Tips to Relieving Wrist Pain…

spvhcbuki6e-william-ivenI finally hit a wall a few weeks ago.

The pain in my wrists had been getting worse for months. My pinkies started going numb if I was at the computer too long. I was already sleeping in wrist braces and chomping on ibuprofen probably a bit too much. I needed to get help, but I wasn’t doing anything to fix it.

Why was I doing this to myself, you might ask?

Because I knew when I went to the chiropractor it wasn’t going to be good news (I mean, numb pinkies can’t be a great sign).

And it wasn’t. When I finally got my crap together and went to the chiropractor last week,  X-rays revealed severe degeneration in my neck as well as cubital tunnel syndrome—so at least we know now why I’ve been in chronic pain for years. It was actually really weird to find that although I have a lot of pain in my wrists, in my particular case, it was actually my elbows that needed the most work on stretching muscles and easing the ulnar nerve.

So I’m in PT three times a week for the next month. Fun, fun!


So what are some tips you can do if you—like me—suffer from writer’s wrist pain?

  1. Go to the chiropractor or physical therapy before going to a regular doctor. The chiropractor or PT can actually start you on a path to healing versus just giving you pain meds (though pain meds can be nice, ammarite?)
  2. Sleep in wrist braces. They are pretty uncomfortable at first, but you get used to it.
  3. Rub Biofreeze on your forearms and wrists. An unexpected side effect is the clearing out of your sinuses because man does that stuff stink!
  4. Do some stretches (you can find some here). My chiropractor does these stretches with me and I have to admit, it hurts like SOOOOO much! But it’s worth it… I think. Maybe the jury is still out there.
  5. Don’t sleep on your stomach (this helps more for your neck, but a lot of wrist pain actually originates in your neck).
  6. Set up an ergonomic friendly workspace. This is really important as if we don’t fix how we work, the pain will just get worse.
  7. Ice, ice, baby! Putting ice on it (wrapped in a towel) a few times a day helps with the inflammation.
  8. Pop some pills. I take ibuprofen when the pain gets too much that’s getting distracting.

Hopefully some of things things that help me can help you as well! Happy writing 🙂

The Role of an Editor

I’ve spent the last two months doing more deep editing than I ever thought possible… and it wasn’t even for my own books (well, I did complete a revision on my book, but that’s beside the point).

I had to read several drafts, write edit letters, brainstorm in totally out of the box ways, and locate plot holes, character inconsistencies, define character arcs, sharpen plot devices, tighten pacing, motivation, setting…

I grew as a writer myself as I learned to recognize things in other people’s writing that could be tightened and improved. It was a lot of work, but a ton of fun!

I also have a WHOLE new respect for agents and editors as they acquire manuscripts. I have read each of my mentees’ books 3-4 times over the last two months. My own agent has read 5 different drafts of one of my books. You have to LOVE a manuscript like something fierce to be able to read it that many times without having your eyeballs begin to bleed. That’s why they’re so picky about what they acquire.

But all this editing got me thinking about the role of an editor. Not an editor at a publisher, mind you, but someone you’re either paying or asking to help you take your manuscript to the next level.

As an editor, once you fall into the cadence of a manuscript and begin pulling back the skin to get to the marrow of the story, it almost starts to feel like you’re the one writing it. Like you’re the one who knows the character best. You’re the one who created that world.

But you’re not.

An editor’s role isn’t to get the author to write the story the editor would write.

An editor is there to guide you, not write through you.

I can give ideas for plot fixes, I can say, “hmm, I’m not sure this character would react like this,” but in the end, the writer is who knows the story best. The writer is the one who crafts the voice in a piece of dialogue. They are the one that hides the red herrings and the one that crafts the big reveal. You suggest, they implement (and FYI, suggesting is WAY easier than implementing — so no matter how hard you work as an editor, the writer works twice as hard to execute your notes.)

If I, as an editor, try too hard to push my view of the manuscript, I’m going to end up breaking the book.

I also need to be careful because my opinion is weighted heavily and I don’t want my mentees to make decisions they don’t feel comfortable with because they don’t want to tell me no. It’s a fine balancing act of confidence and respect.

I am lucky enough to have an agent who is extremely editorial, yet extremely respectful of my role as the author. Her insight and editing has been invaluable, but her support of my story is what makes it work between us.

