Friday, March 31, 2017

Why Writers Need To Stick Together

Why Writers Need To Stick Together -Writer's

Writing can often feel like such a solitary pursuit. For the most part, writers are alone. Day in day out they sit at home, just them alone with their thoughts, and they have to simply get on with things. In fact, it’s easy to spend entire days without communicating with a fellow human being!
However, writing doesn’t have to be like this. It is, in fact, both important and useful to find fellow writers to connect with. There is so much value within the writing community, so perhaps it’s time for us writers to drag ourselves away from our computers, put ourselves out there, and try to connect with one another.
So why is it so crucial that writers should stick together?
They understand how you feel
You can talk to family and friends about your writing, and those closest to you will understand how important it is to you. However, only fellow writers can truly understand how painful it can feel to get rejected. How frustrating it can be to suffer writer’s block. How difficult and overwhelming it can be when trying to get published. Sharing your woes, your hopes, your dreams, and your fears with a tribe of people who really get it can be invaluable and can save a writers sanity too!
They can help you edit your work
Writers can help one another improve their writing. They know what to look out for when it comes to editing, they know the common traps that all writers can easily fall into. If you can find a community of writers who are willing to read and constructively criticise one another’s work, this kind of feedback can be invaluable.
They have contacts
From publishers to book cover designers, communicating with other writers opens you up to a whole network of people who can help to make your book brilliant. It is well worth getting to know other writers and helping one another out in this way. You never know, a writer who got their book cover designed because of a recommendation you made might go on to become a bestseller, and then be more than happy to help you promote your own work in order to return the favour!
They provide true support
If you make real connections and friendships with other writers their generosity can be rather overwhelming at times. Don’t go in with an agenda, but rather be genuine, ask questions and offer support. If you do you’ll be wonderfully surprised with what you get in return. Writers understand one another, they want to help and support one another, and there is always a feeling of ‘we’re in this together’ rather than ‘every man for himself.’
If you are willing to actively participate in the writing community you’ll not only find a huge number of wonderful, intelligent, helpful people to connect with, and who can help you with your work, you can also make real, lifelong friends in the process! So next time you are feeling alone and haven’t spoken you anyone but your cat in five days, why not reach out to your fellow writers? You’ll be so glad you did!

All this I agree with, though finding a group nearby has been nearly impossible. All the ones I've found on are as am nay as 50 miles away and some meet only at night, on weeknights. I posted a message in a Facebook group for my hometown asking if anyone was interested in staring a group, but got no answers. I'm not sure if I want to take the initiative to start one, as I have never been much of a leader, more of a follower.  And it coast about $20 a month for a group on meetup. I'm not sure I can handle that. But other than flyers, how else can I get the word out?

I've tried talking to the bar owner who published her book, but she's always so busy at work.  Also I only seem to see her at the bar and it's always noisy! The last time I was able to talk to her, she said her editor cut 70,000 words from her story, which ended up being 92,000-something. I'm currently in the 34K range, which many people tell me is too short, except if you're planning to self-publish. I've found myself recalling things I want to add, but I hate the idea of padding the story just to make it longer. Why does word count seem to matter to most people, rather than effort People are pouring their hearts into their writing, and that should be what matters.  I'd like to find others who agree. 

I've admitted I've been more of a loner, but as a writer, I want and need others to see what I have done, and I too wish to see what they have done as well. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Attempt at Assemblage Art

I started this assemblage three days ago with cheap game pieces found at Dollar Tree and Goodwill and a shoebox lid.  I'm so sorry that I didn't think to do step-by-step photos🙂  But here is what came out of this attempt:

I have been wanting to do this for the art class at the mental health center where I am a mentor. I looked and printed examples to show my fellow clients,  but they also wanted to see en example made.  So I agreed to do one, and got my idea for the game-piece and blocks theme from the image  below:
As you may be able to see, an assemblage is like a collage, but with mostly three-dimensional objects.

I now like this idea and want to try using objects to make a little scene in box or on a sheet of cardboard, known as a diorama.  One of the girls at the center has been wanting to do one of penguins, so I printed this one to show her:

Animal habitat dioramas seem to be popular. I found many examples of these online.

