Showing posts with label Author Tales from WOTM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Author Tales from WOTM. Show all posts

Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Karen Coiffi & Deborah Lyn Stanley

In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives.

Karen & Deborah Lyn are up next.

by Karen Cioffi

When thinking about what to write for this collaboration on 2020 and the upcoming New Year, I decided to break it into what was horrible about the year, what worked out as blessings, and what I'm hoping 2021 will bring.

The Horrible:

The Pandemic shook our world and it made me realize how precious the simplest things we take for granted are.

Seeing family. Seeing friends. Going to stores. Going to the doctor if needed. Not worrying about receiving packages or home grocery deliveries. Being fearful of ordering take-out (at least in the beginning of the pandemic).

Missing family terribly.

Although, I did see family over the summer, but now we're distancing again, probably until at least the Spring.

The Blessings:

In the summer of 2019, I moved into a four-bedroom house from a two-bedroom townhouse. It wasn't safe for my husband to do stairs any longer and my younger daughter and now 4-year-old grandson had moved in with me the year before. I needed more bedrooms.

The best thing, though, is the house has a large backyard with mostly grass. While having to stay pretty much homebound, my grandson had a ball in the yard over the summer. He even had a playmate come over to play in it. I couldn't have asked for a better set up for what we're going through.

In regard to writing, this was another blessing. In April my business went into over-drive. 2020 was probably my busiest and most productive year ever.

Having so many clients and stories to write, I didn't have time to overly think about things or worry too much. As Carolyn Howard-Johnson said, "Creativity is a blessing." It takes us beyond the world we live in.

As 2020 brought illness and worse to so many, and it brought so much fear, anger, and even hatred, I hope the world is a safer and better place in 2021.

A writing tip for the New Year: Step past your fear. Don't let the 'I'm not a good enough writer' syndrome stop you from going for whatever it is you want to do. Submit to magazines; submit to publishers; submit to agents. Or if you want to self-publish, do it. If you're not a writer, it would be a good idea, though, to read some books on how to write or take some classes before you jump in. 

Karen Cioffi is the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. She is also an award-winning author, children's ghostwriter, and online marketing instructor with WOW! Women on Writing and the Working Writers Club.




Wishing You a Wonderful & Prosperous New Year
by Deborah Lyn

2020 has been a year of hope and worry: prayer and the challenge to stay productive daily. I pushed through my book edits, polishing for publication, and I’m delighted that Mom & Me, a Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love, was published in September. It is a memoir to encourage caregivers: current, past and future. It’s upbeat, touchable, and my story.

AlzAuthors is a wonderful non-profit, providing an abundance of resources for caregivers. During the summer, I became an AlzAuthor. A couple months later, I started working with the website director as an Associate member.

I’m grateful for the milestones met this year, and eager for life to return to “normal”.
My success tip for both you and me is to persevere, keep writing, keep getting it out to readers, and enjoy your writing practice.

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays, and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts. 

Visit My Writer’s Life website at:   

Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Linda Wilson



In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives.

Linda Wilson is up next.

The year 2020 has brought unspeakable hardships due to the onslaught of Covid-19. Did any good come of it? Though like everyone else I’ve had my own challenges, I have had experiences that I can be thankful for.

•    Zoom meetings: I think like most of us, I believed zoom was something a fast car did. That was before March, of course. Soon after our first shutdown, suddenly friends, colleagues, soul mates, fellow classmates, and for me, my group piano class, took the first baby steps toward learning how to visit virtually. Now we’re pros.

•    Our Albuquerque SCBWI chapter expanded to include members from all over New Mexico, southern Colorado, and western Texas. No longer are we confined to meet only at libraries and community centers in Albuquerque. We meet once a week at our virtual coffee house, once a month for our critique group, and often to hear visitor-speaker programs and local as well as national conferences. We’ve enjoyed meeting this way so much that we’re going to continue meeting with Zoom from now on, as well as in person when the time comes.

•    When I moved from Alamogordo in southern NM to Albuquerque, I had to say good-bye to the eight students in my group piano class. Now we meet once a week and play piano for each other.

