Stepping Stones Blog

Sunday Salon: April 13, 2014

A productive week… some reading, some writing and lots of planning.

Reading:  I continue to read about writing, although I am scaling back – not that I know all there is to know about the subject, but I am on information overload right now.  It is time to start putting the knowledge into practice.

I did read two books this week that are worthy of mention:

  • The Heart and Craft of Life Story Writing by Sharon M. Lippincott.   I continue to be amazed at the number of books available on life story or memoir writing, and the different information contained within each.  This book is a great resource and if I decide to teach a course on this subject, I will highly recommend it.  I like this book not only because it provides useful exercises to mine the mind for memories – but she also has an excellent chapter on revision and proofreading with solid writing “how to” information.  If interested, the author also has an excellent website.
  • A Woman’s Europe:  True Stories (an anthology compiled by Marybeth Bond).  Writers write… but also, writers read.  A lot.  And if I wish to write travel articles, then I need to start reading travel articles and this book is the perfect place to begin:  articles about European trips written by female authors.  I plan to savor this book and then read others in this same series.  In fact, Marybeth Bond has a website focusing on the female traveler:  The Gutsy Traveler.

In addition, my husband sent me the link to this feature story in USAToday:  How to Travel the World in Retirement and Not Go Broke.  Lynne Martin and her husband are living the dream that I shared on my travel blog last week – and this gives me hope that my dream can indeed become a reality!  She has a new book release this Tuesday, Home Sweet Anywherewhich I have pre-ordered and plan to devour when it arrives.

Soliciting recommendations:  As many of you know, my recent NaNoWriMo piece was a middle grade historical fiction novel taking place in the Impressionism era: Paris circa 1882.

In re-reading this piece for the first time since November, I realize that the voice of the writing is not consistent with my audience.  I need to read more in this genre to help me develop this skill.  I would say that this book is most similar to From the Crazy Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – a classic to be sure, but also over forty years old!

My hope is to try to read one current MG book each week and then perhaps write a practice piece in the voice of a young student dealing with one of the issues presented in the book.  Do you have any recommendations for me?  I am open to any suggestions…

Writing:  I have continued my daily writing practice and amassed nearly half a notebook full of journal entries in a little over two weeks.  I apparently have a lot to say…

And I am learning to fine-tune my writing interests into four categories:  Memoir – Travel – Photography lessons – Middle Grade historical fiction.  While these may appear to be unrelated (and perhaps a bit scattered), I can assure you that all these interests are at the core of who I am.  Write what you know is the axiom.  It took me a while to discern what that meant for me, but now that it is crystal clear, I am ready to begin a writer’s life.

Blogging:  I have spent more time planning blog posts than actually writing them, but I know that for me, this is time well-spent.

As I mentioned in my post on Left-Brained Writers… I am learning to accept my unique qualities rather than fight what works for me.  I wish I could just sit down and write whatever I “feel” like expressing… but the truth of the matter is that I freeze when I stare at the blank page.  I am a planner and an organizer, and I need to allow this left-side of my brain to flourish in order to activate the creative juices.

So I have developed a blog schedule that I hope to implement over the next few weeks.  The end of the school year is always intense, so I may not follow such a “rigorous” schedule until summer, but it feels good to have a plan.

Alliteration is a great mnemonic device, and I have employed this technique to help with a daily posting schedule:

  • Sunday – the Sunday Salon (of course)
  • Tuesday – inspired by Twitter’s hashtag: Travel Tuesday – I will post once a week to the Travel blog
  • Wednesday – another post here on the main blog, often focusing on Writing Wednesday
  • Friday – the once a week post on the Photography blog (Photo Friday…)

I have spent the weekend brainstorming post ideas for all three blogs.  Future posts to the travel blog will develop my retirement dream in a bit more detail, and then I will probably focus on my 2011 trip to France.  My first attempt to become a published author is to write a piece for an upcoming anthology:  Travel is Good for You, so I will be spending quite a bit of time with this material.

I wrote my first post for the Photography Blog introducing my ebook idea:  Finding Joy in the Moment:  Spiritual Lessons Learned through Photography – and subsequent entries will develop each of those lessons.  I hope this weekly schedule will not only help me hone my writing – but also my photography skills.  I would like to feature personal photographs to help illustrate the lesson.

Posts for this blog will be varied… mostly reading and writing because that is such a large part of my life … but also personal posts that I wish to share and develop.

That is my week in a nutshell… and I look forward to more of the same in the upcoming days.  How was your reading, writing, photography week?



  1. Love seeing how you are getting closer and closer to your dreams.

  2. I like your alliterative themes. I always liked them myself when I had another blog. I know from having as many as four blogs at once, it can be difficult to keep track of all of them, so I applaud your efforts to keep track of three Good luck with keeping up on all of them.

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