Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

“What is Your Goal This Year”

Saturday, February 4th, 2012
Double rainbow seen on the way to Santa Fe

Double rainbow seen on the way to Santa Fe

I’m posting this article by C. Hope Clark. I subscribe to her newsletter at – and y’all might like it. This particular article has blown off my socks. Thank you, Hope Clark, from Barbara Mayfield.


Nope, this is not another New Year’s resolution piece.
I simply want you to define, in one sentence, what you
hope to accomplish in 2012 . . . with your writing.

Sounds simple, but many writers can’t do this. They
actually fight it. Focusing on writing might mean they’re
accountable, when many writers want the freedom of no
deadlines or parameters. After all, isn’t that the definition
of an artist? Complete freedom of expression?

The problem is, most people cannot function when they have
no limitations. How do they know when to do something?
When is it due, or late, or accomplished? Then others make
lists, spreadsheets and notes on calendars. Benchmarks and
tallies. And that’s as far as they get.

Pick one project that will represent you well in 2012.
Then center your world around it.

Let’s say . . . write a novel.

When you’re enticed to enter a contest, don’t do it, unless
it’s for a novel. When you see a retreat, don’t go, unless
you go to write the novel. When you attend a conference,
only go to further your novel. When you see a Chicken Soup
that catches your fancy, only do it if you’ve already worked
on your novel for the day.

Nothing gets done unless it’s affiliated with the novel.

What if you write magazine articles?

Quit reading about self-publishing. Quit puttering with
short stories. Put aside the poetry. You are a magazine
writer. It’s what you breathe each day. You have magazine
editors on your Twitter account, and scout for them to
mention their needs. You read magazine blogs leaving
comments in hopes of being recognized by the editor.
You pitch to print, online and blog editors, trying to
break in from any angle.

Focus and diligence. We hear it all the time. But all too
often it’s only after we drop in the bed and take note
of our day, that we realize we let it slip by. We didn’t
touch the novel. We didn’t find a new magazine market.

But we’re multifaceted creatures. Fine. Just keep your
priorities. Don’t play and dabble in other writing until
after you’ve worked. Your 2012 project is your job.

Build a fire under your 2012 project. It’s the only
thing on your horizon. It’s difficult, but if practiced,
by the end of the year, you’ve become an expert and
accomplished enough to be proud of.

Define your 2012 goal. Then use it to define yourself.

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First Day at Writing Group

Monday, January 2nd, 2012
Writing desk

My desk, given to me by Kate Van Roeken, the first "Mrs. Iptweet" I'd ever met.

I wandered into the Writing Group about 13 years ago, when it  was a children’s book writing class held in the home of author Jennifer Owings Dewey. I’d brought five very short stories with me. My first five ever. Long-story-short: Jennifer and Deb and Catherine and Nadine and Janie welcomed me. They liked the stories a lot. I thought that meant the stories were perfect and complete and I was a genius. Wow, writing is easy.

I know now that the kindness was a ploy! After that first day, I was gently but thoroughly whipped into shape. I had sloppy habits from writing for the stage. As a comedienne, I needed only the barest written outline of my routines. Who needed specifics? My hands, voice, body, and especially my eyebrows, would fill in the gaps on stage. And I left myself lots of room for improvisation.

In class, I was made aware of my “habit” words and phrases. I was taught the golden rule of writing: SHOW-DON’T-TELL. It was explained that DETAILS ARE EVERYTHING. And five million other very important writing tools. What a workout.

 Those first five stories became The Magical Mrs. Iptweet and Me, my first book.

Mrs. Iptweet is a middle-grade novel, the first in a series. Azro Press published it in 2009. It has won three awards. It would not exist but for the love, encouragement, badgering and unrelenting honesty of my writing group.

I’m working on formatting the manuscript for an e-book now, as well as writing the next books in the Iptweet series. More about that another time.


I like to stall, procrastinate and delay my writing as long as possible. I am not sure why. Once I am in the flow, nothing feels better. Sometimes I think stalling is just part of the process and I can relax already and mark down some writing times onto my calendar and it’s okay if something comes up and I move it to the next day or week. It’s okay if I am busy over the holidays, or don’t feel like writing.

Other times I think I am tragically flawed and will never amount to anything. I work myself up into a lather. This is good because lathers drive me to look at what I’m doing and see the avoidance and fear. Oh, an entire blog could be written about the fears. For me, now, it boils down to….

  1. Maybe all my best stories are already written, and
  2. How can I top Book One?

My way of getting past this crap is to take Drastic Action. I call a writer friend and say let’s do a two-week experiment. Let’s meet everyday for two hours at a cafe and write. And we do and I get so much writing done. Stories show up on the page even on days when I feel restless, bored or uninspired. I have had to face it: I need the company. I need another person to sit with for a while – about two weeks. Then I can write at the old home desk again, on my own. I’m back in the Inspired Flow…. until I’m not again, and more Drastic Action is required. Hey, whatever it takes.

The other thing I notice is that when I show up for the Flow of Stories, every other part of my life gets better, too. The Flow of Stories somehow flips on the Flow of Life switch. It’s pretty wild.