Monday, September 03, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

I can not explain how excited I am to write this post!  GUTGAA (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) has begun!  Not only are the writing opportunities fantastic with this blogfest, but it's so fun to get to meet up with new people and form new connections.

So, welcome to Motivation for Creation and it's nice to meet you!

If you have not signed up yet, or have no idea what GUTGAA is, go here to read more.  You can sign up anytime this month, but must do so on the "master linky list" here.

Today is the Meet and Greet Blogfest, and so I get to answer some fun, introductory questions about myself. 


Lara Schiffbauer is a writer, licensed clinical social worker, mother of two, wife of one, and a stubborn optimist.  She love Star Wars, Lego people, science, everyday magic and to laugh.  After achieving some publishing success with short stories, she turned her efforts to writing her first novel, which she finished this spring. Her current work in progress is challenging her on many levels, including becoming comfortable writing in third person point-of-view again, after spending a year in First Person World.

Where do you write?

Here's a picture of my humble writing space.  

I'll often write with the curtains open, so I can see outside.  The only downfall is the sun is really bright and I'm exponentially increasing the depth of the wrinkle on my forehead by squinting.  I can't help it, though, because I love looking outside and seeing the prairie, the meadowlarks and the kittens on the front deck.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

One of our many sets of bookshelves.  The shelf I'm looking at holds astronomy, cosmology and quantum mechanics books, plus a gold horse statue that was my great-grandfather's and sister's before it came into my possession.  When my sister was ten-ish she named the statue "Goldie."

Favorite time to write?

It depends on if I go to work or not.  On the days I go to work, early morning is good because I'm not exhausted from the day.  On days I don't go to work, I seem to gravitate to afternoon hours.

Drink of choice while writing?

Diet soda (either Coke or Pepsi is fine) or coffee.  I'm trying to drink more water, too.

When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

I rarely have complete silence since the television is on the other side of the room.  If I have my choice as to what is coming out of the speakers on the TV, I'll choose the new age music channel.  The only caveat to listening to music while I write is the music can't have words.  One of my favorite bands to listen to while writing is Albannach, a Scottish Tribal drumming band.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

I found my inspiration for Finding Meara at work.  I will often see the ramifications of abuse on children, but never have control to see justice done for these kids.  I wanted to write a story about the need for children to be protected, and have the abusive father get his comeuppance, too.

What's your most valuable writing tip?

The only one I have is to try to write every day, at least for ten minutes.  In ten minutes you can have a page written and if you do that every day, you can have the first draft of a novel in a year.  Write for twenty minutes, and you can have a first draft done in six months.  Plus, if I sit down with the intent to write for ten minutes, I often will keep writing for much longer.

Now I get to go meet everyone else!  Have a great Monday and a great GUTGAA!


  1. Write a little bit every day is the BEST tip! *is inspired*

  2. Awesomeness! I have to post my meet & greet post tomorrow perhaps, or even the next day. We'll see how I go. aRGH!

  3. If I had kittens on my front deck, I'd never get any work done lol!

    Writing every day is a great tip, and one I try hard to follow!

  4. So I'm scrolling down reading your post, and I'm like, what are these little lines. Then I see your comment box and think, oh, this is different. Too early to notice things, I guess. Which is bad, it's almost eight am.

    I love the new look. The colors are great.

    And I would never post a picture of my computer desk. All the papers and stuff. Yours looks much better!

  5. I love your writing space! It looks so cozy and inviting. Wish I could see the prairie view, too. Isn't it great to look outside at nature while you write?

    You did an amazing job with the blog site--the new look is awesome. I love the notebook paper background-- it's easy on the eyes and attractive. So glad you kept the fishies! They are a favorite. :)

    I agree, instrumental music is the best!

    Your writing advice is spot on. Writers have to write as often as possible, and practice hones the skill we have.

  6. @VikLit - Writing everyday is the best thing I've ever tried to do! Now, when I don't, I feel funny!

    @Trisha - I'll be watching for it!

    @Kyra - Thanks for the follow! Those kittens are quite a cute distraction. :)

    @Suzi - Thank you! You know, I cleaned up to take the picture. The plus of the small desk size is that there isn't much room to put things. Computer, mouse and a drink are about all that fits.

