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April 2013

Writer Quirks (and Advice!) - Janet Boyer

Since I’ve put Chris Brogan, Jenny Milchman and Rachel Thompson (Rachel in the OC!) through the writer quirk wringer, I figure it’s about time for me to expose my own bizarre writing quirks (and dispense some dubious writing advice at the end).

UnplugThose of you who follow me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) may have noticed me saying, “I’ll post it when I’m back at my PC” or “Offline for a few days!” or “If you’ve emailed, I’ll get to you when I get back online”.

Friends and fans know exactly what this means, but I’ve not shared my sordid secret publicly until now: in order to get any writing done (not to mention homeschooling, domestic duties and spousal mandated relaxation), I have my husband hide the broadband modem at work. And my old school Kindle.

That’s right: I’m so pathetic, so lacking self-control, that my husband totes the square, black device—as well as my Kindle in it’s purple leather case—to work with him. To hide in his locker at work. Until I tell him to bring them home.

Sometimes, he’s carrying so much with him to work (packages to be mailed, his lunchbox, mp3 player, cell phone, etc.), that he tries to hide it here at home.

Thing is, I’m psychic. Honest to God psychic. As in, I can zero in on the freakin’ thing—even if it’s hidden in the basement, atop the ceiling beams where I can’t see it and need a plastic step stool (that I retrieve from the second floor) to reach it.

Now that our 14-year-old son is taller than his Dad, I can get him to reach up to feel for it! Ha! And, of course, dear husband is amazed that I can find it.

Most days, Ron good humoredly goes along with my antics by taking my stash to work in a plastic shopping bag. Some days, he even insists on it (“that internet is nothing but trouble!”). Once in awhile, though, he gets tired of carrying my shameful, addictive burden with him (“can’t you just self-regulate?”).

Which he knows damn well that I cannot.

I know some of you are shaking your heads right now, and a few are even laughing (you see yourself in this, don’t you?).

But it gets worse.

Kindle holding smallSee, I also have a Kindle Fire. Now, I have hubby hide the regular Kindle at work because the 3G capabilities can still allow for internet access. Kindle Fire, however, is WiFi only. So if the broadband modem isn’t here, I can’t access the internet.

Except, my neighbor two doors down programmed her WiFi password into my Fire last week. So, some days, I’ll stroll down the road (in my PJs, at times) to ask—like the pathetic Ethernet beggar that I am—to use her WiFi. We catch up on neighborhood gossip as I check email and admire her latest horticultural acquisitions (she’s got a major green thumb!). I also get a bonus prize: mad lickings from her adorable Chihuahua (Roxy Girl!). Eventually, I leave.

A few weeks ago, I got the idea that I may just be able to pick up her WiFi from my yard so I don’t have to waltz down there at 10 PM like some kind of addict looking to score her next fix (she works afternoon shift, and doesn’t mind me hanging out on her cozy porch).

Lo and behold, if I get right up next to the fence bordering my property, I can access her WiFi! Fortunately, it works when I’m far away from the road so that onlookers don’t wonder what the hell some lady is doing standing close to her fence in broad daylight, huddled over some kind of device.

Wifi smaller
Silly husband made a sign!

But addicts don’t just operate in the day. Oh no, they lurk and lurch around in the cloak of darkness.

So the last few nights, I go outside in the pitch black, jonesing for my device to pick up her WiFi (instead of trying to log into my WiFi, which is a no-go since the broadband—which is at my husband’s work—needs to complete the connection). In my pajamas. With my crocs on. After a rain.

I almost slip into the edge of our garden-to-be. Getting my footing, trying to use the glow of the Fire screen to navigate my path to the fence, my feet finally find purchase. Until I step in a @#$%*&! gopher hole and almost break my ankle!

I did say I was pathetic, right?

And it’s not like I’m major cyber slut; I’m lucky I visit ten sites on a regular basis!

Le sigh.

Writing by handMy other writing quirk is much tamer: despite having severe tendonitis/CTS in both hands, I must write longhand when it comes to my non-fiction writing (read: 70% of what I write). Reviews and blog posts I can compose just fine on my PC with my handy dandy ergonomic keyboard. I’ve even trained my brain to work on my cozy mystery novel-in-progress via PC.

But not my eBooks or non-fiction books.

Why? Well, I think author Amy Peters sums it up nicely in her book The Writer’s Devotional (which, incidentally, I quoted in my scandalous eBook 111 Quotes for Writers):

Writing longhand will help you experience your writing in a different way. Your mind will think in a different manner, both because writing longhand is a slower process and also because you won’t have the opportunity to backspace and erase the words you’ve just written. Writing in longhand is a more deliberate act. There is an elegant simplicity to writing longhand: it takes writing back to a primal and pleasing place. As an added incentive, there’s also a sense of instant gratification. The moment you make a mark, it is real. Unlike the sometimes dicey business of storing your writing on a computer’s hard drive, the handwritten page won’t disappear into a mysterious Ethernet void.

 Hell, I’m not even allowed to do dishes because my hands are so wracked by numbness and pain. (After the fifth broken glass, hubby and son took over dish duty. We’ve since switched to almost all plastic glasses, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to point that out! After all, there’s still the Pyrex measuring cup, glass baking pans, porcelain casserole dishes to consider…)

Ha!

So there ya have it. Two crazy writing quirks from yours truly.

Now, about the writing advice.

Gosh, I don’t feel qualified to give much out, since I’ll still muck my way around despite being a traditionally published author x3 and having various other writing “successes”.

SherbetBut as a reader, Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer and despiser of BS, I will say this: the most important piece of writing advice I can give you is to be an original.

Despite appearing as glib advice, it’s not as easy as it looks, especially if your original voice happens to be controversial, polarizing, illuminating and raw. In case you haven’t watched TV lately (I haven’t—been without TV programming for over five years, in fact) or noticed magazine covers in the supermarket, “fakeness” sells.

Think about it: magazine models are photoshopped. Wrinkles, blemishes and discoloration? Magically wiped away. Open the inside of the magazine, and women are told we need makeup to be beautiful, skin cream to look younger, perfume to smell better and designer break-your-damn-neck stilettos to be sexy.

If you’re a man, you need a newer car to exude achievement, the latest electronic device to seem “hip” and a pretty girl on your arm to appear virile.

“Reality” TV? Ain’t nothing real about it.

And what about well-meaning advice from religious leaders, New Age gurus and social media experts saying that we all must “play nice”? Smile at everyone, never be negative, always be complimentary, be happy, vibrate quicker, sing Kumbaya and don’t rock the boat.

In other words, stifle urges coming anywhere near uncomfortable emotions, unvarnished truths or authentic ideas.

So writer’s self-censor—on social media, in their relationships, and, perhaps most damaging, on the page.

The result? Books filled with bland writing, cardboard characters and a “who gives a shit?” plot. Which are the types of books that are, sadly, even published by the Big Four. (It’s Four now, right?)

Goon smallerSurely I’m not the only one finding good books hard to come by these days? And my husband? Even pickier, especially when it comes to fiction. Fortunately, I gave him A Visit from the Goon Squad, which (for now) holds his immersive attention…

So there you have it, dear reader. My embarrassing writer quirks. And some advice lobbed your way, to boot.

Are you a writer with some writing quirks? By all means share them here in the comments! Your writing advice is most welcome, as well.

If you’re a published author and would like your writing quirks and advice showcased here on my blog, please send your wise words to synerjay@atlanticbb.net along with a headshot and preferred bio.

And about good fiction: come across any lately?

-- Janet


Writers: When Is It Time to Quit Social Media?

TypeMany publishing “experts” admonish writers and authors to establish a platform, maintain a Facebook page, gaggle on Google+, chirp on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn and blog until your eyes bleed.

Some even advocate ingratiating on Goodreads, lollygagging at LibraryThing or swimming down the deep, dark Amazon Forums.

But once you have one or two books under your belt, with others under contract, do you really need to “do” social media? What about if you pen a column, sell a steady stream of articles or publish stories on a regular basis?

In all honesty, it depends.

It depends on four things, as I see it:

  1. Your goals as an author
  2. The health of your writing life
  3. The state of your personal life
  4. The condition of your emotional life 

If your authorial goals involve networking with other writers, hobnobbing with industry pros (if they’ll even talk to you), securing an agent and (trying) to stay current with publishing trends, remaining active in social media may very well be beneficial to you.

However, you can get a similar experience (arguably, a better one) by choosing to opt out of real-time socializing and, instead, subscribing to informative blogs and industry mags, as well as joining supportive, professional groups organized by genre, topic or skill. In addition, some authors swear by writing conferences.

And if you’re trying to reach more readers, allow me to let you in on a secret: you attract more (and better quality) readers by continuing to publish great work. Another way to attract more readers? Getting interviewed on radio shows or podcasts. Go to BlogTalkRadio.com, for example, and search topics relevant to your writing, books and expertise.

