Category Archives: Humor

Use the Muse to Write Your Business Plan

Are you overwhelmed with the “business” aspect of writing? Do you even have a business plan? I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what I was getting into when I began this journey seven or eight years ago. What I’ve learned since then should have equated to at least a Masters Degree in something! Yet, writing a business plan has remained on my to-do list for years. Why? Because every business plan model I’ve ever seen is filled with language I don’t understand or information that appears to have no bearing on the business of writing. Until NOW!

PJ Sharon here, visiting today with Amy Denim, who writes business books for writers and pens contemporary romances in her spare time. She loves hot heroes (like chefs and cowboys) and curvy intelligent heroines (like chefs and cowgirls.) She’s been a franchise sales coordinator, a lifeguard, a personal shopper, and a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. But now she spends her days reading and writing at her local library or in her book cave.

Amy started out her writer’s life scared out of her wits because she didn’t have a business plan, hadn’t yet created an online platform, wasn’t on twitter, didn’t have a Facebook fan page, and had never even heard of Goodreads. Sound familiar? She just wrote books. So

AmyDenim-for-webshe spent a year becoming a publishing industry information fiend and now does consulting for creatives on how to take control of their writing careers. She started Coffee Break Social Media to help writers and artists learn to use SM (social media) platforms effectively (without the scare tactics) but still have time to create. She believes business plans and social media can be every writer’s friend, sometimes they just need an introduction.

Welcome to the Scribes Amy! I’ve been reading your book, THE COFFEE BREAK BUSINESS PLAN, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to get started on creating one for myself! Can you share with our readers how you’ve found a way to use your muse, activate both sides of your brain, and give us a peak into what they can expect in your book?

I’d be happy to, PJ. Thanks for having me today. I would like to start by asking the question, have you thought about putting together a business plan? “But, oh,” you say. “It’s such a long and complicated process.” Ugh. Why bother, when you could spend your valuable time writing.

But, wait, what’s this? A guide to help authors write a business plan on coffee breaks?

Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans copy

Okay, so I find when things get boring and staid that some humor and creativity makes it all so much more fun. And let’s admit that a traditional business plan is anything but fun. But having one can be an important part of taking control of your writing career.

Never fear, we’ll start with your creative side.

The first part of writing a business is often to put together a mission statement. Doesn’t that sound super, umm, boring? Yeah, I thought so too.

So I transformed this dull, no fun task into something I could relate to. I understand the muse. Well…when she’ll talk to me. Best way to get her feeling chatty is to strait up ask her for help. I asked her to help me write something to keep me inspired about my writing career.

Here’s what she told me.

Write one or two sentences that sum up you and your goals for a successful writing career. Think of this as your mantra, or the logline for your writing career. Your books have loglines, why shouldn’t you?

Whenever you’re stuck, feeling down about writing or getting published, or need a jump start to your day, get this sentence back out and see if it doesn’t get your imagination running again.

Try to give your muse value. That can mean financial value, but can also be personal values — like family or life philosophies. If being able to support your family financially is an important value to you, include that. If you need to write just to stay sane, include that. If it’s important that your friends and family are proud of you, say that. These are your core beliefs as they relate to your writing career. Include them in your muse statement so that it is valuable to you.

The name of the muse game is inspiration. If you think it, you believe it. If you believe it, you are it. If you use the present simple tense, i.e. I am instead of I want, I will be, or I can, then you’re one step closer to believing you are the writer of your dreams. Another part of inspiration is to use those big dream goals. If you want to be a best-selling author, include that in your muse statement. Whatever your true aspirations are, use them here.

Okay, put your thinking cap/top hat/beanie with the helicopter rotor /tiara on. It’s time to think about what you really want from your writing career.

Here’s an example:

I am a financially successful author who shares award-winning stories of love and adventure with readers around the world.

Be even more specific, and make your goals attainable and measurable. Now try your hand at writing your own. Your muse statement can go through lots of drafts and incarnations. If you add a new dimension to your business plan, you might need to update your statement.

You can have more than one mission statement, too. If you find creating a mission statement motivational, consider creating them for different parts of your life and career. You can have one for your writing career, your marketing efforts, your financial goals, your family life, spiritual life, your health, or anything else that is important to you.

The following questions are to get you started thinking about your goals, but don’t go crazy and spend hours making lists and/or daydreaming about your success as a writer.

