Prolong the Creative Journey; Don’t Give Up

“Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way. – E. L. Doctorow

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When I think of writing and painting, I am reminded of the above quote. The same feelings are evoked by facing the blank screen at the laptop or staring at an untouched canvas or pristine sheet of art paper. I tell myself it’s okay not to know everything. I must trust the process and jump in. I have nothing to lose.

Whether I have a theme, an idea, a detailed outline, or an available model for painting, the creative process produces the same fascination, exhilaration, and anxiety-producing emotions. I know my days will be filled with ups and downs, questions and discoveries, and twists and turns. I’ll experience plenty of aha moments, self-doubt, debilitating fear, and I will hang on with hope that even if I don’t know exactly where I’m headed, or if I get lost along the path, I’m embraced by the gods of creativity. I’m cheered on by anyone who has had the nerve and courage to pursue a creative project and life, even if only once.

In my opinion, getting lost is the most interesting, fun part of the creative process, which allows for discovery, if I let go of the end result and if I trust the journey.

Here are some questions I ask of myself while writing and painting:

  • Is this a place where I should exercise control or release control?
  • Should I slow down, stop, or rush through here?
  • Is it best to skim the surface or go deep at this time?
  • Can I sit with this mystery or question? How long?
  • Am I heading toward caving in prematurely because it’s easier?
  • Is it wise to prolong this journey, or is it best to end where I’m at?
  • Will this decision or direction hinder or help the story or painting?
  • How do I feel right about now? Do I need a break?
  • Am I open and paying attention?

I encourage you to embrace the entire creative process, the good with the bad, the roadblocks and detours, whether you’re writing or painting. Not embracing the process might end up with producing a shallow, trite, staged, and not fully believable story or painting. The fact that you rushed through will show.

Do we really want a neat, tidy experience for our readers and viewers? Is the quick, easy route from A to Z the best course of action?

A viewing experience that allows for thought and discussion, discourse and personal growth is what I’m after; for myself and my audience. I lean toward the untidy, raw, transformative experience every time in story telling because that’s more like real life. Of course, I’ve always done things the hard way, but life is more exciting and rewarding when we trust that we’re headed is for our highest good. We should want that for our characters, as well.

Trusting ourselves and the process have the potential of positively affecting our creative lives and to me, that is a win-win situation.

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Award winning novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was born in Puerto Rico and raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s career paths as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker and refugee case worker, continue to inspire her stories.

Eleanor’s debut novel, ‘A Decent Woman, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, is published by Sixth Street River Press. The book is a finalist for Best Historical Fiction, English, in the 2016 International Latino Book Awards with Latino Literacy Now, and was selected as Book of the Month by Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. Eleanor is featured in the award-winning anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani.

When not writing, Eleanor loves facilitating creativity groups, reading, gardening, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time. She adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is at work on her second novel, ‘The Laments of Sister Maria Inmaculada’ and thinking about the sequel to ‘A Decent Woman’ titled, ‘Mistress of Coffee’.

http://amzn.to/1X0qFvK

WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?

ellie

WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?

by Eleanor Parker Sapia

Over the weekend, you watched the umpteenth YouTube video under the guise of researching for your work in progress. Congratulations, you now know more than anyone about the history of toilets, the sketchy death of Marilyn Monroe, and about the bedroom activities of the British monarchs.

In a 36-hour period, you managed to walk by your writing desk and not actually look at it, or the contents on top, namely your laptop, the lamp, assorted pencils and pens, notebooks full of research material and important research links. Twice you’ve straightened the stack of books at the left-hand corner of your writing desk, which includes how-to writing books, a dictionary, and a thesaurus. Hell, you even bought ‘The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression’, and made a special trip to the dollar store for new highlighters and more notebooks in snazzy colors and designs. You can never have enough highlighters and notebooks. I know this. Everything is perfect and lined up, yet you aren’t writing.

Your calendar is clear, the house is cleaner than its’ been in months, and the laundry is caught up. You’ve said ‘no’ to invitations for lunch, drinks, and catching up with friends over the weekend, and you alerted family and neighbors that you’re writing. The ‘Please do not disturb’ sign is taped to your front door. The conditions for writing couldn’t be more ideal, there’s no time like the present and all that jazz, yet it is now late Sunday evening and you haven’t written a word all weekend. Why?