    @DD - Some people find the prairie boring, but it's grown on me over the years of my life. Wyoming is nice because we have rolling hills and meadowlarks. :)

  7. I like how the horse statue is named Goldie. It reminds me of a little former Xmas ornament I've had as long as I can remember, a little teddybear with a cornflower blue bow (all porcelain). I named him Whitey, because he was white (not realizing at three years old the associations inherent in that name).

  8. I love how unadorned your writing area is. Mine is too. I get distracted by clutter. Do you?

    And I drink me some Diet Caffeine Free Coke. Yum!

  9. That is intense inspiration for a book. I hope it is successful! It's nice to meet you, Lara!

  10. I hadn't heard of Albannach before, but I just checked them out really quick on Grooveshark and they sound pretty cool. I'm definitely going to try them out during a writing session in the near future. You might like Wardruna. They're from Norway and have a similar vibe.

  11. Greetings to you! Love you WIP idea and I am sure you bring a great wealth of background knowledge with your job. Best wishes. And, I am a Lego lover, too, except when I step on them tip-toeing out of my son's room after tucking him in. :-)

  12. Good to meet you! Love that you have and area for writing. Thanks for sharing.

  13. The prairie? You have a prairie out your window? That is freaking awesome.

  14. Writing every day…. that is good advice. Very good advice.

  15. This line is SO good:
    The only downfall is the sun is really bright and I'm exponentially increasing the depth of the wrinkle on my forehead by squinting.

    My sister is like a vampire. (I live with her). She never turns the lights on. (saves money) And for whatever reason she has something against opening windows...

    Needless to say, when I'm home, she's had to learn to change up her vampire ways because I NEED LIGHT! haha

  16. Dear Lara,

    Nice to meet you. I enjoyed your answers to the GUTGAA questions. I especially like the 10 minute sprint idea for a daily minimum. Great tip and happy writing!

    Warm regards,

    Don #138

  17. @Carrie-Anne - everything my little boy names is related to the color, or called Cutie. It totally cracks me up!

    @Emily - I've just made a move to caffeine free this past month. It's definitely been a positive thing! I don't really get distracted by clutter, but I get kind of claustrophobic. :P It makes me edgy and I can't think, strangely enough. Another way I'm a weirdo, I guess!

    @Charlie - Nice to meet you too!

    @Mike - I'll check them out! I love tribal drumming!

    @marcy - I try to get those little buggers picked up before bed every night!

    @Connie - nice to meet you! I'll be stopping over at your place soon!

    @Jessie - Not many people find the prairie so cool, so I'm excited you do! I like it!

    @Aidyl - Writing every day has kept me going for the last three years. I'm not fanatical about it, and this year I had to include blogging time into the equation, but I definitely miss it if I don't write, now!

    @Kelley - I have been fighting the crease between my eyebrows since I was in high school. I just frown when I think... I have to have light, though. It's one of the reason's we bought the house we have. It has a ton of large windows! It's good you're helping your sister into the light!

    @Don - I just recently figured out how to do sprints. I absolutely must know what I want to write, and then I can let the words flow. If I don't have a clear picture of what I need in my head, it can take me an hour to get the same amount of words out. Thank goodness I've learned! :)

  18. I try to write every day but it sometimes just doesn't happen. I'm following you now, and it's quite nice to meet you! :)


  19. "Try to write every day" is an excellent tip! I try to write every day and some of the time, I achieve it!

  20. Excellent advice! Nice to meet you :)
    And your bookshelf sounds very appealing.
    Read you around!

  21. Ah! I love Scottish Tribal Music! I thought I was the only one. How nice to have a friend!

  22. Nice to meet you, and really good advice, sometimes condensing it down to only writing a little at a time helps writing a novel not seem overwhelming

  23. I adore your writing space photo! It's nice to meet you and I hope you have a blast with GUTGAA. :)

  24. Quantum mechanics? I'm impressed. I have a bookshelf immediately to my left also, but the titles are very different. :)

  25. Your blog is gorgeous, as are your curtains. I'm jealous! I think what you're doing is really important, and thanks for doing it. My sister is in the process of becoming a social worker, too.

    Have fun at GUTGAA!

  26. Nice to meet you. Your story idea sounds both depressing and heartening at the same time. I was a social worker too, a long time ago, and I lasted only a couple of months in child protection. It was too much for me, but I admire those that are strong enough. Now I'll end with something fluffy: I love that lamp! Have fun at GUTGAA!

