Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Writing advice and tips (page 1 of 2)

The Comparison Trap for Writers

Last week, I shared how much the book, video, and study group for The Comparison Trap positively influenced my life. I wanted to share with you a post I did for WOW! Women On Writing about how much comparison can hurt writers or any creative types! Here is the post I wrote on comparison and writing for The Muffin. (So…this is a re-post!)

I have been in a book study called The Comparison Trap by Sandra Stanley. In this study, we talk about how people, women especially, are terrible about comparing themselves to others, and this causes a lot of discontent and negative behavior. It causes broken relationships and broken spirits. Before taking this class and doing this study, I didn’t realize how often I compared myself to other women and felt like I wasn’t measuring up; or worse, I made myself feel better when someone wasn’t as successful as me.

I am so thankful this study came into my life, and of course, I started thinking about it in terms of being a writer. Writers also compare themselves to others, and it can cause writer’s block, a giving-up attitude, and hurt feelings between writer friends.

Have you ever found yourself reading a Facebook announcement from your writing friend about finally securing a big New York agent and thinking that’s it, I’m done, no one will ever want to represent me?

Or how about your critique group member who received her 20th rejection, and you are secretly celebrating because at least you had an acceptance last month?

I know both of these scenarios sound like you are horrible person, and you don’t have to admit that you have thought this way, but you probably have. And you are not alone. It’s human nature, but it’s not helpful to you, your creativity, or your career.

So what do you do?

What I’m learning with this book study I mentioned above is that “There is no win in comparison.” Stop looking to the left or right. You need to look at yourself and your talent. Think of how you can reach your writing goals and how you can improve your craft. Focus on you and your writing–not your Facebook friend’s new book, not your critique group member’s literary award, and certainly not your favorite writer you’ve been following on Twitter when she makes the bestseller’s list.

This does not mean you don’t celebrate success with every writer you know. This simply means that when you find yourself starting to compare another writer’s success or failure with your own, stop. Just stop. Because it is really true that there is no win in comparison. But you can win when you improve yourself!

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What’s a Digital Nomad? 11 Tips for this Working Lifestyle

I work from home, although I do have a full-time job with an agricultural company. I can’t say I’m exactly a digital nomad, but I can work from my house or my favorite coffee shop or my parents’ house–you get it. Anywhere there’s Wi-Fi or I can use my phone as a hotspot. If you’re a writer, you also might be a digital nomad! Read this contributed article below for some helpful tips on this working lifestyle. 

Everything about the world is changing, and it’s due to one massive invention: the internet. It’s still too early to say exactly how big of an impact this complex system will have on humanity; but until now, the changes have been momentous. Nowhere is this felt more than the working world. Today, it’s possible to roll out of bed, open up your laptop, and earn your living, without having to ever set foot in an office or traditional workplace. This has spawned a generation of “digital nomads,” who can work anywhere in the world, providing they have access to the Internet. If you’re in a creative industry or involved in tech, then it’s possible that you might have this lifestyle. But how do you ensure that it’s all that it’s cracked up to be? Below, we take a look at 11 ways you can nail the digital nomad lifestyle.

Focus on your Profession

Yes, you might be driven by the idea of spending your working days on the beach, but that’s not the target; it’s the reward. If you want to be a successful digital nomad, then forget about all the perks – at least initially – and instead focus on doing your job well. It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re travelling the world, and you might find that your work begins to suffer. As a rule of thumb, always ensure that your work receives your most attention. You’ll enjoy those beach afternoons and fun excursions more if you know you’ve already performed your job well.

Get Your Finances In Order

If you haven’t already begun your digital nomad journey, but are considering it, then you’ll have a lot to look forward to. However, before you begin thinking about the freedom and other benefits of this lifestyle, you’ll need to get your finances in order. It’s likely that you’ll have to take a reduction in income – at least temporarily – if you’re leaving a salaried position. Before taking the plunge, make sure that you have a few month’s worth of income saved up, to give yourself a cushion. It’s possible to severely reduce your expenditures when you can live anywhere in the world, but don’t forget that the flights to get there aren’t cheap and will need to be factored into the cost, too.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

As we’ve just said, when you can live anywhere in the world (visa permitting), you have the option to have greater control of how much you spend when compared to someone who has to live in a certain place due to their work. While you might dream of living in, say, New York City or London, you’ll need to consider just how expensive these cities are. On the other hand, you might look at Bali, or a Thai island, where it’s possible to live very inexpensively. However, in certain places, the low cost of living may mean that you don’t have the same amenities (think, slow or unpredictable internet) as you would in places that are slightly more expensive.

