Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Personal vs. Community

It's no secret that so much of writing is holing up in a vacant space and zeroing in on a computer screen or a notebook and shutting the world out.

We have to shut you out, you see. It's the only way the work can get done.

And yet. And yet I have always had this inner calling to be a fixer in my community. That's a large part of why it took me 10 years to write my first novel.

I take on too many causes. Join too many committees. Tackle too many problems. Problems that, ultimately, are not solvable by just me and perhaps not even in my lifetime, such as racism.

I'm a die-hard anti-racist. I run themes of this in my novel and I plan to write my second book just on this topic. It is more than a passion. It's a lifestyle. Diversity and acceptance are our family values.

So when does a writer know when enough is enough? How do we walk that very fine line of shutting out the world and yet being a part of that bigger picture of making it better?

I do not have the answers.

I know for myself that by establishing very firm values, it's easier to pick and choose which committees (between work and personal volunteer time I sit on 15 committees plus two board of directors).

Sometimes, it takes being militant about your schedule. No, I can't go out tonight. No, I can't talk tonight. No, I won't clean tonight. (my favorite!)

It's not that writers aren't interested in their community or economic development or community, it's that their jobs can't be done with people yelling in their ear with complaints.

Which is why I choose to stay on a committee as long as the vibe is positive and gets things done as opposed to sitting around complaining and not doing anything. Being there takes up energy in my mind and that means it's taking time away from my personal goals, my family and my home.

No, writing is not a social act by any means. But, by being active socially in the community and looking at the larger problems, writing is enhanced. Writers have more images, people and situations to draw from for content or plot, depending on what genre they work in.

I might not ever be the perfect volunteer because I am a writer and I'm always putting a writing project (and my kids) first. But, I would not be a great writer if I didn't at least try to be something more in my community than just a writer.

Photo: That's actually me participating in my first 5K race in the Race Against Racism this past April.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Family Artists Dates

Writing is just something I've come to known as my art form but most recently I've learned it's not the only art form that I enjoy. I happen to be much better at writing than most other types of mediums but nonetheless creating with my hands feels really good. Especially since writing a book of 90,000 words took so long, I found that doing a simple art project felt like a good accomplishment.

I learned to incorporate art very early into our family. In fact, the girls were 10 months old and still in high chairs when I decided to quit working full-time and I have video of using ketchup as paint on their high chair trays. That's how long we've been creating in the house. But, it's only been the last two years or so when I've started joining in, making their art time my art time as well.

If they are painting, I try to paint, too. If they are writing, I write, too.
These family art dates -- much like the idea behind Julia Cameron's artists dates -- are exactly what drives my creativity every single week. Without those simple, artistic moments, I would have nothing to offer. I live for those dates of making mini books, cutting paper and doing collages. I get some of my more creative ideas during these projects. I guess my muse lives amongst crayons and construction paper, sometimes.

To make the most of our artist dates, I follow these simple guidelines:

1. Plan Ahead -- Art is best when it comes natural but it's best to plan ahead and have some of the best art materials laying around so that we can do just about whatever we want when we're inspired.

Go with the flow -- Sometimes our art projects last two minutes, sometimes they last an hour. I have no expectations, no rules, no final product in mind. We just do it and the act of creating is what brings smiles to our faces. Everything they do is good enough. They are good enough.

Celebrate it all -- Sometimes a paper only has two lines on it. Celebrate that. Sometimes the googly eyes are all off. That's just fine. It's art. It's not fine art. It's supposed to be a fun process, not a final process.

Steal other ideas -- I steal so many ideas from my very good friend Jean at the Artful Parent, who I often wish I was neighbors with. I know our girls would just be the best of friends as would she and I. Pretty much most of her ideas, we take on around our house. But, there are so many other great Web sites with great family art ideas. There's not enough hours to do them all.

Make Art Every Day -- If it doesn't happen in the morning, we fit it in before or after dinner or just before bed. We get pretty cranky around these parts if we don't do an art project. It's how we go quiet together, as a family.

Use imagination -- The best piece of advice I ever read was in the girls first year, thanks to Jean, told me not to pigeon hole my girls art work. I don't tell them to draw anything, I don't tell them what I think their art looks like and I don't show them how to draw anything. Well, not much. By doing this, there is no right and wrong and they've grown by leaps and bounds under their own creativity, not mine. The result is that I have become so much more creative learning from their freedom and curiosity.

