Archive for August, 2012

If you’re a writer who has spent years trying to get published, it’s normal to occasionally think about giving up. After all, how nice to quit feeling guilty when you can’t find the time to write or revise. How lovely to spend time with friends and family instead of with your computer. How freeing to trash the spreadsheet you use to keep track of all your submissions and rejections.

But then again, you wouldn’t have hung in there this long if you didn’t love writing, or have a desire to be published. So for those times when frustration makes you think about walking away, get a poster like this and place it in a prominent place.

Success requires hard work, patience, and persistence. The person who wins is the one who doesn’t quit. In this case, the writer who keeps writing after so many others drop out has a better chance of getting published.

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What does this picture inspire you to write?

Write a story about a child who lives at a lighthouse. Or, write about a chance encounter here.

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What does this picture make you think about?

How did this happen? Whose fault? What happens now?

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What story does this picture conjure up?

Write about who made this path? When did they create it? Why? Where does it lead?

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What does this picture make you think about?

Who owns these Raggedy’s? Who loves them, lost them, sold them, remembers them?

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Create a story based on this picture.

Why is someone standing behind these trees looking at this ship?


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Imagine a story here.

Write about what is over the crest of the hill?

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It’s a new day for authors. No longer do they have to wait for the gatekeepers to decide if they will get past “Go.”  They are self-publishing and it’s not just newbies, it’s long time authors as well. Part of the lure is more control over just about everything from the cover to the type of book (digital, hardcover, paperback) it will be. Another aspect is not having the long wait for acceptance or for the book to come out.

Brenda Peterson is the author of many books and is currently in the process of bringing out another which she will self-publish. Partly for the reasons stated above, but also because she teaches and wants to be able to share the newest trends and possibilities with her students. This latest venture is entitled, The Drowning World.

Brenda is also using another new idea, the kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter began as an idea to support the arts and is now also being used in commercial ventures. If you join there are various levels of involvement and rewards. If you’re interested in joining Brenda’s great experiment to get her book self-published and funded by kickstarter check out this site.

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If you like historical action films, or are into archery, I have a great movie to recommend.  War of the Arrows is a Korean film by director Kim Han-min who has won several awards over the last decade. It was a huge success in Korea with millions of viewers. The cinematography is amazing.

The story takes place during the Manchu War of 1636 (Joseon Dynasty vs Qing Dynasty). In order for the film to be as realistic as possible, director Kim Han-min brought back the Manchu language which today is spoken by so few people it is considered a dead language. For the film every actor who played a Manchurian had to take an extensive language course.

English: Map of Manchuria. See Manchuria for a...

Manchuria red areas. Korean peninsula labeled below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Korean Archery Association helped create authentic bows and arrows from that time. The actors worked to become skilled in there use, so the action would move quickly when filming. All of this seems fitting as one of the heroes is a Robin Hood type character. Also because Koreans are some of the best archers in the world, check out how many gold medals they’ve won.


I enjoy seeing foreign films because they give an un-American view of the world. You learn about other cultures’ values.  Clearly, the same things matter to all of us: love, family, children, friendship, land, country. The same is true for the things that divide us: greed, power, lust, anger, fear. We are pretty much the same under our skins.

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Like many people, I’ve been tuned into the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. As I watched these Olympic athletes striving for success in their chosen sport, it occurred to me that writers have a lot in common with them. We’re all trying to get across the finish line, hopefully with a win.


Ways that athletes and writers are alike:

  1. Practice, practice, practice. We don’t improve without it.
  2. We do better with a mentor, friend, or relative to cheer us on.
  3. No matter how hard we work, there is no guarantee where we’ll finish, or if we’ll win.
  4. Most of us do it because we love it, it’s who we are, or we’re driven.
  5. We face moments of crushing disappointment and incredible elation.
  6. We need a lot of head talk to keep us on track.
  7. We are judged by others as to the quality of our performance, or writing.
  8. Many athletes, like writers, work in solitude. It can get lonely.
  9. We need a coach, or critique group, to help us see our weaknesses and improve.
  10. Great effort can separate us from the pack, and endurance may help us win.
  11. We have to be very disciplined, have a strong work ethic and be determined.
Kelly Calway

Kelly Calway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And no matter if we are writer or athlete, the journey will teach us more about ourselves and change us forever.

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