Make Yourself Comfortable

While it might seem glamorous to always be on the move, to have the freedom to up and move whenever you feel like it, it’s worth considering the reality of a neverending tour. You’ll always feel like a traveller! To be at our best, and even just to enjoy travelling, we need to have periods where we’re sedentary. As such, in each destination, it’s best to have a rental house for a minimum of one month, though three or more months is ideal. In doing so, you’ll be able to settle into a rhythm, discover the local culture, and have the space to think about where you want to visit next.    

Find a Coworking Space

Now, one of the biggest draws of this lifestyle may have been the ability to work in your pjs, but the appeal of that could quickly wear off. Sometimes, it’s too difficult to get into “work mode” if you’re super comfortable and working from a place that you normally associate with relaxing. As such, look at getting a membership to a coworking space at each new city you visit. The prevalence of nomad workers means most hotspots have multiple options. Aside from giving you a place to work with reliable internet, they’ll also form the core of your social hub as you look to make new friends; this is especially important if you’re travelling by yourself.

Making Friends

We’ve just touched on the idea of making friends, which is one of the main worries that people have when they set out on this lifestyle. It’s natural to think: “I won’t find anyone to be friends with,” but this is a misguided thought! Places that draw nomad workers are usually very open and friendly, so you’ll quickly find yourself in the thick of an active social group. If you’re wondering how to find people, take a look at meetup.com and any expat Facebook groups for your destination.

Work/Life Balance

If you’re currently part of “the daily grind,” the process of commuting to work, putting in a long shift, and then driving home, we’ll just say that you’re going to love the nomad lifestyle. You’re your own boss! However, this does bring on some extra responsibilities – it means you’re in charge of creating your work/life balance. Knowing how to switch off is just as important as finding the motivation to switch on!

When to Move On

All good things must come to an end. You could spend six months in a place that most people would call “paradise,” but eventually, you might find that it’s not quite doing it for you anymore; and that to progress personally and professionally, you need to move on. This is the freedom you signed up for when you adopted the digital nomad lifestyle, but that doesn’t make moving on any more straightforward. We say: take the plunge and head somewhere new. If you’ve done it before, you’ll do it again, and it might lead to something much better. In any case, your current destination will always be there!

Keeping Up With Life

You’ll be a creation of your own world, but it’s worth keeping in mind that you still exist in “the real world.” It hasn’t forgotten about you! That means, you’ll have to make sure that you’re paying any taxes that you’re liable for, that you’re still paying off any debts you have back home, and so on. It’s a pretty rock and roll lifestyle…but there are still duties to be taken care of.

Remember: It’s Not All Fun and Games

There’s much to love about the nomad lifestyle, but it’s not perfect. There will be struggles in this life, just as there are struggles in every other type of life. It’s important that you take care of yourself, and that you don’t fall into a lifestyle that you weren’t planning. It’s easy, for example, to stay up all night when you have no obligation to get up in the morning! It’s also worth keeping in mind that you’ll find it beneficial to go home every now and again, just to remind yourself of where you came from.

Go Global

It’s never been easier to manage the logistics of international travel. Look at getting an international bank account, so that you don’t lose money due to exchange rates, and get a photo that’s set up for an international lifestyle.

Finally, remember to be bold: it takes a bit of bravery to make this lifestyle a success, but it’s oh so worth it!

 

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It’s a Writer’s World: How To Keep Yourself Motivated and Writing Well

(contributed article)

Being a writer is a creative, liberating and exciting career, which unleashes you into a whole different world within your mind. Sometimes writers discuss the downfalls of this job and the frustrations that can happen in a writer’s life. You can have a whole day of feeling completely blank and uncreative; you can wake up in the middle of the night with the most bizarre ideas, and you start working at crazy hours of the day, which can prevent you from attending a handful of social events with your friends. You can balance and overcome the obstacles in your writing life. Expand your knowledge, learn to take a break, and inhale new experiences; now is your chance to become the best writer you can be.

Handy Help

Do you have a burst of creativity in your mind but the words don’t quite come out in the right way? You might need to refine some of your language skills to allow your words to catch up to your creative thoughts. Websites, such as EffortlessEnglishClub.com , will provide you with all the handy hints you need to get your writing and English skills up to scratch. Perhaps you need a boost after a long break or your mind is super frazzled from a particularly busy time at work. It is never too late to learn and ask for help if you need it, so make the most of the resources that are available to you.