This website has several such ideas.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Some Wednesday Funnies and a Flashback

Today I saw this at Sandra Cox's blog:

This reminded of a college art project I once had to do called a contained shape. I don't know where it is now, but I know I did what appeared to either be  duck or goose in a bubble. I also remember another person drawing a smashed-up car in a martini glass--drunk driving. 

Another thing I was reminded was a commercial for Pepsi from 1995, around the same time I was assigned the contained shape project. FYI, I hate Pepsi, but still thought the commercial was funny. It shows a sample of a contained shape at the end.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Clever Ways To Market Yourself As An Author


 Clever Ways To Market Yourself As An Author -Writer's
Marketing, for many authors, is the worst part about self-publishing. When you first start writing your book, getting to the end feels like an impossible task, and once you do you feel elated and proud. Then you self-publish and realise if you want anyone more than a few of your friends and relatives to buy your book, this is where the hard work really begins.
In some ways, it’s fantastic to discover that there are a lot of different ways authors can try and market their books. However, if you are not particularly tech savvy, many of these can feel overwhelming, complicated and stressful.
However, without making a real effort you can’t expect to see those sales you deserve – you put all that time and effort into making your book as good as it could be, so don’t deny the world a chance to read it!
This is one reason I'm hesitant about considering self-publishing. Even though this would be my first book and I'm not a well-known celebrity. Though writing memoirs should not be limited to celebrities anymore. A bar-owner in my hometown wrote a memoir, which she self-published.  I now wonder how many people outside Hollister, California have heard about and read her book. 

Here are some clever ways you can market yourself and your book.
Even if I don't end up self-publishing, I think I may try most of the ideas mentioned below should any of my writing see the light of day.

Write a blog or get a newspaper column
The best way for people to discover you is by offering them useful free information that they want to read. Writing and promoting your author blog will help readers discover you. You could also try getting a regular column in your local newspaper (or a larger one!) and connect with a wide range of readers that way.
As you know, I'm already writing a blog (been at it since December 2008).  As for newspaper columns, our hometown newspaper only comes out on Friday and it's been years since I've read any of the larger newspapers  (such as the San Francisco Chronicle).  I think just writing a letter to your local paper to let others know you've been published is a great idea. Putting up fliers at coffee places, your local library and other places that permit this is another way to let others know. These are some ideas I will consider.

Teach a class
Offer to share your wisdom by teaching a creative writing class. This could be a one-off or a regular thing. If this sounds like too much time and effort then why not get in touch with local colleges and universities to see if they’d like you to come along and talk to the students instead? Make sure to bring copies of your book when you do.
I was doing a writing class for my fellow clients at the local Behavioral Health, but if fizzled out at the beginning of this year because of lack of participation 😞  Maybe I could consider doing one for the public? Something to think about. 

Hold a reading
Contact your local library, bookstores or creative events venues and see if you can hold a reading and book signing there. Then make sure you advertise yours in every way possible. This might feel nerve-wracking, but if you have confidence in your work you’ll do great!
The aforementioned local bar-owner held a book signing at her bar and traveled with her editor to other cities as well for signing. I may be thinking to far ahead (as I have tended to do), but should I get published (traditional or self), but I definitely want to have a book-signing.  I'm sure the bar lady would let me have one there. I've also considered the local coffee shop where my book club meetup group meets most of the time. The nearest Barnes and Noble is in Gilroy (right next to Hollister), and I'd love to have a signing there.  Should anyone in my hometown ever publishes anything by either means, all these seem like great places for a book signing.

Get some merchandise
Creating merchandise such as bookmarks is super cheap and can really help you spread the word about your book – you could ask local bookstores or libraries if you could leave them there for free. Make sure you have information about your book and a QR code linking to where people can buy it too!
I at least want my library to carry my book for checkout. But other stuff to promote sounds like a good idea too.

Host an event
Where there is wine, people will come. If you are having trouble finding somewhere that wants you to come along and talk about your book, take matters into your own hands and host a gathering (or several) and invite people along. Try to collaborate with other creatives such as poets and artists and invite as many influential people as you can.
Again, this could be held at a coffee shop. Just last fall, several local authors held an event at one of our local coffee shops to promote their books. Most were self-published, but I think this could work for traditional-published as well. 

