The Creativity Corner: Summer 2017

Summer ends tomorrow, and what a busy season it’s been. Traveling, sightseeing, getting a head cold (OK, that wasn’t fun, but it did happen), and through it all I managed to get a lot of writing and reading done. So despite the busyness, it was a productive and satisfying summer. 🙂

Without further ado, let’s launch into the Creativity Corner for a recap of what I’ve been writing and reading, and other related happenings, since the end-of-spring edition in June.
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Authenticity, Vulnerability, and Synchronicity: My 2017 Writer’s Digest Conference Story

Wow. Was Writer’s Digest Conference really three weeks ago? Somehow it seems longer ago than that (maybe because I caught a cold on the final day, so it took a couple weeks to resume my normal routine). Yet I still remember that weekend as clearly as the last book I read – because the ideas and lessons I carried home this time struck very close to the heart.

It’s not right, then,  to write this year’s report as an in-depth overview like I did for last year’s. Instead, I’d like to share why WDC 2017 was so meaningful to me, more so than the 2016 or 2015 editions. So if you’re interested in learning about (or refreshing your memory of) the conference format, venue,  and range of writing and publishing topics, check out last year’s post. Otherwise, let’s start not at the beginning, but at the moment when the impact of this conference first began to sink in.
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Poetry & Song: “Eve of Spring” and Anathema’s “Lightning Song”

Do you listen to music while you write? Has a specific song or music artist ever influenced one of your stories, poems, etc.? This has happened with a number of my published poems. Thus, Poetry & Song is a limited-run series where I share one of my published poems and the song that “helped me write” it. I also offer insights into why I chose that particular piece of music, as well as any other inspirations for the poem.

After the amazing response to the first Poetry & Song post back in May, I knew I’d have to write another one down the road. Today happens to be a good day for that, because… um, well, September 5th is my birthday. (*blushes*) But that’s all the attention it’s getting. Instead, the joy and gratitude I always feel on this day gives me reason for blogging about “Eve of Spring.”

What? You say spring was five months ago? Who’s counting, though? 😉

Today I’m sharing “Eve of Spring” and the life-changing song I listened to as I wrote it. And together, both pieces were among the saving graces that helped me through one of the most challenging periods in my life.

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What’s Making Me Happy: August 2017

As I write this, I’m battling a cold (which should be gone by the time this goes live), so I can barely grope for words to summarize my August. Except for “awesome.” Yes. I still dealt with lingering anxiety in my offline life, but as the month comes to a close, I’m utterly delighted with what happened and what I accomplished during that time.

So, yes, it was an awesome August. Say that alliteration ten times fast. 😉

Since today is the last day of August, it’s also time to share some of the joys of the past month. I’m taking a slightly different approach this time, too. Instead of mostly material items, I included two accomplishments (or, rather, “to-do list” items that I completed) and one experience. And feel free to share your August joys in your comments. I always love hearing what’s made you happy, too!

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Back from My Hiatus, and with a New DIY MFA Article!


Setting in stories isn’t discussed as frequently as plot and characters. Yet it’s just as important, using location, time period, and other elements to play a pivotal role, from establishing the protagonist’s “normal world” to creating natural or societal obstacles that the characters will face. But did you know that, in some cases, a story’s setting can also be the garden from which some of its themes can grow? The idea intrigued me enough that I devoted my latest Theme: A Story’s Soul article at DIY MFA to it. Continue reading

New Post at Writers Helping Writers (Plus, I’m on Hiatus Until August 29th)

Writers Helping Writers

For my latest post at Writers Helping Writers, I wrote about one of the most important tools in a writer’s toolbox. It’s just as important as more obvious “tools,” like vocabulary, industry knowledge, and strong work ethic – but it’s also incredibly challenging to master. If you haven’t guessed it yet, this “tool” is confidence. And today, I share my most recent struggle with confidence in my craft as well as tips on how to create your unique way of rebounding after setbacks or being overwhelmed by doubt. It’s more personal than my past WHW articles, but I hope that readers will still find it encouraging and informative. Continue reading