Monday, December 15, 2008

9 Year Old Lands Movie Deal

Here's an article regarding a 9 year old who lands a movie deal for his school project 'How to Talk to Girls.'

Hmmm, not sure how I feel about this one.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All Your Words Matter

Now that Nanowrimo is done for another year, how did everyone do?

I managed to write over 11,000 words. I'm happy with the word count because I know it's the start of something great.

The thing that I learned from Nano is not to over think what you are writing. When you start to edit before the words hit the page, you set yourself up for frustration and disappointment.

When you write like everything you put onto the page matters, then you are in that state of mind where you can be honest with your story.

Stop thinking about it and make every day a Nanowrimo day .

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Writing Courses That Will Make You Smile!

So, what's stopping you from writing? Time? Ideas? Inspiration? Confidence? The kids?

I feel your pain. When there are 200 loads of laundry staring you in the face, a whiny dog that needs walking and 2 children that need to be fed, where can you squeeze in the time to write?

For these reasons, and more, I've decided to create an online writing course for those people looking for a way to get the ball rolling.

For six weeks, you will work on a writing project that you've always wanted to work on. You'll work on an outline, begin your book/story, develop character and discover that you have all the tools available to write whatever you want to write! Even if you are lacking in the idea department, I can help steer you in the direction that you want to go in.

The best thing: You'll receive the guidance and feedback to help you continue with your writing--and the confidence to send it to agents and publishers.

Only 20 spots available for each class!
3 Starting Dates:
December 7, 2008
January 11, 2009
February 15, 2009

Cost: Only $65.00 Canadian

Get your feet wet and set your writing free. Now is the time to take that step.
Register by email at . In your email, ensure you specify which date you are registering for.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Inspiration in Unlikely Places

I returned home from Cancun a few days ago and decided to share an interesting moment in my travels.
Our hotel room had a very nice view of the ocean. At night, the moon would light up the water, cascading across it for miles. During the day, the waves would crash against the shore, Popsicle blue and mesmerizing. This picture is the view from the room:

However, to the left was a condemned hotel called the El Pueblito. Well, I'm not sure if it was condemned or not, but it was in much need of a little TLC, some spackle and quite possibly a wrecking ball. This is the picture of the hotel:

After putting my daughter down for a nap, I went out to the balcony to do some writing. My husband asked me if I was going to get my inspiration from the crack house next door.
That's when I came to the conclusion: Inspiration doesn't always have to look pretty. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely the condemned crack house next door.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nanowrimo Update

As some of you know, Nanowrimo is well underway, and some of you out there have decided to take on the task of writing 50,000 words during the month of November, myself included.

The question is, how is it going? Is it tougher than you thought, or is it a breeze?

I'm finding that I need to get my brain out of the way and just write! If I sit and think about it too much, that's when things get complicated. I also find myself thinking things like, 'well, I don't know if the story should move this way,' or 'I don't think I should place this scene here.' When this happens, it's time to slap yourself silly. Just write, that's all! After November is done, you can go back and edit to your heart's content.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


National Novel Writing Month starts on November 1, have you signed up yet?

If you are wondering how to start writing your book, then this might be the answer for you. Nanowrimo is about writing a minimum 50,000 words within the month of November. This is where you sit down and write. No time for procrastination, judgement or ego. Plain and simple, it's all about the writing, good or bad, full of grammatical errors and plot inconsistencies.

It's also about connecting with other writers and sharing that special bond with someone in the same boat as you.

Check out the Nanowrimo website and have fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Writing Prompt #23

Let's get that creative muscle working, shall we?

Today's writing prompt will hopefully take your mind to unlimited dimensions. In writing, there are no limitations. Have at it and go crazy.

"Write from the viewpoint of a criminal. What crime was committed? What is going through his/her mind before, during and after the crime? Is this person a loner or does he/she have a family? How about a day job or an alter ego?"

Have fun and keep writing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Special Agent

Every Monday I tutor a 9 year old boy on creative writing. This kid is into a lot of riding, running, piano--he has a very busy schedule.

The other day we were at the library and we picked out a few of his favourite books. I could tell he was pretty excited about this because he started to wake up (he was tired when he arrived having already been at school all day).

One series that he is fond of in particular are the Wally McDoogle books by Bill Myers. Wally McDoogle has his own fantasies about how he is a special agent with lots of fun gadgets. And his name: Brawn, James Brawn.

We read through certain parts of the book and talked about how the author is able to express what he wanted to get across to the reader.

I then told him to pretend he was a special agent. What would he do? What kind of gadgets would he have? What about the name?

This boy's eyes lit up even more. I could see the creative mind working hard.

I told him just to write and not 'over-think' it. He wrote for 10 minutes straight. Unfortunately, I had to stop him because we were almost done with our tutoring and that's when he told me he could have written even more.

I told him to keep the story in the back of his mind and we would take it further during the next session.

The point is, even though he had a language composition project that needed to be completed, it wasn't feeding his creative soul. Or, maybe he was 'over-thinking' the project because it was for the benefit of getting a good grade rather than just letting himself go crazy with creative rapture.