Twitter Egg eyesOn Twitter, for example, what you mostly find are other authors clamoring for readers, many who sound like carnival barkers. Good luck being “heard” above the herd, even if you don’t happen to be one of these obnoxious types. In fact, you’ll likely have to do some major brownnosing and ass kissing over a long period just to get people to RT you.

If your authorial goals tend towards writing more books and publishing more articles or stories, then beware of the social media time suck. Do you really want to be spending your time chatting about what you had for dinner, the latest internet meme, your mile-high TBR list or some smoke-and-mirrors scandal?

If you’re spending more time on social media than you are actual butt-in-chair writing (that is, writing towards publication), the health of your writing life may be flat lining. Some signs that your writing life needs attention STAT include:

  • Lack of focus
  • Unclear writing goals
  • Absence of regular writing practice
  • Unsubmitted queries or proposals
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Procrastination
  • Dry creative well
  • Indecision

The very act of unplugging your computer and avoiding internet access for at least a week (yes, it’s doable) can be enough to refocus your attention, recharge your batteries and resuscitate your writing life. The question is, do you have the courage to do so? Is your writing life worth it? Or would you be hunky dory with keeping things exactly as they are?

While our writing life is important, our personal life is just as important (arguably, for many, it’s more important). Some of us are wives, husbands, mothers and fathers. Others are taking care of aging parents or disabled siblings. Some have enjoyable “day jobs” with no intention of quitting despite publication success. Then there’s volunteering, spiritual/religious involvement, homeschooling/school-related events, domestic duties, close relationships, hobbies and so on.

For many writers, these enriching “personal” aspects of our life trump writing success every time. But it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, unless something interferes with our happiness.

If you feel “torn” between a satisfying personal life and a rewarding writing life (especially if, for some reason, you’re finding it difficult to have both), then it’s time to do a values clarification inventory. You must ask yourself these hard questions:

  • Decisions manWhat is important to me?
  • What part of my personal life needs attention?
  • What can I afford to “let go”?
  • What is non-negotiable?
  • What am I not willing to sacrifice?
  • What would I regret neglecting?
  • What am I after?
  • How do I define success?
  • How do I want my life to look 10 years from now? 20? 30?

Nothing sharpens our focus faster than clarifying values. (If you don’t even know what your values are, how do you expect to maintain them? Or live a satisfying life? In this case, take the time to discover and determine your values, then take steps to live in alignment with them. One of the biggest causes of personal dissatisfaction is living out of alignment with deeply held values.)

For example, if you say your kids are a priority, but you spend 5 hours a day on social media—and lay your head down every night wracked with guilt for neglecting to spend time with them—then your personal life is suffering. In this case, you do not value your kids as you say (we spend both time and money on what we truly value), or you value social media more than you value your kids or you’re caught up with internet addiction and can use some professional help.

Lastly, there’s the issue of our emotional life. If you think about it, every goal and ambition we have is—at core—the desire to feel something. As Tony Robbins points out, men don’t really want a shiny new red Ferrari. What they want is to feel virile and youthful. The Ferrari is merely a symbol or catalyst for that feelings state.

Authors want book deals, syndication and sold articles in order to feel successful, accomplished, smart, worthy, productive [fill in the blank]. Writers write for various reasons, and seek publication for a host of (sometimes) different ones.


If your desired emotional “bottom line” involves feeling the following on a regular basis—and social media cuts into or thwarts that—then it may be time to walk away:

  • Peace
  • Harmony
  • Support
  • Encouragement
  • Positivism
  • Optimism
  • Acceptance


Thus, if hanging around on social media distracts, irritates, upsets, discourages, bores or angers you, then you need to ask yourself if spending time tweeting or +ing is worth the time and aggravation.

After all, no one is guaranteed another minute of life, let alone another day or year.

OutstretchedDo you really want to spend your valuable time on social media, especially if the negatives outweigh the positives? If it’s contributing to living out of alignment with your core values? If it’s taking time from creating, writing and publishing? If it’s making you miserable?

Only you can answer these questions—not an industry expert, a social media guru, an internet marketer or a well-meaning fellow author. After all, they’re not living your life…you are.

And, let’s face it, 99% of the virtual people in your life right now sure as hell aren’t going to be with you on your deathbed where you’ll either be proud of who you are, how you lived and what you accomplished…or end up regretting all the mindless time sucks, stupid flamewars, jockeying for position and flailing for attention you’ve participated in online.

-- Janet

111 Quotes for Writers

Writers yes

In 111 Quotes for Writers, I’ve culled encouraging, motivating, inspiring and instructional passages from over 100 authors, all from source material; that is, print books, magazines and eBooks (not copy and pasted from online). While there are a dozen or two pithy quotes in this eBook, most passages are around 60-100 words…meaty chunks for you to contemplate and apply to your writing life.

Almost all of the quotes in 111 Quotes for Writers address the nuts-and-bolts of writing life, both non-fiction and fiction: how we write, why we write, where we get ideas, what we read and what it takes to make it as a working writer, as well as how we deal with anxiety, fear, guilt, envy, shame, perfectionism and other gremlins that accompany the creative temperament. Some quotes capture the emotional urgency and authenticity that needs to be present to elevate our fiction from “Who gives a damn?” to “I can’t stop reading this book!”, as well as the need for discipline, perseverance and courage. After all, writing isn’t for sissies!

So dive in at any point when you need inspired, encouraged or motivated in your writing life.

111 Quotes for Writers

1. Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work. Especially work. People love to read about work. God knows why, but they do. – Stephen King (On Writing)

2. Read those authors who write the way you hope to write, those who think he way you would like to think. But also read those who do not think as you think or write as you want to write, and so be stimulated in directions you might not take for many years. – Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing)

3. Overwriting is irritating to read because oftentimes it’s a way a writer has of showing off, and of making herself too much present in her own material. Most readers want a kind of intimacy only between themselves and what’s being written about, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. – Elizabeth Berg (Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True)

4. The well-made sentence transcends time and genre. A beautiful sentence is a beautiful sentence, regardless of when it was written, or whether it appears in a play or a magazine article. Which is just one of the many reasons why it’s pleasurable and useful to read outside of one’s own genre. – Francine Prose (Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them)

5. A pro views her work as craft, not art. Not because she believes art is devoid of a mystical dimension. On the contrary. She understands that all creative endeavor is holy, but she doesn’t dwell on it. She knows if she thinks about that too much, it will paralyze her. So she concentrates on technique. The professional masters how, and leaves what and why to the gods. – Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles)

6. In writing, or any creative endeavor, removing yourself from the process for a while can have great benefits. Your brain literally gets an opportunity to make new neurological connections, which are going to take the form of new, inventive ideas, and writing that is very inspired. – Joseph Sestito (Write for Your Lives: Inspire Your Creative Writing with Buddhist Wisdom)

7. Your life will teach you which stories to tell and which details to notice. If you are faithful to the story, if you develop your intuition, prick up your ears, look for the telling details, the detail worth telling, you will be able to condense it all down into wabi sabi words filled with beauty. Then your reader will love you for telling what is real and authentic and moving. – Richard R. Powell (Wabi Sabi for Writers)

8. Too many writers avoid their own strongest feelings because they are afraid of them, or because they are afraid of being sentimental. Yet these are the very things that will make beginning work ring true and affect us. Your stories have to matter to you the writer before they matter to the reader; your story has to affect you, before it can affect us. – Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter (What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers)

9. Good criticism is necessary to any art form, but the unsolicited, negative variety is poison. If comments are unhelpful, ignore them and boldly warp into the next galaxy. – Anne R. Allen (How to Be a Writer in the E-Age…and Keep Your E-Sanity!)

10. In fiction and memoir, the writer’s main responsibilities are to write a thick, juicy steak of a story, and make the readers care, bring us to tears or outrage or heart-thumping worry. Stories with emotional power engage the reader’s intellect, senses, and emotions as he sees and hears the unfolding action. – Jessica Page Morrell (Thanks, But This Isn’t for Us)

11. Writers—all writers, at all ages and all stages—must realize all they have is the now. Just this moment. There’s not another “time” that’s better for you to write. A certain age when it’s all going to click. You haven’t missed anything, and you haven’t started too early or too late. – Heather Sellers (Chapter after Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams)

12. Quoting Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Allen Ginsberg reminded us, “first thought, best thought”. This first thought comes from your intuitive mind, where the creative process finds its foothold and the ego holds no sway. This is the place of rich images and deep thoughts. Grasp your pen lightly and let come what wants to come. – Judy Reeves (A Writer’s Book of Days)

13. The metaphor is the strongest imagistic intimate in the writer’s bag of tricks. – Walter Mosley (This Year You Write Your Novel)

14. Like fiction, nonfiction accomplishes its purpose better when it evokes emotion in the reader. We might prefer everyone on earth to be rational, but the fact is that people are moved more by what they feel than by what they understand. – Sol Stein (Stein on Writing)

15. Don’t wait for anything to guide your work. Dig deep inside of yourself. You are the collective memory of your culture. – N.M. Kelby (The Constant Art of Being a Writer)

