Posts Tagged With: love writing

The Reading Vacation

 Books are the things you lose yourself into.

I had a bad day during which  everything electronic was sparking, failing and frustrating (I’m looking at you iTunes and AT &T). Instead of taking it out on nearby humans, I  quit everything and read a whole book.

Book sculptureYou have heard, often enough, that writers read.  Authors should read everything.  We should read as if our lives depended on it.  We should read as if we are  still in school and reading is a class requirement, necessary for our  job, something that we must do.  Our response, reasonably enough, is to resist those requirements and go to the movies.  Because the popcorn is better there.

What is forgotten during  all these admonishments is the shear joy of reading.  If you are  a reader,  then you know what it is to lose yourself in a book.  That day I picked up a book thinking okay fine, I can’t get on line, I can’t watch TV, it’s too cold to hike, I’ll just sit here and read.

It was  like taking a vacation.  As I dove into the novel, not only were my troubles temporarily gone, so was my whole being.  Reading launches you into  exotic places, allows you to experience the world through someone else’s eyes, passions and ideas.  It allows you to glance  into the future or experience first hand what happened in the past. And for hours, you are not in your house or your car or your in-laws.  You are on an exotic adventure.

Reading in this context is like getting away with something.  No one knows where you’ve been, what you’ve learned. No one can tell.  A good book gives you conspiracy and a shared experience: you and the author, a communication that transcends both space and time.

Don’t mind me, I’ve been far away.

I am migrating this blog to be part of NewbieWriters.com  Until we have complete lift off, both blogs will publish simultaneously.  Sorry Panda.

You are welcome to re-post this article in your own blog or newsletter – please include this entire statement, “Catharine Bramkamp is a Writing Coach and podcaster, find out if you’re ready to go from  Newbie to Known visit www.yourbookstartshere.com or bramkamp@yahoo.com for a complimentary consultation.”

Advertisements
Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Care and Feeding of Your Beta Readers

I now have seven Beta Readers.  Lest you think, well, that’s not very many early readers, I remind you that I will be receiving feedback  from seven different sources, all of whom may mark up the manuscript.  That means pouring over  seven new versions of my book.  Seven is great, I’m not shooting for overwhelm, I’m shooting for concrete opportunities for improvement.

I did not just fire off the manuscript to the volunteer reader, I also included what I needed and what kind of feedback I was searching for.

Bunker in Albania

This bunker in Albania inspired the bunkers in the book, Future Girl

Dear Beta Reader  (or insert their actual name here, I promised to keep their anonymous in case the book was terrible and they wanted to avoid any association with it in order to protect their academic reputation.)

Thank you so very much for volunteering to be a beta reader for my book.

You are welcome to mark up the document and return it, or simply send me a few notes. (I wanted to give them a choice depending on how they approached a paper or manuscript, some of the volunteers are accustom to line editing and I welcome that feedback, but others may just want to make a list and send it off, that is welcome as well.)

Of course, what I need is feedback to improve the book, but I do ask that before completely ravishing the prose, do offer some initial encouragement, even if you only liked the font and found the margins pleasing. (Seriously, some people do not know how to give constructive feedback, help them.  I do not want to open seven emails  and be immediately assaulted by lists of   negative comments, so I am working to protect my sometimes fragile ego ahead of time).

Please send feedback by July 19, 2013 (Give your readers a date, people work better on a deadline, it gives the project a finish time, and I will not be waiting on anyone in order to move forward with the fourth drat of the book)

Some questions  to inspire your feedback:

  • Is the heroine, Charity, believable?
  • Do you care about her journey? (Remember this has been written, more or less for a YA audience)
  • How is the future?  Did you discover inconsistencies in the invented world?
  • Does the narrative (Charity’s adventure)  make sense?
  • Does the motivation of all the characters made sense?
  • Did you like it?
  • Where should it go –  YA boutique publisher, general  ebook,  Sci-Fi POD, Boutique Science Fiction publisher?
  • Who would you give this to?  (Helps me figure out the audience)
  • What was the underlying theme?
  • Do you have an idea for a better title?

Thank you for your help!  This is the first time I’ve reached out to Beta Readers and of course you will be acknowledged and publicly appreciated.  Or if the book is horrible, I am equally happy to leave you out of it.

