2014 Coming to a Close – 2015 Just Before Us, Bright and Shiny

Tomorrow is a New Year that brings amazing things: opportunity for a fresh start, renewed hope, possibilities, and even new beginnings.

Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.”

Make 2015 a year of action rather than procrastination.

To start the New Year, I tried to find quotes I haven’t shared before, or at least ones I haven’t shared recently. Below are 10 I find inspirational. Hope you do to.

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
~ Lyndon B. Johnson

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~ Wayne Gretzky

"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday."  ~ Dale Carnegie

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
~ Will Rogers

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
~ Christopher Columbus

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
~ Stephen Covey

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” ~ Warren Buffet

“If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ John C. Maxwell

~~~~~~~~~~

To add to these motivational quotes for the New Year, I have a powerful goal setting and achieving ebook for you. It's free and you can (and should) share it. It’s absolutely worth reading. Here's the link:
A Simple System to Achieve Your Goals


Stop on by tomorrow also. They’ll be another gift for you!

~~~~~

Networking: A Writer's Greatest Gift

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
                                                              Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
Imagine settling into a cozy cabin, sparkling clean with bed made and fridge stocked; prepared
expressly for you so that you may be free of distractions and focus solely on your writing.There is a schedule to keep. Of workshops and informal discussions presented by some of the dearest, most talented and successful children's writers of our time. Delicious meals to enjoy, lovingly prepared by a most welcoming and friendly staff. It's not a dream. It's a Highlights Foundation workshop.
 
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
So much is reaped from this experience it cannot be fully described in one sitting (See the links to my posts below). Your presence at a Highlights Foundation workshop is a gift to give yourself at any stage of your writing journey, from beginning to publication. To this day I continue to benefit from the "Books that Rise Above" workshop I attended in October 2012. Priceless is the information gathered and wisdom shared. But, it is the people I met who have made all the difference.

The very first participant I met was Rob Sanders, http://robsanderswrites.com/HOME.html, a creative writing teacher for K-fifth grade whose first picture book, Cowboy Christmas, had just been released by Golden Books-Random House. Two of his latest picture books, Outer Space Bedtime Race and
Ruby Rose on Her Toes, will be released in 2015 and 2016. Rob asked me if I had ever heard of Joyce Sweeney. Joyce is an award-winning author of fourteen novels for young adults and one chapbook of poetry. She has had numerous poems, short stories, articles and interviews published, and is involved with live theater productions as well. Rob said that Joyce has a unique approach to writing for children that she explores and shares in several online courses. He suggested I get in touch with her and see what she has to offer. I've been working with Joyce ever since and have had the pleasure of attending one of her workshops and having lunch with her on a recent trip to Florida where she lives.

Come get your Confidence here!
I have taken two of Joyce's online courses, Fiction Writing Essentials and Picture Book Essentials. To give you an idea of what can be learned from Joyce's courses, she has agreed to allow me to share one part of her philosophy, a most important part, that offers a writer a way to rise above the details and see the big picture of his or her work. It is a way to recognize a writer's strengths and weaknesses. Once identified and understood, a writer can build on the strengths and study the weaknesses in order to make them stronger. The four parts of concentration are Concept, Voice, Plot and Structure.
  • Concept: The idea of your book. You should be able to articulate the concept of your book. If you're slow, face it, you have a concept problem.
  • Voice: All aspects of the way you use language. You can dazzle your readers if your voice is good. If you think everyone else sounds better than you, then your voice needs work. Work at it, refine it, don't give up too soon.
  • Plot: A series of (mostly external) events that happen to the mc. Most writers are bad at plot. Things need to happen to your mc, things that test him or her. Plot is what stories are all about. Your mc needs to go through something that is valuable and important. Read The Heroe's Journey, described on this website: http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero's_journey.htm. Watch movies and take notes.
  • Structure: Delivery system. Structure is the vehicle that carries the reader through the story. Examples of structure: Point of view, Time sequence, Length of chapters. To be good at structure you need to know how to show.
Put your Stories to the Test
Joyce says that every writer needs to ask the question: What am I good at? What needs work? Her weakness was once Plot. When she realized that she took the time to study plot and she improved. Here's an idea: Take a good, honest look at your rejections. Decide what is missing, what is weak. Then work to improve it.

Bottom line: There is always something to work on, always something to improve.

To Market, to Market?
Marketing could be a problem, too. If rejections mount up, it's likely that you've gone to market too soon. You need to work on your craft more.
 