For a while, Dan, my husband, would get anxious during art projects. He wasn't accustomed to the messiness and just letting it go like I was. It does take a bit of restraint to just let them make a mess and not worry about it. That's where my spirituality comes into play and being mindful of the beauty of seeing two little girls' imaginations run wild.

In the picture above, Dan had created a maze for the girls with sidewalk chalk. It was a rare moment to draw something for them but they turned that maze into so much more -- a Zoo, where wild animals lived and a store, I think.

Sometimes we teach them a thing or two. But, mostly, we're the students learning how to shed the rules and just be artists even when our instinct is to say we're not good enough.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Live * Laugh * Write Weekend Inspiration

Just like every Friday around here, but this week the links were hot! Enjoy these lovelies that were inspiring me this past week.


10 Rules for Brilliant Women (or anyone, really)

Take a Creative Time Out.

101+ Kids Outdoor Activities (never just for kids)


Be Enough, won't ya?

I really want this. Like, seriously.

Have more Fun in life


Olympics and Writing

Like meditation, return to writing/creating every day

If Janet Fitch told me to jump off a cliff to be a great writer, I just might have to because I love, love, love, love her and I love her writing tips. Swoon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5 Ways to let go of Perfection

We all have those gremlins that haunt our every move. We know those bad things they say that we then internalize.

You're not good enough. You can't do it. You aren't as good as she is. What if no one likes me/it/this wonderful project I'm working on?

It took a long time to shed these thoughts, fight off the gremlins and rise above it to just do the impossible: follow a dream to the end.

Here are 5 Ways to let go of imperfection:

1. Show up ready to fight. Put your gloves on and wear a mouth guard. Be ready to roll with the punches but also fight back when the worst demons start hitting you in the gut. You are good enough for this project -- right now at this very moment. Why else would it be calling you?

2. Journal it. No matter the problem or the worry, write about it. Write about it until you can honestly not write about it anymore. Worried about not making enough money? Write about it? Worried that your next-door-neighbor's sister's cousin won't like your art, write about it. Worried you're not the next Picasso or Pulitzer Prize winner? Write about it. Write about it until there is nothing left to say. It just goes away after that.

3. Mess up. Go out of your way to create a piece of crap. Get it off your mind by just shoving it out there into the world and then crumble it up, if you want, and toss it away into the wind. Whoosh!

4. Roll up your sleeves. Work. Hard. Always. If you're a writer, write. If you're a volunteer, act. If you're an artist, paint/draw/whatever. It's not about wanting to be anything. It's about doing it.

5. See it through to the end: Vow to finish, even if it's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad art. It's OK if it's not perfect. Just finish. Finish, already!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time of your life: Balance

Even as I sit here now, I have in the back of my mind all that I know I should be doing -- cleaning the kitchen, reading the three books I've started, writing for my latest project, revising my novel ... relaxing, exercising, meditating, cooking.

Productivity has never been a flaw of mine. Being overly ambitious about productivity has been, though. Until I realized last year that juggling too much actually stalls my productivity, I had a million projects started. None were finished, though. Imagine that?

So, it has taken me a long time to be able to figure out how to return to blogging when I barely have enough time to spare with everything else that I'm supposed to be doing. I wonder how people fit it all in, if they have a magic key to some world I don't understand. But then I think about it again and realize that it doesn't matter. If I can't post here five days a week, the world will not end.

The balance begins with me. If I can fit these blog posts into a small window of my week, and still find ways to be fulfilled and energized about the rest of my real-world life, I will be that Happy Writer I keep talking about.

So much of the blogosphere inspires me and I owe the mother and woman I've become to the amazing people who devote time here in these sacred spaces online. I could never just give it up. I just have to find that delicate balance between being a great mom and being a blogger, again.

Photo credit: Dannerzz

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Muse: Solitude

Most of last year and the start of this year, I was feeling down and lost and irrelevant. I saw black and white and gray and nothing more. Desperate to figure out what was bothering me so much, I started doing some internal searching.

I devoted hours to writing lists, coaching myself for what was calling within me. I longed to be something more than I had been. What I had been was a go-between, a replacement, a proxy -- always on the edge of something, but never fully there as me, myself. I was the caretaker, the mother, the other half, the manager, the scheduler, the housekeeper, the notes keeper, and many other things.

