Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I want to take a moment and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I've enjoyed all of your visits throughout the year.

I hope and pray that each of you finds progress within the New Year. May all of your dreams come true!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Writing Frustrations

What do you do when doubt creeps into your head?

You’ve got your story underway and suddenly the thought enters, “What am I doing? This is crap. No one’s going to want to read this!”

First of all, you have to figure out if it’s the evil voice or the logical voice speaking. But, how do you do that? Honestly, I’m not sure of the answer, but chances are it is the voice of the evil monkey that lives in your brain. The monkey doesn’t want you to succeed!

Take a step back from your work in progress. Work on something else, a poem, a short story, or even a shopping list. Take a walk, play with your pet, or enjoy a movie.

Chances are when you come back; everything will be fine once again.

As a writer, you can expect these mood swings. If you can learn to anticipate them, you may be able to jump over the rut before you get there. I haven’t actually accomplished this yet, but I have come to acknowledge that it is a routine that is happening. I get frustrated and depressed. I don’t feel like doing anything at all. But, once the cycle has run its course, I’m back to normal, except I’m upset at the hours I wasted in the meantime.

Knowing is half the battle, now it’s time to fight and win.

Do you go through these cycles? What do you do to fight back?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

Released in 2003 in book form, and made to movie in 2004, The Five People You Meet In Heaven will make you start thinking. I'm sure most have read or watched this, but I'm still catching up with my life. (That's another story.)

Mitch Albom presents a story of a man who upon death arrives in heaven to be greeted by five people who share with him how he affected them and explain what his life was really about.

It's a wonderful story and worth reading.

As I read, my mind scurried to pick out the five people who I would meet. In my list, there were some surprises as I thought of who had affected me most in my life so far.

Then I thought, that's not actually the point. The five people are ones you have affected. My mind raced and I realized that I'm not sure who I have affected in this lifetime. I hope I've left an impression upon a few people out there, and would be excited to meet with them on the day I arrive in heaven.

Although fiction, this book has touched my heart and made me realize more clearly that life is about the people we touch and the people who touch us. We are all connected to each other and we should make each encounter mean something.

Stop rushing through life and enjoy it to the fullest.

Have you read this book or watched this movie? How were you affected?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time Management

When life gets in the way, what do you do?

First, let's be honest with ourselves. Is it Life that's in your way or are you in your own way?

Time management is the solution for writers who want to write.

I'll be the first to admit that this is not an easy task. We've put everything before ourselves for most of our lives, but it's time to step up to the plate and take what is ours.

I'm not saying neglect your family or your obligations. Writers must squeeze every moment of every day to move forward in the writing world.

Sure some are able to spend eight hours per day writing, but for the most part, we have to grab spare minutes when we can.

Take a week and keep a schedule of what you do and where you could squeeze in some writing. Large blocks are best but we can't all have that luxury.

How many hours did you sit in front of the television this week? What did you do while you waited at the doctor's office? How many minutes did you spend checking emails/surfing the web?

If you are like me, you will find there were many opportunities throughout the week to write, but you just didn't.

Let me know what you discover.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friends Forever - Short Story Accepted

My short story 'Friends Forever' has finally found a home.

Last week, I received my acceptance letter from Untied Shoelaces of the Mind. It will appear in their online magazine at the beginning of next year.

This will be my first paid publication and I'm excited to have this story claim that place. 'Friends Forever' was produced years ago and has received many rejections and has been reworked many times during this time. This story was also my first attempt to breaking into the publishing world. For it to have claimed that spot as my first stepping stone is a wonderful feeling.

Untied Shoelaces of the Mind has produced a wonderful online site filled with great stories by some wonderful authors. They are open to most genres and are a paying market. Visit their site for submission guidelines.

It is my understanding that they still need stories for the first issue of next year. What are you waiting on?

One other note about this publication: Response time is low. They have 4 editors and the story has to pass through each for acceptance. You are informed as the story goes through the process. From submission to acceptance, my wait time was 5 days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Plotter or Pantster

Are you a plotter or pantster?

As a writer sets out on his journey of producing his first novel, he must decide rather he is 'by the seat of his pants' kind of writer or one that needs the story formed before ever beginning.

This dilemma has plagued me over the years and I'm still undecided. Instinct tells me that I lean more toward the panzer side of the scale but I have tried every plotting technique I've come across.

With short stories, I am definitely a panzer. I start with an idea and just start writing till I get to the end.

A novel, on the other hand, is a much larger piece of work. Some plotting is necessary at some point.

I began a novel last year during National Novel Writing Month and the result was a great story idea, a beginning, an end, and multiple scenes. I've struggled to pull these scenes into a logical ordered pattern. Plot techniques have helped a little. But with my final attempt to pull it together, my panzer way is winning out.

I've constructed a plot design into Word Excel and arranged some of the scenes where they need to go and left the rest open. Then I opened a new word document and pasted Chapter One into the document. From there I focused on my first plot point and how to get there.

I'm still in the process of pulling scenes, writing transitions, and filling in holes to reach that first plot point, but I feel I'm on the right track now.

Are you a Plotter or Panzer? Share your experience of finding your way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Muse Online Writers Conference

I'd like to take a moment to thank Lea Schizas for putting together another wonderful conference. This year's conference held many wonderful workshops, numerous pitch sessions, and a large crowd of great talented writers. I'd also like to thank each and every presenter who took a week out of their lives to give us the workshops and guide us through their lessons.

Registration is now open for the 2011 Muse Online Writers Conference.

Stop by, register for the forum, and find the thread 'I am attending the 2011 conference', fill out the poll and you are registered for next year's conference.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How important is your email address?

Over the weekend, I decided to take a look at some pointers on submitting short stories. I ran across two articles that put the focus on your email address.

The main point in the first article was your user name. I would think it would be common sense not to use for submitting work to a publisher. The article made me think that maybe it's not common sense. You want your user name to be professional not personal.

