writers come to me unsure about the direction of their first or next book or where they want their writing career to take them...which almost always means their plots and character development are equally under-developed and blurred. I remedy this through one-on-one sessions, but you can start to gain focus by answering these basic questions:

* What genre is my book?
* Do I want to build a career within this genre?
* Does this book have series potential? How far ahead do I see this character taking the
series forward? Three books? Six? What's the story arc? What will he/she/they overcome?
* How much time can I devote to my craft?
* How much time can I devote to building my writing business once I have
something to sell?

Note, one of the questions wasn't "Which literary agent or trend can I write for?" Never write to what you think a lit agent is going to want to read and rep or to follow a trend. Write the book you want to write (caveat: and be ready to edit several times).

And then actually write down your answers as if you were creating a business plan, because that is what you're doing, eventually. You're creating a way to earn money off something you love doing. And I hope when you feel a tinge of self-doubt creep in that you look at the root and address it. Sometimes it takes a few days, some tears, some serious coming to terms and some trial and error, but the point is, discover what is holding back your Confidence and address it.

You will have good days upon good days if you act with confidence now! Even if you have to fake it once in a while.

Your action: Address your lack of self-confidence issues today by examining the root. What category does it fall under: Fear of The Unknown; Fear of Failure; Lack of Education; Lack of Clarity or a little of everything? Break this fear down to the cause and be honest with yourself. And/or what are you lacking? Once you know the root of self-doubt you can create a plan to address it and move on with your bad self!

Be CONFIDENT this week, writers! You have everything to be excited about...your road is ahead of you. Drive on!


Friday, June 3, 2011

"Fuzzy Vision and Fat Mirrors: The Challenge of Seeing One's Own Art" with Mary Beth Maziarz

About a year ago, I picked up a copy of Kick Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers and Creative Professionals by author and critically acclaimed musician Mary Beth Maziarz. In short, I loved it and knew I had to bring her on the blog to open up the discussion about priming creative spaces for your most productive writing and creative time.

Mary Beth got in touch a few days ago to let me know about a "kick-ass" workshop she's holding in New York City on June 12th, which I of course feel compelled to share with you (the details...keep reading). But before you find out the when, where and what time, Mary Beth whipped up a post in the spirit of her latest workshop's focus.

Fuzzy Vision and Fat Mirrors: The Challenge of Seeing One's Own Art

My Dad says I have the weirdest eyes he’s ever seen. (He’s an optometrist.) I have one eye that’s near-sighted and one that’s far-sighted, so Dad tells me that as I get older, I can just depend on the right for reading and the left for distance, like when I’m driving. It’s a good system, really, except for that wide visual middle-ground of slight imperfection. It’s the subtlest of softening in my focus, a ten-percent smoothing effect at most, but it’s been raising questions in me lately.

I have a pair of glasses, but I only tend to wear them if I’m on a long writing day at the computer. These marathon days usually take place at my favorite café, where the fluorescent bathroom lighting is beyond scary. So I’m in the restroom one day, washing my hands, looking at myself in this disturbing combo of unusually accurate vision and terrible lighting. And I find myself wondering: Is this the real me? Is this the way I really look? Whoa. What about those times when I was perfectly bare-mineraled and gently lit and I glimpsed myself in a mirror, reflected smoothly in the middle of my soft eye-focal-space? I looked damn good those times! Was that not real?

Here’s another example: haven’t we all occasionally experienced a hotel “fat mirror” or boutique “skinny mirror” and been appropriately dismayed or delighted by the reflection? Even though we may sense that something isn’t quite right, there’s a knee-jerk visceral response that still manages to tilt our emotions one direction or another.

The thought unfolded into a question about the way we see our art, the way it appears to be reflected back to us. Do we act differently, create differently, when working from an overly critical – or generous – notion of ourselves? Does a constantly corrective approach keep us from bad habits and lead us to higher technical skills? Does an inflated ego help us float to more transcendent levels, past landmines that might have taken us out too early? Do we change our creative behavior based on our gauge of current success or missteps in the work? Are we more (or less) confident? Fearless? Truthful? Cerebral? Timid? Plodding?

What if we’re unreliable observers of ourselves? And of our audiences’ responses? How might this affect the trajectory of our art and growth?

I ask you: given the option, would you rather have a harsh, glaringly accurate understanding of the quality of your creative work, or would you prefer to work from a sweetened, slightly overly-optimistic view of your progress and projects? Is there one right choice or another for all of us, or must we individually choose from each point and time?

I may have weird eyes, but I suspect we all do when it comes to looking at ourselves and our work. I have a feeling I will personally remain in the mutable middle ground, swinging from laser-like precision to soft-focus warmth, as needed, to move the work forward.

I wish for you exactly the level of clarity you need for yourself and your work today.

TLC: Mary Beth raises some great questions about creative passion and perspective. I would encourage anyone in the New York City area on June 12th to check out Mary Beth's latest "Kick Ass" workshop. As promised, click HERE for the workshop details. If you can't make it, I encourage you to buy or check out her book, Kick Ass Creativity. It's a must read for any creative type. How can you not be motivated by that title, I ask you.

Wanna check out Mary Beth and The Lit Coach's past blogshops about creativity? Click here and here.

Have a great weekend, everyone!