Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Whirlwind of Everything But Snow...

December has whirled in with a mountain of work that piled up during NaNo, endless Christmas cards to write, perfect gifts to find, holiday recipes to perfect, seasonal guests to accommodate, and holiday traveling to be done. And so far no fluffy snowflakes...

Work on my novel has been put on hold this month because of all of these activities. I plan to catch up on my poetry submissions before the end of the month so I can say I met my submission goal for the year. I also received good news on the poetry front.

On the same day this month, I received another poetry rejection and a letter accepting one of my poems for publication in a small online journal this upcoming March! It is my first poem to be published in a paying market! I am really excited!

I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and I wish everyone a good year for writing in 2010! Have a happy new year!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Excerpt - Kaylee meets the plant-girl

Here is an excerpt from the novel I am currently writing. I hope you enjoy it!

Kaylee's mouth fell open and she couldn't help but stare in disbelief at the plant-girl's words. Islen wouldn't take her to the Fortress because she didn't want to have anything to do with the outside world?!

Islen brushed a couple of small hair-like vines off of her face and shrugged.

"Why would you ever want to spend your life hidden away in some pretend-world like this when you live in a world that is full of so many wondrous things?!" Kaylee said."Since I've been here, I've seen a dragon, a flying ship, and even a horse with a unicorn's horn and a pegasus's wings; not to mention the hundreds of other things. The world is full of amazing and wonderful things if you just take the time and effort to find them."

"The real world is a scary place," Islen said. Kaylee could tell she spoke from personal experience. She wondered what had happened to Islen to make her this way. Was it the reason she rarely left the Wild Lands?

"Pretending will not change things," Kaylee said. "You can pretend things forever, but nothing will ever be real in the pretend-world. But if you work hard in the real world, all of your dreams can become real. Though things rarely happen in exactly the way you thought they would-"

Islen sighed. "You're going to bother me until I agree to be your guide to the Fortress, aren't you?"

Kaylee grinned. "Yep! You've got that right."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alcott, Shut-In's and NaNoWriMo

When I was growing up, I read a book about the life of Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women). The book told how she would lock herself away in her room for days at a time and write frantically on her novel.

I feel a little like that while writing for NaNo this month. I feel like I have to give up the rest of my life in order to get a rough draft of the words I need for my novel. I miss my TV shows. I miss surfing the web. I miss my computer games. I miss hanging out with friends. I had to turn down an invitation to hang out with someone last week because I needed to spend that night writing and would never get the words I needed if I even spent a couple of hours out - because those two hours stretch on late into the evening.

Last year one of the NaNo pep-talk writers said that he wrote 1,000 words a day, writing over the course of the entire day. For those of us who have day jobs or must take care of family members, we do not have that luxury. Someone once said to be a successful writer, you have to want it more than anything else. A strong desire, produces results.

Is locking yourself away from the world for weeks at a time to complete a novel really worth the sacrifice? That's up to each aspiring writer to decide for themselves.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here's the video!

Here's the video. It's embedded now to make it easier to watch. Thank you, Glynis, for your help with how to embed it!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Perfect Gift

This month I am working at my job during the day and am writing for NaNoWriMo at night. It's starting to take a toll, but the words are starting to add up and make the writing worth it. Still I feel like I don't have a moment's time to do anything except work for my day job and write on my novel. I can't imagine the holidays yet and I haven't even tried to think of the perfect gift for everyone.

At work, we just released our holiday video. It's about finding that PERFECT GIFT this holiday season. It's really a heart-touching video and I wanted to share it with everyone. I hope you enjoy it!

I haven't figured out how to embed a YouTube video in this blog yet, so you'll have to click on the image below to watch the video.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where Life Flies Us

I was in meetings in Dallas most of this week for my day job. Thankfully the flight home was uneventful - no issues with doors not closing. That's the reason my initial flight to Dallas was delayed and eventually cancelled. The good news is I was able to read about 400 pages on The Stone of Tears because of all the delays.

Anyway, I made it home safely and now have several days backlog of work for my day job, work around my house and things to do with friends. And that's not to mention any writing. I have two days left to prepare for NaNoWriMo if I am going to participate. Of course, there is also Halloween to think about.