Whatever the reason, it's clear that creativity is good for the soul.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Where is your creativity at these days? Are you feeling completely blocked? Is your head so loaded with 'whatever' that you can't make out the creative thoughts from the inner ramblings?

What if you went with those inner ramblings? What would they say? Today, start unloading your brain. Dump everything out onto paper and see if you can make heads or tails of it. Keep the stuff you think is worth keeping and dispose of anything that you don't like.

Now... what do you have left? Work with it. Don't judge.

There's something about going with the flow.

This week, check out this website: The Muse Online Writer's Conference

Monday, September 22, 2008

Having Fun

I just discovered the website 'Wordle' that will take words from your RSS or Atom fed blog or website and turn it into a word cloud. It's very artistic. Alternatively, you can add your own fun and meaningful words.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Making Creative Scents

Last night as I was out for a walk, my senses came to life by numerous neighbourhood smells. Aside from the McDonald's that was pumping out burger smell, there were other more memorable scents that permeated my psyche.

The first smell was that of the trees whose leaves are quickly changing colour. Every fall, as the tree goes into hibernation, it emits this certain smell that is warming, calming and earthy. It feels like coming home.

The second smell was one I hadn't encountered in a long time. Someone was doing laundry and the smell of their detergent or dryer sheets reminded me of a school friend that I haven't seen in 20 years. I remember her clothes always smelling this particular way. It reminded me of a time when things were a little bit easier and fun.

I love the fall and everything that comes with it.

In your daily writings, be inspired and open up to all that is happening around you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tying Up Loose Ends

I'm tying up some loose ends today--I decided to change my blog name to Inspired Writing. I like it better. It's really what I'm trying to get at. As I tweak my own career and figure out my likes and dislikes, I find myself hopefully evolving.

Second on the list is regarding my upcoming Creative Kids Writing Playshop which is being held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada at Fish Creek Public Library.
Date: Saturday October 18/08
Time: 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Cost is $60.00
Ages: 9 to 12 years
Register by October 10/08
If you are in the Calgary area and want your child to learn important writing techniques that will help them with their creativity and self expression, just email me at

Third on the list: I have to mention my fellow writer Ian Healy. Well, I don't have to. He isn't making me and he doesn't know I'm mentioning him (well, not until he sees this post), but he has some really great stuff on the go that I think should be mentioned. He has a webcomic that I think is hilarious. Check it out here: The Adventures of the S-Team . He also has some books on the go you can check out here: .

And last on the list is.....Okay, that's it. Hopefully, my child has a nap so I can do some work.

Keep writing!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Writing Prompt #302

Today's writing prompt should get you searching through your brain archives:

Think about the worst date you've ever been on. Bring up all those memories and thoughts from the date. Now, write a story about what you think happened to that person. Did they end up with their match made in heaven? Did they date again? Were they completely heartbroken when you didn't call them back?

Good luck!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Creative Era

I'm not sure if you know who Daniel Pink is but he wrote a book called A Whole New Mind (that's him and his book to the right), which talks about how right-brained people will be ruling the future...(well, that's what the subtitle says.)
Basically, those people who are left-brained and have careers in left-brained type industries (like, I.T. etc) will find themselves at a loss as companies begin to outsource work to other countries, or to computers.

Creatives (right-brained types) are becoming invaluable to companies because they can effectively problem solve and think outside the box.

This is an interesting concept, especially considering that most of us have been taught that jobs in these left-brained dominant fields are lucrative and stable. These careers had always been considered 'real' jobs.

Many of us probably didn't think that writing could be a viable career option.
All I can say is: Start getting that right-brain into shape....looks like we'll be busy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Here is a popular quote on Success...although, no one can say for sure who first wrote it. Some say it was Ralph Waldo Emerson and others say that it was a woman named Bessie Stanley who penned it back in 1905. The one below had been altered from the original. Either way, it is a great quote.

Success is:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finding Time to Write

As I sit here trying to get some writing work completed, I am ignoring my two children. One has been watching cartoons for the last 4 hours and the other just woke from her nap and is playing with the phone...hopefully she doesn't call overseas.

How do we busy people find time to write? With kids hanging off of our necks or fighting in the background, the only time that we can find some quiet is in the really late hours of the night. Either our children suffer or our sleep suffers.

I don't think there really is a solid answer for this. We can work when kids are napping, in bed or during quiet time. We can sneak in a few minutes of work here and there or just commit to working as soon as the kids go to bed.

But the best thing to do when determining how your day will go is to have an idea of what you want to accomplish. So, when those precious writing moments come about, you will know exactly what it is you need to do without thinking about it for five minutes (those five minutes could be spent on writing).

Got to go....I'm off to pry my child away from the T.V.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Creative Choppiness

Ever feel like you are struggling when writing a story? Kind of like writer's block but not. You're still writing, still going through the motions of writing, still putting words on paper....maybe not sentences, but at least words.

The thought process is almost choppy, slightly forced, but you know if you could just get the clutter out of the way, you'd find a constant stream, rather than dribbles and drips.

So, how do you get past the choppiness?

