My Writing Life
The writing life, unlike its perceived stereotype, is a rich mixture of blessings. Oh sure, most of us drink tea, wear glasses, own cats, spend a lot of time alone, live in our heads, and wear baggy sweaters. But there is a reason for that. Especially the cats. They do keep one's lap warm and are undemanding company while staring off into space ... "working." What few people realize, is the complexity of a fully developed life of a writer.
Now, I don't happen to currently own a cat. I have a parrot. And she is crabby. Really crabby.
So the first thing you learn as a writer, is that your pet is generally the boss and will control your day. Which is why you now see the advantage of a sleeping cat in your lap that you don't want to disturb. One must always respect "the cat."
There are four basic areas where aspiring writers need to progress: learning the craft, understanding the business, making connections, and managing our pets. Each is demanding in itself. But here, time is our friend as we acquire skills and knowledge, develop our platforms, build interpersonal relationships, and wait for our pets to move on to the happy hunting ground. When your pet is crabby, really crabby, you spend most of your time in this area of development.
Combined with this, we must keep up with the challenges of technology with its constant demands. Which could drive a person to drink. Think Hemmingway. He never would have been able to cope in today's field, he was barely hanging on back then. And that was with just using an old crappy typewriter without a crabby parrot, though that might have worked well for him on his boat. I digress. But you get the point, there is a lot to learn, explore, and perfect.
Fortunately, I have been blessed during my writing life to have met some wonderfully talented writers, taken classes and workshops from experts, attended excellent conferences, read tons of books written by people in the field, joined several writing groups, set up a regional writing organization, then practiced, practiced, practiced until I was published. And after
all of this, my vet told me my bird has another thirty years to live. Yeah, right! It's more like day to day here. As I said, it's been a rich mixture of blessings.
In any event, I am thoroughly enjoying the writing life, well mostly, see above. It's more of a marathon than a sprint, so my advice to those of you hopefuls coming up in the field is to keep persevering, don't give up, and think twice about getting a pet. Unless it's a cat.
Oh, and one other thing. NEVER rip up your work. Believe me, you will be tempted at some point. I just give mine to my parrot, my personal paper shredder, whose can opener beak could bleed a rhino dry.
Below, you will find some of my special projects that have aided in my development as a writer. My parrot is obviously not included:
Gift Book: Wisps of Wisdom
In production, my current work of love is my upcoming photographic book, Wisps of Wisdom. Selecting the best of my photography to display, each page is accompanied with inspiring wisdom that uplifts the soul. Enjoyable in every aspect, working on this project has been so relaxing, the nature scenes are so serene, that I find myself melting into a puddle after spending time in it. Designed to make a lovely gift book, it is slated to be completed by summer 2024.
Memoir: Whispers of Memories; Tales of Love, Laughter, and Life
Whispers of Memories, a charming memoir, reveals the unique story of a clueless young woman, who, despite never believing in religion and adamantly turning her back on God, slowly evolves into a spiritual being, despite keeping up all her defenses against doing so. Told with humor, insight, and wisdom, masterfully woven together through creative non-fiction short stories and poetry, we follow her journey from party girl, to devoted young wife, to fully mature woman of God.
Divided into chapters introducing the important people influencing her, we discover how their lives intersect. As the invisible hand of God is slowly revealed through these various interactions, a once naive young woman begins to understand His great influence, finally yielding, letting Him mold her into the spiritual person she is destined to become.
A delightful tale of love, laughter, and life, Whispers of Memories will change your perspective about what we take for granted, while opening your eyes and heart!
Literary Newsletter: The Return of Lady Ethereal
The Chronicles of Lady Ethereal, my current bi-monthly newsletter, flows with original stories, thoughtful poetry, beautiful photographs, and impish artwork. Each color-themed issue is carefully designed to provide a delightful escape from the hectic pace of the modern world. Perfect, when paired with a cup of tea or when your soul needs refreshing, Lady Ethereal will happily whisk you away into her ethereal realm.
Writer's Literary Quarterly: The Chronicles of Lady Ethereal
Full of fairies, fantasy, and stunning photography, the Chronicles were the prototype for my current newsletter. Each twenty-five page color-themed Chronicle contained guest and travel articles, Lady Ethereal features, stories, poems, and eye-popping artwork. Blessed to be emersed in this creative project for two years, this was truly a work of love!
Weekly Column: The Nitty Gritty of Writing
It was my distinct pleasure to pen an on-line writing column for my posse, The Arlington Fiction Writers. With more than a bit of experience under my belt, it was fun working on this topical weekly assignment covering all aspects of the writing profession.
The Wind Moves the Porch Swing, A Collection of Women's Wisdom
Executive Director, 2012-2014
Editing Team, Lay Out Team Leader, Contributor
With so much incredible talent within Northwest Women Writers, and so many heartwarming tales to tell, sharing their personal stories was a must. Centered around the theme "stories your mother never told you," we fashioned a beautiful book. After sorting through scores of submissions, numerous rounds of editing, then developing the background information needed for publication, we produced NWWW's beautiful lyrical tome, The Wind Moves the Porch Swing.
As Executive Director of this project, I acted as liaison between the writers, our huge production staff, and the organizational membership. While participating weekly on the Editing Team for a year, I really honed my writing skills. Then, leading the Lay Out Team, I spent a summer knitting the work together, including my contributions of eight stories, poetry, and the introduction.
Northwest Women Writers (NWWW)
Founder and Coordinator, 2009-20014
After founding Northwest Women Writers (NWWW) in 2009, it grew steadily into a five county regional organization including 115 female and male writers, many of whom are nationally recognized. Emphasizing professional education, networking, promotional and social events for our members, information and opportunities were provided through our website, the weekly updates, monthly newsletter, classes, workshops, luncheons, advertising, networking opportunities, and our book marketing forums.
This hugely successful group provided what writers needed most: bonding, encouragement, technical support, and a place to call home, their tribe.
Daughters of Norway
Thelma Lodge: Cultural Director, Scribe to Dotre av Norge
Ingeborg Lodge: Newsletter, Scribe to Dotre av Norge
Guest Editor: Dotre av Norge, DON national newspaper
Short Story Published: Krumkake 911, Dotre av Norge
It wasn't always easy being a Swede is a sea of Norwegians. Affectionately nicknamed ""Swedish Meatball," bearing the brunt of their humor, I was the one who was handed the square rolling pin when it came time to make lefse, sending them all into peals of laughter. Yet they elected me to be in charge of their newsletters, their cultural programs, and to be their columnist for two separate lodges to their national newspaper, The Dotre av Norge.
Thanks to my membership in the Daughters, I developed my creative writing skills. Here is where I learned to stretch a tale, to sandwich a good story with lots of baloney, then slide easily into an "Ivar and Leva" routine, complete with accent. As my skills improved, I was asked to do some editing for their national paper, Dotre av Norge, additionally submitting a story for publication.
Surrounded by so many wonderful Scandinavian women sharing our cultures, we learned about our old-country skills. What a delightful introduction into the writing world!