Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

6 Blogs to Recharge the Writing Life — April 29, 2014

6 Blogs to Recharge the Writing Life

Writing is solitary. In fact, the singleness of writing can become the elephant in your writing space. So much so, some writers lose the initial spark experienced when beginning that next book, essay, or blog post.

Perhaps you’ve been working on building your platform , and no one seems to be clamoring at your blog or on your Facebook fan page. And all you have for your hard work is a throbbing headache.

What to do to get back in the writing groove and use some of that creativity to work on your memoir, novel or yes, even the dreaded platform?

Look to the writing and blogging community-at-large. After all, this is a business where encouragement and support are readily available. However, despite the abundance of resources and tips, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to look.

Following are six blogs I consistently read. I always find something to reignite the lost spark of creativity or jar loose the stillness in my inspiration:

The Write Practice

The Write Practice is here to kick-start your practice.
You have to write millions of words no one is ever going to see
before you can write the ones that will change someone’s life.

Joe Bunting, founder of The Write Practice, supports and encourages writers of all ages and skill levels. Here you will find tutorials, writing prompts, writing tips and other resources.

Connect with Joe @write_practice on Twitter or on Facebook.

The Creative Penn

… where you will find resources to help you write, publish and market your book.

Joanna Penn, best-selling author, shares her own writing journey using both mistakes and lessons learned in the areas of writing, marketing and publishing. Joanna features guest posts from other writers willing to share their experiences and knowledge.

Connect with Joanna @thecreativepenn on Twitter or on Facebook.

Catherine, Caffeinated

Here’s a full list of all the “self-printing” category posts which chronicle my entire self-publishing adventure. I’ve tried to organize them in some sort of coherent way, but if you want to read them all—and you have, like, a week or so of your life to spare—you can click here to access all posts tagged with “self-printing” instead.

In addition to writing blog posts on “self-printing,” Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer and coffee enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. Her goal at Catherine, Caffeinated is to share with other writers her knowledge gained as self-publisher. A plethora of information is available on her blog, so I suggest a cup of coffee and a comfy place to sit when you’re ready to dig in.

Connect with Catherine @cathryanhoward on Twitter or on Facebook.

Goins, Writer

Here is where we wage war on the blank page, where we band together
to find purpose in our art and lives.

Jeff Goins generously shares his views on writing in the 21st century while also sharing resources and tips. His blog covers many topics on writing, passion and creativity.

Connect with Jeff @JeffGoins on Twitter or on Facebook.

Nina Amir

…she writes, speaks and teaches from a place of knowing that
what has worked for her will at least provide others with
a starting place from which to find what works best for them.

In her blog, How to Blog a Book, Nina Amir shows her readers how to blog a nonfiction book. However, fiction writers may also find many useful tips and ideas here. Nina offers posts based on her experiences as a freelance nonfiction book editor, writing coach, and consultant.

Connect with@NinaAmir on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook.

We Grow Media

I help writers share their stories and connect with readers.

Founder of We Grow Media, Dan Blank, works with writers through online courses, conferences and events, one-on-one consulting, workshops and speaking, and writing this blog, a weekly newsletter, and ebooks. Additionally, he also works with publishers and publishing agencies.

Connect with @DanBlank on Twitter.

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This listing is by no means complete and perhaps in the near future I’ll post others I keep an eye on.

And what about you? Is there a blog or blogs that can recharge you and your writing? If so, won’t you share in the comment section below? I’d love finding new resources!

Treasured Objects Travel Time and Distance — February 27, 2014

Treasured Objects Travel Time and Distance

This post is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge hosted by The Daily Post at This week’s prompt is “object.” 

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He was only four the first time his mother took his siblings and him to the orphanage. His sister and brother were older than he, and when it was time to leave, his mother couldn’t bear to leave one so young. He returned home with her.

Their father had recently died of a massive heart attack at age 36. In 1905 the availability of income for women was minimal, and my grandmother chose to give up her children in order for all to survive. A hard decision for any parent.