If you are a writer with a full-time day job, how do you find time to get everything done?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oxymoron of writers and getting published

Writing is a solitary art. We write alone. We edit alone. We rip our manuscripts apart and start over alone. No one else can pluck our words from our heads and put them down on paper. Only the writer. Often writers are also quiet people, and spend a great deal of time alone due to our art.

But publishing is a social business. It requires a completely different skill-set. It demands that writers reject their nature in order to be successfully published. Pitches. Presentations. Meetings. Marketing. Many very social activities.

As a writer, how do you balance the solitary side and the social side?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stop Over-thinking and Do It

I read an article the other day about procrastination. I think it would definitely apply to most of the writers I know. We are all the same - we find ourselves cleaning the whole house from top to bottom to procrastinate writing.

The article had one very simple tip. Stop thinking about it and just do whatever it is you are trying to do. As people, we often over-think things. Apples turn into melons in our heads. The bigger something is, the more intimidating it is and the more we procrastinate.

If we stop and leap onto the path we really want to be on before we can cross over the bridge to procrastination, we can accomplish amazing things. Each small step brings us closer to our dreams as writers. So stop (over)thinking and do it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2009 OCW Conference - Part 2

Part of the reason I usually love the Ozark Creative Writers' Conference is the scenery. Eureka Springs sits high in the Ozark Mountains, and the sky is always a deep blue. It makes me feel like I am closer to heaven.

However, this year it was cloudy and rainy and dreary most of the conference. It has been raining nearly everyday for weeks now. If I liked constantly cloudy weather, I would have moved to Jersey when I had the chance a few years back. Most people prefer sunny weather, and I think the weather set the tone for the conference this year.

By no means was it a bad conference. It simply lacked the spirit of inspiration that I've felt at other conferences. There is a certain feeling that writers get when they connect with another writer and excitedly share their creations. That's the same feeling a good speaker can inspire.

I am glad I attended the conference. I had the opportunity to speak with an editor from Tor, and I saw a fellow-writer who I have not seen in several years. I also won an honorable mention for one of my poems! I also learned a valuable phrase from a fellow-writer at the conference, "Instead of asking why, ask why not?"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Poetry Award

My poem, "Plant a Flower" won an honorable mention at the Ozark Creative Writers Conference! I hardly ever win anything there.

Friday, October 9, 2009

2009 OCW conference

I am sitting in my room at the 2009 Ozark Creative Writers conference, and so far, the most exciting thing that happened was the owner of the Inn thought I was a student. I didn't have the heart to tell him I graduated from college 6 1/2 years ago.

Most of the sessions today were about "modern marketing". I already knew most of what was discussed. Perhaps that's because I am younger than the average writer and already know what FaceBook and MySpace are. I consider myself about average as far as computer users go, but after training several people at work on some very basic computer functions, perhaps my generation is gifted with an advanced computer compatibility that others might not have.

Here's to the rest of the conference gong well! Maybe when the sun comes out and the temperature warms up, perhaps so will the excitement at the conference. It's a toasty 46 degrees right now; down from the recent 60s and 70s.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Door May Open Anywhere

Recently I joined a poetry group. I have avoided writing groups like the plague after a bad one in college, so it took a whole lot for me to make myself join this group. So far the experience has been really wonderful.

A lot of the people in this poetry group have "deep souls" (if that makes any sense). They have all struggled with something very difficult in their life and come out very wise and encoraging and inspirational. Very strong. That was a pleasant surprise when I joined this writing group.

Another good thing that has come out of this poetry group is networking with these people. None of them are world-famous poets, but they are all very good. One even has a poetry column in a local newspaper. He was asking for poetry submissions, so I sent him a few poems and he will be publishing one in November and another one next spring. I've never been published in nonfiction, so this is really exciting for me!

It just goes to show, a door may open in a place you least expect it so don't let opportunities pass you by. Each door opens more doors.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Erasing People by Faye Williams Jones

Faye Williams Jones is a retired school librarian, turned writer. I met her at the very first writing conference I ever attended back in 2005 and she made me feel welcome.

Recently, I bought her first book (a chapbook of poetry that won a publication contest) and I am very proud to add Faye's book to my personal library.

People say that writing needs to say something important. Faye's chapbook, "Erasing People" does that and so much more. The book is about coping with cancer and living each day with the blessings you are given.