Connect with the local community.
There are lots of ways you can do this. Donate books to your library or local charities, sponsor a community event, talk to local bookshops about hosting an event, check out local festivals and see if you could get involved in some way while also promoting your work.
I think I've covered this one with what I said above about events, readings and such. 

Publish a press release.
Sind a press release to every relevant journalist and publication you can think of. Newspapers always need content so while you might not achieve a 100% success rate, you could well see your book being advertised in some prominent publications. If you get that far, why not get back in touch and see if they would be willing to do an interview with you or write a review?
See above under the blog/newspaper, but also send it to major newspapers and other publications. I would likely try to send one to any medical journals as well as magazines such as Psychology Today or any other publication focused on mental health. 

Get more mileage from your book
Have you ever thought about turning your book into a play, or a film? Why not give it a go? You never know, you could see your book being performed on stage or in the cinema!
Again, thinking too far ahead, but I've often wondered who might play me in a movie, should my book one day become a movie. I'm not too sure what currently popular actress I'd consider my doppelganger, just for the fun of it. Several books I've recently read have plots that just screamed movie.

Marketing yourself as an author is no easy task. Just make a plan, stay organised and do everything you can to get your book out there and visible to as many people as possible. Acknowledging you have done your very best to make your book a success will feel so much more satisfying than knowing you could have done more – regardless of how many books you sell
Would you consider any of these ideas, whether you self- or traditional-publish?

And on a  side note, a girl I knew from school said she plans to write an autobiography. She sent me an email the other day  saying she fears being sued by others. I felt the same way as I began prepping notes for my memoir. This is why I didn't use real names, but told mostly true events.  Some details about events and descriptions of people have been jumbled, some people are composites, or in some cases, one person is broken into two or more separate people.  I haven't suggested these ideas to her yet (I have yet to respond to her email).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quiz: What Kind of Soda Are You?

Just had to share this. I actually like Diet Coke more and only drink Mountain Dew every so often.

You Are 7 Up
Understated and subtle, people warm up to you slowly.
But once they're hooked, they can't imagine going back to anyone else!

Your best soda match: Diet Coke

Stay away from: Mountain Dew

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Write Everyday and Become a Better, Happier Writer!

Write Every Day And Become A Better, Happier Writer - Writer's
Write Every Day And Become A Better, Happier Writer!
There are plenty of writers who don’t write every day, and by no means does it make you a ‘bad writer’ if you don’t.
Many writers only write once a week, or even less, but still manage to finish their work, achieve their goals and generally feel satisfied with their writing life.
No, there is no need to write every day at all.
However, imagine if you did.
Writing daily may not be possible for everyone. But for the majority of us there is space in the day to squeeze in some writing time, and if you can, it will have a positive impact on your life and your writing career.
I have often felt a little guilty about not writing everyday, especially when I have an idea. This has happened so many times.

Practice makes perfect
Writing every day will help you hone your writing skills. Even taking as little as 10 minutes ever day to practice your writing can make a huge difference. You find that your writing flows better, your inner critic is more easily silenced and you make better progress with whatever you are working on. Because you can pick up right where you left off, you’ll spend less time going over previous pages trying to remember exactly what is going on – so your time will actually be spent more productively too.
Do it to relax and unload the stresses of the day
If you leave it too long between each writing session it can be all too easy for the pressure to mount and when you do get a chance to sit down and write, nothing comes to mind. When you write every day you can simply start where you left off, or if you are having a day where you don’t feel creative, just write about what you did, or try free writing. Because you know you always have tomorrow to get back to it, it doesn’t matter if you don’t bring your writing A game every time.
Writing when you don’t put pressure on yourself can be very therapeutic. You can write a journal every day where you can note down things that you’ve done or thought about, things that have upset or angered you, and things that made you feel happy, thankful and inspired. But remember that writing creatively can be just as helpful when putting things in perspective, venting frustrations or simply helping you to unwind and let go of the day.
This is something I'm going to try do a, little more of.  Often I want to do so, but just don't do it. This could be a good way of getting some of my ideas down.

