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11 December
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Writing Classes Offered At A Great Holiday Price!

This winter take a freelance writing class from the comfort of your own home by conference and online. Learn everything you need to know to get started writing and submitting your articles for magazines and newspapers. Basics of the business covered, terminology, anatomy of an article, how to communicate with editors, editing, polishing, and marketing.

For more information visit the ‘Classes’ page.

01 June
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30 Fabulous Things For Beach Girl Writers To Do: A Month Of Creative Fun

Woman, reading, originally uploaded by mseidman.

30 Fabulous Things for Beach Girl Writers to Do This Summer: A Month of Creative Fun

by Kerri Buckley
…..Summer is upon us and savvy girls who write have the most fun! Reinvent your writing life. Set new goals; act as if you’re already the author you’ve always wanted to be. Fill your best beach bag with sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle, gel pens, legal pads, journals, dictionary, and thesaurus. Grab your low-fat latte and head for the nearest beach or out-of-the-way spot across town that makes life feel like a vacation. Change your writing life a little—or a lot!

1. Set summer goals. Commit to write five pages a day on your novel or a query a day if you’re a freelancer. Write your morning pages or journal every day because it helps your other work flow. Consider setting a reading goal, such as one book on the craft of writing per month and one literary fiction selection. Make a list of summer classics that you’ve always meant to dive into.

2. Retreat with Mrs. Ramsay in To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

3. Change your writing spots for one month. Try several different coffeehouses throughout the week: the beach, a park, an overlook, the ferry, or anywhere else that inspires you. Try a sophisticated piano bar that plays classical and jazz in the afternoon, or find an outdoor cafe. Pay attention to the differences at each location. Note where you feel most elegant, most romantic, most connected to nature, and most talented. Each place will give your writing a different flavor.

4. Read On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

5. If you’re a freelancer, plan your articles and queries six months ahead. Prepare for December, January, and February publication.

6. Get lost on the moors with Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

7. Fully utilize your local bookstore. Find the bestseller lists. Check out the Book Source recommendations. Sign up for newsletters and read the latest reviews. Talk to booksellers. Attend free or low-cost events.

8. Enter at least one contest this summer. Check The Writer’s Market, sign up for Writer’s Digest online newsletter, or check out www.newpages.com/NPGuides/litmags.htm to get the latest competition updates.

9. Plan a weekend writing getaway. Pick your favorite nearby spot and write nonstop the entire weekend. Eat exotic food. Dress and act as if you already are the famous author you want to be.

10. Absorb Stephen King’s On Writing.

11. Pick your five favorite novels of all time. Put them all in a stack in front of you. Spend an evening jotting down the similarities, what you love about all of them, how the styles and voices differ, etc.

12. Escape with The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

13. Frequent one book signing a month. Talk to the author afterward. Network and learn.

14. Summer is great for volunteering at your favorite literary events. Planning is now underway for Bumbershoot Literary Arts and Richard Hugo House events. Volunteering is an inexpensive way to brush up on skills and to meet other people who are interested in the same things you are. If you can swing the time, you’ll enrich your life and find yourself in network heaven!

15. Attend a summer writer’s conference. It will energize you, your writing, and your career. In the Pacific Northwest there are a variety of conferences to choose from such as:

* Centrum’s Port Townsend Writer’s Conference (July)
* Clarion West Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop in Seattle (July)
* PNWA Summer Writer’s Conference in Seattle (July)
* Ashland Writer’s Conference (July)
* Portland State University Haystack Writing Program (July)
* Tin House Summer Writers Workshop in Portland (July)
* Willamette Writers Conference in Portland (August)

Don’t forget to at least consider The International Women’s Writing Guild’s Summer Conference at Skidmore College in New York. Check out www.shawguides.com for more listings.

16. Study and analyze Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel.

17. Set aside some time to plan a year’s worth of grant writing for your own projects. Check out these websites for more information and a good beginning to find funding:

* www.racc.org
* www.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/3arts.htm
* arts.endow.gov www.neh.gov/grants
* www.nasaa-arts.org www.fundsforwriters.com

18. Build a great, low-cost website at www.authorsguild.com.

19. Revisit Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s treasure Gift from the Sea.

20. Join one writer’s organization. Consider the International Women’s Writing Guild, The National Association of Women Writers, Richard Hugo House, Willamette Writers, PNWA, or The Author’s Guild.

21. Use a few summer hours to teach a writing class. If you’re not comfortable with teaching a professional class, scale it down to writing with kids at the local library. Make it fun for you; do something different. Consider something new, like writing fairy tales or teaching sentence structure in play form. Remember Richard Bach’s line from Illusions, “We teach best what we most need to learn.”

22. Allow yourself to be mesmerized by Virginia Woolf’s The Waves.

23. Submerge yourself in Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger.

24. Take a mini Internet vacation and surf online for sites by women writers. Most also have newsletters. Here are some great places to start:

* www.prairieden.com
* www.naww.org
* www.iwwg.com
* www.waverlyfitzgerald.com
* www.jadewritings.com
* www.creativejourneys.net
* www.womenwritingthewest.org
* www.karingillespie.com
* www.writesuccess.com
* www.girlatplay.com
* www.scribequill.com
* www.theroseandthornezine.com
* www.sealpress.com
* www.bitchmagazine.com
* www.hipmama.com
* www.bust.com

25. Investigate James N. Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel.

26. Practice writing short stories (2,500 words), short short stories (1,000 words), and one-sentence stories about the thrills, delights, or sorrows of this summer season. The shorter versions force us to contemplate the precise words and are great exercises in discipline, word crafting, and delivery.

27. Network with other women writers. Have a great brunch and honor a woman writer. Hand out recipes from cookbooks by women authors, host a tea with poetry readings by or about women poets, have a jazz reception. Form a women’s reading group.

