Wash Away Writer’s Block

Posted by Cheri on May 14, 2016 in About writing |

WritersBlock soapStruggling with plot or characters? Whiskeyriversoap.com has a solution for you. It also comes in a candle, so you can soak in the tub, light a few candles, and contemplate how the New York Literary Establishment conspires to keep courageous indie authors down.

Whiskey River has a full line of hilariously-titled soaps and candles for Hipsters, Dad Bods, Cool Kids (“smells like future bus drivers”), Awkward Moments, White Guys, and Geeks.

But all that aside, creative types are always saying that the best ideas come to them in the shower. Why is that?

Apparently, when you’re doing something mindless, like showering or washing dishes or brushing the cat, your prefontal cortex no longer has to monitor focus and decision-making and decides to go out for a pee break or to get some Doritos. When it switches off, other parts of your brain (which are always coming up with offbeat ideas) are no longer controlled by the pre-frontal cortex and start running wild like overexcited Minions. Feel-good dopamine starts flowing. Free-association abounds.

The good part is that this process is most active when you’re tired. That’s usually when you first get up (and shower) or the shower just before you hit the bed. Times when you’re most relaxed.

There’s a good article about this process at http://mentalfloss.com/article/52586/why-do-our-best-ideas-come-us-shower


Franken-novels and Other Writing Group Problems

Posted by Cheri on December 12, 2015 in About writing |

Get out your pitchforks and torches because Franken-novel is coming for us all! If you don’t know what a Franken-novel is or how one is created, you need to get over to writer Kristen Lamb’s website and read her post on writing groups. It’s painful, because sometimes Truth is Pain. Read more…

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How to Annoy an Agent

Posted by Cheri on August 17, 2015 in About writing |

Agents are the world’s most optimistic people. No matter that the last ten manuscripts they read (the first paragraphs, anyway) were stunningly bad, they keep hoping that the next manuscript will be The One. So unpublished writers really DO have a chance to impress them. They WANT you to impress them. They stay up nights PRAYING you’ll impress them.

Just don’t make the following mistakes, guaranteed to drive them crazy. Read more…


Improve your writing and go to jail.

Posted by Cheri on August 13, 2015 in About writing |

The great Shirley Jackson gave fascinating lectures on writing, and specifically how she worked. She left paper and pencils all over the house so she could make notes on her writing wherever thoughts occured to her: “I am apt to find, in the laundry list, a scribble reading, ‘Shirley, don’t forget — no murder before chapter five… or ‘Shirley, have old man fall downstairs.'” When she was ready to write, she’d collect all her little scraps of paper and try to remember what she was thinking when she wrote them. Read more…


Welcome! In this blog, you’ll find:

Posted by Cheri on August 11, 2015 in About this blog |


  • Advice on writing and publishing acquired by real experience, including: being yelled at by agents and editors, horrible publishers’ contracts, and listening to other writers bitch & moan!
  • 100% non-snark-free content!
  • No mommy/daddy issues, diet advice, fashion tips, celebrity news, or psychobabble! Probably.
  • Dismal amateur photography!
  • Exciting “get off my lawn-style” content!
  • Content may include rumors, conspiracy theories, poisonous gossip, and barefaced lies! And you’ll never know which ones! Ha, ha!

So have a good time reading, leave comments, sneer at inconsistencies in style and my inability to use WordPress… and above all, get back to your writing and become rich & famous. Oh, and visit my fiction website http://www.cheriscotch.com, where I’ll attempt to get you to buy my books. Black magic and hypnotism may be involved.


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