So the moral of the story is editors are SO important, but they should always be there to help you improve the story, not write through you.


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Crafting a Pitch

I’ve been working on pitches this week, trying to get a handle on how we’ll be pitching the #PitchWars books we’ve been working on.

Pitches aren’t easy and I tend to make mine WAY too long that they’re basically summaries instead of pitches.

What I’ve boiled it down to is a pitch needs to do the following:

  1. Name the main character
  2. Set the setting
  3. Give the stakes
  4. Give some comps

But then when I started researching pitches, I found that not all successful pitches had all 4 of the above components. Some just listed comps. Some didn’t include the setting. Some didn’t include the stakes. It was all about how it was crafted.

So is there a right way to write a pitch? YES, absolutely. And guess who can tell you about it way better than I can? Traci Chee, author of the incredible book, THE READER which came out last month.

Take a minute and check it out!


The Writing Journey

If you’re a writer, I’m assuming you have a goal.

Whether that goal be finishing your first draft… finishing your revision… getting agent representation… the ever elusive book deal… the NEXT book deal… getting starred reviews… hitting the “lists”… being translated…

The moment you achieve one goal in this writing journey, another hundred swim into view and the constant reaching for “the next” can become exhausting.

But there is something happening beneath the surface whether you realize it or not. You are becoming refined and the way you react to each success or failure is creating in you the strength and determination to make it through the next success or failure. 

Goals are wonderful. I LOVE goals, but the journey of who you become while going after those goals is what’s the most important. 

How do you react when you deal with a failure?

Do you break… or are you going to be the person that stands in the face of a storm and shouts back that you will not move?

How do you react when you encounter success?

Do you immediately assume this is the new normal and forget the path through the storm… or do you use your platform to connect and uplift those behind you on the journey?

I want to be the second version of each and I think that’s what we all want to be.

But it’s the journey we’re on RIGHT NOW that determines your reaction, not the moment of success or failure.

So pay it forward NOW. Refuse to give up NOW. Be a support NOW.

Let the journey toward your goal refine your character and strengthen your core.

what you get by ACHIEVING your goals is not as IMPORTANt as what you become when achieving your goals.



The 5 Stages of Edit Letter Grief

It’s an exciting time in a writer’s life! You’ve taken your book as far as you can get it by yourself and you send it off to your CP/Agent/Editor and they turn around and give you an edit letter detailing the good, the bad, and the ugly about your manuscript and lots of notes on what needs work.

It’s like standing at basecamp on an enormous mountain, looking out on the beauty around and marveling at how high up you are… You take a deep breath and while you’re filling your lungs with all that delicious oxygen, your guide sneaks around and gut punches you then points to the top of the mountain and yells, KEEP CLIMBING!

Getting an edit letter—be it your first or one thousandth—you’re bound to go through at least a few of the stages below.

  1. Denial. My editor has NO idea who my characters are, has no concept of the heart of the story and is ABSOLUTELY wrong! These are NOT the changes that need to happen in this story!
  2. Anger. Well crap, my editor is right. The book really does need these changes, BUT THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE! How in the world can she even ask me to do them? Her notes were too vague. She’s basically setting me up to fail!
  3. Bargaining. Okay, I can see how to do a few of the notes, but the others? No idea! What about  I change these few things, then I bet it won’t be necessary to do the rest of your suggestions… okay? Not enough? What can I give you to just lie and say it’s ready?
  4. Depression. I’m finally vibing with all these suggested edits, my editor was totally right. Why didn’t I think of these changes in the first place? It’s because I’m a TERRIBLE writer with no imagination! My editor should just finish this manuscript because she obviously knows better than I do. I suck. I suck. I suck.
  5. Acceptance. I just fell in love with my manuscript all over again after finishing these edits. I love writing! I love my editor! I love edit letters!

Any of this sound familiar? Oh it sure does to me because I’ve been there… many times!

A tip for working through these stages as quickly as possible? When you get your letter, let the notes sit for awhile before you start trying to make it work. If you sit down and try to start implementing before they’ve had time to marinate a bit, you’re going to get stuck in one of the first four stages and it will take you longer to move on to stage 5…

If you’re wondering how I tackle edit letters, check out these blog posts.

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