Wait. Do I Need New Shoes?

~ By Melina Kantor I used to feel like I knew how to “conference.” At one point in my life, I attended RWA Nationals three years in a row. I knew people. I had an RWA chapter. I had business casual clothes. Oh. And I was writing. And not just sometimes.  And then. I moved across the world. I had to leave my local chapter, but luckily, I was already part of this one. Every year since, I’ve attended conferences vicariously, and longingly scrolled through conference-related posts on social media.  But this year, the stars aligned and if all...

What Karate Has Taught Me About Writing

~ By Melina Kantor I wasn’t planning to write a novel. Especially not in thirty days. But one October day in 2007, as I was walking my dog in Central Park while listening to a podcast, I heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Minutes after I got home, I signed up. A few weeks later, not only had I started my first novel, I’d become part of a writing community. Not long after that, I had a completed draft of an actual novel and was a member of RWA. Even better? I’d found my tribe. I still dive...

My Story as a Playlist

~ By Melina Kantor When I tell people that I always, always, always create a soundtrack for my WIP, the response is often, “Oh. Well I can’t write to music.” You know what? I honestly can’t either. I get too distracted and too lost, especially by songs I feel connected to. Music can turn my brain into a sort of popcorn popper, causing all kinds of disorganized ideas to zing around my head. Which, actually is the point. Building and listening to a story soundtrack (a trick I learned from Lani Diane Rich) helps me discover my stories and create...

Reentry and Giving Yourself a Break

~ By Melina Kantor We hear it all the time. BICHOK. Want to be a writer? Write.  Writers write every day.  And of course, all of that is true. But I’ve got to confess something. I just finished a first draft of a story. I sat my butt down and put my hands on the keyboard for several hours for 29 days and won NaNoWriMo. For a month, my dogs were neglected. My refrigerator was empty. My nice gel manicure slowly peeled off, leaving me with broken nails. I was exhausted. And people were talking about starting revisions on December...

GMC, Wonder Woman, and Unlocking Your NaNoWriMo Story

Wow, okay. So NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins exactly a week from today. Have you figured out your plot? Eh, don’t worry, neither have I. Besides, as they say, “no plot, no problem.” Right? NaNo is the time to write with “literary abandon,” forget the rules, and just write. Right? Well. . . The Problem Personally, I can’t do that. I can not handle not knowing what I’m going to write, and even though I’ve been successfully NaNo’ing since 2007, I have yet to learn how to let loose and “just write.” And if try to do so without...

Readers, Writers and Protagonists Setting Healthy Boundaries

Warning: This post makes references to violence and sexual assault. If you’d rather skip this post, we completely understand.  Note: Much of what I share in this post I’ve learned from taking empowerment self-defense and martial arts classes at an organization called El HaLev. Learn more by reading or watching “Beauty Bites Beast” by Ellen Snortland. ~ By Melina Kantor It seems to happen more often than not. I’m getting into a book, grateful for some much needed down time, and then. . . The hero shows up unexpectedly and unwanted someplace where the heroine feels safe. Maybe it’s her...

Attn: All the Single Ladies — You Are Astonishing!

~ Melina Kantor Hello, All the Single Ladies, My last post in our honor was about HEA’s and why we are more than capable of writing them. I’m back! I wasn’t planning on writing another post about “single ladies,” but there’s something I feel the need to discuss. Actually, there’s a part of that something I’d rather not discuss in public, but I’ll take one for the team and admit that two weeks ago, I went to a singles event at my synagogue. (Yeah, I know. Gasp. Ick. What was I thinking? In all fairness, it was one of...

Giving and Receiving Critiques [Repost]

~ By Melina Kantor  You can’t get very far in the writing world without learning, and quickly, that writers need to develop a thick skin. Our work is always out there for critique partners, reviewers, agents, editors, and readers to read and pick apart. As scary as this may be, it’s actually for the best. Every writer, no matter how talented, no matter how famous, needs to be edited and critiqued. It makes the stories we’re dying to tell so much stronger. Critiques are a necessary evil, kind of like going to the dentist. The thing is, no matter how...

There’s a Diva in my Basement [REPOST]

~ By Melina Kantor Note: This is based on a similar post that originally appeared here. Melina no longer lives in the building described below, but The Divas are willing to have a long distance relationship.  Some people have nightmares in their closets. Some people have boys in their basements (and not in a serial killer way). My basement, however, has a diva infestation. I’ve never seen them, but here’s a picture of their ancestors, The Nine Muses: The divas live in a private section of the basement that I never get to see, and are way more girlie than I. They decorate with...

Writer Crazy – Brought to you by Goats

~ By Melina Kantor You know how new doctors say that they don’t feel like real doctors until they hear themselves being paged? Or how new teachers say that they don’t feel like real teachers until kids call them Mrs. / Mr.? When I started writing, I desperately searched for something to make me feel like a real writer. I knew publishing wouldn’t happen over night, but there had to be something else. Then, it came to me, thanks to this episode of Will Write for Wine (best podcast ever – listen ASAP). Writer Crazy. I needed to experience it...

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