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Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Couple Shout-Outs

If you haven't already done so and you can afford to, please donate to and/or to help those hurt in the disasters in Japan. I know a lot of people can't afford to give much, but every little bit helps. Also, if you know of any other good relief efforts that are worthy of donations, please post them in the comments section. I know I'll check them out, and hopefully, other people will too.

The phenomenal Zoe Winters pointed this app out for me called "Focus Booster." It sounds stupid because it's basically just a timer on your computer. Okay, it's not basically that. It is that. But somehow, watching the time go down has kept me focused, and I've actually managed to get a lot of work done. I think I ended today with almost 8,000 words, and the awesome part is that it only took me four hours to do it. Because I just stayed off the internet when the timer was counting down. It was some bizarre psychological trick that totally worked.

So, if you're a writer, I would highly recommend you getting it. It sounds silly, but it really helped me. 

And, on the subject of Zoe Winters - the internet has really latched on to me as an "indie darling" (their words, not mine). But if you really want to have a leader for the indie writer movement, it should be Zoe. I'm not sure of her exact numbers, but I know that she makes a living off her self-published works and her rankings are pretty good.

But more than that, Zoe loves being an indie writer. Loves it. She's crazy about doing all the crap that drives me insane. She chose to go the route she did because she believed she could put out a better quality product on her own, and her case, I'd say she was definitely right. She's a valiant and outspoken proponent of self-publishing, and if you really want to know anything about it, read her blog.

Also - I've been forgetting to give a shout-out. My laptop has been showing up a lot in the pictures when reporters and what not photograph me. If you've seen those pictures, you may have noticed the decal on the back of my Dell.

That decal is from, a company that makes decals to fit all your electronics, including laptops, Macbooks, iPads, ereaders, and phones. That particular decal was done by an artist named Lawrence Yang, and I absolutely love his artwork. I have several of the pieces he's done for Gelaskins so that his various artworks adorn my laptop, nook, Kindle, and phone.

I love his work. I think it's really brilliant. Lawrence Yang also has a website where he sells original artwork and prints. I'm waiting until I move to buy some so I can figure out exactly where I'm going to put, but his artwork will definitely end up in my house.

And the tee shirts I wore for the pictures taken for the Star Tribune, Associated Press, and Pioneer Press were all from because I love ironic tees.

Here's the one I wore for the AP stuff and it's one of my favorites. It's called "A Simple Plan," and it's available in tee shirts and hoodie:

The majority of my writing today was done whilst I listened to the soundtrack to the Pixar feature film Up because it's awesome. Up actually is one of my favorite movies. It's sandwiched right up there somewhere between The Dark Knight and My Own Private Idaho. And also I listened to the Gin Blossoms Outside Looking In: The Best of the Gin Blossoms.

I like promoting stuff I enjoy. And I'm off to bed now.

Oh, don't forget to set your clocks or change the time in someway. I don't own any clocks that don't automatically update anymore (my phone, laptop, and cable box all do it themselves). And that's a big relief. Every clock should automatically set itself.


  1. Focus booster. I like that, better than my current writing with pen and paper, cut off from my internet.

    Will try it soon. I can only hope writing 8k in 4 hours.

  2. Oooohhhh I like the look of this Focus Booster. Downloaded and ready to trial! Thanks Amanda. :-)

  3. I just bought my Zoe Winter's book based on your "shout out." I hope I like it...I'm sure I will. I'm also gonna check out this Focus booster...not because I'm a writer though.

  4. my stove clock well be wrong for a month...Iv excepted this

  5. First time commenter here.

    It's kind of cool that I discovered you because of Zoe Winters. --not that I hadn't heard of you from other sources but reading about you from an online friend makes you more familiar and tangible.

    Anyway, I'm glad to have finally made it over here and I'm very happy for your success. You've rekindled my faith is the grassroots.

    And yay to Zoe. She's a pretty amazing person. I like the way she thinks. She inspires me to color outside the lines.

  6. Great blog full of great info. Pointing to Zoe is very cool .

  7. Lots of interesting links! Definitely need that Focus Booster. And can I just say that My Own Private Idaho is an awesome movie . . . but I've never met anyone else who liked it. :P

  8. Love the decal! Been wondering where to snag something like it. Also, My Own Private Idaho was a great film.

  9. I use Focus Booster when I'm doing my curriculum writing because it absolutely bores me to tears. I'm glad you gave Zoe a shout out - that lady rawks. Hard. And I love the Gin Blossoms - "Hey Jealousy" is one of my fav songs.

  10. Alas, Focus Booster and similar programs don't work for new moms like me. Crying babies act as my motivation to squeeze out JUST ONE MORE PARAGRAPH before I have to go change a diaper. ;)


  11. Zoe Winters has great reviews and I see her name a lot. Very cool! But, you're still an indie darling. ;P

  12. Zoe rocks!! And I love the decal on your dell, so doing that when my battered old toshiba finally gives up (will probably live forever now.. *sigh*)

    The Arrival, Book 1 of the BirthRight Trilogy available now

  13. I like your blog. It is clear and very personal. I really liked your short journal of how you write. I would like to know as a first time author how do you promote your books? Do you let the companies like Amazon do it? or social networking? I am interested in promoting my first middle grade children paranormal novel and would like to know how to get an audience to my book. What company do you use to self publish your paperbacks? Would you recommend selling e books, paperbacks or both starting out? Thanks for being an inspiration especially during these cash strap days.