1) Keep writing. If the words are there but not quite flowing, that means that something wants to be unleashed. Something is lingering ready to push forward.
2) Step away from the computer. If you have been writing, but the flood gates are still closed, step away from your writing. Come back an hour later and read what you have written. Everything looks clearer when you come back to it with fresh eyes.
3) Have a nap. If all else fails, just sleep for 20 mins. Maybe your brain is tired and needs to restore some energy. Most of us never allow ourselves to have a nap. We just pluggin' away like machines. Take that time to help the brain rejuvenate.
4) Eat cookies. Sometimes a nice break of milk and cookies is what your spirit needs. Indulge a little bit and enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why You Should Keep Writing

We all go through feelings of uncertainty when we are writing. We wonder if all of this creating is worth it. We wonder why we do it. We also wonder if it will ever go somewhere.

Some of us write for fun, but most of us write because we want to reach the goal of becoming published and doing what we love for a living.

So, are most of us spinning our wheels?

Maybe you've sent out queries and have gotten the standard rejection letter back. Maybe you just can't seem to get that writing project completed because you may wonder what's the use?

This may cheer you up and get you writing again:

  • Dr. Seuss was reject 100 times before he was published
  • Richard Paul Evans self published The Christmas Box
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield was self published before selling to Warner Books
  • Other self published authors: Deepak Chopra, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Lousie Hay, Virginia Wolff and many more.

I'm not sure how this turned into a blog entry on self publishing, but the point is, these people kept writing....and marching to the beat of their own drummer.

Keep on writing. There are people out there that want to hear what you have to say.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Importance of Finding Your Genre

When writing, it's important to find a genre that you enjoy; something that you are absolutely passionate about.

If you are writing because you think it's a quick way to make money or an easy way to fame, and not because you love it, people will see right through that. Your story won't sound genuine and your readers will be left with a bad taste in their mouths. This isn't a good way to start a writer/reader relationship.

Readers need to build trust with an author. They want to see if you can continue to deliver the goods or if you're just full of it. A good thing to remember is to write something that speaks to you. Good stories will flow from your head to your hand without much struggle.

Today I released my ebook Dear Money. Although this isn't something I typically write about, the book seemed to channel through me and onto my computer.

The book spoke to me and I knew I had to write it. It was important to me and there was enough passion there to see it through.

When writing, make sure you have a love for what you are writing about. Your readers will love you for it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Your To-Do List

I can't believe how time goes by so quickly. When I look back over the last 2 weeks, I wonder what I've done with my time. It all seems a blur.

I had some projects to do, mine and others. More home builder brochures and the completion my book Dear Money. I also finished an article for someone who is compiling articles for an ebook for new writers. It feels good to cross things off my to-do list. By crossing things off, I can continue to move on to more creative projects.

What's on your to-do list for today? Does it involve writing? And if it doesn't, why not? Even sitting down with a journal for 5 minutes will get your creativity flowing again. It doesn't take much to do a little bit of writing.

That's one of the great things about this writing gig--you can do it whenever and wherever.

Just make sure you always have a pen and paper handy for those spontaneous moments of inspiration.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Nights

I love summer. Tonight I went for a walk with my dog and enjoyed the peaceful calm of a warm summer night.

It got me thinking about all of those summer nights during childhood. The late night games of Moving Statues out on the lawn or Hide and Seek throughout the entire neighbourhood. We'd be hopping fences and running through neighbours' yards trying not to get caught.

Or sleepovers in the tent in my friend's backyard. We'd go to sleep chilly but wake up boiling with the sun beating down on us.

I remember walking to the playground or the corner store to pick up Mojos and pop. Or hanging out at a friend's house watching movies and eating chips. One mom in particular was very attentive to us when we came over, always making sure we were well-fed.
And we'd always rent at least 5 movies and only get through 2.

Summer reminds me of the time when relatives would pull up in front of our house with their camper hitched behind the car.

When I think of all of these things now, there is longing and happiness and I hope my children be able to enjoy similar experiences.

What are your summer memories? Just by going back into your memory bank, you will probably come up with more than enough story ideas

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Inspired Writing

Today, I am tired. Not just a little tired, but very tired. It's even an effort to turn on the computer.

So, where can inspired writing come from when there is no energy to take it from? Sometimes just sitting down to write a blog entry is all that is needed to get the creativity going, even if it's only for a little bit.

Right now, I'm trying to revamp my freelance writing/mentoring businesses. Where do I want to go with them and what would make me extremely happy?

Novel writing is my first love. My secondary thing would be to inspire adults and children to write freely without fear or judgement. I want to take my workshops out to the schools and to corporations where things are a little stuffy and stagnant.

I read recently that employers are now looking for people who can utilize both the left and right side of the brain. The left side is for logical thinking. The right side for creative thinking. Employers are finding a major benefit in an employee who is 'right-brained'. These people can easily think outside the standard.

This is why it's so important to bring creativity into the schools and workplace. Not only are employees well-rounded but children will gain the confidence they need to achieve more in adulthood.

Now, how does this tie into me being tired? Not sure, but it was a good intro anyway.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Writing Prompt #752

Okay, here's a writing prompt that will help kick-start your writing day.

Finish this sentence: "Honestly, I don't know who she is. I got home from work, threw my coat on the chair and went to the kitchen to fix myself a sandwich when....."

