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Showing posts from August, 2011

Balancing Writing and Life

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.
-TE Lawrence

My goals change with what is going on in my life. Over the past year, I have made decisions to help push myself forward with my writing. I am now facing a challenge with juggling that with an upcoming life changing event over the next year After reading Michelle Zink's blog post about her path to publication, I realized more than ever that I needed to do more. I can no longer use excuses and let things get in the way of my dream. I have to find balance or decide what to sacrifice.

Social media has become one of the things that can easily take up my time. I am finding ways to manage it while still remaining active since I am looking at working with local businesses over the next year. I am creating small goals so I can learn…

Mystical Horizons: A 21st Century Stonehenge in North Dakota

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Before my bed, the moonlight shines,
Could it be the frost, covering the ground?
I raise my head, look at the bright moon,
I set back, and think of my native land.

 -Li Bai


We took a road trip this past weekend to see my parents. It is long five hour drive through the middle of North Dakota (we drove through the Geographical Center of North America in Rugby) and end up just miles away from the International Peace Gardens. It is a beautiful drive in the summer time, especially right before harvest, with golden fields of wheat, lots of greenery, and varieties of colorful wild flowers. I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and after miles of driving and relaxing by the lake, it brought back a lot of memories of summer in the country.

My mother and I went to garage sales in the morning and my dad took Joey to buy a new DVD player. When we met up again for lunch at the house, Joey mentioned that he was going to take me somewhere that evening. He wouldn't give me any clues, an…

Pearls of Wisdom: Laurie Halse Anderson on Daring the Universe

I read through The Official SCBWI Conference Blog to soak up some of the gems from the attendees. One of my favorites was about the keynote address by Laurie Halse Anderson where she quotes T.S Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:


Do I dare disturb the universe?


She talked about how she believes that art disturbs the universe and artists dare to create. She spoke of her own experience of writing and how it is important to just go out there and walk the path of creativity. She used a quote from Bruce Coville that also stuck out to me:

When you get to the edge of a cliff, jump. If you don’t jump, you’ll never grow wings.


These two thoughts go together so very well. They both talk about how we can shake up our lives by taking risks and challenges that will help us grow as people. It isn't just about getting published, or becoming famous, or signing autographs. It is about finding ourselves and using our creativity to become who we are meant to be, and most of all, to have fun whi…

The Benefits of Amazing Writing Critique Partners

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1) Critique partners can see things from a different angle. They can give you that extra edge, tell you when things don't work, or give you a high five for something you didn't realize you even did. For example, I wrote a story and I had somehow combined three senses into one sentence. It just happened, and my partner loved it.

2) They know how to look out for you. They will give it to you straight, but at the same time, they tell you in a way they would want you to tell them. I have found out over time that my descriptions are my strong suit-- most of the time. I need to work on action scenes and words. It might be hard for a partner to give it to you straight, but in the long run, this improved my writing and editing. Before I hand it into them, I heed their previous advice.

3) They can suggest helpful resources. There are tons of books, podcasts, magazines and so forth that assist writers. My group has a discussions about what we have found over the past month from the late…

How to Start a Local Writing Critique Group

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It was until after college that I realized how important revision and feedback really is when it comes to good writing. I had the impression over the years that with a few tweaks and suggestions, stories were good to go. Boy, did I learn about the revision the hard way.

When writing my first novel, I only had family and friends read my WIP. I was shy of posting my work onlineand was really looking at their reactions. I am thankful for their input, but I needed more to grow as a writer.

After finishing my third WIP, I decided that I needed to find other writers in the community. I write in the science fiction/fantasy/paranormal/horror genre and I knew that the current writer's group in town wouldn't cut it since most writers I come across "don't get it". They read fantasy with different expectations since they are more "literary" writers, and their comments were far from helpful or understanding. I wanted to avoid that atmosphere and searched out for wri…