Join Me at Equine Affaire 2016

I can’t believe Equine Affaire is only a couple of weeks away! Mid-November still sounds like months in the future, maybe because we’ve only just had our first cool spell here in central Florida – it’s about sixty degrees this morning, guys! But it’s true: Equine Affaire’s Massachusetts expo, November 10th through 13th 2016, is in less than three weeks.

(And I only own sleeveless dresses, so please pray to the weather gods it’s unseasonably warm. Last time I went to Equine Affaire, it SNOWED.)

Join me at Equine Affaire 2016 - presentations, book-signings, or just a good chat about horses and books!

Join me at Equine Affaire 2016 – presentations, book-signings, or just a good chat about horses and books! Friday, Nov. 11 at 10 AM.

This year I’ll be on an author panel discussion about the importance of horses in fiction. If you’re here reading this, you know that horse books are the best books! What makes it that way, though? Is it just a mirror to the lives we love? Or is there something about horses that just makes any book better?

I’ll be in conversation with authors Laura Moore (who has a beautiful romance, Remember Me, set on a Thoroughbred farm in Virginia) and Holly Robinson (whose new novel, Folly Cove, features horses in a coastal northeastern town. Maybe she has some winter clothing advice for me). Our moderator is the talented Connie Johnson Hambley, whose novelsThe Troubles and The Charity are set in the horse world. It’s going to be a (slightly nerdy) amazing time.

Add our panel to your schedule: “Capturing the Essence of Horse in Fiction: How authors use horses to tell you a better story” on Friday, November 11th at 10:00 AM

And Hambley will be presenting with some of my favorite writers in another panel, as well! Mara Dabrishus, author of the remarkable and amazing (can you tell I love them) horse racing novels Staying the Distance and All Heart (among others) will be alongside also remarkable and amazing Maggie Dana, author of Timber Ridge Riders, and (also remarkable and talented) equestrian thriller writer, Patti Brooks.

Add their panel to your schedule: “Favorite Fictional Horses: From the Black Stallion to My Little Pony – What our favorites say about us” on Thursday, November 10th at 11:00 AM. 

Natalie Keller Reinert at Tampa Bay Downs.

Here’s a helpful photo of me looking intense and writerly so that I’m easy for you to spot and avoid – I mean spot and chat with – at Equine Affaire

Along with these panels, there will be plenty of chat-time at the best booth in all of Equine Affaire, Taborton Equine BooksI’ll be at the book-signing table, daring you to come talk to me, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

There will be paperbacks of my novels for sale, or bring your own!

If you’re on the fence about attending Equine Affaire, go visit the website and see all the other incredible presentations available. Then come see me. Because I can’t wait to meet you!

 

 

 

Join Natalie Keller Reinert at Equine Affaire 2016:

At the Seminar Stage

Friday, November 11, 2016: 10 AM

At Taborton Equine Books

Thursday, November 10, 2016: 3 PM – 5 PM

Friday, Nov. 11: 1 PM – 4 PM

Saturday, Nov. 12: 10 AM – 12 PM

Making Writing a Habit: So You Want to Write a Horse Book, Part 4

So now you’re blogging, right? You’ve read the first three parts of my series, and you’re following all of my advice, not in a crazy follow-the-guru kind of way, but in a she’s-been-down-this-road kind of way. You’re thinking about the way you want to write, if you’re going to write as true-to-life as you can, or if you’re going to create a new universe for your characters to inhabit. You’re ready to start making this thing happen.

(This is the 4th in my series on writing your horse book. Click for the first, second, and third in the series.)

Whether or not you plot your book is another blog post. For now, I want to talk about writing habits.

Horses like routines. It turns out, horse books do too.

Horses like routines. It turns out, horse books do too.

There are always people to tell you that award-winning best-selling author Junie Efficiency Jones gets up every morning at 5:30 AM to write a chapter before she goes off to feed her heirloom chickens and then heads to her Fortune 500 executive position. That’s great for her and I’m excited for her productivity level. But I’ve always fought against those arguing that habit is the only way to write a book.

For one thing, I would argue, my schedule is too up-and-down to have a daily time set aside. I might have to work at 8 AM one day and 2:30 PM the next day — was I really supposed to write at 6 AM regardless? Not possible. Since a lot of writers are supporting themselves in the service industry, this is a common problem.