I call this the Coffee Break Business Plan. This is all about basic goals, which you can expand on to create a full-blown business plan, so spend only a few minutes thinking about each of these questions. Write a couple of sentences to answer them, or make yourself a nice bullet-point list. If you’d like a template to print out to help you with this exercise, you can download one at www.coffeebreaksocialmedia.com/Books/Resources.

 Grab a cup of coffee and a pen

Write down the answers to these questions.

  • How many books do you plan to write? In what genre?
  • What’s your projected word count?
  • When will you finish each project? Or, how much time will you need to complete each project? (Don’t forget to build in time for critiques, beta readers, editing, and all those other activities… besides actually writing the book.)
  • How will you publish these books? Traditionally, self-published, a hybrid approach?
  • If you’re self-publishing, what services will you need and how much will you spend on those?
  • Who is your competition? Who else writes books like yours?
  • How will you sell and market your books?
  • How much money will it cost you to publish and market? What services might you pay for to help you do that?
  • How much money do you plan to make, and when will you see that revenue?
  • When do you plan to achieve these goals?

There you go. You just created a basic business plan. For real. Laminate that sucker and put it up big and pretty in front of your computer. Every time you sit down to write, take a look and focus on writing to achieve those goals. If the IRS comes knocking, you can wave it in their faces.

If you’d like help expanding your business plan, I can help with that too. Leave a comment on the blog today, ask questions about business plans, mission statements, or anything else you’d like, and one lucky commenter will win a copy my new book The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Authors: The Step-By-Step Guide to Taking Control of Your Writing Career. But, if you can’t wait to win it, it’s available now on Amazon.

Thanks, Amy! And here’s my review of this little gem:

Amy Denim takes the mystery and fear out of writing a business plan.

As a writer, my right creative brain is clearly dominant, making things like business plans and marketing strategies sound like foreign languages. Amy Denim’s step-by-step guide, which focuses on business plans specifically for writers, is set up to be done in small increments…literally on a coffee break. She makes the process simple and totally do-able. Her clear, concise, and entertaining style makes this a must-read for anyone considering writing as a business. Highly recommend!

10 Things I Wish I Could Say on Social Media

How many of you scroll through Facebook and find yourself rolling your eyes. I know I do. I know freedom of speech is one of our God given rights but I find myself wanting to tell some of these people to shut up.

Here are some of the things I find myself wanting to say, but can’t.

1. Your boyfriend is NEVER going to make it as a musician. He’s forty, cannot sing and is using this music thing as an excuse not to get his lazy ass a job.

2. Stop complaining about your job ALL THE TIME. Everybody’s job sucks sometimes. EVERYBODYS. That’s why they call it work. You’re not special. If it’s that bad quit. If you’re being dramatic, stop.

3. If everybody you know has a problem with you, then it’s you. Not them. Stop being so negative.

4. You claim to be a devout Christian and yet you KEEP having children out of wedlock. With different men. Really?  Don’t be such a hypocrite.

5. Stop telling us how happy you are with your life. Truly happy people don’t have to tell the world all the time how happy they are. They are out being happy. Not posting it on Facebook.

6. And on the same note, nobody needs to hear how much you love your kids. You should love your kids. You should take care of them. YOU’RE A PARENT. Show your kids you love them. Don’t tell us.

7. Stop bragging about getting drunk. You’re thirty. It’s not cute. You look like a loser.

8. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public. Not classy. I don’t care what your boyfriend/husband did. Be an adult. Talk to him. Make it work, because both are you are so crazy nobody else is going to want either of you.

9. No more political ranting please. You sound bitter and uneducated.

10. Vaugebooking. Either tell us what the problem is or don’t. If you’re attention seeking go see a therapist. Facebook is not therapy.

But despite all of that I love Facebook. I love cute animal pictures. Cute kid pictures. I like to see what people are watching. What people are listening to. What people are reading. I like to see the changes in people I knew from long ago. Where they want to go, where they have been.I even love food pictures. Facebook is how I keep up with my family members. It’s where I see their happy news, it’s sometimes how I learn of their tragedies. I’m probably never going to give it up.

So what are some of the things you wish you could say to certain people on Facebook?