16. On the surface, it appears that as the author you are the dominant person in your relationship with your reader, for, after all, the book would not exist without you. But rest assured that readers are quite capable of chucking your book in the trash if they don’t feel you are speaking to them—that somehow you have listened to them, have heard their wants and needs. – Hal Zina Bennett (Write Starts: Prompts, Quotes, and Exercises to Jumpstart Your Creativity)

17. While the blank page and the lack of time are both obstacles to writing, there’s another, more insidious, threat to the beginning writer: perfectionism. – Barbara DeMarco-Barrett (Pen on Fire)

18. We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing. – Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones)

19. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but impatience is definitely the most lethal attitude for a writer. – Sage Cohen (The Productive Writer)

20. Above all else, believe in your abilities to become successful as a writer. Let your love of writing and the joy you find in it carry you toward your dreams. If you keep at it, you will get there. – Kelly L. Stone (Time to Write)

21. As you craft your story, make it a point to experiment with opposites and seek out surprise: publicly fastidious lawyer has a messy closet; pious church deacon has a gay lover; bucolic setting becomes the home of a serial killer. – Nancy Lamb (The Art and Craft of Storytelling)

22. When in doubt, or wherever possible, tell the whole story of the novel in the first sentence. – John Irving

23. The writers of deep and beautiful works spend real time gathering words. They learn the names of words and tools and types of roof. They make lists of color words (ruby, scarlet, cranberry, brick). They savor not only the meanings, but also the musicality of words. They are hunting neither big words nor pompous words nor Latinate words but mainly words they like. – Priscilla Long (The Writer’s Portable Mentor)

24. Make yourself your intended reader. By writing to you as your reader, you get closer than at any other time to getting your real voice on the page. You write naturally. – Les Edgerton (Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing)

25. Writing is about honesty. It is almost impossible to be honest and boring at the same time. – Julia Cameron

26. No matter what is going on in your life, know that ideal situations are not necessary for finishing a book. People who succeed in life do so because they have grit—the ability to work toward their goals whether they feel like it or not. Laura Hillenbrand, the best-selling author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend, has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At times, she could only write a paragraph or two a day. She had to perch her laptop on books because looking down at the screen made the room spin. Yet she stuck with it. Her grit—anchored in her passion for the topic—kept her writing. – Rochelle Melander (Write-a-Thon)

27. As a young writer, I don’t think I really understood that you need to prepare for writing; I figured you could just sit down and begin. But I’ve come to see that I need to be warmed up. I need to have something gestating in my head, even it’s just a little niggling idea, unformed and unknowable until I start to lure it out. – Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes (The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World)

28. If you want to engage in a vibrant conversation with the wisdom that dwells just a hair below your conscious awareness, write. – Janet Connor (Writing Down Your Soul)

29. Getting a novel written consists not of joyous rapture but of applying your bottom to the chair and your fingers to the keyboard and grinding things out word by word, sentence by sentence. You can whine or you can write, but you can’t do both. – Todd A. Stone (Novelist’s Boot Camp)

30. The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best—write the story you want to read. – Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist)

31. People who are “ready” give off a different vibe from people who aren’t. Animals can smell fear. And the lack thereof. The minute you become ready is the minute you stop dreaming. Suddenly it’s no longer about “becoming”. It’s about “doing”. You don’t get the dream job because you walk into the editor’s office for the first time and go, “Hi, I would really like to be a sportswriter one day, please.” You get the job because you walk into the editor’s office and go, “Hi, I’m the best frickin’ sportswriter on the planet.” And somehow the editor can tell you aren’t lying, either. You didn’t go in there, asking the editor to give you power. You went in there and politely informed the editor that you already have the power. That’s what being “ready” means. That’s what “taking power” means. Not needing anything from another person in order to be the best in the world. – Hugh MacLeod (Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity)

32. Take the essence of your story and amp it. Add characters and pile on the emotion. Playwrights used to limit the number of characters in their stories, not wanting to crowd the stage. But when Williams crams six or eight people onto the scene at once and sets them all at one another’s throats, we get a chance to feel their emotional claustrophobia and unwanted interdependence. Amp up your action by adding cunning, vindictiveness, jealousy, fear of exposure, stupidity, even death. – Elizabeth Sims (Writer’s Digest November/December 2012)

33. If you want to be any kind of artist, you’ve got to have that tenacity to keep beating your head against the wall…The idea of the impossible is an illusion, and it will look very different on the other side. It’s a matter of persevering. – Dave Cullen (Writer’s Digest October 2011)

34. “I don’t have enough time/people/experience”. Stop whining. Less is a good thing. Constraints are advantages in disguise. Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. There’s no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative. Ever seen the weapons prisoners make out of soap or a spoon? They make do with what they’ve got. Now we’re not saying that you should go out and shank somebody—but get creative and you’ll be amazed at what you can make with just a little. Shakespeare reveled in the limitations of sonnets (fourteen-line lyric poems in iambic pentameter with a specific rhyme scheme). Haiku and limericks also have strict rules that lead to creative results. Writers like Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver found that forcing themselves to use simple, clear language helped them deliver maximum impact. – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (Rework)

35. No one says you have to write your book in strict chronological order. Some writers start at the end and write their way back to the beginning. Or they write one complete plot strand, getting completely immersed in all its possibilities and the personalities involved. When that’s done, they write another complete strand, and another. Then they chop them all together like rough-cutting a movie. – Roz Morris (Nail Your Novel)

36. Each piece you complete is an act of faith in the process and value of creativity, a great big Molly Bloom yes to your curious, creative, courageous side. – Bonni Goldberg

37. Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder. – Raymond Chandler

38. I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within. – Eudora Welty

39. Bam. Bam. Bam. That’s what this writing thing feels like sometimes. But you get up and keep hitting back. You have to know, going in, that you need to develop rhino skin to survive. The good news is you can develop it. Every time you come back from a setback and write some more, you create a little more of that protective coating, that inner strength. So if you can look at the big picture, with all the odds stacked against you…if you can understand full well that you will be taking hit after hit…if you can understand all that and still have that inner ferret that says, “write, dang you!”—then no, you shouldn’t quit. – James Scott Bell (Writing Fiction for All Your Worth)

40. Once we have begun it, we continue reading a novel largely because we care about what happens to the character. But for us actually to care about these actors in the drama on these printed pages, they must become real people to us. An event alone cannot hold a story together. Nor can a series of events. Only characters effecting events and events affecting characters can do that. – Elizabeth George (Write Away: One Writer’s Approach to the Novel)

41. A story must have the ability to engender a sense of urgency from the first sentence. Everything else—fabulous characters, great dialogue, vivid imagery, luscious language—is gravy. This is not to disparage great writing in any way. I love a beautifully crafted sentence as much as the next person. But make no mistake: learning to “write well” is not synonymous with learning to write a story. And of the two, writing well is secondary. Because if the reader doesn’t want to know what happens next, so what if it’s well written? In the trade, such exquisitely rendered, story-less novels are often referred to as a beautifully written “Who cares?” – Lisa Cron (Wired for Story)

42. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. There’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space. – Joan Didion (The New York Times Book Review)

43. I write to make peace with the things I cannot control. I write to create fabric in a world that often appears black and white. I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin a dialogue. I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things differently perhaps the world will change. – Terry Tempest Williams (Northern Lights magazine)

44. To create a novel’s emotional landscape you must first open yourself to your own. That’s hard to do. If it’s difficult to confide your feelings to those close to you, consider how much more fearful it is to do with strangers. But that’s what you’re doing whether you’re aware of it or not. There is wired inside you a terror of exposing yourself to embarrassment, shame, and ridicule. But here you are writing fiction. Are you nuts? Or, more to the point, is that what people will think of you when they read your work? The inhibiting effect of shame cannot be overstated. It explains why some writers slide into genre clichés or literary imitation. To put authentic emotions on the page, you need to own them. When you do, readers will respect you. Its’ when you hide that readers feel shortchanged, cheated, and only minimally involved. – Donald Maass (Writing 21st Century Fiction)

45. As a man who has knocked about the arts for some time, I can only say that in the presence of a poet I am struck with awe that I should behold so courageous a man. I never felt that way about generals or admirals, for our society is organized to protect the warrior. – James A. Michener

46. Muddiness is not merely a disturber of prose, it is also a destroyer of life, or hope: death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram. – William Strunk and E.B. White (The Elements of Style)

47. Writers kid themselves—about themselves and other people. Take the talk about writing methods. Writing is just work—there’s no secret. If you dictate or use a pen or type with your toes—it is just work. – Sinclair Lewis

48. Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in a human condition. –Graham Greene

49. The art of writing cannot be taught, but the craft of writing can. No one can teach you how to tap inspiration, how to gain vision and sensibility, but you can be taught to write lucidly, to present what you say in the most articulate and forceful way. Vision itself is useless without the technical means to record it. – Noah Lukeman (The First Five Pages)