The second article had not occurred to me. Its focus was on which email account you used. It suggested not using free email like Hotmail and Yahoo. If your own domain is not available, it suggested using Gmail. Now I wonder does it really matter.

Will an editor turn down your work because of your email address? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I discovered with my last rejection, I am not proofreading and revising enough.

My rejection letter sent me to their blog, Shroud Publishing, with an explanation on why I received a form rejection.

A critique friend, A.R. Braun, then took the time to review the rejected story and was able to point out many red flags I had overlooked.

Aware of being guilty of this in the past, this story had been reread numerous times. It was not enough.

I recently wrote a post, Writing Is Rewriting. I end my suggestion of the editing process with a read through after correcting errors pointed out by critique partners. I'd like to extend that process here.

Once you've corrected those errors, reread numerous times, correct these errors, reread a few more times, repeat this until there are no more errors.

For an added caution, have a critique partner on hand for this final stage. Let them know this is the version you plan to submit and would like to know if they see any errors you've missed.

If they find any, correct and reread a few more times. At this point, you should be safe to submit. Be aware that with each correction, the text around it should be reviewed with a sharp eye. Repetition can creep in at this point.

I know this is easier said than done, but if you want to be published you have to put the work into the story to get the results.

Good luck in your writing adventures. (For you writers who have blogs, do yourself a favor and also proofread your posts. You never know who may visit.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Critique Group Member Wanted

There is an opening in my critique group, Elysian Fields.

We reside at Authors By Design. The group is made up of multi-genre writers, both published and unpublished. We strive to help each other improve and succeed as writers. Our goals are to be successful published writers.

The posting max limit for the forum is 6000 words per week. Critiques of the posted work are expected in a timely manner. We do understand about life getting in the way. However, we all do the best we can to keep up with current activity.

To maintain activity, the group meets on most Thursdays at 7:30 Eastern Time. To qualify, you need to be available for at least 3 out of 4 chat sessions. At each meeting, a group member has the spot light and feedback is given on their work.

If interested, leave your name, genre, and contact information in the comments. You will need to provide a writing sample and the group will vote on your acceptance. If uncomfortable with leaving your information on the blog, send directly to cher438lynn @ hotmail dot com, Subject: Elysian Fields. I will then contact the administrator and we will go from there.

Have a great Labor Day!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


My short story, 'Friends Forever' has been rejected by Shroud. I received a form letter earlier this week.

Response time: less than two months.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Voices of Ire by Aubrie Dionne

The Voices of Ire is like stepping into a magical land. The land is ruled by Wishcasters, and is threatened by the Murk.

Young Azalin, struggling to hide her powers and fit in with her neighbors, proves to be a wonderful character.

When she is invited to the Eaglecrest Kingdom to participate in the trials, which will determine the positions of the new Wishcasters, she doesn't go with excitement. Accompanied by her best friend, she makes the journey, and discovers her new role in life.

The characters in this book are interesting and lovable. Aubrie created a world of magic that is easy to walk in to. This book is well written and would be a great read for young adults or adults.

To learn more about Aubrie and her writings visit: You may also find the interview I had with her earlier in the year interesting.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

F2K: Free Creative Writing Course

I recently participated in the F2K: Free Creative Writing Course.

The exercises were interesting and thought provoking. I came away from the course with a slightly new look at my own writing. I also met some talented writers in the course and hopefully gained at least one new critique partner.

Downside of the course: we began with numerous students, but by the end only a few were left.

I would recommend this course to new writers or experienced writers who would like a little brush up on their skills or some social time with other writers.

You won't come away from the course a master of writer, of course who is, but you will come away with a new perspective. I would say the best lesson of the whole course was the material given for Lesson 6. The thoughts on plot and theme gave me a new way of producing my writing.

There is the option to have one-on-one Mentor assistance, which costs 25 dollars. I did not take this route, but it may have made the experience more rewarding.

An optional course book is also available: P. June Diehl's The Magic and the Mundane. Again, I did not have this to go with the course.

If you'd like to attend the next scheduled course, which is in October, you may register at .

Step One: If you're not registered with F2K social yet, go to Login/Register for F2K Social. Fill out the simple registration form.

Step Two: You'll receive an email with an activation link. Click on the link (or copy and paste into your browser). You're activated.

Step Three: Once you're registered and logged in, a new menu appears. Go to F2K Course, select F2K CREATIVE WRITING COURSE 1010 and click the Register button. That's it!

Have you already taken this course? What did you think? Are there other courses you would recommend?

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Writing is Rewriting

"Writing is Rewriting."

I tried to find who said these words, but it seems a number of writers are given credit for them. I always thought it was Hemingway but I couldn't find the exact quote.

It doesn't matter. The point is I've never totally understood this.

I've spent years writing, doing a little editing, letting others read and critique my story, edit some more, and then submit. I've only been published once. I now see that this is not enough.

I've never claimed writing to be an easy task, but my writing deserves more work on my part. I've been fiddling with a rewrite of a story that has been rejected more than once. I'm in the process of polishing it up now and it hit me like a cold shower. Each time I hit the delete button. Each time I add another sentence. This is a good story, but I had failed to mold it into a wonderful story. I now realize that the rewriting process is just as important as the creation.

Below you will find my thoughts on the writing and rewriting process.

The drafting process, which is different for every writer, is only the beginning. (You may write a brilliant story, but it needs to be edited to death before you have a chance of getting published.)

The first step after creating your story in the first draft is to step away. Work on something else. Do Not edit the next day. You need to have distance between you and the writing. Do Not let other people read this first draft. Their efforts will be pointless. At this stage, there is still so much more to do. (Some writers can achieve distance from their writing quicker than others. The time allowed will be a personal preference.)