Have fun with it and have a great day of writing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion

Do you ever find that marketing and promoting get a bad rap? When you hear market your product do you cringe?

Marketing, blech, who wants to do that? Don't people automatically know that my stuff is there?

Maybe you see marketing as begging for someone to buy your stuff.

One time, my sister (who is a singer) scoffed at the fact that Cindy Lauper was on American Idol as a judge clearly promoting her new CD.
Well, yeah. What a great way to get your CD out there. I'd do it if I had a CD.

That's what you want, right? For people to buy your stuff so they can read it.

If writing is your life-line and puts food in the bellies of your children, then you want to get your work out there. If you have a 'job' to go to but prefer a full time career as a writer, of course you should market yourself.

As writers, we tend not to get into promoting ourselves. We are all about the writing. Can't someone else promote our work for us? Come on. Anyone? Anyone at all?

The promotion is up to us. That being said, if you have a book that you want to promote and present to the masses, I will put it in a blog entry for you. You can't have too much free publicity.
Of course, it has to be in good taste, not vulgar or racist or anything that has a negative feel surrounding it. I don't want anything disturbing the chi of my blog.

Oh, and keep it brief.

Of course, there has to be balanced reciprocity in life, so I'm asking that, in return, I do some of my own Shameless Self Promoting on your blog.

To kick things off, I will do my own Shameless Self-Promotion:

My name is Tamara Hanson and I have 12 years of writing experience. I do scads of freelance writing, especially home builder brochures and ads, plus editing and ghost writing.

I have written 4 books in total. 2 are currently self published:
Dream Weavers
Description: 'Jenny Harris could sense it nearby—an evil so hungry it wanted to devour her. It hovered, close—too close. Her body tingled. Her skin ached. It moved around her, through her, taking over her body; its energy flowed in and out of every part of her—like some creepy dance. Her choppy breath struggled for air; the lungs fighting, gasping. It’s just a dream. Just a dream, she repeated to herself. But yet it was so real.' Jenny Harris and Matt Carlson are ready for summer vacation to begin. Everything seems to go as planned until Jenny starts to have terrifying and cryptic dreams. Not only that, Matt is also having the same dreams—dreams that reveal a past filled with deception, heartache, and an evil so hungry that it won’t let go until it devours what it’s thirsty for. Together they must unlock the secrets of the past before the entity that haunts them consumes their very lives.

Unleash Your Writing Muse
Description: Take your writing to the next level and become the creative writer that you've always wanted to be! Maybe you have an idea for a book but aren't sure how to get it started. Maybe you're already working on a writing project but are stuck. Unleash Your Writing Muse will help push you past any blocks, give you the inspiration you need and help you to stay passionate about your writing.

I am currently completing another book called Dear Money, a book on how to become friends with money. I think it'll take how we feel about money to the next level.

My websites are: and

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Writing Critic

We all have that judgmental voice in our heads telling us what to do, where to go, and how to do it.
How fair is that? How can we work under these conditions?

Basically, what we know about this voice is that Critic=Ego. That's right. It's just your ego talking. We all have one. Some of us are ruled by it more than others. The ego, when you get to the bare bones of it, doesn't make us feel good. When ego comes out to play, we are indecisive, wishy-washy and full of doubt.

When we are writing, our ego/critic is analyzing everything that is being put onto paper. "You can't say that." "Oh, that's stupid." "Look how you spelled that word." "I guess your fifth grade English teacher was right."

This isn't fair to your creative muse. The muse wants to get past the critic and come out to play. The muse wants to give you all those great ideas, but can't because the critic blocks the door to the imagination.

So how can you squash the critic? It won't happen over night nor will it happen completely. The critic will still hang around; you just won't hear the voice as loudly. With a little diligence, eventually your muse will come through the loudest of them all. Or, at least, you will be able to tell the critic to step aside and let the muse through.

Here are some things to remember when you are dealing with the critic.
1) When writing, keep writing, no matter what. Regardless of what is going on inside, just keep writing. Don't look up; just keep going till you are done.
2) If you can, resist the temptation to read your work right away. This is a good idea if your critic is especially loud. If you go back too soon, you will scrap everything and become discouraged.
3) Read your stuff when you feel really good. Give it a couple of days to see things with fresh eyes. You'll be amazed at how good your work is when you let it flow.

Last but not least, have fun. If you can't have fun, then why do it?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Article Writing Sites....Not for the Faint of Heart

Have you ever considered writing articles for those 'quasi-paying' article writing websites?

You know, the ones where they want to hire writers to churn out 3 or more articles per month? For instance, and both hire writers to write articles for their websites, usually paying by the click.

The question is, should you write for these websites when you know the pay is minimal?
Well, the best answer to that question is a question: What is your intention when signing up?

1) Is it the money? Writing articles for these sites will not bring great fortune. It not only takes many articles to keep money streaming in, but it also takes the 'right articles'. The big money articles are those that are considered hot topics. Examples: Money, sex, dating, marriage and anything seasonal (holidays, etc).
2)Is it the experience? Maybe you'll find the writing experience to be beneficial or maybe it's all about the writing and fulfilling a need. If this is the case, then more power to you.
3)Is it about the marketing? These sites are a form of advertising. Someone sees your work and wants to hire you. (I'm not sure how often this happens, though.)
4)Is it about the glory? I'm not sure how much glory or fame you'll experience through these websites, but it is kinda cool to see your name attached to a piece of work that you really worked at.

