Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Frances Lefkowitz

Today’s guest blogger, Frances Lefkowitz, writes about the importance of family stories and keeping memories alive. Telling stories ‘round the table, can increase well-being, reduce anxiety and depression, reinforce feelings of closeness among family members, and build resilience for navigating life’s normal ups and downs. Stories about something good coming from something bad are particularly therapeutic. When something bad happens, but you find a way to use it to your advantage, you redeem (and transform) the negative experience. The tales need to be structured, with a beginning, a middle, and — most crucial — an end, a conclusion that makes sense of the situation and gives it meaning. Tips for getting the storytelling started: 1. Share photos: Albums, yearbooks, holiday photos, loose photos in shoeboxes. 2. Start and continue traditions. Rituals contribute to stories. 3. Share stories during mealtimes. Frances Lefkowitz has spent over twenty years writing and publishing. The…

Guest Bloggers

Submit. Yay or nay?

Excerpt from “Submission Control” article about submitting your writing to publications, in the March/April 2019 issue of Writers Digest magazine, by Dinty W. Moore. Sending your work to literary magazines puts you at the whim of editors—but there’s more in your power than you may realize. Every few months, ask yourself why you’re doing this [writing]. If writing, waiting, and facing rejection make you truly miserable, maybe you should stop. But if you don’t want to stop, if writing is necessary, like breathing, then change your way of thinking. The long wait, the long odds, the sometimes inscrutable aesthetic taste of the editorial staff: You have to put all of that aside and write new poems, essays and stories. And that’s a good thing. Because the more you write, the better you get. Dinty W. Moore is the author of the memoir Between Panic & Desire, the writing guide Crafting…

Guest Bloggers

Revision Is Your Friend. Really.

Guest Blogger Rachael Herron writes about one of my favorite topics: Revision: I’m in the middle of revision of a book, and I’m swimming in the water I love. What I adore about revision is this: I know the world. I invented it, after all! When I open the document, I’m right in the middle of something I understand. It’s much easier, for me, to drop in for hours and rest on the page. It’s also easier to come out of, to shake off. First drafts remain torture for me. Many writers love first drafts, and I can admit that sometimes, the writing of new words is glorious. You surprise yourself with a turn of phrase that you’re pretty sure is genius and has probably never been said before. The plot bends and a tree you wrote about comes to life and points a branched finger in a direction you…

Guest Bloggers

Send It!

Today’s post is by guest blogger, Guy Biederman      For years I wrote without sending my work out for publication. Publishing, and rejection, seemed rather beside the point. I wrote because I was a writer. Felt the pull, found the chair. Occasionally I’d send out a story. Some were published. I won a few contests. But mostly I was content with writing and teaching. I created a literary magazine, Bust Out Stories, and published books by others. One student called me a story midwife.      Two years ago, for whatever reason, I decided it was time to send out my work in earnest. I created a stable of revised stories and poems that felt ready to go and began to research and read — a lot. It was fun. I embarked on my own maniacal sending binge, sending out work every day, or at least several times a week.     …

Guest Bloggers

Activating Your Creative Goals

Creating The Impossible Today’s Guest Blogger is Bella Mahaya Carter. I have enjoyed her blog posts. I hope you do, too. Here is one of her inspirational stories. When I was a film student in the eighties, my then-boyfriend and now-husband, Jim, and I borrowed a professional ¾-inch video camera from school and spent a long, magical afternoon taping an interview with his beloved grandmother. When we finished we had two-and-a-half hours of raw footage that required editing, but we didn’t have the equipment. One day we’ll get around to this, we thought. A few years later, after we’d married and after his grandmother had died, we wanted to keep her legacy alive by sharing the footage we took of her with the family. We agreed it would make a great holiday gift for Jim’s siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We had it transferred to VHS, but when we viewed it,…

Guest Bloggers

You can be your own genie.

What is it about your life that isn’t satisfying right now? Can you change that? Brad Yates, one of the top teachers of Emotional Freedom Techniques® (EFT), is today’s guest blogger. He wrote about “Granting Wishes Incrementally” in his November 2017 free monthly newsletter. Brad: Just for a moment, close your eyes, and imagine walking along a beach.  Imagine that you come across a lamp in the sand, and as you brush the sand off it, a puff of smoke emits from the opening, eventually growing and taking the form of a genie. “I will grant you any wish you desire. What is your command?” the genie says. So… if you could have a wish granted in this way, what would you ask for?  A huge sum of money?  A killer body? A dream vacation? Give it some thought.  Is that what you really want? Now consider this . . . Would…

Guest Bloggers

A Special Gift

Today’s guest post is by Nancy Julien Kopp. I have been enjoying Nancy’s posts on her blog, Writer Granny’s World. Nancy writes: Here we are in the last month of the year and one of the busiest. I went to a Christmas party Friday evening and a Christmas Tea at my church Saturday. Definitely getting me in the mood for the season. One of the things the hostess of the tea did was ask each person to tell about a Christmas gift that was very special. What a delight it was to listen to the 25-30 women share details about the time and circumstance of their gifts. Stories ranged from engagement rings to dolls to pets and a few other things. Many prefaced the story by mentioning that there were very few presents given in their family when they were children because money was short. One woman told us about…

Guest Bloggers

Why write your story?

Why write your story? So you can move on. Today’s post is inspired by Patricia Hampl’s book, “I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourn in the Land of Memory.” Tell your story so you can move on. “When a writer keeps things inside, it becomes a ball of tangled yarn. As each story is told, the ball becomes untangled. Writing from memory can help us to let go of those stories we tell over and over again. We may not even need to tell them again [after writing about them].” Note from Marlene: I think writing from memory can also be a type of self-help . . . a vehicle for transporting oneself back in time and getting in touch with what really happened. Patricia Hampl is an American memoirist, writer, lecturer, and educator. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis and is one of…

Guest Bloggers

The Courage to Write

My new writing friend, Nancy Julien Kopp, writes beautiful and inspiring posts on her blog, Writer Granny’s World by Nancy Julien Kopp. New Writers Need To Believe—Memoirs and Family Stories, by Nancy Julien Kopp Ever hear naysayers in the world of those who want to write a memoir or family stories who utter things like: I’m not a professional writer. I can’t write like some people do. I want to write the story but I wouldn’t know where to start. My grammar is not good enough to write. My writing is boring. All of the above can be overcome. But the first thing you must do is believe that you can write a memoir or a book of family stories. Sounds easy? Maybe. Possible? Yes. It takes some courage to do something new. Look at the people who zipline. Looks like fun but maybe a bit scary, too. Those who…

Guest Bloggers

Ignite Your Creativity

Today’s post is inspired by Creativity Coach Suzanne Murray.               Photo by John Pierce. Suzanne writes: CREATIVITY COMES FROM BEYOND THE MIND All the things that truly matter – beauty, love , creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. – Eckhart Tolle Once years ago when someone asked me what we did in my writing workshop I laughingly responded, “I’ll teach you to lose your mind.” I was delighted when they signed up on the spot. One of the reasons most people don’t think they are creative is that the mind doesn’t understand how creativity works. I remember early in my writing life when one of my personal essays won a significant award, including a grant to support my work, I went into a bit of a panic because I wasn’t completely sure how I had written the piece. I was…