• April is National Poetry Month!

    Prose writers can click here to find one way to honor their poetry fellows. See what Pacific Northwest poets are doing in April here.
  • I’m a writer, too!

    On 12.01.09, I estimated that I had about 32,000 words left to write to complete my first draft of the opening book in my paranormal mystery series, THE LOST & FOUND.

    Here's my progress updated 2.12.10:

    33% of 32,000 (10,648 wds)
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Registration open! “Silencing the Critic” Online Class

WRAIN 500: Silencing the Critic (group strategies for dealing with the inner critic)  Sign up here
Level:
all
Duration: Three sessions of live interaction supplemented by handouts from instructor
Format: Online/Interactive
Dates:September 13 through 27 (Sundays, time windows: TBD)
Description: In this three-week interactive workshop, you’ll use your time to discuss the inner critic: how it manifests in your life and what to do about it. Participants are expected to join in all 3 live private chats, which I will moderate and direct, and will be given “homework” which essentially assists with behavior modification and awareness of negative self-talk issues. During these chats, you will be expected to answer specific questions related to your inner critic and offer brief responses to your “homework” assignments. My aim is to use the very small and focused live group discussion to show participants that they are not alone, that they all have good solutions to share, and that together we, as writers, can help each other through the pitfalls of the creative life.
                This class is appropriate for all creative people at all levels of ability. My specific focus will reflect creativity coaching training I’ve received from the Eric Maisel program. Handouts will cover different aspects of the inner critic. This class is limited to 6 members and will meet with me through a private platform online initially, then again in the live forum. There is an orientation period so that participants can familiarize themselves with both the platform (which is pretty easy to use) and the live forum feature. Participants are encouraged to be honest and open-minded about their problems with the inner critic in this safe, private, and nurturing environment.
               Live chats will occur on Sundays; chat meeting time will be determined after class fills. Homework and handouts discussed at live chat. This workshop will be offered again in January 2010.
Texts/materials: Announced once class is filled
Price/Payment Form:$75; PayPal
Registration Deadline: August 30 Sign up here
Class Min/Max: 3/6
Platform orientation: September 6

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Link Love: the blogs that help me as a Creativity Coach

It’s good to show gratitude from time to time, so allow me to share some links to blogs that have really helped me as a Creativity Coach.

  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest my mentor Eric Maisel’s Creativity Central.
  • Elsewise Media seems endless in its wisdom regarding the creative life. 
  • Goodlife Zen: This blog is relevant, positively focused, and quite useful for getting at the root of creativity problems.
  • Seth’s Blog: I love to follow visionaries for their ability to identify potential on both macro- and microcosmic levels. I count Seth up there with the best of them.
  • Time to Write: Jurgen Wolff is a model inspiration: he writes, he teaches, he speaks, he delves into new media, and he manages it all with grace and a great sense of humor.
  • Tiffany Colter of Writing Career Coach always seems to hit on something that’s been hovering inside my own radar.
  • Leo at Zen Habits manages to keep it fresh, with a focus on productivity.

July dispatch: Want fan mail?

You could “get” even if you didn’t “give,” but why would you miss out on praise from Ms. Manners?

Why you should write fan letters to your favorite authors

Creative solutions for the writer who doesn’t want to be yet another Voice in the Dark

Something that’s been coming up a lot with my other clients: marketing issues. These boil down as follows:

  • submitting short work
  • finding agents
  • considering self-publication
  • considering electronic publishing
  • finding venues for reading
  • making webpages
  • building reputations through P2P (person to person) networking
  • online social networking
  • maximizing Twitter

Are you struggling with any of these concerns? They seem so “business-like,” and yet, as a creative person, you have the right foundation for making these things work on terms that mesh with your creative life.

I’ve co-hosted a writers’ marketing group for years and many of the things we learned as a group can be applied across disciplines.

I’m no marketing guru, per se, but I know how to find ways to balance the creativity life with the necessary work of promotion and networking yourself.

I’m a firm believer that we make or do things to communicate with the larger world; it’s an existential question as to whether it matters to be creative if nobody notices. For me, and for most of the people I’ve worked with as clients, it definitely matters that people notice; otherwise, we’re just voices in the dark.

These days, the marketing models are changing as well, and social networking is becoming a great equalizer, making it possible for people to generate platforms of followers/fans/connections that are responsive to their creative work in a way that the old corporate framework never really supported.