Once you've gained distance from your story, the next step is revisions. Revising is about looking at the big picture. (Adding, Rearranging, Removing, Replacing) Read through your story, taking notes as you go. Look for inconsistencies, scenes that aren't needed, characters that should be slashed or added. Is there enough tension? Is the pacing the way you want? Using your notes, rewrite. If needed, step away, and repeat the above procedures.

The next step is editing. Look for misused words, overused words and phrases, unneeded words. Every writer has at least one word that appears over and over again. Find that word and replace it in as many occurrences as possible. Check for misspelled words. Change passive verbs to active verbs. Check punctuation. Gage the pacing of your story. Are your sentences lengths varied?

Reading your work out loud can also help find mistakes. If you do corrections on computer, try printing out a copy and editing. Some writers find errors easier to see this way.

When you feel the writing is at its best, then it's time to let someone else read it. You will most likely find that fresh eyes will notice things you've overlooked, even after all of this editing. Take the advice given in the critiques or leave it. Not all advice is good, so you will need to weed through it.

Go through and correct what is needed.

Is it time to send it off to a publication? NO. Let it sit for at least a day. Reread it. Correct anything thing that catches your eye.

Now, it's time to submit.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this process, or let us know your techniques for molding a great story.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2010 Muse Online Writers Conference

Registration Deadline is Tomorrow!

You must register for the conference by tomorrow or there will be a five dollar late charge.

Official deadline for registration is September 10th.

The conference runs from October 11th to 17th.

It's a full week of fun, learning, and socializing. Come join in the 2010 Muse Online Writers Conference. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Critique Partners

Many writers will tell you that one of the most important aspects of becoming a talented writer is find a good critique partner. I would have to agree.

When I began toward my goal of becoming a professional writer, I became involved in a forum abundant with creative talent. With their help, I became a better writer. The forum closed and unfortunately so did the ties I had with the group. The closure was unexpected and there was no way to find a way to contact the critique partners I had come to rely upon, but the experience was great.

I have continued on and managed to become a member of another critique group and supplement that relationship with a great critique partner. With their help, I continue to grow as a writer.

You may be wondering, "How do I find a critique group?"

One way is online. There are many writing forums on the Internet and they are a great way to reach out to other writers. You may be lucky enough to find there are groups locally you can join for in person interaction. Or, you could always start your own group.

You will need to decide whether you want to find a group or an individual. One critique will give you one opinion of your writing, but will allow you less work when only having to give feedback to that one person. A group will give you multiple opinions but you will have to give feedback to multiple people. Give each a try and decide what best fits your time allotment and helps you the most.

Remember, you don't have to stick with your first choice of partner. You may find that you don't click with that particular group. Politely bow out and find one you do click with. It is important to find a group that helps you and does not hinder you. Accept criticism gracefully, but don't let someone beat you down. There are some writers out there that will strive to kill your spirit. Weed through them and find a healthy group to be a part of.

Do you have a critique group? How have they helped you along the way? Do you travel this journey alone? Is that working for you?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Seven

We have reached the end of this journey. I hope you all have enjoyed following along with me.

Many of the exercises were not in the book, but were created for extra activities. You will also find that some of the exercises in the book did not appear here on the blog.

It would be your best interest, if you have not already done so, to purchase or borrow a copy of the Artist's Way to further overcome your blocks.

The last exercise is to reread over the blog posts, reread the book, and to share this journey with an artist friend.

Always trust in God and yourself to provide the fuel for your creativity. God Bless.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Six

Combining Creative Processes

Many exercises during this course asked you to try a different method of expressing creativity. Now, what would happen if you combine these processes? Let's give it a try.

You painters who wrote a story, try painting a picture based on the story you wrote.

You writers who drew a picture, try writing a story based on the drawing.

I consider Tarot cards a form of creativity. You connect with your inner guide. You find a connection with the cards, their images, and other aspects and you form an interpretation for the client or yourself. Try creating a story from a layout of three cards.

You may also try combining baking or gardening into your creativity. Draw a picture of someone doing these activities. Have your story character be involved in these creative methods.

Whatever you combine, it doesn't have to result in a master piece. Have fun with this.

Friday, August 6, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Five

Take out your results from Day Two and read over what you wrote. Do you see multiple ideas? A single idea for a new story? A few lines that sound like poetry?

Take a second piece of paper or open a new document and jot down what you think about the results and what you can do with them.

If a germ is there, begin the new project. If not, set both results aside and come back in a few days and see if any growth has occurred. Continue until your gut tells you that nothing came into being on the pages and move on.

You will not always get results from this exercise. Not every seed sprouts.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Four

The first rule of magic is containment.

People will test you. They will tell you that it's a good hobby but not to expect anything to come of it. When they feel you are neglecting them for your creativity, they will speak up.

Some will even pretend to support you, but don't be surprised when the chores and errands around the house suddenly multiply. Your loved ones will not do this intentionally, but some will do it, because they can't stand the thought of you having fun without them. They want to be wanted, and thrive on your attention.

Your best friend may suddenly start calling everyday just to see what you are doing once she find out what you have in mind with your creativity. Again, these people usually don't even realize what they are doing, but they will do it.

You must hold your intentions within yourself. Learn to be your own counsel. Move silently among doubters. Only voice your plans among your allies. And learn who your allies are. Do not indulge or tolerate anyone that throws cold water in your direction. Forget their so called good intentions. Forget that they didn't mean it. Set your sights, and don't let anything or anyone detour you.

If you don't know who your allies are, one quick way to find out is to make a small comment such as: "I've been toying with the idea of writing a book." Watch and listen to their reactions. If you feel a negative vibe coming from the person, just don't mention it again. You can't force your positivity on anyone.

List five people you can talk to about your dream and with whom you feel supported. Consider this your circle of positive energy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Three

When we think about creativity, it's all too easy to think of art with a capital 'A'. For our purposes, capital 'A' art is a scarlet letter. In order to nurture our creativity, we require a sense of fun, even humor. We are an ambitious society and it is difficult for us to create when it does not serve us and our career goals.

