Reflections on Middle-Class Prepper culture and visions of apocalypse. This is an essay by Calla B. Martin. January in Minnesota is typically a time to hunker down, do projects, and what I love most: read. While the temperature dips up and down, those of us fortunate enough to spend warm hours at leisure have time to reflect and contemplate this world we live in (that is, if we aren’t too distracted by social media). I digress. It turns out that reading speculative fiction about the catastrophic failure of our social and physical infrastructure alongside recent news articles about the real systemic vulnerabilities of that infrastructure is…kinda a bummer and not just

close

Reflections on Middle-Class Prepper culture and visions of apocalypse. This is an essay by Calla B. Martin. January in Minnesota is typically a time to hunker down, do projects, and what I love most: read. While the temperature dips up and down, those of us fortunate enough to spend warm hours at leisure have time to reflect and contemplate this world we live in (that is, if we aren’t too distracted by social media). I digress. It turns out that reading speculative fiction about the catastrophic failure of our social and physical infrastructure alongside recent news articles about the real systemic vulnerabilities of that infrastructure is…kinda a bummer and not just

Read more

This is an essay by Elizabeth Simons. Gazing winsomely from the cover of Growing Up, Russell Baker has an air of self-confidence with just a bit of vulnerability peeking through. Sporting his best suit and tie, with his hair slicked back and severely parted, he looks the picture of quintessential boyhood. The twinkle in his eye invites you to spin your yarns, and the truth will be sorted out later.

close

This is an essay by Elizabeth Simons. Gazing winsomely from the cover of Growing Up, Russell Baker has an air of self-confidence with just a bit of vulnerability peeking through. Sporting his best suit and tie, with his hair slicked back and severely parted, he looks the picture of quintessential boyhood. The twinkle in his eye invites you to spin your yarns, and the truth will be sorted out later.

Read more

Posted in Books, Lessons

This is an essay by Rhonda Kronyk. The list of categories we can choose reading material from is endless. Yet, as busy people, we often choose to read in the genre we write in and forget that all writers can learn from reading outside their genre. I admit that I’ve been guilty of letting my fiction reading slide this year as I work on my freelance writing and editing business. I miss reading novels, but never seem to make the time to fit them into my schedule. That is until my son introduced me to the Game of Thrones television series. I rarely read fantasy fiction, and I never watch it on

close

This is an essay by Rhonda Kronyk. The list of categories we can choose reading material from is endless. Yet, as busy people, we often choose to read in the genre we write in and forget that all writers can learn from reading outside their genre. I admit that I’ve been guilty of letting my fiction reading slide this year as I work on my freelance writing and editing business. I miss reading novels, but never seem to make the time to fit them into my schedule. That is until my son introduced me to the Game of Thrones television series. I rarely read fantasy fiction, and I never watch it on

Read more

Posted in Books, Lessons, Reading

This is an essay by Brandon Monk. I recently stumbled on the idea of the commonplace book via Ryan Holiday of Thought Catalog‘s post, “How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book.” That post lead me to search Twitter for the popularity of the idea which lead me to two books by Richard Katzev: A Commonplace Book Primer and A Literary Collage: Annotating My Commonplace Book. As is the way of the internet, that led me  to Auden’s commonplace book, A Certain World: A Commonplace Book and by that time my head was swirling with the idea of  starting one of my own. I’ve been keeping something akin to a commonplace book in notebooks and online for a few years,

close

This is an essay by Brandon Monk. I recently stumbled on the idea of the commonplace book via Ryan Holiday of Thought Catalog‘s post, “How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book.” That post lead me to search Twitter for the popularity of the idea which lead me to two books by Richard Katzev: A Commonplace Book Primer and A Literary Collage: Annotating My Commonplace Book. As is the way of the internet, that led me  to Auden’s commonplace book, A Certain World: A Commonplace Book and by that time my head was swirling with the idea of  starting one of my own. I’ve been keeping something akin to a commonplace book in notebooks and online for a few years,

Read more

This essay is in two parts and was written by Elizabeth Simons. In case you missed it, here’s part one. Part Two: Make Room For Writing Writing is hard work. It’s so hard, I spend hours avoiding it. Sitting in front of a computer screen creates anxiety, so instead of composing words I play mindless games. Simple games to put me into a no-write zone until the Muse arrives. But she hasn’t been showing up lately. It’s all about time management, isn’t it? Some call it rhythm and settle into a routine. Some see it as rigidity and chafe against the perceived reins. It’s a mixed bag. But I’m getting ahead

close

This essay is in two parts and was written by Elizabeth Simons. In case you missed it, here’s part one. Part Two: Make Room For Writing Writing is hard work. It’s so hard, I spend hours avoiding it. Sitting in front of a computer screen creates anxiety, so instead of composing words I play mindless games. Simple games to put me into a no-write zone until the Muse arrives. But she hasn’t been showing up lately. It’s all about time management, isn’t it? Some call it rhythm and settle into a routine. Some see it as rigidity and chafe against the perceived reins. It’s a mixed bag. But I’m getting ahead

