A Writer's Journey through the Maze of Life

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back soon

I'll be back soon. Between hubby having pneumonia and me some kind of summer crud and a few computer problems, just haven't been up to keeping the blog. Be back soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The kids are screaming, your teen is hounding you about not being late for soccor practice, your husband calls telling you he's bringing a client home, the phone is ringing off the hook, someone stops in "just for a minute" that turns into an hour or more and other scenarios are often mainstream living for a writer.

But today, I want you to dream a little. What would be your perfect writing spot? On the beach? A cozy lodge like the one on the right? A primitive cabin? Do you want to be totally isolated? Do you want to meet with a group of like-minded individuals after x amount of being alone? Or does the stimulation of short sessions together only to be broken up with swim time, water sports--canoeing/kayaking, horseback trail rides and the like interest you? And your evenings, want them spent by a fireplace with others sipping wine? Bonfire parties? Tours of the town/interesting sites?

Actually, you can find just about any of these if you search the Web. One thing to keep in mind about a writer's retreat is you are expected to work, if not on your WIP, something else. Some retreats are set up like workshops with time for writing, time for read-arounds/critiques, and then socializing. Others let you be as isolated as you desire.

If you truly want to get away from it, leave your cell phone at home or at least leave it off with the exception of perhaps one hour. Remember, you're trying to get away from the distractions.

So, how do you find a writer's retreat? Just Google it. Or at www.shawguides.com you can find conferences, workshops and retreats (although the latter are few).

What's a retreat cost? I hate to interrupt your dream, but most of them are rather pricey. But wouldn't you put out some bucks for a mini-vacation? Think of them that way. There's retreats starting at $100/night up to and over $1000/night. Something for everyone.

So, where do you want to go?

Friday, May 4, 2012


Are you a shy writer? Would you rather write than perform? Dread having to talk about yourself? Cringe if you have to give a talk or read your poems in front of a crowd? Many of us are. But here's some tips to help you:

1. People are receptive. Relax, you're not on trial. Banish those thoughts of I'm not good enough, what will they say, everyone is looking at me, or whatever you're telling yourself to make you nervous. So what if not everyone likes your work? That's why there are so many of us--different strokes for different folks. And face it, would you really rather they looked at the walls? Of course not! If you are faced with reading your work or reciting a poem or doing a presentation, RELAX and remember there are those in the audience who do not even have your expertise/knowledge. You ARE good enough.

2.  Be prepared. Go over your presentation several times ALOUD. Better yet, if you can record yourself, do so. It will help you discover where you are talking too fast, too slow, using those pesky "and uh"s (the sign of a poor public speaker) and where you should be taking a breath. If you mumble, slur words, etc. PRACTICE beforehand. Enunciate. While it may sound strange to you to speak so precise the clarity will  be appreciated by your audience and you will sound much more sophisticated.

3. Don't be a mouse. You must speak up so you can be heard.

4. Leave time for your words to sink in. This may only be a moment or two in poetry/book readings by several poets/authors or longer in the case of a presentation.

5. Be open for questioning. Who knows your work better than you do? And it is no sin to say "I don't know" or "I'm not familiar with that". In this fast paced world we live in, we cannot expect a person to know everything.

6. Relax. Relax. Relax.  If no one wanted to hear you, they wouldn't be there in the first place.