Killer First Lines

PJ Sharon here, chatting today about “Killer First Lines”. So what constitutes a great first line? Is it action-packed? Does it evoke emotion or imply conflict? Maybe it sets the scene or reveals the tone of your story. Or does an awesome first line combine all of these elements and more in order to grab the reader and compel them to read on? Consider these first lines:

1)      It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

2)      It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

3)      I am an invisible man. —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

4)      You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. —Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

5)      If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. —J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

6)      Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. —Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)

These classic first lines might seem antiquated in terms of today’s genre fiction standards and rules, but they remain powerful examples of compelling prose. They say something about the author, expressing their unique voice, and setting the tone for what’s to come. They inherently ask a story question and open the eyes of the reader to a new world in which the author’s imagination comes to life on the page.

I spend a good deal of time contemplating first lines. I want my first line to pose a question to the reader—a question that compels them to read on and keep turning pages until that question is ultimately answered at the end of the story. In my current WIP, PIECES OF LOVE, the first line is, I’ve heard it said that it takes twenty-one days to make or break a habit. Hopefully that makes you wonder what habit our teen character must break. Maybe you’re asking what good habit she would like to adopt, and why she would be concerned about making or breaking a habit in the first place.

Here are a few more first lines. These are from more recent books and by authors some of you will recognize. Analyze each of them, not for what they say, but for what they tell you about the author and the story.

1)      The day Honor Grace Holland turned thirty-five, she did what she always did on her birthday. She got a pap smear. Kristan Higgins, The Perfect Match, 2013

2)      My fingers drum into the desktop, beating out the rhythm of my hammering thoughts. TL Costa, Playing Tyler, 2013

3)      The Garretts were forbidden from the start. Huntley Fitzpatrick, My Life Next Door, 2012.

4)     He lifted the limp body out of the trunk, wrapped the girl in a woolen blanket, and tossed her like a rag doll over his shoulder. PJ Sharon, Savage Cinderella, 2012

5)      I’m a liar. I know it. I hate it. And I can’t seem to help myself. PJ Sharon, On Thin Ice, 2011.

Yes, I realize those last two are mine, but they are, nonetheless, decent examples of first lines that hopefully compel readers to read on. Notice the tone in each of the above first lines. With Kristan Higgins books, you know you’re in for some laughs and you can bet that every reader who read that first line had an instant smile plastered on their face. TL Costa’s book, PLAYING TYLER, puts you squarely into the mind of a teenage boy with ADHD. You can hear the noise in his head as he struggles to find focus. And in Huntley Fitzpatrick’s contemporary YA romance, you can feel that you are in for heartache and conflict based on this enticing first line that immediately makes you want to know the Garretts.

Savage Cinderella FINAL 200x300

The opening line of SAVAGE CINDERELLA gives you a chilling look into the calculated actions of a serial killer and makes you instantly care for that little girl and wonder what happens to her next.

And in ON THIN ICE, teen readers are faced with a mirror into their own lives. What teenager can’t relate to the ever-tempting desire to lie?

on thin ice front cover jpg

Look at books you love. Analyze them for how that first line makes you feel. Does it propel the story forward? Does it grab you and pose a question that you have to know the answer to? In my opinion, as long as the first line makes the reader a) think, b) care about the story/character, and c) read on, the author has done their job.

Have you written any fabulous first lines you’d like to share? Can you think of any books you’ve read that had a killer first line?

Book Signing Success

PJ here, just off a long weekend at the Granville Harvest Fair. I’ve done many such book signing events over the past couple of years, but this one was by far my favorite. For one thing, I live ten minutes up the road, so it’s close, and I inevitably saw lots of familiar faces. Thousands of folks ambled by my booth, many stopping to chat–whether they were teens or simply teens at heart. The fact that I was a local author was also a big draw. Putting a face to someone local who has achieved what so many others only dream about, seems to be an instant conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to—young and old—who said that they write in one form or another, and that it was nice to meet someone who has actually published their stories. It was lovely to be a source of encouragement and inspiration.