I reserve to use your comments on the show – Newbie Writer’s Podcast,  but won’t use your name. (I produce a weekly podcast, of course we’ll discuss this process.  If the feedback is particularly trenchant, I’ll interview the Beta Reader on the show, again, I have no wish to surprise people who are helping me).

I scheduled  the  beta reading  project to take place while I was away on a trip.  That helped prevent me from fussing and emailing my friends and family  with “have you read it?  How about now?  How about NOW?”  A distracted author means a happy reader.

Give it a try.  Some authors have enormous followings and can solicit hundreds of readers for their upcoming books, some, like me, have a few readers.  Either way, it’s worth the feedback, and will create  some early buzz for the book.

Ironically, your Beta Readers will  be some of your first customers, they will not only buy the finished product, they will be some of your best fans.

Remember that your Beta Readers are helping you out of love and/or loyalty, so remember to thank them.  A lot.  That’s what your acknowledgement page is for.  And lucky you if your book ends up with a two page acknowledgement list!

Let me know when you try this and the results.  I’ll discuss my own results when they come in.

You are welcome to re-post this article in your own blog or newsletter – please include this entire statement, “Catharine Bramkamp is a Writing Coach and podcaster, find out if you’re ready to go from  Newbie to Known visit http://www.yourbookstartshere.com or bramkamp@yahoo.com for a complimentary consultation.”

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Fish for Beta Readers

I don’t belong to a writing group, so when I “finished” the third draft of my novel, Future Girl, I needed opinions, readers, feedback, anything.  So I gathered a group of willing Beta Readers.  These readers are not strangers, although strangers would be ever better, much like what Guy Kawasaki does, but for me, I needed to start small.

So I contacted 15 friends in the hopes of gathering up at least five readers.

Here is the email for the invitation.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy is a genius at soliciting early readers.

Hi,

I need your help, I just finished the third draft of my Young Adult Time-Travel novel,  Future Girl (give my readers an idea of what the book is, because volunteering to read a text book is a different commitment than volunteering to read a copy for a thirty second video)  and I need a couple (so the reader knows he or she is not alone) of Beta Readers (I like Beta Reader as opposed to copy editor, or proof reader – those are more difficult jobs and are better paid)   to read the manuscript and tell me if it’s total crap or not.

If you choose to take on this project (the book is about 140 pages), I’ll send you the book in a Word doc so you can either mark it up, or save it as a PDF suitable for an e-reader. (Give them a choice as well as remind them they CAN transfer the copy to an e-reader).

I am asking for feedback – yeah or nay, by mid July (give them a rough due date in the invitation, the follow up letter will contain more instructions and a specific due date).

Interested?  Let me know, and thank you ahead of time!

Very Best,

Catharine

(I included a summary of the book in the invitation as well, so again, the reader knows what he or she is getting into, they know what to expect – much like any reader – and it forced me to start thinking about how to summarize the book, something I will need to do over and over as I promote it.)

Future Girl

On February 10, 2112 Charity Northquest has her whole future ahead of her – and the future sucks.

On February 11 she is offered the chance to fix it.

When Charity’s best friend is reported killed, but then re- appears as an old woman,  everything Charity has been taught is called into question.  Even if she doesn’t believe, the village rebellion  has already put her family in danger,  so the ill-prepared Charity is transported back to a irresistibly appealing 21st century where she must not only struggle against the  seduction of the past , but also the men who seem to help her.

Her single purpose of  changing the future fades with the increasingly more urgent question, can she survive the past?

Within 24 hours, seven of the 15 requested Beta Readers volunteered to read the book, which was very encouraging!   I immediately responded with the word doc manuscript and further ideas and instructions.

It’s a risk of  soliciting Beta Readers is you must throw your baby outdoors, you must take your brilliant idea and make it real by the very act of handing it out.  This is a huge step, congratulate yourself for doing it, for making the effort.  And I’ll keep you posted on how my experiment works.

You are welcome to re-post this article in your own blog or newsletter – please include this entire statement, “Catharine Bramkamp is a Writing Coach and podcaster, find out if you’re ready to go from  Newbie to Known visit http://www.yourbookstartshere.com or bramkamp@yahoo.com for a complimentary consultation.”

