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Day 30: 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Christina Katz

Christina with author and mom-daughter book club expert, Cindy Hudson

Me again!

Only this time I am giving away a complete set of my traditionally published books and self-published e-books, including the brand-spanking new, The Writer’s Workout.

I decided, what the heck? Why not give away the whole she-bang to one lucky winner.

So, here we go!

About Christina Katz

Christina Katz, The Writer Mama, is the author of three books from Writer’s Digest: The Writer’s Workout, Get Known Before the Book Deal, and Writer Mama. Her writing career tips and parenting advice appear regularly in national, regional, and online publications. A “gentle taskmaster” over the past decade to hundreds of writers, Christina’s students go from unpublished to published, build professional writing career skills, and increase their creative confidence over time.

Christina holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in English from Dartmouth College. A popular speaker on creative career growth, Christina keynotes for writing conferences, literary events, MFA writing programs, and libraries. She lives just across the Willamette River from Wilsonville, Oregon in an old farmhouse with her husband, Jason, her daughter, Samantha, and far too many pets.

Learn more about upcoming classes and training groups with Christina this fall. Scholarships will be available for each session of Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff. The application period is one month prior to the start date of each class right here in this blog.

[Please note: my mailing address is the same as always: Christina Katz, PO Box 1354, Wilsonville, Oregon  97070]

About The Writer’s Workout

The Writer’s Workout is like having a personal trainer for your brain every day of the year.

In the age of information overload, writers need the ability to focus and feel satisfied at the keyboard on a daily basis. The Writer’s Workout greets you each day of the year with fresh advice that helps writers coach themselves to produce an impressive body of published work, whether in print or online.

You’ll learn manageable, no-nonsense techniques for every aspect of your writing career from getting organized to connecting with your audience to relationship building.

The Writer’s Workout contains 366 tips for writers in every genre on how to:

  • Make your writing as strong and powerful as possible.
  • Pitch and sell your work at every opportunity.
  • Overcome rejection to come back better than ever.
  • Promote your work and build an audience.
  • Learn how to balance your creative life with your daily life.

Veteran writing coach Christina Katz draws on her knowledge from more than a decade in the business.

With her no-more-excuses wisdom, you’ll find your stride and motivate yourself to career-long publishing success.

The Writer’s Workout gives you substantial suggestions every day to help you build a robust, unique writing career.

Read an excerpt on WritersDigest.com

Read another excerpt on Scribd.com

Bonus online exclusive: Download a free motivational poster to keep you moving as your build your writing career at writersdigest.com/writers-workout.

This giveaway also includes:

Writer Mama + Author Mama learn more


Get Known Before the Book Deal learn more


Build Your Author Platform learn more

And Now, Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. You remember how this works right?

I ask you a question. You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.

Please just respond once, even if you make a typo. ;)

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! I hope to see you here every day this month. Bring your friends!

The structure of The Writer’s Workout echoes the seasons: the movement of time over the year, the full cycle of creativity, and/or the seasons of a writer’s career. Come up with a creative structure for a book right now. It could be the movement of a day. The same time every year for many years. It could be anything! Lay it on us. If you don’t have an idea already, come up with one right now.

Ready, set, comment!

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  • Chris Ciolli May 29, 2012, 6:54 pm

    What a great giveaway! A few years ago, I was working on a book about my daily life in Spain, but each chapter was a Wednesday in a week. Always Wednesdays, is what I had decided, but I was writing it for a creative travel writing class, and when the class was over, I kept at it for a while, but eventually found the only Wednesday structure too limiting. What about weekends and Mondays? 

  • Michelle James May 29, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Wow! What a wonderful and thoughtful giveaway! I have always wanted to write and now that my children are grown I have the time, right? So what is stopping me? I don’t know where to begin. I’m not sure I even know how to begin. How do I plan my book? I’ve started a journal to jot down my thoughts, but that is so random. I have post-its, notes on the computer, notes on my phone, notes everywhere. Where do I go from here?

  • Beth Fornauf May 29, 2012, 8:34 pm

    I always thought it would be cool to freeze a moment from different people’s perspectives. I’ve thought about doing a short story collection, and each story is told from the perspective of a person waiting for something – the same thing. Maybe they are waiting in line to pay a toll on their morning commutes, or waiting in line for coffee at a Starbucks, or even waiting in line to use a restroom in a bar. I think you could do a lot with internal monologue or flashback, and each person would have a different perspective on the surroundings.

  • Sue May 29, 2012, 10:49 pm

    Perhaps because I have been solo parenting the past few
    weeks while my husband has been away on business, parenting a child with
    diabetes has seemed particularly onerous. 
    I have an idea for writing a non-fiction book about diabetes so maybe it
    could follow the daily rhythm of blood sugars checks- before and after meals
    and snacks, before and after activity. Or the stages of dealing with the
    disease. But I am too sleepy to think right now after a night of dealing with blood sugars 🙂

  • Sara May 30, 2012, 12:04 am

    I like the idea of writing about the same place at the same time every year. I’ve done this for a blog/journal and it can show a lot about a character and changes in a life. Either could be done annually or seasonally over several years. I wonder, though if the structure would start to feel limiting, as Chris found with her Wednesdays. Perhaps this would work better as an interlude throughout a book. 

