<![CDATA[Yvonne Ventresca - Blog]]>Sat, 12 Aug 2017 11:27:13 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Book Giveaway and IWSG Monthly Blog Hop]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 10:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/book-giveaway-and-iwsg-monthly-blog-hopPicture
Welcome to my blog! If it's your first time here, I blog about writing, productivity, and the creative life. And on the first Wednesday of the month (today!), I participate in the Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) blog hop.

I'm co-hosting this month, along with Christine Rains, Dolarah at BookLover, Ellen at The Cynical Sailor, and LG Keltner.

​In honor of the hop (created by IWSG founder Alex Cavanaugh ), I'm giving away a copy of the newest IWSG Anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. I'm proud to have my short story included ("The Art of Remaining Bitter"). See giveaway details below.

Every month, IWSG poses an optional question that members can answer in their blog posts. This month’s question:

What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

This is going to sound geeky, but I love the Oxford comma. There was an article in the NY Times about a lawsuit earlier this year that hinged on the comma. Here's a fun explanation about why it matters:

Source: tremetapicture.com

Do you have any grammar pet peeves?
Say hello in the comments and let me know if you are participating in the blog hop.
For more info about IWSG, visit the website.

Now for the giveaway: One winner will receive a copy of the newest IWSG anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. (This prize is open internationally, but please note that any winner outside of the US will receive an ebook version instead of the paperback.) Good luck!
<![CDATA[Interesting Links and Liebster Award]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 23:27:40 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/interesting-links-and-liebster-awardThank you to author Nick Wilford for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award!
Before I answer his questions, I wanted to share a few interesting links I’ve found lately.
And now on to Nick's questions. (You can read his answers on his Speculative Fiction-themed blog here.) 

1. If you were to write a historical novel, which time period would you pick and why?
Actually, I did start a (currently unfinished) historical short story set in 1850s Ohio. Genealogy is one of my favorite hobbies, and we have family history in Ohio, so I thought it would be fun to explore that setting.
2. Have you ever taken a creative writing class and what did you learn? 
I majored in English/Creative Writing in college (along with Computer Science), so I’ve taken quite a few writing classes. One of the main things that I learned was how to take feedback and incorporate critiques into my revisions.
3. Describe one thing from your everyday life that inspires you.
Nature – the overall beauty in even the smallest bits of nature can be inspiring when we take time to notice.
4. What's your social media outlet of choice and why do you enjoy it?
Twitter has been a choice in the past, because I like that you can follow all kinds of interesting people – you don’t need to be “friends.” More recently, I’ve been experimenting with Instagram (follow me @YvonneVentresca) and enjoy the visual nature of it. (See the link about IG tips for writers above.)
5. What's the maddest thing you've done when researching a story?
Besides the many questionable topics I've researched online, I like to research my settings by visiting them at the right time of day (if possible), so I’ve been to some deserted places at night. Here's one of them:
6. Pick a favourite book character and give one question you'd like to ask them.
Hmm. I’m drawing a blank on this one. Feel free to share your own answers in the comments!
7. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Mostly a writer, but I also considered physical therapist and veterinarian when I was young.
8. Describe one ambition you would still like to achieve.
I’d like to run a half marathon, but an Achilles injury (and some laziness, if I'm being honest) have slowed me down.
9. What was the last book to make a big impression on you?
I loved Kwame Alexander’s Crossover, because it's an emotional story, beautifully told in verse. (It’s geared toward a middle grade audience.)

10. Name one musical artist that inspires you and say why.
Tom Petty (and the Heartbreakers), because after achieving success with the debut album in 1976, he’s sustained amazing longevity, reinventing himself throughout the years.
11. Have you ever been lost and what was the outcome of the situation?
The most memorable time was pre-cell phone, when I got lost in the Ohio woods with my cousin. We tied her pony, Lady, to a tree to mark the path home and went exploring on foot. When the pony untied itself and returned to the barn alone, we were completely disoriented looking for Lady and the right path. It was frightening at the time, but the outcome is a good story we like to retell at family reunions.

It’s your turn!
​Pick any question and share your answer in the comments.
<![CDATA[#IWSG Blog Hop for June]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:07:47 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/iwsg-blog-hop-for-june​I spent last weekend at the NJ SCBWI annual conference, where I had the chance to tell writers about IWSG as a source of information and encouragement. I was proud to sign books there, including the new IWSG anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life.
Every month, IWSG poses an optional question that members can answer in their blog posts. This month’s question:
Did you ever say “I quit”?
If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
I haven’t quit yet, although there are two projects (“starter novels,” so-to-speak) that I have abandoned. My debut, Pandemic (published by Sky Pony Press in 2014), was actually the fourth novel I had written. I would encourage writers not to stop after their first, second, or even third attempts at creating a story.
Special thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for founding the group, and to this month’s blog hop co-hosts: JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner.