We must reevaluate our definitions of creativity and push them beyond what we called hobbies.

The definition of hobby is an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.

The definition of creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.

While most of us do not create as a main occupation, for most of us the goal is to do so. Quit thinking of your writing, drawing, painting, etc. as an hobby, if you plan to make a go at a career in the field. If you feel that the chances are slim in doing so, well, you have two choices.

Continue with your creativity, with the purpose of self-enjoyment or, continue with your creativity, with the purpose of entertaining others.

Another thing, if you write, you are a writer. If you paint, you are a painter. The degree of you talent can be measured, but you are what you create.

As we work with our morning pages, and artist's date, many forgotten creations often come to mind. The memory of that story you wrote in the third grade may come to your attention. Could you pull it out and reinvent it into the next picture book to hit the markets. We've been creating all of our lives. We ARE intended to create.

Add a page to your morning pages. At the top of the page, write ' My Intentions as a ______.' Fill in the blank with what you create. Write a letter to yourself discussing what your intentions are with your creative process. Do you plan to be published? Do you hope to one day see your paintings in a gallery? Are you doing your creativity to relax with no intentions of going public? Right now is a good time to determine what you hope to accomplish during your creative journey.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Two

Creativity, like life, begins in darkness. This needs to be acknowledged. All too often we think in terms of light. We say, "Then the light bulb came on, and I got it." It's true that insights may often come in flashes. They may even be blinding, but it is also true that these ideas are preceded by a gestation period that is internal, murky, and completely necessary.

Most of the time when we say we want to be creative, we mean we want to consistently creative, like machines. As creative channels, we need to trust the darkness and learn to gently mull, instead of churning out ideas like a little conveyor belt trying to meet production quota.

Hatching an idea is a lot like baking a cake. Open the oven too soon and the cake gets a hole in the middle because all the steam rushed out of it. Creativity requires time. Let your ideas grow, let them form on the roof of your consciousness, and then let them drop like light rain showers onto the page.

Free writing is one way to open your mind and let the ideas drop slowly or even in a flood onto the page. Something magical happens when you just let ideas pop out of your subconscious with no care of what form it may come.

Take thirty minutes today to free write. You may do this by computer or by hand. Set a timer and just jot down anything that comes to mind. At the end of thirty minutes, set your results aside and let them grow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day One

Recovering a Sense of Faith

Each of us has an inner dream. That dream can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit what it is and the faith to trust our own admission. The admitting is often very difficult.

A clearing affirmation can often open the channel and allow the unfolding of our dream.

We will start this last week out with admitting our dream, and creating our own affirmation.

My dream is to become a published author and share my creativity with others.

Affirmation: I ask God to allow me to be an open vessel to creativity and allow me the courage to share my insights with others. I am capable and able to create stories with my imagination. I will place these words onto paper and send them out into the world to be shared with anyone willing to accept my tales.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day Seven

It's been a long journey and we are coming up on the last week.

Take today to inventory yourself.

How have you changed since the beginning of your recover? Which practices have affected you the most? Which practices do you intend to take with you past the twelve week recovery process?

Me - It's been an interesting journey and I've taken something from each exercise. I feel I am much more open to my creativity and have the ability to let it flow through me onto the pages. I've become aware of my blocks and am slowly working through them to allow for more progress. The lesson this week on over extending yourself was a real eye-opener for me. A few months ago, I cut back on my obligations, but now see that more cutting is necessary to accomplish my dream.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day Six

Follow a new creative avenue

With your list in hand, choose one of the possibilities and set about following and exploring your new path. Have fun with your new outlet.

Friday, July 30, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day Five

Opening yourself up to other creative avenues

As an artist, your brain works differently than others. You have a strong desire to produce and to explore the unknown. Allow yourself the freedom to indulge your artist child in more than one way.

If you are a writer, have you always wanted to try drawing? A painter, have you always wanted to try creating a poem? Do you have a strong desire to explore the unknown - Tarot, spiritual guides, or astrology?

Take today to explore the other possible outlets for your creativity. It doesn't matter if it seems something you can't do. Anything is possible if you have 'wanted' on your side. Make a list of possible outlets and ways that they could be explored.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day Four

The Artist's Altar

Creativity becomes a spiritual adventure. Your project opens yourself up to better understanding and clearer thoughts. Your morning pages are a form of meditation and centering.

An artist's altar is a place to relax and unwind. It can be a room or even a corner. Supply your altar with scents and sounds. This will become a place of meditation. Crystals are a good item to project communications with the creative forces. Music can soothe your soul and open your mind. Candles can add to the atmosphere, while burning incense can sooth you further.

Today, build your own artist's altar. Create it with you in mind. What scents bring images to your mind, what music makes you want to dance, or even cry? Once created, spend at least an hour today enjoying your new space.

(Note: this sound similar to a room/area we created early in our journey. Consider adding to your already developed area or creating an entirely different one for this step. You are the artist, it is your choice.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day Three

There is a physical side to creativity. To nourish the mind, the physical body should also be nourished.

Exercise is moving meditation. Walking, swimming, hiking, dancing, whatever gets you in a clear state of mind.

During the time that you are physically meditating, your mind will open up and let vibrations enter. Creativity will be restored and flourish.

Stuck on that last chapter of your book? Not sure what to paint next? An image keeps popping into your head, but you just quite grasp it? Take a walk and allow the universe to help you out.

Today, take a long walk. Let your mind wander. If you feel you just can't leave that desk and take the chance of missing out on inspiration, take a notepad and pen with you. When lightning strikes, stop and jot your thoughts down.

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day Two

Creativity is a spiritual practice. It's not something that can be perfected, finished, and then set aside. As you reach plateaus, you will find another direction to go or another project to begin. An artist is never satisfied with one accomplishment; there will always be the next. And, once again you will be a beginner.

