Author Archives: CLW

15 Minute Monday

Writing in little bits and pieces. Can you do it? Have you done it successfully, ever?

My dear friend, Laura Torres, wrote several VERY successful How-to books for Klutz Press. Her titles sold more than 6,000,000 copies. She is an amazing woman and an amazing writer, one of the most creative people I’ve ever met.

When Laura had two young children at home, she wrote a great deal of nonfiction. Her family ALWAYS came first. She wasn’t the kind of mom who locked herself away from her crying children. She was there every moment. And that meant she had to teach herself to write in the time given her.

I remember Laura telling me she wrote when she had the moments.

“I’ve taught myself to write in 15 minutes or less.” She told me this years ago and I still remember her words. And being in awe.

She wrote clean.

She wrote well.

She wrote quickly.

The results were amazing. She’s written A LOT of books.

(You may remember her work. Go here to see it.

Laura has since gotten another higher degree, is a grandmother (and expecting another grandbaby), and has made a name for herself in the world of writing for teachers.

She is, I think, the mother of making time, and making time work for her. Or she works with time.


Do you sit around waiting for lots of FREE time?

Or do you write in the moments at the doctor, at stoplights, while dinner simmers?

What can you do in 15 minutes a day?

I’d like to set up a challenge for us (those who want to play), for these last days of May. 15 minutes each day. That’s all we ask.

What can you do with that?

What does it grow into?

Does the 15 minutes become 30? The 30 minutes become an hour?

Are there hard scenes you work to, work through?

Can you tackle the scary stuff easier when it’s in chunks?

I’ll try to remember to chime in at the end of each day, ask a question or two (except on Sunday. I won’t check in then. That’s my day off from writing. Don’t tell Stephen King.).

There are nine days left.

405 minutes.

What will you accomplish?



Filed under CLW

Friday by Lisa

As an introduction:

1. I write contemporary YA.
2. But I start grad school in the fall for an MFA in nonfiction.
3. I’m nannying for my nephew, six months old, in the DC area.
4. I thought I liked rain. I don’t.
5. Disneyland gives me migraines.
6. Life motto: I’d rather be at the beach.
7. Sometimes I pretend I’m British when no one is watching and say things like hi-ya and knickers.
8. Oh, and the name is Lisa.
Today I woke with a single thought–writing takes faith. Faith that something will happen when you sit at the computer. Faith that maybe a single word you write will be worth reading later even if it’s only by one person.
I forget this sometimes. I think if brilliant things aren’t already running around my mind then there will be nothing in me when I sit at my laptop.
Take the step of faith wherever you go, whatever clutters your lists with piles to do. Just sit even for a few moments and write something remarkable or rubbish. The thing with faith, you don’t know what’s over the cliff till you step to the edge.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Three Thing Thursday


Ann Dee and I are teaching together on  Saturday at an event that’s raising money to buy bookshelves for the Rick Walton Library in St George. $99 buys you a small 2.5 hour class with two writing teachers, keynote addresses from Shannon Hale and Ally Condie plus other stuff.

There might be room left, if you are interested.



One thing that I love to do when I’m depressed is to make my characters miserable.

It’s important for characters to be miserable. Their lives should be filled with problems that seem like they can never be fixed. Readers need to be worried, terrified even, that we’re going to kill off (or at least seriously maim) someone they’ve grown to love.
The reason it makes me feel better is that I have the larger perspective. This misery that I’m putting my character through isn’t going to last forever. Maybe there will be some lasting damage, sure. But overall, it’s going to be okay. I know that the cavalry is riding in at breakneck speed. I know the misunderstandings that led to the problem sounding worse than it really is. And most importantly, I know that in the end the character will be at peace. I love my characters more than any reader ever will, and I won’t let them down. I will always make sure they get the ending they were always meant to have, even if it’s not the perfect one that they envisioned.
Doing this soothes me. My life isn’t perfect. Most of the time, it’s a mess. But that’s okay. Because like my characters, I’m not at the end of my story. And I trust that at the end of my story, there will be a resolution. Not a perfect one, to be sure, but a resolution nonetheless.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

15 Minute Monday

We’re talking about my Dragon software.

Recently I came up with several book ideas I wanted to get done quickly. ( I haven’t done any of that writing yet.  Life.)

So I bought one of those Dragon thingies. You know– the thing that listens to your voice and then writes down whatever you’re saying? Rick Walton used one. It was always hilarious to get his emails. I’m not so sure he went back and reread and reread and reread trying to catch mistakes

Good old Rick. (Now I must admit I haven’t gotten the hang of this thing perfectly. I forget, or have not learned yet, commands that will help me. And Dragon did just write brick instead of Rick. So there.) (Also it tears out my hair when I try to take the microphone off. And I don’t have hair to spare.)

