13 Jul

Shaking Things Up

Posted in Blog, DIY MFA, Goals

Some of you may have noticed that things have been pretty quiet here at iggi&gabi.  Don’t worry, the radio silence doesn’t mean I’m gone completely!  Actually, it’s because of some sooper-seekrit but sooper-exciting things that I’m working on that I haven’t had as much time to post as I would like.  I can’t give all the details right now (in part because I don’t know all of them yet) but I can give you a taste of what’s to come.

Author Interviews and Guest Posts:  I’m working with some publicists to start getting interviews and guest posts from published authors.  I think it would be so helpful for aspiring authors (myself included!) to see how published authors do what they do and be able to pick their brains a bit.  I’m really excited about this and as soon as I know more details, you all will be the first to know.  Are there any specific topics you want to hear authors talk about?  Let me know and I’ll try to make it happen!

WIP Revisions: That’s right, after letting my manuscript “breathe” for a few months, I have jumped into revisions.  I have set a steep goal for myself (a chapter a day) and it’s consuming mountains of time.  I’m slightly terrified because no matter how much I shape or polish, it still doesn’t feel done.  Every time I get to the end, I turn around and go straight back to the beginning and start rewriting.  Again.  Is there such a thing as over-revising?  Please help!  Do you have words of wisdom to share about revision?  Any advice on how to tackle this monster?  Most importantly, how do you know when it’s done?

DIY MFA: This is the most exciting of all!  I’ve decided that because DIY MFA 1&2 were so successful, I’m going to expand this project beyond this blog.  I’m working on restructuring and reorganizing the program and giving DIY MFA a home of its very own.  Rather than having DIY MFA happen in short spurts once or twice a year, I want to create a community where writers can engage with DIY MFA year-round.  What kind of features do you want to see in DIY MFA?  Articles?  Videos?  More downloads like the workbook?  Let me know how DIY MFA can best help you!


06 Jan

Starting Fresh!

Posted in Goals

Hello friends!  Hope you all had a marvelous New Year.  I know it’s been quiet around here.  Sorry to leave you all in the lurch!  I meant to start posting again on Monday but I was struck down by a new year flu (blech) for a few days, but now I’m back to normal and ready to start posting again.

Everyone and their mother is posting about writing resolutions, but I thought I’d do something a little different.  First off, I’m not sure I want to share all my goals and resolutions (mostly because I’m bound to have a #gabifail or two so this way I save myself the humiliation of having to admit it in public.)  But more importantly, I think resolutions aren’t just about setting goals and striving for them, but about a change in attitude and outlook.  Instead I’ve come up with a 2011 plan.

Picture Credit
2 Manageable Goals: 
  • First, I’m doing the 100+ reading challenge for 2011 and I’ll be posting the books I read here.
  • Second, this year I will finish the edits on my WIP.

0 Comparisons:  I’ll admit it, I can’t help but compare myself to the people around me.  I try not to–I really do–but it’s almost like a reflex and I can’t help it.  The college bulletin arrives in the mail and I always feel super-inferior because I haven’t discovered a cure for cancer, I haven’t finished a triathlon in record time, and I haven’t sold my start-up company for billions of dollars.

But then I started thinking… even if I knew how to do all these things, it’s not like I would actually want to.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m very glad there are people out there coming up with cures for cancer, performing amazing physical feats like a triathlon or building start-up companies that give other people good jobs.  I’m glad these things are happening in the world.

And I’m also glad that I don’t have to be the one to do it.

This year, rather than letting these things get me down, I’ve decided I will not run away from the college bulletin.  I will not pathologically avoid Facebook.  When I see someone accomplish something great, I’ll send happy “Thank You” vibes to that person for doing it because it means I don’t have to.  And that means more time for writing.

1 New Approach to Creativity:  This video is super-inspiring!  It’s a bit on the long side but it’s SOOOOO worth it.  It’s totally changed my attitude toward the idea of genius and creative success.

1 Quote:

The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance.”
         ~ Randy Nelson, Pixar


13 Nov

Work In Progress

Posted in Goals, Process, Writing

I don’t usually blog about my current writing project because I’m always scared I’ll jinx it if I talk about it too much.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a superstitious person.  I have a black cat that crosses my path on a regular basis, Friday the 13th is one of my favorite days of the year and I cross my eyes and make faces regularly, just to make sure I won’t get stuck that way.  But there’s something about talking about my WIP that gives me the heebee-jeebies.

Now I’m in the final sprint–only a few hundred words away from finishing–so I feel OK about sharing with you all.  In fact, I feel more than OK, I want to share because that way you’ll understand why I’ve been a bit more MIA than usual these last few weeks.  Still, part of me is a little superstitious about talking about my WIP so I’ve decided to tell the story in pictures, starring baby animals (because baby animals make any story that much cuter).  Here it is.  The progress report of my WIP (title to be revealed later) told in pictures.

Enjoy! <3 <3 <3

At first, things were going swimmingly.  I finished my thesis,
had a solid outline, and was writing along.  La la la la la…
Then, as I was climbing fast toward the climax, I made a fatal mistake:
I looked down.
“Yikes, it’s pretty high up here.”
Lucky for me, I have some great writing buddies
who weren’t afraid to give me a pick-me-up.
I kept writing.
Even so, there were times I just wanted to curl up inside my shell.
Then, I finally made it to the final showdown!
Good thing I’m trained in the art of pen-wielding,
because my villain turned out to be a piece of work.
“Take that, evil character!”
Now I’m sprinting to the finish line.
1200 words… 1100… 1000…
And pretty soon I’ll type the two most beautiful words in the English language:

How about you?  How’s your writing coming along?  Any NaNoWriMo folks out there?  If so, how’s the experience been treating you?

Write on!


30 Aug

What’s your Holy Grail?

Posted in DIY MFA, Goals, Process

As we gear up for DIY MFA, we’ll be talking a lot of about goals.  Yesterday we focused on operational definitions for our goals (i.e. small concrete and measurable steps that represent the bigger, abstract goal).  Today we’ll be emphasizing the flip-side of that idea, namely the Holy Grail.

What’s a Holy Grail, you ask?  It’s that elusive dream, that unbelievable quest that shapes all your creative goals.  Julia Cameron (of The Artist’s Way) calls this her True North.  I call it my own personal Holy Grail.  It doesn’t matter what words you give it, the idea is the same.

Two people might have similar goals but a very different Holy Grail.  For instance, two writers might both want to get published but to one, the Holy Grail is winning a Pulitzer while to the other the Holy Grail might be getting on the NYT Bestseller list.  Notice how both writers have parallel small goals (getting an agent, editor and having their book published) but ultimately the differences in their Holy Grails will shape how they approach these intermediary steps.  Even if they never reach that ultimate goal, the Holy Grail will influence the goals that lead up to their ultimate success.

But wait, you say.  Didn’t we just spend all of yesterday figuring out small, concrete, manageable goals?  Are we supposed to give up on those all of a sudden and go after wild and crazy dreams?


Here’s the secret: The Holy Grail shapes your goals, but it doesn’t define them.  So go ahead, dream big.  Let your mind go through all those fanciful scenarios you would never admit to anyone.

Your task for today:  What’s your Holy Grail?  Write it down and post it somewhere where you can see it every day.  Here’s mine.


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