Commotion in the Heart

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Find what causes a commotion in your heart. Find a way to write about that.” Richard Ford

According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at anything. Perhaps by penning 1540+ blogs and by writing and publishing one award-winning memoir and a book of short stories, you could say I’ve been steadily working towards mastery.

However, there are some who would say the 10,000 hour rule is arguable. You can decide that for yourself after reading this article.http://bit.ly/1wCgPNX.

Unless you co-write a book or until you hit the publishing process, writing is a solitary activity. Joining a writers group is a great way step out of your own little world and get unbiased assessment from others about your writing. Critique and feedback is guaranteed to stir up commotion in your mind about your writing because it’s not always easy to subject yourself to the comments of others. But your end product will be better because of it.  It’s also a very valuable part of the “practice, edit and revise process.”

If you have dreams of becoming a published author, start today and begin writing daily. Even if your writing is nothing more than journaling, you will be working towards accomplishment.

Don’t know where to begin? Use a writing prompt to spark your imagination and creativity.  Here’s one for you “If you took a hot air balloon ride where would you find your perfect landing place and what would it look like?

Be creative, let your imagination soar and let whatever you write make your heart flutter!

commotion-heartThis blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. Award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

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Film Friday: Authors Anonymous

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We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
Ernest Hemingway

What do you get when you take a group of poorly adjusted, unpublished writers and add a new member who snags an agent immediately, and finds unexpected success?

  • Jealousy
  • Anger
  • Head scratching
  • Tension
  • Hurt hearts

And comedic results! Author’s Anonymous is a newly released movie, now showing in select theatres and available on DVD, beginning June 17th.

Although this independently produced PG-13 film does not have top ratings, it is fun entertainment  for aspiring writers, book lovers, art councils, writers groups, MFA writing students to watch and discuss in a group setting.

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Interested in watching the movie? Click here for info & ordering

Have a great weekend, everyone! Sprouting seeds of inspiration for fulfilling new writing projects will be the subject on All Things Fulfilling Monday.

This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard.Sue’s memoir

 

 

 

Dialogue Adds Dimension

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Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from…”  ~ Rita Mae Brown

Happy Thoughtful Thursday!

Last Wednesday evening I went to a book event for three local writers at our independent bookstore here in town called Off the Beaten Path. Of course, fellow Steamboat Writers Group authors and supporters were in attendance. One of the members, Larry,  asked me “how my book was coming?” He mentioned now that I am finished reading my book to the group, he misses hearing the voice of one of my characters.  What a lovely and thoughtful compliment! Those words alone, to me, meant that I was successful in incorporating into my writing an authentic voice of my main and stellar character.

two people talkingYou see, when I started writing the manuscript it had no dialogue. The writers group encouraged me to reach deeper and include my memories of conversations with family members. They were so “right on” in suggesting that I go back and insert dialogue because it added another dimension to the story that was not there previously. The extra time it took was well worth the effort. The story is so much richer for it because through dialogue the culture, historical era and a sense of place shines through in my narrative.

Thank you, Larry from  the Steamboat Writers Group. That is why I came and read the entire manuscript aloud. That was the kind of feedback I was looking for! And Larry’s words reminded me how important it is for writers to encourage others who are going through the process.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com, the place where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

Texas Art Exploration

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All art is a kind of exploring. To discover and reveal is the way every artist sets about his business. ~Robert Flaherty

header_ArtistsGalleryAugust2013Today I continue my interview of artist Sandra Sherrod, an artist who splits her time between Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Houston, Texas.

Sue:  Sandra, what medium of art would you like to try, but haven’t tapped into it?

Sandra: Sculpture. I may try to do that when I am in Houston at a place called Glassell. http://www.mfah.org/visit/glassell-school/.  When I am in Houston I take all kinds of art courses. I am always learning.

In Houston, my art sales are stronger, particularly among women, because my pieces have a feminine side to it. In Steamboat, it seems the more masculine art sells a little better.

Sue: Interesting.  Do you stick with one project and finish it or do you jump from project to project?

Sandra: My rule of thumb is to make 15 – 20 pieces and explore an idea. When I get bored with it, I jump to something else. History has shown that both kinds of artists, those that work in only one medium and multi-dimensional artists can be successful. No matter what, you have to tweak your ideas every so often and not overwork it.

Sue:  What do you like to create the most?

Sandra: Writing is my favorite. As you know writing a book can take years whereas with other forms of art you can complete and get it out quicker to be seen by others. The satisfaction comes more immediately.

Sue:  What are you writing now, anything?

Sandra: I’ve been writing about 1,000 words a day. I just completed a series of eight books in the fantasy genre. They’re intergalactic stories. I am looking for a publisher so I can be involved in other creative projects. The series is geared to age nine to twelve.  I am also writing magical realism – earth stories with magical things happening. These are for young adult to adult.

Sue:  Seems like I’ve heard you read some of them at the Steamboat Writers Group.http://steamboatwriters.com/.

Sandra: Yes, I have read some of them to the group.

Sue: I look forward to seeing them published.

For a long time I’ve wanted to sit down and talk with Sandra about her life as an artist. Since  she was “manning the gallery” the day I visited with her, I had the added bonus of learning more about all the other artists The Artists Gallery of Steamboat represents.

