Pep Talk

Post Date: February 19th, 2009

Today’s Word Count for the Novel: 116,144. 284 words cut.
Page Count for the Novel: 418 pages.

“Cease to inquire whatever the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.”
— Horace

The vultures are descending (the vultures in my head) and they’re looking for leavings. How about I offer up my fears and angers while invoking some mantras?

Your writing is good. It will be good.
— Believe in the process.
— All you have is now. To squander or celebrate? Your choice.

The first mantra responds to my fears after hearing only silence of the literary lambs, quiet in the face of many queries.

Lyn, your writing is good. It will be good. Embrace what works. Seek what doesn’t.

The second mantra challenges my need to produce and get the novel done yesterday.

Lyn, believe in the process. Rest in the draft before you.

The third harnesses my anger. I struggle right now with the temptation to succumb to the Scarcity Model. Let’s just say I’ve met many a proponent of the Scarcity Model lately, those who tell you what’s wrong, a nice thing then a nasty, all in the hopes you will be grateful for such guidance. (These folks aren’t coaches or true critics, yet they are eager to indoctrinate. If you sign up, then the Scarcity Model must be true.)

Scarcity breeds resentment and jealousy. Scarcity breeds unhealthy competition. Scarcity breeds entrenched hierarchy. And while many great works of art were sparked by pride and revenge, carry those feelings around awhile and you’ll feel the strain on your heart.

Well, here’s a stimulus package for Lyn – you’re gonna be okay, honey. Some sacrifices must happen in the short term, but all will be well in the long.

All you have is now, Lyn. To squander or celebrate? Your choice.

I can hear the dusty, dark wings of the vultures now. May they ascend with bones of my fading panic, with the carcass of my departing rage!

Today’s Writing Goal: Pick up on page 145 and edit to cut words and get reacquainted before I pick up in the mid-400’s to keep the story under 150,000.

Tomorrow’s Writing Goal: Take the weekend off and get some perspective.

Writing Prompts: Please note that writing prompts should always be pursued in emotionally-safe environments with the supervision of someone who interested in encouraging good writing, self-awareness, and reflection. A wonderful resource is Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and With Others.

© Lyn Hawks. Writing prompts for one-time classroom use only and not for publication in any form elsewhere without permission of this author.


My Motto

A motto is a short saying that gives you help when you’re having a bad day. Maybe you’ve heard:
— Chin up!
— If you want a friend, be a friend.
— TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

Do you, your family, or friends have a motto that helps you get through tough times? Write down as many mottos as you can think of, or make up a new one. Then write about a bad day when this motto helped you or could have helped you.

Secondary and Adult


A mantra is a saying, often sacred, that you invoke when you need it. If you don’t think in spiritual terms, consider it a formula and counsel; if you consider yourself spiritual, think of it as an invocation or incantation. You can create it or borrow it from someone else.

Write down several short sayings that come to you when times are tough. These might be one word or several; they might be famous quotes, quotes from friends, or lines you devised yourself when you most needed them.

Then write about a time when this mantra helped you – or could have helped you.


  1. Lyn –


    Thank you for kind words. It’s inspiring to me to read your blog and be reminded that we all have ways of patting ourselves on the back, spurring ourselves onward, keeping in mind that writing is the thing that spurs us on, and the thing that, if we push through the wall of self-doubt, unlocks our souls.

    Don’t you dare stop.

  2. Lyn Hawks says:

    Thanks for your encouragement, Charlie! We writers have to cultivate that “mental toughness” (what my husband tells my stepson when he’s playing basketball) to get beyond the fears, whines, anger. I think sometimes we’re harder on ourselves than even the worst of critics, which can lead to the death spiral of writer’s block.

    Thanks for stopping by, and I’m looking forward to more of your posts and sharing your blog with others.


  3. Lynn,
    I noticed your blog listed on NCWN. Keep on writing. Your words are encouraging.
    You might want to visit my blog at:

  4. Lyn Hawks says:

    Hi, Brenda,

    Thanks for visiting! I will definitely stop by. I am in awe of some of the poetry in Missouri Review this last issue. Poets have a straight connection to the ether and celestial understandings!