And the winners are…

Last week I posted a review of Scrivener with a chance to win the amazing writing software. I asked readers for their best tips, and with over 50 comments, I found three general rules:

  • Write a specific amount every day whether you feel like it or not. Setting a target word count or allotted time helps keep you accountable, and writing past the point of comfort (which is a good thing).
  • Write everything down. Whether by hand, on your phone, or in your computer, when you have an idea capture it. You never know when you might be able to make something of it.
  • Writing and editing are separate activities. when you’re writing, just get all your ideas down on paper without any judgement. Take a break and then come back to the writing with a critical eye. 

And the winners are:


William Cooper (PC)

Matthias Sundberg (Mac)

Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who shared their great tips with us!


Win This Free Giveaway: Scrivener

Scrivener is the greatest invention for writers since the word processor. I resisted buying this writing software because I thought I would waste too much time learning how to use it. After Dave, my writer’s group, and my friend, Lisa, all raved about Scrivener I had to try it out. It took about 20 minutes to learn how to use it, and 2 hours to master it. I felt like the creators of Scrivener figured out exactly what frustrated me about Word and created a software that makes my life so much easier.

Here’s are just a few features I love:

  1. It’s so easy to keep track of every scene. With the cork board feature you can see all the scenes at once, and move a scene around if its not working. progress
  2. On the right hand side, there’s a place to keep track of notes when you’re writing a scene.  You can choose if these notes are for just that scene or if it’s for the entire story. When I was using Word, I would write down notes on a pad of paper next to my computer, but then I could never remember which scene they were referring to.
  3. notesThe split screen allows you to write a scene while viewing another file at the same time. I like to keep a picture of one of my characters on the screen while I’m writing about them. It’s also helpful to keep the outline handy to make sure my scene is working with the rest of the story.split screen
  4. Scrivener encourages you to take risks. Within each scene you can take a screenshot of what you have written, and then start over fresh. At any point you can view the old and new scene side by side and then determine which one to use.
  5. Scrivener helps me keep track of my progress and set goals. I can set my target word count for each section and check something off as a first draft, revised draft or finished. With Word, I just had a giant folder with no way of knowing which scene was done.keep track
  6. One of the things that frustrated me about using Word is that it was so hard to find certain passages once the pages started adding up. On Scrivener, I can search for a minor character or a theme and it will compile every scene where that search word shows up. This helps me make sure that I resolve every part of the story and not get lost in just the main plot.
  7. I’m just focusing on the novel-writing features, but it also has great tools for screenwriting, legal briefs, and journalism.
  8. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s easy to export anything you write to Word or PDF.

Ok, there are so many other great features, but you’re going to need your own copy to really see what works for you. I wrote to the creators of Scrivener, and they gave me two free downloads to share with my awesome readers (one for PC and one for Apple)! Here’s how to win a free download of Scrivener:

In the comment section below, tell me about one good writing habit you have picked up or want to start using. ALSO, mention if you have an Apple or PC. I’ll pick the two winners on March 3.

If you can’t wait that long, you can buy it here for only $40! It is beyond worth it 🙂

And The Winner Is…

A few days ago I posted an interview with C.B. Bryza, author of Are You My Boyfriend?. I asked readers:

Do you think it’s necessary to seek out a partner, or do you believe he/she will come to you when it’s the right time?

The winner will receive a copy of the book. I chose Dave because his comment was really touching:

I don’t think it’s necessary to search, but that the one meant for you will show up in your life at the appointed time. It may sound corny, but I fell in love with my wife the first moment we met. It was her eyes and the way they lit up when we talked, and the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen. I’m blessed all these years later because I do think I was fortunate enough to find my soul mate. Maybe they don’t really exist, but for this guy, they do :-)

Thank you to all who participated, and don’t forget you can still get your own copy using this link, or you can follow up with all the exciting book events on Facebook.

And the winner is…

Congratulations, Julie, I’ll be sending you the kindle version of
The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.  I hope this book helps you accomplish your dream of spreading your wings and living without fear (I’ll be sending it to you in the next week). If you haven’t checked out Julie’s awesome blog of stunning photos and beautiful insights, do it now!

I have three more giveaways planned for the upcoming months so stay tuned!


A Christmas Gift for One Lucky Reader

I’m done with all my Christmas shopping but I realized I forgot someone very special: you! In honor of New Year’s approaching, I would like to send one reader a small Christmas gift that will help with his or her New Year’s resolution.

I keep hearing great things about Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul. I haven’t read it yet, but the basic premise it that the way we set goals is all wrong; rather than making a list of what we want to receive and achieve, we should think about how we want to feel. This book helps you come up with an action plan for your best intentions.

