Writing Tips

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly. Edgar Rice Burroughs

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fond Farewell

When Marilyn Johnston, Tracy Hurley, and I created Lyrical Pens almost ten years ago, we were all novice bloggers and all working on our new fiction stories. It was an exciting time for us. Mobile Writers Guild - Tracy and I started it - was in its infancy, our critique groups were thriving, and hauling refreshments to each of the meetings seemed like a small price to pay for the growth process and exchanges of new ideas.
Through Tracy’s innovative ideas, she secured top talent to speak to our meetings and led the parade that created Home for the Holidays for Mobile Writers Guild - great food, crafts, readings, and book sales. Tracy was the first writer who told me I had a gift for writing and should not ignore it; it would change my life. Her organizational skills dreamed and made the MWG annual Christmas party a hit, securing Carolyn Haines as our first speaker.

Marilyn (cj) was the first treasurer for MWG. She got the ball rolling by organizing our accounts, managing our funds, opening the first checking account, paying bills, etc. She was the business head behind what is still an active organization in Mobile. Marilyn gave me the first truly valuable critique that went beyond “I liked it.” My writing has grown tremendously under her editing and advice. It was a joy to create annual calendars and new ideas for Lyrical Pens. Together, we sought out well-known writers and local talent on their way up the writing ladder to pen unique blogs for you.

As you all know, Tracy left us much too soon, only a few short months after moving from Mobile to Maryland. It was a shock that left Marilyn and I reeling. Tracy was the computer “geek” who had secured the URL, set up the blog site, and she maintained it. She was our sense of humor, a major creative think tank on her own. When she was gone, I was thankful that I am a good note taker, or Marilyn and I would have been lost on more fronts.

To create the blog initially, the three of us drank gallons of tea and coffee and worked over Tracy’s laptop at Panera’s for hours. Marilyn and I were full of advice but not so full of computerese. The name Lyrical Pens was Marilyn’s idea, and we loved it from the start!

Over the past year, Marilyn has grown the followers and weekly bloggers who check into Lyrical

Pens, while I was off growing my editing and writing business, creating my new website, newsletter, and Barefoot Writing Academy. She has two great books on sale, has won numerous contests, has appeared in many printed anthologies, and secured a name for herself in the world of mystery writers. I am proud of her work and especially happy to be her friend. Oh, and ever so grateful that she still makes time to review my work.

This is my last post on Lyrical Pens. I thank all of you who followed and commented on my blog posts, entered my crazy writing contests, and support Barefoot Writing Academy. I hope all of you will join me at http://editwriteteach.com. My site lists my editorial and writing services, updates on new classes, and you can sign-up to receive my newsletter, Tea & Empathy. It is designed especially for writers and contains current industry information, marketing tips to Celebrate Your Book!, tea recipes, and more.

I leave Lyrical Pens with a definite sense of loss, but if my growing years have taught me anything, it is that sometimes we have to let go to get where we need to go. I leave this wonderful site in the capable hands of the excellent mystery/thriller writer, c j petterson.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Write On

A Letter to Agnes DeMille
There is a vitality,
a life force,
a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
how good it is
nor how valuable it is
nor how it compares with other expressions.

It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.

Keep the channel open...
No artist is pleased...

There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes "us" MORE alive than the others.

Martha Graham
(As quoted in The Life and Work of Martha Graham by Agnes de Mille)

cj Sez: Martha Graham is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. She was an American dancer and choreographer, one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance.

Yes, Ms. Graham was writing to another dancer, but her thoughts apply to artists in every genre—dance, music, photography, fine arts, literary composition. She is also quoted as saying “I believe we learn by practice,” and added that “Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”

Inviting perfection, indeed—yet never, in our own minds, achieving that goal but perhaps some level of satisfaction with the effort. So, I will add to Ms. Graham's sage advice: Write On ! 

This post appealed to me because I've just finished a round of judging this year's Daphne du Maurier contest entries for the Romance Writers of America. I wanted to pass along a little encouragement.

Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo

(PS: The toons are from Facebook pages.)