Virginia Woolf Got It Right! A Woman Needs Money and a Room to Write!

Yes, credit is given to Virginia Woolf for this quote. It is obvious to those of us who write these words apply to anyone engaged in the craft of writing. We all need a room to write, one quiet and free of interruption.

Several times lately I’ve mentioned in posts about taking time away from home to write. Lots of writers use coffee shops, libraries, anywhere there’s access to power and maybe even wi-fi to get the peace and quiet they want/need for writing.

Willamette Writers' 50 Year Logo
Willamette Writers’ 50 Year Logo

I’m fortunate to be a member of Willamette Writers, the largest writer organization in the Pacific Northwest. This year celebrates 50 years of the organization’s support for both aspiring and professional writers. Headquartered in Portland, OR, Willamette Writers’ administrative offices are located in West Linn, OR.

The organization owns a property in West Linn which affords space not only for administration purposes but also provides a library and space for group meetings. Additionally, there are five writing rooms fully equipped for the writer to work at his/her craft in quiet and solitude.

Willamette Writers House
Willamette Writers House

Officially named Cynthia Whitcomb House, the property is more often called The Writing House. This is where I slip away to no interruptions, quiet, and peace to work on my memoir or other projects with a deadline.

It is unbelievable what you can accomplish in 16 hours. Yes, you can rent a room for 16 hours for a mere $10, and write, write, write.

My favorite room to date is The Bloomsbury Room, fashioned after the lives and times of authors associated with The Bloomsbury Group. Images of English writers and other prominent personalities of the time, some of whom were core members of The Bloomsbury Group, adorn the walls: Virginia Woolf, Giles Lytton Strachey, E.M. Forster, Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and others. Bloomsbury is a comfortable and inspirational room pleasantly decorated.

Bloomsbury Room
Bloomsbury Room

Many times when I go here to write I am the only one on the main floor and even if someone else is in the house, it is quiet and we rarely run into one another.

One of the best features is the Writing House is a mere 10 minutes from my home. Unfortunately, I have to drive by a Starbuck’s on the way so you can imagine I make certain I have plenty of fuel to see me through the morning write.

I won’t deny that I have a lovely writing space at home. However, it comes equipped with interruptions whether from family members or the telephone, the temptation to stop working and do something else, or a neighbor knocking on the door.

At The Writing House, no interruptions, no temptations, no ringing phone, no neighbors. Perfect writing time, and at a great price!

Your Turn ~ Do you have a writing place to call your own? Or a place to which you can escape for quiet and solitude? Share with us how you get away to write or what skills or tricks  you use to give your space to craft your writing.

6 Books Added to General Writing Resources List

Winter has been too kind to the populous of the Pacific NW, and the season overlooked us in favor of other parts of the country. But in place of unkind and unending blistering cold, freezing precipitation, snow depths unbelievable to most of us, the lack of same at our end of the country allowed germs to blossom, multiply, and infect.
My husband and I must have passed someone stricken with respiratory issues with the instinct that “paying it forward” meant anything and everything. If we could find the kind soul, we’d gladly pay back the germs shared. However, we’ve had some good reading time as we rested, drank lots of liquids, and healed.

According to Stephen King, we must read to write so I gladly read these past couple of weeks. Today I want to share some stellar books specifically written for writers. Excellent tools to have at hand or at least in your library. Here are thumbnail sketches of them:

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley is an easy to read guidebook on writing and publishing good content. Not only is it suited to writers and bloggers, anyone who writes and/or markets in today’s fast-paced Internet markets will find Ann Handley’s advice well-tested and palatable.

Helen Sedwick’s Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook provides a step-by-step guide to the ins and outs of self-publishing. The legal issues inherent in any business undertaking are presented in lay terms for ease of understanding and use. Helen Sedwick is not only an author but also an attorney with 30 years experience.

Writing Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon shares the story of the journey involved in writing Blue Highways. Heat-Moon wrote of a 14,000 mile, 38-state trip he made, and now he shares the four-years spent writing Blue Highways. He shares not only his success along the way, but also the rejections and other stumbling blocks writers face. Numerous drafts, unending revisions, balancing personal life and the writing life, and much more bring to light what every writer must understand–“the tricky balance of intuitive creation and self-discipline required for any artistic endeavor.”

Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers is part memoir and part intellectual journey. Powers is a brilliant writer drawing on not only the constant question faced by today’s digitized person, “Where’s the rest of my life?,” but also dropping back quietly to past technologies and the likes of Shakespeare and Thoreau. At times, I found myself laughing out loud and/or giggling at how ridiculous we’ve allowed the digital world to become. Remember when we were told computers would save us time? I still need to learn how that works. Enter Powers’ book.

Recently, I had the pleasure and opportunity to hear Gigi Rosenberg speak to a writers’ group here in Portland. My husband just happened to win a copy of Rosenberg’s latest book, The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing. Rosenberg has written a transformational guidebook to take starving artists of any art form to a driven researcher of grants, fellowships, residencies, and yes, grant writing. The money is out there, waiting to be spent on the creative arts, if we only ask. Finding it is key, and Rosenberg’s book holds the key to unlock the treasure.

As an adolescent, teen, and young adult, I was always late to the party, and so I am in reading Lee Gutkind’s book, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up. Lee Gutkind, also editor of Creative Nonfiction, has been called the “godfather of creative nonfiction.” His book breaks the genre of creative nonfiction down into an understandable, easy to grasp slice of writing education. I don’t know why I waited so long to read this handy tool, but I’ve not been able to let it out of my sight since finishing. It’s worth every penny I paid for it!

I have added these six books to my list of resources found under the menu tab, “Resources | General Writing Resources.”

 

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Memoir Writers Resources Series | Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion by William Kenower

This post continues a series begun over a year ago, which has an infinite number of parts. Therefore, there is no “Part 1 of a #;” it will simply continue until the well dries up. The lag time since the last post resulted from personal issues which were unavoidable. A list of all posts in the series to date are found here.


Have you ever wished for a book about writing that isn’t a how-to guide? One that is something like a good friend or companion? This is exactly what William Kenower has written in his collection of essays on writing, Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion.

Despite inclusion in my memoir writers resources series, this collection is directed at and designed for any writer, any genre.

Sometime during the last year I heard Bill Kenower speak to the membership of Willamette Writers in Portland. Kenower had driven from Seattle to Portland for our 7pm meeting, and he made us all comfortable from the start by sharing his parking experience in downtown Portland as masses left work. Immediately he had won us over. 

As editor-in-chief of Author magazine, Kenower knows a lot about writing. He writes a daily blog focused on the intersection of writing and life. He also interacts with writers in preparation for frequent interviews and/or panel discussions on his pod casts and videos. Writing is something he is passionate about and his enthusiasm for the subject is contagious.

That passion and enthusiasm is clear in the essays included in Write Within Yourself. Some of my favorite, must remember passages are:

A great book is a work of love–not craft, not intelligence, not discipline, but love. And that love expresses itself in this question asked and answered over and over again: What do I most want to say?

* * *

The more I wrote, the more I understood that anything–a rainy day, a shower, a bad night’s sleep–led to what had always interested me most, the intersection of creativity and everyday life.

* * *

When you spend a workday out of the flow of your story, you must choose kindness and compassion–that is the only way back into the flow of the story. You have written before; you will write again. … You will feel relief when it goes well and despair when it doesn’t. Love and compassion are your only tools when the day’s work brings you nothing. Writers, in this way, must learn above all others to love their enemy, because a writer’s only enemy is himself.

I hope you will at least visit Bill Kenower’s site and Author magazine (link available at his site). I find his writing a great comfort whether or not all is going well with my writing. I firmly believe you would too.

About William Kenower:

William Kenower is the author of Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion, and is the Editor-in-Chief of Author magazine, an online magazine for writers and dedicated readers. He writes a popular daily blog for the magazine about the intersection of writing and our daily lives, and has interviewed hundreds of writers of every genre. He also hosts the online radio program Author2Author where every week he and a different guest discuss the books we write and the lives we lead.

5 People and 2 Sites You Should Follow

Writers and bloggers need resources to aid in getting their ideas into context attractive to their followers. In order to find these resources, we could spend hours surfing the Internet to find those people most helpful to our brand, blog, or book. The following five individuals and two sites are resources I follow consistently. I hope you find something helpful among them.

1. Frances Caballo of Social Media Just for Writers

Frances Caballo
Frances Caballo

“Social Media Just for Writers was named as one of the top 30 websites for independently published authors by Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.”

“This website will help you to get your writing in front of more readers who would love to know about your books. You’ll learn how to use social media efficiently and effectively, and you’ll learn about new applications, best practices, and tips that will help you reach your marketing goals.”