Fast forward four years and my father is eight and standing once again on the threshold of the orphanage, but this time he stands with his stepfather. His mother has died, and the stepfather doesn’t want him. This time he is left there.

His sister has left the orphanage in service to a family in the area, but his brother still resides there. And this is where he lives until he is apprenticed to a small newspaper in Tennessee at age 15 or 16.

In 1984, my husband and I return home from work and collect the day’s mail. Among the several bills and letters is a package from a cousin in Tampa, Florida. She is the daughter of my dad’s sister. We met some years before our parents died and have maintained a correspondence but I’m not accustomed to receiving packages from her.

The package is the first thing I tear into when we get inside. Nothing could be more enticing to me than this box which has suffered some wear along the way from Florida to Oregon. Not even a notice I had won Publisher’s Clearing House! Oh, right — they’d show up at the door.

Once it is open, the contents take my breath away. The first time I have seen images of my father as an infant, a boy child, a young man. Every photograph I’d seen up until now dated to after mom and dad married in 1945.

Where did these come from? I tear into the box again and there it is — a note from my cousin. She had found these in her mother’s trunk, and her note explains that two of the photos are of my grandparents.

This was as joyous as holding a newborn — a branch of my family tree was in my hands. Here was a grandmother I looked like, my son looked like my father, and the all too familiar stance was in the photo of Dad when he was 15 or 16. What treasures! I count them among my greatest possessions. Objects which bring to life branches of my family tree.

I understand the prompt was singular, but these photos, as objects, are inseparable. They are a group object in my life and will never be anything else.

Where Do You Find Inspiration? — October 10, 2013

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

Via Flickr | photosteve101
Via Flickr | photosteve101

For each writer, or painter, or composer, inspiration comes from a different source. We are not all the same, and our muses work from a variety of points of inspiration.

Because I have a good memory, I have been able to draw from my childhood easily when working on my memoir. When my mother died, she left an abundance of old black and white photos. They have helped me pinpoint her expressions, both when happy and not so happy. But this week, inspiration arrived in an email.

My cousin, Rosie Lee, sent an email out of the blue. We communicate from time to time but not often. Her email held her stories of two experiences she had with my mother — one when she was nine and the other after she had become a mother. Both were contrary to my own experiences but timely as I am working on a part of my draft focusing on the goodness in my mother, goodness seen and heard from others.

Rosie also mailed a lovely collection of black and whites which included one of my mother holding me when I was about eight months old. I had never seen that photo. In it, my mother’s eyes are shining and her smile spells happiness. Her expression speaks love. That photo told me she truly was glad to have me in her life despite the experiences that took place over the next 50+ years.

One photo moved me to a pinnacle of inspiration for drafting this portion of my memoir about Mother’s goodness and graciousness to others. There are surprises in store for my readers as this part of the memoir unfolds, and I believe I may be in for a few more surprises myself.

Thanks to Rosie for her loving email and sharing with me her experiences as well as sending those photos, such important chronicles of our lives with my mom.

Now, how about you? Where do you find your inspiration? Is it in people, places, photos, nature, art objects? Share with us, if you will.

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What’s next? On Tuesday, October 15th, I have the privilege of hosting Carol Bodensteiner in an interview. Carol and I exchange a variety of questions and answers, and one fascinates me — how she is accomplishing the switch from her memoir to a historical novel. Come and find out!

Photo Journal | Does It Have Benefit in Writing? — September 24, 2013

Photo Journal | Does It Have Benefit in Writing?

This post is an experiment in multiple things:

Via Wikipedia
Via Wikipedia
  • Did I manage to get decent photos on our recent trip to the coast?
  • Am I capable of using them in a blog post that relates to writing and/or memoir?
  • Did I miss my calling as a photo journalist?

Answers coming up!

* * *

Last week we spent the first three days of the week relaxing at the Oregon coast. Three years had passed since our last visit, and time there was long overdue.

So, we packed up and went despite weather predictions of storms and rain, which I dearly love at the coast. But those weather prognosticators were wrong and the weather was heavenly.

