goldenwordsmith

All About Writing

30 March
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Ruby and Sapphire

Chopin With Cherries: A Tribute In Verse

I am so happy to announce one of my poems, “Ruby and Sapphire”, from Chopin With Cherries: A Tribute in Verse, was featured on the Chopin With Cherries blog.. This same poem was translated into Polish in WYSPA Literary Magazine.

19 December
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Blog of the Week: InkyGirl.com

If Only, originally uploaded by Inkygirl.

This week the spotlight shines on the Inkygirl blog http:www.inkygirl.com. You can click here for the most amazing compilation of internet resources for writers (including Twitter info and tutorials) ever! It’s a holiday gift for writers on its own!

Enjoy it. 🙂

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.
27 May
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50 Blogs By Women You Should See

surfing on the web2.jpg, originally uploaded by King Antoine.

 

Here is a list of blogs by women. It’s worth looking at. Soon, I’m going to unleash a list of blogs by women writers. I’m collecting sites and names. I’m going to also feature one blog each week. And not to leave you guys out, I’ll put together a list of great blogs by men who write, too. For now, enjoy!

15 May
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Writing by the Columbia

Hanging out in Astoria., originally uploaded by lordog.

Writing by the Columbia

by Kerri Buckley

You don’t always get to change or choose locations for writing a book, but last summer I moved to Astoria, Oregon, to write in a room that overlooked the Columbia River — the huge, legendary, Lewis and Clark marine highway. The Columbia spills into a bay that connects to the Pacific, and the view of the sunset from my room was spectacular. At night I could literally see ships pass in the night, and small fishing boats illuminated as they bobbed on the river. Not only could I watch the river, but four miles across were the misty blue mountains of Washington.

This view was everything to me as I worked. I put together my first collection of poetry with the river always in sight and in mind. The room was a few stories up in a hundred-year old building on a hill, and I’d frequently look up from my computer or paper to see factory-sized ships painted in bright colors floating up or down river.

Sometimes I’d jump in my car, grab a chai, park facing the river and write for hours. When I needed a break, the path along the river was the perfect diversion–full of bicycles, dogs and wild flowers. The fishing boats drifted in and out; sea-lions yelped their constant barks to one another, and the sky over the river changed color and hue from moment to moment—from clear to a cold, mysterious fog. And then, shortly, a rainbow arced down into the river through sun-filtered clouds.

There was always a breeze, and through the window in my room, I could hear strains of The Magic Flute, or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, as the musicians and performers of the Astoria Music Festival rehearsed at the nearby Liberty Theater. The Liberty, opened in 1925, was grand inspiration itself, beautiful, elegant, and undergoing extensive and careful renovation. I could cross the street to a flower shop, walk a few steps and duck through the alley to The Rusty Cup, a coffee shop next to the Liberty that always welcomed writers, artists and creative projects. Sunday mornings I could hear the crowds down below at the Sunday Market, and the distant bells of the trolley. Always, though, there was the river–the perfect writing companion: moving, changing, reflective as I wrote, revised and rewrote.

This essay appeared in the “Write This” section of Seattle Writergrrls UNCAPPED ZINE in 2005.
03 February
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19 August
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Summer Memories

Summer Memories

by Kerri Buckley

Summer. It does have its own feel – bicycles and blueberries; picnics under blue skies; golden hours and evenings that meander into nights never seeming to end, loaded with stars, music, cool foods and laughter. Yes, summers have magic. Alex Romer, just old enough to have a job at a movie theater in Tualatin could spend days off in air-conditioned coolness doing movie marathons for free. Instead, he chooses to skateboard in almost all his spare time, cherishing dry weather as an opportunity to perfect skateboard skills. “The best summers” he says, “are complete with friends, family, sunshine and smooth hills.” His sister Aleah has spent most of her teen summers working with horses, also coveting dry, sunny days. Time indoors will just have to wait.

Experiences Matter Most

What’s your favorite summer memory? Studies show that people remember experiences most, not material things. A recent poll among Portlanders echoed these findings – summer memories are most unforgettable when family, friends, places and events are interwoven. Little else is remembered. All these comparisons led me to consider my significant summer memories. Most remarkable involved yearly family vacations to South Dakota as a kid, outings with friends, and events only summer could offer – like Fourth of July fireworks displays, camping trips, days spent at lakes and beaches, the Astoria Music Festival, silk dresses, and regular frequenting of jazz clubs with my sister. Summer clocks are synchronized by fun.