I was never just me.

This bothered me. I knew I needed something for myself. After all, I built a career for 12 plus years on a simple phrase: my name. That's a big ego trip, you know.

To soothe myself, every day, I sat in quiet and wrote lists. Dozens of lists. (More on those in another post.)

By going inward and focusing on what was bothering me, I came upon something -- a feeling -- that lifted me up, that brought a smile to my face that kept me going, moving forward. Those moments -- and there were many, many, many -- helped me finish my novel.

I wanted to be something more.

More. I wanted to be relevant.

It wasn't a longing to be like others or to even be popular; it was about proving to myself that I am worth more than being a stand-in for other people. I am more than that.

I wanted to be authentically creative.

Solitude has become my best friend. At the end of a long day, I need silence. I need a room to myself. Before kids, I took this kind of peaceful state for granted; I could get it whenever I needed it. Now, it's like the gold nugget of my day and I relish it's fleeting presence, like a handful of sand slipping through my fingers.

Once I realized what I needed and wanted in life, my world fragmented into a billion colors, all beautiful. I was left with such happiness and inner peace.

This is what led me to create. This is what led me to sit down and write. This is what led me to write a 90,000-word novel. That made-up-just-for-fun world sustained me well enough but I couldn't have done it without peace and quiet to let the vision of images and words intersect at that point right between my eyes.

I just need to be left alone for a minute.

That is why this post spoke to me so much. It solidified many things I have been reflecting on in this post-first-book world. I need solitude as much as I need water and food. Without it, I am a mess, on edge and anxious. But, more than that, it helps me productive, helps guide me to what my intentions are for that one moment. Otherwise, my mind is drawn in too many directions and not the one direction I need to go in.

How about you? What do you need to sustain your creative energy? Do you need those connections or do you need quiet?

Photo Credit: Much thanks for this awesome image goes to Tori.Malea

Friday, July 16, 2010

Live * Laugh * Write Fridays

Just like last Friday, here's what's been inspiring me, guiding me, teaching me and moving me along this past week -- or the last year or more. (I save a lot of favorites for times like this.)


A New (Really Old) Way to Create Calm In Your World (Or, learn to stop everything)

The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People (Is this why I love to be alone so much?)

(and play)

We're making our way through
this list of Summer To-Do's

What Color was your Day? (I really want to start this myself, maybe with Sharpies!)

Build a Summer Playlist (share it with someone or here with me)


Life Gets in the Way

Who do you write like? (it's a viral link but fun!)

How about you? What's inspiring you this week?

photo credit: chaosinjune

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This and That Thursdays

I've been a bad blogger the past two years. I've hardly blogged, yes, but more than that -- I've not been supporting the very people who have been supporting me. So, in no particular order, I am going to pay it forward here on Thursdays to some of my writing friends and teachers.

First up ...

Writer Mama Christina Katz

She is always up to great things. I read her newsletters and just fall asleep from the exhaustion. Then again, I am no less busy. In fact, I love how she stays so busy but still maintains a fierce smile and positive attitude. I adore her but she knows that. You can learn more about her by reading her newly created blog The Prosperous Writer, reading her books Get Known Before the Book Deal or Writer Mama. I read and loved her most recent project, an e-book, called Author Mama, geared to women who want to publish a non-fiction book. Just good knowledge.

I took two of Christina's classes mid-freelance career and gained so much from her wisdom and ability to push me from being a "lazy" writer to a prosperous writer. She really taught me a lot! Thanks, Christina! And, here's an interview!

An Interview with Christina Katz

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids for Writer’s Digest Books. She has written hundreds of articles for national, regional, and online publications, presents at literary and publishing events around the country, and is a monthly columnist for the Willamette Writer. Katz publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, and hosts The Northwest Author Series. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. A “gentle taskmaster” to her hundred or so students each year, Katz channels over a decade of professional writing experience into success strategies that help writers get on track and get published.

Q: What is a platform?

CK: Long story short: Your platform communicates your expertise to others, and it works all the time so you don’t have to. Your platform includes your Web presence, any public speaking you do, the classes you teach, the media contacts you’ve established, the articles you’ve published, and any other means you currently have for making your name and your future books known to a viable readership. If others already recognize your expertise on a given topic or for a specific audience or both, then that is your platform.