By the same token, if you’re in the horse business, you might have an early show one day, a farrier appointment that takes three hours longer than you expected and pushes dinner back to nine o’clock the next night, and quite frankly not have the energy to even look at your computer on the third day.

So no problem, I’ve always said. Write when you can. Carve out time. Write when you feel creative.

This method works, and it’s the kindest on your body, for sure. But I want you all to stop and consider for a moment how long it takes me to write a book. (Those of you who read my books are nodding slowly.) And how long I have to fend off requests for sequels. (Those of you who asked for a sequel to Ambition for two years are nodding emphatically.)

Now I’m going to tell you that I’m finally a convert to the writing routine.

My last (fairly) routine job was with the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Here I am on Monte in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. (My son came to visit.)

My last (fairly) routine job was with the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Here I am on Monte in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. (My son came to visit.)

In mid-June I started working a Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:30 kind of job. It’s the first time I’ve had a job like this in several years (the last time was when I taking care of horses and riding with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, during which period I wrote Other People’s Horses and Ambition), and I was faced with the very real possibility that I was not going to come home from work and feel like staring at yet another computer for an hour in the evening.

(I also wanted to work out. Call me crazy, but when you take a lifetime of riding and caring for horses professionally and cram it into an office chair, bad things happen. The work-out was pretty imperative to my well-being.)

I decided to write a thousand words every morning, before work. The only thing I was really giving up was my morning Twitter time. And since I work in social media, I was already spending plenty of time on Twitter. I really didn’t need the extra.

It was a struggle at first, I admit. But I stuck with it because it was the only time I was going to write. There was no way I was going to get home from work at six o’clock, work out for half an hour, take a shower, and still find the time (and energy) to work.

Here’s the thing: after a couple of weeks, writing that thousand words became hard-wired into my brain. I woke up thinking about my story. I started writing fifteen hundred words. I started writing two thousand words. Useful, good words — not filler. In fact, I was moving so fast on the plot, I realized I’d have to add in atmosphere and environments in the editing phase — the opposite of my usual writing style.

In short, I’d never written so much, so quickly, wish such ease.

It’s so frustrating!

I held off on the “get up in the morning and write” doctrine for so long, convinced it wasn’t for me, and all this time, I could have been pouring on the creativity.

An added boost: stopping to go to work no matter where I am in my thoughts. Have you ever heard of closing your story mid-sentence, to boost your creativity when you return to the document? It’s the same thing. It works. There’s less wandering around, and more action.

I’m also more aware of where I am in the story, which leads to fewer loose threads to tie up in edits. If you’ve ever read through a draft only to discover you introduced a plot point in chapter three but completely forgot about it by chapter six, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a problem. 

By the time I finished the first draft of Courage last month, I was writing two thousand words in about forty-five minutes each morning. Standing at my kitchen counter, drinking my coffee, I’d written a novel at least twice as fast as I’d ever written anything of comparable length… 85,000 words, with plenty of room to grow in edits.

Now I’m editing in small bites each morning (still standing at my kitchen counter–it turns out that I think much better on my feet than in a chair, which should come as no surprise to any horseman) and I’m about halfway through. The book is growing in beautiful ways. I still wake up and open my laptop without even thinking about it… writing as soon as I get up is completely habit now.

So this is it… possibly my number one piece of advice to you. Get a habit. Force yourself into the habit. And the habit will reward you richly.

Just for giggles, I looked up “famous writer’s habits.” This was the first hit: The Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers. Here are a few quotes:

E.B. White: A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.

Haruki Marakami: The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.

Barbara Kingsolver: My morning begins with trying not to get up before the sun rises. But when I do, it’s because my head is too full of words, and I just need to get to my desk and start dumping them into a file.

I really love that last one, because this is the state you can work yourself into through a habit of morning writing! This is the place I’m at when I’m writing a draft now, and it’s just so delightful.

Even with the lack of sleep.

What’s your writing routine? Have you tried and failed one, or do you have a routine that’s working for you? If not, what’s getting in your way? Maybe we can find a solution together.

48 Hours in The Bluegrass: Part 1

Were we in Kentucky for 48 hours? We stayed three nights, so that isn’t quite right. But we only had two full days to take in the Bluegrass region — and believe me, it wasn’t enough.