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Newbie Writer Podcast Guest Carly Findlay

Thank you Carly Findlay at carlyfindlay.blogspot.com for being a great guest on Newbie Writers.  She had a few bits of advice for bloggers:

  • Just start writing
  • Stay with it

    Gouger Cellars Grand Opening this Weekend

    Gouger Cellars Grand Opening this Weekend which has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with wine

  • Write about what you like
  • Don’t let it become a chore
  • Sign up for social media
  • A writing career is 40 percent marketing, so  use social media
  • If you are using twitter, a strategy is to be considered a   trusted source, so people follow you  in order to get the information they need.
  • And of course, the twitter and the facebook and the linked in all direct followers to your blog!

And if you want to know if your book has what it takes,

Contact me for your complimentary consultation and book – Start Your Book Now

Bramkamp@yahoo.com

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Despair

Typewriter IrelandIn despair about your novel?  Come join my pity party.

I have a novel, I have the rough, rough first draft – created during NaNoWriMo.  And I was delighted with it, it was, of course, brilliant and interesting and insightful.

Then I began thinking about it.

  • I thought about it while watching Back to The Future for the 55th time.
  • I thought about it while creating blogs (there is a lovely, deadline based – immediacy to blogging).
  • I thought about it while cleaning the house.

When I   collapse on the couch and choose to watch  Back to the Future again, am I lazy or researching?

When I wander around the house muttering about dust, am I wasting time or considering the complex plot points that are apparently  more complex than necessary, or  am I wasting more time?

When I blog about writing a book, does that count as “real” writing?

Does thinking about the book  count as writing the book?

We all ask these questions as we push and pull and examine our forming plots like ameba under a microscope. Sometimes I think If I leave the little creatures alone in their dish, they will morph into something interesting without help or even further observation on my part.

This is the hope.

When I was younger, I could never understand the idea of an author taking ten years to create their book and story.  Now I get it.

It’s easy to think about my book as it is to make excuses:   I have to teach at night and am too tired to write.  I have to diet and now I’m too hungry to write.  I’m cranky because my brother is visiting from out of town, I’m busy wishing my sibling would return from where he came.  I must let the dog out. I must pick up after the dog.

I’m good at this.

What can we do when we are circling, circling   around our imagined book, not writing but slowing walking a maze, withe the work at the center.  Thinking is good – I’m a big fan of thinking.

But I also know, even as I walk a maze, that walking and thinking are poor substitutes for actually putting something – anything – down on paper.

  • So I sat down and created about a minute of dialogue.
  • Then I sat down and described one scene.
  • Then I realized that the heroine needed to be in more danger.  So I described the danger.

Did writing this blog put off the writing the story?  You bet.

Just wanted you to know you are not the only writer hiding in the shower for 45 minutes or until the hot water runs out waiting for that ultimate moment of inspiration.

We’re all doing it.  And on behalf of all the writers in the shower or cleaning it,  good luck.

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Possibly Not Really Productive

Cologne TypewriterWhen I’ve been spending more time reading blogs and newsletters than  writing my material, I feel like my son who used to sit very still and quietly in class.  The teacher was thrilled he wasn’t making trouble, and he wasn’t.  Of course, he wasn’t learning anything either.

For weeks I’ve been sitting quietly at the computer – typing, reading and generally looking very engaged and busy. And I am thrilled with all the work I’ve been doing.  But I haven’t really accomplished a damn thing.

Writers and creatives are at risk for miserable failure if we don’t  understand the difference between being busy and being productive.

Because distinguishing between the two can be tricky.

Sometimes an afternoon of reading was spent  gathering ideas,  researching and catching up with industry trends.   Ot it’s a  colossal waste of time.

Conversely, in a traditional job, taking a walk in the middle of the afternoon, chatting in the break room, standing around in the hallway, is considered goofing off.  For a writer, those exchanges, especially the walks, are critical to real production.

Day dreaming is productive

Checking Facebook is not.

Lunch with a friend, or better, lunch with a fellow writer, is productive.

Eating at your desk, compulsively answering every email is just exhausting and will give you heartburn.

Since Just sitting at the computer does not necessarily mean you are accomplishing anything, how do you know you have been productive?

The increasing word count on the novel is a big indicator.

Another indicator is how tired you are.  Not emotionally exhausted, or frustrated but tired.

Writing is a full body activity; we lean in, we tense up.  We hurt ourselves because we’ve held a crouching tiger position for hours as we bang on the keyboard or scratch with our pens.  We get carpal tunnel and bursitis and leg cramps.  And paper cuts, but I never get any sympathy for those.

Are you exhausted  because you’ve spent the morning in the zone?