Please share your thoughts on quitting, the creative journey, and other writerly stuff in the comments.
<![CDATA[NJ SCBWI Conference 17]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 21:04:44 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/nj-scbwi-conference-17Picture
The NJ SCBWI annual conference is an educational gathering of children's booklovers. Special thanks to the hardworking NJ SCBWI committee who did an amazing job organizing the event in a new venue. Being surrounded by creative people for two days always makes for a special time, and I have a bit of a sad, let-down feeling now that it’s over. 

Robin Newman, Laurie Wallmark, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Agent Liza Fleissig, Leslie Santamara, me
Here are a few quotes from the weekend:

Stephen Savage in the opening keynote: “Each book presents new problems.” (As I work on the next novel, it was affirming to hear that each project can test us in different ways.)

Matthew Winner (with Blake Hamilton) during Building an Online Presence (with Benefits), quoting Steve Light: “Run your own race.” (Because we’re all on our own creative paths.)

Gabriela Pereira during 7 Steps to Stronger MG and YA Novels—people may read because of the plot, but it’s the characters they remember.

Scholastic editor Celia Lee’s closing advice to authors at the Editor/Agent panel: “Be nice.” :)

If you attended the conference, do you have a favorite moment? For others, is there a creative lesson you've learned that you'd like to share?
<![CDATA[IWSG Blog Hop and New Anthology]]>Wed, 03 May 2017 10:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/iwsg-blog-hop-and-new-anthologyHappy National Short Story Month! It is especially fitting that during this month, my coauthors and I get to celebrate the release of the Hero Lost Anthology. Mysteries of Death and Life came together through an IWSG contest and includes my short story, “The Art of Remaining Bitter." You can learn more about all twelve stories on the Hero Lost website. Congratulations to my fellow anthologists, Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster, with special thanks to IWSG and Dancing Lemur Press.

You can find this fantasy anthology on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Nook, iTunes, Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, andGoodreads
Today is the monthly IWSG blog hop. The awesome co-hosts are Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone, so please visit them as well!

The question for this month's IWSG Blog Hop is: 

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
I researched emerging infectious diseases as well as historical pandemics in order to write Pandemic, my debut young novel. Pandemic doesn’t take place in the distant future; it’s about what it would be like to survive a deadly contagious illness tomorrow. To make it realistic, I read nonfiction books like David Quammen’s Spillover, interviewed a local county public health officer to understand the possible ramifications of a deadly outbreak on a small town, and researched the swine flu pandemic that occurred in 2009-2010. I also found the New Jersey (where the novel is set) Pandemic Influenza Response Plan online here: www.nj.gov/health/flu/documents/splan/combined%20pdf/toc_res.pdf. (Be warned: It’s not light reading.) Although the blue flu in Pandemic is a fictional disease, I modeled it after the Spanish Flu of 1918 (like the fact that it primarily affects mostly healthy people, not infants and senior citizens).
Here are some facts I learned from my research:
1. The first cases of the 2009 Swine Flu/H1N1 pandemic occurred in Mexico, California, and Texas. Most countries in the world have since experienced infections.
2. Because of airplane travel, germs can be transmitted almost anywhere in the world within 48 hours.
3. Waterfowl are carriers of all influenza viruses. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls them “natural reservoirs.”
4. The Spanish Influenza of 1918 killed more Americans than all of World War I.
5. Too much research can cause worry! This was an emotion I was able to transfer to Lilianna, the main character in Pandemic. And I definitely wash my hands more than the average person.

(For more answers to the question of the month, Michelle Wallace's blog features info about our Mysteries of Death and Life anthology story research.)

Do you ever worry that we’ll experience another pandemic in our lifetime? Why or why not?
<![CDATA[Author Spotlight on Renee Cheung, Contributor to the Mysteries of Death and Life Anthology]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 10:30:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/author-spotlight-on-renee-cheung-contributor-to-the-mysteries-of-death-and-life-anthologyThe Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life anthology will be released on May 2nd. If you'd like to help get the word out, you can sign up to participate in the blog tour here.

In honor of the anthology, I'll be spotlighting different contributors between now and its release in May. Today's blog post features fellow author Renee Cheung, who contributed the story "Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight" to the anthology.