This type of dry spell is especially troublesome when our homes and relationships are in turmoil, when bills and taxes are due, or when we can’t see a way forward. It doesn’t matter what’s happening: we can’t write, but we wish like hell we could to alleviate the guilt.

Yes, this has happened to me, more than once, and to most writers I know; it happens to the best of writers. But what’s going on? Is it a case of writer’s block? Does writer’s block really exist?

I personally believe writer’s block is a real thing, but I call it my ‘dry spell’, as the word ‘block’ denotes a complete and utter blockage that I might need several sticks of dynamite to get through. I can get through a dry spell.

When a dry spell manifests in my writing life, it often comes at the heel of one thing: FEAR. Most writers have experienced the paralyzing fear of failure, fear of rejection and ridicule, and the fear of the unknown, which can lead to self-doubt, low self-esteem and confidence at the time of the dry spell—a real vicious cycle.

Here are few ways to combat the writing dry spell, while keeping your story at the back of your mind:

  • Do something else for twenty minutes.
  • Take a walk or short drive.
  • Thumb through a magazine, searching for the perfect book cover idea, story idea, or new character.
  • Write a blog post or article on a completely different topic.
  • Go to a coffee shop or diner to journal about what the heck is going in your life and interior life.
  • Call a trusted fellow writer or good friend that you can commiserate with on the dreaded dry spell.
  • Read a good book by one of your writing heroes and heroines.
  • Read a bad book and write down ways you’d improve that book.

Don’t give in to the dry spell for too long. Take a break if you need it, but come back to it. Slow and steady will win that race. Try one these suggestions:

  • Consider that you might need an outline rather than writing by the seat of your pants;
  • Rewrite your outline; flesh it out;
  • Write a short biography of each character in order to get to know them better;
  • Write three synopses: the elevator ‘one liner’, the short synopsis, and the 4-5 synopsis (this worked for me not too long ago);
  • Avoid negative people (always!) until you feel stronger;
  • Keep writing.

Good luck!

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist Eleanor Parker Sapia was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s life experiences as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker inspire her passion for writing. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago a second time.

A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s bestselling historical novel, is described as “…a true work of historical depth and artistry.” Eleanor has two adventurous, grown children and currently lives in wild and wonderful West Virginia.

http://www.amazon.com/Decent-Woman-Eleanor-Parker-Sapia-ebook/dp/B00TUP47WI/

 

Don’t Rush the Story: Remain in the Mystery with Your Characters

when writing a character...hemingwayWhen I trained to become a counselor, we were taught to enter the therapy room and check our emotional baggage at the door by visualizing the placement of a suitcase filled with ‘our stuff’ high on a shelf for the duration of the session. We were asked to come in clear-headed, open to receive, and instructed to create a safe place for our client. I learned to do that with all my clients, who walked in with diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and opinions.

I paid attention to the reasons why and how the client reacted to ‘stuff’ in the counseling sessions, while paying close attention to their body language, tone of voice, mannerisms, and what they chose to share or not share. It was a privilege to sit with clients and walk by their sides as they took their journeys, and I was conscious to never rush them along or lead the sessions. I found that with enough patience, trust was built, and the sessions progressed…but only as far as they wanted to go at a particular time.

While writing my first novel, ‘A Decent Woman’, I had a light bulb moment—I realized it was important to offer the characters in my stories the same courtesy, support, and patient attention I’d paid my counseling clients.

With the first novel, I wrote a brief outline and filled out 3×5 index cards for each character, with their physical description, age, and a bit about their personalities. I didn’t write a detailed synopsis or in-depth character study until my second editor asked me to rewrite several chapters and add two chapters to the draft manuscript. With my work in progress, I followed the same technique: I outlined the story, wrote a quick character study of each character, but I didn’t write a long synopsis until I’d written ten chapters; certainly much earlier than with book one. Then I wrote an eight-page synopsis that grew to ten pages the following week. The week after that, I tackled the new outline and believe me, the character studies of each character grew immensely. I gave them a proper life. A waste of writing time; a cock-eyed approach? Not for many writers. Let me explain.

Creating characters for a work of fiction is a fascinating process. I might have an idea of who they are, what their jobs are, and what they look like physically, but initially I don’t know how they’ll react to the other characters in the story, or how they’ll fare in the complicated, complex world I have built for them. Are they strong-willed, jealous-types, haughty and arrogant, or empathic and kind-hearted? Are they good listeners, deep thinkers, or shallow individuals who can’t be counted on in a pinch? A character’s deeper, more personal qualities aren’t always apparent until I begin writing the story. Sometimes, more time and digging are required to really know my character inside out.