Whatever the reason, make sure you go into it with your eyes wide open and no expectations.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When an Ad Tagline Goes Wrong

Why is it so important to get Ad Tag Lines, or even Ad Copy, right? Here's an example:

Today I saw a Sherwin Williams van driving down the street. As you may know, Sherwin Williams is a large company who specializes in paint. The logo on the side of the van had a can of red paint being dumped on top of the earth with these words: Cover the Earth.

I can understand what these people had in mind when they thought of this logo...they wanted to show that they are covering the earth with colour...which is great.

But it looks really bad. Why? Because it looks like paint is making our earth toxic because it's being smothered in it. This is sending the wrong message, especially with the growing sensitivity to keeping the earth clean and minimizing our carbon footprints.

The solution here is to effectively show what you want to say and do it in a way that people are going to be enticed by it. Why not a picture of the earth with a swirl of colours and the words "Bringing Colour to the World" or "Colouring the World".

When writing copy or tag lines, the reader needs to be enticed to buy the product. They also have to understand what your intention is. Right from the start, there needs to be emotion in the copy. Once people feel that emotion, you've hit the right spot and have drawn them in.

I recently wrote a brochure for a home builder who was including a 'spa-like' bathroom in their homes. Those looking at the brochure needed to be pulled in by the essence of what was being said. The goal here is for the customer to want that spa bathroom and the relaxation that comes with it. And that's what I directed my copy towards. The feeling of peace, relaxation, stillness and oneness.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We'll Be Back

This blog will be back when I return from my writer's retreat on June 15!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What to Pay a Freelancer

Some of you out there may be struggling with how much you should be paid as a freelance writer. Some of you who are new to the business may not feel 'right' asking for a certain amount and decide to go lower than what you would normally charge.

Of course, experience is everything and a strong portfolio will certainly help you win bigger and better gigs. Sometimes you have to take the smaller writing jobs just to get more experience.

This is all par for the course. As long as you are getting paid and as long as this isn't slave labour, then focus on building that that portfolio. Once you start stalk-piling writing projects, you will find more and more writing gigs coming in.

Eventually you'll discover that it's easier to tell clients how much you charge without even blinking or twitching a muscle.

Below are a couple of websites that will give you an idea what you should be charging as a freelance writer.

Remember, freelance writing is a profession, and as such, you should be paid like a professional.

What to Pay a Writer, Professional Writers Association of Canada:

Setting Your Fees as a Writer:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Little Help Here?

This is a message from Claudia's blog "On a Limb with Claudia". I've reposted it here because maybe someone out there (published/self-published) might be able to help her out.

Claudia writes:

After posting about some interesting movements in the music industry, Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes asked me to look into book publishing.

Inspired, I set out to answer her question.

At little background first. Book publicity has changed drastically in the last seven years. When we started the Open Grove in January, 2001:
In-house publicists from hundreds of publishers sent dozens of copies of books. I received 12+ books a day. I heard that Oprah received over 50 books a day. Yikes!

Almost every author went on some form of a multi-city book tour.
I received telephone calls, letters, and a few emails (2001) from publicists hungry to get their clients on the Open Grove.

Within two years:
publishers began to merge into multinational conglomerates,
the tide of books became a trickle, (Thank God)
authors financed their own book tours,
some savvy best selling authors began publishing their own books, and
small book presses were growing.

By 2007:
many of the major book publishers had closed their publicity departments,
authors whispered that they spent their entire advance on a publicist - some where helpful, most were not, and the publishing industry lost 17%! Book publishers closed left and right.
Walt Whitman sold his book door to door.

What’s an author in 2008 supposed to do to sell his or her book??
What works?
What doesn’t work?
What are people doing to promote themselves?
What was the data? Which marketing endeavors increased sales?
What had no effect at all?
Self publishing? Big New York Publisher? No advance publishing? E-book publishing?

I asked my favorite Marketing forum and came up with some good ideas, but no data. I sat through ridiculous seminars run by sharks and charlatans. (No, Janet, I didn’t kill them, I only WANTED to kill them.)

What sells books in 2008?

No one knows.

I mean, I have some ideas? But I’ve already written about them.

Unsure of what to do, I did nothing. Then I noticed a little project of Brad Feld’s (Liz, he’s the venture capitalist I was talking about). I decided to steal his idea.

I’m sending out an SOS.
Let’s collect our information and experience. We don’t have to toil alone. Together, we can create a resource for authors. With information, we wrestle our creative efforts from the mouth’s of sharks.

(100% of these proceeds will go to Wounded Warriors. )

What I’m looking for:
Direct experience marketing a book, selling a book or even getting a book published.
What is working for you?
What hasn’t worked for you?
What do you believe is the single most important factor in selling your book?
You book can be a self-published book, an e-book, a New York publisher.
Did your book tour work?
How much publicity help did you get from your publisher?
What sells your book?
I’m thinking a short (100 - 300 words) this worked, this didn’t.