We went to Lexington for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award reception, held at Castleton Lyons, a stunning Thoroughbred farm which is home to stallions Gio Ponti and Justin Phillip. (Since we saw Gio Ponti race several times, we were especially excited to meet him in person! Horse star struck!)

Keeneland's Walking Ring from the Phoenix Room

Keeneland’s Walking Ring from the Phoenix Room

My novel Turning For Home was a finalist for the award, along with two other books about horse racing. This was basically an awesome excuse to finally visit Lexington! We had driven through once years before and stopped at Kentucky Horse Park, where I walked on the cross-country course and found Ralph Hill’s name on the huge chalkboard of competitors from the year before (I was his groom at the time), but that was it. Now we had a little time to explore.

First: Keeneland Racecourse. Just driving to this racetrack was amazing, because outside its gates are the fabled white fences and cupolas of Calumet Farm. Drive through the grand old entrance and the grounds are exquisite, green rolling hills dotted with old trees. There’s even a library. A library. At a racetrack. I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of my heaven.

Sadly there wasn’t time on this trip to visit the library. We took a quick look around the paddock and walking ring (beautiful, like a palace, which is what racehorses deserve) and watched a race from the apron, and then we hustled upstairs to the Phoenix Room for lunch hosted by Castleton Lyons. The Phoenix Room overlooks the walking ring next to the paddock, which is lovely. There were lots of desserts, which was even more lovely. (I really like desserts.)

After lunch we had time for another race before hustling to get ready for the award reception, which was held above the stallion barn at Castleton Lyons.

 

Castleton Lyons - just another perfect breeding farm in Lexington

Castleton Lyons – just another perfect breeding farm in Lexington

At the award reception I was expected to stand in front of people and speak, something that my introverted little soul can’t quite cope with. Luckily I had two things: a little Jameson for courage, and whole lot of passion for my subject. Once I stood up and started talking about why I had written Turning For Home, everything was fine. I’m not sure what I said — something about retiring racehorses, something about how Thoroughbreds were the greatest athletes in the world, something about how much we love our horses, despite the way certain activists would like to portray Thoroughbred breeders and owners — but people applauded, which was nice.

My face on the wall at the book award reception.

My face on the wall at the book award reception.

The honors of the evening went to John Carter, author of Warriors on Horseback, a non-fiction book about jockeys. It’s impossible to feel any regret over not winning because John was Skyping in from England, and after he won, his wife brought his dachshund on-screen and waved its little paw at all of us in Kentucky. It was adorable. Totally worth letting John win this round!

After the award was announced, there was some more “mingling,” which is when I stood very quietly by a table and tried not to look like I was going to have a panic attack. The second half of the reception was much better than the first, though, because now people knew who I was, and wanted to come up and chat with me about the book, encourage me to write more and try again for the big prize in another year, and talk about off-track Thoroughbreds, and their own retirement stories.

It was really lovely to talk with some of the owners about how deeply they identified with my words. There are good horse-people in racing who are vilified with no warrant at all, simply because there are some bad people in the sport who don’t take care of their horses. It’s akin to painting every single show-jumper, or dressage trainer, or trail horse rider, with the same black brush because a former jumper or dressage horse or trail horse was found starving at an auction–and yet that doesn’t happen. That kind of pointless name-calling and groundless accusation is reserved for the horse racing business, and it’s ridiculous. It’s not just ridiculous, it’s genuinely hurtful for people who love their horses.

Anyway, back to the event.

The Castleton Lyons stallion barn has an amazing entryway with memorabilia devoted to Gio Ponti and Justin Phillips.

Including these beauties:

Eclipse Awards

Gio Ponti’s Eclipse Awards – first ones I’ve seen in person!

 

Absolutely lovely to see. I love the art and science of Thoroughbred breeding, possibly more than anything else in the world of horses. I’m hoping to visit Kentucky in the fall and make the rounds of stallion shows at the various farms — if I don’t make it back this year, I may have to do it in Ocala instead.

The whole night wound up with a late dinner. If you can imagine a lot of racing journalists sitting around eating cheesecake and drinking wine while talking Derby prospects, that was pretty much the evening. For a girl who doesn’t go to parties because she might have to talk to someone, listening to the conversation was pretty great.

