Spirited Group This Week

What a great group we had this Saturday.  Thanks to all the folks who shared their writing, and all of the useful, critical comments.  Looking for the chinks in your own armor as a writer is a brave thing to do.

Our next meeting is Saturday, June 23.  I will not be there, but Louis mentioned that he could open the room up for the group.  I usually ask at the upstairs computer facilitator station for the key to room 219.  Unlock the room and return the key.  Remember to leave the door ajar during the meeting so others can get in.  At the end of the meeting, check the room for items left behind, then pull the door closed to lock it up.

Keep on writing!  ~Tom~

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If You’re Not Writing, Read

I’m a firm believer that if you’re not busy writing, you should be busy reading.  I have found personally that many of the blockades that pop up in regard to my writing evaporate into the mist when I voraciously read.  Read about subjects that interest you.  Read about the type of writing you would like to do.  Read poetry.  Your writing brain will thank you.

Personal Writing

A number of our writing group members dabble in (or devote a good bit of time) to writing personal essays.  This is a great way to get your own writing jump-started, whether you hope to publish that work or not.  After all, the blank journal page simply asks you about your day.

One of the reasons many coaches recommend keeping a journal is, it gets you writing.

When I was a songwriter, I used to struggle incessantly with a single song.  Then I would become discouraged, thinking “maybe I’m not a songwriter after all”.  But once I had over one hundred songs written (over many years), I finally became comfortable with an important concept.  During my self doubts I could still claim to be a songwriter.  I just wasn’t a good songwriter.  Yet.

Writing is writing is writing.

When you keep a journal (or a diary); you’re writing.  When you write a letter to a friend; you’re writing.  When you write a silly poem, an outline for a children’s book, or a short bit of fiction; you’re writing.

I learned that I am a writer because I write.  All my discouragement went out the window.  After all, no one is going to read what I write unless I release it into the wild myself.  Get comfortable with the idea that the majority of what you write will never be read.  It’s called the practice of writing.

The local Erie Library System has some very good books on writing.  One that I’m working through now is Writing From Personal Experience by Nancy Davidoff Kelton.  I’ve only skimmed it so far, but it seems to be an excellent resource for guidance and motivation to get the reader set down, ready to write.

Carve out time to read.  Carve out time to write.  Bring copies of your 1st drafts and rough ideas to the writing group.  You’ll get valuable feedback from your peers.  It’s free and at the same time, priceless.

March 3 Debrief

We had a good meeting on Saturday.  Louis introduced us to the beginning of his next story involving a gifted student.  Gary brough in a one act play with two evolving characters.

I will be at the Blasco library this Thursday March 8 from 4:30-6PM in room 102 (downstairs). Bring some writing to share, or we can discuss setting up and using a blog.  Write a little every day!  See you soon.  ~Tom~

You Should Be Reading Blogs

Reading inspires me to write.  Often it doesn’t matter what I read, though I will say, if I want to be inspired to write a poem – well, I read poetry.

If you are unsure what to read, you should start searching online for blogs that cater to your tastes and hobbies.  You may need to weed out some poorly written blogs.  You may need to avoid blogs that people start but then never update.  You may want to avoid blogs that have too many advertisements flashing in your face.  The point is, once you have found a few blogs you would like to keep up with, you will want to know when new posts are updated to those blogs.  A simple solution to that is to use an aggregator.

Fear not, this is simply an online tool that keeps track of all the blogs you follow.  When a new post goes up on a blog that you follow, you’re aggregator will set that post aside for you.  You can read it now; or later; or never.  Think of your aggregator as a personal secretary who organizes all of your incoming blog posts.

My favorite aggregator is Feedly.  It allows you to create your own categories, then drop your blog feeds into an appropriate folder.  I currently have folders for typewriter related blogs, Crafting blogs, classical music blogs, letter writing blogs, and of course writing blogs.

Many writers start blogs to share their own writing.  Great.  Want to read what other people are writing in gothic fiction?  Google “gothic fiction blogs”.  You’ll be presented with many, many options.  Some will be blogs attached to websites that advertise for publishing, agents, books, etc.  That’s fine.  Check out the blog.  If you don’t like it, don’t add it to your feed.  I didn’t find a personal blog regarding gothic fiction until the third google search page, so be patient.  Soon you’ll be finding blogs you want to read regularly.

Not sure how to add new content to your new feedly account?  Here’s a web page that will tell you all about it.  It may seem very technical but trust me, if you take a little time and experiment with it, you will be rewarded.  Pertinent news feeds and blogs will be at your fingertips in no time.  The best part of all is, you can always use google (or your favorite search engine) to learn about RSS feeds, blogs, podcasts, vlogs – anything that might be helpful to you personally.

Want to keep track of your favorite blogs easily?  Check out the Feedly aggregator.  If you have any specific questions, let me know and I’ll help you out.  ~Tom~

February 17 Debrief

Wonderful meeting this past Saturday.  Thanks to Pat, Heather and Dinty for sharing their recent work.  We heard about murderous vampires (are there any other kind?), inspired woodworkers, and family members that carried a bit of larceny with them.  What will you write about this week?  Share it with us!

Next meeting is this Thursday, February 22 at 4:30PM.  Room 102, Blasco library.

~Tom~