Susan's Blog Please feel free to comment & share
Most writers know it is helpful to have a writing group with critique partners to get feedback. They also might know book clubs are a great way to talk about books with fellow bibliophiles. But, what about a book club with your critique partners? If you are just starting out with a new writing group and are thinking about how to set it up, you may find this helpful as well.
First of all, you might be wondering:
I love writing, but it is very easy for me to turn it into something stressful. I think I do that because I care about it and want to improve. However, it is a very slippery slope turning something that can have a sense of joy into a job. I already have a job, I don't need to turn my life into having two full-time jobs. Writing is a joy that will hopefully turn into something I make a living off of, but never a job.
As I stress over some element of writing or writing around the writing like analysing a book for a writing group or book club, finishing a blog post or newsletter, my husband will say to me, "What are you doing, this is suppose to be fun, remember?" Oh yeah!
Did you see my latest daily exhibit? I dabble in different mediums. I set shell mosaics in the sand at high tide. Spirals and swirls. Stack seaweed sculptures with kelp embellishments. They plump and hum with flies. Smooth bas-relief patterns onto the shore in wavy expressions of love. Shape-shifting.
Exhale my art and inhale the collaborational accents at low tide. Seagulls palmate painting making webbed impressions. Dogs scraping lines of searching stories. Children forming sand castles and streams. Lovers carving their names in hearts. I pull them back into me when my mother, the Moon, drags me in. I used to resent the turbulence of the tides, but I understand them now, the rhythm to my masterpieces.
I’m a writer and I love telling stories, so it was a wonderful experience to write my Verindon trilogy. The three books in the trilogy—The Heir, The Crown and The Reign—were released in 2013 and 2014. It was a delight in May 2020 when I was able to add a new novel to my world—The Verindon Alliance.
But since I became a published author, it’s interesting the different hats I’ve had to wear. For example, I had to learn how to be a marketer, salesperson, spruiker, and performer. I’ve had to learn to talk to different crowds and gatherings at different places. And it’s been fine—I love performing. That’s one of the reasons I like to tell stories.
June 2, 2020.
I posted a black square on Instagram and found this article to explain the significance : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/02/blackout-tuesday-people-posting-black-squares-instagram/
The article describes the originators of taking a pause in the music industry here: https://www.theshowmustbepaused.com/
Cynthia was happy to work from home... at first. So much freetime without having to commute back and forth to her job everyday. Lunches in the comfort of her recliner. Sleeping in to the last possible moment. Wearing sweats with a blouse for possible video conferencing meetings.
The first three weeks were a breeze. She stretched three times a day, did self-massage, and took coffee breaks with her co-workers online. She had never worked from home before. Sixty to zero. The rush of life followed by a slowing down that let her find her rhythm again, take stock of her life, breath.
Everyone has their own way of writing and preparing for a talk. The following was how I prepared for a Tedx Berkeley talk in February. I hope you take what you like and adjust it to your needs and habits.
On the morning of the 30th of August, I received an e-mail from a co-curator at Tedx Berkeley inviting me to speak at their Tedx Berkeley event on the 8th of February 2020. I immediately forwarded it to my husband with the subject: “omg!!!!”. I was thrilled and honored to be invited. By the afternoon however, my excitement turned into doubt. Why me? What could I offer?
Positivity practices are an integral part to my creative routine. They also help me to be in tune with what my goals are and how to focus my energy on the things I care about most. Not to mention, they make me a happier and healthier person which of course leads to doing more of the things I love.
Reading Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson totally rocked my world in terms of the way I viewed positivity and our brains. He discusses the way humans brains have evolved and that we are hardwired to focus on negativity, because that is what helped us survive a very dangerous world. He describes it as “Your brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” His book describes the ways to train your brain not to be so worried about the predator in the bushes and remembering which berries are poisonous, that kind of vigilance doesn't serve us in the modern world. It just keeps us sad and paralyzed by anxiety.
I have been learning a lot about Instagram and building my author platform for the last six months. If you want to see the checklist I use for growing my followers on Instagram you can download it here: FREE Instagram Growth Checklist.
Instagram is a great place for writers to prosper. I know some writers feel a bit overwhelmed with how to have a visual representation of the work they do. I hope this blog is helpful for them as a springboard, however there are several ideas you can add that fit to your own vibe. Social media marketing has enriched my writing life immeasurably. I wrote a blog about that here, How your Social Media Platform Will Make You a Better Writer.