That was the first half of our 48 hours in the Bluegrass. I’ll write up the second half later — it includes a visit to Three Chimneys, where I met Will Take Charge!

We’re Going to Kentucky!

A few weeks ago I had the good news that my book Turning For Home was a semi-finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, honoring literary works featuring horse racing.

Well, now I have the very good news that my book is a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which can only mean one thing: we get to knock Keeneland off our racetrack bucket list.

I’ve been dreaming of visiting Keeneland in spring-time for years, because of photos like this:

4903109204_cd41ddc47b_z

Keeneland Paddock in Spring. Photo: flickr/the-o

Would you look at that tree? The cherry trees in Florida just wrapped up last week. They’re just green now. Flowering trees: expert at making beautiful green leaves completely boring.

Anyway, going to a book award reception is a very good excuse for a few days in horse country! We’ll be visiting Keeneland as well as Castleton Lyons, the farm which sponsors the book award. Castleton Lyons stands Gio Ponti and Justin Phillip at stud, so I’m hoping we’ll get a glimpse of both these lovely horses.

There are two other finalists for the book award, both about jockeys. One is Ride To Win–An Inside Look at the Jockey’s Craft, by Bob Fortus and Gary West. Two journalists, from the Times-Picayune and the Dallas Morning News, respectively, interviewed more than 50 jockeys to get inside their demanding lifestyles.

The other is Warriors on Horseback–The Inside Story of the Professional Jockey, by John Carter. Mr. Carter’s work includes several other racing titles, including First Past the Post: History of Horse Racing. 

Both of these books sound like they’d be great references for anyone interested in writing about racing. I’m looking forward to picking them up and hopefully chatting with the authors!

finding-daylight-coverAnd speaking of jockeys and writing, I just finished Mara Dabrishus‘s tremendous new novel, Finding Daylight, featuring a young lady jock named Georgie getting through her apprentice year and moving onto her journeyman status while trying to push through some very dysfunctional family history with the neighbors across the street. It’s also set in some of my favorite places: quite a lot takes place in Ocala, but the book also visits Belmont, Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, and yes, Kentucky.

Friends, this is a cancel-your-plans, stay-in-and-read-all-weekend kind of book. I’ll write a full review this week, but in the meantime, if you trust me, go and read it.

Finding Daylight starts at $3.99 for the Kindle ebook at Amazon.

Book Award News

Well, for the second year, I have a novel up for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00016]I couldn’t be more proud of Turning For Home, the fourth novel in the Alex and Alexander series. Set in horse racing like the other novels in the series, Turning For Home deals more with retirement issues, including the dangers that rabid animal-rights activists can pose for horse owners, whether they’re guilty of horse abuse or not. The book features some racing, but it looks more at retraining an off-track Thoroughbred, and even features a Most Wanted Thoroughbred-style competition.

Because of these themes, I wasn’t really sure how the award judges would view Turning For Home. Would it be too horse-show oriented for a racing panel? Would they see the animal-rights activists as a little too negative for a prize meant to celebrate horse racing?

I was thrilled to bits to see that I was wrong. Here’s what the press release says about Turning For Home: 

This year’s second novel, Turning for Home touches upon a currently red-hot topic: re-training ex-racehorses. Author Reinert was a semi-finalist in 2014 with Other People’s Horses. In Turning for Home a Thoroughbred once schooled by protagonist Alex is found starving, and though she is faultless, Alex becomes a target of animal rights activists. The story follows her leave of absence from racing to re-school the horse for a new career … and to fight for her own reputation.

So, a semi-finalist once again — I couldn’t ask for more, really. I’m so excited at the way responsible racehorse retirement has become a front-and-central issue being addressed across the equestrian industry, from sport horse trainers to racehorse breeders, and everyone the horse will meet in between. When I started writing Retired Racehorse Blog more than six years ago, this big wave was a little ripple. Well, keep splashing, people!

The rest of the semi-finalist list is really, really good this year, including a novel called If Wishes Were Horses, a book on jockey craft and a book on jockey heroes, and a documentary-style book collecting stories from racetracks across the country. This is a “I’m just happy to be nominated” moment, for sure. You can see the rest of the list here at Paulick Report.