Do let me know if this is an area where you are challenged or want to learn more about, and give me some details of what it is that you are challenged by or what you have already done but would like to do more of. I’m happy to discuss, perhaps even to demystify or de-stigmatize, this “business-side” application of your creativity.

Taking new clients August 1.

Creative things I did this weekend that helped my writing life

  • Gardening (as always): I worked out an idea for an article that has nothing at all to do with gardening.
  • Recipe clipping and organizing: I worked out an idea for a future cookbook project I’ve been wanting to put together for a while now.
  • Making refrigerator pickles: I worked out a scene in my current novel-in-progress that’s based on the pickling process.
  • Preparing dinner for a friend who just had surgery: More ideas developed for a future cookbook project.
  • Reading a good book: It taught me what kind of book I’d like to write and that my current book projects aren’t really like that, but they are fine as they are.
  • Watching movies: Let’s see, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Strictly Ballroom. By the former, I am reminded that people adore “the stuff of legends” (which corresponds with the good reading I did this weekend), and I am reminded that I have much to learn from Australian and Spanish film and
  • Organizing the next 25 days so that I can start my work hiatus promptly on the 21st of June: Building up the tension of sorely missed writing time, which is necessary to get an earnest start on delayed work on novels, stories, submissions and the nonfiction book I’m overdue to write.

There you go. You don’t need to rent a cabin in the woods to work out the problems in your work-in-progress. You just need to go about the business of living. It’ll come to you if you keep your writer’s radar on at all times.

Old dogs, listen up: it’s all about the new tricks

This cheered me up tremendously today, on a gloomy day following a WTF?? day of feeling simultaneously shot down and overexploited.

From LifeHacker.com
“Developing new habits can jumpstart our creativity and even help us grow new brain cells, reports the New York Times. Research by authors Dawna Markova and M. J. Ryan suggests that stretching—but not stressing—yourself can develop your mind and creative skills.”

Well, I’m nothing if not keen on trying out new habits. I like change, I like mixing things up. The challenge, for me, is in doing it in a way that doesn’t throw the whole world into a tailspin. Which is where I’m feeling today.

Time for a nap.

RE: Sneak out to sneak in writing time

I remember back in the 90s when Joyce Carol Oates came to suburban Chicago to speak for the public library literary series, and she’d said something about writing in secret. That is to say, she would treat her writing life, sometimes, as a dark and lurid little practice that only she knew about.

Well, of course, we know that Joyce is probably writing something right now, given her prolific nature. So it’s no secret to us that she’s a writer. Still, the idea that she would sneak around to write is rather pleasing to me.

I snuck out twice to write this week. Tuesday, I skipped a writing group AND a poetry slam, packed my laptop to a favorite coffeehouse, plugged in, and wrote for 2 hours (had a cup of soup, good bread, and iced tea). And yesterday, I dropped my daughter off at school and popped into another coffee joint not far from her school, then wrote for another 2 or so hours (had a latte) before coming home and taking off the rest of the workday.

You know, I get so much more writing done on my own projects (in this case, a novel in the heat of a huge revamp) when I take them on the lam, when I sneak out to sneak in some writing time. I had an equally productive writer’s weekend in February and look forward to another solid week of writing retreat time in July. Okay, those were not-so-sneaky writing forays. Still.

I never get out of the house enough, as it is. I do all my work here, in this office, which isn’t a bad space at all, but which seems to be less productive a space when I need to work on, say, novel revisions. It’s likely because I do so much work-work here (editing, project management, mentoring, email) that by the time I take care of that business, there’s no energy left to take care of my creative business.

So you caught me paying attention, and what have I learned? That the purchase I made last winter, of a fashionable laptop bag, was one of the best buys of the year. It’s easy to pop in my laptop, grab a power supply, and hop down to the local java hub. It’s in black. BRILLIANT IDEA: I think I’ll buy myself another in something more summery as a reward for completing these novel revisions.

Okay, so I’ve given myself three new motivations to complete my novel. The thrill of sneaking off to do something secret + more time away from my office + groovy new laptop bag.

Life is good. TGIF.

I can’t tell you just how satisfied I feel this week, knocking down revisions on about 40 pages in just two covert efforts. I predict I’ll be sneaking around a lot more in the days to come. Perhaps in the two hours that precede my daily afternoon chauffeuring of children? These are not otherwise the most productive times of my day. Why the heck not?