Creative Genius in a Pile of Colored Construction Paper

For more information on the artist and examples of her incredible work, visit her website JenStark.com.

Persistence Pays Off for Writers

Dani Shapiro says writers’ tenacity reminds her of a terrier with a bone, but it has its benefits.

In an essay posted on The Inner Writer, bestselling author Dani Shapiro writes about how difficult it has become for new writers to succeed in the publishing world today.  With a focus on blockbusters and bestsellers, she wonders how writers will be able to take the time and put in the effort needed “to create  something original and resonant and true?”

For most writers, the writing life is not the red carpet life.  There are no lush scenes of privilege and excess.  What writers get instead, she writes “is this miserable trifecta: uncertainty, rejection, disappointment.”

Woo hoo! Where do I sign up?

Ms. Shapiro’s insight is discouraging, but it’s also realistic.  It’s a tough door to break through, but there is still room in the market for the newcomers.  By focusing on the writing itself, and not on publishing, perhaps we can we can find the courage and the dogged tenacity to keep going when the rejections and doubts start piling up.  That’s when we’ll find that the risks are worth the rewards.

To read the essay, please visit:  A writing career becomes harder to scale.

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Your Brain on Write is a series of posts
exploring scientific, psychological
and cognitive aspects of writing and creativity.
Click here to see additional posts in the series.

Resources:  The Inner Writer, Dani Shapiro, The Daily Post


Seven Prompts for Silent Writers

Tonight at 9 EST and PST, the Silent Writers Collective holds its weekly online writing retreat.  All writers are welcome to join in and …

Zip it!

You can work on your own project or use one of the writing exercises below.

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Intercessions”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From Writer’s Digest: Writing Prompts (10 pages of them!)
  6. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  7. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers who want to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST and PST on Twitter or Facebook.

For more information, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Quincy Jones

“I’ve always thought
that a big laugh is a
really loud noise
from the soul saying,
‘Ain’t that the truth.'”

— Quincy Jones

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Quincy Jones celebrates his 78th birthday today.  The musician, composer,  producer, and arranger has a lot to celebrate.  In addition to receiving National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama last week, Mr. Jones is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 nominations and 27 awards.  The list of his awards and accomplishments is too long to include here, but his life’s work is an inspiration.  To read a quick biography, visit his bio page on  QuincyJones.com.

The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: QuincyJones.com, The Daily Post

A Thousand Words: Intercessions

Creative Commons image by Josh Frank on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A Thousand Words is a photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the image will inspire you to write a short story, a poem, or a blog post.  Whatever your response, I hope the picture inspires you to some sort of creative zen.

If you write something based on the image, feel free to share a link in the comments section.   Also feel free to use the photo on your blog, just be sure to give proper credit, which I will always include in the post or the caption.

Resources: Creative Commons, Flickr, The Daily Post

Beyond The Edge: Waterfalls

Waterfalls are among the most beautiful, peaceful, and powerful of nature’s phenomena.  What constitutes a waterfall varies depending on whom you ask, but what is certain is that it is water flowing over an area, falling over the edge, and dropping onto the surface below.

That’s a pretty dry (pardon the pun) description of a waterfall, and while pictures bring them to life a little bit more, they don’t begin to do them justice.  I’m often disappointed when I look through my pictures after a waterfall hunting trip because I have yet to take a photo that translates the experience strongly enough.

Still … they’re fun to look at.

Photos © Olivia Tejeda.  All rights reserved.

To hunt down a few waterfalls of your own, check out the U.S. Waterfall Map from geology.com.

Resources: Geology.com, The Daily Post

Ralph Waldo Emerson Was a Silent Writer

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s often hard, sometimes it feels impossible, to pull away from the noisy chaos of daily life to make time for the creative life.

The Silent Writers Collective was created in response to that challenge and we meet online every Tuesday at 9 pm EST for an online writing retreat.  The retreat is open to all writers, especially those who find it hard to put aside distractions and find the time to write.

You can work on your own project or the writing prompts below will help you get started if you don’t have a project to work on.

  1. From PW.org: Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Joyful Moment”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From @Selorian on Twitter: #storystarters
  6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

The Silent Writers online writing retreat welcomes any writer who wants to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST on Twitter or Facebook.

For more information, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Toni Morrison

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Denise Chan Photo, The Daily Post

A Thousand Words: Joyful Moment

Image courtesy of Clairspics on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A Thousand Words is a photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the image will inspire you to write a journal entry, a short story, a poem, or a blog post.  Maybe it will inspire you to go running joyfully in a field of flowers. For those in the still chilly regions, maybe you’ll go buy a bouquet to sniff and enjoy.  Whatever your response, I hope the picture inspires you to some sort of creative zen.

If you write something based on the image, feel free to share a link in the comments section.   Also feel free to use the photo on your blog, just be sure to give proper credit, which I will always include in the post or the caption.

Resources: Creative Commons, Flickr, The Daily Post