In other news, I went to the Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday, March 12. I cried the first time the horses went by the clubhouse. Yes, it’s been a very long time since I went to the races. The next time I pick days off, I’m choosing days that are good for racing at Tampa. Monday/Tuesday are terrible days off if you want to go enjoy some pony-time. Here’s champion Tepin having a moment in the paddock, right before she set a track record in the Hillsborough Stakes:

 

Tepin in paddock, Tampa Bay Downs

Mares will be mares.

We made sure we were at the paddock just where she’d be walking and she did not disappoint. There was an ardent fan a few feet away from us who kept calling her “The Queen.” I read a line in a historical novel once, something like “the English love their queens.” You could say the same of us in horse racing: we love a good colt but man oh man do we love our fillies and mares.

Here’s another typical racing scene I had to capture. The hoses for spraying down the horses after the race are right in front of the clubhouse area at Tampa, so you can listen to the grooms and admire the horses while the winner is being photographed off in the winner’s circle:

Shower at Tampa Bay Downs

Shower before the walk home.

I haven’t been paying much attention to the Triple Crown prep this year, with so much work on my plate, and I can’t even remember who won the Tampa Bay Derby — awful, I know! But I think a lot of us came away thinking more of the commanding style of Tepin winning the Hillsborough more than anything. When you see an Eclipse Award-winning mare come out and pound out a track record, it tends to put three-year-old colts in perspective. You’re still just little boys, my friends. But your time will come!

That’s all for now. Have you read any of the other book award nominees? Which one’s your pick for the big win?

Updates: Book Reviews, Bestsellers, and Tacos

Well, it’s been almost ten days since my last post here — the one where I promised I’d write more, remember that? What happened in the meantime? Well, a little writing, and a whole lotta life…

The goal was to get up every morning and write write every morning before I did anything else. Tea and writing, instead of tea and Twitter, basically. I actually had a really good start! For a few days, I was hammering out a few thousand words on Pride instead of thinking “I should really be working on Pride.” 

Of course, during this time, I was going to work in the afternoons — sometime between noon and five PM. For me, any time I’m working in the evenings, I feel like I have limitless potential to achieve things in the mornings. Writing, reading, errands, you name it, I can accomplish it all and still have a nap before I head to work.

This past week, though, everything changed. I’m training for a new position and my life has turned into morning shifts. Suddenly, I went from a 3 AM bedtime to a 6 AM alarm. I was sleepwalking through the days. It’s probably for the best that I don’t have the strength of character to wake up an hour early to get some writing in. Who knows what nonsense would happen in my dream-state?  I’d probably have Jules riding a chestnut unicorn through the underworld to rescue Pete from a Transformer or something.

Show Barn Blues paperback

Real books, plastic horses.

So, the week has been a little light on word count. Things will shake out in the next week or two, though.

The other fun things happening around Natalie’s world…

-The paperback of Show Barn Blues arrived. It’s gorgeous and looks great with your other horse books! You can now order it through Amazon — I believe Barnes  & Noble and other bookstores will take a few more weeks to add it to their catalogs.

Number 1 Bestseller Equestrian Sports

That’s a ribbon I love seeing

Show Barn Blues has four 5-star reviews on Amazon. It’s made it as high as number 16 on the Amazon Sports Bestseller list, which I think is as high as any of my books have gotten on the Sports list — but much sooner than any of my other books have made it! Horses and Equestrian Sports are the sub-category of Sports where I list my books. The “pages read” reports on borrowed copies is also at record highs for my titles. If you have Amazon Prime, you have access to Kindle Unlimited – that means you can borrow my ebooks for free!

-I’m part of a new author’s co-op called Horseback Reads. Our website is at horsebackreads.com, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’re a group of equestrian writers who hold ourselves and our writing to the highest quality standards, so you’ll always know you’re getting a thoughtfully-crafted, edited, and well-produced book from us. Our social media outlets will be a great way to keep up on new equestrian titles you’ll want to read.

tacos el tenampa

Every time I see them, I want them even more.

