So Much News!!!

Exciting developments in the world of A M Carley, Writer. New publications, an event, and more. Here you go!

#METoo Book Hits #1!

I want to tell you about a timely new book, to which I contribute an essay. Four days after its publication, we were thrilled to see it had become an Amazon #1 Bestseller in two Kindle categories!


#MeToo ebook features 25 writers on where we go from here

I’m really pleased to be a part of this publication, and I invite you to check it out.

Everyone on the project, from the editor / publisher to the 25 essayists, contributed their work at no charge, so that the book could be read and distributed far and wide.

It’s an ebook for now, and will soon also be a paperback, which will be sold at the publisher’s cost, for the same generous reason.

Here are the details on Amazon:

#MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened, What It Means and How to Make Sure It Never Happens Again

The FLOAT Publications (Now There Are Two)


A M Carley’s handbook for writers

Last December, I introduced FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers. A handbook for writers, FLOAT aims to provide writers a ready resource when they need encouragement, a sense of community, or a respite from the hard work of assembling words. The paperback is on the shelves at a number of Central Virginia booksellers, and is also available online as an ebook and paperback. More book events are planned for the coming months. Keep reading for details on the new FLOAT Cards for Writers – and the cool event where I’m launching them.

Now about Those FLOAT Cards for Writers:

FLOAT Cards for Writers

FLOAT Cards for Writers – 52 bite-size ways to keep going

How do you like my blurb for them?

  • When you feel at a loss for words – or motivation – in your writing project, draw on your own inner resources, and the wisdom of many who’ve come before.
  • Draw a card, consider its meaning, and re-balance.
  • Any time you just need a boost, let FLOAT Cards for Writers provide thought-provoking, bite-sized sources of inspiration –  and intervention – to get the creative juices flowing again.
  • In this accessible card deck with accompanying online guide, A M Carley, author of FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers, collects 52 ways you can revitalize your creative practice.
  • Pick a card! You’ll pick up your writing again with ease.
  • An online guide with suggested ways to use the cards, alone and in groups, is included with purchase.

FLOAT Cards Launch at Charlottesville (Virginia) Book Fair 11/18/2017

Join us at the first annual Charlottesville Book Fair. It happens at CitySpace on the Historic Downtown Mall in Cville, all day Saturday 18 November. Free of charge, offering books for all the people in your life, from young kids to grownups. All day, from 10am to 4pm. More info here, here, and here. See what the FLOAT Cards have to tell you – pick a card and find out. Get your copies of FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers, and decks of the FLOAT Cards for Writers as gifts for the writers in your life, while you’re at it. Please stop by and say hello! (If you can’t make it that day, the cards will become available online and at local retailers after the 11/18/17 launch.)

FLOAT Cards Launch at the Charlottesville Book Fair Saturday 18 November

Come to the Charlottesville Book Fair on Saturday 18 November

Visit the Charlottesville Book Fair on the Saturday before the (US) Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I”ll be there with copies of my writer’s handbook, FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers. Get your copies signed in plenty of time to wrap them up for holiday gifts.

Introducing a New FLOAT Item!

photo of the FLOAT Cards for Writers

Launching at CBF 2017! FLOAT Cards for Writers

And – ta-daaahh! – I’ll be introducing something new – the perfect gift for the writers in your life. Meet the latest, coolest FLOAT item – FLOAT Cards for Writers. In a sturdy permanent storage box, the 52 cards will be there for you when you need one.

Want a quick bit of inspiration, or intervention? Just pick a card. I designed each of the 52 cards in the FLOAT Cards for Writers deck  to offer a bite-size piece of wisdom, or a challenging question – just the thing to brighten a gloomy day, or jumpstart a stalled-out writing project.

All Day Saturday 11/18/2017

Charlottesville Book Fair - Local Authors • Global Reach. Saturday November 18 from 10am to 4pm

Charlottesville Book Fair – Local Authors • Global Reach. Saturday November 18 from 10am to 4pm

Join local independent authors, publishers, and author service providers in historic downtown Charlottesville, VA. Starting at 10am and concluding at 4pm, the all-day event on Saturday 18 November will feature opportunities to meet the authors and publishers, sample their books and other publications, enjoy seasonal snacks and beverages, and take care of your gift list – all in the course of a single day!

Local and regional musicians will also grace the event with live music and give visitors the chance to take home some CDs as well.

Come and visit with us at the Charlottesville Book Fair. Chat with the wide variety of authors, who’ll be glad to sign your purchases. Enjoy live local music while you sample delicious festive treats. Stay for readings and other bookish events scattered throughout the day.

Who needs to visit the shopping mall, when you can take care of your holiday shopping on Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Mall! You can find children’s books, fiction, history, and much more. More details are here.

That's me! If we haven't met before, look for someone who looks like this.

That’s me! If we haven’t met before, make a beeline for someone who looks like this.

The day begins at CitySpace (on the historic Downtown Mall in the same building as the Market Street Garage, the Post Office, and Bashir’s Taverna) at 10 o’clock Saturday morning, 18 November. (It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving.) Think about how much more you’ll be able to enjoy Thanksgiving, knowing you’ve already taken care of your gift list!

Please stop by my table at the Charlottesville Book Fair and say hello. I look forward to seeing you there.

– Anne


PS Thanks to Carolyn O’Neal for organizing the event, and the Blue Ridge Writers chapter of the Virginia Writers Club for its generous sponsorship.

When Do You Write?

