Sunday, January 29, 2012

Writing prompt from Jan 21 meeting: Stephen King says in his book "On Writing," that he has created for himself a "far-seeking place" where he goes to receive "telepathic messages". His is in his basement. Where is yours? Describe it. If it is a state of mind rather than a place, how do you get into it?

I write from a place of energy and inner focus; where all petty concerns, mindless entertainment and things that distract me have been banished. There is nothing between my mind / body and my creative self here. It doesn’t matter whether I write, draw, sing, sew, dance, or solve a problem at work: the creativity needed to do it comes from here. I don’t ‘find’ this place; I live in it most of the time. It is inextricably wound into the very fabric of me; I just never realized it was there. For much of my young life, I let myself believe this energy was of no value to anyone and criticism walled me off from it. I (and others!) talked me out of a lot of things that I “couldn’t do” or “wasn’t good at”. Now I know that I only got in my own way.
Belief is a very powerful thing! If you believe you can’t sing ... you can’t. If you believe you have writer’s block ... you will. Get out of your own way and believe that you can! Let that inner energy out to pervade everything you do. Then you won’t have to find a ‘place’ to write, you’ll realize that you’ve always carried it with you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Should a Writer Blog?

Following is a copy and paste of the 2 pages of hand-outs from our new member and blogger expert Julie Height. She did a presentation at our meeting this past Sunday. Her website is Sober Julie Doing Life and can be found at

Unfortunately this is from a paper document so the hyperlinks on page 2 are not clickable. You will have to look up the sites.

Why Should a Writer Blog?

If you are a writer, you should have a blog. Your blog will become much like an online resume, documenting your knowledge, skills and experiences.

Following are 13 more reasons why writers should blog:

·         Have your work read.  We write for people to read our work. Blogs have no limits, readership is universal and promotion is simple once you gain an audience…it spreads. Blog readers become fans of books.

·         Get feedback.  If you choose to create circles within other writers you can share critiques and improve you skill, develop your works. Having a fresh set of eyes can assist with perspective. One must have a thick skin.

·         Visibility and credibility.  The more often people see you, the more they will trust and follow you.  This consistency lends to your credibility.  People will get to know you, your style of writing, and your dedication to your craft.

·         Connections. By engaging online you’ll be led to relationships you couldn’t achieve otherwise.

·         Trying a new style. Blogs are online journals, so this is the perfect place to express your thoughts. You can try new writing styles out and gain feedback.

·         Freedom.  You have the freedom to say what you want, how you want and when you want on your site. There are limitations when you work for others as employees or freelancers.

·         Become an expert and resource. As long as you provide original content on your topic and add value to your readers, they will return. They may even bring others with them.

·         Blogs serve as a website. Writers who are not involved in social media are often considered invisible.  Blogs are a cost-effective and easy way to develop and maintain a presence.

·         Keep you prominent.  Keep others abreast of what’s going on with your projects. If you are writing a book, document your journey to completion, including the challenges and successes.

·         Develop a consistent writing schedule. Although blogging is very time consuming, you should come up with a consistent weekly schedule that you can realistically stick with.  This consistency will help build your credibility because your visitors are checking you out to see how well you do and how often you do it.

·         Publish unpublished works. Not all of your written successes will be accepted by publishers and magazines. Instead of letting disappointment set in, put your works on your blog. They will at least be read by your audience.  The feedback provided will help you turn your work into something greater. Just because it wasn’t accepted initially doesn’t mean it won’t be accepted at all. 

·         Write your book. Many of us are working on writing a book, a blog allows us to develop this in public and use feedback given.  As we write blogs we may find certain topics recurring which can afford us insight into our book.

To Start a Free Blog there are 2 Common Choices for building your site on:

Book Reviews:



  1. Freelance Job Openings
  2. Kijiji
  3. Problogger – a great list of blogging and telecommute gigs
  4. Blogger Jobs – this one doesn’t have jobs very often listed, but every once in a while they have something good
  5. Whisper Jobs
  6. Performancing
  7. Simply Hired – this is a search engine that will help you narrow down the job search
  8. Mashable – lists freelance jobs every once in a blue moon
  9. Digital Media Jobs – occasionally lists writer jobs
  10. Career Builder
  11. Sun Oasis – great list and you can also get updates via Twitter
  12. Dice - lists mostly technical writer jobs
  13. USA Jobs
  14. Twitter - don’t forget Twitter when looking for freelance jobs! Use the #jobs or #amwriting to narrow your search
  15. Poynter Online – allows you to search by job name and location
  16. Telecommuter Jobs
  17. Monster - lists a lot of technical writer and temporary jobs, but also has the occasional gem in terms of freelance writing
  18. Journalism Jobs – reporter and journalist work
  19. Media Bistro
  20. All Freelance Writing – jobs and also great tips on how to be a freelancer
  21. Work at Home Mom (WAHM) – lists writer and other types of telecommuting work
  22. Writers Weekly – job board and great list of writing tips
  23. Craigslist - don’t forget Craigslist! It offers great jobs – just be sure to weed through the clunkers
  24. – Has several contributing and guide positions
  25. Writer Find
  26. Seed - lists jobs to claim which pay anywhere from $15-75
  27. Indeed - wonderful search engine to find job opportunities
  28. Morning Coffee
  29. Write Jobs
  30. Suite101 – telecommute freelance writing
  31. Freelance Careers
  32. Poe War – lists job by category or look to the right for most recent
  33. Essay Writers
  34. Prospect Solution
  35. Creative Hot List – many creative jobs, including writing
  36. Canadian Freelance Writing Jobs – jobs in Canada along with tips on freelancing
  37. Break Studios
  38. Elance