Let me give you an example. You’ve been introduced to a new neighbor, and soon you  discover many shared experiences. The friendship develops quicker than most of the friendships in your life. She seems to be the ying to your yang. Then, a blizzard paralyzes your town with over 35 inches of snow. It’s impossible to shovel the snow fast enough, and hard as you may try, there is nowhere to put the snow. You and new neighbor commiserate with each other, and make plans for coffee as soon as the snow melts.

A day later, you’re sitting at your kitchen table and notice that you can’t see out the bay window for the mountain of snow in front of it. You step outside and catch new neighbor shoveling snow as fast as she can…and she’s heaving the white stuff into your small front yard. You’re stunned beyond belief. Why would she do that? You struggle to understand her actions, which are not only rude, but unconscionable. You would have never done that to her…not to anyone. Who is this woman? Who is she, indeed? You thought you knew her.

This example is similar to writing a new character—we don’t always know a character well enough when we begin writing, and even if we do think we’ve ‘pegged’ them at the start, new, interesting facts can develop. Some facts might be downright distasteful or wonderfully surprising and both can be helpful to the story.

As a writer, I strive to honor each of my characters and their story with my undivided time, attention, and patience. My goal is to create well-fleshed out, complex characters, but I can’t do that if I accept what is first apparent about a character. If I don’t dig deeper into the who, why, how, where, and backstory, of a character, the story will seem flat and uninteresting.

I dig deeper by creating mini bios for each main character, including where they were born, who raised them, a bit about their childhood, and their personalities traits. I write a detailed physical description of each character, and since I’m a visual person, I often find photographs to accompany the descriptions from magazines and the Internet. I find unique mannerisms, dislikes and likes: what makes them tick, and I jot down their strengths and weaknesses as that helps with natural dialogue, inner conflicts, and the resolutions, if any.

This technique works for me, in addition to walking side by side and getting to know my characters while writing a few chapters to get comfortable. I don’t rush this process. After that, I’m ready to tell their story from their unique perspective, which I can’t know about without actually writing.

You may have a different technique for creating interesting, memorable characters, and in that case, vive la différence!

Happy writing to you!

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker, and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.

 

 

The Writing Life in 2016: Slow Down Already!

The Writing Life in 2016: Slow Down Already!

by Eleanor Parker Sapia

I don’t know about you, but I am experiencing the unsettling urgency of a new year like nobody’s business. I woke up today and realized the date was January 6, Three Kings’ Day. Where did the first week of 2016 go?

Honestly, the last time I truly felt organized was New Year’s Day, which I spent washing and putting away a small mountain of plates and glasses, thinking back to the fun party I’d hosted the night before. We had a great time. I also drank a gallon of orange juice and popped 400 mg of Motrin twice that day for a banging headache that wouldn’t let go and for general malaise. Yes, we had a really good time drinking champagne and eating way too much, and yes, that all seemed like a really good idea at the time. I’d also enjoyed hosting my family for Christmas Day dinner, which was a lot of fun. It was one of the best Christmas holidays I can remember, except for missing my son who lives in Europe. We will see him soon, though! But back to feeling disorganized.

This morning I sipped my coffee and realized the last blog post I’d written was posted a few days before Christmas Eve. And I hadn’t touched my work in progress in two weeks. This startled me. I’m an organized person. I’m a writer. I write for a living! Then I remembered: this scary scenario happens to me every January. I felt a bit better because I always make up for a slow start to the new year by working hard during the year, and ending the year with a bang. But January 6 was staring me down. I opened the closet door and dragged out three wicker baskets that contain my WIP; several bulky notebooks; the research material for my second book; a short pile of envelopes (read, December bills); and my 2015 calendar, all hidden away in the closet, so we’d have enough dance floor space on NYE.

I ripped ‘December 2015’ off my calendar and squinted at the tiny January 2016 calendar on the next page. No good, I couldn’t read it, but I did see where I’d written ‘Nothing due this week’ on the side. Thank God. But where was the 2016 calendar I’d bought before the holidays? Everything was a blur. I remembered buying a calendar, but couldn’t be 100% certain. What a mess. Thank goodness I hadn’t let anyone down with a promised guest post, an author interview, and I didn’t have any meetings or appointments this week. It was a major relief, but that early January shock to my system was jarring.