In return for participating, you will receive a free copy of the book. I’m hoping to collect 100 authors to participate in this project. If you are interested, please send me an email at: or leave a comment at On a Limb with Claudia. If you know a published author, please let them know about this project.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Awhile back, as I was struggling to figure out my writing life, I became enlightened to what writing means to me. I asked myself this question: If someone said to me, "Look, I'll give you a million dollars right here and now, but the only thing you have to do is never write again," would I take it? I immediately knew the answer...'No'. I wouldn't take the money (aside from extreme circumstances involving family, of course).

To live a life without writing would tear me apart. At that very moment I knew that writing was my life purpose and there was no way I could back down from it.

I think this is an excellent way to determine what we are all passionate about. What would we give up to ensure we live out our passions and our dreams?

Monday, May 26, 2008


I just wanted to share this video with you all. Maybe it'll help you move forward with your writing.

Take a chance and do what you dream of doing.

Writing Prompt

This week I thought I'd add a writing prompt to the blog. I think writing prompts are great if you are feeling a little stuck and need an extra push.

Today's writing prompt is:
The phone rings twice, then stops. Then it rings one more time, then stops. Finally, it rings 3 times and you answer it. Who's on the other end and what do they want?

Have fun with this one and see where your story leads you. And remember, don't judge or analyze what you are writing. Just write!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Writing Retreats

If you have the chance, I suggest attending a Writer's Retreat.

A retreat can ease your mind, relax your body and let you have complete and total time to write as much or as little as you want.

A retreat gives you a chance to see where you are headed with your writing. You'll suddenly get a clear outlook on your whole writing situation.

A retreat is time for you and what you are passionate about. It's time for reflection and relaxation.

A retreat is great for connecting with other writers in an informal setting. You can bounce ideas off of each other (if you want to) or you can do the whole solitary thing. It's entirely up to you.

A retreat is just about you and your writing.

When looking for a retreat, decide what you want in a retreat. Do you want to be guided or self guided? How many other people will be attending? Where is it located? And how much?

Below are a few retreats across the world.

1) Strawberry Creek, Alberta. This is located near Leduc, Alberta and hosted by The Writer's Guild of Alberta. Only 11 people are allowed at the retreat and are selected on a first come, first served basis. The Strawberry Creek Lodge does not have a website but the information can be found on the Writer's Guild of Alberta website.

2) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Need something a little Mexican to spice up your writing. Retreat to Hacienda Mosaico. Visit the website at: .

3) Oliver, BC. Located in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, this Oliver, BC retreat might just get your creativity moving. Visit the website at: .

4) Ouray, Colorado. Beautiful mountains are a fantastic inspiration when the need for creativity comes to call. Check it out here: .

5) Soapstone in Portland, Oregon. Picturesque and secluded, Soapstone is a retreat specifically for women writers. Check out the website:

6) Anam Cara in Cork, Ireland. Green pastures and seclusion. Check out their website here:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Be Life Confident

There's an interesting sign in my neighbourhood. It's from a financial services company and the sign says "Are you life confident?" It's an interesting way to view things.

Life confident? What exactly does that mean? I'm sure it means something different to everyone.

Are humans life confident? Do we go forward with our dreams, pursue them, go with our passions? Do we trust that our passions will unfold for us? Are we confident in ourselves, in our day to day activities? Do we unwaveringly do what we feel is the right thing or do we hesitate, missing opportunities?

What does being life confident mean to you? And what will you do to get there?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Importance of Being Creative

I believe that things always come around full circle.

Centuries ago, humans were very creative. It was a way of living. Creative expression was key in handling day to day affairs. The right brain was being used to its full potential.

Then, suddenly, the left brain became the dominant one. It was more important to be logical and rational than it was artsy and playful.

But that's all changing. I recently read an article on how creativity is a requirement when applying for jobs. Employers are seeing the benefit in using the right side of the brain more frequently and encourage employees to use their creative minds to get the job done.

There are also a few books out there worth perusing:
The Rise of the Creative Class by Dr. Richard Florida
The Flight of the Creative Class by Dr. Richard Florida
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Smell, again

I just wanted to go back to the whole thing about smell and writing.

I was out the other day taking the dog for a walk. I stopped and closed my eyes. The scent in the air was one of trees coming out of hibernation. Of things growing once again. The smell was woody and earthy and takes me back to a time when things were easier.

Take yourself outside today and see what you notice in the air. It just might be the next idea for you story.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I thought I would use this time to talk about smell. Kind of strange in a way, but it's something we really don't think about when we are creating stories. Sure, we write about emotions and how we feel, but do we write about how things smell?

I don't know about you, but I'm constantly smelling. As I write this, I can smell my large German Shepherd as he sleeps at my feet. He's stinky and his breath is bad and sometimes he farts. He is 8 years old, so he doesn't have puppy breath anymore. But his smell is so distinct, I miss it when I go away.

Okay, so maybe this is a bit weird for some people. Let's try some other memory. There is a perfume I used to wear back in my mid-twenties. It was a mango smell that The Body Shoppe still sells. Whenever I smell that mango perfume, it takes me back to a time when I was in university and was partying waaayyyyyy too much. I'm transported to that time and place, and those feelings return once again: a mixture of sadness, loss and being lost, but also a moment of finding myself.

