Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

I write books. Sometimes. Mostly I just throw up words.

This Gorgie Lady

Yesterday, instead of packing or writing or getting a syllabus ready, I cut my bangs.

Short. Really short.

I’ve always wanted to do it and so I asked the new girl at the hair salon go for it. I even showed her a picture. This picture, actually.


she looked at the is famous, young, gorgie actress and then looked at me and my face and my clothes and the hair growing out my chin and said, we’ll go a little conservative.

Then she gave me a mom cut. I always get mom cuts no matter what I do.

So I kept the mom cut for a few days.

And then, maybe because I was sad, or maybe because I was overwhelmed, or maybe because I really wanted short bangs, I got the scissors and did something I have never done in my life. I cut my dumb own hair.

It doesn’t look gorgie like her and It may look a little Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber but it’s deliberate and it’s different and it’s not a mom cut.

Get your manuscript.

Stop being conservative.

Stop doing what you’re always doing.

Stop letting other people dictate what you do.

Use your gut.

Decide what the book really really really needs.

Get your scissors and stop being scared and go for it. You deserve it and your book deserves it.

The end.

Please let me move to a new house by the end of the week, short bangs and all.


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it’s three in the morning and I’ve been up for a couple hours.

I found out that I’m my mom’s daughter. She used to stay up all night worrying. I am worrying. And not sleeping.

Sometimes when I’m up at this time of night, I sit and listen to the breathing of my babies all through the house. This is a sleeping house, a house that in a few short hours will be bustling with laughter, crying, fighting, running, legoing, whining and jumping and loving.

Oh the potential of all these little people. The thoughts and wonderings and sadnesses that will come with a full day of exploring.

I joy in seeing them toddle out of their beds, their hair a mess, their pajamas mis-matched, asking for milk or a hug or cereal. I don’t even care if they’ve peed the bed. I just love their freckled faces.

Sometimes I think about my manuscripts in similar ways: sleeping. breathing in and out. but oh, when it wakes up. when it toddles out and has the whole day in front of it. What will happen? What will be discovered? What joy and horribleness and heartache will come.

I don’t have a lot this morning to say.

I should go back to sleep because I will be so tired all day and what if I snap at these littles that I love?

I love being a mother.

I love writing. I think.

I’m not sure.

But I love people.

And people are writing. I think.


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I am reading Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos right now.

It makes me wish I was a better writer.

It makes me wish I could write all day.

It makes me laugh out loud.

I have written every day but not very much every day.

Also, I bought a gigantic box of peaches that were cheaper because they were seconds and you know what? They’re delicious. They’re juicy. They’re probably better than those snotty perfect peaches sitting all fancy and smug in their white boxes. Maybe your seconds manuscripts deserve a chance? Maybe they’re better than you think?


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You don’t have to be happy, Carol. You just have to write with Gusto.

Does GUSTO=happiness?


Maybe not.

Gusto might be just getting into it, wanting to keep going, you could be bawling your face off while you do it but you still have gusto?



Can you be excited about your writing and also be depressed?

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TODAY it begins!

First day of the challenge! There’s still time to invite your friends and your family and your kids and your writing parters.


  1. Four days in a row of consistent writing (you decide how long)
  2. You must have fun. You must be excited. You must write with GUSTO busto.

That’s all.

I am feeling hopeful today. And happier than I have in a long time. Are you feeling hopeful and happy? if not, that’s okay. Write your feelings.

Post anything that happens that is surprising. Post successes. Post any gusto-y moments.

I’ll check in later today.

The end.

P.S. For this challenge, Tanei Henry also has to eat chia seeds and leafy green vegetables exclusively.

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Gusto the Busto: A Writing Marathon Challenge!

My dear friend Ally recommended Mr. Ray Bradbury’s book Zen and the Art of Writing and I love it.  (I also love homemade raspberry jam, long walks on the beach and when someone else does the dishes.)

Anyway, in the book Mr. Bradbury says this:

If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only a half writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled of the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is–excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiams. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health. 

This is actually a fabulous time to be picking peaches, P.S. but that’s not the point. The point is . . . Are you writing with zest, gusto, love, fun? Are you excited? Are you letting yourself go? Surprising yourself? Laughing? Crying? Making horrible wonderful messes?

It’s probably time for a writing marathon. To get back that loving feeling. The goal of this marathon will not be to finish a book, or to revise three chapters, or to get a query letter written and sent. The goal for this marathon will be to write with zest, write with gusto, write with love, write for fun.

Can you do that?

Does it feel like a waste of time?

Can you afford to have fun?

Can you bear to be unproductive?

Will you take a risk with us?

The marathon will start on Wednesday at 5:46 am. It will end on Saturday at 11:34 pm.

Two rules:

1. Write every single day. Wednesday-Saturday for as long as you decide. Could be four hours. Could be four minutes. Must be every day. Must be consistent. Must be made with jello.

2. Don’t worry about whether what you are writing is good. Just worry about whether you are excited. Whether you are having fun. Whether you are letting go. In fact, there is no place for the word worry in this challenge. Don’t worry at all. Just PLAY!!! Play play play for four days.

We’ll report back on Monday about our results. Carol even wants to have dinner party at Olive Garden for those who reach their “goals” or rather, those who do the rules listed above: Every day and Play.

If you are in, and you know you want to be, make a comment. Commit. Set aside time. Make space for you to have joy and laugh and create. Invite your friends to join too. Let’s see what happens!

kiss your face,

Ann Dee


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Some important things about screaming in my ears very very loud just because someone across the table is looking at you

Everyone is screaming at my house. Literally. The baby, the two year old, the four year old, the six year old isn’t screaming but he’s playing the piano so . . . . and the eight year old can’t find his Pokemon cards.  And it’s 8:16 in the morning.

I have recommitted to a project I have set aside over and over again. I never know if I keep setting it aside because it’s not what i should write or because I am scared of it or because it’s not a good idea and it won’t work.

My hope is that it will work. I’m going to try again.

My other hope is that I will be able to write amidst the chaos.

My final hope is that Carol will feel better and that kindness will abound and that the screaming will stop and that there will be flowers and happiness and that I’ll wipe up the cereal before it dries as hard as a rock to the table, chairs and floor.

Here is an assignment:

1. List all the ideas you have right now for books.

2. List all the ideas you’ve set aside. Put asterisks by the ones that maybe you should go back to.

3. List all the reasons why you can’t write today.

4. List all the ways you are going to deal with those reasons and carve out time to create.

5, List five things you are going to do for other people.

6. List all the times many people were screaming at the same time and you didn’t lose your temper and join in with the screaming.

7. Make a concrete writing plan for today: time you’ll write, place you’ll write, ways you’ll deal with distractions (see above), words or ideas you’ll write, what you’ll do when you get stopped in your tracks because of a plot issue or character issue or exhaustion issue, and finally what reward you’ll give yourself (though creating itself is the best reward) when you have made it through your writing session (hello chocolate covered cinnamon bears, or tapioca pudding, or a walk, or a book (what book?), or a swim in the lake).

Love and candy, the end.

That’s all for today!

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