  • Diane J. May 30, 2012, 1:32 am

    Ooohhhh! This is tough. My young adult novel takes place during the course of the school year, but I don’t think that concept works here. So off the top of my head…and I’m grateful you’ve given us this creative challenge…I would love to do a play-by-play, by-the-minute during a life-altering event.

    For example: at 5:39 p.m. we are sitting in a car with a couple on their way to dinner, we hear the voiced conversation and/or thoughts.

    Follow it through, maybe the female winds up missing or the husband decides to leave mid-way through the show and doesn’t return.

    Of course, that’s taking the assignment literally. Maybe something a tad less literal: Hmmm…how about following someone through a course. The book could open with a routine day. Then the MC signs up for a course, we follow her through the course and the day after the course ends, we’re back at square one. Ooooh, wouldn’t that just highlight what a mundane life she had prior? Oh, my wheels are spinning! Okay, now I have to go write! THANK YOU!

  • Megan May 30, 2012, 2:08 am

    As a new mama, I treasure the times right before I lay my twin girls down to sleep. I’d love to write down the moments and thoughts before I lay them down, as we sit rocking in silence. It’s those moments that I often think about their futures, my hopes and fears, and how beautiful they are. It’s a precious time, and sometimes I’m amazed at my thoughts! But once I get out of that chair and leave the room, I never write them down. Wow, I’m going to start. Even if I don’t win, this was a GREAT impromptu exercise! Thank you! 🙂

  • Sarah Negovetich May 30, 2012, 2:27 am

    What a great prompt. I’m not much of a travel writer but it
    would be interesting to see a story of someone as they travel across the
    country. Each chapter could be a stop in a different state. Oh, or instead
    of focusing on the state, you could focus on all the different places a person
    would stay the night on a low budget cross country trip. The wheels are turning

  • Mar Junge May 30, 2012, 4:35 am

    I am SO looking forward to working out with my writing coach, whose bright yellow spine and white-outlined title I notice every day on the bookshelf behind my desk. Even though I’m beyond busy, I’ve somehow made time to comment every day in May. So I’m going to continue with an EVERY DAY IN JUNE Writer’s Workout. Thanks for the inspiration, Christina.
    In my book for young adults (with crossover to mainstream historical fiction) I’ll compare the coming of age of rail travel with the coming of age of my protagonist. By the turn of the century, travelling in modern, comfortable rail coaches replaced dusty, bone-jarring, stage coach trips. For most of the nation, the train provided a safe, reliable form of transportation. That all changed one night when a freight train plowed full speed into the back of a passenger train in California’s remote Central Valley. Amid the news of 28 gruesome fatalities, there are stories of heroism and greed. This disaster and others led to numerous safety bills and new automatic train control and other safety devices. The rail industry grew up that night, as did my main character.

  • 9mas May 30, 2012, 5:02 am

    Place memories are powerful.  I can drive along a stretch of highway or walk down the sidewalk and see a certain building or tree that’s still the same as it was at an important point in my life, and the events, the feelings are still there.  A story about the same place as time passes would let me explore the layers of experience that I imagine exist, like those transparencies in old science textbooks.   

  • S.K. Valenzuela May 30, 2012, 6:01 am

    I have always wanted to use music to structure a book.  Life
    so often seems to have a “soundtrack” – songs bring back memories,
    and music is such a part of life’s peak experiences (weddings, births,
    funerals, etc.).  I think it would be intriguing to write a novel,
    flash-back style, using the main character’s favorite playlist — could be
    iTunes on a trip across Europe or a jukebox in a bar…or songs on the radio.  Or it could be the movements of a symphony.  Depends on the character and his/her story.  Yikes – I already have plot ideas!

  • Barbara McDowell Whitt May 30, 2012, 6:51 am

    I am writing A Park College Diary 1961-1965 one diary entry per night including summer vacations as blog posts on my website, WCHS, MPHS and Park College…Diary Writing 1960-1965. I frequently have readers tell me they wish they had kept a diary or journal. I have had writing published in Psychology Today, The Writer, The Christian Century and The Washington Post.  

  • jerilynn May 30, 2012, 2:00 pm

    how awesome!! thanks for the opportunity!!

  • DebraMarrs May 30, 2012, 7:03 am

    Oooh, la-la! I’m coming late to the party but have an idea
    for this one.


    The following structure will work for a non-fiction, how-to
    book best.


    Title a chapter, using a word that’s in an opening quote or


    Then take that word, and create an acronym where each letter
    stands for a teaching point within the chapter.


    For instance, chapter title is Energy.


    Quote/epigraph is: The energy of the mind
    is the essence of life. ~ Aristotle



    E – Enthusiastic

    N – Nature or Nurture?

    E – Education

    R – Resilience

    G – Growth

    Y – Your Best Self


    Then develop each of these acronym’s letters as a how-to
    subhead section within the chapter


    Thanks for the opportunity to participate, Christina!
    Kudos to you for putting on this lovely 30-day event.




