Archive for June 2013

Building the dream

When I first started this website and my blog back in March, I felt as if I were throwing words into a black hole. Yes, I studied up on SEO tips and got the word out to my family, friends, and fellow writing wizards. But still I wondered: would anyone ever find me here?

This week I received proof that at least one person did. Check out this post by blogger Andrew Grant, “I Used to Be a Perfectionist, But I’m Better Now.” I think you’ll recognize little old moi. He quotes my post from the first of this month on the same topic—and even says my title is brilliant! Well, naturally. Thank you, Andrew, not just for the shout out, but also for the post itself, especially these words that I keep reading over and over.

“…the antidote for our perfectionist procrastination is to simply do something.  Do something that’s good enough and then do something else and something else and keep on doing something else until, before you know it, you have built the dream.”

Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 9.57.25 AMAnother gift this week came from writer Kristi Holl. I reviewed her excellent book Boundaries for Writers on my blog last month; I keep hearing echoes of it in my head as I face the daily struggle to clear time and “headspace” so I can work on my middle grade novel.

This morning I awoke to find that she’d chosen to write about my book, Spontaneous Combustion, on her aptly-named Writer’s First Aid blog. What moved me most about her post, “Nourish Your Soul with Spontaneous Combustion,” was when she revealed that she reads part of my book every day before she starts work on her her own novel. That gives me goosebumps, literally, to know that I can help another writer in that way. And it’s just what I hoped my book would do when I wrote it. Thank you so much for sharing that, Kristi. It means a great deal to me.





Getting to be a bad habit: writing about preachiness again

Although I wrote a Free wisdom article here a couple of months ago on what I called the “perils of preachiness,” I guess the literary preacher in my couldn’t resist one more stab at the subject. Because I just published a post today on the same topic over at my Spontaneous Combustion blog. It’s entitled “Entertain, enchant, and enthrall: the three E’s of Fiction.

The blog post is a slightly different take, more about avoiding didacticism than preachiness. What’s the difference? Although the two are often lumped together and castigated as a single literary sin, I think they are actually two separate things. Preachiness is telling readers what they ought to think about whatever it is you’re writing about; whereas didacticism is more like the dreaded information dump, or using a scene like a lesson from a textbook rather than a dramatic confrontation between characters.

What inspired me to write this? I work with a lot of teachers as both students and clients, and I was finding that often they couldn’t seem to shake off the habit of writing lesson plans. They’d treat a short story or novel chapter as a teachable moment about some passion of theirs, when what they should be doing is focusing on character, conflict, and plot.

Obviously I’m passionate about this myself, so for what it’s worth, here is my second stab at it.





Goodreads giveaway was a great success!

I woke up this morning to a cheery email from someone named Cynthia at Goodreads: my month-long giveaway for Spontaneous Combustion is over. Congratulations to the five winners, who are scattered everywhere from Brooklyn to Detroit, from Florida to Kansas to Colorado.

I’m delighted it was such a phenomenal success: 466 people entered, and 216 people put the book on their “to-read” list. What a great way to get the word out!

Now to think of how I want to sign each copy, then wrap them up in bright orange tissue paper, and send them on their way. I hope the book inspires each winner and helps them find joy in writing again.

Seven days to go for Goodreads giveaway

There are only seven days left for the Goodreads giveaway of Spontaneous Combustion, so if you haven’t done so already, click through and enter for one of five signed copies.




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Spontaneous Combustion by Nancy Butts

Spontaneous Combustion

by Nancy Butts

Giveaway ends June 11, 2013.See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


New article AND blog post on the perils of perfectionism

Jump over to my blog to see my latest post, which oddly was inspired by my iPhone and a random quote by Voltaire it displayed for me yesterday when I was checking my to-do list.

The search for perfection—the belief that if we can’t write something perfect, we shouldn’t write anything at all—kills creativity. I feel so strongly about this that I couldn’t keep from writing a full-length article on the topic for this website. I hope it helps you keep from being paralyzed by perfectionism.

Perfection: the graveyard where writers go to die