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?

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2 Comments

  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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