Creativity is not a business, although it can generate business. An artist should not mortgage his/her future too heavily on it. Buying that sports car may be a great delight, but when you find yourself having to write to pay for it - your new ownership becomes a burden on your artist's child.

It is important to continue to meet the inner demand of your own artistic growth, rather than stifling with outside obligations. In other words, don't take on more than you can handle.

Have you over extended yourself? Are other obligations getting in the way of your creativity? Do you blog daily, leaving only one day a week for you creativity? Do you write non-fiction articles and push her creative child to the side. Are you an architect, drawing buildings and bridges during the day, and telling your artist child you are too tired to play in the evening?

Find a way to prioritize your obligations. Remove some if necessary. Make time for your artist child. Don't quit your job and stay home with your artist child; the bills have to be paid. If you can lessen your bill load, this is another way to free up time for your child. Don't spoil your child, but give her/him the time required to allow for creative growth.

Take today to reflect on your obligations and find room for your artist child.

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day One

Recovering a Sense of Autonomy

As an artist you may find that you need a different mix of stability and flow than other people. A 9 to 5 job may steady you and leave you free and clear to create, or it may drain you and leave you unable to create. You must find what works for you and accept it.

Being true to your inner artist often results in sell-able work, but not always. Your value and the value of your work should not be based on your works current market value. Money validating your credibility is hard to shake, but it must be done to find success.

Credibility lies with your God, and your work. If you have a poem that needs to be written, you need to write it rather it will sell or not. Create what wants to be created. An artist's career cannot be planned to unfold in a sensible direction dictated by cash flow and market strategies. Plans are fine, but too much focus on it will stifle the artist child within. A child wants now, not tomorrow or the next day. Create what wants to be created.

Have you had an idea nagging at you that you keep pushing away because you think it won't work or it's not marketable. Take today to explore the idea. There's a reason it's begging to be written. You may be surprised by the results once you see it before you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Ten - Day Seven


This week has been about recovering a sense of protection. Now that you feel more protected, treat yourself to a day of fun.

Enjoy yourself without the worry of something bad happening.

Start that new story, without the doubts of it being bad.

Create that painting you've been thinking about, without the worry of not being ready.

Take a walk, and ponder over how to get that character out of the tight spot you put him in yesterday.

Take the family for a picnic.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Ten - Day Six

Dry Seasons

In any creative life, there will be dry seasons.

Life will lose its pleasures and work will feel mechanical. During this drought, doubts will form life and grow rapidly.

Droughts do end and clarity will once again clear away the doubts.

But some artists get trapped in the dry season and have a hard time accepting the rain when it comes.

To avoid being captured within the dryness and doubts, continue to write even during the dry season. Your words may never see light, but it is important to keep at it. Once clarity has returned, you may be surprised at what you produced during the dry spell. Some creations can grow without water.

The morning pages are a great way to keep on top during the drought. If this is the only writing you do, it will be better than none at all.

Keep writing and keep creating.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award

I have had the honor of being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, not by one wonderful writer, but by two.

Barbara and Joylene, Thank you so much for the recognition and I accept with great joy. I am thrilled that you both follow and find my blog entertaining.

Now for the tasks at hand: according to the rules, I'm required to:

1. Thank the person who loved me enough to bestow this gift.
2. Share seven things about myself.
3. Bestow this honor onto 10 newly discovered or followed bloggers – in no particular order – who are fantastic in some way.
4. Drop by and let my ten new friends know I admire them.

Thanks again to Barbara and Joylene.

1. I began writing fiction at an early age, mostly short stories and poetry. This desire produced from a great love of reading and the want to give back what I received from the authors I read - An escape.

2. I became interested in the tarot early in life. My first experience was with playing cards. You'd be surprised how accurate of a reading you can get from ordinary playing cards, but Tarot Cards bring much more insight and are easier to read.

3. I am a big fan of Prince and the Revolution, not the artist formally known as.

4. My favorite writers are Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Koontz.

5. I completed one novel four years ago. This novel sits in a box waiting for attention. But, the writing of the novel brought about great changes in me and my life. It may never see the light of day but it will never leave my possession.

6. I love to watch action movies and comedies, especially if they star Bruce Willis.

7. I am a cat lover, but do not own a cat during this time in my life.

I see nothing in the rules that say these bloggers have to be writers, so a few tarot blogs will appear in my list. I bestow this award onto, in no particular order, the following bloggers:

1. Aubrie, Flutey Words... A writer/flutist's ramblings about words and music.

2. Lynnette Labelle, Chatterbox Chitchat A Writer's Outlook on the Craft of Writing, Getting Published, and the Big One...Life.

3. Christiane, Cosmic Faery's Journal of Wisdom and Wonder, Reflections and Musings on Tarot, Magick and Spirituality.

4. Douglas Gibb, Tarot Eon, A Tarot Blog - Tarot Tutorials, Tips and Techniques.

5. Alyssa Ast, The Writer's Block

6. Kim Smith, Writing Space

7. Cherie Reich, Surrounded by Books, The life of an aspiring writer and library assistant.

8. L.M. Lawrence, When words come together to evoke emotion.

9. Tara McClendon, Eye Feathers.

10. Manda, 78 Whispers in my Ear, A(mostly)Tarot blog by a mother and writer drifting through the universe.

Thank you all for sharing your insights and journeys with us.

the Artist's Way - Week Ten - Day Five

Workaholism is yet another block to consider.

This is one block that most artists do not see as a problem. We have to work right? But are you putting in extra just to keep from having time to do what you love? Are you volunteering for overtime, just to stay busy?

Do you work outside of office hours? Do you cancel dates with loved ones to do more work? Do you postpone outings till the deadline is over? Do you take work with you on weekends? Do your intimates complain that you always work?

Do you try to do two things at once? Do you allow yourself free time between projects? Do you place your creative dreams before work? Do you allow yourself downtime to do nothing?