Do this:
  • Work harder
  • Revise more
  • Study more
  • Make draft upon draft until you come up with something that's DAZZLING--a work no one can resist
  • Remember: It takes years for the best of writers to get published. There is always work to be done.
Personal note: Joyce's courses offer a wealth of knowledge. Take the knowledge she so graciously and enthusiastically shares and run with it. But the most valuable thing I learned from Joyce is to respect myself as a writer, to take pleasure in my humble attempts, to view my mistakes as stepping stones toward my goal and to revel in them for my mistakes are my teachers. I had heard this before but what Joyce gave me that no one else could is reassurance, reassurance that my efforts aren't in vain and that if I stick with it and don't give up I will succeed.

Give yourself a gift this holiday season and check out Joyce's plot webinar that can be purchased and downloaded, the next round of Fiction Writing Essentials that starts in February, and much more by visiting her website:  http://www.sweeneywritingcoach.com/.

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Part Two: Nouns Need to be Concrete and Appear More than Once
Part Three: Tent Pole Structure
Part Four: Leonard Marcus: Maurice Sendak, Storyteller and Artist
Part Five: Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start
Part Six: Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman
Part Seven: Deborah Heiligman's Casual Scream
Part Eight: On the Same Page with Betsy Bird
Part Nine: Patti Lee Gauche's Concluding Thoughts: Have your Own Standard of Excellence

Photo courtesy of: http://ewallpaperhub.com/free-winter-desktop-wallpaper/



Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, recently completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction and picture book courses. She has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is currently developing several works for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Break Up the Routine, Write Something New

Here we are at the end of another year. As usual, we wonder, where did the time go?

Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent / Foter / CC BY-SA
It is typically a time to reflect on our successes and get ready for a new year with fresh goals.

Before you start scheduling for 2015, I would like to throw an idea at you that will help break up the monotony that comes with routine. It could be a fun idea to spark creativity and show you there is more in you than you thought.

I'm finishing up a free online course 
through the University of Iowa, "How to Write Fiction". Even though I rarely write fiction, I thought it was worth my time to try something new. I learned to be challenged and stretched in areas that were not familiar - kind of like snorkeling or yoga for the first time. 

One lesson was on constraints and styles. The assignment was to write a scene of 10 sentences and include a numeral in each sentence (and continuing with patterns of 20, 30 sentences if desired). Or, write a scene with sentences containing the same number of words.


I chose the latter. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed doing this assignment! 


It happened that day I was aware of how it looks when colorful, autumn days suddenly shift to cold, blustery weather. It ended up having a poetic feel and totally out of my writing style.


Lost
Kathleen Moulton

Brown, shrunken mums in containers. Soggy jack-o-lanterns with misshapen faces.

Skeletal remains lost their splendor. Faded jewels of red and gold.

The man tries to collect. Let the wind take them!

Queen Anne shivers and shrivels. Canada goose watches the sky.

Pull back the royal curtain. See the river once hidden?

Happy dogs walk with women. Knitted hats and mismatched scarves.

The sun has a secret. It is cloaked in mystery.

Drops of rain turn white. Mums are hideous remnants lost.

