Monday, June 11, 2007

And You Know It's Good For You...

by Christine Wells
As a bit of fun and a whole lot of shameless self-promotion, the banditas decided to open our very own cafe press store. Check out the cute, reasonably priced items on sale!
We don't make any profit. Everything is sold at cost. And if you want to join a raid on the bar with the banditas at National, wear an RB button or t-shirt and you'll fit right in!
Now, I'm not a big one for clutter and sadly, most of the items that fill goody bags at conferences find their way into my waste basket--usually before I leave the hotel. But give me a mug or a t-shirt--something I can use--and I'm yours!

My all time favourite freebie is from the first Romance Writers of Australia conference I attended. A mug with quotes from writers--some inspiring, some thought-provoking and some designed to kick that lazy butt into gear. What better item to have next to you at the computer than a mug full of coffee that says:
Writers write. Everyone else makes excuses.

I've often wanted to quote Jack M Bickham's words of wisdom to people I meet. You know, the ones who say wistfully they've always wanted to write a book BUT... In fact, for all those occasions, there must be thousands more times I should have said it to myself.

If you want to become a good writer there are no shortcuts, no alternatives to writing, writing, writing. And once you're published, there's the temptation to spend a lot of time and energy on things that *feel* like they're vital--promotion, chatting online, reading reviews, googling yourself daily:) Yes, promotion is important, but it shouldn't take the place of all that writing because, hopefully, the journey to becoming a great writer doesn't stop with publication. And after all, an author's best advertisement is a damn good book!
So what about you? Do you have any quotes that inspire you? What promotional material has led you to buy the author's book? Inquiring minds who have a book to promote want to know!


jo lewis-robertson said...

Great post, Christine. I love the materials selection from Cafe Press!

A number of years ago, I visited The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. Carefully encased behind glass was an original manuscript with marginal revisions of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.

More than anything else through the years, the handwritten comments of Twain as he contemplated diction, syntax, and content have impressed me with the nuance of choice we writers make as we sludge our way through his difficult process of writing.

I'll never be a Samuel Clemens, but I CAN copy his work style. That moment of seeing his spidery scratchings and line outs, his caustic comments to himself and his colleagues, and his general dissatisfaction with his writing still gives my soul a little lift.

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, fabulous column. I treasure that very same mug. I always feel enormously 'writerly' when I use it! Jo, a couple of days ago, I stood getting goosebumps looking at the manuscript for Jane Eyre which they hold at the British Library in London. I know exactly that feeling you're talking about - it's like you're part of a great line of predecessors and part of the future too. Quite eerie, really. The writing was tiny, tiny, tiny and so cramped and neat. And I couldn't get over the fact that Charlotte Bronte's hand had passed over that paper as she'd written her romantic masterpiece. Wow!

DMacMeans said...

LOL - I had that same thrill looking at Margaret Mitchell's original manuscript of Gone With the Wind. How did they ever manage without computers? Did you know that Margaret covered her typewriter every day and hid her typed pages from view. We're a secretive bunch.

My thought-provoking quote comes from Linda Seger. "All themes are about identity." I find that to be true and a good place to start a new manuscript.

MsHellion said...

My current favorite quote: "When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.'" - Neil Gaiman

Buffie said...

Looks like you have a wonderful array of things!!! I so wish I was going to Nationals this year to meet you all!

Christine Wells said...

Jo and Anna, thanks for commenting! Yes, isn't it awe-inspiring to see the artefacts of great writers. And in bygone days it was the much more personal touch of hand to paper, rather than fingers to keyboard, which makes it that much more special.

Donna, that's such a fascinating quote, because I think all my books are about the individuals in the couple finding their own identities before they can fully love each other. Thank you!

Jill James said...

"We write to taste life twice."
Anais Nin

Writers are lucky people to be able to visualize the world around us and write it down so others can visualize it as well.

Christine Wells said...

Mshellion, I love that quote! It is so true, it's scary. Lucky our loved ones don't know quite HOW true, don't you think?

