Shawna Hansen's Blog: ZAP Writing From the Desk of Shawna Hansen - Posts Tagged "inspiration"

This time of year is when I feel most inspired to write, but honestly I don't feel the urge to sit down to write.

Does that make sense to anyone?

I'm sure you've noticed by now (if you read my books) that holidays are really important in the lives of my characters.

Parties are focal points in life - movies, books and memories are all made at the wedding receptions, graduation parties, New Year's Eve parties, birthday parties and anniversary parties. Opening gifts, seeing who's there, missing those who aren't there, remembering parties of the past, anticipating parties to come...

Getting an invitation to a party is a jolt of energy that things are happening! People want you to be there with them.

Ideas for scenes in my book are swirling around in my head as I go from party to party this holiday season - tidbits of conversations, jokes, fashion and sometimes just observing who talks with whom... for me as a writer, it's Dreamweaving 101.

Yet, if I didn't have Dragon on my iphone, I would not have written down a single scene for the last month.

I've been driving down the road to work dictating scenes into my phone and emailing them to myself to eventually combine into a draft.

As the music, sounds and 100% fun of the holidays invade my thoughts, my writing turns to what it is exactly that we all want from ourselves and each other... what and who we invite into our lives.

Another laugh?
One more drink by the fire?
To hear that song one more time?
A little more time just being together?

For me, that's where my thoughts are this holiday season. Staying in the moment. Just being there.

Wishing it didn't have to end, but knowing that when the New Year comes, I'll have a lot of writing to get down on paper!
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Published on December 03, 2011 05:29 • 198 views • Tags: holidays, inspiration, writing
1 more week until Christmas!

Ok, is your shopping done? How many times have you been asked that in the last week?

Are you ready to celebrate?

Isn't getting ready for Christmas a lot like finishing a book and preparing it for publication?

There's the last minute -- "did I get everything"-- frantic thought. Did my characters live through everything? Did the story show all the depth, beauty and emotion the reader needs?

There's another, darker thought we all think when we hear the same Christmas jingle on the radio: "I'm so tired of this, but I love it,too." Can I write another scene to make this book better or is this it?

And, of course, once all is said and done and the Christmas presents are opened and the book is published and being devoured like the Christmas roast by your dedicated readers -- that final, and the thought that, for me, is the true meaning of Christmas AND writing all summed up and wrapped with a BIG, red bow:

"Let's do it again next year! How much longer is it until Christmas?"

Enjoy this delicious, busy, frantic rush before Christmas. My Christmas list to Santa always had about 10 books on it. There is no better feeling than a stack of books unwrapped in front of me on Christmas morning while I eat sugar cookies and flip through the books, anticipating each story.

Treat yourself to a little present as a writer this holiday season: plan a new book for 2012! Dream out the characters, think of the ending, imagine yourself on a warm beach with a cool drink as the waves soothe your stress away. It's Christmas! Savor it! Your readers count on you to give them the gift of your dreams in the year to come.

Become one with the season, soak in the love for and from your family & friends and the togetherness that so many of us only feel at such an intensity during the final weeks of the year.

And enjoy your new Christmas books that are waiting for you under the tree...

Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!
Love to You & Yours!
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Published on December 18, 2011 04:36 • 134 views • Tags: gift-to-yourself, holidays, inspiration, writing
Every time I hear the the song, "WE ARE YOUNG" by Fun. on the radio, I think that my mom would love this song's youth anthem and the sheer optimism of the music.

How many of you "belly sing" this song in the car?

"Tonight, we are young
so I set the world on fire
we can grow brighter than the sun"

I know the lyrics have a darkness and the mandatory hint of pain that all of the best youth anthems must have in them, but overall, you know no matter how much you hurt, you're going to get home OK in the morning. You may "feel like falling down" but he'll carry you home tonight.

Are you completely in love with this guy by the end of the song or what? He definitely has holes in his apology, but as Katy Perry says, "damn!" in "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)."