Interview with Renee Cheung

Do you have any tips for getting work done around other obligations? Do you have a writing routine you’d like to share? Any fun/useful writing habits? Any advice for other writers?

I used to write on my laptop balancing my napping baby but he has gotten a little too big for that now. So out of necessity, I have started writing on my phone and it has completely changed the way I write. I was pretty skeptical at first when a friend told me he wrote on his phone but now I live by it. I have a One Plus Three (yes, why not just call it Four, haha, joke’s been done by my husband more times than I can count) and I have been writing my latest novel using the Google Docs app on it. Although I went into it thinking it would slow me down since I’m a fairly fast typer, I found writing on the phone surprisingly quick. The autocorrect has even learned my character’s names and does autocomplete on them!

Writing on the phone has freed me up to write pretty much anywhere, from waiting for my appointment at the doctor’s office, to on the go as a passenger in the car. It has also made me focus on writing. I haven’t gotten to editing yet but what little I’ve done seems to be much more difficult. This has forced me to forge ahead with the story, rather than going back to endlessly edit what’s already been written. On a good day, I can get about 2000 words in now and I definitely urge you to give it a shot.

Of course, using Google Drive and Google Docs means I can switch seamlessly between machines, whether it be computer, laptop or phone. I urge anyone to give it a shot.

What do you like to write about or what drew you to this anthology? Is there anything interesting about your background as a writer you’d like to share?

I’m a recovering workholic. So working full-time left little time for creative outlets like writing. I had promised myself that when I go on maternity leave, I would write a book, get something published for the joy of it. (Oh how innocent I was, imagining all the spare time I would have as a new parent. I can only laugh at my past self right now.) So around August last year, I started writing short stories, building a world through them piece by piece. When this contest came around, a story set in the world just popped into my head and the whole thing got away from me from there on.
What’s your favorite recent book and/or one from your teen years or something from your to-read pile?

I can rave on and on about Charles de Lint who is my idol and my inspiration. His stories, set in Newford, got me through some pretty tough times and kept the wonder and magic alive in my adult head. But I don’t think I can talk about my favourite book without talking about The Singing Stone by Orla Melling. It was my first brush with Celtic mythology as a kid and I absolutely fell in love with all of it. Growing up, I began devouring any Celtic mythology text and to this day, it is still one of my passions. I must have read that book hundreds of times as by high school, it became my party trick that anyone can read one short quote from the book and I can tell exactly who said it. In fact, I wrote a fan letter and got a gorgeous card back from Orla Melling in return. I still have it and it makes me smile every time I read it.
More about Renee Cheung:
Renee uses her years of experience as a developer to write about the what-ifs of magic and technology. When she is not suspiciously peering at her computer in between her writing, she can be found roaming the streets with her family or gaming (whether it’s video games, board games or table-top RPGs) with her similar-minded friends.

You can connect with Renee on Web | Blog | Twitter | Facebook.
Learn more about the anthology on the 
Lost Hero website.
<![CDATA[IWSG April Blog Hop: Blogging from A to Z]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 10:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/iwsg-april-blog-hop-blogging-from-a-to-zPicture
If you are taking part in the YA Scavenger Hunt, go here for Team Red and the opportunity to win some awesome giveaways! (If you've never tried this hunt to win book prizes, you might like to check it out.)

IWSG Monthly Blog Hop

It's the first of the month, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group's blog hop. IWSG was founded by author Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts are  ​​Chris @ Madness of a Modern Writer, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!

This month's (optional) question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book?
While I have enjoyed networking with other A to Z Challenge bloggers, I haven't used the challenge much to promote my books (other than to have people arrive at my blog). For the 2014 A to Z Challenge, I blogged about Writing Inspiration. For the 2015 and 2016 challenges, I blogged about productivity.
Blogging to market a book can be a tricky combination. It depends on whether the blog audience is the same as the target book audience, for one thing. Do you read blogs to find new books, or to read the actual blog content, or both?
Since this blog hop is for the Insecure Writers Support Group, I thought I'd share one of my favorite morale-boosting quotes about writing.

As a writer, how do you feel about the gap between what you are reading and what you are writing?

If you're interested in reading other answers to the IWSG monthly question, follow the blog hop links below.  (If they don't show up due to tech issues, please visit the IWSG website to access the links.)
<![CDATA[YA Scavenger Hunt #YASH]]>Tue, 04 Apr 2017 18:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/ya-scavenger-hunt-yash3536322

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt for Team Red!

Welcome to Spring 2017 YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors . . . and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for the team prize--books from Team Red! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for a few days. If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Scavenger Hunt Directions

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've hidden my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the RED team, and then add them up.