  27. @alleged & Livia - It doesn't always happen every day for me either. It's just the trying that seems to make the difference!

    @Johana - Nice to meet you, too!

    @Wendy Jo - It always amazes me how many different ways people connect during blog hops!

    @AJ - I think you're right - having a page a day is a lot easier to digest than a novel in a year!

    @Candilynne - Hello, back and thanks for the follow!

    @Tracy - Yes, it sounds amazingly impressive, but I really have to work to understand many of the books. It just titillates my mind to try to get so abstract as quantum mechanics. Then I go to my husband and ask him to explain!!

    @Laura - Thanks! We like the curtains, too. Roses are weaved into the design and it has a kind of medieval feel I love! Friday I actually had a moment where I saw the importance of what I do in a students life, and it felt really good. Those moments are pretty far between. Give your sister a hug for me!

    @Jeanette - Yeah - I will work at Walmart before I work for CPS. I could never handle it. I know that about myself. I worked at a residential tx center for kids who usually had some type of severe abuse background and that was bad enough. Now I work at an elementary school. It can still be tough, but overall is a walk in the park to CPS. Wow, what a long, sad comment! I like my lamp, too!! Inexpensive from Hobby Lobby - we got three of 'em!

  28. Hi Lara
    I love that you are writing a story that you feel passionate about, on a topic that isnt easy to broach. I understand what compels you to write such a story. I am a former paediatric burns, hence I wrote a fantasy story about elves that can heal mostly from my wish that I could heal the kids without the pain, and anxiety that they must inevitably face. Its still a fun story, but that's where my inspiration came from. Looking forward to seeing your query, best of luck.
    You can find me over at blog no 152 when I grow up I wanna write a kids book. Cheers Julie

  29. I just reread my post, I meant paediatric burns nurse, lol, proof reading isnt my strenght, cheers Julie

  30. Your story sounds awesome. I think it's cool that you sit with curtains open. I love looking outside too even if the sun is killer bright. Nice to meet you.

  31. I love that you have an entire bookshelf dedicated to quantum mechanics, astronomy, and cosmology! Good luck with GUTGAA. :)

  32. Good advice about writing every day/ making a 'habit' of writing. The idea behind your story sounds very intriguing, and so absolutely *right*/just.

  33. Hey great to meet you!
    Wow sounds like a powerful story you have. I'm sure it must be so frustrating to see what happens. DOn't know if I could handle it.

  34. I love the new look on your blog! And it's great to have a solid routine for your writing. When I look to the left from my writing desk, I see the quote I pasted on my office wall--"The only journey is the journey within." That inspires me every day.

  35. I definitely agree with your advice. Writing everyday is important to keep the writing flowing, as well to keep in your story as best you can!

  36. Great to meet you! I tell myself I need to write every day, even if just for a few minutes, but it has yet to happen.

  37. Great answers! You are so right about finding time to write each day. Every little bit adds up!

  38. Amazing writing tip. I love this blog hop. It is inspiring. Your MS sounds really interesting. Best of luck

  39. Lego people!!! *ahem* It's definitely a challenge going into third person after being used to first person. Good luck! :)

  40. 10 min a day is an awesome tip. I bet even I could find time for that :)

  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. @Jambo - I bet you've seen lots of bad stuff. I always got to witness the aftermath, not the "middle-of," for which I'm grateful... Lots of good work you've done! Thanks for taking care of those kids!

    @Jessica - the sun is a must!

    @Laura - good luck to you too!

    @Ellie - Thank you for liking the premise. I actually had a great time writing the story. I loved writing the ending, although it ended up a little sad, too.

    @Pk - Thank you so much for stopping by and the follow!

    @Cindy - fabulous quote! I'm a fan of the journey, myself!

    @Mere - Just today I was struggling with remembering details of my current WIP because I haven't written on it in several days. (GUTGAA prep, you know!) I thought of your comment when I was trying to remember if the MC had on a sweater or a t-shirt...

    @Gail - nice to meet you, too!

    @Nicole - Thanks for coming by! This is such a fun blog-hop!

    @Suja - I totally agree! I'm loving all the people I'm meeting and their stories. It's wonderful!

    @Diana - Yep - Lego people! New series starts in September. I can't wait!!

    @Angela - that's the best thing. I have no excuse. If I don't write, I totally know it's because I'm being lazy!