  14. Writing 8,000 words in one sitting is an accomplishment. My current daily goal sits at 1,000 words, and that takes me usually around an hour. I guess your outline must be much more detailed than mine.

    The thing I don't understand is how you, and the people commenting above me, can write while listening to music. I find that it would be hard to keep my focus on the writing. I typically grab my laptop and go somewhere quiet where I won't be interrupted for at least an hour.

    Anyways, keep up the good work. I look forward to your next book.

    Ben Is Writing!

  15. I just checked out threadless and ordered 6 shirts! lol. thanks!! i'm going to check out zoe tonight too. You're awesome!!!

  16. Thanks for the "Focus Booster" idea! I am going to give that a try this week, along with a stricter writing schedule.

    I am going to check out Zoe, and hopefully get some new books for my nook :)

    Have a great week, and happy writing!

  17. I set timers for myself too. The minimum goal for the day is an hour, and some days that's PLENTY. Other days, I keep right on going.

    I find having good music on in the background is really helpful for the focus too. I made myself a writing playlist on, basically made up of a bunch of orchestral soundtracks. I don't get distracted singing along, and somehow the music from movies that moved me makes me more productive. You have to take some time to find the songs you want and get them in your list, but it's nice to have them all together in one place.

    Anyway! That's my thing. Just sit and write every day. If you are stuck on the project you're working on, open a new file and just ramble to yourself. It will come, I promise!

    Happy writing, all! ;)

  18. Liked this last comment a lot, esp the open file and ramble part. It does work. I like, too, how you promoted so many others, Amanda; so kind a way to pay it forward, one of the aspects of a writer's life I like best.

  19. I keep a digital timer on my desk for the same reason. It's way easier to say, "I need to stay off the internet," if you give yourself a time limit. Leaving it open ended sets you up for failure. Eventually you'll cave, and you know you'll cave, so why bother? But 30 minutes? We can all unplug for 30 minutes.

  20. I often write in total silence, but I also sometimes get in the mood to write to music. Usually the only type of music I can listen to while writing is instrumental/mood music on low. No lyrics. Right now I'm really digging the Batman Begins soundtrack.

    And thank you for the awesome shout out! And also to everyone who said such lovely things in the comments section. :)

  21. I've heard of Focus Booster or similar things, but haven't tried it before. However, it seems like I am more and more distracted by the internet, so maybe it's time for drastic action.

    I am a big fan of Zoe Winters. Everyone should also check out her hilarious Zoe Who? vids on You Tube.

  22. Food for the Poor~


    Dawn McCullough-White

  23. I love Focus Booster. I also use Instant Boss sometimes, because it does this really cute "Aw, man!" sound when it's time to go back to work. Pomodairo is like Focus Booster, except it has a to do list attached, so it's really handy with staying on task. That one's my favorite.

    Not that I struggle with ADD or anything. Not me.

  24. I love the gelaskins web site. They have some awesome art and i am pretty sure you can get Langley's work via a print, too. Have you seen Camilla D'errico's work? s'awesome! I just wish she'd produce more for gelaskins.

  25. Amanda,

    Caught your interview with the PioneerPress, but not the one on the StarTribune. In fact, StarTribune returned no results on your name.

    Has that one run yet? Got a URL to share?

  26. Got to test it out while revising, it distracted me from distracting myself with thinking how slow I was going, making me revise much quicker than normal.

    Today I'll try it out while writing. So far I think it's simple and great.

  27. I love Lawrence Yang and used this image on my blog once also.

    Gelaskins is great. I have found a lot of new artists looking through their decals.

  28. amanda,
    have any producers approached you about turning your trilogy into a film?

  29. Hi, Amanda! Was just perusing BoN, when I came across you and started reading... You asked if readers knew of other places where one could donate... And maybe someone else has already posted, or you already know, but I'll take that chance.

    There are MANY artists and craftspeople on that are donating to the relief efforts, myself included. Do a search from the main page, and you'll find thousands of items that sellers are offering with 20-100% of the profits to be donated. There are bracelets for as $5.00, fine art prints, pottery, jewelry, handmade knits, and all kinds of things. People can get something cool, and do a good turn all at the same time.

    Thanks for your time.
    Julianna from "The Curious Pebble Project"

  30. Automatic clock updates are great. Weirdly there is a ten minute difference between my iPad and iBook - I use the iPad when I want to live in the future. You're talk of changing clocks made me think of this show I saw about a guy who works at Windsor Castle. He was the head time keeper and it took him two weeks to change all of the castle's clocks.

  31. Thanks for sharing.. I am glad to read the information here

  32. i am very surprice when i am see ur'blogger, you are succese site, best wish for you too
    someday i wish to be same you.