50. Perhaps it would be better not to be a writer, but if you must, then write. If it all feels hopeless, if that famous “inspiration” will not come, write. If you are a genius, you’ll make your own rules, but if not—and the odds are against it—go to your desk, not matter what your mood, face the icy challenge of the paper—write. – J.B. Priestly

51. The idea of “inspiration”, as it’s commonly understood, does a great deal of damage to writers. For one thing, it devalues craft, which I think is the most important part of writing. It also, as I’ve cautioned before, reinforces the notion that the writer himself or herself is somehow not enough. That some special talent or knowledge or divine gift—something outside of the writer—is necessary. – Dennis Palumbo (Writing from the Inside Out)

52. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy. – Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)

53. This is the ultimate magic trick of language: to evoke in the reader not just an understanding of the thing described but the sensation of it. It’s not enough just to tell a reader the thing exists and ask him to take its existence on faith; you must allow him to experience it for himself. – Joseph Bates (The Nighttime Novelist)

54. When the conditions are right, live things creep up. The author does not need to airlift them in. No need to insert a reptile here, something symbolic over there. The most potent meaning arises indigenously. It looks like earth, like mud, like a log. The more your eyes discern the particulars of the physical world and its inhabitants, the more meaningful your work becomes. This is the meaning that, when it’s laid dormant in the sun long enough, strikes with a devouring force…To write well, we must sink into the silt of this world. – Bonnie Friedman (Writing Past Dark)

55. Every day you are afraid. Every day you move through fear to your desk, and as soon as you pick up your pen, or read the sentence left over from the night before, incomplete, needing an adjustment in rhythm—a stronger verb, a slash of color or the taste of bitter herbs—in that moment of solving the problems, all fear dissolves. You are writing again. – Sophy Burnham (For Writers Only)

56. The best time for planning a book is while you are doing the dishes. – Agatha Christie

57. In his ambrosial book Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury answers the pestering questions he gets about the origins of his ideas emphasizing the daily need to move forward. “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together”. He does this in a surprisingly simple fashion, by venturing into his museum-like writing studio and fingering one of his thousands of travel souvenirs, or opening a dictionary and choosing a single world. He then seizes the memory, emotion, or word and, as Klee said, takes it out for a walk—which invariably results in a story he didn’t even know he had in him. The operative word, again, is seize, as in the moment, our destiny as creative souls. – Phil Cousineau (Stoking the Creative Fires)

58. The place of stillness that you have to go to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world. – Jonathan Franzen

59. Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn. – Gore Vidal

60. I’m not sure if it takes deep denial or courage to sit at one’s desk day after day doing this. In the middle of my writing career, I once studied to go into a different profession; the main lure was having a desk out of the house and coworkers. Not to mention a regular paycheck. I studied for two years and had a good time doing this job, but I couldn’t get over the sense of not being in my own skin and had to quit. – Barbara Abercrombie (A Year of Writing Dangerously)

61. Remember, nobody is born a professional. So this stuff has to be learned and practiced. Stephen King used to be some guy who had a traumatic experience in his childhood. Janet Evanovich did not always have her face plastered across a bus. There was a time when no one knew what a muggle was, not even J.K. Rowling. These writers and, indeed, all writers, were once simply somebody’s baby—a mother’s son, a father’s daughter, and then, eventually, they became writers. At some point thereafter, they became darn good writers, and then even farther down the road they became the writers we know and love today. Writing is work, just like many other kinds of work that require a certain amount of artfulness and intuition. And the more willingly you acknowledge the more well-rounded qualities of the writing life, the better you will far. – Christina Katz (The Writer’s Workout)

62. A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down… If it is a good book, nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book, nothing can help him. – Edna St. Vincent Millay

63. When a reader fully believes our story, both intellectually and emotionally, he moves in and unpacks his bags. No longer a tourist living out of a suitcase, ordering room service and watching suspiciously from his hotel window as the natives bustle on the street below, he has become, for the moment at least, a native himself. He changes into comfortable clothes, strolls the avenues, eats in open-air cafes, even tries the local catch-of-the-day. He turns another page in the book. Anything is possible. Who knows? He might even fall in love. – Rebecca McClanahan (Word Painting)

64. If you won’t enjoy reading it, you won’t enjoy writing it. – Chris Baty (No Plot? No Problem!)

65. There’s a certain charm in what is spontaneous. I want the reader to feel that I’m telling the story to him or her in particular. When you tell a story in the kitchen to a friend, it’s full of mistakes and repetitions. I try to avoid that in literature, but I still want it to be a conversation, like storytelling usually is. It’s not a lecture. – Isabel Allende (Why We Write)

66. You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well. – Jennifer Egan (Why We Write)

67. Writers make their way toward intensity via soul-jarring themes, stories awash in peril, characters on the edge, smoldering conflict, manic introspection, inflamed dialogue, and other such strategies. But the foot soldiers along the march are words and their style of delivery: words that advance steadily until, at key moments, they gather force to penetrate the reader’s armored resistance. – Arthur Plotnik (The Elements of Expression)

68. If you feel comfortable telling people about your novel in advance, more power to you, but be aware that you might be affected by their responses. If they give you too much praise, will you feel the weight of trying to live up to their expectations? Will this energize your writing or give you writer’s block? If the response is reserved or negative, will you doubt the value of your story? Will a cool response diminish your own love for the idea? If you think the work might be damaged by poor reactions and if you can live without the instant gratification of advertising your novel before it is written, protect the process of writing your book by keeping it to yourself. – Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb (Your First Novel)

69. Seeing sharply and accurately is part of the contract the author makes with the reader. When we talk about a writer’s vision, we’re usually talking metaphorically…but we’re most persuaded by an author who literally has an acuity of vision. – Tony Eprile (Poets & Writers, March/April 2013)

70. It is an immutable law of the universe that humans simply cannot, under any circumstances, no matter how hard they try, be completely objective about what they’ve written. That’s why, once you finish a draft of your proposal or manuscript, it’s important to let it sit and ferment, marinate and settle. Move away from your work for a bit. This will help you with your objectivity. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between the amount of objectivity you can achieve and the time you spend away from your material. – Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published)

71. Every writer aims to immerse the reader so deeply into the story, to so hypnotize the reader with the details and the writing, that she continues turning the pages. You want your reader to feel like she’s literally present in your fictional world, running right alongside your characters as they get swept up in the action of the story. This is, after all, one of the reasons people read: to lose themselves in a world more interesting than their own. – Sarah Domet (90 Days to Your Novel)

72. Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. habit is persistence in practice. – Octavia Butler

73. I warm up and break through the ice called writer’s block by writing poetry. If I can’t come up with a topic for a poem, I’ll look at the headlines in newspapers or magazines and find something to write a poem about. Once I write the poem, I’m ready to return to the longer work like a short story or novel. – Lloyd Lofthouse

74. Only kings, editors, and people with tapeworm have the right to use the editorial “we”. – Mark Twain

75. Forget the boring old dictum “write what you know”. Instead, seek out an unknown yet knowable area of experience that’s going to enhance your understanding of the world and write about that. – Rose Tremain

76. I type in one place, but I write all over the house. – Toni Morrison

77. What to do with your dreams? Some of us mumble them to our families over breakfast or dinner. Others write them down in a dream journal. Jacquelyn Mitchard took one of her dreams and molded it into the best-selling novel The Deep End of the Ocean. Author Stephanie Meyer was a mom and a homemaker when she had a dream that became the basis for her best-selling Twilight series. – Rochelle Melander (Write-a-Thon)

78. A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives us the right to dream. – Gaston Bachelard

79. Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it. – Jesse Stuart

80. What works for one writer becomes paralyzing for the next. – Karen E. Peterson

81. One telling detail will take you further than a page of description. – Michael Connelly

82. Most beginning writers (and I was the same) are like chefs trying to cook great dishes that they’ve never tasted themselves. How can you make a great (or even adequate) bouillabaisse if you’ve never had any? If you don’t really understand why people read mysteries (or romances or literary novels or thrillers or whatever), then there’s no way in the world you’re going to write one that anyone wants to publish. – Daniel Quinn

83. Stories move people to think and act. Anais Nin said, “What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and as if by magic, we see new meanings in it.” Art, in the form of a story well told, may literally transform the reader and the culture from the inside out. “A book ought to be an ice pick to beak up the frozen sea within us”, said Franz Kafka. Stories hold the power to transform the very society they are said to reflect, making storytelling among the highest of callings. – Elizabeth Lyon (A Writer’s Guide to Fiction)

84. I’m a full-time believer in writing habits. You may be able to do without them if you have genius but most of us only have talent and this is simply something that has to be assisted all the time by physical and mental habits or it dries up and blows away. – Flannery O’Connor

85. Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. – Elie Wiesel

86. Writing longhand will help you experience your writing in a different way. Your mind will think in a different manner, both because writing longhand is a slower process and also because you won’t have the opportunity to backspace and erase the words you’ve just written. Writing in longhand is a more deliberate act. There is an elegant simplicity to writing longhand: it takes writing back to a primal and pleasing place. As an added incentive, there’s also a sense of instant gratification. The moment you make a mark, it is real. Unlike the sometimes dicey business of storing your writing on a computer’s hard drive, the handwritten page won’t disappear into a mysterious Ethernet void. – Amy Peters (The Writer’s Devotional)

87. I believe more in scissors than I do in the pencil. – Truman Capote

88. Mining the places you have lived can be a great way to unearth ideas. Too often we feel that the places we were born and raised lack the sort of exoticism that will attract readers. We think this because the places are not exotic to us. We take them for granted. I was born and raised in Ohio, which is synonymous with, even symbolic of, bland America. Of course, what is ordinary to us can be exotic to someone else. The key is being able to truly see the world around you, finding the details that evoke it. A world that is keenly evoked will be exotic to those who don’t know it well and will allow those who do know it well to see it with fresh eyes. – Jack Heffron (The Writer’s Idea Book)

89. Everything that I have written has the closest possible connection with what I have lived through inwardly. – Henrik Ibsen

90. First, there is the writing, then the exhilaration from feeling good about writing, then the guilt for the time spent writing when there are a dozen other obligations that should be met. So what’s the appeal? Why torture yourself? The appeal is that you are burning to say something, to express yourself, to make someone feel happy or sad or angry or just laugh. The appeal is that you believe what you have to say can make a difference in someone’s life, and you just might reach a bigger audience and impact several lives. You are the only one who can say what you have to say in just your way. And if it’s something powerful, something that can improve humanity or bring insights or change the world, or make people think or laugh—then why feel guilty? What are you waiting for? Get busy writing. – Nancy Ellen Dodd (The Writer’s Compass)

91. I don’t necessarily start with the beginning of the book. I just start with the part of the story that’s most vivid in my imagination and work forward and backward from there. – Beverly Cleary

92. Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space, or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph. Until you get to Page 50. Then calm down, and start worrying about quality. Do feel anxiety—it’s the job. – Roddy Doyle

93. It’s necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. – Vita Sackville-West

94. If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster. – Isaac Asimov

95. Even with descriptions that have nothing to do with character emotion, there are ways you can show rather than tell. Rather than telling your readers that your hero’s car is an old broken down wreck, you can show him twisting two bare wires together to turn on the headlights, or driving through a puddle and being sprayed from the holes on the floor. That way your readers can draw their own conclusions about the car’s condition for themselves. – Renni Browne and Dave King (Self-Editing for Fiction Writers)

96. In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it. – Alex Haley

97. One of my theories about writing is that the process involves an ongoing interchange between Left Brain and Right. The journal provides a testing ground where the two can engage. Left Brain is analytical, linear, the timekeeper, the bean counter, the critic and editor, a valuable ally in the shaping of the mystery novel or any piece of writing for that matter. Right Brain is creative, spatial, playful, disorganized, dazzling, nonlinear, the source of the Aha! or imaginative leap. Without Right Brain, there would be no material for Left Brain to refine. Without Left Brain, the jumbled brilliance of Right Brain would never coalesce into a satisfactory whole. – Sue Grafton (Writing the Private Eye Novel)

98. If your whole reason for writing is to pontificate on, for example, the dangers of certain habits or lifestyles, you risk sounding preaching…If your theme is the danger of alcoholism, simply tell a story in which an alcoholic suffers because of his bad decisions and give the reader credit. If your story is powerful enough, your theme will come through. – Jerry B. Jenkins (Writer’s Digest, August 2006)

99. I know writers who write only when inspiration comes. How would Isaac Stern play if he played the violin only when he felt like it? He would be lousy. – Madeleine L’Engle

100. Writing genre fiction is a calling more prone to humiliation than most fields of creative endeavor. Yes, we face the same rejections from agents and publishers, the mortification of being asked if we write under our own names, the shame of events where only two people turn up. But we also face the indignity of being one of a bunch in the review section’s crime round up. And possible worst of all, the perennial question: “Have you ever thought of writing a proper novel?” – Val McDermid (Motification: Writers’ Stories of Their Public Shame)

101. I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this. – Cormac McCarthy

102. I never knew what was meant by “finding your voice”. Not for ages. I think I now know. I believe it means finding a way to write what is comfortable for you. It’s finding the method to tell your story that seems natural and unaffected. That way you’re not going to get caught out all the time trying to keep up with some kind of style that you think may be appropriate. – Maeve Binchy (The Mave Binchy Writer’s Club)

103. And writing a book may take you the same amount of time as it does to build a house. Having a long project that will need to transpire over time has its own advantages: as it goes along, it will become a measure of your capacity to stick to this often-thankless-feeling work. It will also continually teach you new things. Your novel will tell you things you never knew about your own soul, these being those truths known so far by no one else but you. – Jane Vandenburgh (Architecture of the Novel 

104. Good writing is remembering detail most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth. – Paula Danzinger

105. Carry a heavy rock around with you (in your purse, backpack, or briefcase) to represent your barriers, fears, or problems in your writing. Carry it for several days until you become really annoyed with the burden. Then—without getting caught—place the rock in the garden of someone who annoys you. Or, on a more positive note, throw the rock in a lake and enjoy watching your fears symbolically sink out of sight. – Bill O’Hanlon (Write is a Verb)

106. I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. – Harper Lee

107. You have to follow your own voice. You have to be yourself when you write. In effect, you have to announce, “This is me, this is what I stand for, this is what you get when you read me. I’m doing the best I can—buy me or not—but this is who I am as a writer.” – David Morrell

108. We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. If we can’t make up stories about ordinary people, who can we make them up about? …Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting. – John Updike

109. You better make them care about what you think. It had better be quirky or perverse or thoughtful enough so that you hit some chord in them. Otherwise it doesn’t work. I mean we’ve all read pieces where we thought, “Oh, who gives a damn”. – Nora Ephron

110. In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write. – J. K. Rowling

111. The most important thing is you can’t write what you wouldn’t read for pleasure. It’s a mistake to analyze the market thinking you can write whatever is hot. You can’t say you’re going to write romance when you don’t even like it. You need to write what you would read if you expect anybody else to read it. – Nora Roberts

-- Janet


The Writer's Workout - Christina Katz

“Writing career growth takes root and flourishes when you give it ample time and plenty of practice. When you rush it or push it beyond its capacity, you get diminished results.” – From The Writer’s Workout by Christina Katz

As a scribe in the writing game, have you ever wished for a coach to help strategize your next move, an enthusiastic cheerleader to encourage flagging resolve and a waterboy to replenish depleted reserves? What about a warm yet honest friend that, after a tough game, gently points out why you may have fumbled or missed a pass, yet is also quick to praise brilliant tackles, yards gained and sportsmanlike conduct?

Writers Workout CoverFootball metaphors aside, writing coach Christina Katz pretty much does all this and more in her latest book The Writer’s Workout.

Divided into 4 seasons (and 366 chapters) that can represent actual chronological seasons or the symbolic cycles of a writing life, readers can use The Writer’s Workout whenever sage advice and helpful tips are wanted and needed. 

From organizational skills to restocking the creative well, establishing visibility to avoiding people pleasing, Christina also addresses the periphery of the writing life that, while not actual butt-in-seat labor, nevertheless impacts an author’s career and wellbeing.

But make no mistake, the author dispenses loads of great writing advice (peppered with humor), too. For example, periods and commas should always stay inside quotation marks lest they look like white bras worn on top of a black turtleneck or whitey-tighties on the outside of denim jeans. (Ha! That’s a grammar mistake I never make, either, but I am an unabashed overuser of the em dash…Trailing ellipses, too, as you can see.)

The two-page introduction to The Writer’s Workout alone contains some of the best writing advice I’ve come across (and know first-hand that works), e.g. “creativity should not be rushed and writing careers take time to mature”, “you are exactly where you are supposed to be”, “slow and steady wins the race” (whatever winning means to you), etc.

Here are just a few examples of the fantastic topics offered by the author:

Spring: Get Going

  • Trust Your Instincts
  • Keep Writing Central
  • Guard Your Time
  • Declutter Your Thinking
  • Finish Everything
  • Unblock Yourself 

Summer: Find Your Stride

  • Pay No Attention to Fame
  • Query Well
  • Cultivate Confidence
  • Temper Your Disappointment
  • Accumulate Credibility
  • Allow for Surprises

Fall: Become Recognizable 

  • Understand Platform
  • Set Your Identity Free
  • Don’t Mimic
  • Partner Conscientiously
  • Just Say No
  • Develop Calluses

Winter: Coach Yourself

  • Test-Market an Idea
  • Become Memorable
  • Be in the Tribe But Not of It
  • Abandon “Overnight Success”
  • Write Yourself Wealthy
  • Stay Prolific

And the icing on the cake? 366 well-chosen quotes heading each chapter. I’m a huge fan of quotes, and more than one insightful passage has gotten me through tough times as a published author and reviewer. Right now, I’m relishing the quote Christina chose to head Chapter 84 (Don’t People Please), penned by Rachel Naomi Remen: “Approval cannot be trusted. It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record has been. It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy. Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it.”