Unlike a lot of folks, I’ve never enjoyed putting myself through the tedious, annoying, and potentially humiliating process of writing down my new year resolutions that I damn well know I’m not going to keep…for long. Who likes to revisit the list, say in March, only to realize you accomplished and crossed off one or two items? If you’re anything like me, you resent the items you’ve written almost immediately because you hate routine and yes, you’re a bit on the rebellious side. I’m not going to stick to a list of resolutions. I know myself very well, so no.

Instead, I wrote a simple list to keep me on the straight and narrow because I didn’t like the emotional, disorganized, fast-moving train I was on this morning—a train I was ready to abandon before the next stop, which I wouldn’t be prepared for because I didn’t know what the destination was, or how much time I had. Clearly, I was in a bit of a fog. I needed to slam on the brakes and get it together. I made a large pot of coffee and made a decision. I needed a list for this week. Yes, I liked the sound of that. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Once a week, preferably Sunday evening or Monday morning, make a list.
  2. Stick to and update said list.
  3. Say no to all social invitations.
  4. Remain in writing seat until book is finished.
  5. Cancel Netflix.
  6. For goodness sake, buy another 2016 calendar.

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker, and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Book clubs across the United States continue to enjoy A Decent Woman. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani. She is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society, and she is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor is the mother of two wonderful adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel and a collection of short stories.

http://amzn.to/1kzKdGq

 

 

 

 

 

Why Should I Read Your Book?

A week ago, I thumbed through my historical novel, A Decent Woman, looking for passages for a three-author book reading, my second reading in New York City. I knew what I had to do–select a few passages from my novel, practice reading, and hope to make it to seven minutes. Sounds easy, right? Not as easy as you might think.

Speak slowly, make eye contact, don’t read in a monotone voice, engage with the audience, and try staying within the allotted time so you don’t hog the microphone. Those things I could do…though I still get nervous when I’m handed the microphone. I’m great with Q&A sessions after the reading, but ask me to read from my book and my nerves begin, my cheeks flush. I’ve been the first and fifth author to read–it’s still tough, but deciding which passage to read is a lot tougher.

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Why should I buy your book? This question kept popping into my head as I read passage after passage of my book. I didn’t know who would be at the book reading, and I certainly didn’t know what would appeal to the audience, so trying to find the perfect passages, something for everyone, was virtually impossible.

The event was to be held at a popular bookstore in East Harlem, La Casa Azul Bookstore. They showcase Latino literature, and their online bookstore features books by authors who have don’t write in the Caribbean or Latin American fiction genre. I realized I couldn’t count on an all-Latino audience that night. Nor could I count on an audience comprised of mainly women who might be interested in midwifery and women’s issues. Would there be history buffs or historians in the audience interested in the history of Puerto Rican women? And Hurricane Joaquin was due south of New York. I could very well end up with people walking by and dropping in to get out of the elements. It wasn’t as easy as thinking, “Who is my target audience?”

I knew the themes of my story were important, and who my character was as a woman. But which readings would I choose? Was it best to select a passage that described the setting, turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, or the protagonist, Afro-Cuban midwife, Ana Belén? Perhaps a passage with beautiful prose and descriptions, showing my writing style and voice? A passage that clearly demonstrated I’d done my research?

I settled on three short paragraphs from the Prologue, which describe 1900 Puerto Rico, where the story begins. I set the stage for my audience. I didn’t plop potential readers right smack in the middle of a dialogue between two or more characters they didn’t know. Potential readers need a beginning point, a grounding, and then they will usually follow you anywhere. My friends know to tell me a story with some background or I will stop them mid-stream with many questions. I’ve been to many book readings, good and bad readings. To me, when the author sets the stage with an introduction to the story, a brief synopsis, or by reading a passage that will ground me as a listener–I’m all theirs.

The second group of passages I selected were of my protagonist Ana’s inner dialogue, which included a memory of a priest from her past she didn’t care for. The passages described a bit of her personality, her grit and humor, and it showed her distrust of people, mainly men. I made it clear Ana had secrets, but didn’t give away the plot. Leave enough mystery for your reader to want to read your book and find out what happens!

cropped-marieguilhelminebenoist-portrait-dune-negresse-1800.jpg
‘La Negresse’, Marie Guillemine Benoist, Musee du Louvre, Paris

The last passages described Ana, standing in ankle-high ocean surf, preparing her ebó, the offering to the Yoruba gods and goddesses for the safe delivery of her client’s first child, and for keeping them safe during a tropical storm that threathened the little house at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. As a former slave, Ana is devoted to the Yoruba traditions of her childhood and to the Virgin Mary, who was introduced to her by the priests of her new parish. This gave the audience a vivid description of Ana,  the duality nature of her life, and a few inner conflicts as a woman and a midwife.