Whether you are journaling or establishing characters in your story, smell can dig a little deeper into what is really going on inside. To learn how to dig deeper into your creativity, check out my eBook Unleash Your Writing Muse.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Children and Creativity

Would you agree that children are creative beings? If you watch them play, they aren't letting ego or judgement or any other thought process stand in their way. They let loose their creative side and go with it.

Do you believe we have to lose our creative edge as we get older?

My belief is that if we kept even a slight piece of that creativity we had as a child, then maybe, just maybe we would be able to go through life with a better outlook. Maybe we would be able to create our lives a lot easier than we do right now.

Maybe it's not so bad keeping those rose coloured glasses on for the rest of our lives. Maybe, by looking through the eyes of a child, we will remind ourselves what we used to see.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Real Creative Writing

Back in the 70s, I never knew that writing could be an actual career, let alone a lucrative one. Although I wrote many stories at a young age, I didn't think I could take it any further.
When I was 12 years old, I began my first novel. This was during a time when the movie The Outsiders was out in the theatres and C. Thomas Howell became the hottest new face on Teen Beat Magazine. Yes, I wrote a romance about myself and C. Thomas Howell. No, I no longer have this book lying around.

Some point after high school, the writing thing just tapered off; I had lost my way. I decided that pursuing a career in psychology was the route to take.

One day, the writing bug hit me again. Kind of like a reawakening, really. When that light came on inside of me, I knew that writing was exactly what I wanted to do.

This is what I want to do for others--find their creative spark by instructing them through real creative writing courses. The kind of courses that actually deal with the creative part and not the theory part. A course that actually inspires writers to find their voice.

To find your writing voice, head over to and see what you can discover.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Your Writing Destination

Writers are notorious for keeping to themselves. They are more introverted than social and it's hard for them to get out there to meet the public, do the PR thing and to market themselves.

But, it's necessary if we want a certain outcome--people buying our work, having a full time writing career, etc.

Today, I did a bit of marketing for my eBook Unleash Your Writing Muse. I have to admit, just thinking about the task was daunting. It overwhelmed me and made me a bit nervous. But, once I got into it, I quite enjoyed it. I think I am starting to value my work enough to get it out there. Also, I'm taking pride in my work and I see myself as a professional running a business.

Where do you want to go with your writing? What is your goal? Do you just want to write for the sake of writing or do you want to go a bit further? There's nothing wrong with either of these options. However, if you want to go further, believe in yourself enough to get your work out there for others to enjoy. It truly feels amazing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Last weekend, I went on a workshop that got me thinking and changing. I discovered that issues from childhood (that I thought I had dealt with) were suddenly front and centre. I was angry....very angry. Absolutely furious. I never realized how mad I was until this weekend. And, it was a breakthrough!

For many of us, past beliefs hold us back from doing what we want to do because we feel we will be rejected or we aren't good enough or worthy enough. But who is the one that deems us worthy? We do.

Our fears, beliefs, etc can hold us back from doing what we really want to do.During this workshop, we all had to take turns walking into an arrow and breaking it...just with our throats.

Of course the fear was prevalent. Thoughts raced through my head: "What if I'm the only one that can't break the arrow?" "What if I injure myself?" "What if I die?" My brain was taking me out of the game before I had all of the facts. But I did it. I walked through the arrow, breaking it.

I broke through my fear. Now, if I can do that, I can do anything.

It's only fear that holds us back. Nothing else.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deepen Your Writing Experience

Writing is many things. It's a process. It's words on paper. It's a story, a poem or feelings. It's sensations, senses and expression.

Writing can go much deeper than this. It can be a spiritual experience. It can be a connection with your higher self or a higher energy.

Some days, ideas channel through you and you wonder how they get there. You feel the flow of the words, of the story and you see clearly how it all unfolds. When you are in that state, you are connecting on another level. You are letting go of ego and letting the words flow easily.

My ebook Unleash Your Writing Muse can help you maintain that creativity, letting it flow consistently into your life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Developing Character

How important is it to develop strong characters in your writing? Very important. Without believable characters, characters that resonate with the reader, you won't have much of a story.

But sometimes it's tough maintaining who the character is and being true to that character. Sometimes you need to let go and let the characters write the story for you.

Have you ever had a heart to heart with one of your characters? Maybe it's time you should.
Check out the rest of the article here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coincidence or Synchronicity?

Coincidence or synchronicity? Is there really a difference between the two? Many people see coincidence as "Chance" or "Luck" or "Fluke". But, when you break down the word, 'co and incidence', it really means two incidences coming together.

What about Synchronicity? How does it fit into the grand scheme of things? And what does this all have to do with writing?

Lots. Writing isn't just a physical act. It's creation, interacting on another level with the page and pen, with your higher self, and becoming, on some spiritual level, in tune with everything and everyone.

Check out the article Meaning of Coincidence to find out more.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Owning It

Sometimes it amazes me when we fumble around with our actions. We are unsure of what we are supposed to do. Although we want to do them, we still have this sense of uncertainty, of being judged or seeming a bit wishy-washy because we don't know how we will be perceived.