And jack-o-lanterns seem to cry. The man’s leaves are gone.



~~~


Try something new this year. Let yourself get side-tracked just a bit. You will find there is more inside of you than you thought. If it doesn't develop further, the process will definitely clear out the cobwebs!

Have you had an experience similar to this? When you were pleasantly surprised with something you wrote?




After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts http://kathleenmoulton.com

A Gift From Writers on the Move to You

Another year is coming to a close and at this time we at Writers on the Move would like to THANK YOU for being a part of our online lives, for following our authors and writers, for commenting and sharing our work, and for subscribing to our site.


To show our appreciation, we created an ebook of writing and marketing tips as a gift. It's filled with great information and  we hope it helps and guides you in your writing and marketing endeavors in the New Year.



And, as a bonus, you can share this ebook. You can offer it as a gift in your newsletter, on your website, as a bonus to a gift or product you’re offering, or for some other incentive. Please though, be sure to keep it intact.

Click the link to download Writers on the Move: Winter 2014 Writing and Marketing Tips and Strategies




Have a Happy, Healthy, and Safe 
Holiday Season and New Year!




The Business of Writing


Writing is a business. If you are a writer, what kind of business background do you need?

I have a college degree, but I took only two business classes. Decades later, I am a college student once again. I am not pursuing a degree, but a certificate. There are a number of business classes I have taken or still need to take. Some of them are: business taxes, accounting, Microsoft Office 2013, management and marketing. I am halfway to being “finished” but I plan to continue enrolling in classes. There are other related programs to pursue, and enough to keep me busy for at least the next few years.

Of course, I have also enrolled in writing classes, but those are through other entities. I need to learn more about how to write better and I enjoy learning from other writers.

What business classes have you invested in? How did they help you? What other classes would you enjoy or find useful?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.

 

Gifts for Writers









It’s time for my annual gift list for writers.  If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping consider one of the gifts below.






  1. An online writer’s workshop from Writer’s Digest -- Writer’s digest offers affordable online writing workshops.  These workshops are taught by experts in the field and cover a wide range of topics (e.g. memoir writing, blogging, query letters).
  2. Books – A perfect gift for any writer.
  3. A subscription to writer’s magazine -- I have a digital subscription to Poets and Writers for only$2.50 per issue.
  4. 365 Affirmations for the Writer by Jane Hertenstein – A kindle book chocked full of inspiration for any writer.
  5. The 2015 Writer’s Market – If you know a writer getting ready to submit their work, the Writer's Market is an invaluable tool.  This compilation of information about publishers is a perennial on my annual gift list.
  6. A Journal – Even if the writer you know generally works on a computer, give them a journal and they are sure to write in it.   Check out Cafepress.com for a wide selection of journals.
  7.  Scrivener - A great application for managing complex writing projects or keeping track of the research for that next project.


     All writers need readers.  So, here’s a few of the books I’m giving this holiday season.
                              Picture Book:  Before You Came by Patricia MacLachlan Charest
Middle Grade:  Bird by Crystal Chan
YA:  Pig Park by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
Cross over:  Where’d You Go, Bernadatte,by Maria Semple
Non-Fiction:  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

      Do you have any favorite gifts for writers?  What books are you giving this holiday season?






Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life coach. For more information check out:

http://DoNorth.biz/events.htm
http://facebook.com/DoNorth.biz  

Christmas Around the World! ~ International English #3

We've been looking at International English.
  • In October, we looked at Making Friends Across the Globe.
  • In November we saw some of the the varieties of English interpretations, especially between British and American English.
  • This month we're going to look at International English at Christmas time.

It's Almost Christmas! 
How will you celebrate? What words will you use?


The word "Christmas" comes from the old English Cristes Maesse, or the mass of Christ. Across the globe, Christmas Day is one of the most festive celebrations. Although greatly commercialized in many countries, it is a Christian holiday held in memory of the birth of Jesus Christ.

No one knows the actual date of Christ's birth but most countries celebrate it on December 25th, although in some countries such as those that follow the Russian Orthodox calender, it is celebrated on January 7th.

Many homes have decorated Christmas trees, real or fake and many families decorate their homes inside and, especially in America, outside their homes as well. In many cultures Christmas is a family affair with family members traveling many miles to celebrate together. Other homes hold bring-and-share meals for many friends. In many countries, Christmas Day is a public holiday and all businesses are closed for the day. Across the world, cities go to great lengths to decorate their streets and main shopping centers.

Most churches have special Christmas Day services with carol singing and often they hold mince-pie celebrations. Within the family, gifts are exchanged and many children believe in Father Christmas, or Santa Claus. In the past, Christmas cards were sent and received but in many lands that custom is rapidly dying out due to the expense of the postal system and of the cards themselves.

Christmas traditions vary from country to country, including such elements as lighting of Christmas trees, hanging of Christmas stockings, Advent wreaths on doors, mistletoe overhead, candy canes, Nativity scenes, carol singing, fasting, midnight mass, burning a Yuletide log, pulling crackers and many others.

"Christmas cake, Boxing Day 2008" by SMC.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution
The countries following British customs often enjoy Christmas Mince Pies (where the mince is made from dried fruit), Christmas Pudding and Iced Christmas Cake—again full of dried fruit mince, yummy! Because of the heat, South Africa is increasingly turning to trifle, ice-cream and fruit salad, and I suspect other hotter countries are doing likewise. (A tragedy to some gastronomical desires including my own!)

Christmas meals also vary wildly. In Nigeria, rice dishes or stews are often served, as is pepper soup with fish, goat or beef. Japanese Christmas cake is a white sponge cake covered with cream and strawberries, and believe it or not, thanks to a successful advertising campaign in the 1970's, eating at KFC around Christmas is regarded as a national custom!

In the USA and many of the British countries, the traditional Christmas dinner features roast turkey and stuffing (sometimes called dressing), ham or gammon, and other meats, with a wide variety of cooked vegetables and roast potatoes. In some countries such as the UK and South Africa, the traditional meal is accompanied by the pulling of Christmas crackers which contain jokes, toys and paper hats.