A platform-strong writer is a writer with influence. Get Known explains in plain English, without buzzwords, how any writer can stand out from the crowd of other writers and get the book deal. The book clears an easy-to-follow path through a formerly confusing forest of ideas so that even the most inexperienced platform-builder can get started building a solid platform.

Q: Why is platform development important for writers today?

CK: Learning about and working on a solid platform plan gives writers an edge in selling books. Agents and editors have known this for years and have been looking for platform-strong writers and getting them deals. But from the writer’s point-of-view, there has not been enough information on platform development to help unprepared writers put their best platform forward.

Now suddenly, there is a flood of information on platform, not all necessarily comprehensive, useful or well organized for folks who don’t have a platform yet. Writers can promote themselves in a gradual, grounded manner without feeling like they are selling out. I do it, I teach other writers to do it, I write about it on an ongoing basis, and I encourage all writers to heed the trend. And hopefully, I communicate how in a practical, step-by-step manner that can serve any writer. Something we never hear enough is that platform development is an inside job requiring concentration, thoughtfulness and a consideration of personal values.

Q: Why was a book on platform development needed?

CK: At every conference I presented, I took polls and found that about 50 percent of attendees expressed a desire for a clearer understanding of platform. Some were completely in the dark about it, even though they were attending a conference in hopes of landing a book deal. Writers often underestimate how important platform is and they often don’t leverage the platform they already have as much as they could. Since book deals are granted largely based on the impressiveness of a writer’s platform, I wanted to address the communication gap.

My intention was that Get Known would be the book every writer would want to read before attending a writer’s conference, and that it would increase any writer’s chances of landing a book deal whether they pitched in-person or by query. As I wrote the book, I saw how this type of information was being offered online as “insider secrets” at outrageous prices. No one should have to pay thousands of dollars for the information they can find in my book for the price of a paperback! Seriously. You can even ask your library to order it and read it for free.

Q: What is the key idea behind Get Known Before the Book Deal?

CK: Getting known doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take an understanding of platform, and the investment of time, skills and consistent effort to build one. Marketing experience and technological expertise are also not necessary. I show how to avoid the biggest time and money-waster, which is not understanding who your platform is for and why – and hopefully save writers from the confusion and inertia that can result from either information overload or not taking the big picture into account before they jump into writing for traditional publication.

Q: Why is there so much confusion about platform among writers?

Often writers with weak platforms are over-confident that they can impress agents and editors, while others with decent platforms are under-confident or aren’t stressing their platform-strength enough. Writers have to wear so many hats these days, we can use all the help we can get. Platform development is a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Anyone can do it, but most don’t or won’t because they either don’t understand what is being asked for, or they haven’t overcome their own resistance to the idea. Get Known offers a concrete plan that can help any writer make gains in the rapidly changing and increasingly competitive publishing landscape.

Q: What is the structure of the book and why did you choose it?

CK: Get Known has three sections: section one is mostly stories and cautionary tales, section two has a lot of to-do lists any writer should be able to use, and section three is how to articulate your platform clearly and concisely so you won’t waste a single minute wondering if you are on the right track.

Most of the platform books already out there were for authors, not writers or aspiring authors. To make platform evolution easy to comprehend, I dialed the concepts back to the beginning and talked about what it’s like to try and find your place in the world as an author way before you’ve signed a contract, even before you’ve written a book proposal. No one had done that before in a book for writers. I felt writers needed a context in which to chart a course towards platform development that would not be completely overwhelming.

Q: At the front of Get Known, you discuss four phases of the authoring process. What are they?

CK: First comes the platform development and building phase. In this phase you are developing authority and trust. Second comes the book proposal development phase (or if you are writing fiction, the book-writing phase). In this phase, you are leveraging your expertise and your persuasive writing skills. Third, comes the actual writing of the book (for fiction writers this is likely the re-writing of the book). In this phase, you demonstrate that you are a skilled writer, who understands how to craft polished prose. And finally, once the book is published, comes the book marketing and promoting phase. In this final phase, you leverage all your existing influence and connect with as many readers as you can.

Many first-time authors scramble once they get a book deal if they haven’t done a thorough job on the platform development phase. Writers who already have a platform have influence with a fan base, and they can leverage that influence no matter what kind of book they write. Writing a book is a lot easier if you are not struggling to find readers for the book at the same time. Again, agents and editors have known this for a long time.