Faye has been living with cancer for quite some time so she knows the environment all too well. The poetry in her book is very deep, emotional and beautiful in a manner that transcends the printed words on the page. I would highly recommend her book to anyone who enjoys deep poetry as well as anyone coping with cancer.

Most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. I know someone who had cancer 5 times. If she had not passed away last year, I would have bought a copy of this book for her in a heartbeat because I think she would have really connected with these poems.

If you are interested in purchasing this chapbook, it is $14 and can be purchased through the publisher's website. Follow the link below and go about halfway down the page to find the book. It's entitled, "Erasing People" by Faye Williams Jones.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Shines So Bright" - Poem for Teresa and Stan

Recently, my co-worker, Teresa got married and I wrote this poem for her.

Shines So Bright
Dedicated to Teresa and Stan on Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer sunlight sparkles for you today –
your happy glow the only thing brighter.
Years of friendship blossomed like
hundreds of tiny petals
slowly opening on a deep red rose.

But now the wait is over.
The time has finally come.
The future has arrived
and all of your dreams
are coming true.

In a world of chaos,
two souls connected,
accepted each other
for who they are
all the good and bad.

You have found friendship,
companionship, trust and respect.
And you have found
the most important thing of all:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Sister!

Today is my siter's birthday. She turns 24 today, but some friends have declared it to be her 30th birthday. She's the youngest of our group of friend's so we'll make her the oldest for the day! Happy Birthday Becka!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Vacation Roller-Coaster...

I am planning a vacation for later the end of next month. It started out with lots of excitement. Now it's five people bickering over where to go. I really want to go to Florida and do the classic Florida vacation. It's something I've always wanted to do but never had the opportunity until now... and for all I know how life tends to surprise you with random twists and turns along the road, I may not get another chance quite like this. Pretty much everyone else I know is settling down and starting families and don't have any money for a real vacation..and the current group I'm considering travelling with is really leaning towards going to Vegas - which there are fun things to do there and it would be cool to say I've been there, but Vegas has never been on the list of vacation spots I dream about going to...

I'm afraid that if I don't go on my classic Florida vacation now, I might not get the chance to later on because of life and work and family and money... Plus there is an elderly couple who lives in Florida that I have heard stories about for years and year, but I have never met them and would like to meet them before they move on to the next life. Is it so wrong of me to want that?

Between work and falling behind in the everyday things in my own life, and planning/worrying about this vacation, I haven't had much of a chance to write. My focus seems to be wandering. I think a good refreshing vacation would definitely help... I just really hope everything works out...somehow...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where Do Morning People Come From...?

I am not a morning person. I don't know about other writers, but I have a difficult time struggling out of bed each morning for my day job and usually spend Saturdays sleeping in...late. I mean really late. Saturdays are the day I catch up on my sleep.

Writers who can wake up 1-2 hours before the sun (or before they need to wake for work) to fit in an hour of writing are either insomniacs or crazy. I find it very difficult to write when I can barely keep my eyes open. I would love to be able to be awake, whenever I want to be awake, but sleep is a very difficult thing to fight.

This past weekend, I did fight sleep, however. All of the local writing groups seem to meet on Saturday morning. UGH. I have been a member of the local poetry group for almost a year, but haven't really attended any of the meeting because they meet on Saturday mornings. But I want to start attending them to perhaps help my poetry improve enough to be publishable.

So I attended last week's meeting of the local poetry group. It was a struggle to fight my ever-growing sleep deficit and attend the meeting during the time I normally catch up on my sleep. But I think I learned a lot in just that one meeting. I think it will be very beneficial to me to continue attending. AND I want to continue attending. Just fighting the sleep may be a problem...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Postcard Project

I received a beautiful postcard in the mail yesterday. It was from Elizabeth McClung, a young woman with a terminal illness, who is trying to make a difference. She brightens people's days by sending out postcards to strangers. One of my friends gave her my address, and I was really surprised to receive the postcard in the mail. It was a really beautiful postcard, and Elizabeth is a really amazing person. She has such strength and that is very inspiring!

Her website is: http://efmpostcardproject.blogspot.com/.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"It is time."

Last weekend was the Arkansas Writers Conference. It's a small local conference and rarely has any big-name writers as speakers. There's usually not an agent or publisher in attendance to accept queries at the conference. Yet the past couple of years, I have found this conference really inspirational.