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meeting Minutes - January 22, 2012

Darn it. Diane was off today and I didn't bring my laptop. Diane, it just isn't the same without you. And now they'll have to read my condensed version of the meeting.

Big thank you to Dorothy who baked us delicious cookies. Dorothy definitely is a keeper. And she is always welcome to join us. Clare told us that they met at a pork roast. Boy, are we every lucky Clare met Dorothy.

was gracious and gave us an informative talk on blogging.  Here are a few of the many points that Julie shared with us.
  • Blog about something that interests you or what you converse about over coffee
  • Use your blog as an online personal journal
  • Best to post two or three times a week
  • You're invisible if you're not online - a writer needs to be visible
  • Email Julie if you have any questions -
Sonja volunteered to post on our blog. A few people said they were unable to sign on to our blog.
I will email info regarding this.

Judy read a piece called Ask Mathew. He suggested that she start a Blog Conversations with Mathew or Ask Mathew. We can't wait to read it.

Sonja received constructive help re her short story.

Clare read Father Roderick and the Bikers. We can't wait to read it in his column.

We spent most of our meeting time discussing blogs, making constructive comments and discussing writing in general so we have homework should you choose to accept it and we're hoping that you say Yes!

Pick one of Judy's prompts, write for 15 minutes, edit if you wish, and post it on our blog.

  1. Stephen King says in his book On Writing, that he has created for himself a "far seeking place" where he goes to receive 'telepathic messages." His is in his basement. Where is yours? Describe it. If it's a state of mind rather than a place, how do you get into it?
  2. Describe your most terrifying experience in a car.
  3. In his book On Writing, Stephen King writes (in response to an incident where a teacher called a story he wrote trash): "I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (paint, dance, sculpt, or sing) I suppose someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that's all."

    Can you remember a time as a child or young adult when someone rained on your parade?
  4. She grabbed the screw driver, which lay on the kitchen counter, and lunged at  . . .
  5. She could feel her face flushing and her heart rate accelerating, every time he placed his "hungry man"
    frozen dinners on the conveyor belt in her check-out line.
  6. It happened the summer Margaret moved into the attic.
  7. The ring of keys hanging from his belt jangled with each step he took.
  8. The door had neither key hole, or door knob.
  9. That morning we had a mother but by suppertime we didn't.
  10. An old rusty key fell from the shelf.
  11. Or make up your own line or whatever you want to write about . . .
Can't wait to read your writing!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Clearing The Clutter

Writing Prompt from Sunday, January 8th:

To clear the clutter from my life the first thing to go would be my family. Life would be so much simpler without them.

Seriously though, on my journey through The Artist's Way I realized that one of the things that is keeping me blocked is the lack of a proper writing space. An office, if you will. I carry books, notebooks and laptop around the house as I find a place to settle. I am constantly being displaced. This breaks up time and momentum. My brain cannot focus.

Since I don't have the office that I have always longed for, I decided it was time to find my space. It wasn't that difficult really. It is my old space where the desk top computer sits. I moved away from there when I got my laptop because being in the basement all the time became depressing - and it's cold down there. Also, I was sharing that space with my kids who now have their own laptops and rarely use the desktop anymore.

There is room for me to use my laptop next to the PC, it's just a matter of de-cluttering. This is not an easy task at Clutter House Central. Last night I looked at the massive mess on the coffee table in the family room and sighed. My daughter laughed and said, "Welcome to our home." Unable to sleep after my husband came home from work this morning, I was up early and cleared off the coffee table, and the floor, and another table in the family room. Content with a job well done I settled down with my cold cup of tea to write my morning pages.

As for my writing space, the de-cluttering has begun but it's going to take much longer to decide what needs to stay, what can go, and what can be moved elsewhere. I only hope that what I move elsewhere doesn't cause clutter in another area of my home - like the family room or, God forbid, my newly renovated kitchen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

End of the World

(From our meeting January 8, 2012)

Does anybody remember the concrete bomb shelters that people built in the 60’s when everybody was afraid of a nuclear attack? Or what about the TV show, The Twilight Zone, where a family built a bomb shelter with enough food, water and emergency supplies for a few years. A bomb exploded and they locked themselves in. We could hear their neighbours banging on the door begging and sobbing, “Please let us in.”