Q: What are some common platform mistakes writers make?

CK: Here are a few:

• They don’t spend time clarifying who they are to others.
• They don’t zoom in specifically on what they offer.
• They confuse socializing with platform development.
• They think about themselves too much and their audience not enough.
• They don’t precisely articulate all they offer so others get it immediately.
• They don’t create a plan before they jump online.
• They undervalue the platform they already have.
• They are overconfident and think they have a solid platform when they have only made a beginning.
• They burn out from trying to figure out platform as they go.
• They imitate “insider secrets” instead of trusting their own instincts.
• They blog like crazy for six months and then look at their bank accounts and abandon the process as going nowhere.

Suffice it to say that many writers promise publishers they have the ability to make readers seek out and purchase their book. But when it comes time to demonstrate this ability, they can’t deliver.

Q: You write, teach, speak and blog. What motivates you?

My mission is to empower writers to be 100 percent responsible for their writing career success and stop looking to others to do their promotional work for them. Get Known shows writers of every stripe how to become the writer who can not only land a book deal, but also influence future readers to plunk down ten or twenty bucks to purchase their book. It all starts with a little preparation and planning. The rest unfolds from there. But you’ve got to start working on your platform today, if you want to become an author some day. Get Known can help anyone get off to a solid start.

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids for Writer’s Digest Books. She has written hundreds of articles for national, regional, and online publications, presents at literary and publishing events around the country, and is a monthly columnist for the Willamette Writer. Katz publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, and hosts The Northwest Author Series. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. A “gentle taskmaster” to her hundred or so students each year, Katz channels over a decade of professional writing experience into success strategies that help writers get on track and get published. Learn more at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Sun, The Sun

Sometime mid-winter I started obsessing over the sun -- all the time.

I mean, needing the sun. I needed the sun's warmth to kiss my body and heal it. I needed its beauty to brighten my days. I wasn't depressed, I just needed the sun.

It started with the song at the end of this post.

The natural world has been calling me my whole life but I only now recognize that pull, that gravitational pull that sweeps me in and wraps itself around me as it relates to the seasons and the stress in my life.

When we lived in the city, I was obsessed with trees. Big, tall, comforting trees. I longed for their wisdom, their shelter, the way they withstand all the elements and still stand strong. I wanted to be able to weather the violence that we were witnessing week in and week out.

I began celebrating Summer and Winter Solstice privately a couple years ago, but it was last year when I felt the girls were old enough to celebrate, too, that I started taking it to a new level.

This year, I truly celebrated for me. I needed to celebrate the sun's beauty and thank it for rising every day for me and bringing such light and clarity and warmth.

This year, I woke at 4 a.m. on the morning of Summer Solstice on June 21st, a Monday no less. Drove 15 minutes to pick up a friend and then another 20 minutes to a dark parking lot in the country. We hiked an easy trail up to the top of a tall hill (the girls would call it a mountain) overlooking the river -- the same river that was the view for our wedding. The hike up took about 10 minutes -- and once at the top we entered a sacred circle -- a tribe of other sun fans in a service led by American Indians.

We were smudged as we entered the circle and then we waited for the program to start. The elder told us about the importance of the longest day of the year in his culture and our reasons for being there were instantly all the same.

He led a traditional American Indian prayer and then we meditated and watched as he held his arms out to the dark sky and the sun inch by inch rose up, up, up above the horizon. It was miraculous the way she just rose up after his prayer was over. It was a heavenly moment, perfectly timed, and leaves you feeling a part of a great miracle.

I walked away that day with even more respect for the sun and I feel a connection to it.

Pictured above is my friend Stacey who bravely attended the Summer Solstic service with me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Creative Souls are Born

I was a mere 22, a youngster just out of college, fresh on the cops beat at a very small daily in my hometown. I lived with a portable scanner hooked on my pants or in my bag. I kept the sound low, but I was on call 24/7. I wrote about fires, crashes and murders. It was a hellish but thrilling life, a job that taught me more about working and humanity and the world than all 16 years of school. Perhaps this is why I am beyond my 36 years.

It was a job I actually didn't even want - such has been the case for most of my jobs in life.

