Using belief to unblock your creativity

Larry Roth gave an inspiring presentation last night at the monthly meeting. His talks are always humorous and uplifting, and they often make us think. This time he talked about what is stopping us from becoming the best writers we can be – what blocks us.

We often have excuses for not writing, or not publishing, or not marketing our work. These excuses sound valid to us, but Larry explained how they are flimsy and emerge from fear. Excuses are a form of resistance.

He talked a lot about morals and beliefs. Are we trying to preach our morals and values when we write a character? If we want to convince someone of something, the best way is for the character to change. This is difficult because we’d have to write a character that in the beginning has different values from ours so they can evolve to have the values we want them too. If we have never changed our values, (or walked a mile in someone else’s shoes) how can we write authentic, believable characters and not just caricatures? Answering these questions can only make us better writers.

If you are blocked as a writer, is it possible that your beliefs are holding you back? Do you believe you can never write a book? Or like me, do you think you are horrible at marketing? These are opinions, and they can be changed. Thanks to Larry’s talk, I am going to work on those beliefs that are holding me back. Perhaps I will blow them up.

Larry suggested a couple of books that could help writers become unblocked.

  • Writer’s Block Unblocked by Mark David Gerson
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

He also quoted a lot of great authors, but I will end with the quote he ended his presentation with last night.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman

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A Night of Helpful Indie Advice

At our March Monthly Meeting, Ryan Williams, a librarian and indie-published author of twenty books spoke to us about how he got started in the self-publishing world and what he has learned along the way. He mentioned several websites and resources that could be useful to any author hoping to sell more books. I have listed them below along with their links.

We hope to see you at our Friday critiques, and at our next monthly meeting on April 20th, when Larry Roth will be our speaker.

Ryan’s List of Helpful Resources

IngramSpark –  another place to publish your book

Draft2Digital – a company that will help format, publish, and distribute your book

Overdrive – Get your ebooks in libraries where more people can discover you

Thrive Themes – Conversion focused WordPress Themes and plugins

ConvertKit – Email Marketing for creative people

BookFunnel – an easy way to do giveaways

BundleRabbit – get more exposure by bundling your book with other authors

Podcasts (He mentioned these two, but there are hundreds more) – Art of Paid Traffic and Problogger

 

 

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Exploring the Character’s Journey

Come to The Station on February 16 and hear Jim Middleton’s talk on the character’s journey. I’m looking forward to his program.

Want to Be the Luckiest Writer There is?

(some say you have to work at it.)

(hmmmm, maybe)

Do you think a good myth or legend is Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy?

Is the writing going well but you want something spectacular? Do you know a hero and want to write about them? How about a mentor or a trickster?

Do you hate the world and want to immediately experience the Apocalypse? Of course, while you’re at it, making the story you’re writing to bring the world to an end more appealing by causing people’s imaginations to catch fire, not just the neighborhood, would be good.

Fortunately, you ain’t the first one. For thousands of years, people have been writing and telling stories around the campfire, in bars, and while tucking the kids in at night. Heck, some of those thousand-year-old tales are still being told.

Do you want those yarns you are spinning to ring true, to grab people by the monster under the bed?

Come hear the tale of how to tap into characters that emerge from everything you have been told and experienced all your life and that of your ancestors. Learn how to make sure your character’s journeys touch all the bases needed to make them full and exciting and how to make stories that exist in every person’s life.

No one can write your story for you but there are truths about humanity that can help.

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Discover a new book

At last week’s meeting, eleven members shared selections from their favorite books. The genres ranged from mystery to poetry to science fiction. It was fascinating that no one duplicated authors and each book was intriguing.

If you would like to read any of the books presented last Friday, I have created a list below. I for one am always happy to find a new author.

  • “Starman Jones” by Robert Heinlein – read by Kyle Pratt
  • “The Life and Times of Penguin”, from “Mortal Clay, Stone Heart” by Eugie Foster – read by Janice Clark
  • “The Burning Room” by Michael Connelly – read by Wayne Wallace
  • “My Papa’s Waltz” and “The Big Wind” from “Words for the Wind” by Theodore Roethke and “Poems of Humor and Protest” by Kenneth Patchen – read by Web Weber
  • “Loose Cannon” by Sydney Bell – read by Amy Flugel
  • “The Key-lock Man by Louis L’Amour” – read by Michael Roe
  • “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin – read by Donna Monroe
  • “Watchers” by Dean Koontz – read by Pat Thompson
  • “Danny Champion of the World” by Roald Dahl – read by Jennifer Vandenberg
  • “Report to Greco” by Nikos Kazantzakis – read by Jim Middleton
  • “The Gripping Hand” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***” by Mark Manson – read by Larry  Roth
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Non-profit meeting update

Earlier this year the Lewis County Writers Guild agreed to take over the Southwest Washington Writers Conference. To that end, we are creating a non-profit so that we can get donations and sponsorships to help support the conference. We are also setting up a scholarship with the help of the Centralia College Foundation. Any leftover funds from the conference will go to the scholarship. The non-profit will be able to help our writing community in many different ways.

