When I was seven my parents bought a piano and signed me up for lessons. I suspected it was a desperate attempt on their part to keep me from playing The Sound of Music album on the stereo in the living room at least twice a day after school. I took piano lessons for ten years. While I was proficent, it was apparent Juilliard wouldn’t be holding a place for me. (That was okay with me because I wanted to be a writer or a baker.) My piano teacher’s husband was a professor of music at the local state college. Our annual piano recitals were held in a large hall with two Steinway concert grands on the stage. For weeks before each recital, I memorized my Bach-Beethoven pieces. I knew them cold.

However, at one recital, I got halfway through a piece and then abruptly stopped. Staring at the keyboard, my mind drew a blank. I could hear a chuckle from the audience, the murmurs of sympathy. Red-faced and paralyzed with shame, I glanced at my teacher sitting in the front row. With an elegant nod, she calmly said, “D.” I hit the D key, had a “duh” moment and finished the rest of the piece without a hitch.

Okay, so you’re wondering how this applies to writing, right? I’ve spent the last week trouble shooting a couple of  sentences. Today, I found that one “word” that I’d been searching for that conveys the point I was trying to make. A single word. It’s a commonly used word, a word that’s within the realm of my vocabulary. And it’s amazing how a one word makes all the difference. I’ve been in a good mood all day.

One sidenote: 

The folks at Writer’s Digest are holding their annual 101 Best Writer’s Websites contest. The gang at Romance University would appreciate your vote.

Send an e-mail to:  writersdig@fwpubs.com

In the subject line type in:  101 Best Websites

In the body of your e-mail  type in:  www.RomanceUniversity.org

Votes will be tabulated through January 1, 2011.  Thank you!

Raise your glasses!  We’ve got a fun line-up for next week at RU.

It’s Christmas week and Santa is bringing us a great lecture and loads of fun to celebrate the coming of a new year. Please join us as agent Kevan Lyon and author Anjali Banerjee close out our year-long series on sub-genres with a report on women’s fiction.    

Mon, 12/20 – Crafting Your Career – Literary agent Kevan Lyon and author Anjali Banerjee give us the low-down on the women’s fiction market.  Anjali will also be giving away a copy of her upcoming release.

Weds, 12/2212/31 – Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Romance University!

Want to know the deep, dark dirt on the RU faculty? Join us during the week of December 22 and 27 to find out what the RU crew likes best!

Note: Beginning January 1, 2011, RU will begin sending the lecture schedules every two weeks. Just call it our special gift to our wonderful readers because you will have one less email to open every week. 🙂

All Romance University lectures are generously provided by our Visiting Professors. RU is a tuition-free zone!

Best regards,

Jennifer Tanner, Heather Long, Carrie Spencer, Adrienne Giordano, Tracey Devlyn, & Kelsey Browning