My future self: here’s the skinny


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In a couple recent posts, I mention a new writing venture. As many readers know, I’m an aspiring published novelist. Although I’ve authored numerous online and print articles, I’ve always dreamed and talked about writing and publishing books. Since graduating with my B.A. in literature, writing and film from ASU in 2010, I’ve invested time and finances toward countless writing conferences, workshops, writing and critique groups, as well as books and courses focusing on all things craft-related. Yet, I’ve used every excuse—and, quite honestly, played the blame game—as to why I “still” haven’t written my book. But 2020 is different (on myriad levels!). During a self-improvement program I’m taking, participants were challenged to officially share our “future selves” with three people—so I figured why not hundreds more? Here’s the skinny: I hired a writing coach. I’m learning about limiting beliefs and taking a big leap. And I’ve written 45,000+ words toward a 60K manuscript and my future published novelist self.

Who is your future self?


Shaking things up: writing prompt #3

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In my post “ …writing prompt #1” I introduced my first writing prompt challenge as a way to stretch my creative muscles. In writing prompt #2, I shared ways to get started for readers playing along. And also hinted at a new writing venture (stay tuned). In today’s post, I want to focus on the topic of story and “theme.” In the literary world, theme is the underlying message or “big idea” or—in other words—the heartbeat or soul of a story. Theme is expressed through the plot (the chain of connected events that make up a narrative—what actually occurs in a story) and through the characters’ journeys. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, the story is about a hobbit tasked with destroying an all-powerful ring sought after by all who encounter it. The theme is about the addictive and debasing nature of power.

If your life were a book, in 25 words or less, share your “story” and “theme” in the comments section.

Shaking things up: writing prompt #2


In my post “ …writing prompt #1” I introduced my first writing prompt challenge as a way to stretch my creative muscles. For those who journal or begin your days with quiet times of reflection, meditation or prayer, this “challenge” might lend insight into a problem gnawing on your psyche. Or it may simply prove an enjoyable way to tap into your right brain. For me, it’s that time when I need an extra dose of inspired muse as I embark on another new writing venture. (More about that in an upcoming post.) Here are a few tips to help get you started: 1) remove distractions; 2) decide on and/or adhere to a word count, 3) set a timer for 10-15 minutes; 4) write without judgment and 5) have fun. I encourage readers to play along and share responses in the comments section; I will too.

In 25 words or less, break up your life—up to this point—into 3-6 chapters, and give each chapter a title.

Shaking things up: writing prompt #1

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I belong to several different online groups on Facebook, the majority of which qualify as reading and writing groups. Mostly, I sit back and observe the comings and goings—from tips to improve the craft to advice regarding traditional vs. indie publishing, etc. However, one activity I regularly participate in includes submitting the first line of a story or poem based on a weekly writing prompt. Oftentimes, I begin my writing sessions by setting a timer for 10-15 minutes and spending that narrow window drafting my contribution to the “challenge.” And, to ratchet up the excitement, I limit myself to 25 words—no more and no less. This keeps me in the mindset to write tight, concise. I thought it’d be fun to try a prompt on my blog for anyone who would like to play along. Share your response(s) in the comments below (and I will, too).

Imagine your life is now a best-selling book. In 100 words or less, write the summary for the back cover.

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Permission to pursue: no. 1 way to improve at anything

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Anyone among my circle of friends and family—even those who extend beyond its borders—knows I love all things literary. I devour books like they’re a lifeline. And I’ve always, ever since I can recall, longed to write. As a child, pencil and journal in hand, I crafted scripts for my dolls; one year, a piece of “flash” fiction—My Life as a Kitchen Table—adorned the wall of an elementary school art fair. Throughout the subsequent years, my desire for the “write life” buckled under the weight of life. Fast-forward decades: a degree in literature, writing and film; a collection of guest blog posts; articles penned and published in lifestyle and trade publications. But my heart. My heart bleeds for fiction. Make-believe. The HEA. Herein lies the biggest lesson thus far: To improve at anything requires 100% devotion. Sometimes the results resemble crap. But other times the stars align into something magical. And your soul ignites on fire.

What is it you need permission to pursue?

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Running out of time: an essay

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It’s my biggest fear, next to death. To run out of time. Because: To write all the stories. To love all the people. To make a difference. To win the prize. Because, dear heart: We all run out of time, ready or not. A vicious tug of war. Hope vs. despair. Yet the roller coaster of life—exciting and scary and often creaking and jarring—eventually grinds to a halt on its tracks. The Great Conductor, His voice booms: End of the ride! The shiny metal buckle, smooth and cold to the touch, releases its vice-like grip from across my hips with a flick of the wrist. My legs wobble as I push against the mechanical arm and stand. How I yearn for another lap around the track. But it’s here I discover: I didn’t run out of time. I ran into eternity. Accompanied by a lifetime of memories, of stories and books, adventures and dreams, that flourished. Well done, child, a still small voice whispers. Well done.

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