I’ve said in the past, that book signings have netted me little profit in the monetary sense and I’ve wondered whether they were really worth my time, but this event has changed my mind. In addition to making a modest profit from book sales, I gained a couple of dozen names for my newsletter list, and made many potential connections–including school teachers, librarians, mental health professionals, and teens interested in finding me on social media or purchasing my e-books for their e-readers after the fair. All in all, a great success. I thought I would share some tips that I found helpful. I hope you’ll share yours in the comments section below, so others may benefit from your experience.

harvest fair pic 11) THINGS TO BRING-A sturdy, 10×10 easy-up tent, a comfy chair, a couple of tables with table cloths (I have a six foot and a four foot table), books in plastic totes (don’t forget to take inventory and keep track of your sales), swag (bookmarks, post cards, etc.), tape, scissors, pens, plastic bags (recycle those plastic grocery bags and carry them in an empty tissue box for convenience), or have some nice bags made up with your name, website, and logo if you want to make an impression. You might reserve those for people who buy several books. Don’t forget a cash lock box, business cards, and candy (no chocolate on hot days) or a treat.

2) SIGNAGE-Invest in a nice banner, which you can have printed up through Vista Print. I have yet to do this, but I made do with a homemade banner. Plastic stand-up sign holders from Staples work great for specific table top signs. You can make whatever signs you want on your computer to fit the 8×11 frames. “Local Author of Teen Books,” “Sign up for my newsletter and enter to win…,” “Follow me on FB, Twitter, etc.” and pricing signs, are just a few ideas. Be creative.

3) PRESENTATION-Consider your brand, your audience, and your space. Create a visually appealing stage for your books. harvest fair pic 3Use color wisely to catch attention of passersby and don’t overcrowd your space. Too much to look at can be a deterrent.

4) SELLING-You can offer book sets with special pricing/discounts, you could sell merchandise related to your books (cups, tee shirts, or in my case, wooden whistles which I also offer as a free gift to those who purchase both book one and book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy).

5) SALES PITCH-This is an opportunity to hone your sales pitch. Have a one liner to pull people in. Keep it simple. “Feel free to take a bookmark.” Keep it real and fun. “This is the glamorous life of an author.” This last phrase spoken as I used duct tape to secure my tent signage or while I peeled tape residue off my tent poles. I got lots of smiles with this one. Pitch to your audience. “I write books for teens…and teens at heart,” when speaking to adults and elderly folks who actually might enjoy reading my books. I describe my contemporary YA novels as the kind of books that would make great Lifetime Network or Hallmark movies, and note when I’m speaking to parents of teens that I write books that I wish had been available when I was a teenager. I mention accolades and awards, my million plus reads of SAVAGE CINDERELLA on Wattpad (which made that particular book sell very well all weekend), and try to hone in on what might appeal to the demographic to which I’m presenting. “The book is about a girl who is kidnapped as a child, left for dead in the high country of North Georgia and survives in the wild.” One sentence grabbers are essential! Comparisons also work well as in “Savage Cinderella is like Law and Order SVU meets Nell.” Of course this only works for people old enough to remember the movie with Jodie Foster, LOL. With teens, I might compare The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael to the TV show, Revolution, or books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but not quite as grim and gritty. As time goes on throughout the event, you’ll find what works best. It’s excellent practice for agent/editor elevator pitches at conferences. You never know who you’ll meet, so always have a professional and friendly demeanor.

6) GIVEAWAYS-Book signings are a great place to expand your newsletter mailing list. Offer entry in a prize giveaway, a FREE download, or some incentive to get people to sign up. Reassure them that your newsletters aren’t spammy and that their information will not be used for any other reason. Be prepared to offer something for free. You can be generous without giving away the store or breaking the bank. It costs me nothing to give away a free download of ON THIN ICE (I get a coupon code through Smashwords, and have cards printed up through Vista Print with my cover on the front and instructions and the download code on the back. I can usually get 250 cards printed up for free or next to nothing when I’m ordering other items through Vista Print).

Most importantly, have FUN! Try to stay engaged with people and don’t stick your nose in a book or hide behind your computer screen. Fortunately, we had a dry and beautiful weekend with a great turnout. I met some amazing people! I also had some fabulous apple pie with Granville cheddar cheese…yum! And yes, I even sold a good number of books.

Any other ideas or things I missed?

Interview With The Vamp

Hi, everybody. Suze here. Guess what? I’ve invited a new friend to come visit with us today. Let’s give a big Scribes welcome to Chryssie Papadopoulos, secretly known as Eva Prim (shhh! Don’t tell anyone!)

get-attachment[1]Hey, Eva! What’s new?

New? Well, I have a book coming out, finally. You know it really annoyed me to have to wait on Jordan to get her head on straight about this book. Like her other books could ever be as good as mine? No chance. I hate to make her feel bad, but she shouldn’t have made me wait. I do not like to wait.