In the Southern Hemisphere any dreams of a White Christmas are exactly that—dreams, as Christmas falls mid-summer. Although South Africans and Australians often follow a similar traditional meal to England and America, it is becoming increasingly common to serve barbecue meals (braai in South Africa) with salads.

No matter where you go in the world it is likely that you will find some form of Christmas celebration, and people will greet you in words only used once a year. In America you are likely to be wished a Merry Christmas! While in the UK, it's more likely to be Happy Christmas!

It's not possible to cover all the greetings in this post, but here are 24 international ways to wish you a Very Happy Christmas;

FURTHER READING:
What in the World Do You Mean?




SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer has created a multitude of friends and contacts across the world.

Please visit Shirley through ShirleyCorder.com, where she encourages writers, or at RiseAndSoar.com, where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her onTwitter or FaceBook.

Tis the Season

Here's a short video (less than a minute animation) with our holiday wishes for you:




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End of Year Wrap Up


In January we tend to focus on goals and resolutions for the new year, but have you taken the time to review 2014? Just as important as establishing new goals is the process of evaluating where you are now, in fact, this will help you when the time comes to think about 2015.

Some questions to help you:
1. What is the most important thing you've learned this year? 
           Is it a grammar rule that you previously found confusing?
           Is it a marketing tool that helped you to expand your audience?
           Is it a way to develop good writing habits?
           
Any of these will help you move forward with your writing. Assessing and prioritizing the lessons learned will help you to determine where to focus your attention in the future.

2. What was the most difficult thing you had to overcome?
          Was it balancing work, family and writing?
          Was it budgeting for a writer's conference or other retreat?
          Or perhaps it was just getting past writer's block.

We may not have finished the book in the time we thought we would, or perhaps the editing process was more challenging than we had anticipated. Stuff happens, but focusing on our achievements is important to encouraging us to keep moving ahead with our work.

3. Where do you feel you could use the most improvement?
           In grammar?
           In plot or character development?
           In marketing?
           In editing?

Knowing where your weaknesses are can lead to many choices. You can choose to get a book, take a class and get better, or you can begin to search for others to do the things that come hard for you so you can focus on the areas where you are the most proficient. 

4. Finally, if you were to update your writer's resume from last year, what are you adding?
   
Take the time to acknowledge your large and small triumphs - and celebrate these. Assess your strengths and weaknesses - and determine the direction you'd like to go next. Be honest with yourself. Then update your writer's resume and begin thinking about 2015.

____________________________________

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook.
  


What It Takes to Get Started as a Freelance Writer: A Top 10 List

Since I'm a writing coach and a freelance writer myself, people are always asking me what it takes to get started as a freelancer. Other than some basic writing skills, here is my top ten list of essentials every writer needs to start a freelance career.

1. A Professional Resume - Your resume might not include much when you're just getting started, still you need to have something to show potential clients, editors, and publishers that lists your education, writing experience, and publication credits (if any).

2. A Professional Bio - A bio is more simple than a resume. It should be written in third person and give an overview of your education and experience, the type of writing you do and the services you offer.

3. Some Writing Samples - These don't have to be published clips. They can be unpublished samples of the different types of writing you like to do. When responding to advertisements for freelance writing jobs, many times writing samples and a professional resume will be required.

4. Three Major Writing or Career Goals for the Year - I advise writers to stick to only three major goals for the year. Then, everything they do during the year should serve to help them reach one or more of these three major goals. Working toward one or more of these major goals at all times really helps any writer keep from feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or unfocused.

5. A Weekly Marketing Plan - Every Sunday evening or Monday morning, it's important to create a marketing plan and writing schedule for the coming work week. When you have a clear plan, all you have to do each week is "work your plan."

6. A Method or Means of Accountability - Every writer needs to have someone or something that will hold them accountable for maintaining their focus and working toward their 3 major goals all year long. A writing coach, a writer's group, or even another friend who is also a writer can be used for this purpose.



7. A Professional Website or blog - Editors and clients expect any serious freelance writer to have an online presence, which includes a website or blog with information about the writer, his/her education and experience, and the types of writing services offered.

8. Business Cards - These should be simple and inexpensive. Include your name, business name (if you create one for your freelance writing business) or a tagline that tells people you're a freelance writer, telephone number, and email address. Don't include your home address. If you think a mailing address is essential for your business, invest in a post office box and include that address on your business card.

9. A Success Journal - This can be nothing more than a spiral notebook used to record daily or weekly progress. A Success Journal is one more way to help any freelance writer stay on track with a weekly marketing plan, weekly writing goals, and stay focused on just three major goals for the year.

10. Total Commitment - A freelance writing career can be difficult to establish because, generally, people who start freelance writing do so when they still have a regular day job and/or dozens of other professional and personal responsibilities. Then, when things get too stressful, the freelance writing is the first thing that gets pushed to the wayside. Before any writer decides to start a freelance writing career, he/she must totally commit to making this career happen.

If your goal is to become a successful freelance writer, get these 10 essentials in place right now and it will be much easier to get your career established.


Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, certified professional life coach and writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She has written over two dozen published books and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. She offers The Morning Nudge, for writers every weekday morning. Get your free subscription at www.morningnudge.com.