I have no clue how long my reading went for (my watch stopped), but I felt confident I’d introduced my story, the setting, and my protagonist well enough to stop. And I didn’t want to go over my allotted time so my fellow authors had enough time for their readings. When the event was over, we had fifteen minutes to spare. Lesson learned–buy a new watch.

My advice for authors preparing for a book reading: don’t put all your apples into one basket, and certainly don’t pick only the green apples–it’s a delicate balance. Leave enough time to interract with the audience during the Q&A session after the reading. This is a golden opportunity to share with and reach your readers, who love getting to know authors, the story behind the book, and what makes authors tick.

Why should I buy that author’s book? Because I connected with the characters, the story, and especially because I connected with the author.

ABOUT ELEANOR PARKER SAPIA

ellie

Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language social worker and a refugee case worker inspire her stories. She is a member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, and the Historical Novel Society. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

A Decent Woman is Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico. The book was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends Latino Book Club. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, The Island of Goats.

A Decent Woman is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

amazon.com/-/e/B00U05ZO9M

Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-decent-woman-eleanor-parker-sapia/1121258236?ean=9781620154007

La Casa Azul Bookstore    143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029         info.lacasaazul@gmail.com

http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

@eleanorparkerwv

http://www.facebook.com/eleanorparkersapia

 

 

Story Ideas and Where to Find Them

“I would love to write a book. I know I have one in me, but I don’t know what I would write about.” I heard this when friends learned that I wrote a book and it comes up when I’m introduced to a new friend who asks me what I do for a living. Could this be you? Are you dreaming of writing a book, but don’t yet have an idea, a story line or a clue what you’d write about?

First of all, congratulations! How exciting. Writing is a great job and if you’re dreaming of quitting your day job to write full-time, even better. That was my long-time dream, as well and with a few personal sacrifices, learning to live with less $$ and being disciplined, it worked. Seven years later, I’m still blogging, writing and my first book, an historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, will be published Summer 2014.

Writing a book takes perseverance, tenacity, courage, a good dose of insanity, a boatload of coffee, and a good idea for a story. Still no idea? Here are some ideas for stories that I have come up that you may like:

Write about what you know.

Think about your hobby or passion in life. If you love photography, could you write about a photographer who witnesses a murder? An artist who buys a painting at a flea market and gets thrown into an international crime ring because the painting is stolen? Do you have love letters from your Swedish grandparents that would make a great romance story?

These days, many books are written from the point of view of a famous artist or writer’s maid, wife or younger sibling. This is my personal favorite, a different perspective on a famous artist or writer.

Scour the newspapers and local papers for interesting story lines.

There are endless possibilities here. The lottery winner who was murdered or committed suicide (this happens a lot). The kidnapping of a child and the reunion with her parents. You get the idea.

Do some people watching in public places.

Imagine the story of the woman sitting alone in the cafe or the story of the young woman and older man who has made her cry. The man who comes to your favorite coffee shop with his laptop open and never writes a word.

Look to your hometown or adopted city for ideas.

Is there a haunted building or home in your town that would make a great setting for a paranormal story or a thriller? Your story could come out of that location.

Listen and learn from your elders.

My historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, started as a tribute to my maternal grandmother for her 90th birthday. There is much to learn from our elders and people who’ve been on this planet much longer than us. Visit with them and take notes. I believe this is a nice thing to do whether you write or not. They love talking and miss talking to friendly, warm people.

And, if you want to write books, short stories, poetry, fiction, or non-fiction…

READ. Read books and learn from the masters. Take a course or workshop in creative writing. Join a writing group and a writing critique group in your area. The library is a great place to find such groups and sites such as MeetUp.com. That is where I found the two writing groups that I’m a member of.

Just two days ago, something so totally unexpected and completely shocking happened on my quiet street. Right across the street from me. I took photos because I was flabbergasted and yes, it made the news. But, I can’t tell you about that because I’m saving that for a story 🙂

Happy writing to you.

Ellie