•    Since my husband’s boxing program, Rock Steady Boxing, a nationwide program for “fighters” battling Parkinson’s disease, closed down in March, I’ve met with several members once a week to exchange notes and offer each other support.

•    Shopping: I marvel now at how much I was “out” before March, shopping, meeting friends for lunch, and more. Others have told me they were doing the same thing. At first in March, it was difficult to stay in one place—home—for such a long time. But I’m used to it now and have learned a new kind of reality: finding that it’s not so bad staying home. I get a lot more done and have found a certain kind of peace that I didn’t possess before March.

•    Seat Time: A lot more writing takes place at my desk now. I’ve become more productive. Before March, I worked on one project at a time, I now understand, because I didn’t make time for more. Since March I’ve continued to edit Book 2 in the Abi Wunder series, revised two picture books, both in different stages of development with an editor and an illustrator, and am working on my third picture book. I found a company to produce an audiobook of Secret in the Stars, the first book in the Abi Wunder series. The audiobook is finished and will become available soon.

So, for all the problems Covid-19 has brought, I have found that, sad as this year has been, there are reasons to be thankful for some of its fallout.

A tip to make 2021 your best year yet: Set realistic goals NOW. Make your goals brief. Set a deadline. Post your goals where you can see them every day. Cross each one off after you’ve reached it. Take stock, say in 6 months, and reset your goals. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.


Linda Wilson: Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, is available on Amazon, The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. 

Follow Linda on

Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Carolyn Wilhelm

In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives.
Carolyn Wilhelm is up next.

Happiness is 2020 in the Rearview Mirror

Dear Readers,

Everyone must be looking forward to seeing 2020 in the rearview mirror. Hopefully, 2021 will be a much better new year. 2020 has felt like we were living in a different country.

2020 began with my local writing group finalizing an adoption anthology manuscript for me to format and upload to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. While working on it, I was still blissfully unaware of the coming pandemic. In Minneapolis and waiting for a grandchild to be born in Seattle during the spring of 2020, we stayed home in case of any needed travel.

Seattle became a “hot spot” for the virus, as we all remember. In February, our neighbor was going to travel there for her great-aunt’s birthday when the airline sent her a voucher and announced the flight was canceled. Oh, so now what? We never did schedule our April flight and have yet to see our grandson in person.

Minnesota’s first elementary school to close after people tested positive just happened to be the one where I was volunteering weekly. Volunteers were the first to be told to say home. The information hit close to home, as did news about Seattle.

With nothing but time on our hands, you would think my husband and I (both writers) would work on manuscripts. Instead, we stayed glued to the TV as we followed the news. Worry, not creativity, filled our brains. I’m sure readers can relate!

Finally, life is coming back into focus, and we can see ahead a few months. Dear readers, I hope you are also beginning to see the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, although it is not over. We are not out of the woods as yet, of course.

What is a writer to do?
1.       Write
When stress is high, smaller writing pieces are useful as they required less energy. Dust off older works that were begun and dropped. Find files to save or finally trash. Expect less of yourself. Be kind to yourself.
2.       List
List ideas for when life is brighter and ideas begin to flow, even if you can’t work on them at this time.
3.       Read
Checking on Goodreads, I was surprised I have read over 100 books in 2020. Notice plots, characters, and words when reading. It is sure to be a positive impact on writing at some point.
4.       Listen
Listen to stories as you talk to people on Zoom or the phone. Some writing ideas stem from conversations.
5.       Think
There has undoubtedly been more time to think, plan, and wonder if you have been part of a lockdown or quarantine in recent months.
6.       Review
Do you remember books from high school or even from reading to your children? What stands out? Reviewing such older books on Goodreads is an idea for short writes and documenting favorite reads.  
7.       Absorb
Walk in nature, listen to music, tend plants, and take more time to appreciate what is going well despite living through this extraordinary time. Our brains do need some down-time.  

I hope everyone has a much better new year!
Thank you for reading, Carolyn

Carolyn Wilhelm
is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY.

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