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Lucienne Diver on Getting Tough

Please welcome today’s Guest Chef, Lucienne Diver – literary agent and author of the young adult vampire novels Vamped and Revamped, and her newest release, Bad Blood.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Creative


You’ve all heard that one of the most important parts of writing is applying butt to chair.  In other words, you’ve got to be in it to win it.  “Just Do It”…and all those other motivational slogans.  I write at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and it’s often difficult to get motivated.  The title of this blog is my way of saying that sometimes we need to get a little creative in order to convince ourselves to do the work when the words aren’t just pouring out onto the pages, so I’m going to share with you a few of my tricks.

Puppy Power – Okay, so at two years old, my dog isn’t really a puppy anymore, but he sure acts like it.  Luckily, at o’dark thirty, he’s not quite as peppy as he gets a little later in the day.  In fact, what he most wants to do at that hour is sleep, preferably curled up against my side or with a head over my foot or thigh.  I make sure that I have my notebook and pens on my bedside table so that after pouring myself a ginormous cup of coffee (if you have a ten-year-old in the house, you know that yes, ginormous is most definitely a word), I have everything I need to settle in to write.  My puppy makes sure of it.  He’ll allow the one interruption to his sleep, because he knows mommy is a bear without it, but two…absolutely not.  You would not believe the stopping power of a censuring look from a very adorable cockapoo.  Really, wars could be stopped in their tracks by the application of properly put-out pups.

Bribery — I swear to you that if I weren’t writing, I’d be a lot further along on my diet right now.  Unfortunately, my bribe of choice for applying butt to chair when it’s not going well is crackers.  Specifically Ritz Sour Cream and Onion Crackers.  But, hey, at least they’re baked.  I count that as a win.

Running out of chores — My house is never so clean as when I’m stalling.  I’m still working, just…not at writing.  I tell myself that I’m putting my family first, that it’s very important that our power not be turned off for lack of bill paying (or even the ability to find the bills in the stack of mail that quickly piles up while I’m focused on writing for what very little free time I have every day).  And it is vitally important that the floors be clean enough that my son can actually eat that thing he dropped on the floor and picked up again, citing the five second rule.  However, there comes a certain point somewhere after the cleaning of the base boards and mini-blinds that there’s just nothing left to do but…say it with me…apply butt to chair.

A place of no distractions — If my puppy insists on play or my jeans get tight from all those Ritz Crackers or there’s nothing left to do around the house, I have a fourth strategy.  I’ll take myself off to somewhere I’ll have to work because there’s nothing else to do.  Generally, this means a lounge chair by the pool at the lodge.  It’s a strategy I have to save for the weekends, when I start a little later than usual, but very effective.  The sun and the possibility of bronzing keep me in place. Beyond that, I write freehand, which means just me and a notebook.  No computer at the pool, no Internet access…except on my Blackberry.  Luckily, I don’t find reading status updates and the like on my tiny little screen very enticing.  More than that, the itty bitty keyboard has caused more typos than I care to count, and thus I’m far less likely to try to respond to anything I do read.   If the weather isn’t conducive to butt in lounge chair, a.. bath is a good second.   I use bath pillows to prop up both my head and my notebook to keep them relatively dry.

I hope that one of these strategies will work for you as well.  If you’ve employed any tactics I haven’t considered above, please share!


Latest application of butt in chair: Bad Blood, a novel of the Latter-Day Olympians

New from Samhain Publishing June 28, 2011

Thanks, Lucienne!  Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Lucienne’s most recent novel, Bad Blood.

Sandra Elzie - July 6, 2011 - 6:04 am

Good morning,
Thanks for joining us today.
You’ve given some great suggestions on how to get the job done.

I’ve gone to Starbucks, out to my deck with an Alpha Smart (no Internet), and to the lake to a cabin w/o WiFi…for days.

Hubby just built a shelf for my treadmill so I can sit my computer on it (at the right height) and walk at 1 mph and type. Kill two birds with one stone. I can’t wait to try it out.

Debbie Kaufman - July 6, 2011 - 7:20 am

Morning, Lucienne! So glad to have you here with us at Petit Fours :) Changing up my location is usually a big help if I’m stalling or distracted. The other is to set a timer and work in chunks. By the time I hit the first hour, I’m usually on a roll and don’t want to quit.

Linsey Lanier - July 6, 2011 - 8:13 am

Great advice, Lucienne. My self-bribe is Hershey’s dark chocolate with almonds. Very dangerous. I think I must gain a half pound per chapter… Think I’ll switch to just almonds. I like that bathtub idea, though.

Sandy, I love that treadmill desk idea. I saw some of those in RWR some months ago.

Lucienne, I love the cover for Bad Blood.

Christine - July 6, 2011 - 8:20 am

Hi Lucienne: I love your strategies. I apply cat power to my writing day. And I am like Debbie with the timer. I write for one hour, take a fifteen minute break, then write again. If things get really bad, I also change locations.

I also write for quarters. Every hour that I write, I pay myself a quarter. I paid for all my food and drinks at Nationals with the money I saved.

And I love your cover for Bad Blood!!


Lucienne - July 6, 2011 - 8:24 am

Sandra, while typing while exercising…amazing! Let me know how that goes.

katt (Kc Stone) - July 6, 2011 - 8:37 am

Good morning Lucienne! and thank you for an article that made me grin before 5:30 in the morning.

Your confessions sound so much like mine I had to curb the giggles lest wake up the dh.

I dropped facebook and twitter last fall when I started a college program and it was amazing how much time I spent ‘working’ at the computer.
Now, alas, here I am commenting on a blog at dawn instead of writing.

I tried giving myself internet rules, setting time allowed etc, but I ignore them.
Lately I’m using the one sentence plan. Open my wip and add one new sentence before I open the internet.

