Writers’ Retreats and Why They’re Good for You

I took this picture on the beach, a few minutes' walk away from the cabin where I and three fellow writers retreated for three nights and four days (last Thursday through Sunday) that we dedicated to writing.  You do not have to be rich to go on a writing retreat.  We've used cabins that belonged to friends.  You do not have to be a brilliant established writer to go a…

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Write for Those You’ll Impact

Today, I'm prepared to delve into the emotional side of writing.  It's my homage to the holiday.  Valentine's Day, at least in our culture, has been dedicated to red paper hearts, flowers, creme-filled chocolates, expensive dinners and anything else you can put a Hallmark icon on.  Then there's the flip side of Valentine's Day for all those singles out there--and though that's not me anymore, I've been there…

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Write Hard, Rest Hard

Not writing is good for your writing.  I mean it. This weekend I dropped my normal writing routine and got out of town for a two night escape with a bunch of friends.   We stayed in a cabin surrounded by snow, mountains, and sweet-smelling, air.   A drastic change in routine can work like pure magic.  It reminds my body that it exists to live fully, not simply to fulfill…

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Music Calms the Savage Breast…and Whets the Creative Knife

Give a song lyric and a one sentence pitch for what your story is about.  This was the prompt that lead me to enter the writing contest hosted by Larry Brooks at www.Storyfix.com The idea inspired me.  Writing contests are great practice for presenting yourself, but it's even better when they stir something inside you.  A week later I was in for a delightful surprise. I sifted through the words…

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We Are All the Same: A Review of The Golden Theme

"We are all the same." This is the core principle of Brian McDonald's second book, The Golden Theme, and a fascinating exploration into why certain stories resonate with us as human beings. This book reads differently than his first book Invisible Ink, which at first surprised me.  Invisible Ink feels much like a teaching handbook with insightful exercises and examples.  The Golden Theme spoke on a literary level…

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The Four Agreements of Writing

Universal wisdom should apply universally, thus good advice should (most of the time) apply to good writing.  I stumbled upon this idea in a previous post as I considered the importance of keeping my word when I say I will do something.  Not only does the phrase "keeping my word" include "word" in its phrase and thus hint toward the occupation of weaving and crafting words, but it underlines…

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Painting is Related to Writing Fiction?

A friend of mine recently noticed that a painting in my dining room was an original with my name in the corner.  He told me that he wanted to know more about the part of me that studied and loved painting,  not just the isolated section of me that identifies with stories and being a wordsmith. Another friend asked me, how does my love for painting,…

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Six Elements of Writing a Scene

I recently encountered a technique for fleshing out a scene that has blown my mind with its insightful attention to detail.  Whether writing the scene for the first time or rewriting it because it needs more substance or just plain rewriting the scene because something isn't working, this technique can be used for any of these purposes. I have a tendency to sink heavily into one or two of the six…

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The Great Balancing Act

How in the world am I supposed to write, rewrite, edit, market myself, blog, find an agent, network and find time for the seemingly hundreds of things that writers are "supposed to do" in order to establish themselves and win the great trophy of the title published?  (For those of you who can relate to this, it may be an appropriate time to tear at your hair).…

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Concrete vs. Conceptual

All right everyone, put on your thinking caps.   I'm considering the ways we prefer to be inspired. At a WOTS steering committee meeting last night we were debating the theme for our next year's writing contest.  Entrants are given a word or phrase which they must use to form their work of fiction, poetry or non-fiction. Last night we narrowed our choices down to two words, which for now shall be locked away in my secret…

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