  • Renee May 30, 2012, 7:09 am

    What a great prompt! With my work-in-progress, the book takes place over the course of six years, and the three different sections are broken out with quotes having to do with life and death. One example is the poem “Song” by Christina Rossetti — “When I am dead, my dearest/Sing no sad songs for me…”
    I also have a young adult novel outline where each chapter is structured with musical terms such as Encore, Solo, Front Row, etc.

  • MLTCG May 30, 2012, 7:52 am

    Today I would write a how-to book, Learning How to be A Good Patient, how to deal with doctors from a patient’s point of view. I would include: how to find a good doctor, doctor visits, how to prep for an appointment, what to expect, how to behave, when to be pushy and when to listen, how to research your medical problem, when to get a second opinion, when to move on to a new doctor…..  Each of these topics can be expanded to include numerous things that most people don’t think of until it is too late. We tend to leave all the work and decisions up to the doctors. It’s time to realize that they are human beings and we each have to take responsibility for ourselves. Just arrived home to my email and saw this appropriate question. Now you know what my day was like!

  • Carol J. Alexander May 30, 2012, 8:21 am

    One of my dreams is to buy a motorhome and travel the craft show circuit with my husband selling his woodworking and me doing travel writing. I would write a book where I cover the same element for every town we visit–it could be the diner, the library, or the town square. But I think my best idea would be the cemetery. I’m a family history buff and I think that delving into the lives of those past would be cool. You know, I think I just came up with my novel idea :).

  • Deb May 30, 2012, 10:15 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Start with Christina’s book Writer Mama, or her Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff class. Both were very helpful for me, (and obviously many others) and I promise she has the answers to all of your questions and will get you writing!

  • Cara Holman May 30, 2012, 10:48 am

    These days, I write mostly haiku,
    haibun, rengay and personal essays. I guess for haiku and rengay, I would go
    with the seasons, because that is a fairly traditional way to structure
    chapbooks in these gentres. For haibun and rengay, I write on a variety of
    topics, including parenting, nature, loss, aging, pets, and cancer. I’ve
    noticed most of my readers tend to focus in on particular topics, so for my longer
    works, I would tend towards a more topic driven collection, rather than a
    strictly chronological one.

  • Chris Blake May 30, 2012, 10:51 am

    OK here goes. Six characters from two different families. They are close friends who meet on vacation each year. Each character tells a scene from his/her POV and a character in that scene picks up the narrative, repeats the last part of the scene from his/her POV, which launches into a new scene. It’s sort of like what Jennifer Egan did in A Visit from the Goon Squad, only she would introduce a character in a prior chapter and start a new scene, sometimes further along in time, with the new character. This is the best I can do off the top of my head.

  • Deb May 30, 2012, 11:08 am

    There you go forcing me to think again! My first thought was of a story I wrote in dialogue only, about a dying woman and her daughter, and it all took place between sunrise and sunset in a day – I think this could be expanded into a good novel, but then great books like Tuesdays with Morrie and Tinker flash to mind, reminding me that the story has already been told. Besides, I like to stick with what I know, and that is humor and essays. Books of memoir or essays, or columns are pretty easy to choose structure for. Craig Wilson did it well with his collection of columns in It’s the Little Things, structured by season. Mine might be structured by life stages, like The Young and Crazy Years, Single Parenting Sagas, Empty-Nesting Nightmares, and Old Chicks don’t Care. 

  • Jen Piwtpitt May 30, 2012, 1:47 pm

    The book that I am working on is about all of the times I have restrained myself from punching people in the throat.  It will, of course, be funny, because that’s just how I roll.  Nothing irritates me more than the rude and self-centered society that we have become.  I’m hoping that when people read my book they will each recognize themselves at some point and laugh hysterically and then stop for a minute and say, “Oh yeah, I do that.  Shit.  I should probably change.”  Either that or I hope they choke on whatever they’re eating.  Either way, it will make me like I’ve accomplished something.  

  • Kristy Grieve May 30, 2012, 3:00 pm

    I really like this prompt. Thinking about seasons and cycles of life leads me to think about being in the middle of kitten season.  The animal shelter in the next county over is in crisis and threatening closure. Maybe a book on the process of animals cycling through a shelter. Maybe writing about our newest member of the family, a chihuahua adopted from the local shelter. The cycle of him learning to fit in with us, and us learning to be what he needs. Love that little guy, but the first two months were rough…

  • Judy Schwartz Haley May 30, 2012, 4:23 pm

    I have always been fascinated by the cycle of human life. As a young child, I lived with my grandparents and watched my grandfather become more childlike and ultimately completely dependent on others before his death. Sad, but intriguing. There was an element of coming full circle that I could see even at my young age.

  • Sarah Lindsey May 30, 2012, 4:39 pm

    Just for the record, I love the structure of The Writer’s Workout. 🙂 That said, I’ve never really given any thought to how I would creatively structure a book. I do have an idea for a children’s book that would introduce them to new foods as the main character travels around the world. Each new place he goes to has its own culture full of wondrous new things, including new foods. Each chapter would be a different city where he tried a new food and would include a recipe that a child could make with their parents at home.