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ROW80 – Captain Obvious & My Sleepy Inner Critic

Sometimes ya gotta point out the obvious. (photo by Tui Snider)
Sometimes ya gotta point out the obvious. (photo by Tui Snider)


As I mentioned in my last ROW80 update, I meet my pal Morgan (@MDragonwillow) on Twitter each day at 5:00 a.m. Having an online writing pal gets me out of bed. I love it!

Even so, when it comes to my new routine, I feel like a long-nailed dog running across a freshly waxed floor; I know where I want to go, but I can’t keep from sliding all over the place. In other words, while I’m starting to get a little more done each day, it’s still sloppier than I’d like, and I’m not able to keep up with it all… yet.

Also, some mornings are more productive than others – much, much more. Some mornings, I head off to work feeling smugly triumphant and impressed by how much I’ve written by 6:30 a.m. Other mornings, I flit around, accomplish nothing, and feel like I should have just slept in.

I finally figured out what’s different about the good mornings versus the bad ones: pre-planning. The challenge with getting up early is that I’m not too tired to write, I’m simply too tired to know where to begin.

Just as I dress more quickly if I choose my outfit the night before, my writing is more focused when I choose exactly which section to zero in on beforehand.

Getting up early also comes with an unexpected benefit: In my groggy-yet-focused writing state, I simply don’t have the energy to criticize my words. That’s right, folks, my dreaded Inner Critic likes to sleep in!

So, my new ROW80 rule is to decide the night before what I will be writing in the early morning hours.

In retrospect, this new strategy seems pretty obvious, but sometimes obvious stuff needs to be pointed out – kinda like the photo I chose for this post!

I’ve also decided not to pressure myself so much to finish my memoir in time for the May 20th DFW Writer’s Conference. If the book is ready by then, great, but I don’t want anything hasty or slapdash. I want it to be the best book it can be.

I do, however, want to make the most of my time at the DFW Writer’s Conference. It’s the first writing conference I’ve ever attended. Any words of advice?

That’s it from my neck of the writing woods this week. Here’s the Linky List to other ROW80 writers out there in the blogosphere:

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Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. Donna Donna

    Yes, it is a good ideas to decide what you will be
    writing one day before. I am not a writer but i used
    think what i should be reading the next day for exams
    when i was studying. This way I was successful at
    my exams.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Donna,

      It sure helps me – especially because I’m pretty tired at 4 a.m.!

      Thanks for stopping by. :)


  2. Kayelle has it exactly right. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The editor and agents I talked to at my first (and only so far) conference thanked me for letting them know up front I was a newbie. It always pay to do your research up front. I actually asked a question I thought was pertinent and other authors thought it was silly (from the looks on their faces). I felt I’d committed a horrible faux pas. The editor was gracious and said I’d made a fantastic suggestion. You never know. But yes, go in to learn and experience and it will be a positive experience.


    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Thank you, Melanie.

      I am going to set aside some time to research the editors and agents who will be attending.

      Good for you for asking questions that I bet others were too afraid to ask. I’m going to ask questions to my heart’s content – whether or not others snicker!


    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Ruthie,

      Glad I’m not the only one who has epiphanies over the obvious! Although, the bit about my inner critic sleeping was truly a surprise. Let me know if yours does, too. We could be onto something.

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. Conferences are fun, but also work. Enjoy yourself, but remember you are there to enhance your career, so be professional. Find out the dress code so you know how to fit in, but don’t be afraid to be different. Take as little with you as possible so you’ll have room for the goodies you’ll bring back. Be kind to everyone. You do not always know who that person is who’s sitting next you, standing in line behind or in front you, or hanging out in the elevator. Online, we go by handles and account names; crazy8fromVegas might turn out to be the name used by a powerful editor with whom you might one day work – and she might know you whether you know who she is. Be gracious and remember manners. It is always acceptable to be on your best behavior. Remember, “A closed mouth gathers no foot.” :) Go with a teachable spirit and open mind. Look around, and offer to help others. You might be the best memory someone takes home from the conference. Good luck, and enjoy your time.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Kayelle,

      Thanks for all the great pointers for attending the writer’s conference! I will keep all that in mind.

      Your remark that, “You might be the best memory someone takes home from the conference” reminds me, too, that I will be learning from the other attendees as well as from the presenters while I am there.

      Ooh – I’m getting so excited!

      Thanks for stopping by my blog.


  4. Oh, Tui! You have it together so many ways.

    It is rather frightening when we think about it, just how obvious some of the stuff we have to tell ourselves really is. But, I guess we need to reminders…. I certainly did. Both about “preparing” and “not being too tired”… I keep missing the #wordmongering, and it’s sad, because so much happens during those mental outings.

    Thank you for inspiring me, and best of luck with the memoir. While it’s not my story to write, I think you are taking the wiser course in not rushing for the conference.

    While I’ve never been to a writing-only conference, I’ve been to conferences where several writers, agents and editors hang out (reading conferences, sf-fantasy conferences, etc.). My suggestion: have an “elevator pitch” ready, have your first three to five chapters in case you would like to workshop something, and spend most of your time meeting and greeting people.

    Oh, and have LOTS of fun. :-D

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Eden,

      Glad to hear I’ve inspired you in some way. Sure hope to bump into you on #wordmongering sometime. Even if I’m not around, it’s a rather active hashtag.

      Thanks for the tips on the writing conference. I need to hone my elevator pitch, which reminds me – I need to order new business cards.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  5. I feel like I need to at least stop by DFWCon this year. I couldn’t afford to go, but a lot of friends are going. I might need to come hang out at least and see what’s up. :)

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Suzan,

      I kinda used the DFWCon expense to spur myself into action. My frugal nature would be appalled if I registered and did not write my butt off before going!

      I hope you can at least drop by for part of the conference. Have you attended in the past?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Yes indeed; that nasty Inner Critic is a sleepy fellow! I recently discovered I could plug out tons of words if I got up early or stayed up late to write. Good luck with your goals – have fun writing while Mr. Critic snores in bed. :)

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Belle,

      Come to think of it, between my Inner Critic, my husband and my kitty, I’m surrounded by snoring during my early morning writing sessions. It’s working for me, though!

      Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!


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