I think I got more out of the little sessions by local writers no one has ever heard of, than the ones with the more prominent regional names. These local writers are on the same level as me. They haven't strayed so far from the world of the struggling aspiring-writer that they still acutely understand our place in the writing world. Although they have experienced minor success, many are still in the same place as the unpublished.

I was sitting there during one session at the end of the second day at the writers conference. The session wasn't anything extra special when compared to those from the rest of the day, but I got this feeling that was almost spiritual from it. The session was entitled, "Bloom Where You're Planted" and was about a lady who took what life gave her and wrote about it. I feel like my writing is very close to blooming; I just need to give it a little care to help it bloom.

And as I sat there, I thought back to a session at an conference over a year ago. The speaker told about an Olympic high jumper who was so close to beating the world record, but didn't "because he wasn't ready." While I sat in the last session during the second day of this conference, I felt a voice deep inside my heart say, "I am finally ready. It is time."

Thursday, June 4, 2009


A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning." --Billie Jean King, American tennis player.

This quote was tagged onto the bottom of a regular (non-writing) newsletter that I am subscribed to, but I immediately thought of writing. As writers, our inner critic/inner child (irrational fear of failure) can hold us back and prevent us from ever reaching our dreams. Why do you think that there are significantly more "writers" who never finish anything than actual writers?

I have been in a writing slump recently. I must have gotten back a month's worth of poetry rejections during the week I was sick. I guess it's that time of the year when magazines that do not accept summer submissions clear their desks. I did get an "almost" on a short story I submitted to a regional magazine. But I'm starting to wonder if I'm just wasting my time and postage submitting poetry since every single piece has been returned rejected.

That fear can be a hard thing to control.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Remember What It's Like to Enjoy Life...?

We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery." --H.G. Wells, English author

I have been stuck in bed for a while now recovering from food poisoning. Ugh. Not fun, believe me. I feel like I have so much to catch up on now that I am finally well enough to move around again. That ticking clock is ticking quite loudly...

Yet, I did get one thing accomplished while I was sick. I finally found the time to start reading the Twilight series. I have heard a great deal of both good and bad feedback from people on the books, so I thought I should at least check them out.

I found that the first book left something to be desired in some places; but I could see the writing improve as I got further and further along. Anyway, I was hooked. I knew what would happen but I had to keep reading to discover the answers to all of the little mysteries that leave you hanging along the way.

My sister on the other hand read the first couple of pages, said, "Ah, romance..." and put it down. To like the book, you have to like romance. You have to be able to overlook the main character's constant gushing and brooding over her love interest. And you really shouldn't read it when you're sick. For a story about a bunch of vampires, they sure mention food a whole lot during the book!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Read Around

Do your remember when you were in third grade and everyone took turns reading a few paragraphs from whatever book you were studying? I do.

I was reminded of it yesterday. The company I work for has mandatory annual refresher courses on all sorts of things; especially quality regulations. I spent yesterday afternoon in one of these courses and we ended up going around the room reading the materials aloud. It felt like I was back in elementary school all over again; minus the carefree life children have.

However it reminded me that someday I might be reading my book aloud to a crowd of eager-eyed children. Visualizing the future is an important skill for a writer. If you can see where you want to go, it can help beat back that inner critic who tries to hold us back. Adults often forget what it is like to imagine what good things could be. Take a little time to imagine the future you want today and it will help make it easier to take the steps to get there.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Look Ahead

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. - Patrick Henry

The past can hold us back as writers. It can be chains that bind us to the ground and keep us from moving towards our dreams. But to succeed, we must dream of the future we want to have; not worry about the past which cannot be changed. Each day is a new day. Make the most of it to reach your dreams.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Creative people are often fragile. The ones that survive tend to grow a hard outer shell to protect all of the caramel-y goodness inside.

I have a friend who was in a singing competition this week. He's a pretty good singer in my opinion. Heck, he could probably place on American Idol if the stars aligned to give him all the right opportunities to be on the show. He placed last in the singing contest this week (8th out of 8). It wasn't because he's a bad singer. It was because he was the first person to sing, so the judges were reserving higher scores for later in the competition after seeing others.

Also, any sort of competition is very subjective based on the personal preferences of the judges. I have learned this very well with the writing contests I have entered. A story or poem that places first in one contest might not even place in another contest. It's all about the judges' taste in writing; or in this case music.

