Reminders for the New Year

by Cherie Tucker

February 2018

I know we’ve done it before, but a review of those pesky ones couldn’t hurt. Here’s a reminder of some of those words that are being used incorrectly so often that you might be taken in and start using the wrong ones yourself.

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Losing and Finding Me: Who Do I Think I am?

by Jennifer Paros

February 2018

Years ago, while in art school, I accidentally lost eleven pounds. It wasn’t the result of physical illness, more like mental unrest. I wanted to make art but also doubted I was skilled or capable enough. What I believed about myself and what I wanted were in conflict, so I was stressed. Then, one day, I made an interesting decision.

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The Scary Business of Writing Suspense

by Lisa Gardner

February 2018

Twenty years ago, I decided to join the big leagues; I was going to quit my day job and write a breakout suspense novel that would bend all the rules, shock and awe my readers, and just possibly earn me more than ten-cent Ramen noodles for dinner. In the good news department, I was already a published author.

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Do You Speak IT

by Cherie Tucker

January 2018

I taught a class at the University of Washington last quarter and had to learn a computer program called Canvas. I had to call the IT folks a couple of times to find out how to do something, and what I discovered is that the language they speak in IT is not quite conversational English.

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Our Power to Say No

by Noelle Sterne

January 2018

Saying “No” can take as much courage as saying “Yes.” We’ve all had the experience of squeaking a mousy “Okay, sure” for something we didn’t really want to do – drive twelve kids to the water park in the Mini Cooper, agree to Sunday dinner with new acquaintances when the conversation had already stalled at “Hello,” go with a friend to a football game when we’re allergic to fans in painted faces.

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Letters from Friends--Funks, Writing, and Connection

by Jennifer Paros

January 2018

I’ve been in a funk lately. I entered it unwittingly and have had trouble finding the exit, and when I do, difficulty remembering where it is. I don’t like to use the word depression, which makes me feel blanketed – as though it’s wall-to-wall sorrow. There are always corners and areas where all is clear.

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Parenthetically Speaking

by Cherie Tucker

December 2017

The worst mistake you can make involving parentheses is to leave off the last one so that readers don't know when to stop whispering. Parentheses serve to interrupt the sentence or the paragraph to add something sotto voce to what you are writing, which can be as simple as one word to add clarification or a whole sentence.

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You Might Win--Imagine That

by Jennifer Paros

December 2017

My son and I have been watching Ken Burn’s documentary, The Civil War. In it we’ve learned of General George McClellan – a major general, and for less than a year and a half, general-in-chief of the Union Army. At first, McClellan was a great asset with fabulous skills at organizing and training troops; but when it came time to fight, it was a different story.

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How Much of What Kind

by Joan Frank

December 2017

"Please don't worry about asking—you should. One should always do what they can for their career."

That's what Elizabeth Strout told me two years ago when I wondered—apologetically—whether she might blurb my then-new novel. Elizabeth had to decline that time, pleading work of her own. But she'd previously given a lovely blurb to an earlier story collection of mine.

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How Ya Doin'?

by Cherie Tucker

November 2017

It’s such a common greeting, like “How are you?” that people don’t really think about it, nor do they really care about your answer. But you should.

The most common answer to that how-ya-doin’ question is, “Good, I’m doin’ good.” What most people don’t realize is that they have just said that they are performing charitable acts.

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Answers Come in Pieces--So, Hold On

by Jennifer Paros

November 2017

Years ago I used to write down my dreams and think about their possible symbols and messages. Sometimes before sleep, I’d even ask a question and record my answer-dream in the morning. Occasionally I got what felt like a complete solution, but more often I was given insights that opened my eyes a little bit more – pieces of an answer.

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Which Is It?

by Cherie Tucker

October 2017

When words sound the same and are almost spelled the same, it is sometimes difficult to remember which one to use correctly. The difference between a while and awhile often causes writers to pause. The solution is to remember that the single word awhile is an adverb and is used to describe an action.

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Of Little and Great Faith

by Jennifer Paros

October 2017

When I begin working on a new picture, I start out feeling free. I sketch and see what lights up for me, then strive to develop it. There’s some waiting, staring, and listening for whatever comes into play next. Gradually, I recognize daytime or night, inside or out, wind or stillness, water or land or both, where I am, where I want to be.

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5 Reason to Hire a Writing Coach

by Tess Bercan

October 2017

How many times have you picked up writing with complete dedication to becoming a full-time freelancer, only to forget about it as soon as “real life” sets in and distracts you?

Not to worry, we have all been there. Pursuing passions that reside outside of our normal responsibilities (such as paying bills, heading to a 9-5, and attending to children) are not so easy to keep on track.

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5 Reason to Hire a Writing Coach

by Tess Bercan

October 2017

How many times have you picked up writing with complete dedication to becoming a full-time freelancer, only to forget about it as soon as “real life” sets in and distracts you?

Not to worry, we have all been there.

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Tess Bercan
What We Want: Cracking the Code

by Jennifer Paros

September 2017

When I was nine I wanted to be pretty. But, in truth, that was code – I actually wanted to feel secure. The previous year I’d had a kind of breakdown involving intense fear of my new school. After some hiding and running, I changed schools again. I got what I thought I wanted: a place in which I felt cared about.

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Accuser and Accusee

by Joan Frank

September 2017

I once asked a hugely-admired, much-awarded, serious literary writer, who's been a kind and generous friend to me, how she was feeling following an extensive book tour.

"Fragile," she answered.

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Friendly Reminder

by Cherie Tucker

August 2017

It’s summer, and it’s hot; learning this won’t tax you excessively. There is a difference between comprise and compose in both speaking and writing that many people are unaware of.

Comprise is a verb. The parts comprise the whole. In that sense, the “whole” is made up of, or contains, all of the parts.

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