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 9th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Black Flowers, White Lies

If this is your first time to my blog, I'm Yvonne Ventresca, author of PANDEMIC and the psychological thriller, BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES. In BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES, strange events make Ella question what’s real. Is it a haunting or a breakdown? She desperately needs answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

In addition to the Team Red prize, I'm offering an Amazon gift card giveaway. Look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. 

Random fun fact: Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of number 13.

Scavenger Hunt Guest Post Featuring E. Katherine Kottaras

E. Katherine Kottaras holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. Katherine is interested in the stories we tell, the stories we are given, and the ways we can redefine our worlds by discovering which stories are true.

More about The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

Tell us a little about Viviana!
Many writers talk about books that are the “stories of their hearts.” My first book, HOW TO BE BRAVE, was most definitely that since it is told through the eyes of Georgia, a Greek-American teenager whose mother passes away. I am half-Greek, and my father died when I was seventeen, so much of the story, in terms of its exploration of grief and loss, identity and love, came directly from my heart and my life.
My second book, THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER, is equally the story of my heart. Viviana is a driven honors student and the daughter of a Russian-Jewish immigrant mom and an American engineer dad who have extremely high academic expectations for her. As a result of both these expectations and an exposing mistake Viviana made in sharing a nude photo with her boyfriend (who proceeded to send it to the entire school), Viviana suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks. She knows that she didn’t do anything wrong in sending the photo to him – she trusted and loved him at the time – but world still blames and shames her for it.
Set at her summer job in the middle of Chicago, Viviana is finally able to escape the judgmental eyes of her school, but she soon becomes the odd vertex of a love triangle; her childhood best friend, Sammie, has a crush on the outgoing, college-aged lifeguard, Evan, but he seems to be more interested in Viviana. Against her better judgment, Viviana falls for him, thereby damaging yet another important relationship in her life and disappointing herself. Soon after, when her father finally returns from his mysterious six-month long business trip, Viviana discovers some deep, dark truths about him that force her to question all of her ideas about love and trust and the control she has over her life.

Readers have told me it’s a page-turner, so that’s exciting! Part of Viviana’s journey is that she begins to discover some deep, dark secrets about her father that make her question everything about him, everything she’s ever known about her family, period.

It’s also a story about friendship, as Viviana treasures her life-long best friend and braiding buddy, Sammie, and must find ways to make sure that she remains true to her despite the fact that she’s falling for Evan.
And speaking of Evan, there’s also a really freaking good kissing scene towards the middle of the book that involves a swimming pool and tomato bombs falling from the sky. I mean, I do love romantic kissing scenes. The tomato bomb scene really did happen when I was a teenager, but unfortunately, I wasn’t kissing anyone that day. That’s the best part of writing: you can steal stuff from real life, but you can also make it even better than you remembered.

Continue the Hunt

Don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, E. Katherine Kottaras, and more! Find my favorite number (in RED) earlier in this post. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

To keep going on the YA Scavenger Hunt, you need to check out the next author on Team Red: Cat Winters.

Bonus Giveaway

In addition to contributing to the YASH giveaway, I'm offering my own personal giveaway as well. One winner will receive a set of eight custom designed Black Flower Notecards (inspired by BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES) and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. (This prize is open internationally, but please note: Any winner outside of the US will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card and will not receive the notecards.) Good luck!

<![CDATA[Author Spotlight on Tyrean Martinson, Contributor to the Mysteries of Death and Life Anthology]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/author-spotlight-on-tyrean-martinson-contributor-to-the-mysteries-of-death-and-life-anthologyThe Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life anthology will be released on May 2nd. If you'd like to help get the word out, you can sign up to participate in the blog tour here.

In honor of the anthology, I'll be spotlighting different contributors between now and its release in May. Today's blog post features fellow author Tyrean Martinson, who contributed the story "Of Words and Swords" to the anthology.

Interview with Tyrean Martinson

Do you have any tips for getting work done around other obligations? Do you have a writing routine you’d like to share? Any fun/useful writing habits? Any advice for other writers?

