Write Now Columbus – August 2020


Write Now Columbus – August 2020

Still here, still in the middle of the pandemic, still writing. Most things are virtual, while zoom fatigue is very real. Harvard Business Review offers some tips. Who knew we would learn to love plain old phone calls again?

One of my sanity techniques is to change things up.

On Bum Glue Blog, I’ve begun two new post series.

For the first, Mango Publishing’s lovely and talented intern, Ashlee, created some fabulous graphics using excerpts from You Should Be Writing, the writing journal I co-authored with Associate Publisher, and award-winning author, Brenda Knight. In the first series of new posts, I riff about what each excerpt brings to mind. Here’s a sample.

In the second series, I interview authors. I’m fascinated by each author’s process and hope the answers inform your work or at least entertain.

As for my zooming, my next Writing from the Inside Out class will be on zoom this Sunday. Two weeks later I’ll be zooming to talk about Depression Hates a Moving Target at the Run Pain Free Marathon Training Summit. It’s a star-studded lineup and I’m so honored to be included. I’ll round out the month with our very own Ohioana Book Festival, another huge honor.

Did I mention zoom fatigue? No complaints here.

So far, there are 16 writing-related events on the Write Now Columbus – August 2020 calendar. With increased competition now that everything has gone virtual, I hope you will continue to support our local bookstores, groups, and agencies with your attention and dollars. They continue to provide so much for our vibrant writing community.

As always, if you hear of events, groups, workshops, please let me know. I appreciate your help!

Thank you and may you and yours be well.


News! – Write Now Columbus – January 2020

News! – Write Now Columbus – January 2020


News! – Write Now Columbus – January 2020

I may be too sick to write an essay because I came down with the flu, but I’m not too sick to share some happy updates.

Mango Publishing just signed me to a NEW PROJECT! In Spring 2020, Mango will release You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration and Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving.

You Should Be Writing is not just another pretty notebook. The “blank” pages include wisdom from writers who have trudged the trail before us and left breadcrumbs we can follow. I hope you find it helpful on your writing path.

Be sure to follow me on social media, so you don’t miss the cover reveal and other news!

My next class is this month, on Sunday, January 19th from 1PM to 5PM in Upper Arlington and I’m booking other events into the spring.

As always, I wish you happy, healthy writing. Please let me know how things are going. Your success is my joy!

Thank You for Playing Along

Today, I spent a fabulous afternoon in the company of writers. Yes, I did most of the talking, but what the people arbitrarily labelled “participants” didn’t know going in was that I needed them more than they needed me.

I teach the “rules of writing practice” as taught to me by best-selling author Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind). In the year 2000, shortly before Ed and I returned to my home state of Ohio after living in Taos, New Mexico where I had studied with Natalie, Nat told me to teach writing practice in Ohio. She knew what I needed.

My lame paraphrasing of Nat’s brilliance goes something like this:

1. Use Timed Intervals
. . . just like in meditation practice. Start with ten minutes. Set the microwave timer and GO! The time constraint has a pressure cooker effect, heating up our minds and helping words flow.

2. Keep Your Hand Moving . . .
. . . for the entire time period you’ve selected. It separates and your creative momentum from that oppressive internal editor. No stopping. No crossing out. Don’t let that critic have a chance to stop your naturally moving hand. If you don’t know what to write, write the topic again and continue. Something more will arise.

3. Be Specific.
Oak, not tree. Teddy bear, not stuffed animal. Capture the essential details of your life.

4. Don’t Worry about Spelling, Punctuation; Grammar. Or even the lines on the Page

5. Go for the Jugular.
If it’s scary, it has energy. If you don’t write about it, you’ll just end up writing around it. Even if you know you’ll never publish those words, just go for it!

6. You’re Free to Write the Worst Junk in America
(America, Earth, The Milky Way, The Universe). Take the pressure off. We all write junk. If you’re free to write awful nasty stuff, you’ll be free to write hot, lively stuff as well.

7. Lose Control!
Don’t try to manage what goes down on the page. Let the wild waves of your mind roam free. Don’t grip the pen too hard. It doesn’t matter how sloppy your writing or your thoughts become. Set yourself free.

8. Don’t Think.
Take a vacation from logic, organization, or anything your left-brain loves. Capture the way your mind first flashes on an experience. Step into the words and go. Become the words. No mind. Just write.

Simple enough.

The problem? I forget to follow them.

These “rules” have become so ingrained in me that I take them for granted. And I forget to use them. I lose sight of the practice that has kept me going all these years. I still write, of course, but not with the wild abandon and rich freedom offered by these simple rules. My writing turns shallow and my mind dull. I lose touch with my own big heart and crazy wild mind.

So thank you today to the brave “participants” who allowed me to refresh my recollection by teaching. And thank you to Nat (always) for knowing what I needed in order for the practice to continue at my own desk and at the desks of others. As is often the case, we teach what we need to learn.

How Deep Are You Willing to Go?

“Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.” — Christopher Reeve

Saturday I taught my semi-annual class, Writing From the Inside Out. Teaching reminds me of all the things I forget between classes. I have to review the materials, especially the rules of writing practice I learned from Natalie Goldberg, and be awake enough to explain them to other people.

We had an splendid mix of novelists, poets, lyricists, memoirists, and children’s book authors. They asked interesting questions and each contributed to the conversation. One woman lamented that the in-class writing practice was taking her places she didn’t want to go. This gave me the opportunity to talk about Natalie’s suggestion to “go for the jugular” meaning to dive into the dark scary places that come up.

The reason for this “rule” is simple. Those unwanted memories lie below the surface whether we write about them or not. You wind up writing around them. Either they crowd out the more important things you want to say or, more often, they are the important things you need to say. That’s where the heat is, the juice of the writing. If we don’t at least acknowledge these dark places, they fester and interrupt the writing flow. Better to get them out in the open and shred or burn the writing practice later if you must, than let these unspoken truths suppress our writing dreams.

My writing is no different. In my current book project, Twenty-Six Point Freaking Two, I had to face some dark places in my mental health journey in order to show how much running has done for me. There was no hiding. To do so would have cheated both the reader and myself.

Are you willing to go out in the ocean with your writing? How deep are you willing to dive to pursue your dreams?

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