This same friend is an artist. Or at least used to be. He does not actively do art these day, but he is incredibly talented. The same thing happened to his art - he stopped doing it because of the subjective criticism of a contest, and it really is a shame. He was really talented and he no longer believes in his art.

As writers, we are faced with the same self-doubt about our art of choice. It can block us up. It can shut us down and make us feel like we will never amount to anything as writers. But to succeed, we must believe that we can do it. Writing is part practice, part luck. If you keep writing, not only will your writing improve over time, but you will have more opportunities to be in the right place at the right time to make it in this big scary world. There is always a place for you and your art. You just have to keep believing!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Keeping the Muses Happy

Inspiration is like a wild child. It bounces up in front of you when you least expect it and begs you to indulge it. While focus is important to complete your major projects, if you ignore these other inspirations, you might miss out on something worth-while.

Unfortunately, inspiration doesn't always strike at the most convenient times. Usually, the opposite.

One of my friends has a "cooking muse" which inspires her to create all sorts of interesting, experimental meals. Her talks about her cooking muse have woken mine from a deep sleep it seems... I love cooking for people. I love creating my very own recipes that people love to eat. But I haven't done much "real" cooking in a very long time. I had forgotten how much I missed it. recently, I've been rediscovering all of my old recipes and experimenting with new ones.

Maintaining a well-balanced indulgence of your other Muses (inspirations/passions, etc) can help give invigorate your writing. Who knows, they might even inspire new story ideas! Last night after my little cooking experiment, I had an idea for a character that I might just have to include in my next book!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Making paths in the brain...

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” ~Thoreau

A friend posted this quote online this morning and it reminded me of a writing seminar I attended last year. As writers, we are constantly struggling with our inner critics. I have found that some days I can silence the critic enough to write and other days the critic overpowers me. But I believe, as this quote states, that if I keep trying, eventually those positive footsteps will turn into paths; from activities into habits. Practice always adds up, even if it is so slow that you can't see in clearly from the moment you are in. Just look back someday and see how far you have come! And keep writing - every word eventually adds up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Muse in the Hand

...is worth a million jumping around out of reach!

As I am making progress on my novel, I thought it was time to setup a blog for my writing, so here it is. Look forward to random, quirky and the occassional gem of a post every now and again.

See you on the other side!

Writing Links

Duotrope Digest
- A database of poetry and short story markets.

OWL suggested markets
- A few literary magazine markets recommended by the Ozarks Writers League.

The Arkansas page on Poets.org
- Links to other Arkansas writing pages

Arkansas journal and organizations listed on the HSU website

Local Writing Organizations

Poets Roundtable of Arkansas
River Market Poets (branch - Little Rock)
Meets: 2nd Saturday of the month @ 10am @ the Main Library in the Rivermarket
Membership: $20/year, due by June 30

Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas
Little Rock, AR
Meets: 9am the 4th Saturday @ Baptist Medical Center Dining Room #3
Membership: $20 due by December 31

Ozarks Writers League (OWL)
Branson, MO
Meets: 8:30am @ Plaster Auditorium @ College of the Ozarks in Branson
(3rd Saturday of February, May, August, November)
Dues: $20 due by December 31

Arkansas Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Northwest Arkansas Writers
Fayetteville, AR
Meets: 6:30pm every Thursday @ the Good Shephard Lutheran Church in Fayetteville
Membership: free??

Oklahoma Writers Federation (OWFI)
Oklahoma City, OK
Annual conference 1st weekend in May
Membership: $20 ($15 if paid before November 30) due by December 31

White County Creative Writers
Searcy, AR
Meets: 3rd Monday @ 6:30pm @ Simmons Bank in Searcy
Membership: $12/year, due by ??