When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the blinking cursor or my current WIP is mired in muddy plot-issues, I write in my journal or I write with writing prompts. After I do that for 10-15 minutes, it seems like something finally lets go and my creativity and ability to write comes back. To work around other obligations, I take my writing with me wherever I go. When my daughters needed me to drive them to activities, I would write while they were engaged in those activities. When I've had to, I get up earlier and write or I write while the dinner dishes are getting done by someone else. If I cook, my daughters and husband usually clean up - this grants me a 15-20 minute window to write. 15-20 minutes may not seem like much, but I can get some writing done and that helps keep my WIP fresh for a lengthier session later. Creative daydreaming time is always useful, too. If I'm taking a walk, I try to imagine my story world. This helps when I sit down to write.​

What do you like to write about or what drew you to this anthology? Is there anything interesting about your background as a writer you’d like to share?

I love reading and writing fantasy so this anthology seemed like the right fit and then the prompt about lost heroes gripped me. The more that I've thought about it (even beyond writing my story), the more I'm convinced that most fictional heroes are lost when we first meet them in their story world. I don't know many fictional heroes that don't have some sense of reluctance at the beginning of their adventures. It might be that I'm just drawn to reluctant or lost heroes because I feel they represent the kinds of doubts we all have about ourselves. When I think of real world heroes, I often think of firefighters, EMTs, and missionaries who run orphanages, schools, and human trafficking counseling centers. Real heroes never seem reluctant or lost on the outside. However, a semi-retired 80+ missionary lady I know has mentioned that she harbored some doubts at different times in her 60+ years of missionary work - she's taught classes in schoolrooms in Pakistan, India, China, Brazil, Kenya, and Peru. My family has a firefighting friend who has shared the heaviness of his work - it isn't something he just leaves behind him. He is troubled by the pain and suffering he sees. In my personal background, I have struggled with bullies both as a kid and as an adult teaching in a classroom that included both victims and bullies. As a kid, I always wanted some kind of righteous vengeance on my bullies until one day one of them asked me to forgive him. I realized that I had been becoming a bully on the inside, letting my anger and hurt change me. I had to rely on forgiveness to change my path toward something better.  I think that the concept of a lost hero is part of how we deal with those moments when we struggle to find something good or heroic in the world around us.​
What’s your favorite recent book and/or one from your teen years or something from your to-read pile?

So far in 2017, my three favorite reads have been Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (it's a Star Wars book that runs parallel to the original movies), Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (a superhero urban scifi fantasy novel), and Red Rising by Pierce Brown (science fiction/dystopian). My favorite book as a teen was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. On the surface, Ender's Game is a sci-fi novel, but I really think it's more about bullying on an individual level and a societal level. Each of these novels includes a redemptive arc for the main character that requires the character to forgive others or themselves.

Despite all the seriousness of my answers here, my story "Of Words and Swords" is fairly light-hearted. Sometimes, I think we need a little light-heartedness when we read and when we write. ​
More about Tyrean Martinson:
Daydreamer, writer, teacher, believer–Tyrean Martinson lives near the Puget Sound with her husband and daughters. With her B.A. in Ed. and English, she teaches writing classes to home-school teens and she writes speculative, contemporary, poetry, experimental hint fiction, and writing books.

You can connect with Tyrean on Blog | Twitter | Facebook.
Learn more about the anthology on the Lost Hero website.
<![CDATA[Dreaded Tasks and Productivity]]>Fri, 31 Mar 2017 20:57:14 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/dreaded-tasks-and-productivityBy Yvonne Ventresca
​Sometimes there are tasks we dread doing. It might be making an unpleasant phone call, answering an email, or writing a difficult chapter. As Rita Emmett, the author of The Procrastinator’s Handbook, says, “The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself.”
Here are some ways to combat the dread:

1. Group the tasks together. For example, I don’t like calling strangers and asking for information, so if I have to make five of those phone calls (say, for writing research), I do them all in one sitting. This way, I figure, I’ve only had one unpleasant afternoon instead of many. The technique works for writing/sending query letters, too.

2. Set a timer. If writing feels hard, I find that setting a timer and making an agreement with myself (I’ll spend fifteen minutes and stop if I'm still miserable) can often get me over the hurdle of getting started. Then I continue past the set amount of time. (For more on timers, you can also checkout the Pomodoro technique.)

3. Journal. Sometimes it helps to explore why the tasks are difficult. Fear of failure? Fear of success? Journaling about it helps to get to the root of the problem and makes it seem like less of a big deal.

4. Do the most difficult things first (during the day or even during the week), so that the chore isn’t looming. (As Laura Vanderkam says, "Climb your mountains on Monday mornings.")

5. For possibly un-dreaded, but “low return” tasks, Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project, suggests scheduling a “maintenance day.” He does chores like cleaning, shopping, and laundry at one designated time (such as a Sunday), so that his other days are more productive.

How about you? What tasks do you dread?
​Do you have any techniques for accomplishing them?