POST 6: March 24, 2017

Warm-Ups:

This week let’s try some warm-ups.  What’s a warm-up? It’s an idea starter, a mind jogger, something to help you write when your brain power is slowing down or you just can’t get started.  We’ll try two this week and add more in the following weeks.

Character Sketch:  Write a few paragraphs about a character you want to use in a short story or novel. Who is this person?  Describe this person–looks, hobbies, job, likes/dislikes, life’s goals.  What is keeping this person from obtaining those goals/desires?  Keep writing about this person until you feel you have been friends for years.

Dialogue:  Eavesdrop on a conversation at the office, in the grocery store, at the health club or at a social event, and then recreate that conversation as dialogue for your story.  Write it until it reads like people actually talk to each other.

More warm-ups on their way…

POST 5: February 27, 2017

Okay, we are back to writing prompts.  Here are three you may want to try this week.

1.  Choose a poem you like.  Take the last line and use that line as the first line of your own poem.

2.  Begin a story with “There was once a chance I didn’t take…”

3.  ”A funny thing happened on my way to…”

Good luck and maybe some of you would like to share?

 

 

POST 4: February 19, 2017

Soooo Sorry; I didn’t forget about all of you, but… No excuses.  I didn’t get enough entries for my Forever Home, Forever Toby book so I had to can that project for now.  Instead I started cleaning out files, and we all know what that means.  While looking through some of my articles and stories from way back, I decided to compile some of them in a book on its own merit which meant retyping many of the older ones before my computer days.  I can just see some of the young folks eyes rolling. But, yes, some of us lived and wrote before computer days; simply called “typing” double-spaced.

The tentative title for this project is “Here I Am”–still tossing ideas for a subtitle. Any suggestions?

When I originally started this Web page, I posted a weekly writing prompt, hoping that I would get some creative juices flowing and more responses.  That didn’t happened, but I think I may go back to a weekly prompt just to stay more in touch.

So it’s back to the drawing board or writing pad for now–I’ll be back sooner than the last break.  Thanks for your patience.

 

SEE with WORDS: June 17, 2015

WRITE-ON

Everybody has a story to tell—your time is NOW. OR IS IT!  Before you roll up your sleeves, sharpen some pencils or turn on the computer, clear those dust bunnies from your brain, hone up your imagination to start on your writing journey, STOP, look in the mirror and be candid with the person staring back at you as you answer question #1: why do you want to write?

Writing is a crowded profession—it attracts more people than any of the other arts, made especially popular today with the advent of digital online publishing.  Most people who “have a story to tell” may skip commercial or traditional publishers, even subsidy or vanity presses, and go straight to online eBooks.  It’s faster, easier, and less expensive, and there’s sometime to be said to “I did it my way!”  Approximately 150,000 books are produced each year, and most of them are published by small and independent publishers.

Now answer question #1 honestly.  If you want to write for fame and fortune, its best you turn around and choose another career.   Pure luck can give some people an edge, and for others talent, friends, relatives in the business, or a famous career in the limelight can help their chances of getting noticed and published.

It’s true you do want a salable book, but marketing and promoting are hard work—sometimes you barely break even.  On the other hand, if you are writing because you really have something to say, have the drive of seeing a project through, believe in the truth of your writing regardless of any financial gain, then the chances of accomplishing your goal are reasonable.

Once you answered you writing intentions then proceed to answering the following questions:

  1. What skills do you have for writing?
  2. Is there an audience for your kind of book?
  3. How good are your marketing and promoting skills?
  4. Do you have the financial means to publish a book?
  5. With 150,000 new books a year, what makes yours unique?

You will find that writing is the easy part—publishing and marketing take determination and persistence.  If you are committed to your final goal, then nobility of purpose will see you through.  Writing is a journey—its own reward.