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My mom's favorite song was "Runaway" by Del Shannon. At her funeral, the audio system at the memorial service was new and untested and skipped back to "Runaway" over and over. Coincidence?


In college, I heard that Fabian was performing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa so I called the Five Seasons Center and spoke with an events manager and told him my mom was in Fabian's fan club back in the 1950s and he set up a backstage meeting between my mom, Fabian and me.
My mom was smiling like a twelve year old and couldn't think of a single thing to say to him, but Fabian shook her hand, hugged her and thanked her for being a fan and she squeaked out a "thanks."

Fabian's still rocking: Fabian's Website

Songs my mom used to sing were all from the late 50s/early 60s and I still know the lyrics. I'm sure the stories, rhythms and heart of those songs are what drive me to write.

This would be my mom's playlist in 1976 (oldies with a youthful bent or '70s country music):

▪Everything by Buddy Holly. EVERYTHING.

▪Del Shannon "Runaway," "Hats off to Larry," and "Little Town Flirt"

▪Dion and the Belmonts (she named my brother after Dion) "I Wonder Why," "In the Still of the Night" and of course, "A Teenager in Love"

▪Shangri-La "Leader of the Pack"

▪Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn "The Letter" (everything by Conway Twitty, but I remember this song the most)

Everything by Elvis Presley

▪Everything by Frankie Valli

▪Everything by Jan and Dean
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▪Beach Boys "Surfer Girl" (I swear she sang that to me when I was a baby!)

▪(and she had a soft spot for Pat Boone, although she thought he was a nerd)
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(Being nerdy wasn't necessarily a
bad thing to my mom. I think she wished she'd married the nerdy guys she dated instead of my handsome, but good-for-nothing dad.)

For women singers: she liked Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle and Patsy Cline.

She sang Doris Day to me, too, "Que sera, sera." I associate that song with my Mrs. Beasley doll from the TV show, "A Family Affair."


Favorite TV shows with music: Ed Sullivan, Hee Haw, Sonny & Cher and she let us watch "Saturday Night Live" (which came on at 10:30 in Iowa) and "The Midnight Special" after she went to bed.

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I don't know how many nights I fell asleep on the floor in the living room and woke up with the TV station's white noise buzzing and a very stiff neck. No one carried me home, but heck, my room was just down the hall anyway.

Why is Fun.'s song inspirational to me? (besides making me think of my mom and remember all those other youthful anthems?):

Fun. facts:
▪just LOOK at how the band dresses - my mom would have dated any of those guys!
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FUN.,'s website (tough band name to google!!!) They made it in spite on an "ungoogle-able" name!

▪Check out all the "how to get in" opps on their website and twitter - this band wants you to come see them!

Now this is what I love about Fun.:

As famous as they are, you can still listen to their music for free on my link text

In 2009, the band released a free version of its song, "Not as Sad as I Used to Be" on Link to Fun.'s music (free):

Letter from Nate (Nate Ruess):

"Yeah, I know..."its about time"...but took forever to make
this record...and I honestly couldn't be more proud of the job that
Andrew, Jack, and I did...this is most certainly the best record I've
ever been a part of...and i hope when its released this summer that you
guys will still be around to listen and enjoy.

It has really been an amazing year of moving up, out, and forward...and
as a band we really feel like all this hard work (and silence) is going
to pay off for all of the listeners..."


I love to hear about artists who live their dream! Back in 2009, only a handful of people commented on Nate's letter, but take a look at the number of downloads on the band's myspace page now:

We Are Young 949,292 plays
Walking the Dog 384,299 plays
Stitch Me Up 62,397 plays

I'm impressed and inspired by Fun.!

Hope Fun. enjoys Chicago and LOLLAPALOOZA in August 2012!

Let's get out our blue suede shoes, put some has in the little deuce coupe, and run away faster than a roller coaster!

Fun. knew they'd made it three years ago. Believe in yourself. It's happening.

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Published on April 15, 2012 07:43 • 1,296 views • Tags: fun, inspiration, my-mom, success

ZAP Writing From the Desk of Shawna Hansen

Shawna Hansen
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