Clear Cognition

Do you have a method for clearing your mind and forgetting your troubles? You can’t expect yourself to write brilliant content if your brain is muddled up with colliding and puzzling thoughts. Take some time to relax each morning and clear your mind of the previous day’s tasks. Start each day fresh and go into your work with a calm and clear outlook. You will soon be able to produce magical words with a refreshed mindset.

Beautiful Breaks

Everybody needs a break now and then, whether it is half an hour to eat your lunch or a week on holiday after a tough month of work. Make sure you keep planning trips away or regular rests during your working day. Writers are often guilty of working around the clock, with very little time for a break. You need to recharge and reset in order to be productive, and we all need something to look forward to; it is often what keeps us motivated.

Explore and Experience

Never stop enriching your mind with new life experiences. Read books, travel to new places, and talk to interesting people. Our creativity is made up of the things around us that we have experienced, so always strive to keep your knowledge growing and your mind expanding.

It is your knowledge and daily experiences, which have shaped you into the writer you are today, so never stop expanding on them. You can free your mind of creative blocks and set yourself up for a successful career in writing

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3 Ways to Make the Writer’s Life Easier and More Fulfilling

(contributed article)

If you are a professional writer, you will probably be aware of the many trials and tribulations, which you can face on a daily basis. It is not necessarily an easy life to pursue, but there is great value in it; and it can be a surprisingly rewarding career path if you approach it in the right way. But it can be helpful to know what you can do to make it a little easier and more fulfilling, and that is what we are going to look into today. Following these pieces of advice will lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying life as a writer, so let’s take a look and see what they are.

Dedicating The Space

As with any kind of home business, you need to make sure that you have a proper dedicated space in order to make the most of it. This is certainly true for the professional writer, and you will probably find that one of your main tasks early on in your career is ensuring that you have a decent amount of space in your home in which you can work. This can be a spare bedroom, or a converted attic, or even–as with J.K. Rowling–a shed in the garden. However you do it, the important thing is that you have some kind of decent space in which you can work. Dedicate the space well, and it will mean that you can feel a lot more like a true professional, even if you are only just starting out.

Getting Rid Of Money Worries

Writers are often known to be particularly prone to worrying about money–especially making enough to cover bills. If this is true for you, then the obvious thing to do is to take a look at your finances in more detail and see what you can do to improve this situation. By focusing on your money, you can either free up your energies for the actual writing and the business of promoting yourself as a writer or find writing jobs that pay you more. One other thing you can do is focus on getting rid of your debt. Go to debtsettlement.co and see if you can find a way to deal with your debts quickly. This will be a great start to handling your money worries; but you might also want to put some effort into building a proper budget you can live by. With your money taken care of, you can put more energy into your writing.

Knowing Your Reader

It is essential to have a strong idea of who your average or ideal reader is before you get started, as this will encourage you to write in the proper manner for them. Having a good sense of your readership is essentially the same process as a business owner having a good idea of their target customer, and it is one way to improve your chances at making money and writing more for that audience. Get to know your reader, and it will really help you in the long run.

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Having a Home You Can Really Write In

If you consider yourself a writer, whether professionally or not, you will probably be keen on having a home, where you can practice your craft. It is especially important if it is your living, of course, and that goes for you bloggers, too. The eternal question of what makes the ideal writing space is something all writers have considered at some point. As it happens, there do seem to be a few key characteristics which most writers would agree are essential. Let’s take a look at how you might be able to find a home that you can actually write in for hours on end or create this environment in your own home.

A Quiet Area

If there is anything that many writers adore, it is peace and quiet. Being able to work in a quiet, uninterrupted space is often golden, and it’s one of the first things you should look into at your home. This will usually mean that you need to try and find a room with a door away from a busy street, as being overly distracted can really detract from your craft. If you are lucky enough to be starting fresh and looking for a home or a condo, then you might benefit from using the help of professionals. Find a real estate agent and tell them what you are looking for. They should be able to inform you of a few key areas, which are likely to have what you are looking for.

Comfort

What do you need to be comfortable when you write? Make a list and see what you can easily fulfill. When you are uncomfortable, it can make it incredibly hard to keep writing, and certainly to produce anything of real value. We have all probably had experiences of writing in cramped little rooms in small homes or even in dorm rooms. While there might sometimes be a certain charm to such places, they are much less likely to be good for your productivity levels. What is usually much more beneficial is somewhere that is able to provide a good level of comfort with a desk, proper lighting, and a comfortable chair. The more comfortable you are as you write, the less distracted you are. This will enable you to not only get more work done on the whole, but also make it more likely to produce good work, too. After all, quality is everything.