Read more

Posted in Creativity, Lessons, Writing

This essay is in two parts and was written by Elizabeth Simons. Part One: The Essence of Being a Writer In the third season of the overwhelmingly popular drawing room saga Downton Abbey, the imprisoned Mr. Bates receives a packet of letters from his beloved wife, Anna. She, in turn, receives a packet of letters from her husband. The last scene in this episode shows them, side by side, each totally absorbed in reading the other’s words. The camera juxtaposes the two images as if they were next to each other. It’s a breathtaking moment. This is the power of words. Human beings are born to communicate, to make connections. Words

close

This essay is in two parts and was written by Elizabeth Simons. Part One: The Essence of Being a Writer In the third season of the overwhelmingly popular drawing room saga Downton Abbey, the imprisoned Mr. Bates receives a packet of letters from his beloved wife, Anna. She, in turn, receives a packet of letters from her husband. The last scene in this episode shows them, side by side, each totally absorbed in reading the other’s words. The camera juxtaposes the two images as if they were next to each other. It’s a breathtaking moment. This is the power of words. Human beings are born to communicate, to make connections. Words

Read more

This essay was written by Judy Haughton-James. “When life stops you in your tracks, write your way back!” That has been my mantra since facing loss and grief over a period of 3 years, loss that included the death of an identical twin sister and a brother. Writer’s block is an experience that many writers encounter, but you have to be determined to overcome it. Yes, you have been accustomed to seeing the words flow and long articles being written. That does not mean that writing has to stop. Get any book that you can write in and consider it your journal and start writing. What you write will not be

close

This essay was written by Judy Haughton-James. “When life stops you in your tracks, write your way back!” That has been my mantra since facing loss and grief over a period of 3 years, loss that included the death of an identical twin sister and a brother. Writer’s block is an experience that many writers encounter, but you have to be determined to overcome it. Yes, you have been accustomed to seeing the words flow and long articles being written. That does not mean that writing has to stop. Get any book that you can write in and consider it your journal and start writing. What you write will not be

Read more

Posted in Lessons, Writing

This essay written by Wayman Stewart. Fiction writers are constantly searching for inspiration. There are times when, as a writer, your creative energy might feel dried up, elusive, inaccessible. In these times, many writers turn to a familiar old mantra for comfort: write what you know. It basically means that your personal experiences are the richest sources of your creativity as a writer and that you should channel them into your stories. Many writers follow this mantra with an almost religious fervor, while some writers might harbor a certain disdainful, detached attitude toward “autobiographical fiction”. The phrase sounds like an oxymoron. How can you experience the full breadth of your imagination

close

This essay written by Wayman Stewart. Fiction writers are constantly searching for inspiration. There are times when, as a writer, your creative energy might feel dried up, elusive, inaccessible. In these times, many writers turn to a familiar old mantra for comfort: write what you know. It basically means that your personal experiences are the richest sources of your creativity as a writer and that you should channel them into your stories. Many writers follow this mantra with an almost religious fervor, while some writers might harbor a certain disdainful, detached attitude toward “autobiographical fiction”. The phrase sounds like an oxymoron. How can you experience the full breadth of your imagination

Read more

Posted in Lessons, Writing

This essay was written by Elizabeth Simons.  My best ideas come through daydreams. They come when I’m doing something else, and seldom appear when I’m sitting in front of my computer. Don’t get me wrong. I write things down. Usually at sporting events. Or concerts. Or honky-tonk bars. But when I haul out the scraps of paper the words seem stale, as if the thoughts had run out of air. “Cute blond chick with fetching dimple sips margarita and flirts with handsome cowboy” becomes a puzzle. Where was that going? A tale about the young lady? The cowboy? The Margarita? Great ideas come when I’m driving, washing dishes, or doing laundry.

close

This essay was written by Elizabeth Simons.  My best ideas come through daydreams. They come when I’m doing something else, and seldom appear when I’m sitting in front of my computer. Don’t get me wrong. I write things down. Usually at sporting events. Or concerts. Or honky-tonk bars. But when I haul out the scraps of paper the words seem stale, as if the thoughts had run out of air. “Cute blond chick with fetching dimple sips margarita and flirts with handsome cowboy” becomes a puzzle. Where was that going? A tale about the young lady? The cowboy? The Margarita? Great ideas come when I’m driving, washing dishes, or doing laundry.

Read more

Posted in Lessons, Writing

This essay was written by Christian Green. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. You see, I’m trying to be a successful writer, but keeping the news to myself during this precarious early phase, so I won’t look too foolish should I fall flat on my face.  Sure, there have been plenty of acceptances. In fact, for two months now I’ve been making a living as a full time freelance writer, having been laid off from my manufacturing job last March. The Beginning of a Crisis I’m bursting with pride and an almost overwhelming need to tell the world all about it, but this urge is currently offset

close

This essay was written by Christian Green. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. You see, I’m trying to be a successful writer, but keeping the news to myself during this precarious early phase, so I won’t look too foolish should I fall flat on my face.  Sure, there have been plenty of acceptances. In fact, for two months now I’ve been making a living as a full time freelance writer, having been laid off from my manufacturing job last March. The Beginning of a Crisis I’m bursting with pride and an almost overwhelming need to tell the world all about it, but this urge is currently offset

Read more