Penpoints of Light
Jacksonville, AR

National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) - Arkansas Pioneer Branch
Little Rock, AR
Meets: 1st Wednesday of each month 11:30 to 1pm @ Whole Foods on Rodney Parham

Missouri State Poetry Society
Meets: varies (find local chapter @ website)
Membership: $4 if member of a local chapter; $13 for members-at-large

Poetry Society of Tennessee
Sponsors Mid-South Poetry Festival in early October.
Membership: $25

Local Writing Conferences and Events

Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop
Fayetteville, Arkansas

MidSouth Conference (scifi)
Memphis, Tennessee

Arkansas Literary Festival
Little Rock, Arkansas

Arkansas Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference
Conway, Arkansas

Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc (OWFI) Conference
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area

Books in Bloom (festival)
Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Arkansas Writers Conference
Little Rock, Arkansas

September (Labor Day Weekend)-
White County Creative Writers Conference
Searcy, Arkansas

Missouri State Poetry Society Annual Conference
Springfield, Missouri

Ozark Creative Writers Conference
Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Poets Roundtable of Arkansas- National Poetry Day
location varies (somewhere in Arkansas)

Mid-South Poetry Festival
sponsored by the Poetry Society of Tenessee
Memphis, Tennessee

Maumelle Writers Conference
Maumelle, Arkansas

The Shaw Guide to writers conferences and workshops:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Writing Awards and Recognition

10/2009- Poets Roundtable of AR National Poetry Day
- 1st Place Poem: “Strength of Seedlings”

10/2009- Ozark Creative Writers (OCW) Conference
- Honorable Mention Poem: “Plant a Flower”

06/2009- Arkansas Writers Conference
- 3rd Place Poem: “Whippoorwill in a Walmart Parking Lot”

10/2008- Poets Roundtable of AR National Poetry Day
- 3rd Place Poem: “Whippoorwill in a Walmart Parking Lot”

10/2008- Ozark Creative Writers (OCW) Conference
- Honorable Mention Short Story: “Fictional Lies”

06/2008- Arkansas Writers Conference
- 1st Place- Long Narrative Poem: “Rainy Afternoon”

04/2008- Writers Digest Poetic Asides Poem A Day (PAD) Challenge
- Certificate of Completion: (wrote a poem a day in April based on their prompts)
- 3 poems highlighted on the Poetry Asides Blog:
o Day 8: The Little Deer
o Day 14: How My Cat Behaves
o Day 21: Did something crawl into you too

10/2007- Poets Roundtable of AR National Poetry Day
- 1st Place Poem: “Forgiven”
- Honorable Mention- Poem: “A Memorial of Inspiration”
- Honorable Mention- Poem: “For the Money or the Love”

10/2007- Ozark Creative Writers Conference (OCW)
- 1st Place Children's Story: "Journey to Catch the Sun"

06/2007- Arkansas Writers Conference
- 1st Place Short Story: “The Photographer”
- Honorable Mention Short Story: “The Coming of Age Ceremony”

05/2004- Two articles published in the Maumelle Monitor

04/1999- Arkansas Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) Convention
- Excellent (2nd Place) Column: “The Great Scholarship Hunt”
- Excellent (2nd Place) Newspaper Special Section: “College News”
- Excellent (2nd Place) Literary Magazine Long Poem: “The Attraction of Simple Charms”
- Honorable Mention (3rd Place) Newspaper Review: “MHS Drama Captivates Audience”
- Honorable Mention (3rd Place) Literary Magazine Short Poem: “Unseen Encouragement”
- Honorable Mention (3rd Place) Literary Magazine Short Poem: “Growing Up”
- Honorable Mention (3rd Place) Literary Magazine Thematic Development: “Myths Retold”
- 3rd Place On-Site Literary Magazine Short Story: untitled

01/1999- Westark College Media Day II
- Honorable Mention- Column Writing: “The Search for Information”
- Honorable Mention- Page Layout/Design

10/1998- Poets Roundtable of Northwest Arkansas- Quarterly Contest
- 2nd Place Poem: “The Coat”
- 2nd Place Poem: “The Attraction of Simple Charms”
- Honorable Mention- Poem: “The Sacrifice for Preservation”
- Honorable Mention- Haiku: “The Picture”

05/1998- Arkansas Press Women’s High School Communications Contest
-1st Place Review: “MHS educators on the rampage”

04/1998- Arkansas Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) Convention
- Excellent (2nd Place) Newspaper Review: “MHS educators on the rampage”
- Honorable Mention (3rd Place) News Story: “Drug Dog Comes to Mountainburg”
- 2nd Place- On-Site Literary Magazine Short Story: untitled

Monday, January 19, 2009

Published Materials


More coming soon!