At 374-pages, The Writer’s Workout (published by Writer’s Digest Books) is one of the best writing books on the market in my opinion (I own well over 120 of them), addressing actual concerns and issues facing all writers—from beginners to published-for-decades veterans. I’ve had this book for several years and am currently immersing myself in the author’s timely words yet again so I can discover new strategies, remind myself of reliable tactics, embrace balanced approaches, continue growing as a writer and remember I’m not alone.

--  Janet


The Snowland Deck Goes Digital!

Tarot eCards squareRon and I are thrilled to announce that we've signed a licensing agreement with Tarot eCards, owned by WizardToo. WizardToo was founded by Ron Leong, former marketing director at U.S. Games Systems, Inc. and my former boss when I was the USGS Social Media Maven. (I call him C-Ron, short for "Corporate Ron", to distinguish him from my Ron.)

Our Snowland Deck should be available by the end of June via the iTunes store for use on both iPhone and iPad.

We're in good company, too. Fellow deck creators include James Ricklef (creator of the stunning RWS 2.0 for this app, and whose Tarot of the Masters will also be available), Mary Griffin (creator of one of my absolute favorite decks ever, the Hezicos Tarot), Liz Hazel (creator of the Whispering Tarot), Lon Milo DuQuette (Tarot of Ceremonial Magick) and others.

Tarot ecards square 2If you're going to the Readers Studio next week in New York City, C-Ron will be at the Merchant Faire selling print copies of not only our deck, but also the others featured in the Tarot eCards app. Our deck will be in a frosty bag (one of three fabrics), but will not have the sparkly pewter snowflake charm, the four "Soul GPS" significator cards or Noah's Chillaxin card, nor will it come with access to the secret Snowland Explorers blog or a digital copy of the Snowland Deck Companion (you must buy your deck from us at SnowlandDeck.com to get those bonuses). However, our deck will be discounted at RS13 by $20 since it will not include all those goodies.

-- Janet


Writing Quotes Backlash

Writing bones smallerI own over 150 books on the writing craft, both in print and in digital format. I love supporting my fellow authors with coin just as much as I enjoy reading their wise insights on craft and their encouragement to keep on keepin’ on with the creative life.

Last summer, I noticed my highlights in a particular book. Wow, this is good stuff, I thought. It’s always fun to revisit inspirational or instructional passages. I pulled another writing book off my shelf, and another. A trip down Highlighting Memory Lane, I guess.

I marveled at how far I had come as an author since buying my very first writing book over a decade ago (Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg): two traditionally published non-fiction books, another under contract for this year, over a dozen eBooks, a companion book to an oracle/creativity deck I created with my artist husband, over 1,200 reviews on Amazon.com that netted me the coveted title of Hall of Fame Reviewer (there are only 125 of us), various magazine articles and more.

Never in a million years would I have imagined that I’d be where I am today, especially as the daughter of blue-collar parents in the heart of coal mining rural Pennsylvania (where I still live)—and as a parent, myself, to a special needs son (whom I homeschool).

Struck by how much I’ve benefited from writing books—and writing magazines, too—I had the idea to curate the best quotes from these books to help encourage my fellow writers…especially ones that felt alone, discouraged, dejected and overwhelmed.

111 Quotes for Writers 300Amidst other projects, including publishing our Snowland Deck and overseeing all that went with it, I’ve been working on 111 Quotes for Writers for half a year. Two weeks ago, I decided to buckle down and get the eBook finished, so I spent about eight hours a day or more—every day—poring over dozens of writing books and magazines to cull the best brief quotes to share. (Yeah, in addition to buying lots of writing books, I also subscribe—or had subscriptions to—Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Poets & Writers, Publisher’s Weekly, Bookmarks, Tin House, Lapham’s Quarterly, Poetry and The New York Review of Books).

At last, I finished the eBook earlier this week! I was so excited about this eBook, because I know the value of a timely quote of encouragement, inspiration or motivation to bridge the gaping maw between despair and hope, fear and courage—especially with the often solitary, angst-producing writing life.

With excitement, I tweeted that my eBook was now available on Smashwords, soon to be available on Kindle. I happened to “@” three writers whose insights I quoted in my eBook.

Imagine my dismay that, within seconds, one of the writers (who I’m not going to name) tweeted back to me:

Wait, I'm sorry, are you selling our quotes?

 The implication is obvious.

I went to his twitter timeline and, not surprisingly, he tweeted to his followers about “some lady” trying to make a buck off his work.

Twitter EyeMortified, hurt and embarrassed, I tweeted back something about “fair use” but, noting his tone, I said something like “You know what? I’ll remove the quote. I don’t want to point people to you or your work after all.”

Doing what many self-important people do on Twitter—the ultimate act of passive-aggressiveness, in my opinion—he retweeted MY tweet to his followers to involve them. Now, they knew who this “lady” was. It’s a favorite tactic of bigheaded authors: draw blood, and allow the sharkophants to finish off the individual.

Suddenly, I get an onslaught of tweets from perfect strangers, calling me a thief and plagiarist, as well as other nasty invectives.

I ended up blocking about two dozen people in an hour’s time, including the author.

Understand that when I call this author “bigheaded”, I’m not exaggerating. He used to be a pretty cool guy before he became known. But then he got some book deals, began blogging on the writing craft and—viola!—the fame gods and fairwind crowds blew favor his way. He began unfollowing people right and left. He said he could only be bothered with following the “important” people in the industry (not the readers that got him where he was, of course).

And although I stopped following him because his cockiness nauseated me, I still quoted him in my eBook because I felt a brief passage from one of his (self-published) eBooks was valuable.

Two Writer’s Digest authors that I happened to be Facebook friends with, Joseph Bates (The Nightime Novelist) and Christina Katz (The Writer's Workout, Get Know Before the Book Deal, Writer Mama , thanked me for including them in my 111 Quotes for Writers. I appreciated that, but still felt awful. Why do I even bother? I asked myself.

Wired for storyThe next day, Lisa Cron, author of the fantastic Wired for Story, thanked me heaps on Twitter (not sure how she found out she was in my eBook—must have been the brouhaha). Also, one of my favorite Writer’s Digest contributors, Elizabeth Sims, sent me an enthusiastic email wishing me success with the eBook and thanking me for including her in such good company (I had never communicated with her before, so it was so cool to get a note from her. Yes, I’m a fangirl! And spreading the love for writers I admired was one of the motivating factors in penning this eBook, especially since I don’t have the time to write many reviews these days.) By the way, Elizabeth's coming out with a brand new writing craft book next month called You've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams. Woohoo!

See, these professional authors don’t have a scarcity mindset. They understand that having ME quote THEIR books means dozens (or hundreds or thousands) of new readers discovering their stellar work—which was part of my intent. After all, that’s why I started reviewing over a decade go: to push great books on a hungry reading public. And in this glutted age of information overload, discoverability matters.

I gazed at all the writing craft books in my library. I pulled book after book off the shelves. Here’s just some of what I found: the books listed below all feature quotes from writers—at the beginning of chapters, sidebars, etc. Please understand that the numbers beside each book do NOT reflect passages excerpted for the express purpose of instruction, but are merely “ornamental” quotes.

Vein of gold 300Author Julia Cameron quoted several (living) authors six or more times in sidebars—with no mention of where she got the quote. Indeed, none of the books below states where the quotes are from—just who said it. However, in my 111 Quotes for Writers, I credited the book or magazine article where I found the quote (when applicable, which was most cases). Only one author was a repeat quote in my eBook, by the way (I sourced110 different authors).


The Vein of Gold
by Julia Cameron – 391 quotes

The Writer’s Workout by Christina Katz – 366 quotes

A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie – 365 quotes

The Writer’s Devotional by Amy Peters – 260 quotes

For Writer’s Only by Sophy Burnham – 220 quotes

A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves – 216 quotes

Write-a-Thon by Rochelle Melander – 91 quotes

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing by Editors of Writer’s Digest - 86

Do you seriously think that any of these amazing authors/editors were accused of plagiarism? Called a “thief” or worse on Twitter? Got permission from every single author to use those quotes?

I don’t, either.

So…why was I?

Is it because my eBook was self-published? Or was it simply yet another case of hyena mob rule on social media—cyberbullying at its finest?

Quotations 200Did you know that “Quotations” is a sub-genre of Reference? Sure is. So, according to some of those reactionary tweeters, anyone who’s ever penned a book of quotations is a “plagiarist” and “thief”, out to “make a buck” on the beleaguered backs of those they quoted.

One of my Facebook friends asked me how I would feel if I were quoted in a book.

Are you kidding?” I replied. “I’d be thrilled! More exposure for me and my work. Why in the world would I mind being quoted? It’s an honor!