One way to achieve clarity about where our time goes is to keep a daily checklist and record out time spent. One hour of creative playtime can go a long way to offsetting the workaholic's tendency to keep their dreams at bay.

Because workaholism is a process addiction, an addiction to a behavior rather than a substance, it is hard to tell when we are indulging in it.

Begin a list of what you do during the day. Keep up with list for at least a week.

Do you see areas that can be exchanged for creative play? Are the distraction tendencies obvious? Did you watch television for three hours, when you could have been creating? Did it take you an hour to clean house, when it could have been done in fifteen minutes? Are there tasks that could be assigned to other members of the household to free up your time?

the Artist's Way - Week Ten - Day Four


Sometimes artists dwell on their failures. It is time to recognize what you have accomplished. Accomplishments may be big or small. The point is you've done this and are capable of doing more.

List 5 small victories you've made in your life.

1. Began a new life for myself.
2. Became more active in my writing.
3. Obtained a good job.
4. Established a healthy relationship.
5. Discovered myself through the help of tarot.

What have you accomplished? How does it feel? To think, you were only thinking of those failures, yet you've come a long way, haven't you?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm determined to get back in the swing of things. And slowly it is working out. If only there were more hours in the day, more could be accomplished.

I have a few short stories that I sent out last year that were rejected. I'm working on getting each of them reworked and back out there in hope of publication.

Earlier this week, I submitted my short story 'Forever Friends' to Shroud Magazine.

I am working on another short story, previously rejected, in hopes of completing in time to submit to Shroud's Halloween issue. Cross some fingers for me.

the Artist's Way - Week Ten - Day Three


Make a quick list of things you love. These will be happiness touchstones for you.

List at least ten items and post it where it can console you and remind you of your own personal touchstones.

I Love...

My life
My boyfriend
My new home
My accomplishments thus far
Helping others through tarot readings
Chinese food
Learning new things
Oh and did I mention my Life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Ten - Day Two

There are two blocks that you may not recognize as blocks. These are competitions and originality.

Entering competitions is fine, but don't write with the focus of being better than another. Each writer is different and each will find they are best at certain areas of the craft. Striving toward being the best that you can be is a great goal, but don't judge this progress by any others work.

This leads us to the second block, originality. There is no original story anymore. We are merely seeing the old brought into new light. If you worry about being original, remember that it is the process of creating that is original, for your way will be different from any others. You are the origin of your art.

Do you suffer from these blocks? If you do, take a moment and explore ways of overcoming these blocks.

I will confess I have suffered from both of these blocks to a certain extent.

Monday, July 19, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Ten - Day One

Week Ten - Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

Creativity is energy that flows through us. When we are clear about - who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely. When we resist, we often suffer from a shaky and out of control feeling. We want to shut down this free flowing vibe and recover a sense of control.

We block.

Each artist will reach for different blocks. As we become more aware of out blocking devices, the block will no longer work effectively. It takes grace and courage to surrender our blocking devices. They have become our companions, our crutch, and our friends when we experience the anxiety of being out of control.

Make a list of possible blocks. Which one makes you angry or upset at even thinking of giving it up? This will be the most important one to face and be rid of.

Possible blocks are: Food, work, sex, love obsessions, drugs, alcoholism, friends, family,. These blocks are where you turn when you become anxious or panicky. They are there when you need an excuse not to be creative.

List as many as you can think of and take your time to explore all possibilities.

1. I have a tendency to think about housework right in the middle of the flow of words.

2. I need a cigarette is another favorite interruption.

3. My coffee cup is empty is right there with that cigarette.

Some will consider the cigarette and perhaps even the coffee a type of drug. And these are items that can both block you mentally and physically.

What do you use to block yourself from creating?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taking the Week Off

I hate to do this in the middle of the Artist's Way, but it has to be done.

I'm working a lot of hours at my day job and I just started a writing course at the Writer's Village University.

I've tried for many years to get into the free course, F2K, and this year I finally made it. I've been told wonderful things about the courses at this site. I'll let you know of my experience. It is an eight week course and the talent 'so far' seems to be abundant.

I've also been trying to get a few of my rejected stories back out there in Editor Land. I should be posting submission updates soon. I'm even having trouble fitting this into my schedule.

The Artist's Way should be back next week, but I won't make any promises. It all depends on my work schedule, which changes from day to day.

Keep writing your daily pages. They are important and something you should continue even after you've completed your journey with the Artist's Way. Till next week, have a great week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Nine - Day Seven

Play Time

If you are a published writer, you most likely have a writing schedule with writing deadlines. It's hard to find the fun, when you are rushing toward that last minute when an assignment is due.

Take a moment and find the fun.

For at least 30 minutes, write something that is fun. This can be a poem, a short story, or even a character profile. Write this with no intentions of sending it out for publication. Write for the fun of it.

If your artist's way is of another creative venture, adapt this exercise. Artists - paint something with no intention of it being a master piece. Just have fun.

The point is to do this exercise with no goal in mind. Free yourself from obligations and just have fun.

(Note: anyone following this course along with the book will notice that some of these exercises are not included in the text. I'm adding them to the course to fill the seven days.)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Nine - Day Six

Create Your Play Place

Look at your work area. Does it say fun or does it say business? Writing should always have a fun aspect to it. Looking at it as work, takes the joy out of the day.

Add at least one fun aspect to your work area today.

1. Character photos
2. A Stuffed animal
3. Colorful story charts
4. A symbol to your writing, something genre related. Do you write children's stories? Add a fun toy to your work station. Do you write horror? How about a movie poster of your favorite horror flick?Do you write mysteries? Add a book by your favorite author to your work station.

These are a few suggestions. They are not for distraction but for motivation and a reminder that writing is fun and rewarding.

Friday, July 9, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Nine - Day Five

The Artist's Totem

This item can be a doll, a wind-up toy, a stuffed animal, or even a painting. Pick something that you immediately feel a protective fondness for.