Or are you just emotionally exhausted from a project  that has been over thought to death?

Did you finish up your work at exactly 5:00 and think, GOD I need a drink, I’m so finished with this.

Or did you finish for the day because a power failure killed the computer and stopped you cold?  But you unearthed a flashlight and notebook and continued?

Set this idea of  being busy aside, and tap into your passion;  allow it to drive the process instead of over  thinking it.  Put  away the to do list, turn off the alerts for email and Facebook and just focus on the book, even if only for   ten minutes.

It may be the most productive part of your day.

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What if the Future Sucks?

On Newbie Writers Podcast this week, we are reviewing  the second draft of a book:  mine.

This is the second part of the Opening chapter  to  The Five Elements of Time so you can play the game at home.

Statue from Turkey

Please do comment here, or email me with suggestions.

And thanks!

Premise: What if you have your whole future before you, and it sucks? 

The sheets were not even dry.  Charity pushed them away and lit the stove.

The house lights flickered again, Charity held her breath, the lights dimmed, then surged back on to full strength.

Charity took the last two pieces of the dense, coal – like fuel, dranit, and fed them into the stove.  It was the only certainty this week – that fire was warm.  Was real.

“Nancy reported the Fabers in the market were down.”  Mother walked into the kitchen, testing the sheets as she went.  She wiped her damp hands on her pale blue skirt.

They used to just toss the dirty sheets and Nancy, their main servant would bring in new from the market replicators every week, the old sheets were recycled for their essential material. The family was probably using the same sheets over and over, on a molecular level, but it was still nice to have new.

Not any more.

Charity glanced at the hanging sheets, no longer the original white. Just this morning she had helped her mother  wrestled those sheets out of the big tub, the fire burning underneath.

Charity was used to such odd behavior from her mother.  She had little choice but to help.  So she automatically arched over the hot flames and helped her mother pull the wet fabric to the wringer.

“They are out of material for fabric.”  Her mother said quietly.  “I told you it’s  good to know how to wash. Your sister, “  she left the rest unsaid and continued to wrestle with the old wringer.

“She was suppose to return today.”  Charity announced.

“Mirabella?” Her mother jerked the wet fabric from the rollers and gave the fabric a mighty twist putting her shoulders into the effort.   “I know, she was.” Her mother held Charity’s gaze for a second before twisting the sheet with   more force than Charity ever saw. Water, precious water, streamed from the fabric.  Finally mother stopped her shoulders sagged.

“She is gone honey.” Her mother’s faded blue eyes watered. “I’m afraid she  died in yesterday’s train wreak.”

Charity’s whole body turned cold.  Her first friend in school, her first pal, her only pal,  gone?

“Ray is devastated of course.” Her mother concentrated on the laundry and did not meet her oldest daughter’s eyes again.  “Of course.  He’ll find someone else. He needs a wife to go into the Government Guards.  All Guards have a wives.” And all those men involved in the RC ,the Reality Cloud, needed a wife to keep the family fed, organized and together.  If a man wanted to work, or participate in any of the Realty Cloud world, he needed to marry, put his wife into a nice house and make sure she was blessed with children.

Charity stopped wringing  the sheets. The warm water dripped on her bare feet.  They never wore shoes in the house, an old tradition. There used to be so much toxic material outside that the women finally stopped everyone from tracking it into the house by creating the rule – no shoes inside. Now it was a law.

“He asked for you.” Mother said finally.

Nancy, one of their five servants,  was late.  She pulled her kerchief more firmly over her blond hair and ducked her head.  “I’m so sorry Mother, the lines were long for the dranit today. And the village riots stopped us from leaving the market.”

“Takes a lot of electricity to manufacture the dranit.”   Mother never raised her voice at the servants, she insisted on treating them as people, even individuals.  Charity kept that eccentricity to herself, her friends, like Mirabella, reported that Mothers were suppose to berate servants and keep them in line, something Charity’s mother never did.

Mother simply   took the offered fuel, two day’s worth.   “If only we could harvest  wood ourselves.”

“There are no forests.”  Hope importantly flounced into the kitchen. She was 16 and just feeling her strength as a leader, now that all the boys in her class had been transferred  to the RC Colleges.  “I learned that today.”

