Sharing My Personal IWR Experience at Iceland Writers Retreat’s Blog

I’ve written one last article about my time at the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat. Yes, three articles on the same event may sound like a lot, but I specifically tailored each one to have its own angle. And for this article, which you’ll find on the Iceland Writers Retreats’ official blog, I took the personal route. I shared what inspired me to attend the retreat, why the experience was more meaningful than I’d ever expected, and two moments from the retreat that sparked a turnaround in my confidence. You might find some more photos from the trip, too. 😉

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Lightening the Load: The Relief of Springtime Decluttering Projects

For many people, spring is an ideal time to catch up on cleaning (hence the term “spring cleaning”). In my case, I don’t necessarily catch up on cleaning and household chores, since I do both year-round (and, well, when I feel like it…). Rather, I’m bitten by a desire to “lighten the load,” better known as the decluttering and organizing bug.

This year, that bug struck big-time. By that, I mean that I’m still getting rid of what I no longer want or need, even though summer is near. And as a result, this extended spring-cleaning has made me consider my personal habits and what it means to feel “lighter.” It might sound like a strange topic to wax philosophical about, but when the decluttering bug sticks around as long as this one has and leaves you refreshed in the process, it really gives you a lot to think about.
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Weekly Writer Wisdom: Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” (June 13, 2017)

It’s the time of year for college / university and high school graduations in the US. So I thought I’d put a “commencement” spin on this week’s Weekly Writer Wisdom, with one of the most inspiring, entertaining, and craft-pertinent speeches I’ve ever heard from an author – and it’s by the one and only Neil Gaiman. 🙂

(Look for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump. If you’d like, click here to read a transcript of Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech.)

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New DIY MFA Article on Themes and the Act II Crisis

DiyMFA

So far in the Developing Themes In Your Stories series at my DIY MFA column Theme: A Story’s Soul, we’ve covered three major plot points: the inciting incident, the Act I choice, and the midpoint. Today it’s time for the scene best known as the “dark night of the soul,” the moment when the protagonist experiences her worst crisis in the story and believes (mistakenly) that her story goal is out of reach. It’s also the scene that, when carefully examined, emphasizes the “why” behind the protagonist’s motivations and pulses with the story’s themes stronger than in any previous plot point.

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What’s Making Me Happy: May 2017

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that May is almost over? Gosh, was it busy. Not in a bad way, either. But in between writing, work, trips to Cape Cod, and life in general, I also worked on the online photo album of my Iceland trip that was one of the promised GoFundMe perks. (FYI: If you’re one of those donors, I hope to have the link ready within the next week or so. Sorry for the delay!) As a result, I’m on a social media hiatus (except for Goodreads) until the photo album is done, and then things should return to some sense of normalcy.

So what kinds of things made me happy in between all of May’s busyness? Would it surprise you if some of those joys are lingering reminders of Iceland? 😉 And as always, feel free to share the things that made you happy this past month in your comments on this post.

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A Call for Suggestions for This Year’s Blogoversary

Happy Blogoversary

Holy cow, this blog will be 8 years old on July 9th.

The big day may be two months away, but if I don’t start planning for it now, I’ll be scrambling to prepare something at the last minute. And do I ever dislike last-minute scrambling. So let’s avoid it entirely. 😉

Since blogoversaries are equally about thanking readers and celebrating this site’s achievements, I’d love to have your input again for what you’d like to see for this year’s “festivities.” Here are a few ideas I’ve thought of:

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New Post at Writers Helping Writers on Using Real-World Locations In Your Stories

Writers Helping Writers

Oh, am I EXCITED about my new Writers Helping Writers post. 😀

This week, as part of the site’s Resident Writing Coach Program, I share some insights about using real-world locations in our stories, either faithfully for historical or contemporary genres or as inspiration for fictional worlds. And since one of the reasons why I attended the Iceland Writers Retreat was to do hands-on research for my story’s setting, guess which country I used as an example? 😉 Continue reading