Tag Archives: Writing Blog

A Busy Summer of Writing Arrives

A few writing and book topics on a very hot Summer Solstice:

I love writing in summer. The longer daylight hours, warmer weather, presence of trees and plants everywhere, and completion of a college year seem to conspire to throw this writer’s creativity into high gear.

This summer is especially prodigious. In six weeks, on August 1, Dr. Steve Victorson and I will celebrate the publication of our book, The Champion’s Way. Developed from Steve’s doctoral dissertation at Boston University, The Champion’s Way has been a dream project as a book writer, editor, former sportswriter and coach: a look at the 11 distinctive qualities that champions master over all others. However, we make this discussion engaging, with more than 50 interviews with various Olympic and World Champions, along with dozens of other sports anecdotes. Anyone can become a champion of themselves in life, business, the arts, education or sports. That’s our core message — master the 11 qualities.

We spent more than three years writing and rewriting this book. What is especially endearing is that the book is releasing during the first days of the London Summer Olympics — a perfect companion read to see how these great athletes tick.

The Champion’s Way will be available for pre-order in the next few weeks on Amazon.com. The official website will be up by July 10. Meantime, visit our Facebook page.

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The other book I’ve been writing for years, Voice Lessons, is also finished. Am now conducting the final polishing edit after ten years, three complete rewrites, and a restructuring of the plot after it almost sold to Dutton in 2003. The novel is a father-daughter-daughter relationship piece set against the backdrop of a legendary music group that reunites after many years. The main protagonist, music legend Tom Timoreaux, heads out for a long-awaited reunion tour with his band, The Fever, and hires his daughter, Christine, as a backup vocalist. In the course of the book, she becomes a superstar. I won’t spoil the surprises and emotional content of the book, but I will add that the book also provides a panoramic backdrop of the last century of American music, and how the rock and roll pioneers not only drew from many influences, but lived and breathed music in ways that would be really refreshing to see from more of today’s stars.

The book’s official website – with “backstage” passes, Fever “tour schedules,” lyrics to the 80 original songs I wrote for my characters, and much more to entertain music fans everywhere — will be available for viewing in August, and publication is scheduled for Spring 2013.

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Also releasing in Spring 2013, Backroad Melodies, my fifth collection of poetry and essays. This will be my first released poetry collection since The River-Fed Stone in 2008, and it will feature 50 new poems plus 10 essays — including a multi-paneled tribute to my friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder, drawn from our many discussions, good times and readings.

One of my personal favorites from this collection is the essay, “For The Lifelong Love Of Learning,” in which I share my own personal experiences with students and faculty through Education for Life, one of the best and most principled systems ever created to inspire, motivate and inform students on what ultimately matters in their intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical development.

We’ll keep you posted on Backroad Melodies. Look for preordering and other information by Holiday 2012.

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Not to be outdone, we will begin our new e-book line in Fall 2012 with The Best of The Word Journeys Blog, featuring the most popular and commented-upon pieces from the first 100 postings of this blog. Several of the blogs went viral, owing to the beauty of social media, and several others ended up in unexpected places (such as Christian Science Monitor’s Culture Cafe), with unexpected readers — back stories that I share in the run-ups to the pieces.

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I’m also working on a very special and unique project, The Legacy Series: Innovations and Technology, with my associate, Lisa Maine, and my friends and colleagues at Innovative Properties Worldwide in Denver. This special publication, which will be available over the holidays as a print magazine, e-book, mobile App and iPad publication, focuses on what we need greatly in this country economically: more innovation, vision and complete commitment to the business models revealing themselves for today and tomorrow. We launched this publication as a tribute to the memory and contributions of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. We depart from Jobs’ enormous impact as an inventor, visionary and businessman to look at the seven industries that Apple products either created or infused, as well as developments in a wide variety of areas.

One of my favorite jobs when developing and editing a specialty publication like The Legacy Series is the interviewing process. During this time, I love hearing the visions, ideas and strategies of forward-thinking CEOs, who have one eye on their bottom lines and the other on tomorrow’s marketplace. You’ll hear from plenty of CEOs throughout the publication.

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The end of summer brings with it one of my favorite writing conferences at which to present: The Southern California Writers Conference. This conference has been partially or wholly responsible for more than $3 million in publishing deals for first-time authors. In the past two years, it also has established the reputation as one of the best conference resources for up-to-the-minute developments in the ever-accelerating digital book world, and what it requires of authors. I will be presenting two workshops, with topics to be drawn from: editing your own manuscripts; writing your book’s business plan; repurposing content for print and online use; and/or a creative writing intensive.

The SCWC features top editors, publishers and agents, all of whom are looking for great books and authors. The workshops are first-class, and we have read-and-critique group sessions that are second to none … including the infamous Rogue Read & Critiques, which start at 9 p.m. and end at … well, the record is 6:45 a.m.

Be sure to click onto the SCWC’s website and register now if you plan to attend. It’s well worth every penny.

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Like I said, summer is a great time to breathe deeply, expand the mind into the warm, open air, and see what comes back creatively.  Enjoy your writing and reading … and most of all, the sun and warmth.

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Your Journal, Your Goldmine

Here We Go!

Since blogging has become the preferred form of open-faced journaling for so many, I will open this blog by sharing some of the ways writers can use their journals to further their skills, ideas and works.

I’ll start with an admission: About 200 of the exercises in my new book, The Write Time: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life, began as seeds in my journal. I jotted down a few words, let them germinate, then worked them into exercises that I later presented to students in workshops. But they began in the safe, quiet environment of my journal.

I teach a workshop called, “Your Journal, Your Goldmine.” The premise is pretty simple: every writer should consider his or her journal not a diary or rote recitation of events, but a chemistry lab of sorts. Only in this lab, you don’t put on the protective white smock; you take it off. Use your journal to practice various forms of writing, test out techniques or character voices, and grow the ideas that you have germinated. I find that writers who test out their countless ideas through journaling sessions avoid much of the later frustration of starting a book or essay, only to see it wither halfway through when the initial emotional steam is gone.

Seven ways in which you can make your journal work for you:
1) Experiment with character voices and dialogue. This includes dialects, colloquialisms, slang and accents particular to your character’s locale.
2) Experiment with words, phrases, similes and metaphors. Similes and metaphors are all about painting visual connections through language.
3) Flesh out your ideas; see if they go somewhere. If they do, write them out!
4) Explore your deepest feelings and observations, and don’t stop if it gets uncomfortable or intense. Go all the way; reveal, reveal, reveal. The deeper you go, the deeper you write – in your point of view, as well as your characters’.
5) Write about something new every day.
6) Experiment with genres. Try writing a poem instead of a short story, or a memoir-like vignette instead of an essay. The more pliable you become with genres, the more you can shape the form your pieces take.
7) People-watch, especially when traveling. Capture their faces, movements, feelings you have when watching them.

You can also use your journal as a way to heal from physical or emotional injury or trauma. Though it was originally written to address survivors of traumatic brain injury, a fine new book by my friend, Barbara Stahura, really captures this mode of journaling: After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story ($30)

Journal every day, if possible. I’ve been journaling in my journal, “A Day In The Life,” almost daily since 1977; it’s now up to about 70 notebooks in size. But that doesn’t matter; what matters is the collection of life, observations, experiences, adventures, riffs on other authors and poets and their works, unfinished stories and poems, people, discovering new means of expression, word experiments, notes from writer’s conferences and workshops, and all the hours of practice that lie within. Once you’ve journaled for awhile – say, a year or two – you will be able to look back and find ideas, or writing “riffs,” that went nowhere at the time … but “hit the mark” for something you seek to write.

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