For those who are not interested in the non-profit or the conference, the guild will continue to act as it always has with critiques on Friday nights and a monthly meeting on the third Friday. We will have two tiers of membership ship so everyone can be as involved as they want to be. No writer will be left behind.

Step one in creating the non-profit was to write and mail the articles of incorporation. This has been completed and we are waiting for their approval. The next step is to write and approve the by-laws.

A rough draft of the by-laws is being worked on but the final draft must be approved by the voting members of the Lewis County Writers Guild. We will be having that vote at the January monthly meeting. Everyone is encouraged to come and learn about the by-laws. Lewis County Writers Guild belongs to all of us and it needs strong participation to succeed and grow.

What: Membership meeting to approve the by-laws of the non-profit

Where: The Station Coffee Bar and Bistro, 120 S Tower Ave, Centralia, WA 98531

When: January 19, 2018, 5 p.m. social hour and 6 p.m. meeting

Who: Everyone.

RSVP: Let Jennifer know you are coming at boldjmv@gmail.com

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The Creative Writer

The Creative Writer

by Wayne Wallace

Can you define what a creative writer is? Are you a creative writer? Let’s take a look and see.

If you are a creative writer, you probably share a preference for complexity and ambiguity, have an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray and have the ability to extract order from chaos.

You are more open than the average person; more independent, show greater unconventionality and have a greater willingness to take risks. You use spatial reasoning and have moments of insight.

You, as a creative person, are more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier but at the same time, saner than the average person. You have an unusual balance of healthy and “pathological” behavior.

Depending on the stage of the creative process, you have the innate ability to use your greater potential. Different brain regions are recruited that are critical for daydreaming, imagining the future, remembering deeply personal memories and understanding constructive internal reflection, deeper meanings of everyday situations and have strong social cognition.

Being more introspective, you have an increased self-awareness, including a more complete awareness of the darker side of life, engaging in a fuller spectrum of the light and dark sides. You can write about the most depraved, tortured side of human existence, kiss a puppy on the nose and tuck your child into bed with a story of Whinny the Pooh in the same twenty minutes.

Because you find an unusual synthesis between healthy and pathological behavior, you embrace some of the characteristics that our society shuns because you are more self-aware, grounded and complex.

By taking thoughts and action that are segregated in most people and blending the contradictory extremes, you blend a greater part of the world around you into your personality and your writing. You are the mentally healthy side of humanity because you can embrace your dark side as easy as your daily life and it won’t affect you.

With the interplay of many different brain regions, emotions, conscious and unconscious processing, you are able to juggle contradictory concept such as cognitive and emotional thought, and deliberate and spontaneous ones, which in most people are separate and at odds with each other. In doing so, you are able to draw on a wide range of strengths, characteristics, and styles that bring elements together in unusual and unexpected ways.

If you are a creative person, you can come away unchanged by your forays into the unknown depths of the human spirit and psyche, but keep the experience with you. You can embrace all aspects of human nature, live all aspects of your stories, put them in perspective and tell others about them in a way that they will then know them.

If this is you, or could be you, you have a unique gift. Explore it. Share it.

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Setting up a non-profit

As you may know, Lewis County Writers Guild will now be running the SWW Writers Conference that takes place in early September each year at Centralia College. The SWW Writers ran it the last four years and did an admirable job. They have decided to not run it anymore so our group will continue what they started.

The conference never had its own non-profit status; it piggybacked on other non-profits in the community. In return, the conference donated any remaining funds to the non-profit that helped out. We would like to do it differently. We are creating a non-profit for the conference and funds will go towards a scholarship.

A non-profit has many advantages:

  • We can receive discounts and donations for many of the items we need to make the conference work (i.e. room costs, printing, advertising)
  • More organizations in the community will support us because their donation will be tax-deductible
  • We will be able to use funds from one conference to feed the next one, thus eliminating the need for members to pay for conference expenses.
  • In the past, donations went to various organizations who may or may not have had anything to do with writing. Through our non-profit, we will be creating a scholarship at Centralia College that will be awarded to a student studying English and creative writing. The more we get in donations the more scholarships we can award.
  • Since Lewis County Writers Guild is in charge of the conference having a non-profit with our name will give the guild more exposure and help us support more writers.

We will need plenty of volunteers between now and September when the conference happens. Right now, we are doing the paperwork to get designated a non-profit by the state of Washington. If you want to be involved in that process come to the meeting.

November 26 @ 3:30 p.m., at the Station

The Station is located at 120B South Tower Avenue, Centralia, WA 98531. It is where we meet for our critique and monthly meetings. We will be at the same upstairs table.

There will be two more meetings to create bylaws and have the members vote on various topics. This meeting is only to fill out paperwork. We want to create as successful a conference as possible and welcome any member* who wants to get involved.

*If you have no interest in the conference that is fine. LCWG will still have critiques on most Fridays and monthly meetings on third Fridays. We are not changing the core of what we do. We are simply adding a new project alongside what we have always done.

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