That usually results in a couple of paragraphs at least.
And I look for 1 hour writing challenges on twitter sometimes to get me motivated.

oops, getting long winded here. Just think, this could have been a hundred words of WIP.

But I LOVE hearing about other writer’s journeys. Validates me somehow… so THANKS!

Marilyn Baron - July 6, 2011 - 8:43 am


Thanks for the wonderful post today. It really made me laugh. Actually, the part about your puppy brought back some pleasant memories of my dog who used to plant herself on my foot while I was at the computer writing. I miss that.

Whenever I take a writing break, it always involves food of some kind, and usually food that is more fattening than crackers.

I prefer writing to doing chores around the house so when faced with a choice, writing always triumphs. I am frequently at the computer when my husband comes home from work and asks, “Where’s Dinner?” I don’t know why he bothers to ask, when he already knows the answer.

When I’m at the beach, I bring an AlphaSmart, but, like you, I often prefer to write on a yellow pad. A writer friend once told me she uses the AlphaSmart while on the Treadmill, but since I don’t like to exercise, I’ve never tried it.

I love your new cover and wish you success with your latest release. We’re so glad to have you as a guest on our blog.

Maxine Davis - July 6, 2011 - 10:28 am

Welcome to PFHT. I really enjoyed your post and can relate to parts. When I get stuck, I pick up a stack of printed pages and file them: e-pub, contests, M&M, etc. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

But you are right, the only thing to do, is do it!


Pam Asberry - July 6, 2011 - 10:31 am

Thank you so much for blogging with us today, Lucienne, and sharing so many great suggestions for keeping us writing. My dog sleeps next to me when I am writing, too, but he doesn’t seem to mind when I disturb his slumber; he just gets up and follows me to the kitchen. I bribe myself with Nonni biscotti – 110 calories – or a fat free fudgesicle – 100 calories – not too decadent and a sweet reward when the writing is finished! I don’t enjoy housework (or care about having an immaculate house) enough to use that for procrastination; beading is my vice, but since I have an online jewelry shop, beading is work, too, so I don’t feel TOO guilty about that! And although occasionally I will go to Starbucks to write, I get distracted by the pretty people and their loud conversations, so I am better off staying home, provided I deny myself internet access. It sounds like you have this tiger tamed. Continued success!

Lucienne - July 6, 2011 - 12:38 pm

Linsey, oooh, Hershey’s dark chocolate with almonds…. I’m having a moment here.

Darcy Crowder - July 6, 2011 - 1:53 pm

Hi Lucienne, thanks for joining us today. All great suggestions. I’m especially intrigued by the idea of writing in the tub. I think I’d be distracted by trying to keep everything dry. :)
BICHOK is what it always comes down to, isn’t it? I haven’t tried Sandy’s idea of writing while exercising, but I have been known to keep a pad & pen nearby for brainstorming ideas.

Love your new book cover. The Vamped Series sound like a lot of fun. Again, thank you so much for joining us!

Lucienne - July 6, 2011 - 2:50 pm

Christine and Debbie, I’ll have to try the timer idea! I’d try paying myself in change, but with a ten-year old, I never seem to have any. Claw machines are =not= our friend.

Tamara LeBlanc - July 6, 2011 - 2:57 pm

Hi Lucienne,
I really enjoyed your puppy power strategy…I have cats, but it still kind of works the same way:)
Summers are really tough for me. I have 2 teenagers. My eighteen year old is very independant, but my 15 yr old daughter magically becomes joined at my hip when school is out. She requires constant attention and food preparation (I created a monster) Anyway, writing time is hard to come by with her around.
But, I finally told her that from 8am to 1pm daily she’s on her own for food, and fun.
She himmed and hawed a bit, but latley I’ve been getting loads of work done. In fact, today I was able to write a whole chapter on my WIP, and she didn’t interrupt me once:)
So, I suppose my strategy for getting butt in chair is a little tough love.
Thank you so much for sharing with the PFHT today!
Have a great week and I wish you lots of butt in chair moments to come!

Julee Adams - July 6, 2011 - 3:17 pm

Amen, sister on the Hershey’s dark chocolate with almonds! I traveled a lot for work a few years back and I swear it’s one of the things that keeps me sane. Unfortunately, my husband likes them too. However, I’m currently snacking on some dark cherries that are wonderbubble. He doesn’t eat fruit. Getting up out of the chair at regular intervals is necessary and good for you. My old laptop I do most of my writing on doesn’t connect to the internet, so I’ll put in a flash drive with music and get up to dance at certain songs. So I can eat more dark chocolate nuggets….

Lucienne - July 6, 2011 - 5:43 pm

Katt, have you heard of the Write or Die program? It scares the heck out of me, but I know some authors who swear by it. From what I understand, you have to keep typing or it starts deleting words. The horror!

katt (Kc Stone) - July 6, 2011 - 6:14 pm

ha ha! Just the thought of a program like that and I nearly broke out in a cold sweat! Maybe I’ll just use this as a threat. THanks. :wink:

Tami Brothers - July 6, 2011 - 7:32 pm

Ho Lucienne! Thanks so much for sharing your strategy. I actually have a motivator in my dog but in a way where she gets me up early and won’t let me go back to bed. In and out, in and out and if we ignore her just once, I usually have a mess to clean up. So those early morning waiting sprees have been kind of nice in getting the butt into the chair.

So far I haven’t found a place with no distractions BUT I am looking…:)

Have a terrific day.


JB Hunt - July 6, 2011 - 9:02 pm

A big pot of English Breakfast Tea with sugar and milk is a great incentive for early morning writing sessions!

Lucienne - July 7, 2011 - 9:59 am

I love all the suggestions of going without internet. If it weren’t for my darned Blackberry….

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