Haunting Summer Memories

A few summer memories are hauntingly etched in my mind, mixed with feelings of the new, unexplored, and fleeting rarity of connecting with people you will never see again. One such memory includes my friend Caren, who, several decades ago, was a painting student in Philadelphia. Everything about her was bohemian and original. The summer we met, we were each newly alone in a huge city working at a restaurant on a ship docked on the Delaware River. Most days we worked hard. Days off, we explored the city, beaches at the shore, and talked about all future possibilities. I remember sitting on the sills of her ten-foot high windows, all of them thrown open, overlooking Chestnut Street, drinking tea and watching a rare summer afternoon rain explode over the city, chilling and emptying the streets below. It was Caren who first introduced me to iced coffee, wine coolers, and the ability to survive without a chest of drawers. What I remember most is her laughter, a joyous, musical experience I still hear distinctly. That summer was so short! In a few months the days would cool, our lives would change, our paths separate. In the same haunting vein, I remember my father taking my sisters and me on another rainy summer day to a huge library, remember painting alone for hours, oil on canvas, in our study. They are ribbons, these days of summer, with definite beginnings and ends, connecting all main bodies that make up our lives.

Summer Friends

Alex Romer thinks friends are vital to great memories. His favorite summer was his thirteenth, when he and two buddies, Larry and Zach, had no worries except mastering the art of skateboarding. They spent the entire summer learning how to ‘drop in’, collected and recycled cans, shared single sodas and sunflower seeds as if they were feasts, built stick forts, and explored abandoned buildings – a perfect boy’s summer. Lately, I’ve noticed my young neighbor Josh, thirteen, with a new skateboard. I hear the familiar sound of someone jumping – over and over again. He’s often alone, and looks intensely determined. Soon enough, though, he’ll be skating with friends in the sunshine and looking for smooth hills.

Kerri Buckley is a writer and artist living in the Pacific Northwest. She teaches freelance writing, and hosts a literary radio show, The Literary Cafe’ in Astoria.

This article appeared in August 2007 in Portland Family Magazine
01 February
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Macbook and iPhone

iPhone, originally uploaded by mahonyweb.

Everything you need for the digital age, right? Here is alink to Jane Friedman’s blog, from Writer’s Digest. I took a seminar on the web from her this week (webinar), and it was great. Her blog is terrific, too. Very informative. Just the thing you need to read if you’re a writer.

Enjoy.

~Kerri

06 November
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November – National Novel Writing Month

photo from Flickr by David GPphoto from Flickr by David GP

 

National Novel Writing Month

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At the stroke of midnight on Halloween, people around the world begin typing in coffee shops, homes, offices, libraries, and anywhere else they can craft a story – all over the world. This month is officially National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it is affectionately known by those who take part. It’s a chance for thousands, maybe millions of people to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. That’s right, thirty (30) days.

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I interviewed Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWrimo, in 2006; he was a featured guest on The Literary Cafe’. It was a fun show. I added music by the Beatles and had a few others on the show who talked either about NaNoWriMo or novel writing. I do have some favorites, when it comes to books on novel writing. That’s best for a new post, though.  I admit when I took part in NaNoWriMo, in 2005, the pace was a bit too fast for my brain.

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I did write a blog about it here, and I did do a lot of research on novel writing – here is a link to an article –  I’m still doing research on novel writing, and though I am not participating, I am cheering those who are on. Good luck, novelists! You can do it! ~Kerri

05 October
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Autumn’s Writing Opportunities

Jefferson Wilderness, originally uploaded by nickboren.

Maybe today you could think about Autumn, and write about it in some way. It could just be your daily pages, or how to shape something seasonal into an essay. It’s hard to write about Autumn, and the feelings we have about it in the spring. The opposite is true, but if you’re a freelance writer, you have to now be thinking six months ahead for articles, and as much as a year for the highest paying publications.

If you thought about Autumn today, and wrote it all down, you’d have that writing to come back to, and there are millions of subjects to write about that fit with Autumn. I can think of these right now: trees, nature, colors, apples, festivals, school, weather, coolness, elections, foods….and the list can go on and on. ~Kerri