Stacey D. Atkinson

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Here I am in NYC at Book Expo America 2014, rockin' a fresh buzz cut and chatting with the lovely Angela Bole, executive director of the Independent Book Publishing Association.

I've been hearing it for years from writing coaches, show don't tell. I've attended songwriting workshops where we examined the precious few words that make up a hit song: show don't tell the instructors would say. I took a creative writing class where the teacher would drone on about effective setting, plot, characters, point of view, and the eloquence of building a story by showing not telling. But what did it all mean?

I just did a Wordle of my blog site. It shows the words I use most in my posts. Glad to see no swear words made it to the list. Ha!

Sometimes, in order to achieve great things, you have to get out of your own way. When it comes to writing a book, that could mean leaving your home for the afternoon and going somewhere with no distractions (and preferably no Wi-Fi) so you can simply concentrate on writing. 

I'm not trying to be funny (okay, maybe just a little witty), but I truly believe the secret to writing a book is to sit your butt in a chair in front of your computer and just write.

This week I read an interesting article in Entrepreneur magazine about how chronic interruptions are assaulting our concentration and the bottom line. The article said that information overload costs the US economy $997 billion in 2010. I found myself nodding and saying "hell, ya," and vowing to do something about it in my own life. With a few simple changes, I was able to reduce my daily distractions and save money, too.

An author website is an important promotional tool for writers by providing them a platform to promote their books, blogs, and other products and talents. While a website is but one spoke in the marketing wheel, it is the most important one because it provides the hub from which all other marketing campaigns and social media can be anchored.

Today I floated above the city in a hot air balloon. How did someone like me, who's afraid of heights and gets motion sick, do such a crazy thing? 

I miss my book club. It's been three months, which is to say "three books ago," since I attended a meeting and I am excited to get back to reading and reviewing new books. Summer was a bit of a whirlwind with all the backyard BBQs, vacation time, and general laziness, but now that September is almost here, it's time to get back on track. 

This week I am on vacation far from home. While I'm doing my best to relax and not think about my impending to-do list, my mind is still working and observing people all around me. Maybe it's easier to notice the differences in people when you're away from home, since their clothes, accents, and general mannerisms are naturally different than the ones you're used to seeing every day. All that to say, being away from home is a perfect way to gain new ideas for characters.

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