You’ll get that ‘writing high’ every day
I don’t know about you, but I always feel brilliant after I write. Even if I know I haven’t produced my best work, I still feel as though I am that little bit closer to achieving my goals, and that I can give myself a well-deserved pat on the back. Who wouldn’t want to feel this way every day?
I'm not sure if it'll make me feel "high," but I believe it will make me feel like I have have gotten better,  and as the author said above,  feel more brilliant even if I don't get my best work right there and then. 

Different types of daily writing.
Remember, if you do decide to give writing daily a go, you don’t have to just concentrate on one thing. See what works for you.
Write a Journal – you could write a daily journal to process your thoughts and emotions.
Try goal setting – you could use the time to write down your goals and work out how to achieve them.
Brainstorming – you could simply have a brainstorming session every day to help you come up with new ideas for projects, flesh out old ones, and feel creatively inspired.
I may just try one or more of these, especially the journal. I have done one off and on, though it's been about a year since I last did so. Last night I did more editing and rewriting on my memoir (I'm now up to 32,442 words) and am still not sure how much longer to go. Does the word count really matter more than than what the story conveys--I have been asking others. I still hope to join a writers group through there aren't any in my town. I posted message on a Facebook group for my hometown last night.  As of yet, I got two "likes" but no comments.  I now wonder how many local writes exist in my town.  The last time I saw the local bar owner who published her memoir in 2013, she suggested going to a writers conference. I'd like to, but they can be so expensive. Also, there are very few nearby where I live--one in Los Angeles is coming up in September. The cost for these conferences doesn't include hotel accommodations or food costs.

Do some writing exercises – you could decide to try a different writing exercise each day to improve your skills.
A good idea to try. Looking for writing prompts is a good way to start this. 

So, regardless of what kind of writer you are, or perhaps even if you don’t consider yourself to be a writer at all, trying to write daily can really bring great benefits – why not start today?
Agreed. I'm going to try some of these ideas,  even if it's not every single day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

World Poetry Day


I just saw on Twitter that today is World Poetry Day. I never knew about this until today. From Wikipedia:
World Poetry Day is on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the UNESCO session declaring the day says, to "give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements".
It was generally celebrated in October, sometimes on the 5th, but in the latter part of the 20th Century the world community celebrated it on 15 October, the birthday of Virgil, the Roman epic poet and poet laureate under Augustus. The tradition to keep an October date for national or international poetry day celebrations still holds in many countries.[1] It is still 5 October in the UK.[2] Alternatively, a different October or even November date is celebrated.

So in celebration, I decided to share a poem I read earlier this year (from this website):
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Related Poem Content Details

Among twenty snowy mountains,   
The only moving thing   
Was the eye of the blackbird.   

I was of three minds,   
Like a tree   
In which there are three blackbirds.   

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.   
It was a small part of the pantomime.   

A man and a woman   
Are one.   
A man and a woman and a blackbird   
Are one.   

I do not know which to prefer,   
The beauty of inflections   
Or the beauty of innuendoes,   
The blackbird whistling   
Or just after.   

Icicles filled the long window   
With barbaric glass.   
The shadow of the blackbird   
Crossed it, to and fro.   
The mood   
Traced in the shadow   
An indecipherable cause.   

O thin men of Haddam,   
Why do you imagine golden birds?   
Do you not see how the blackbird   
Walks around the feet   
Of the women about you?   

I know noble accents   
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;   
But I know, too,   
That the blackbird is involved   
In what I know.   

When the blackbird flew out of sight,   
It marked the edge   
Of one of many circles.   

At the sight of blackbirds   
Flying in a green light,   
Even the bawds of euphony   
Would cry out sharply.   

He rode over Connecticut   
In a glass coach.   
Once, a fear pierced him,   
In that he mistook   
The shadow of his equipage   
For blackbirds.   

The river is moving.   
The blackbird must be flying.   

It was evening all afternoon.   
It was snowing   
And it was going to snow.   
The blackbird sat   
In the cedar-limbs.