Okay, so tell me all the yummy details.

I’d love to. Well, it’s sort of a slice of my life. As with any good book there’s drama, highs and lows, romance, sex, vampires, demons and some werewolves. Oh, and chocolate, computers, cell phones, blogging, emails and texting. A court scene (again- so irritating to have to repeatedly defend yourself).

What’s this Snack of the Week Club I’ve heard about?

The Snack of the Week Club is a club for all my closest friends. They get sneak peeks for all my books, snack discounts like Harvard Sweet Boutique. We discuss books, shows, snacks, and life (or death) in general. Every week I interview one of my snacks, I mean friends…friends, definitely meant friends. Anyway, I interview a member because I like to know about everyone. It’s fun. You should join. What’s your blood type anyway?

Oh, I forgot. On that last question about the book– there’s also deception, heartbreak, more deception, some accusations of kidnapping and theft. In the end I conquer all! It’s a damn good book. Wow. I might read it again tonight.

Accidentally released any demons lately?

Um, no. I haven’t released any. I’ve been very careful. Actually, who am I kidding? I can’t find The Book so there’s no way to release any more demons. Not that I’m looking for The Book. I’m just saying I know Stefan hid The Book so that there wouldn’t be any other accidents.

Between you and me I think he’s being ridiculous. Could lightning really strike twice?

get-attachment[1] (2)Stefan is hot. Scary, but scorchin’ hot. How did you two meet?

 

Oh, I love this story. Thank you for asking. It was many years ago–1832, summertime. In Bristol, Rhode Island. I’m from Bristol, was born there. Even turned vampire there. Anyway, I went to the docks with my father to purchase fish. The boats had just returned. While we were making our inquiries about some slimy fish and oysters, actually my father was inquiring. I was trying not to step in anything too smelly. The docks really are a stinky place. Usually I tried not to look too disgusted at the stench of dead fish and dirty men, which I have to say is not an easy thing to do. Have you ever been down to the fishing docks when the ships return? Disgusting. Anyway, on that evening there was some other scent on the wind, something not even remotely disgusting. On the contrary, it was wonderful. Sort of a smoldering vanilla scent, smoky and manly and utterly intoxicating. I had never smelled anything like it.

I couldn’t smell anything else, and I didn’t want to either. I glanced up and my attention went straight to the source. Standing on the deck of a large ship was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. His black hair rustled in the wind. His long coat flapped. His dark eyes met mine and I could hardly keep from blushing. He looked at me like I was the only woman he’d ever seen. And when he smiled, my stomach flipped. I loved him instantly and it wasn’t vampire influence either.

I could hardly believe he was looking at me, but he was. He followed me home. My father didn’t notice, but I did. I caught him slinking behind trees and scurrying off to hide in doorways so that I wouldn’t notice. There was no way I could miss him. He was the most exotic man to set foot in that town. Ah…

How do you keep him from straying? What’s your best marriage advice for keeping the love alive while the body is dead?

This is an outstanding question. I have to say the most important thing is to spend time together just the two of you, alone, not worrying about crap or people. You have to enjoy your time, unwind, cut loose, get frisky. You know what I mean?

Can I get a V-Mail account? I’d like to be in on all the secret Vampire stuff.

Okay, now you’re going to get me in trouble. You’re not even supposed to know about that. Just forget you heard of that. No V-Mail for you or anyone not already on this side of things. Though, if your status changes and you come over you can have one. We’ll talk.

Halloween is coming. What should I wear for the most authentic vampire look?

You probably don’t even realize there are vampires all around you. You could go like yourself and just fit in. Oh, wait, when you said authentic did you mean shifted, you know, true vampire state? If that’s what you meant I suggest you not go as a vampire because nobody really likes us in that state and we don’t even like ourselves like that. I mean, really? No one likes a gargoyle on steroids. Nobody.

Eva's Friend, Jordan K. Rose
Eva’s Friend, Jordan K. Rose
Thanks for stopping by, Chryssie. Her book will be available on October 3. Here’s where you can find Chryssie/Eva and her friend, Jordan K. Rose:

So Bad It’s Good

Hi, all. Suze here. It’s great to have you with us!