Mother sighed and considered the huge wood burning stove.  The electricity was channeled mostly to the Government where the replicators and RC equipment were kept.  The family owned a small one of course, but the food pods were becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, even for a well placed family like themselves.  The only reason they weren’t hungry, the only reason Faith was even as well as she was, was because mother grew food in the back of the house.  Dirt Food.  Charity never told anyone.  But she had to grudging admit  that her mother eccentric gardening had kept them from going hungry many nights.

Only two days ago everything was as it should be.  If she had known, she would have ben kinder, not pinched so hard.  Charity drew in a shuddering breath and batted away the drying sheet.  She wanted things back the way they were.  But according to Mirabella, that wasn’t even possible.   “RC has been fluctuating,  I can feel it.  Most women our age can feel it.  Sometimes I worry that we aren’t even real.”  She held out her arm.  “Pinch me.”  She commanded.

Charity reluctantly took a pinch of Mirabella’s flesh and dug her nails into the skin.

“Yikes!”  Mirabella  glanced down. “That’s going to bruise.”

“Then you’ll know you’re real won’t you?”  Charity shot back.  They didn’t dare linger on the street.  They continued to the Temple, but now that Mirabella mentioned it, the   houses really did vibrate as she walked: sometimes revealing a plain one story home and sometimes turning into the glass and wood castles she always envisioned, remembered.

It wasn’t all that bizarre, they heard early on in their education that reality was one of two things: a shared community effort or an individual vision.  The shared world community, represented by the 100 year old Reality Cloud, was preferable.  Women were proud to support such an instrument of world peace.

Yes, increasingly,   Charity was experiencing the individual version of reality. It was not comforting.

Mirabella liked to see her world one way, and Charity sometimes wanted to see it differently.

But they were alike in two important ways.

Their reality was shifting.

“What do you think is going on?”

“My dad said the grids are down more and more that it’s difficult to work in the RC, there are surges.  They  blame the villagers.” She lowered her voice, “They sent out bot after bot to fix the problem.  I heard they are even sending out drones but can’t find any reason for the electricity or for the the decrease in pod production .”

“Nancy said the lines were getting longer.”  Charity confirmed. The food pods for their replicators ran low at the end of every month, forcing some family to eat dirt food.

“They’ll have to find the villagers .”  Mirabella  confirmed.

But they didn’t need to find the villagers, the villagers had found them.

Can you do better than me?

Get your own Start Your Book Kit  

  • Includes: copy of  Start Your Book
  • ½ hour  consultation with Catharine
  • Subscription to  Newbie News
  • Contact me:  bramkamp@yahoo.com
Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where do you go for on-line creative writing classes?

We received a great question during the podcast –  Where do you go for on-line creative writing classes?

On line Classes

A Google search is the best way to discover on -line creative writing classes. Classes  appear and disappear like a whack-a-mole game, so search for what you want when you need the information, it is likely to change tomorrow.

There are many MOOC-like offerings through universities as well as privately operated creative writing classes like  Writers.com – and Creative Writing Now

Keep CalmI’m currently serving on a steering committee to create  the  SFWriters University,  an extension of the popular SF Writers Conference  (Mark Hopkins, SF every February).  So watch for that to pop up like a whack -a-mole in the near future.

Writing Groups

Many creative writers get feedback and help on their manuscript by organizing their own critique group. A writing group typically comprises of three to nine members who meet regularly to read and  give feedback on each other’s work.  This is a great idea, it’s free and some writing groups have helped dozens of writers. But it’s not the ultimate solution for a Newbie Writer looking for actionable feedback.

Writing Group Pro:

A writing group helps keep you accountable and writing  because you need to produce a new piece for every meeting.

You  get feedback on drafts and reactions to your work from a neutral reader.

Writing Group Con:

Time – For every ten pages you turn in, you’ll need to read and critique the ten pages of every other member, a very good reason to keep the group to five or so members.

Consistency – it’s a volunteer group. Meeting times and place will change, members will not be able to attend, people will quit, not show or disappear.

Feedback –  the feedback you get may not be  the feedback you need.  And not all  feedback, even well intentioned,  is beneficial.

Next Steps –  The writing group is a great resource for the drafts of your creative work, but there is a good chance  they won’t be able to help with publication or promotion of your finished book.

Writing Coaches

A growing trend for a creative or nonfiction writer is to hire a writing coach or book doctor.  These coaches are professionals, not only skilled in communication and the publishing industry, but also hold advanced degrees in literature or creative writing.  Coaches deliver   the kind of feedback a writer really can use to improve writing and get published.  A coach can also bring a client along from inception straight through to publication.