Anyway, this Dragon thing. It works pretty well. I like it.

The problem is with me. I’m not used to talking  out my book ideas.

I’d say  6 % of my writing  I do using the Dragon.

Like this post.


That’s my endorsement. The Dragon thing.  Get one if you have carpal tunnel.

(I don’t have carpal tunnel.)

Suggestions for names? I can’t have a Dragon thing and not have a name for it.


Also, yesterday at church, a five-year-old  was asked to identify Peter, James and John  in a poster I held.

“Who is this?” I asked him in front of the entire group of children.

With a huge smile he said, “Penis, James and John.”


Oh, I love kids.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New Faces

without pictures😉

Okay. We have Lisa Roylance taking over Friday posts

and LoriAnne Spear helping with Three Thing Thursday.


Ya. Hoo!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Three Thing Thursday


Our dear Brenda won’t be able to write for TUW for much longer.

Brenda–I will miss you.

Is there someone out there who would dare to write something weekly for our little blog?

You wouldn’t be taking Brenda’s place, as no one can. You will just be adding your insight.

Please let me know if anyone wants this super high-paying job.



Lately, I’ve been trying to take time to focus on the five senses.

What do I hear? A car outside, the footsteps of a stray cat, the rattle of window blinds as the fan hits them.
What do I feel? The watch against my wrist, the ring pressing into my finger, the hair tie slipping out of my all-day ponytail.
What do I taste? The aftertaste of a brownie I shouldn’t have eaten, but the texture was perfect–moist and silky, with the tiniest crunch at the edge.
What do I smell? Nothing lately…I’ve had either allergies or a cold for the last month or so.
What do I see? Soft, yellow, incandescent light, casting soft shadows across the floor, but my eye is drawn to the bright screen of my ever-present, never sleeping phone.
If I were writing a scene, not all of these senses would be important. But one of them would be. Determining the most important detail in a scene can ground your reader in the entire storyline. It’s just a matter of finding what that perfect detail is, and then finding the best way to describe it.
Sometimes, think I don’t know enough to be specific. For instance, I’ve lived in my condo for close to ten years. Just a few years ago, the Powers That Be (think local H.O.A.) decided my stretch of nothing but lawn in the front was sad. They had our “hired hands” plant a young tree. I loved having a new tree in my yard! A year, maybe two later, we had a horrific storm and it ripped one of the arms of my small, struggling tree. I still have one piece of it: a dead limb, bent out at a rakish angle, and denuded of leaves. It’s dead. I don’t have any tools strong enough to clip it — so sad looking. Like nobody cares enough to give this old gent a haircut! And here’s the worst part. I have no idea what kind of tree it is. If I knew, I would use that name, and you, the reader, would know what it looks like, how sad it is; so it just sits there (on “my” side of the tree—it’s what I look at from my sunroom cum office window). And some of you would know, with precision, what that would look like, if I only had its name. When it turns to autumn leaves. When the first buds of leaves begin to pop out in the spring. So, we all need to learn more, to enrich and nourish our writing: fruit? But what kind? Fresh pineapple (that makes my mouth water); cantaloupe (makes me squirm —I’m allergic to the fresh melon, but cantaloupe sorbet ? — great, if I can find it. Flowers? You talkin’ roses? geraniums? dandelions? orchids? Look around you, no matter where you are? How many things can you name . . . with accuracy? Those are the details which will make our writing stand out, be engaging, be memorable.

Leave a comment

Filed under three thing thursday

15-Minute Monday

Yesterday my daughters tried to  poison me.

I refused to have a Mother’s Day. But Elise and Carolina made dinner.  I was up all night.

I’m in this weird place.

I don’t like it.

Here’s what I know about depression.

My reminder.

A refresher course.

Depression doesn’t care if you make goals.

It doesn’t care  if you are behind and are struggling to catch up.

It doesn’t care  who you  hurt or how you hurt.

Depression doesn’t give a damn about the people in your life or in your heart or in your head.

You feel sorry because you got the stupid phone and don’t want to use it.

You feel sorry for everything that’s going on that you don’t know how to fix.

You feel sorry about the choices other people are making. Or that your baby is growing up. Or that all the work you do seems to go unnoticed.

It’s an ugly pity party but you can’t help it.

You know you sound like a whiny bird but you don’t care and when you try to feel anything other than no hope, there’s just a big empty place where your heart should be.

I think one of the worst parts of when I feel like this, is that it feels like even God does not care.

Don’t worry.  I sound dramatic.

I’ll be fine.  Certainly I’ve been here before.

It’s not pleasant.  But don’t writers live in this awful hole?

Getting out is just taking a lot longer than it feels like it usually does.

Maybe my girls were just trying to put me out of my misery.



Filed under CLW, Depression, Life