• Blog

    Zigging and zagging and keeping on going


    Can you even believe it is July? No really, can you? I just can’t.

    I used to believe that old adage “time flies when you’re having fun” but this year has been boring at best and craptastic at worst for me – depending on the day, and I still can’t believe it’s half-done. So I guess time waits for no man or woman to get herself together and start moving forward. Good to know.

    It’s summer of course where many of my readers are but it is winter here in Sydney and I am just not a winter girl. I like my sun shining, my breezes warm and my toes not frozen thanks very much. I’m lucky I don’t live in Norway or Wisconsin because I for sure would suffer from seasonal depression and I really feel for those people who have to endure long, dark winters.

    Really here in Australia we are very lucky that our climate is so mild. On the other hand where I live half the people don’t have decent heating and most of the cafe’s are designed as if the temperature was never below about seventy-five degrees or the mid-twenties in celsius so venturing outside can be chilly.

    Still this is good writing weather.

    I am about to send book 5 in the Upper Crust Series off to the editor. I’m a bit behind but it’s coming and Book 6 is ready to go behind it. I also have a Christmas novella ready to be edited and I have a story going in a New Year’s multi-author box set so there will be a few new releases from me in the latter part of the year. Oh and I have a Valentine’s novella ready to go too.

    A few people have said The Upper Crust Series needs a seventh book to tie up all the loose ends so I better get working on that as well.

    Meanwhile I have started a new series I’m really excited about and I hope my readers will be too. I’m writing the first two books simultaneously (I do like a challenge) and I’m going to be pitching it to a few traditional publishers and if they’re not keen that series will start releasing in 2017.

    I always feel like I’m marking time but I guess maybe I’m zig-zagging rather than running on the spot.

    And if you do like my Upper Crust Series all the books are on sale now so….pop over to Amazon and grab yourself copies while they’re a bargain. Author.to/MoniqueMcDonell

    The Upper Crust Series Promo Banner Original Covers - Autumn

  • Blog

    What can a writer do when motivation is elusive?


    Alphabet Dating Mug and Kindle EditionI’m having trouble getting my writing motivation back in this new year.

    There are several reasons/excuses for this – it’s summer holidays here so there’s no routine, I had a big end of the year work-wise and I’m regrouping, I probably have too much time on my hands and I do better when I’m busy – among other things.



    Still I need to get back on track so what are some good strategies for this?

    1. Read

    I find reading to be motivating for me. It gets me thinking about my own characters and what they might do in a similar situation. If a book is well-written and engaging that inspires me to do better and if it’s a bit lack-lustre (especially if it sells well) I think “surely if this book can find a market mine can too.

    2. Connect with other writers

    Right now most of my writing buddies are away at such exotic locations as India, Paris, Uluru and Byron Bay to name a few which is part of my writing problem I think (they keep me honest) but I belong to lots of online groups where I can go for advice and motivation.

    3. Make a plan

    Honestly, having a plan motivates me. I like to know I have deadlines to work towards. What’s that saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

    4. Focus on the marketing

    Write some blog posts, line up some guest blogs, get my social media hat on and focus on that aspect of writing. It’s most definitely not my favourite part but it’s a necessary evil and you can at least get to the end of the day and say “Hey I did achieve something”.

    5. Just write

    I know that seems kind of obvious but you just have to start sometimes. Start small – write a scene or a page even and you often find that you just keep going. Or set a word limit of just 500 words. That’s nothing really.

    In the end a combination of these things usually gets me moving again. Fingers crossed that happens today. Meanwhile I’m off to read.

  • Blog

    Motivation and commitment or “putting on your big girl panties”


    Pants Illustration by Ross McLoughlin
    Illustration by Ross McLoughlin

    Illustration by Ross McLoughlin
    January is the time of making plans and resolutions and making elaborate life-changing pronouncements that seldom come to fruition.

    “In 2013 I’ll lose 10kg!” (I might have made that one last year.)
    “In 2013 I’ll give up alcohol.” (OK I never make this one I’m not that deluded).
    “In 2013 I will see every Oscar Nominated movie or read every book up for the Booker Prize”. (I am pretty happy if I’ve seen or read two),
    “In 2013 I’ll write that novel and get a publishing contract.” (Definitely I’ve made this one.

    There’s nothing wrong with making these pronouncements at all. Nothing. In fact I think having goals is a wonderful thing. I love them. I love making lists and crossing stuff off but I think what you need to look at when you make these goals is the ‘why’?

    “Why do you want to lose 10kg?” Is it because you think you should, because you were 10kg lighter 20years ago and that’s how you see yourself or because you feel sluggish and lethargic and it’s affecting your day to day life. I think the third one is solid motivation…the others not so much.

    “Why are you seeing those movies/reading those books?” Do you feel you should because they’re deemed worthy by you know, ‘everyone’? Is it because you want people to think your finger is on the pulse? Or is it because escaping into wonderful movies or great literature feeds your soul? Again number three is solid motivation.

    Which leads us to writing goals and motivation, which is apparently what this blog is about.

    If you want to write a novel because you love to write, tell stories and fill your life by hanging out with imaginary people then that’s good motivation. That doesn’t mean it is blissful on a day to day basis – in fact some days a trip to the dentist seems more appealing than facing a manuscript that has wandered off course – but it means at least to begin with your motivation is solid.

    After that like with so many goals – it’s a matter of breaking it down into bite-sized chunks – and then pulling on your big girl panties and doing the work. That’s not very helpful is it? Nobody ever finished anything any other way.

    You have to want it. Then you have to show up. Then you have to do it. We’ve all had paid jobs we didn’t like and we showed up, put on the uniform, plastered on the smile and did the job. Why? Because – that’s the only way to get paid. In that case your goal is getting paid.

    When you set out to write a novel your initial goal is to finish. You can only get there by putting pen to paper or facing that keyboard one letter at a time.

    What’s my point? Look at your motivation when you set a goal and be sure you at least start out self-motivated – I mean by that motivated by what YOU want. By which I mean not by what you think people want of you, or what you wanted for yourself ten years ago, or even what you think you SHOULD want.

    Then if you really want to achieve that goal you just have to pull up those big girl panties and get to work.

    That’s where I’m at right now as well.


    Elaine Searer

    1/7/2013 03:12:27 am

    Great post, Monique! It’s so easy to write down a list of goals, but it’s a totally different matter to do what it takes to achieve them.