Thank you, Sandra. You’d also make a wonderful art educator because you are so knowledgeable and your heart and soul is really in it!

Sandra’s jewelry was featured at The Artist Gallery in Steamboat throughout August, but it will continue to be displayed – stop in and see it. You can also communicate with her about ordering through her website. www.SandraSherrod.com.

This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. See you on Monday.

Postcards Facing Extinction?

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He who moves not forward, goes backward.” ~Johann Wolgang von Goethe

I tried, I really did, but there were no postcards to be had within a 20 mile radius. A few weeks ago I searched every convenience store, gas station and even inquired in local restaurants and marinas. Even on a remote island, where progress moves very slowly, postcards are like dinosaurs – they are non-existent. I had hoped to send some to my writer friends but, e-communication seems to have replaced most paper correspondence.

What with the price of gas, I couldn’t see traveling further than twenty miles just for a few postcards. So, for my author friends at the Steamboat Writers Group,http://steamboatwriters.com/ I’ll post my own image of my travels in this space and the message I would have written on a postcard if I’d had one.

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Visiting with writers groups in my travels – listening to works in progress. All things western traded for narratives about all things nautical. Fictional tales about authors bagging the big buck in the Rockies replaced with bragging about the big catch in the Atlantic. I still wait with baited breath for a true story. All things fulfilling and fun! See you soon.

The next greetings go out to my other pals at We Write Steamboat ,http://on.fb.me/1a8jQzO a networking group that I organized a few years ago. And also to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. www.cipabooks.com.

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Hi Gang –

Wish you were here – great place for a meeting. Writing group conversations on East Coast are very familiar. Like the west, independent publishing, e-books, print-on-demand & how the industry has changed takes priority no matter where I travel. All things fulfilling and fun! Wish you were here.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. A Company Specializing in e-Commerce & e-Marketing for Independent Publishers.

Defending a Story

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The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Today, on All Things Fulfilling, I’ll report my findings as a casual observer of a book club group from Dorchester County, Maryland.The New York the postmistressTimes bestselling book “The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake was discussed the day of the meeting.

In my experience, there are common things readers want to discuss about a book after reading it. The types of critique questions and discourse this East Coast book club had was not so different than any other groups I have witnessed. But, it was evident that each reader had a slightly different point of view about the story, which is why books are worth discussing. Here are some of  the ideas the members talked about:

Did the readers relate to the era of this story? Yes. Most in the book group lived through the times this story was set – World War II era.

Were the characters believable? The postmistress character, one reader said “was too ‘rigid’ to be realistic.” Others disagreed saying it was, “part of the  job.”

Did the author do a good job with character development? Some said yes. Others, no.

Was the storyline effective in evoking memories for the reader? In the case of this book, the answer was an overwhelming Yes!”

Did the readers like the ending? One “bookie” said admittedly, “it is the author’s prerogative to end the story however they see fit. But, she did not like it.”

Other points made in the discussion:
• More than one reader in the group said they “enjoyed her familiarity of the setting (small town Cape Cod),” but they were not fond of reading about war, they had already lived it vicariously through the stories of their fathers, brothers, friends and uncles.
• Another reader stated the meaning behind the narrative was much bigger than the immediate story. The book made a strong statement that “Life goes on despite war.” Note: I have found that universal lessons that go beyond the immediate story, are what makes for a very marketable book.
• One reader said “none of the stories within the book were finished.” Others defended the fact that the book left “things for the reader to figure out, in their own minds, and they like that in books.”
• The consensus seemed to be that a post office in a small town is still the center of community.

As I sat listening to the women’s discussion, I formed my own opinions about the ladies in the book group. Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow as I share my general observances of the “bookies.”

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

For the Love of Reading

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To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.”  ~ Sister Mary Lauretta

cultivating readers and writerssWe’ve all heard adages about having passion for our work, haven’t we?  Author Joseph Campbell has written a lot about following our bliss. Some people take issue with his teachings but, it does give us fulfilling feelings when we become absorbed in the things we love to do. If you are interested in learning more about  the life and writings of Joseph Campbell, please follow this link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell.

Today I am feeling so very grateful because I love what I do, and do what I love – consult with independent publishers about selling and marketing their publications over the internet. It affords me the opportunity to delve into the desires of both readers and writers to learn what sells books and what makes for fascinating stories.

Writers, in general, are an interesting group of people. Learning how authors draw from their careers, experiences and their imaginations to create fulfilling tales to share with others, is always insightful. Some authors tell tales that are true to life, others have made up characters, settings and plots, all contrived through the power of their own creativity.

Last week I took an inside look at a book club. I was a casual observer and purposely did not enter into the conversation. I only listened. What factors, I wanted to know, have the greatest influence on the way a reader perceives a story and forms their opinions. Is it the age of the reader or some other individual perspective, or experience that determines whether a reader likes a book or not? Does geographical location change the dynamics of how a book club runs its meetings and critique sessions?

Do return tomorrow as I share my findings as an observer of a book club group. This blog brought to you by www.cornerstonefulfillmentservice.com.