04/07/2010- "Dandelion"
Poem / Maumelle Monitor

03/2010- "To Know Not Change"
Poem / The Shine Journal

11/04/2009- "Memories of War"
Poem / Maumelle Monitor

05/2004- "Maumelle panel eyes 97 acres for homes"
News article / Maumelle Monitor
Page 1A and 6A

05/2004- "Sarah Waller - She loves art and soccer"
Feature article / Maumelle Monitor
Page 14 (of graduation insert)

*This list does not include any published press releases that I wrote for my job.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Inner Child (Critic)

I wrote this blog back in early October while I was at the writing conference in Eureka Springs, but things in my life got crazy about then and I didn't get around to pulling the file off my laptop and posting it til now. This is for all of the creative people out there and explains a lot about why we are the way we are. I know I for one never think my writing is good enough and this helps explain why us creative folk feel that way. :-)

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I just got out of a session with Phillip Finch and it really spoke to me. I think his talk would have significance for any writer, or anyone creative for that matter. He said that as writers, we struggle the most with our inner critic. I have heard talk of the "inner critic" before, but Phillip's presentation explained it with such clarity and really hit home on almost every single point he brought up.

The inner critic is the little voice inside that constantly criticizes our writing. It tells us that our writing is not good enough; that we are not good enough; that there are more important things to do; that we don't feel like writing; that we aren't good writers and can't write. Any success we do find as writers, it tells us was just luck and not something we could ever do again; making us find reasons to procrastinate.

Phillip explained it as the "inner child"; a subconscious part of ourselves that has internalized the lessons we have learned and builds them up into these enormous fears. It works based on symbolic imagery like the mind of a child. For example, a child can take two unrelated things and connect them into a monstrous misunderstanding. Our inner critic functions in the same manner. It only intends to protect us from things that might hurt us.

To write a successful novel is wonderful for us. It's our dream on the a conscious level. But our subconscious is afraid of it. It's afraid to try because it's afraid of failing, but it is also afraid of success. Change comes with success, and in the mind of a child (and many of the rest of us) change is scary. Our inner child associates change with danger. A person could get hurt. The inner critic/child tries to prevent you from writing to protect you from that possible pain/danger associated with the challenges of the journey and the possibility of succeeding.

Phillip Finch explains it so much better than I do (see my inner critic is taking over), but his argument really does make a lot of sense. It explains why writing can be so very hard for most of us, and why young people with less experience and fewer worries in life tend to have a quieter inner critic. Teens and young adults pour forth writing easier because of they have experienced fewer things to build up negative associations and internalizing lessons that could subconsciously be applied to writing.

So how do those of us with a loud inner critic get past it? Phillip wrote a best-selling novel with all the perks that every author dreams about, but he didn't write another book for 12 years because of his inner critic. How did he overcome it? It's an everyday struggle, but according to Phillip, GOOD HABITS are stronger than even the strongest inner critic. If you get in the habit of writing for a certain time period every single day, it is an enormous step towards fighting the inner critic.

As writers most of us do not feel alive and fulfilled unless we are writing on whatever we consider to be our niche (same for any other creative person; artist; singer; etc). Without our art of choice; we cannot fail, but we will never succeed. To combat our inner critic, we have to make a conscious choice, "I will write today." And we have to keep telling ourselves that until we finally make ourselves sit down and do it. Even if it is a single sentence, all of the words eventually add up.

According to Phillip Finch, the power of suggestion also carries a lot of weight with your subconscious. If you are told you can't do something; your subconscious (inner critic/child) will make you believe you can't. But the power of suggestion is also important in convincing your inner critic that you actually want to do what you consciously want.

The inner child is motivated based on symbolism and emotions. Visualize your completed book in your hands and FEEL the excitement you would feel at that moment. That's the key to overcoming your inner critic. You must associate positive emotions with writing. Take time to actually FEEL excited about your writing. See yourself succeeding and feel the happiness as if it had just happened. Associate those good feelings with the writing you want to do; and that makes your inner critic want it as badly as you do. Instead of pushing you away, your inner child will become a Muse urging you to write more; eager for the reward.

Phillip Finch really does tell this better than I do. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, you definitely should. His talk really gets to the heart of what pretty much every writer struggles with. It is also very inspirational because it shows us that we are not alone and most writers struggle with these same problems. But if we really truly want to succeed, we can overcome them!