 

 

SEE with WORDS: June 13, 2015

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Before choosing a publisher or printer

  • Comparison shop–get quotes
  • Look at other books the publisher or printer has produced
  • Talk to other writers who have used the publisher’s or printer’s services
  • Understand the terms of the contract; make sure there are no hidden costs
  • Verify any promises made
  • Find out if the publisher has arrangements with a wholesaler
  • Establish a good working relationship with your contact person
  • Reread the printer’s proofs carefullly; they are the last chance to catch any mistakes
  • Join an organization that offers networking opportunities
  • Take a workshop or attend writers’ conferences to find out what resources are available

 

SEE with WORDS: February 19, 2015

One More Idea to Consider:

Here’s another important idea you may want to consider as you get started in the writing game.  Check local community colleges for adult continuation or special interest classes in writing.  Some may even offer workshops or seminars on various aspects of writing.  Local libraries are other resources for writing groups, special presentations on writing, or even critique groups.  Signing up for a writing course, taking a workshop or joining a critique group can prove beneficial especially if you are a novice writer and may need the support and incentive from others with similar interests.  A writing course can also provide the structure and basic techniques necessary for good writing.

Along these same lines, if several of your friends or members of a writing class are interested in working together, you might consider forming your own small writing group.  This would allow for immediate feedback and critiquing of your stories, provide opportunities to share similar learning experiences with each other, offer encouragement to get through some of those so called “writer’s block” moments, support each other’s efforts, shed light on new discoveries, and most important, laugh and cry together as you explore the problems of the lonely, yet exhilarating,  life of a writer.  So with pen in hand and love in your heart, be strong–embrace the unforgiving pain and the sublime joy of the writing life.

Writing is therapy for both you and the reader.

 

SEE with WORDS: February 18, 2015

RULES:

  • There are no firm or important rules for good writing.
  • However, know them first before you break them.
  • Follow writing guidelines; they free you to do what works best for you.

Rules are structures that set limits; true artists transcend to heights unlimited; great art has no borders.  But here’s the catch: in order to soar, one needs a solid structure as the launching pad.

Remember those language arts teachers who insisted we bring our journals to class everyday.  And then usually before an English composition lesson, we would spend five minutes writing anything that popped into our heads.  Forget spelling, grammar, sentence structure, just write, write, write.  We were encouraged to free write, to brainstorm all those creative ideas that later would become our coveted “A” English composition papers.  No one would ever see these first draft scribblings of ours, but we knew we could never hand-in anything we wrote in our notebooks until we “fixed” it up and made it better for a passing grade.

So too, true artists have learned, practiced and mastered the rules first which then sets them free to soar into their unique creative worlds.  Imagine this: what if your novel, story or poem resembled the free writing of your school day journal.  How distracting would that be to readers?  If the reader doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say, if your lack of writing efficiently interferes with the story line, how long will you hold that reader’s attention?  Know the rules first before you break them.

That said; let’s explore some useful writing guidelines that have proven successful in a writer’s creative journey.

Materials you may need for your journey:

1.  Notebooks:

You’ll need several handy notebooks, whatever fits into your pocket, purse, briefcase, and glove compartment – use whatever works best for you.  Once you start writing your novel, you will be amazed at how many new ideas begin popping into mind any time of the day and night.  You’ll want to jot down that good idea, or clever quip before it is lost once again.  Good places to keep notebooks are:

ü      bedside table

ü      bathroom

ü      kitchen

ü      den or TV room

ü      car

ü      pocket or purse

ü      outside garden or patio

2.  Tape recorder:

Some of you may prefer to use small tape recorders instead of notebooks.  Recorders work best in cars, especially if you’re driving and that tinge of recollection arises, you’ll want to grab that recorder, click the on-button, and talk your heart out.

Recorders also work well on bedside tables.  In no time, you will train yourself to hit the on-button in the dark and talk softly into the recorder without even waking your partner.

3.  Several more important items to have close at hand:

ü      a comprehensive dictionary

ü      an authoritative thesaurus

ü      an English grammar handbook

ü      plenty of pens or well-sharpened pencils

ü      computer or word processor

Where do you go from here?

Writing is a craft. Writers write. Writers write every day; that’s their job.  By cultivating the habit of writing regularly, it will make the process easier and more enjoyable. Study the craft; exercise the craft by doing it everyday.

