New Blog… New Sunday Salon
I have participated off-and-on in the Sunday Salon since I first began blogging in 2009. I like the idea of connecting with fellow bibliophiles once a week to share our current reading, and I like using this space as a way to reflect on the past and preview the future. So here is the first Stepping Stones Salon post.
Reading: In anticipation of spring break (and theoretically… free time to read), I secured several books from the library on a variety of writing topics: how to write memoir, how to use social media, and how to publish. And while I still don’t have the hang of social media, I have managed to create the Stepping Stones series of blogs, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a Google+ account.
On memoir, I absolutely devoured Natalie Goldberg’s book, Wild Mind. I have read several of her works, including the classic, Writing Down the Bones, but this book truly arrived at the right time in my personal and writing life. Her “Just Write” attitude and zen view of life made me realize that anyone (including me) can write.
With regards to publishing… my writing coach believes this is something I should pursue (I am not nearly as confident), and I not only browsed but purchased the quintessential book on the subject: 2014 Writer’s Market. In addition, I read two noteworthy books on breaking into the industry:
- Writing Articles about the World Around You by Marcia Yudkin. While published in 1998 and perhaps a bit outdated (online opportunities are far more prevalent now…) I found some information invaluable, especially how to revise one idea to meet the focus and demographics of several different magazines.
- Writer’s Market to Getting Published by Writer’s Digest Books. This book was published in 2010, so more up-to-date and quite relevant to my beginner needs.
Writing: As a result of devouring Wild Mind twice in just as many days, I vowed to implement the writing practice that Natalie proposes. I was doing a lot of reading about writing, but not a lot of writing. Natalie conducts timed writes, that is, she writes as quickly as she can on a given topic for ten minutes. This helps to silence the inner censor and at times, reach the heart of the subject. Ten minutes a day is what I have pledged – for if I can’t find ten minutes then I think I am fooling myself that I want to be a writer. So far, I have made good on that promise for over a week.
I have also taken baby steps towards becoming a published author…. or at least submitting for possible publication. I selected a couple of magazines listed in the Writer’s Market as possibilities for my travel article. I then visited their websites in the hopes of reading their archives in order to get a feel for the style and focus of their content. On one site I noticed that several articles were written by a particular author, and true to my analytical personality, I decided to look at his website. What a treasure trove of useful information!
This author lists other places where his work is featured, including Traveling Tales, an online publication that accepts queries and articles from unpublished authors. I became excited … and hopeful that perhaps I could do this. Further research resulted in a list of over a dozen sites like this: online opportunities that are open to new writers. I have targeted three and hope to tailor my writing to suit their particular niche.
Blogging: I hope to develop a weekly writing schedule for my blogs. For now, I have only published the Welcome Post to this blog, the A-Z list of “about me” and Traveling Dreams on my travel blog. I hope to write the introductory post to my photography blog sometime this week.
This space will try to recap and link to my weekly posts.
On-line Discoveries: This section of the Salon entry will change each week, but today I want to share two online discoveries with you. One focuses on writing – the other on organization.
I am not obsessed with Pinterest, but I do enjoy using the site for inspiration, whether it be uplifting quotes, craft ideas, or exotic travels. One day I was reviewing journals (because I don’t think one can ever have too many) and I came across a pin for a new kind of organizer: the Passion Planner. The website offers free downloads of the daily pages, so I could try them before making the purchase. I like the structure and the fact that I can focus not only on my work, but also my family and my dreams. I ordered one and should receive it this week.
I am still unfamiliar with the twitter community (so many tweets…. I often feel overwhelmed) but I am trying to work past this initial discomfort. I am following several in the travel and writing industry, and have learned how to make specific lists to help organize the tweets. I am acquainting myself with hashtags which is how I discovered the website Story Bird. While an excellent educational resource for all students, this site is also good for adult writers who wish to exercise their right-brain.
The basic premise: to write a story (whether picture book for children or what they call “long form books” for older audiences or poetry) inspired by pictures. Many artists and illustrators are featured, and their artwork is tagged to help find appropriate graphics for the writer’s interests. Favorite artwork can be saved for easy access at a later time.
I am still learning the site, but for those who like a creative distraction, this might be worth a visit.
The weather forecast indicates we might be on the other side of winter…. and I hope to start walking again outside, enjoying nature and the warmth. I wish you spring showers, May flowers, and a peaceful week.