One weekend I helped my best friend work in the local strip mall for that year's Domestic and Sexual Violence Clothesline Project. The shirts, all red or purple, were decorated by someone who was a survivor or a family member of a victim. They were moving as an installation; each one pulled at your heartstrings a little more than the one next to it.

A woman, in her early 30s, walked up and she was distraught and crying and begging to buy one of the shirts -- one about being raped. We tried in various ways to explain to her that the shirts were not for sale. She walked away more upset.

That week, I started a novel about that stranger. I wrote nearly 20,000 words.

Then Life got in the way.

I got a new job a year later, met my future husband, married, suffered infertility, got pregnant, WITH TWINS, had the twins, went through post-postpartum that I only now recognize as post-postpartum, raised the twins to little girls, where they now rest in a pretty easy state.

Along the way, I worked at another newspaper, writing, of course, then quit that to give back to my community in a role that managed mentors for teen moms, quit to be a Stay at Home Mom, then quickly became a Work-at-Home mom who freelanced by day and night while being a full-time mother. They were all hard and fulfilling. But they did all have one thing in common: Searching for more, seeking more, waiting for more.

I was always watching the clock for what was next, never just enjoying what I already had. Frankly, I do not regret that time for it led me to where I am now, to this place of still and calm (for the most part).

I'm not there anymore. I'm beyond all of it. I'm not waiting to get married, I already am. I'm not longing to get pregnant, I'm done with that. And, I am not writing to pay the bills, I'm writing for the fun of writing. More than that, the bills are paid and we're in a pretty stable place as a family.

The time is right. Do I think back and wonder why it took 11 years to write a novel? Yes, I have, but it was only this past year when the time was ripe, when I had the clear mind and the clarity to do it. I no longer question it but understand it and accept it. This realization is helping me move forward, making up for lost time.

And that's how my Creative Soul was born. How about you? When was yours born? Or, is it still evolving and growing and finding a place it can be sustained?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday's Muse: Music

Some time around 60K words in my novel, I discovered writing to music. I had always written with some music in the background -- wordless music -- but I had never tried to use the music as a tool.

What was I thinking? It literally transformed my writing power from sluggish to full-speed-ahead.

Where I had always been thinking of music as a distraction, I found the right song at the right time strengthen my craft and encouraged me to write longer and more intensely.

I learned to use the music to help pace scenes, set the tone for the emotion as well as show the right kind of energy. Fast-paced music helped get through exciting scenes while slower, low-tempo music helped scenes full of feelings and internal thought.

Here's the playlist of some of my favorite songs/groups to help me write my novel. The first two just happen to be my top choice for all occasions.

Dana Parish
Missy Higgins
Sigur Ros
Ben Harper

I also enjoyed a little Indian music, inspired by Sex and the City 2 and Celtic Woman, inspired by a service at our church in honor of women.

How about you? What music do you like to write to? Let's share and expand our writing playlists. I'll post your choices in next Monday's post if you leave a comment or post a link to play along.

Photo credit: Mara~ earth light

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Live * Laugh * Write Fridays

I'm getting this writing house in order. It's long overdue and yet it feels like the time couldn't be more ripe. I am full of life and love and have created so much space for writing to flow into my life.

Not just writing, though. All things Creative. All things artistic. All things simple, and beautiful. It's a good place to be.

So, to start off this reentry into blogging -- an adventure for a working mom with lots of stuff going on, no doubt -- I am introducing a series related to my Web site, my mantra and my attitude.

It's nothing more than I have to live and laugh (which to me means play and have loads of fun) before I can sit down and write. That I must live and laugh through the pages of what I'm writing so that I can be what I call The Happy Writer. When I do all of these things, I am a Happy Woman. It's really that simple. Oddly enough. So, enough is enough. Here are some great resources you should check out related to this whole living, laughing and writing theme. Every Friday it will be here, waiting for you, holding your hand to ease you into your weekends.


If you seriously can't execute (at least) one of your ideas after reading this post, then I'm just going to snap

Create a Summer playlist


What do you want to do with your life?

7 Ways to make your living space more fun


Breathe life into your fiction

Organize yourself to get writing

A big thanks to Jean at The Artful Parent, too, for featuring our repurposed toys turned art supply bins project that are in the picture above. She graciously linked to my mom blog and I'm grateful always for her weekly creative inspiration.