Give your totem a place of honor, and then honor it by not beating up on your artist's child.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Nine - Day Four


As mentioned during Day One, many artists find themselves taking U-turns in their creativity. They sabotage their chance of success for fear of failure.

Thank back at your writing and the steps you've taking so far. Have you taken a U-turn somewhere? Started a story but never finished? Refused to change something an editor wanted changing? Have you quit writing all together, because of someone else's opinion?

Name three U-turns you have taken and forgive yourself for all failures. Consider rather any of this U-turns can still be corrected. Can that unfinished novel be completed? Is the story you refused to change unpublished?

Pick one of your U-turns, retrieve it, and mend it.

Refuse to take anymore U-turns and face up to your fears. It's time to move forward and find success.

1. At a younger age, I gave up writing all together. I blamed it on time, situation, and whatever you can think of. It was fear of what others would think and of not knowing exactly how to go about getting into the field of writing. (Internet was a wonderful tool to pull me back in. Anything you need to know can be found from where you sit. Yes, it can be a distraction also, but that is where balance comes in.)

2. After I finished my first novel, I basically quit writing for the most part. I blamed it on not knowing what I was doing. I had this novel that just didn't seem to work. Looking back, I'm now aware of how much I learned from that piece of work, and that I should have dug right back in with everything learns. Instead, I bought how-to books and read. I ended up more confused than before. (This is when I began working with short stories.)

3. I attended National Novel Writing Month and created a wonderful story, but because of the rush it was a mess - scenes thrown out of place for the sake of word count, and thoughts thrown in for extra word count. The mess was so huge that the thought of weeding through it sent me yet again to the how-to books. I wasn't as confused this time, but I was still delaying the writing process and pretty much quit writing again.

Well, I didn't really think that I had U-turns but there are three.

I have begun weeding through the NANO novel, but its size continues to detour me. Baby steps must be considered here. I've also began writing again and polishing the stories that came before to send them out to market.

Have you made U-turns? Recognizing them can help you avoid the next U-turn that shows up in your path.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Nine - Day Three


It's easier to believe what you can see.

Name a goal, in present tense. Describe yourself doing your goal, the ideal scene. Read your description out loud and post it at your work area. Reread daily.

Collect actual pictures of yourself and combine them with magazine images to collage the scene as you have described. Post at your work station.

I've read this next technique more than once. Create a book jacket of your work in progress and cover a book by your favorite artist. Keep the book near your work station as a reminder of things to come. This is a great motivational tool.

For those of you already published, keep your published works in sight for motivation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Nine - Day Two

Read through your morning pages.

You learn a lot while writing the morning pages, but you can learn more by rereading them and reflecting on your progress.

Monday, July 5, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Nine - Day One

Recovering a Sense of Compassion

One must learn to call things and ourselves by the right name. Blocked artists are not lazy. They actually expend a lot of energy, just not productive energy. They use energy in areas of negativity. The blocked artist is not guilty of laziness, but fear. They fear what is before them, failure, and abandonment.

Most artist travel the road toward creativity with a sense of guilt. Guilt of letting others down, guilt of not doing what their parents wish, and guilt of not doing what needs to be done. This guilt drives an artist toward the belief that they have to be great artists. A second rate career will not do. This pressure causes fear.

The journey must be taken with baby steps and the artist's child should be rewarded.

Procrastination is caused by fear and the antidote is baby steps.

People sometimes say that it takes great discipline to be an artist. In truth, it is enthusiasm that keeps an artist working. Without enjoyment, one cannot push themselves to show up at the work place each day.

An artist needs to think of their work place as a play place. Make your work area fun. Remember you are working with your child within. Create your work area to make it fun for him/her.

Another disruption in an artist's life is creative U-turns. You sabotage your own work out of fear. You've reached the end of a project and all you need to do is edit the piece, but you don't. Your manuscript has been accepted, but some minor changes need to be done, but you don't do them. Fear causes these U-turns, along with anger and resentments.

This next exercise is to help you blast through the blocks, and function free of resentments and resistance.

Before you begin a project ask yourself these questions. When work becomes difficult ask yourself these questions.

1. List any resentments, or angers, you may have in connection with the project. It doesn't matter how trivial they are. To your child they are major.

2. List any fears about the projected piece of work and/or anyone related to it. Again, they can be dumb, but they are monsters to your child.

3. Ask yourself if that is all and list any additional angers or fears.

4. What do you stand to gain by not completing the project?

5. Make a deal. Okay creative force, you take care of the quality, I'll take care of the quantity. Make a copy of this and post it in your work area.

Angers/Resentments - It seems every story I write, someone has something bad to point out about it. Sometimes the critiques of others seem picky and irrelevant.

Fears - What if no one likes the story? What if I've written a bad story? What if I just can't write a decent story? What if I spend all this time on a dream that cannot come true?

Gains by not completing - No one will ever know I can't write. I can't be rejected. I won't have to edit. I'll have more time to do other things.


In the gains section, I almost wrote that I can't fail, but this would have been completely wrong. By not trying, by not going after your dreams, you automatically fail. Wouldn't you rather fail while trying, rather than never trying at all?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eight - Day Seven

With your actions set in writing, begin to follow through on your plan.

If you have a list of what you need to do rather than a scheduling system, mark a few items off. Do at least one thing today to move forward toward your Landmark.

Have a great Fourth of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eight - Day Six

Okay, time to get some concrete actions down that move toward your stepping stones.

I've been thinking about this all day and how I've had so much trouble keeping up with a set schedule. I think maybe the problem is that I'm filling up all my free hours with tasks and then when I fall behind, there goes the schedule. So, it's time to make the tasks smaller, therefore eliminating the chance for failure.

I also have a goal to become more active in my tarot reading. So, I have two walkways to create. But here we will stick to the writing.