-And finally, I had tacos so good they revived my interest in food/travel blogging, so instead of crashing on the couch after dinner, I wrote a blog post about them. If you love tacos, you’re welcome to read my thoughts on them here: http://thatdisfamily.com/2015/09/tacos-el-tenampa-kissimmee/

This is a good thing because any sort of writing inspires more writing. Once you get back in the habit of typing away about your entire life and all your inner thoughts, it’s very addicting. I used to blog daily on multiple sites — in fact, if you’re new to NKR fiction, you might not realize that The Head and Not The Heart was born out of the massive daily readership of my first serious blog, Retired Racehorse.

Well, that’s the news from Celebration. I’m still on the lookout for new reviews for Show Barn Blues, so if you enjoyed the book, my name is Natalie Keller Reinert and I’m on Amazon and GoodReads, and if you didn’t enjoy the book, my name is a secret and you’ve never heard of me. Have a great week!

Writing Habits (That I Don’t Have)

I really, really need a good writing habit.

This summer has not been my best for writing. As I blogged the other day, I’ve been working slightly insane hours, and when I’m not at work, I would really rather go to the pool/go to a theme park/go to sleep/do anything besides think about what the characters inhabiting the recesses of my brain are up to. I would prefer they stay in the recesses of my brain until I have more energy to deal with them.

The Internet is great for finding enabling quotes like this one. See, Anne Tyler is bad at writing habits, too!

The Internet is great for finding enabling quotes like this one. See, Anne Tyler is bad at writing habits, too!

Then I get another urgent email asking me when the sequel to Ambition is coming and I look at a calendar, realize I am six months behind schedule, and start panicking. (I don’t start writing, necessarily. It’s much easier to panic.)

I’m really, really good at panicking.

Somehow this summer I managed to finish Show Barn Blues, and the consequential lift in mood and energy that comes from publishing a book at last, from not having to open that damn file anymore, from having fresh new words to look at, is pushing me to really make a commitment to my writing. I need to do better. I need to do more.

I need to finish Pride.

So, I’m trying to get myself back into the writing habit by opening up my computer and editing a chapter of Pride every morning.

But then Bradbury comes and lays down a truth-bomb.

But then Bradbury comes and lays down a truth-bomb.

Obviously this is not as easy as my current morning routine, which is plopping onto the couch and looking at Twitter for an hour. And, in what is probably a surprising twist only to me, it’s actually more entertaining than looking at Twitter for an hour. I don’t even know what I’m looking at on Twitter most of the time. Theme park news, random pictures of racehorses steaming in the morning sunlight, a funny gif of a dog… seriously, what have I been doing with my life?

It’s more entertaining, writing a novel, but it requires infinitely more effort than the couch/Twitter combo, and sometimes most of the time I just don’t feel like I have the energy or the brain power to write anything of consequence.

Well, if the past two days are any indication, I actually do have both the energy and the brain power, so I have to keep at this morning writing challenge until it stops being a challenge and starts being a habit.

Of course, next week, I work at 8 AM every day, so I’m not sure how this is all going to hold up when I’m leaving the house at 7:30. Do I have any energy and/or brain power at six in the morning? I have to tell you, the outlook is not promising.

The Internet is overrun with motivational blog posts informing me of illustrious writers who set their alarms for 4 AM every morning and write ten thousand words before breakfast, but maybe those illustrious writers are morning people with an extraordinary sense of vision and purpose who also don’t have Twitter? What about the rest of us?

I googled “writing habits” and found a nice list for “making commitments into habits” which I think I’ll be referring to in days to come, as I struggle with this whole actually-write-your-book-like-you’re-a-writer concept. I especially like:

  • Keep your commitment small to avoid anxiety that fuels resistance.

I’m very talented at anxiety.

  • It’s easier to honor your commitment early in the day, before your decision-making capacity is depleted. Do what you say will do as soon as you can; that way, you can enjoy the satisfaction and self-respect for the rest of the day.

That feeling of satisfaction and self-respect goes a long way, especially if I encounter a person later in the day who would like to make me feel like I am less than important. Excuse me, rude person, I wrote part of a novel this morning. What did you do? Move along.

  • Give yourself a small reward when you honor your commitment. At the very least, acknowledge and celebrate the fact that you are honoring the commitment.

I’m going to reward myself with an egg sandwich. It’s very simple positive reinforcement: you write, you get breakfast. Good job, Natalie.