They remained steadfast. They were afraid if they opened the door they’d perish. At the end of the show, they discovered they’d forgotten a can opener.

When will the world end? Remember at the turn of the next century, the year 2000? I still know people who have six months of emergency supplies in their basement. And what if we survived and actually still lived then the computers wouldn’t be able to rollover to the year 2000. Corporations spent billions of dollars to protect their data.

When my then programmer son-in-law told me that I needed his help or I’d lose all my data, I said, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. It’s bull. If you can programme a computer to do everything else, don’t tell me it won’t roll over to 2000. If it isn’t the Emperor’s New Clothes . . .”

When my niece asked me, “What are you doing about the Y2K problem?”

I said, “Absolutely nothing.”

“But you’ll lose everything.”

“It’s bull.”

“You’re crazy. I’m telling you.”

“Listen I’m not giving any energy to this right now.”

“But . . .”

“Two minutes after midnight I’ll give it exactly two seconds.”

Now, December 21, 2012 according to the 5000 year-old Mayan calendar the world is coming to an end. How appro on my mother’s birthday.

Years ago, when I attended Mass on Friday morning with the school children, the priest asked them, “When is the world going to end?”

After numerous opinions from the children, he finally said, “The world will come to an end when you die.” How profound.

Johanna, who had Cancer for twelve years, told me when she was first diagnosed, her neighbour visited her. “She actually sobbed. I felt so sad. And two weeks later she died in a car crash and I’m still here.”

End of the world? I don’t think so. My books haven’t been published yet.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I just wanted to clarify the web address for Julie's site. It is It was posted incorrectly in the minutes.

Welcome to HWG, Julie!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Finally Christmas Photos - HWG December 11, 2011

Minutes of Meeting January 8, 2012

Darn it. The blog has changed and I'm having trouble with it. Did I ever mention that I hate change. I know life is all about change but it doesn't mean that I have to like it does it? Diane led today to it's my turn to post the minutes.

Aren't I the lucky one. I'll have to hurry and type it before I can't decipher what I wrote.

WELCOME TO NEW MEMBER Julie. She's an experienced blogger with lots of info that we hope she'll share with us. She blogs at

Ron wanted to know if his piece in our anthology would be considered published. Marilyn said, "They can google you and find out everything about you." Ron agreed. "The Internet knows more about me than I do."

Someone said, "I can't believe the children's photo that everybody posts to Facebook." I said, "Truman Capote's book, In Cold Blood changed my life. It's based on two men who kill a whole family. They had a photo of the thirteen year ago and they fantasized about having sex with her. At that time the murder was unusual. After reading that book, I never carried photos of my children."

Marilyn said, "I solved that problem, I carry pictures of other people's children."

Danielle brought in a beautiful book Untamed Garden for us to look at.

We talked about editing. I suggested that my biggest problem is not listening to myself. That I am learning to go with my instincts. I think that it's a lack of confidence in my writing. I suggested to go with the Aha moments when you're editing.

Also, I've learned the old saying is correct, too many cooks spoil the broth. So I've decided to use only one editor, one that understands the way I write. Thanks Laura.

Clare wanted to brainstorm re his article for Sideroads. Marilyn  took a course on articles, and they said you should change your style to match the editor's style. She did this,submitted articles and the editors just loved them and they didn't change one word.

Diane's Prompts
  1. The world will end December 21, 2012.
  2. To clear the clutter from my life, the first thing to go would be . . .
  3. Why do you write?
  4. Having another drink.
  5. Painting the ceiling.
  6. And she added this in pen . . . you'd have to be there . . . What if Ron was pregnant?
Ron read his piece first . . . If Ron was pregnant . . . we laughed.

Patricia chose to clear the clutter form my life, the first thing would be her family. We discovered that she really wants an office of her own. She realized this while working through The Artist Way.

Julia chose have another drink. It's part of a novel that's she working on. Good job Julia. It was her first time reading her work. Do you remember your first time?

Sonja read what if I were pregnant . . . it might fulfill a prophecy . . . and other gems that made us laugh.

Jayne's clutter consisted of letting go of expectations. Very profound. She said, "Every ten years or so I can be profound." I disagree. I heard profoundness from her before.

I chose the end of the world and Sonja said, "The world's been ending since time began." My goodness we were profound today.

I'll edit my raw writing and post my piece. Everyone is welcome to post what they wrote today on our blog or anything else.

Diane chose the end of the world. And she just kept eating those donuts 'cause if the world is ending . . .

Danielle chose to clear the clutter from her life. It involves taming her front closet and some shoes that are committing infidelity .

Joe chose why do I write and he's been writing since he was very young. We learned a lot about Joe's love of writing.

Marilyn, our resident comic, said, "Now for something completely different." She painted the ceiling. David is a very lucky man.

Clare had a nightmare when he painted his ceiling. We laughed.

We had lots of fun and we really MISSED YOU!