Baby steps = achievement

I'm not saying make the steps so small it's ridiculous, just small enough that you know you can do it. Once the habit is there, then you can increase a little at a time.

My action plan to my first stepping stone: 1 year - one completed novel, short stories in progress and in the submission phase

Weekly word goal - 1800 words
Editing time - 3 hours per week

Again, this may need work and could perhaps be easily increased. Over the next few weeks, it is my goal to produce a workable schedule that can be accomplished without too much stress. By allotting time to the areas of my week where I know I can find the time for quiet and solitude, I can reduce the chances of failing. Therefore, allow myself to move forward rather than walk into that stone wall of failure.

Those of you, who have to carve out your quiet time, do so carefully to avoid pitfalls. That Monday night show that everyone sits down to watch. Let the family watch while you silently tuck yourself away in your writing space. They will be busy and you will be free to create.

Good luck with your plans to reach your stepping stones.

Friday, July 2, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eight - Day Five

Now it's time to create a plan. Allow your mentor to guide you toward your landmark.

Where do you wish to be in 5 years, in 2 years, in a week? Multiple landmarks can form stepping stones for your career.

My walkway:

5 year - three published novels, multiple published short stories, and a few published poems

2 year - second completed novel, one novel in query stage, and multiple published short stories.

1 year - one completed novel, short stories in progress and in the submission phase

Now - novel in progress, short stories in progress and in submission phase

Okay, the walkway may need a little work along the way but this is a start. Tomorrow let's lay the plans for the walkway. Set some needed actions in place that lead toward each stone.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eight - Day Four

Examine your dream more closely. Look at the Landmark you've chosen. Does it truly signal the accomplishment of your goal to you?

Now, select a role model. This should be someone who has accomplished your dream. What would your role model say to you to help direct you toward your landmark? An affirmation may be a good idea here.

My Role Model: If you follow my blog, you already know this one.
Stephen King

Write, write, and when you get tired, write some more.

The secret to a good story is getting it down and then polishing it until it shines.

The definition of Rejection is not this time. Always remember, that this time is right around the corner.

Word and Phrase Frequency

You've written your story and now it's time to edit.

One of the processes of editing is removing reoccurring words and phrases. But, how do you do this and do it right?

Some writers use programs to single out these occurrences. Others may do it by sight or by reading out loud. This is a process that one must develop as an individual writer.

I'm giving it a shot with a program called Textanz.

My first run shocked me. I couldn't believe that I had repeated phrases within the same paragraph. This was a real eye opener. It is human nature to repeat things, and it will show in your writing.

How do you edit Word and Phrase Frequency?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eight - Day Three


Ask yourself what action you can take this year to move closer. What action can you take this month, this week, today, now?

My list of actions:

This year - write and submit more.
This month - write a short story and resubmit old ones.
This week - Write at least a thousand words.
This day - re-edit and submit a story sitting on desk collecting dust
Now - get started editing that story and write at least 250 words

At this point, it is not necessary to follow through on these actions. This is just the first step of creating your action plan.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eight - Day Two

You have named your dream; now let's get it within target.

Choose one concrete landmark that signals its accomplishment.

What would signify to you that you have accomplished your dream?

My Landmark: A publication in a print magazine.

Now, I'm not belittling the online magazines. I just feel that holding the story in my hand would really hit it home to me that I accomplished what I set out to do.

That's it for today, see you tomorrow.

the Artist's Way - Week Eight - Day One

Recovering a Sense of Strength

Life is about survival, which usually points to losses. A loss should be disguised as a gain. You should ask yourself, what can I gain from this loss? Ask what's next, rather than why me. Don't take no as a final answers.

It's easier to say I have learned, or I have created. But the artist's focus should be on the process not the product.

Each journey begins with a small step.

Many blocked creators think about their dreams on large scales and the outlook of changing their whole life to fit in to the dream. This form of grand thinking is usually their on undoing. By setting the jump to high and the price tag too great, the recovering artist sets defeat into motion. Break it into small steps and they turn into accomplishments.

This week is going to be a little different. I've picked out one of the exercises and broken it down into seven steps. If you are following in the book, you will notice that my version takes us a little further than the one in the book. Let's see how far we can go in a week with this.

Name Your Dream

What is your dream? Do you want to be in a Hollywood play, write a bestselling novel, or produce a short story? Whatever it is, no matter how big or how small, give it a name, a voice. That's it for today.

My Dream: To become a published author.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Seven - Day Seven

Take the Day off.

Don't do anything you have to do, only things you want to do. Enjoy life!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Seven - Day Six


Take yourself into a sacred place, a church, a library, a grove of trees and allow yourself time to experience the silence of healing solitude.

Friday, June 25, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Seven - Day Five

Enjoyment and Relaxation

Give yourself a time out to listen to twenty minutes of music just for the enjoyment.

the Artist's Way - Week Seven - Day Four

Archeology, let's do some digging. This should be fun.

Finish these sentences:

As a kid, I missed the chance to
As a kid, I could have use
As a kid, I dreamed of being
As a kid, I needed more
For years, I’ve missed and wondered about

My answers:

As a kid, I missed the chance to be in group activities.
As a kid, I could have use self-confidence.
As a kid, I dreamed of being a writer, a model, and a dancer.
As a kid, I needed more parental support.
For years, I’ve missed and wondered about old friends.

the Artist's Way - Week Seven - Day Three

Count your blessings.

Finish these sentences:

I have a loyal friend in
Writing my morning pages has shown me that I can
My artist has started to pay more attention to
I’m taking a greater interest in
Possibly, my creativity is

My answers:

I have a loyal friend in Alisyn.
Writing my morning pages has shown me that I can accomplish whatever I set out to do.
My artist has started to pay more attention to the world around me, especially animal behavior.
I’m taking a greater interest in the universe and spirituality.
Possibly, my creativity is growing to bounds I've never thought possible.
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