Check out Amazon.com for: Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success; and Come Sit a Spell, Recalling and Writing Memoirs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE with WORDS: January 26, 2015

What makes a WRITER tick!

Part of the majesty of being a writer is that we don’t fully understand what makes us tick, and if we did, we would lose the edge of our creativity.             –Tom-

Writing is like creating a movie; I’m the author, the producer, the director, and I get to play all the roles, be all the characters.                                   -Mabel-

I get thoughts and inspirations that won’t leave until I write them down.                                            -Val-

Writing is very therapeutic as well as relaxing and fun.             -Sandy-

I write to share what I learn.                     –Marty-

My mind is filled with ideas and they need to see themselves on paper before they disappear in a poof of smoke.                                                  –Linda-

I write because the characters make me!  They won’t let me off the hook.                                 –Zanne-

Writing validates my existence; it feeds my soul.            -Nancy-

I write for the same reason I read – to connect with a greater truth, a deeper feeling.  It helps me find my footing in the universe.                           –Marilyn-

My research over the years has unearthed thousands of stories that need to be told and preserved for posterity.  It is satisfying to share with others and know that the stories will not die.              –Emily-

A writing career gives you the opportunity to help other people – whether that means informing, entertaining or inspiring them.   I feel honored when readers tell me they enjoyed my book.        –Brian-

I write so I can be alone.         –Julie-

When I was 58 or 59 years old, I found out I had suppressed the desire to write all my life.  My friends haunted me until I wrote my first book.  Now I find writing so rewarding I can’t stop.                 –Mike-

I am a disable veteran who finds writing puts me into another world in which time and pain passes me by.                                                               -Sheila-

What can I say, I’m a writing junkie – hooked on ideas and words and other such creative stuff.      –Eileen-

 

 

 

SEE with WORDS: January 19, 2015

Got an urge to write?  It’s not that hard – get started! 

So you always wanted to write.  Seriously.  Maybe it was a story you read, a movie or TV show you saw that perked your interest and caused you to say, “I can write like that.”  Or maybe you have something you want to say, ideas you have been wrestling with, memoirs to leave your loved ones, a story or poem that’s struggling within you to be put on paper.  Whatever the reason, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t interested in writing.

But writing is hard work and too many wannabes fall by the wayside while sitting and waiting for the right opportunity or that epic idea that will set them on fire.

If you’re serious about pursuing the craft of writing, for pleasure or profit, then the first thing to do is get started.

Think of writing as you would any job.  You must show up, be on time, produce and enjoy what you are doing if you want to reap any rewards.

For starters keep a journal.  Professional writers have files or notebooks filled with notes, bits of conversations, cartoons, observations, newspaper clippings, photos, doodles.  They collect like crazy anything and everything.  Who knows what poem, story or article is lurking among those scraps of paper.

Ideas abound all around us.  Collect whatever you see and hear: a neighbor’s fading smile or the shoes on his feet; family stories or hiking White Tank Mountain Park; xeriscape gardening or an early morning Arizona sun rise.  Whatever you have observed describe in your journal or tape recorder.  Writers are keen observers, the more you develop this aspect, the more ideas will come to you.  Include in your journal your dreams and imaginings.  Imagination is the stuff creative writing is made of.

The next important step is to set up a routine.  Writers write every day; that’s their job.  Cultivating the essential habit of writing regularly will make writing easier and fun.

When to write and where to write will depend on your life style.  Try writing at different times: early morning, high noon, far into the night.  Once you’ve found your writing time, stick with it.  Serious writers would never think of doing dishes, the laundry, shopping, playing golf, answering the phone during their writing time.

It is also necessary to find a place where you feel comfortable at writing: your room or office, the kitchen table, soaking in a tub, lying on a couch.  Hemingway wrote standing at a lectern; Capote stretched out on a couch or in a hammock.  Some writers use tricks to get them in their writing mode like listening to music or the outside sounds of nature.  Whatever works.

Read more in Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success, available on Amazon.com

Invoking your guardian angel

If you had a guardian angel, what form would your angel take (human or not)?  On what dilemma in your life right now would you most like guidance?

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