In everything we do, we need to own it. By this I mean embrace it, take responsibility for it as yours. Walk into that room owning yourself, your walk, your talk. Write that book or story or poem and own those words. Don't think about them or if someone will like them--own them.

Own the way you drive, your decisions, your feelings, your thoughts.
Own it all.
Once you own it, yourself, you will truly be alive.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Finding Balance

Finding balance in our lives can be quite daunting. How do we juggle kids, home, work, relationships and still find time to be creative?

It's hard to sit down at the computer after ushering all the kids to bed when we'd rather sit down in front of the tube and drink tea.

How do we find balance in an unbalanced world? Everything takes time and effort. Here are a few suggestions.

1) Eat a proper diet. This has been drilled into us for ages now. We know that this is effective, but actually doing it is another thing. It does work, and it does require effort.

2) Adequate Rest. Another simple task. I certainly don't pay attention to this tip. I know I should, but there's so much to do.

3) Exercise. Maybe if there were 2 extra hours in the day, I might be able to squeeze it in there.

What it comes down to is deciding how important it is to you. And sometimes it means setting aside less important tasks for the really important ones. The dishes can wait, the laundry can wait, etc. It's definitely a process and definitely worth it.

View my article, Balance Your Life, Or Who Put Their Yin In My Yang for an interesting perspective.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Couch that Offered Inspiration

The 'Couch' (or sofa for those people not familiar with the term 'couch'. I'll use it interchangeably throughout the blog) that offered inspiration begins with this story...awhile ago, a local lifestyle magazine wanted me to write an article on a particular couch that a certain furniture store was selling. I don't know how I got picked for this article--I must have pulled the short straw without knowing it.They wanted 300 words on a damn sofa. How can I make a sofa sound absolutely great without using the words "comfy, green, and cushy" too many times?

I knew I had to think beyond the couch and what the couch does. I had to look past the whole issue that this is just something you sit on while watching TV and eating popcorn. (Usually the popcorn falls beneath the cushions and eventually you find it months later and vacuum it up. There also might be cash under there or dog hair or your watch and ring that your child hid there for fun.)The reality was I had to look past the sofa and into its roots.

Amazingly, sofas have roots. They go back hundreds of years when only royalty could sit on them. Once I discovered how far back the couch went, the writing was easy. I put a little twist into the article by providing a little interesting background on the whole sofa thing. The article was no longer boring--it actually had substance.

When writing, look past what you already see. Open your eyes to something you never really noticed before.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I was browsing through the bookstore one day (something I often do for inspiration) and noticed an artist had displayed his paintings inside the store. I was thinking that this was a bold move on the artist's part because there must have been some inner dialogue going on about what others might say, etc.

This man probably had an expectation of people hating or loving his work. But, to him, it was important that he took the chance and let others see it.

Of course, this applies to writing as well.

How many times have we all been afraid to send out work because of what others might think? It's all subjective, isn't it? What one person doesn't like, another one will.

This all goes back to taking a chance and getting past that fear. No, not everyone will like what you create, but how are you able to reach those people who might like it if you don't give it a shot? At least you should try.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Creativity Comes to Call

As I was sifting through some old elementary school report cards (I guess they would be old considering they're from circa 1975 and I am an adult now), I discovered something very interesting about the way I feel about myself today. An English Teacher had written that I was very good at creating stories, but had blatant disregard for grammar and punctuation.

Well, of course a grade '1-er' isn't going to care about where a comma goes. The kid only wants to get the story out, tell it to everyone as fast as possible and move on to the next thing.This whole thing made me think about how most of us (including kids today) have had their creativity trampled on because well-meaning adults thought it was 'right' to correct grammar issues rather than let a child create.

This is what children do, they create. They love to do it. Can you imagine what kind of adults we will have nurtured if we let a child continue creating?My goal is to help others reclaim their creativity, to reach deep down to their core and re-ignite that spark. I want everyone to go back to that grade one class where it was lost so many years ago and find the power in creativity once again.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Finding Ideas

In writing, anything is fair game. It's true. But, sometimes we tend to over-analyze it too much and end up coming up with nothing. We wouldn't be able to think up an idea for our next article to save our lives. But it honestly doesn't have to be this way. Let's take the calendar as an example. It has tons of different holidays and observances to write a whole book about...and people have.
Because Valentine's Day is approaching, I quickly wrote up this little article on inexpensive Valentine's Day ideas. That's the thing about article ideas; sometimes they don't need to be heavily researched to get your idea onto paper. Check out the article here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Making a Change

One thing I've noticed over the years is our resistance to change. Many of us don't want change...or rather, we don't want the change that makes our lives complicated. However, we will accept the change that we know will make our lives glorious.

But how do we make change happen? We try to implement the steps, but little to nothing happens.

So, what exactly does a person have to do to see change? It's really quite easy and we already have the resources, all we have to do is take the first step. Read the complete article here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Getting Creative

Creativity. Inspiration. Where are they when you need them? You could be sitting at your computer staring blankly at the screen, hoping that something pops into your head, something that will get the story started. But nothing comes.

Where can you draw from creativity when you feel completely tapped? It's easy and all you have to do is remain open to it. Read more of the article here.