How to Host a Silent Auction

My friend and Goddard MFA classmate, Tammie Burnsed, wrote a fabulous blog post about how to host a silent auction. From her experience raising funds for San Luis Obispo NightWriters, she shares tips and shortcuts to make your event a success!

My personal favorite of her many suggestions is, “Don’t think you can do it all alone.” I’ve long believed writing (and most anything in life) is a team sport. Silent auctions are no different.

Although Tammie was clamoring for cash for her writing group, these same principles apply to any silent auction effort.

Have you hosted a silent auction? If so, I’d love to hear your stories. Better yet, click through to Tammie’s blog and tell her all about it.

Holly Lisle Courses Now Open!

I don’t write much about the two courses I’m taking from novelist Holly Lisle because, until today, they were closed. But now THEY’RE OPEN!!!

Holly’s course “How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers” is nothing if not comprehensive. It starts by examining our limiting beliefs as writers and continues through writing a book and on to the marketing phases. This includes how to generate ideas, how to narrow those ideas to the ones that are most marketable, how to outline a book, how to write a book, how to revise a book (it includes a very streamlined version of her other course “How to Revise Your Novel”), and includes how to market a book. At present there are 26 chapters and you can either sign up to receive the lessons weekly or every other week. If you want more information, here’s my affiliate link for How To Think Sideways.

Additionally, “How To Revise Your Novel” is opening too. Admission is limited to those people who have a completed first draft of a novel and the class usually fills quickly. It’s only offered a few times a year. It runs twenty-one weeks (five months). Although, I warn you, it is taking me much longer to do this thorough of a revision. And that’s okay. Many others are moving slowly through it with me. This class is so much more in depth than any work I’ve done so far, even in MFA school. Craft is the focus, but that’s what I needed. If you’re interested in getting more information about this course, here’s my affiliate link for How to Revise Your Novel.

Please note that these courses assume a lot of responsibility on the part of the student. You are left to do the work on your own. It’s like being a “real” writer!!! You get the lessons that she’s written based on her many years of novel writing and you get the forums. She has published at least 30 novels – mostly fantasy and romance. While you get minimal direct attention from Holly herself, you get attention from the moderators on the forums who are students Holly has chosen to assist her. And you get the wisdom of all the other writers who are doing the course at the same time. Every question I’ve had has been answered on the forums. It’s sort of like MFA school without the cost and with most folks writing genre novels. There’s interesting discussions on and off-topic and helpful feedback on your work and on the lessons. It has been exactly what I needed to continue what I started at Goddard.

If you decide to take either course, I’ll see you in the forums.

Regardless, continued good luck with your writing!

One Thing

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.” ~ Cicero [106 B.C. to 43 B.C.]

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions since I rarely keep them. Instead, I challenge myself to do one thing differently with my writing every new year. Some of these decisions have been ambitious. In 1995, I began sending queries to magazines and my first feature article was published in Dog World. In 1996, I began studying with best-selling author Natalie Goldberg. In 2000, I began teaching. In 2003, Write Now Newsletter was born. In 2006, I went to graduate school to study writing. In 2008, I completed a book manuscript and began sending it to agents.

In other years, my New Year’s decision has been more simple. I’ve chosen to add more time to my writing schedule or adopted a new attitude about my writing. This year I’m joining a group of other Goddard College M.F.A. graduates to study writing informally on-line.

What will you do with the new year? Will you surf over to the recently updated on-going writing groups, and choose one to attend? Will you finish that short story you started in 2004? Or will you move your entire family across the country to study writing?

Whatever you choose, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to post a response by clicking on the word “comments” at the bottom of the article.

Happy 2009 everyone, and happy writing.

(c)Nita Sweeney, 2009, all rights reserved

If you appreciate Write (Now) Newsletter and would like to make a donation, CLICK HERE.


“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how . . . . We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” – Agnes de Mille, dancer and choreographer

On March 15th I sent my entire book manuscript to my M.F.A. advisors – 229 pages – the whole thing, all the pieces, all together in the same place at the same time. In the weeks prior to the deadline, I had to throw the schoolbook out the window. Oh, it was helpful to have learned about plot trajectories, character development, dialogue, and tension building. All that stuff about Aristotle’s incline came in handy too. But for the most part, it went out the window – right out onto the lawn next to the barely budding crocuses and the daffodil greens that aren’t quite ready to pop.

It had to go under the ground with all the acorns the squirrels planted last autumn and the leftover birdseed that the robins didn’t get this winter. In its place came intuition and raw nerve. I had to leap, leap, leap. I put something down and moved on to the next. Does this piece go here? Don’t think too hard. Just put it down and move on. Piece after piece like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

I’d spent a ton of time sorting which pieces to use. Years deepening the pieces so that they were the right shape and color and just the right pitch in sound. And then all I could do was lay them down. It felt something like what I think dying might feel like. I was convinced it was all wrong and anxious that I would just have to do it over again and I still might. But it fell together. The pieces fell together and at the end, like winning a game of solitaire, I had only a few pieces left and they fit together. The queen of hearts went atop the king of diamonds and I had a draft of the full manuscript sitting on my table, and most importantly, extracted from my mind.

It will need more work. My advisors have read it and while they are impressed with the work I have done, they agree that it needs more work. And someday, hopefully, an editor will read it and she too will say it needs more work. And when that day comes, remind me that I already know how to do it. Remind me that I know how not to be sure, how to guess, and move forward, and how to take leap after leap in the dark.

Family Ties

“The one thing all nations share is the fear that a member of the family will want to be an artist.” – Robert Frost

My family’s fears have come true. An excerpt from Memorial, the book I’m writing about my father, has been published in The Pitkin Review, Goddard College’s literary magazine. As excited as I was to have the excerpt accepted, my fear of my family’s response outweighed the joy ten to one.

The only way I know to overcome the fear that my family will be unhappy with what I’ve written is to let them know what’s coming. This won’t work for everyone, but I don’t like surprises and I doubt they would either. Some memoirists never show work to family members until after it’s published. Some show the drafts to anyone who appears in the work. Others, like me, have a conversation with family members about the work before it appears in print. My goal is to travel with as much ease as possible balanced by my need to tell the story.

A few members of my family have read the piece and, so far, no one has thrown any stones. Of course, the section published is a rather mild part of the book. But I’m testing the waters and getting my family ready for the more difficult sections to come. When I’m confused about whether to reveal something, I choose to honor the story. The story always wins. I hope it will win my family over as well.

Verified by MonsterInsights