If any of the authors I quoted do NOT feel it’s an honor or good exposure, by all means email me. I’ll gladly remove your quote and name from my eBook, as well as all vendor descriptions.

P.S. In the Kindle version of 111 Quotes for Writers, I had planned on hyperlinking to every single book that I quoted from so that readers could click and discover more about the title on Amazon.com—and, hopefully, purchase it. The only reason I didn’t is that I couldn’t figure out how to copy-and-paste URLs in Word’s hyperlink box (it only allows me to type in URLs). When I realized how much time it would take me to manually type in those Amazon URLs with its convoluted strings of numbers and letters, I abandoned the idea.

Note: I had intended to write 111 Quotes for Tarot Lovers, and although I paid a professional to design my cover (as I did with 111 Quotes for Writers)—and am a dozen quotes into it—I’ve decided not to dedicate my time to an endeavor that may provoke a similar reaction among some hostile individuals. In fact, I don’t plan to pursue my Call 111! series at all after this experience. 

[Update: Shortly after this post, I removed the eBook from Amazon. Who needs to be ganged up on via Twitter for a $1.99 reference book? No good deed goes unpunished... Btw, less than two weeks later, I posted all the quotes here on my blog. For free]

-- Janet


Play That You May Be Serious

Craig 2Thrilled that author and fellow deck creator Craig Conley penned this sparkling Foreword for our Snowland Deck and the companion book:

Like the folkloric Snow Queen's invitation to creep inside her furs, the foreword of a book should open up a text and make the reader feel invited to snuggle up. So let's huddle close and step together into a sparkling realm where all is fresh and unusual, yet somehow familiar and comfortable. Like your own backyard after the season's first snowfall, behold a world you know instinctively but even so are seeing in a brand new way. 

The very name "Snowland" sealed my enthusiasm for this work. I immediately apprehended that Snowland has a genuine existence—that it's always somewhere, even if it's not necessarily in any one place at any given time. So convinced was I that the Boyers had a genuine insight and weren't simply dreaming it all up, I actually delved through hundreds of years' worth of old family magazines in search of antique windows into Snowland. I was looking for evidence of a realm that promised new beginnings (snowfall providing a clean slate, as it were) and unique adventures (tobogganing, anyone?), all the while requiring both a heightened vigilance (for thin ice, deep drifts, and slippery slopes) and a keen eye for archetypes at play. "Playful alertness" might describe the state of mind. 

My research proved fruitful, and I contributed to the Snowland Blog dozens of compatible illustrations going back to the early 1800s. Many of the images precisely capture the whimsical spirit of the Boyers' project, a favorite being a glorified Lovers card in which a mischievous boy and girl throw snowballs at a statue of Cupid. Yet none of these antiquated illustrations are mirrors of the Snowland cards. In other words, the Boyers are offering wholly original vistas into this magical landscape.

The cards of the Snowland deck are like snowflakes in that they invite close examination to reveal intricate details. They are also like snowflakes in that they combine to form beautiful scenes prime for playful exploration. The playfulness is crucial, if we are to follow the wisdom of the Scythian philosopher Anacharsis: "Play so that you may be serious." Finally, every excursion into the heart of Snowland inevitably turns inward. We're guided into profound contemplation, as cozy and illuminating as coming indoors after building a snowman and kneeling before the hearth to warm your frozen fingers back to life.

— Craig Conley, author of Magic Words: A Dictionary and creator of the Tarot of Portmeirion

I'll be adding his foreword to both the Smashwords and Kindle version of the Snowland Deck Companion. And should I decide to make the book available in print...there, too. Thanks so much, Craig!

-- Janet


Why I'm Not Doing the Next Best Fiction Author Contest

Fic contestWhen I stumbled on a Facebook page announcing a Next Best Fiction Author Contest, I was intrigued.

Even more so when I realized it was sponsored by Hampton Roads, the publisher of my first book, Back in Time Tarot.

In addition to my Tarot writing, I'm also working on the first book of a cozy mystery series called Scry Me a River. I'm almost done with Chapter 5 with 11,000+ words written

Hmm. I thought. Might be interesting to enter my mystery novel in this contest. After all, I had a great experience with Hampton Roads for my first book.

So after I signed up for the free contest, I asked a question on the Next Best Author Facebook page. Radio silence. Weeks later, still no response.

According to NextBestAuthorContest.com, contestants will download the first two chapters on April 15th. We were to watch for "important details" via email. Well, here it is, April 10...and no details.

Fic contest 2I just visited the Next Best Author Facebook page to check for updates and what do I find? Several individuals asking for specific information on the contest and downloading files...with no replies to them, either.

So, I've decided to not enter the Next Best Fiction Author Contest for the following reasons:

1. Hampton Roads publishes Mind/Body/Spirit titles...not fiction. Whether they're trying to enter the fiction market is unknown, but why should I risk my fiction book on a company with no fiction traction?

2. The website appears to be secondary to an "Author Training Course" taught by Randy Davila...for a price. It appears he's modeling himself after Reid Tracy and Hay House in terms of reaching out to authors. 

3. The contest hinges on "public voting", so it will probably be easy to game the system. The website doesn't disclose if popular vote snags the contract, or a combination of total votes and editorial approval.

4. Hampton Roads doesn't have a social media presence for their titles. At all. Sure, Randy Davila does--as president of Insight Events, Hierophant Publishing and Hampton Roads. But, again, these are all "how we can help you get published" campaigns that cost authors money. How is the promise of giving the winning author a "social media presence" an incentive, if the founder of Hampton Roads doesn't even have a dedicated FB page, Twitter account or blog specifically featuring--and about--Hampton Roads titles? Since Hampton Roads is now distributed by Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari--now the Red Wheel Group--it appears that Mr. Davila has allowed his titles to become folded in with the RWG's social media efforts. But, again, you'd be hard pressed to find dedicated posts or tweets about actual Hampton Roads books or authors. 

Thus, why would I want to enter my novel-in-progress for the Next Best Fiction Author Contest if:

  • I have a larger social media presence than Hampton Roads
  • Hampton Roads doesn't have dedicated social media for their titles
  • Hampton Roads doesn't even publish fiction
  • They (or Mr. Davila) doesn't care enough to answer queries on the Facebook page
  • No further details have been forthcoming since advertising the contest in March 2013

What do you think, dear reader? Does this look like an attractive contest to you? Or just a clever way to promote their "Author Training Course", hoping that authors desperate for publication (and increasing their odds for the contest) will fork over $100 or more for such "training"?

-- Janet


The Bully (and Coward) Archetype

Foot on headThe archetype of the Bully manifests the core truth that the spirit is always stronger than the body. Symbolically, our physical bodies can ‘bully’ our spirits with any number of reasons why we should back down from our challenges, which appear to overwhelm us by their size and shape….Conventional wisdom holds that underneath a bully is a coward trying to keep others from discovering his true identity. Symbolically, the Cowards within must stand up to being bullied by his own inner fears, which is the path to empowerment through these two archetypes.” – Caroline Myss, in Sacred Contracts

Goliath, Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future films, Bluto from Popeye, Patty Farrell in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films, Mean Girls, Lotso Bear from Toy Stoy 3, Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts…the Bully archetype is arguably one of the most recognizable in literature and film.

Fortunately, there’s now a strong anti-bullying movement, largely because modern, technological breeding grounds for this archetype—Facebook, texting, YouTube and other social media outlets—spawned a new mutation known as the Cyber-Bully.

But before I get into the hallmarks of the Bully archetype, as well as examples, it’s important to be clear on what a Bully is not.

A Bully is NOT someone who’s merely:

  • Patty smallMean
  • Aggressive
  • A Bitch

  • A Jerk
  • Competitive
  • Ambitious
  • Confident
  • Confrontational
  • Satirical
  • Exposing

In the wake of the anti-bullying movement, some have taken the cause too far by calling anyone that offends them, or those they disagree with, a “Bully”. And, because the anti-bullying movement has been embraced and lauded, those deemed “a Bully” have a hard time coming out from under the label, even if it’s simply not true.

You see, many who champion the anti-bullying movement are, themselves, carries of the Bully/Coward archetype. Let me be clear: no archetype is, in and of itself, negative—regardless of whether a society, culture or tribe deems it so. And, just because someone is a carrier of an archetype does NOT mean that they participate in the negative or shadow qualities of that archetype.

Caroline Myss goes on to say:

“Your relationship to this archetype should be evaluated within a framework far more expansive than evaluating whether you ‘bully’ people. Consider whether on your life path you confront one experience or relationship after another that appears to have more power than you and ultimately leads you to ask, ‘Will I stand up to this challenge?’ People are often called to take on bullies for the sake of others, as David did Goliath, and this is another criterion of you connection to this archetype.”

Thus, there are times that an individual calling another “Bully” the loudest are, in fact, the ones demonstrating the archetype (usually as the Coward).