Space

It’s possible that you will feel a need for some space as well, or at the very least, a space that you can call your own. This is not just in terms of being able to stretch out or walk around while brainstorming, although that can be useful! It’s also about having room for the many tools that often go hand-in-hand with the writer’s life.. As a writer, you will almost certainly build up a cornucopia of relevant (and not so relevant) paraphernalia. Having the room to store all of your books, papers, brainstorming tools, pens, and so on will mean that you can feel much more at home in the space. That, in turn, can most likely lead to more writing, which is something that everyone can truly appreciate.

It’s a great feeling when you feel you can genuinely write in your home without any worries – and for the professional, it can even be essential. In your home, what is your writing space like? Have you changed it over the years? 

(contributed article)

If you are in need of editing services, I am having a sale. Check out my other site, http://www.editor-911.com here. Prices are good through 1/31/2018. 

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Stay at Home Writer? How Not To Become a Hermit

When you’re asked by a new acquaintance what it is that you do for a living, and you say that you’re a writer, you can almost hear the cogs turning in their brain and you can visualize the images that flicker into their mind. Immediately, they picture you at a desk in a dimly lit room, sitting behind a laptop. There’s something slightly sinister about the scene of the reclusive writer, a la The Shining. While all work and no play doesn’t send you quite as cuckoo as Jack Nicholson, the life of a writer can be solitary; and finding the time to venture outside of your four walls can be tricky. However, you must resist the urge to become a hermit. Take a look at these ideal activities that will see you up and out of the house and enhance your writing.

Book Clubs

It may sound a little cliche, but it’s true that the more you read, the better the writer you become. As you read reams of novels from umpteen different genres, writing styles, vocabulary and literary devices flood into your subconscious. If you’re able to link up with a local book club, you can network with fellow book enthusiasts. This new network of friends can be a great support if you ever suffer a bout of writer’s block or if you just fancy popping for a coffee after a hard slog on your penultimate chapter.

Courses

Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you can’t undertake professional qualifications related to your field of work. Research local creative writing courses in your area. You may find that there’s an evening class at a local college; or if you fancy something a little more formal, you could even enroll in a literature degree. If you feel that your English credentials are already top notch, you may want to branch out and take a look at studying something else that is wholly unrelated to writing but will keep your CV looking relevant. The latest top of the range VBA training classes or SEO introductory courses will keep your IT skills up to date, just in case you ever want to enter the world of full-time employment again.

Visit Schools

If you’ve been lucky enough to have had some of your work published, try and make links with some local schools. It doesn’t matter whether you write for children or adults, local education establishments will relish the opportunity of having a published author to engage and enthuse their students. You could take samples of your work, run a workshop, or create a school text in conjunction with the children. Sometimes, you are paid for these school visits. Make a name for yourself in this field, and you could effectively supplement your income from writing.

Becoming a writer is very much a vocation. The hours are long, you need supreme self-motivation, and the rewards aren’t instant. However, if you stay committed and break up some of your long spells at the laptop, you won’t ever run the risk of becoming the stereotypical writing recluse.

contributed article

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What Is Something You Wrote About That You Never Thought You Would?

(Some of this post originally appeared on WOW! Women On Writing in September 2017)

I know everyone who reads this blog is not a writer, but you have had to write in your life for college entrance essays, papers for school, journal entries, or exercises for professional development days. So, have you ever found yourself writing about a topic that you never thought you would? If you are a writer, I bet this has definitely happened to you because as we change and grow as a person, our writing also changes and grows.

When I decided to pursue writing as more than just a hobby, I was set on writing fiction for kids. Short stories, poetry, novels, picture books–whatever a kid, who loved fiction, would read, I wanted to write. I was naive and didn’t understand how the writing world worked–that nonfiction sells better. If you want a paycheck as a writer, you might have to write something else than your dream manuscript.

One thing I did right was find a critique group of writers who did not just write for children, who wrote essays, articles, adult novels, romance, horror, and more. I began to dabble in nonfiction and short stories for adults, and guess what? I was having fun! I didn’t give up my dream of writing fiction for kids, and I did publish 3 fiction books for kids and teens; but I also expanded my portfolio and wrote about some subjects and for some publishers that I never thought I would.