28. Analyze Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee. Novelists, as well as screenwriters, use this book for all the great advice it gives.

29. Write your success story for the summer as if it has already happened. Visualize and write every detail you envision about success. Picture your career taking off to new levels, meeting the perfect agent, or beginning a new novel. Put it away until the fall and then get it out and re-read.

30. Plan ahead for next summer. Investigate writing retreats and fellowships. Start applying now for next year. Check out these websites on fellowships and retreats:

* http://www.pifmagazine.com/2000/06/c_workshop_guide.php3
* http://www.soapstone.org
* http://dir.yahoo.com/arts/organizations/artists__retreats_and_colonies
* http://www.literary-arts.org/olfwriterguide.html

 

This article first appeared in Summer 2004 Seattle Writergrrls zine UNCAPPED.
15 May
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Time To Write

coffee Waves, originally uploaded by Omar_MK.

 

Today has been the most perfect day to write. The temperature is lovely, somewhere in the distance a concert of some sort. Not too loud, low background noise, and usually I prefer the sound of nature to write by—frogs, for instance, I can hear them, now, or birds, or the geese and ducks on the reserve I live next to. Even the sound of children is fine with me. Natural sounds, I think, of kids and dogs and animals, this middle of May day, and a lot of catching up to do with the blog, poems, and a few articles. This weekend will be too short.

15 May
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The Haunted House

“The apples were in the loft.”

 

 

THE HAUNTED HOUSE
by Virginia Woolf

Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure—a ghostly couple.

“Here we left it,” she said. And he added, “Oh, but here too!” “It’s upstairs,” she murmured. “And in the garden,” he whispered. “Quietly,” they said, “or we shall wake them.”

But it wasn’t that you woke us. Oh, no. “They’re looking for it; they’re drawing the curtain,” one might say, and so read on a page or two. “Now they’ve found it,” one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. “What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?” My hands were empty. “Perhaps it’s upstairs then?” The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.

But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The window panes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the ceiling—what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat softly. “The treasure buried; the room …” the pulse stopped short. Oh, was that the buried treasure?

A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare, coolly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burnt behind the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us; coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house, found it dropped beneath the Downs. “Safe, safe, safe,” the pulse of the house beat gladly. “The Treasure yours.”

The wind roars up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way and that. Moonbeams splash and spill wildly in the rain. But the beam of the lamp falls straight from the window. The candle burns stiff and still. Wandering through the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seek their joy.

“Here we slept,” she says. And he adds, “Kisses without number.” “Waking in the morning—” “Silver between the trees—” “Upstairs—” “In the garden—” “When summer came—” “In winter snowtime—” The doors go shutting far in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.

Nearer they come; cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken; we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak. His hands shield the lantern. “Look,” he breathes. “Sound asleep. Love upon their lips.”

Stooping, holding their silver lamp above us, long they look and deeply. Long they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops slightly. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent; the faces pondering; the faces that search the sleepers and seek their hidden joy.

“Safe, safe, safe,” the heart of the house beats proudly. “Long years—” he sighs. “Again you found me.” “Here,” she murmurs, “sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure—” Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes. “Safe! safe! safe!” the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry “Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.”

03 April
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Ready To Work

Coffee and Moleskine, originally uploaded by Lost in Scotland.

I love these Moleskines (pronounced Mol uh skeens)! I’m passionate about them. You can’t own too many of them, actually. I use one just for upcoming deadlines, another for a query log, and still another just for writing down ideas. They are indispensable, beautiful, and lightweight. Add a gorgeous cup of coffee and you couldn’t ask for anything else.

03 April
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How Do You Keep Your Ideas?

Moleskine page 13, originally uploaded by Jo36.

This journal isn’t mine, but it could be. I use sketchbooks that are huge to just capture ideas. (I also always have a small one with me.) They end up having drawings, lists, mind-maps, pockets pasted in and other paper inside, and pages and pages of writing. I save them all. I’ve needed two lines for a poems before, and have gone back into my journal and found the perfect lines written two years past. I think there is a kind of magic in a journal, don’t you?

03 April
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Ready To Work

Coffee and Moleskine, originally uploaded by Lost in Scotland.

I love these Moleskines (pronounced Mol uh skeens)! I’m passionate about them. You can’t own too many of them, actually. I use one just for upcoming deadlines, another for a query log, and still another just for writing down ideas. They are indispensable, beautiful, and lightweight. Add a gorgeous cup of coffee and you couldn’t ask for anything else.

03 April
0Comments

How Do You Keep Your Ideas?

Moleskine page 13, originally uploaded by Jo36.

This journal isn’t mine, but it could be. I use sketchbooks that are huge to just capture ideas. (I also always have a small one with me.) They end up having drawings, lists, mind-maps, pockets pasted in and other paper inside, and pages and pages of writing. I save them all. I’ve needed two lines for a poems before, and have gone back into my journal and found the perfect lines written two years past. I think there is a kind of magic in a journal, don’t you?

03 April
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Art Helps Writing

altered book spread, originally uploaded by Bellah.

 

 

In my freelance writing classes we use artistic techniques such as collage and mind-mapping to organize ideas. It works so well it feels as if, after this is done, the articles practically write themselves. It’s fun, but the real reason is to engage the right brain so that article-writing is not just a left-brain process. No writer’s block. No frustration.

07 March
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New Online Writing Classes Begin

Writing the Night Away, originally uploaded by Poet for Life (more off than on these days).

New For 2010: Online Writing Classes

Now you can take freelance writing classes without leaving your home. These classes involve a structured six-week class teaching the basics, or advanced classes if you’ve taken the Primer. All include personal feedback and consultations.

For more information, please email words (@) goldenwordsmith.com