Over the weekend I watched a movie. Big deal, Suze, you’re probably thinking. Everybody watches movies on the weekends. (Well, they might not if they’re in full writer mode, but you know what I mean)

MV5BOTE2OTk4MTQzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODUxOTM3OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_[1]But what if I say the word … Sharknado (Sharknado, Sharknado, Sharknado, echoing off into the distance)

Yes, Sharknado. The SyFy channel original movie that was so well received on its first showing that it’s now been aired several times since, and even got a mention on The Today Show. But its popularity isn’t due to its poignant dialogue, fast-paced action, all-star cast, gorgeous cinematography, or compelling message.

It’s popular because it’s so darned stupid.

But Suze, you admonish. It’s not nice to call people–or movies–stupid. But I mean stupid in the most complimentary way. ‘Cuz this movie is brilliant in its suckiness. A tornado rips across the ocean, sucking up Great Whites, hammerheads, and other shark species, then releases the chomping creatures where they eat their way (airborne, on land, on a boat, and back in the sea) through a large–and bloody–cast of actors. There are homemade bombs, a possibly tragic love story (no spoilers here!), conveniently placed chainsaws, and the destined-to-be-classic line: We’re going to need a bigger chopper. On August 2, you can actually watch Sharknado in the movie theater (check here for a location near you). Or you can stay home on Saturday night and watch it on SyFy.

And while you’re waiting for the sequel (yes, it appears there will be one), you can always watch Ghost Shark on August 22. (Click here for details). You know you want to.

I love the crazy, the ridiculous, the stuff that makes you roll your eyes, groan, and spit out your wine you’re laughing so hard. The Jerry Springer Show. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The Bulwer-Lytton entries/awards. Bubba Ho-Tep. Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo. The Three Stooges. Weird Al. I watch/read/listen to this stuff and I instantly feel better about whatever’s going on in my life.

Low-brow? Sure. Slapstick? Yes. But laughter is the best medicine, baby.

What about you? Have you seen Sharknado? Want to see it? What are your favorite ridiculous-but-wonderful books, shows, movies, and music? The Scribes are a Judgment-Free Zone, so you can admit it here. Edited to add: Let’s have a party! Stop by the Scribes Facebook page at 9:00 on Saturday, August 3, for a Sharknado Watch Party. Edited to add: Let’s have a party! Stop by the Scribes Facebook page at 9:00 on Saturday, August 3, for a Sharknado Watch Party. Bring your snark. Or your snack. Whichever you prefer.  https://www.facebook.com/secretsof7scribes Invite your friends!

5 Arguments You Can Make Not to Procreate

My mother wants me to have a baby. Am I married? No. But that seems to be a minor detail at this point. I think she would be totally fine if I stole a baby from the hospital as long as she had something cute to spoil. We fight about this at least once a month.

“I want to have grandchildren. From you,” she says as she pokes me in the belly. “When are you going to start thinking about it?”

“I don’t want children right now. I’m only twenty-eight. I haven’t even been to Europe yet!”

“You’ve got it wrong. It’s only eighteen. It’s not only twenty-eight. You’re getting old.”

Then my brother chimes in. “You know she’s never going to have a baby, mom. She’s too mean.”

Another one says, “I’ll give you lots of grandkids, ma. When do you want me to start?”

We all look at him in horror, knowing that he should not procreate anytime soon.

“But seriously, Sugar. What about that guy you were dating? He had a good job and you two would make such cute fat babies.”

“But, he was an arrogant jerk and he was weirdly close to his mother.”

She shrugs and says, “That’s small potatoes. We need to think of the big picture here.”

My mother is clearly insane.

She cusses like a truck driver, is thinner than me and always takes every opportunity to embarrass me by dancing in public but I love her. And one day I plan to capture of her crazy awesomeness in writing but in the meanwhile I’m thinking up ways to distract her from my lack of babies.

Here are five arguments you can make not to procreate.

1. Point out that Oprah doesn’t have any kids. And she’s still pretty freaking fabulous.

2 . Remind her that you can’t keep a house plant alive, or that fish you won at the fair, and that you never have any food in the house.  And about that time you put your hamster in the washing machine because you thought it needed a bath. You’re totally not ready for a baby.

3. You would never lose the baby weight.

4. Tell her you don’t believe in sex before marriage. (Haha!)

5.  Remind her that you made it out of your teen years without any unplanned pregnancies, which is pretty damn good. And that you could have ended up like one of those TEEN MOM girls, but without the TV show and the fame and the Twitter following. 

So what about you? What kind of arguments could you make?