I wonder what some of  you have written about that you never thought you would. I’m curious what your story is, how you got where you are today, what you thought at the beginning of your writing career if you are a writer, and how it turned out in the end–and how you feel about your writing. Maybe you wrote about a painful time. Maybe you wrote something funny. Maybe you wrote an editorial for the newspaper, and it received a lot of attention!

For example, I worked as a stringer for The News-Gazette in Champaign, IL, and I had a Sunday book review column for over five years. I never dreamed that I would do either one. I wrote about a 90+ year old garage sale volunteer, a reindeer ranch and a baby reindeer who survived only because she was bottle fed by the owners, and a beaver dam that was backing up a creek in a little bitty town–but there was nothing the people could do because the beavers were protected. I wrote a villanelle about the Trail of Tears, and it was published, as well as a funny romance short story for adults that won first place and $250 in a magazine contest.

And my point? I am a much better writer because of these experiences.

Even my personal blogging has changed over the years. When I first started a blog, it was called “Read These Books and Use Them”, and it was only about children’s books. Now, I am writing about being a single parent, practical parenting, self-esteem, writing inspiration, and more on “Look to the Western Sky.”

So…what have you written about that you never thought you would? 

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Winners, Andrew McCarthy in St. Louis and Practical Moms Unite Update

Book Giveaway Contest Results

Thank you to everyone who entered the book giveaway contest for Claire Gem’s books. I have 3 winners, whom I am in the process of contacting:

  • Chynna Laird
  • Brenda McCommis
  • Jeanne Felfe

(contest graphic above by Angela Mackintosh from WOW! Women On Writing, a great resource for writers here. )

Andrew McCarthy in St. Louis at the Library

I saw ANDREW MCCARTHY (yes, 80’s heartthrob from Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo’s Fire) at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters last night, and it was amazing! This is not because he was so charming and I have loved him since the 80’s. But it’s because he was inspiring as an author. Here’s the beginning of my blog post I wrote about him on WOW!: “I Heard Andrew McCarthy Speak at My Local Library” True story. (Doesn’t my blog title sound like one of those titles from a “true story” magazine?) I live in St. Louis, and last night–actor, director, travel writer!, and now YA novelist Andrew McCarthy gave an inspiring talk about being creative. Once I got over the fact that I was in the same room with this man I loved on the silver screen since 1986 as Blaine in Pretty in Pink, who starred in my favorite comedy Weekend at Bernie’s and my favorite guilty pleasure, St. Elmo’s Fire, I listened to what the man had to say, and I was pleasantly surprised.

As writers, we know that we sometimes look at celebrity writers with disdain. It’s true because we know what it takes to slave over a manuscript and try to get an agent and then hope for some kind of book sales if we are lucky enough to get published. Then there’s this celebrity, who already has all the connections, and probably on some whim decided to write a book, and now is living our dream. Writers can be a spiteful bunch. (winks)

But guys, Andrew McCarthy is the real thing! To find out how he is the real thing and the inspiring things he said, go here. 

Practical Moms Unite

I know you are all anxiously waiting for practical mom blog posts, so you can be a practical parent, too. No worries. They are coming–and I am currently working on two of them. If you haven’t signed up to have posts emailed to you when they go up, you should do so RIGHT NOW. 🙂 Look at the sidebar, scroll up just a bit, and fill out the very simple form titled, “Want new blog posts emailed to you?” to make this happen.

 

 

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The Greatest Gift . . . for Writers (Guest Post by Karen Kulinski)

I’ve known Karen many years, through SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) , and then I was lucky enough that she submitted her wonderful manuscript, Rescuing Ivy, to me when I was working as an editor for High Hill Press. If you need a book for children ages 9 to 12, Rescuing Ivy is amazing–it’s about two kids who attempt to rescue a circus elephant from near death when she is wrongly accused of killing a man. Here is a guest post from Karen and a little more about her book, along with a link to Amazon, where you can order it. Perfect for kids who love to read or teachers for grades 3 through 6. 

The Greatest Gift . . . for Writers

by

Karen Kulinski

During the holidays, people with writer friends buy them things like books, workshops, maybe even a session with a writing coach.  Fine gifts all, but the best gifts a writer gets, to paraphrase the Grinch, “come without ribbons, packages and tags.”

The best gifts are ideas.

Of course, the above-mentioned books, workshops and writing coaches often help our minds produce these ideas. I know because over the years I’ve been gifted with writing ideas, many involving my new middle-grade novel, Rescuing Ivy. 

While searching for information on cabooses 13 years ago for the railroad museum for which I am curator, I came upon a horrific incident where they hung a circus elephant in a railyard in 1916.  I tried writing about it, but couldn’t. Unbeknownst to me, however, my mind was working on it because five years later, I was gifted with the idea for Ivy, which ends much happier for the elephant.