(quoted from About page of Social Media Just for Writers)

2. Dan Blank of We Grow Media

Dan Blank
Dan Blank

“I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of writers, helping them share their stories and connect with readers. Some of these folks are bestselling authors, with millions of books sold, while others are first time authors, and many more are somewhere between those two points.”

“…I’ve worked with hundreds of authors, and some of the most amazing organizations that support writers.”

(quoted from About page of We Grow Media)

3. Gretchen Louise, Connoisseur of Words and Code

Gretchen is a treasure trove of tech tips, social media tips, suggestions for maintaining an easy-to-work-with inbox, and more. Read some endorsements I found on her site:

Gretchen Louise
Gretchen Louise

“I like to think I’m fairly computer savvy, but there are some aspects of WordPress that really freak me out! Gretchen took my vision and was able to make anything I wanted happen. All I had to do was ask!”
-Kalyn Brooke, Creative Savings

“I really can’t say enough good things about Gretchen…she is professional, helpful, kind, and a coding superstar! She customized a theme for my site and it looks amazing. I felt completely confident that she would make my site look beautiful and work flawlessly, and I was right! She is a wonder.”
-Kelly, The Pretty Bee

4. Angela Ackerman and Rebecca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers

Writers Helping Writers, formerly known as The Bookshelf Muse, is hosted by co-authors and co-bloggers, Angela Ackerman and Rebecca Puglisi. Together they have written “bestselling triplets, The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus.”

From their About page, “Our mission is simple: offer help and support as much as we can. This site has many different tools and resources for writers, editors and teachers, so poke around and enjoy!”

5. Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer

Joel Friedlander
Joel Friedlander

Joel Friedlander, better known as The Book Designer, offers practical advice to help writers in producing better books. The following quote sums up Joel’s philosophy:

“Writers change the world one reader at a time.  But you can’t change the world with a book that’s still on your hard
drive or in a box under your bed.”

Joel’s blog is filled with resources and tools to help you decide how you want to publish your book and to teach you the ins and outs of self-publishing should you choose to follow that route. The author of many books on the subject of publishing and with a background in the field, Joel’s expertise is priceless.

6. Writer Unboxed

In 2006 aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton collaborated to dissect complex books and movies. After their second rejection, they decided to create a site where they could state their opinions with no possibility of rejection, except possibly from readers. Writer Unboxed was born. With a list of contributors too long to share here, the articles posted in Writer Unboxed always bring something to the reader useful, educational, and resourceful. It is a site I recommend to all aspiring writers.

7. Writers Digest

writers digest
writers digest

Writers Digest, the site, is a one-stop shopping experience for the writer. With everything from books, magazines, downloads, conferences, workshops, classes, webinars, tutorials, blogs, competitions and resources, this site is like an online shopping and educational experience rolled into one. Writers of all genre will find something to suit their needs and competitive spirits. With a subscription to the newsletter, you’ll receive a list of 101 websites for writers, more than I’ll ever be able to list here. (That doesn’t mean you won’t need to continue to read my blog! Or subscribe to my newsletter.)

These are some of the folks I rely on for information and leads as I write my book. Of course, there are many others as well. However, I encourage you to take some time to visit each of these if you haven’t already. I think you’ll find something valuable.

What about you? Do you have favorite sources of information online you could share with us?

August 14th Is the Day!

Starting August 14th, I begin distributing bi-weekly my first-ever newsletter related to this blog. The purpose of today’s post is to remind you to sign up, if you haven’t already, using the link in the image below or in the right-hand sidebar.

This post also includes a small peek into what you can expect with each issue of my newsletter.

First, I’ll be providing tips and advice learned in the past seven years of drafting my own essays and memoir as well as writing advice provided by others well versed in the craft of writing.

Additionally, trending news tips related to the business of publishing and marketing your book may also be found.

teacher-clip-art-2 Miz Grammar
teacher-clip-art-2 Miz Grammar

And finally, allow me to introduce you to my newsletter partner, Miz Grammar. She will be assisting with making sure each issue includes a grammar tip or rule or two or three. I want to warn you Miz Grammar is strict with respect to using proper grammar so you want to stay on her good side.

In the near future, I will be offering to all my subscribers, free of charge, an e-book on the healing benefits of writing. So, don’t miss an issue if you want to know when that is available.

Miz Grammar and I look forward to seeing you on August 14th for our inaugural issue!