  43. Hi there, fellow GUTGAA-er. :) You're so right about finding that little bit of time each day, and I completely understand the wrinkle dilemma. When I write in the sun my fiancee says "I'll always be your bulldog clip" :) Hope to see you at Beyond The Hourglass Bridge.

  44. So true! Little by little that thing will get written if you keep at it! Great advice. And I'm hearing from a lot of you that you listen to music without music. I'd never thought of that before. Maybe, just maybe it will work for me because I love music so much! I just can't handle the distraction.

  45. Hi from another GUTGAA participant.

    Great to meet you.

  46. @katherine - you've got a cool header for your blog! Thanks for stopping by.

    @Deanna - I know a lot of people who listen to movie soundtracks. I was thinking about giving that a try...

    @meredith - Nice to meet you too!

  47. Write everyday is great advice, every little bit adds up. I churned out an entire novel in 3 months by doing that.
    Love your fish in the side bar. I fed them :)

  48. Lara,

    You're awesome and those tips at the end are like, fresh awesome sauce.

    In fact, yes! You win a week's supply (three 16oz bottles of awesome sauce.)

    PS... you had me giggling at your squinting, but I *so* understand the need to see the view :)

    You should have Mr. S. make you a life-size matt (or gloss??) picture of the view and you just hang it up when writing.

    The result: No squinting.


    My work here is done...

  49. Hi, Stacey! My fish appreciate the food! I have one other person who lets me know they feed the fish, and I'm not sure they come regularly, so it's good you took on the duty!

    Yay, Mark! I'm a winner! I'll take all the awesomesauce I can get! I'm going to have to stick with the squinting, because a matte (or gloss) painting just wouldn't be the same!

  50. I try to write every day but if I can't, I'm plotting away so that when I do have time to write, I'm typing and not staring at the computer screen thinking.

  51. Btw, nice blog! And it's nice to meet you. New follower. :)

  52. I'm starting a little late, but it's great to meet you! I'm going to have to check out Albannach, since I love me pipes and could die for some drums.

  53. I'm here late, sorry! I signed up late, but I've been having so much fun visiting everyone's blogs.

    I LOVE all your ninja kitten pics. they were awesome. I have five cats myself. Chairman Meow, Dr. Friendlypaws, Izzy-Jelly-Belly, and Frazel-Nutter-Butter M. Squiqqlytail the third. haha. Oh. And James. The stray who came by, decided he lives at my house and refused to leave. It's been two years. haha.

    Anyway, I like your blog! I got so inspired by all the great blogs on GUTGAA that I finally started one. It's

    I'd love it if you could stop by. I'm kind of in desperate need of followers. haha.

    Anyway, good luck with GUTGAA. Nice to meet you. :)

  54. @Nicole - Thanks for the follow! You are so right, btw. I've noticed if I know where I'm going in a scene, I can write a whole lot faster. :)

    @Anthony - Great to meet you too! I'm glad to have shared Albanach with you! My favorite album is Eye of the Storm. There's just something dark and mysterious about all the songs that hits me on a fantasy level!

    @Tamara - Your cats sound fabulous! We ended up with a female cat much the same way as you - she just kind of adopted us and now we have kittens every spring. And sometimes fall... I'll definitely stop over to your blog - congratulations on joining in on the fun!

  55. Thanks Lara,
    Aren't kittens the absolute best? I wish they could stay little forever!!

  56. So welcome, Tamara! There are some exceptions (namely in the insect category) but as a general rule everything is cute when they're little!

  57. Nice to meet you in the GUTGAA Meet & Greet posts! I used to work in foster care and that job is the inspiration for my next story. I think it's tough to find YA stories that deal with foster care without being overly preachy or else they're highly exaggerated things that would never fly in the welfare system.

    Best of luck with your story, and I commend you for working with abused children and families. It's tough work.

  58. Hi! Nice to meet you, too! I think working in foster care is tough work! Good stories where therapists/social workers are perceived as competent in general are hard to come by, I think, so good for you for writing one. Of course, I guess I'm making an assumption about your story, aren't I! :P Have a lovely GUTGAA!

  59. Hey it's so great to meet you!

    Had to follow you because of all the lolcats running around here. Man I love that pesky feline...

  60. @Heather - Nice to meet you and thanks for the follow! Yes, there's something about those cats that cracks me up!


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