In the two years I did research for the book, I discovered fascinating information that my mind turned into ideas for the book.  Among them, a couple of plot points, a major human character, and a quirky little chicken named Fayree.

Recently, my mind has been working overtime providing ideas.  In March, I had a book contract canceled the day before I did a school visit.  Needless to say, I was pretty down on writing at that point, but at the end of the first presentation, a student asked what book I was working on now. I wanted to say, “I don’t want to think about writing, let alone try to do some right now.”  Instead, I found myself talking about a ghost book I worked on unsuccessfully for years, and the students got really excited about the story’s premise.  I was asked the same question after the second presentation, and mentioning the ghost book got the same results.

As I drove away from that school, I knew I had to work on that novel again.   A couple of weeks later, I got an idea for a new beginning to the story that made a radical difference in my main character that no one liked before.  My friend and beta read said, “It was like the character had an attitude adjustment.”

This past week — in the midst of all the crazy activities preparing for the holidays — I sat down and wrote a picture book that I’ve been trying to write for two decades.  I had consulted with a writing coach about the book earlier in the month, and told her that I wouldn’t be able to get to revising the story until after Christmas. Obviously, my mind had other ideas.  Really good ideas, it turns out, because my agent loves the book, saying, “It’s terrific.”

So when you’re telling people what you’d like for Christmas or your birthday, be sure to whisper, “Please, mind, I’d love a writing idea or two.”

You never know what will come next!

Bio: Karen Kulinski’s life has been filled with family, trains, and writing. A railroad man’s daughter, she is curator of a railroad museum in Northwest Indiana, and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Karen’s passion for trains and love of history flavors many of her books, including her new middle-grade historical novel, RESCUING IVY, from High Hill Press.  The mother of four sons, Karen lives in Griffith, Indiana, with husband, Alan, and two spoiled dogs.

Rescuing Ivy: Readers will quickly turn the pages of this tautly-plotted, heart-grabbing 1916 adventure story, caught up in young Danna’s plight to save her beloved — and innocent — circus elephant, Ivy, from being hung for killing a man. This book forays into a time when hoboes rode the rails, which add to the action as well as the intrigue. An excellent read-aloud, bolstered by pages of vintage circus photos and an extensive “Author Notes”. You can buy it on Amazon here.

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Creative Visualization for Writers by Nina Amir (Review)

Nina Amir, the author of How to Blog a Book, has a new release out titled, Creative Visualization for Writers: An Interactive Guide for Bringing Your Book Ideas and Your Writing Career to Life . In this interactive book, writers will find over 100 exercises designed to get your creative juices flowing, move beyond writer’s block (if you have it), and stretch your mind. In other words, this is a book that gives you permission to be a little eccentric, weird, over the top and encourages you to be more creative than maybe you have ever been in your life. It’s a book we writers have been looking for because we have already read many of the fantastic books about the writing craft–how to construct sentences, when to begin a novel, and what to use instead of adverbs. 🙂

So how is this book set up? There’s a short foreward from Dinty W. Moore, and then an introduction from Nina, where she exclaims, “Become a visionary,” and explains how the brain works, including a diagram of the left and right brain–most of us know that creative people spend a lot of time in the right side of their brain. Nina says that in this book the exercises help you to use both sides of your brain. Basically she’s encouraging you to get out of the limits we all seem to set for ourselves when we say: I can’t or I’m too busy or I’m stuck. What writer doesn’t need something like this book in their lives?

After the intro, she gets into the exercises. You will want to buy a print copy of this workbook, in my opinion, because the pages are full of questions and activities; space is provided for you to write down your answers and ideas. There are even writing-themed coloring pages (I know some of you are going to get this book just because of that!) and affirmation pages, where you can write down how you are a successful author or how you promote your work well. She quotes Muhammad  Ali, who said, ““It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

The exercises are grouped into themes: Self-Exploration, Vision, Goals, Creativity, and Focus. Here are a couple snapshots of them:

nina-page-1 nina-page-2 nina-page-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I read through this book quickly for this review and only did a few of the exercises, I can not wait to start at the very beginning and take my time with every single exercise–it’s one of my New Year’s goals, although I’m beginning it now. My writing life has not been in the forefront for a while, due to all the stuff I’ve written about on this blog, and so I can’t wait to stretch my mind and find my creative self again.

If you want to join me, you can buy the book here.

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