Diesel smallerSurprisingly, one of the most consistent portrayals of the Bully is in the Thomas the Tank Engine series for kids. The earlier episodes of this series are appalling for this very reason. Although Diesel and Diesel 10 are the main Bullies, constantly picking on and threatening the “Steamies”, the rest of the Cowards on the Island of Sodor—especially the “Steamies”—get in on the act by bullying their fellow engines. Of course, they apologize to one another at the end, but they, too, get caught up in the whole Bully/Coward dynamic.

For the most part, unless in its Stalker permutation, the Bully needs an audience for his tactics. It may be only one sidekick or several sycophants, but the Bully needs someone to bolster his ego because, remember, inside every Bully is a Coward. Bullies are not genuinely courageous, strong or confident. Thus, they overcompensate by belittling those who catch their focus.

And focus is yet another hallmark of the Bully. A Bully hones in on one person or group and relentlessly follows his prey. In school, he follows his target through the halls, in the gym, at the playground, on the bus or during the walk home. He demands money “or I’ll kill you”. He pushes his targets to the ground, steals their books, flicks their ears, pulls their hair or taunts them with names.

That’s yet another hallmark of the Bully: lacking inventiveness or intelligence, they rely on one-note taglines or names like “fat”, “four-eyes”, “fag”, “loser”, “retard” or other horrendous labels. 


WestboroA prime example is the Westboro Baptist Church. These dumb-as-rocks Bullies protest military funerals and other sacred occasions, flinging their offensive names and rhetoric like fearful cavemen throwing stones at shadows.

With the Stalker permutation of the Bully, we have someone usually acting alone, in the shadows, anonymously. Not always, mind you. I had a pathetic Stalker who used her real name when she followed me all over Facebook, my blog, Twitter, Amazon, etc. But like most Bullies, she thought she had an “audience” to bolster her, when attacking me publicly was fashionable.

Stalkers call people on the phone to breathe heavily or unleash a diatribe of hate. Some leave 1-star reviews on Amazon, harass on Facebook or spread lies by contacting individuals with supposed “dirt” on their target. Obsessed with an individual, they just canNOT let it go.

Some call the police or other authorities—anonymously—to “report” someone they don’t like. These Cowards hope to have those stronger than them do their dirty work.

Studies have shown that males are not more likely to be a Bully than females, with rencent studies showing equal statistics for both genders. In fact, girls as young as three years old may exhibit Bully qualities.

GossipWhile males tend to be more physical--shoving, kicking or hitting--females exhibit the Bully pattern more subtly via gossiping, slandering and group exclusion. (Whoever's seen this pernicious behavior on Facebook, raise your hand).

Fueled by fear and insecurity, the Bully’s M.O. is intimidation and control. Thus, those that are deemed “weak” or “different” aren’t always their target. In fact, especially with Cyber-Bullies, they may target those who are successful, talented, creative or influential. Cyber-Bullies are miserable because they don’t have what someone has (in their eyes): power.

Yes, it’s all about power for the Bully.

A Bully’s labels and taunts isn’t about her target at all…but about how out-of-control and powerless she feels.

Sometimes, it takes a life challenge or particular set of circumstances to activate a latent archetype, including the Bully. For example, in the classic book Lord of the Flies, a group of schoolboys from Britain are evacuated during war. Their plane crashes on a deserted island, so the boys must fend for themselves. Jack, who was actually a head choirboy at his school, hungers for power from the very beginning. When the boys decided to elect Ralph as leader, Jack is furious. From then on, he pushes boundaries and attempts to subvert Ralph’s plans for group survival and efforts at rescue.


Early in the book, Jack—the Coward—couldn’t even kill a pig for his survival. Society’s mores and promise of punishment that kept him civilized and “in line” were still operative in his psyche. But as time wears on, Jack’s hostility and bullying of Piggy increases, as does his anti-social behavior. Finally, Jack becomes a Hunter and, with a cadre of sycophants in tow, exhibits alarming bloodlust. When the survivors are finally rescued, the British officer is horrified how these schoolboys have descended into savagery. 

Lotf smallInterestingly, Jack not only bullied his classmates via threats and actual violence, but also by creating an almost religious superstition--the vengeful Lord of the Flies, represented by the impaled pig's head. Fundamentalist religions often have superstitions and beliefs in place to instill fear in its followers. Again, a control tactic fueled by fear. One could argue that, in this light, Jehovah's constant threats to destroy "His people" or Christian ministers intimidating congregants with sermons saying "You're going to hell!" personify the Bully archetype, as well.

In terms of raising consciousness, identifying the shadow and acting in an empowering way, how does a person with a Bully archetype embrace this pattern?

Quite simply, by standing up to fear. That is, the fear within you. Instead of reacting to fear externally by trying to intimidate the "weak" or control those perceived as having "power", turn your Bully on your own fears. Do some serious psychological excavation and soul searching. Ask yourself the hard questions (with the help of a therapist or spiritual director, if need be). Be like the Cowardly Lion and seek true courage...the kind that only comes from ruthless self-examination and, then, self-acceptance.

When you are scared or feel threatened don't act out. Instead, go within and bully your fears. Tell them you won't be at their mercy. Acknowledge that others aren't your problem--it's your cowardice. Then man up (or woman up) by becoming truly powerful on your own, without the need, compulsion or obsession of trying to obtain it illegitimately by bullying others.

-- Janet


Archetypes - What Are They?


Hero thousand smallerIn his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, author mythologist Joseph Campbell says that Carl Jung defined archetypes thusly:

Forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constituents of myths and at the same time as autochthonous, individual products of unconscious origin.

What this means is that archetypes are universally recognizable patterns that are found in oral tradition, fairytales, movies, pop culture, sacred texts and mythology. A Mother in one culture is essentially the same in another on the other side of the world, as are archetypes such as the Hero, Hermit, Orphan, Teacher, Warrior, Knight or Fool.

Granted, there are permutations and shades of overreaching archetypes, but the core pattern is, essentially, the same.


The word “Autochthonous” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “sprung from the Earth itself” (without any parentage). They just are, with no origin. Interestingly, “autochthons” appear in Greek mythology as earthborn heroes and legends, sometimes sprouting from trees, fields or soil.


So Jung is saying that, sometimes, an archetype just seems to come out of nowhere, without the influence of a tribal mythos or grand story. Of course, when it comes to Jung, there’s really not a “nowhere”; he likely means out of the collective unconscious—a nebulous state residing in the ether or akasha, containing all the symbols, motifs and patterns that ever existed…a place visited in dreams and contacted via altered states.

People worldI believe that we can know the archetypes of our Sacred Contracts, which are different for each person, based on the patterns present in our lives. We discover them by asking questions like, What situations do I "always" find myself in? What kind of people am I attracted to? Repelled by? What are my strengths and talents? What roles are "so me"? What behavior patterns would my friends and family say are "so you"? What am I passionate about?

 Those questions will point out the strongest archetypes in your psyche faster than anything, and knowing and owning them will not only give you self-knowledge, but a sense of purpose and meaning.

As I stated in my post What You "Should" Be Doing:

 If you have meaning, but not the archetypal patterns to pull it off, you'll feel frustrated at best and angry at worst. The solution? Create personal meaning based on your prominent archetypal patterns. They are your support system and your fuel. Trying to adopt the "meaning" of others, especially without their archetypal support system, is a recipe for misery.

In her new book, Archetypes: Who Are You?, author Caroline Myss provides some fascinating quotes relating to archetypes:

Arch myss 350Discovering your archetypes is like being introduced to yourself at the soul level. You may not know yourself at this depth, or the power that your myths and symbols generate in your life. But you should, because these are the creative engines of your psyche and spirit. And knowing them can save your life.

Although archetypes are collective symbols that everyone in the culture shares, they can also speak to us individually, as personal archetypal patterns that are the foundation of our beliefs, drives, motivations, and actions, organizing and energizing all our relationships in life.

You may not be conscious of it, but you have been doing ‘archetypal power readings’ of people since you were a child—only you probably think of it as labeling someone or even judging them, if the label is a negative one. People watching is all about archetypal power readings—scanning strangers and instantly gathering information about their lives. What you are scanning for are what I call archetypal ‘fun facts’—common traits that are dead giveaways as to what a person is like.” “One way archetypes communicate with us is by energizing or animating our myths and fantasies."

You identify your archetypes in your stories, your patterns, your fears, your talents—all the things that are constant in your nature. What would you say is ‘typical’ of you? How do other people describe you?...Archetypes are patterns in which we know how the story goes… You know what’s true about your and always has been true….We can go for years denying our archetypal behavior patterns, but invariably at some point the archetype wins out. Something forces us to confront the pattern, and with that awareness, we reclaim our power.

Girl QAfter reading this post, are your wheels spinning? If so, have fun with me and answer a question or two!

Thinking about your own repeating patterns and modes of behavior, what archetypal patterns do you suspect you have? What traits or behaviors magentize you to another? What movies, characters and myths do you most identify with? I'd love to hear what you come up with!

-- Janet