Here’s how to win the kindle version of this book: In the comment section, let me know a goal you’ve always wanted to achieve, what you’ve done to go after it, and what has kept you from achieving it. Post this by Dec. 30 5pm EST. I’ll be choosing one comment at random. Sorry, no family members allowed (you already got your gifts 😛 )

Happy Holidays!

P.S. Let me know if you like the book so I can get my own copy.

Warby Parker; how all stores should be run

My new glasses.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about an eyeglass store on my blog that’s supposed to be about following your heart and soul (HeSo). I hate shopping for glasses, but I stumbled upon a store that made me enjoy the experience so much I talked about it for days afterward.

After doing some more research, I found out that this was definitely a HeSo inspired endeavor. The company was started by four friends who were tired of cool glasses costing so much. They opened up a store that would provide the designs that they liked for an affordable price, and they named it after two of their favorite Jack Kerouac characters. To add a cherry on top, they partnered with VisionSpring to provide glasses for people who cannot afford prescription glasses. For every pair you buy, they donate a pair.

Shopping for eyeglasses can be very stressful – you’re basically picking out a new feature for your face. I usually run into clerks who get pissy if I want to try on more than three pairs of glasses. A few weeks ago I decided I want an artsy looking pair of glasses, so I popped into the local Cohen’s Optical. I tried on every pair (to the sales clerk’s dismay) and only ended up liking one pair. Even after getting a $100 discount the glasses with lenses were going to cost over $400! That’s when I remembered a local news show that was highlighting an eyeglass store with a social mission. For every pair you buy, they donate a pair to children who cannot afford glasses. They have distributed over 150,000 pairs in developing countries.

I visited Warby Parker’s showroom in a trendy office space in Soho. One-half of the office was taken up by desks and people busy at work. The other half was the showroom. As soon as I arrived a friendly girl introduced herself and told me to make myself at home and try on any pair I like. The people helping were not pushy at all, but they gave honest opinions. At one point, I tried on a pair and the woman next to me said, “oh god take those off right now!” I appreciated the honesty. It felt like I was shopping with friends.

I stayed there for about an hour trying on every pair, and I never felt pressured to buy. They were playing awesome music and everyone trying on glasses was dancing around. When I finally settled on a pair of reddish-brown sexy librarian glasses, they suggested that I walk around the office and introduce myself while wearing the glasses to see if they felt comfortable. There are mirrors all around the place, so they told me to occasionally look up and catch a glimpse of myself with the glasses. That would give me a much better idea of how the glasses looked without posing.

I walked around the office, and everyone was so nice and they all seemed to really enjoy working there. One guy asked if I wanted to help with their bifocals project which just meant that he wanted to measure the distance between my eyes. Then he gave me a card for 15% off. Someone else gave me a lollipop. The lollipop threw me over the edge – I was ready to make the purchase.

The really cute thank you card that came with the glasses

I was afraid of how much it would cost because the place felt like a very expensive, trendy Williamsburg boutique. When they told me my total was $85 I asked them ‘how much do the lenses cost?’ She laughed and said that price included anti-reflective, polycarbonate lenses. I wanted to run out of the store before she realized that she undercharged me. Then I asked, ‘well how much does it cost to donate a pair?’ She laughed again and told me that was also included in the price. I’ve never paid so little for glasses and actually enjoyed the experience.

My glasses arrived at my doorstep three days later with a great thank you note. They even called me that day to see if I received the glasses and if I was happy with them.

Here’s the extra cool part…if you don’t live in the area, they will ship five pairs to your house for free so you can try them on. I will never shop anywhere else. I really appreciate their work model.

So now without further ado, Here are my new glasses…

My new glasses! You can see my Reilly painting in the background.

Free Giveaway!!!


Most people close to me know that I’m a huge fan of Oprah. Ok I was a little bit obsessed. When I was in high school I rushed home so I wouldn’t miss a minute of her show. I remember thinking I would never be able to have a 9-5 job because then I would miss Oprah (that was before tivo).

There are few other celebrities that have so much dignity, vulnerability, and a continuing drive for self improvement. I find her completely inspiring and I love her for the stories and causes she brings to my attention.

After her show ended (and yes I cried a lot) I got a subscription to O magazine. It was the first magazine I read that wasn’t about celebrity gossip or the best jeans for every figure. In ever glossy issue there’s a reading list, financial/spiritual/ health advice, motivating interviews, eye-opening investigations, and yes, some beauty and fashion. In my eyes, it’s the best magazine out there.

And now for the giveaway… It’s time to renew my subscription, but they gave me the option of sending a free subscription to a friend! I figured I would extend that offer to my blog friends. So if you would like to win a free year subscription to O magazine, please leave a comment telling me about your favorite Oprah moment. On Wednesday at 10pm I will choose a winning comment at random ! Good Luck!!!