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Finding the Feeling of Success


by Jennifer Paros


Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.

~ Helen Keller


I’ve always thought of determination as a fierce mental decision-making stance, witnessed in a kind of stand off between my desire to lie around and my desire to get up – with the getting up part winning. Determination seemed like victory of will - moving me through space and time up that mountain. There is definitely gain to be had through a focused, unrelenting pursuit of accomplishment. But though determining to do something can move us forward, determining to feel the essence of what we want to create allows the feeling to inspire and guide ideas and actions in an easier way.

Jonathan Adler is a potter, designer, and businessman with 26 stores worldwide. In his talk, “Keep Other People’s Opinions out of Your Creative Process”, he explains the way he learned to focus expressly on his passion for clarity in creating his business. In thinking about the underlying message of his work, he knew he wanted to share the feeling of “Happy Chic”. Once having acknowledged the intended spirit behind his drive, he realized he could make all kinds of things in keeping with that intention, leading to greater expansion than he’d ever imagined. For Adler, the key was recognition that the feeling of what he wanted to create was a trustworthy guide. He declares strategy unnecessary for success – saying he had “no real plan beyond following [his] passion”. more...


The Importance of Connecting to Purpose


by Ingrid Schaffenburg




As I mentioned in last month’s post, mentality work is one of the best ways to combat fear. I learned of this practice from an acting class in LA that not only taught me this invaluable exercise but deepened my love and respect for story.


Though her class was a traditional scene study, her unique almost poetic approach set her apart from the rest. She taught us that words were the gateway to imaginary worlds on the page. We studied scripts like road maps with hidden treasure. And we submerged ourselves in these make-believe worlds, finding the characters within ourselves. It was very much an inside-out approach and so much of her teaching can be translated to the world of writing.


She recognized that two things were essential for an actor: story and state of mind. And she argued that the proper state of mind not only enhanced our ability to work with story but also our sanity as we navigated such a nebulous business. The same applies to writers.


My biggest take away from her class was the importance of this mentality work, setting time aside each day to read from an inspiring work, before we begin creating. Her recommendations were always by great writers and philosophers. Peering into such brilliant minds can inspire us and help us connect to something greater than ourselves, getting us out of our own heads. More...


How I Overcame Writer's Block


by Laura Yeager



Three years outside of breast cancer, I can look back on the experience and finally talk about it. Surprisingly, the worst part of cancer was not the chemo, not the double- mastectomy, not the six-weeks of radiation, but the writer's block.


I endured writer's block from 2011 to 2014. This dry spell was such a change from my usual habits; typically I wrote almost daily and published what I wrote frequently. In fact, authormagazine.org had published six of my articles. I also published at The Writer Magazine and many other places. And in 2013, Iowa State published a collection of my short stories (written in the 80s).


So not writing at all was a complete change. I missed it.


Having cancer zapped the creative energy out of me. I think I was so paralyzed with fear of the cancer process (I felt like I was on a recovery assembly line), my mind wouldn't generate creative work. I had to concentrate on survival.


Since then, looking for a way to end my blocked situation, I’ve read many takes on writer's block. Just about every author writes something on how to overcome writer’s block.

Recently, I came up with my own "fix.”


I took a writing class.


Now, I teach writing at Kent State and at Gotham Writers' Workshop. Why would I need to take a writing class? Don't I know how to write?


In fact, taking a writing class is a very helpful way to get over writer's block, not to mention, just a great idea for writers in general. more...




Using Social Media to Work Smarter NOT Harder


by Kristenn Lamb




We’ve talked a lot about branding, blogging, and how social media can be used to drive book sales. I’d like to address an aspect of social media many writers may not know about, one that can be a priceless asset—The Hive Mind.


A Couple Terms


Before we get to The Hive Mind, let’s talk about critical mass. Critical mass is the number of individuals in any network (social media included) that make interaction meaningful. This is one of the reasons it’s so pivotal to engage personally on social media and forge relationships. Once we hit critical mass (roughly 250 people minimum), we can harness the power of amplification. Instead of working linearly, now we can work exponentially.


You might be new to a social site or social media in general. Or maybe you’re just now taking that leap to grow your existing social networks because you understand a platform is vital for any writer who wants to be successful in the new age of publishing. That’s all right. Everyone starts somewhere. more...




Who Said That?


by Cherie Tucker




Most writers know how to write dialogue. Each new speaker gets a new paragraph, even for a single word. That’s how the reader knows the voice has changed.

“You told me you cleaned your room.”


“I did.”


“Do you call that clean?”



Quotation marks indicate that people are talking, and the shift in paragraphing shows that a new person is now the speaker. There is no need to add “he said” when dialogue is written like this. The late William A. Sabin uses this brilliant example in The Gregg Reference Manual. more...


July 2014