And Buffie, you and I can sob together:( I'm not going to National either. Will be there in spirit, though! Or in THE spirits, when the banditas give a toast to absent friends.

Thank you both for commenting.

Christine Wells said...

Jill, that's a wonderful quote. Thank you for commenting.

I'm collecting all these for my own inspiration, they're so great. Thank you!

Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx a BUNCH for showing off our cute Bandita gear from Cafe Press! Warning to purchasers, from what others have said, the t-shirts tend to run small.

One of my favorite quotes that I like to keep nearby for inspiration is: Every Writer has to fight to claim her own success. -- Sheila Rabe

who will also be at National ONLY in spirits ;-)

MaryF said...

My favorite quote is by Anne Tyler - I write because I want more than one life.

Christine Wells said...

Hey Aunty C! Thanks for pointing that out about the t-shirts. I should have mentioned that the banditas have already plundered cafe press for lots of fun items. Thanks for your quote, Aunty C. It does seem like a fight a lot of the time, doesn't it?

Isn't that interesting, Maryf, the similarity, yet contrast between your quote and the one from Anais Nin that Jill mentioned? One says she wants to experience her own life again and one says she wants to experience other lives. Slightly different slants, but both true, I think.

Authorness said...

Hi, Christine!

I have that mug too! Although I dropped it on a tile floor as soon as I got home (same thing happened with a teapot I bought the other day), it's still intact, so I use it to hold my pens.

The best quote on that cracked mug, for me, is "If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write." Meaning I have permission to write I watch TV... Multitasking's great!

:) Vanessa

Authorness said...

And obviously I'm watching TV now, 'cause I meant to say I write while watching TV. Multitasking can be dangerous!

Anonymous said...

I always like reading these quotes, but I'm not big on collecting them. So thanks for sharing what you've got everyone!

I love my Romance Bandit's t-shirt, by the way. I highly recommend the merchandise. ;-)

Oh, yeah, and no Nationals for me.
So buffie and Christine, we can all sob together.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Vanessa,
Oh, no about the RWA mug! Still, I'm glad you put it to great use. Isn't that the worst thing when you break something as soon as you get it? I like that quote too but I thought it meant you didn't need to write in a literary style if you had all those other things. Funny how we read different things into it!

Kirsten, you look so cute in your bandita T-shirt! I think we should host a night in for the non-National-going banditas on the RWA Awards night. We'll have to think of something cool to do that will make all those conference attendees green with envy. Well, I can dream, can't I? THanks for commenting!

Anna Campbell said...

I LOVE these quotes. Especially the good day one. I remember there was a fire in my apartment block in Sydney one day I was home sick. And all I ran outside with was my purse and a disk with the latest novel on it. Didn't even think to take anything USEFUL!

Keira Soleore said...

Swag! The button speaks to me loud and clear. Then again, so do couple of the t-shirts.

My fav quote:
"Bum Glue" by Elizabeth George.
That's the way to write and keep on writing day after day.

Christine Wells said...

Yes, these quotes are great, aren't they, Anna? Ha, love the story of the fire. I bet next time you'll know better. You'll take your video of North and South as well as your purse and the disk of your latest novel!

Hi Keira! Ah, yes, bum glue, and its close cousin, arse spreadage. Heard that term from an English author and thought it particularly apt for a writer! But I think Elizabeth George makes a point of working out every day so she is nice and trim. Thanks, Keira! Nice to see you here.

Deb Marlowe said...

You guys are cracking me up. Love the quotes. I have to start writing some of these down. In my writing space, the inspiration on the walls is all pictures and maps. Except for the bumper sticker that says "My other car is a barouche" Hee hee.

Christine Wells said...

OMG, Deb, I WANT one of those bumper stickers!!! Only can I have a high-perch phaeton on mine? Nice, sporty little number with the wheels picked out in blue:)

Deb Marlowe said...


We'll have to start another whole cafe press store! Just think what fun we could have procrastinating!