Waiting... Thinking.... Am I inspired yet? Photo credit: Pixabay PPPSDavid

Waiting… Thinking…. Am I inspired yet? Photo credit: Pixabay PPPSDavid

I work with writers, and I also write creatively myself. So the questions come up frequently:

  • When do you write?
  • What circumstances need to be in place?
  • Do you make yourself write even when you don’t feel like it?
  • How do you set aside time to write?

You know those questions.

Then the other day, one of the writers in my writer group, BACCA, asked us these questions:

  • Do you have a regular writing schedule?
  • A writing ritual or rituals?
  • Conditions that you know help or hinder your writing?

On that very day, I had blown off a writing deadline of my own. The day before, I discovered that an author client had made an unannounced change in plan, leaving the entire book production team delayed by a week or more. So perhaps the pump was already primed. Anyway, at that moment, I realized what I wanted to write about for my blog. I’ll speak for myself, not my clients, friends, colleagues, or famous writers in history.


I believe that I can write something more or less okay, most of the time. Even when the stars aren’t aligned, I can probably crank out some sentences. I also believe that, for those sentences to have a chance at singing — and I love sentences that sing — they’ll need more love, later. For me, writing is an iterative process. So is editing. People who can slam out an adroitly worded, deftly built essay in one burst — well, I don’t know anyone who can, so maybe I needn’t complete that thought. Students of literary history can share stories about the derring-do of famous writers in years past who knocked out perfect work with one quill pen tied behind their back.

Motivation is for amateurs.

–Chuck Close, quoted in Seth Godin’s What to Do When It’s Your Turn (2015).

Like the painter Chuck Close, quoted above, I don’t wait for inspiration. That’s a passive stance that doesn’t serve me. Inspiration is wonderful, of course. I take advantage of it at every opportunity. That’s why we have things like notebooks, Evernote, and smartphones that record our voices. Dropping off to sleep recently, I received some amazing lines, and ideas, for my writing. Half-awake, I knew enough to scrawl them onto the paper I keep at the bedside, for later transcription. Those notes informed my latest draft of a fiction piece I’m nursing along.

Although I’m not one of the butt-in-chair-at-five-in-the-morning types, I believe in writing something, anything, in order to have a draft. The draft is my friend. Once I have a draft, I have possibilities.

Is it better yet? Can I hear it sing? Photo credit: StockSnap

I can mark it up, massage it, stare at it, laugh ruefully at it, stomp away from it, reconsider it, ridicule it, sigh at it, cross it out, write in “stet” next to the cross-out, walk away and prepare a beverage / snack / meal / dessert, return and reconsider it (again), remember an important errand that must be run at once, and eventually, I can make it better. It may take a few more iterations, some more streamlined than that last one, and I’ll probably wind up with a piece of work that’s at least presentable.

I exaggerate for effect. Mostly.

Important, not Urgent

For me the biggest hurdle to clear involves setting aside time for writing, when other demands on my time feel compelling. Years ago, a friend told me he was striving to honor those to-do items that were important, not urgent. Ever since, that has been a goal of mine as well. I have yet to meet it on a regular basis. It’s too easy to respond to the urgencies of everyday work and life. Someone needs attention, a project has a deadline, a team effort may not happen if you don’t step up, the phone keeps ringing…. I imagine being sufficiently evolved as a creative, centered person to honor, without a struggle, the important and not urgent items.

Until that time, I’ll muddle through. I’ll rely on drafts, and the bits of time I carve out for the iterative process.

— A M Carley writes fiction and nonfiction, and is a founding member of BACCA Literary. Her company, Chenille Books, provides creative coaching and manuscript development services to authors. Anne’s nonfiction book, FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers, is available for purchase at Central Virginia booksellers and on Amazon. Her new companion publication, FLOAT Cards for Writers, launches on Saturday, 18 November at the Charlottesville Book Fair in downtown Charlottesville. #becomingunstuck 


Perfection, Schmection

Since publishing my first book, FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers, I’ve been learning so much on the topic. At the time, it felt arbitrary – my decision that the book was “done” enough to put out into the world – and now I can see how necessary that arbitrariness was. I’ll never really be “done.” If I’d waited for everything to be perfect, well, I’d still be waiting.

I’m still working with authors, coaching and editing and helping them develop their manuscripts. This means that they’re teaching me every day. Also, I’m still writing, and gaining the benefits of experience (not to mention valuable ongoing feedback from the writer group, BACCA, I’m lucky to be a part of for six years now).

Lately, preparing for a fall season of book events, I also decided to develop a deck of FLOAT Cards for Writers. The idea is that you can use them as a randomized guide for a given writing session. Pick a card, any card…get a bite-size source of inspiration – or intervention – to get the creative juices flowing.

I made a prototype of the card deck, and it’ll be coming with me in a few days, for a book event at Baine’s Books & Coffee, an independent bookstore in Scottsville, VA. I’ll see how people like using them!

FLOAT Cards Box top

Coming this fall!

Anyway, adapting materials from the book for such a different format and purpose got me thinking, once again, about how much room there is to expand on – or compress – the ideas in the book. As I was creating the deck of 52 cards, I was focusing on how to fold into the small space of a card (3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches) the recent lessons and ideas I’ve accumulated over the months since FLOAT hit the marketplace.

I’ve begun to see that the tools I offer in FLOAT can, in a real sense, always be improved upon. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Perfection isn’t fruitful. Growth and potential are messier than that.

In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
–Hannah Arendt