Here’s a little overview of time spent outdoors and experiencing The Oregon Coast Aquarium. I wonder if they’ll have benefit beyond this post.

Sunset at Depoe Bay
Sunset at Depoe Bay
Time for lunch!
Time for lunch!
Watching you!
Watching you!
Meet Jelly
Meet Jelly
Breezy Anemone
Breezy Anemone
“Tidepool” for touching
Sand, surf and a lone gull
Sand, surf and a lone gull

It’s clear National Geographic photographers have nothing to fear from me. And I’m not certain I’ve answered the questions above. What I do know is I think I’ll stick to writing.

However, as a writer, I can see some of these images being used as writing prompts to exercise one’s writing skills, to unlock the creative mind, or to daydream about where you’ve been and what you saw.

Photos can be an essential part of writing memoir and truly they enhance a story. Whether you’re pro quality in your photo taking or an amateur, take photos — they come in handy in many ways.

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Next time: An overview of shortcut keys for various social media, WordPress and Blogger.

In Need of Refreshment? — September 16, 2013

In Need of Refreshment?

Today Nikki Laven has invited me to share a post on her blog, simplystriving. Come on over and read with us. You’ll find me writing on a completely different topic, my faith. With faith comprising a large party of my life story, it feels quite natural to me. I’d love to know what you think.

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Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

Thirsty, parched, dry, dehydrated.  Even the words make you long for something cool to drink, don’t they?

A hot day in summer working outside and the throat is so needy for some liquid refreshment. Something to trickle back on the tongue, down the throat and cool as it goes.

But the throat on a hot summer day isn’t the only part of me that grows thirsty.

Sometimes my heart and yes, my spirit, feel thirsty, parched, dehydrated.

Why you may ask, and the reasons are many.

Busy, too busy to soak up His Word waiting to be read in my Bible or daily devotional.

Busy, too busy to soak up His Word whispered in my ear.

Why so busy?

Read more here . . .

Written Acts of Kindness Award — Linda Thomas — November 7, 2012

Written Acts of Kindness Award — Linda Thomas

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile,
a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment,
or the smallest act of caring, all of which have
the potential to turn a life around.
~ Leo Buscaglia

Who doesn’t like surprises and gifts?

It was Friday morning, November 2nd.  Friday means a busy morning.  It’s my morning to mentor with a group of young moms of preschoolers.  I stole just a minute to check my inbox.

And there it was — just what I needed to make my morning go ever so well.  WordPress had left me a notice of a new post on Kathy Pooler’s blog, Memoir Writer’s Journey.  Kathy has honored me with a “Written Acts of Kindess Award”.

First, Kathy, thank you so much!  I am delighted to be the recipient you chose to pass on this award to.

Second, what is this award all about?

Cate Russell-Cole is a trainer, editor, social worker and author with an understanding of both the psychological and technical aspects of writing. She currently writes and coaches online. Her website communiCATE is filled with resources for writers.

Cate recently decided to develop an award to recognize people who inspire her. Her explanation follows here:

Success never comes solely from your own efforts. There are always others along the way who give you a hand up; encourage you; or give you that resource, or piece of advice you never could have done without.

From today onwards, when someone inspires me, or if I see someone who is using their writing gift to help others, I am going to take the time to thank them publicly. To do that, I have created this award. I also want to make it open to anyone to use, so they can say thank you for making a difference in the writing community and/or in your life.

“This is not meant to be just another blogger award, with time-consuming requirements for passing it on. This is an award which is meant to be passed on with sincerity. You don’t have to receive it in order to be able to give it. You can take the details and images off this post now and use it to encourage another writer.

“I feel so honored. Life is good. And now I get to pass this award on to someone who has inspired me. Since I have so many wonderful virtual blogger friends who have inspired me, I may be passing this on to others along the way.

Today it’s my chance to surprise someone else with this award, and I’m sharing this post on both of my blogs because of the recipients gifts in both writing memoir and sharing her faith.

Read more here . . .