I work as a writing coach and by coincidence, so do two of our recent guests on the Newbie Writer’s Podcast:

Stacey Aaronson

And Jordan Rosenfeld.

If you are considering a coach to help you with your writing project – listen to the April/May podcasts at Newbie Writers.  We can help.

 

 
Catharine is a writing coach as well –  
If you want to explore the possibilities,
Check out the 
Start Your Book Kit  
Complimentary copy of  Start Your Book
ComplimentaryConsultation ½ hour with Catharine
and a subscription Newbie News
Drop me a line at –  bramkamp@yahoo.com for your Start Your Book Kit.
Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The True Secret Of Writing

If you are a writer, you have purchased, among other works, the three essential writing books:  Writing Down the Bones, Bird by Bird and The Artist’s Way.  But wait, you say, there are more essential books.  Yes, the horary old Elements of Style, the OED, the APA, MLA, AWA, Chicago book of Style, Grammar books, vocabulary books.  Ray Bradbury, Steven King, Virginia Woolf, there are few writers who have not penned a book on how to write.

Natalie Goldberg's BooksAnd I have many of them.

My favorite is Natalie Goldberg.

I attended a book signing and talk to promote her most recent book, The True Secret of Writing.

Spoiler alert – I’ll share the true secret to writing.

The secret is – just write, actually it’s more complicated than that – according to Goldberg the true secret to writing is “Shut up and write.”

Since her break out book, Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg has promoted writing as an activity or practice that is as beneficial to the soul and mind as sitting or walking meditation.  For her, writing has never been about the product – in 1986 the idea of all process but no product,  was a radical. It still is, and she is still championing that central thesis.

In The True Secret of Writing Goldberg describes the process,  schedule and activities behind her famous (if you slavishly follow her career as some writers here do) writing retreats at the Mabel Dodge House 

Ever since I heard she offered to teach writing, in person, I was wild to go. But scheduling and finances always held me back.

I was thrilled to at least learn a bit about this magical retreat Friday night at Book Passages in Marin.

Goldberg did not disappoint. She read out loud, she explained that  mediation is really three powerful  things: Sitting, Walking and Writing.  Then,  as a special treat, she invited a retreat participant to sing the retreat song.

We were instructed to sit, close our eyes and feel the lovely song as we would if we were spending a week in beautiful  New Mexico, sitting for days in companionable silence, or practicing slow walking meditation.

I did not close my eyes.  I squirmed  in my low slung plastic chair, jiggled my foot, and annoyed the woman in front of me and realized, as the singer’s voice cracked and wobbled, with complete clarity, that this was not my song, I do not have a propensity for silence and I have never walked slowly in my whole life.

I love Goldberg’ s work. I love her attitude and how she brought Zen and mediation to so many  through writing practice. I own multiple copies of her books with my favorite an old wine stained Wild Mind.  

But as I considered the reality of a week long retreat under her tutelage, it was clear I  wanted no part of it.  And I was pretty happy with that truth.

Is there a moral to this story?  Natalie would say no, because Zen means that things are not good or bad but just are.

But I’m too western minded for that.  The moral of the story is before spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars traveling to a writing retreat that looks fabulous on the web and transformational in your dreams, seek out that author or retreat leader during a book signing or conference, listen to them, make sure what you have in your head, and what comes out of their mouths and experience, match.

And it’s okay to toss a fish or two out of your bucket list.

Of course I bought the book, as long as that woman writes, I will buy her books.

If you want to create a writing retreat at home, check out The Cheap Retreat Workbook

You are welcome to re-post this article in your own blog or newsletter – please include this entire statement, “Catharine Bramkamp is a Writing Coach and podcaster, find out if you’re ready to go from  Newbie to Known visit www.yourbookstartshere.com or bramkamp@yahoo.com for a complimentary consultation.”

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Favorite Addiction

Dublin writer museum

Book bub  is a email program courtesy of Amazon that delivers a choice of four or five books for ebook down load ranging in price from $3.99 to Free.

I love free the best.

And I love Amazon for assuming the role of my own personal drug dealer.  For a woman who considers books her crack cocaine, this daily email offering a free book download is like the  archetypal drug dealer lurking just on the other side of the playground chain link fence.

“Want to trip for free?”

And I reply, “SURE of COURSE I do.”

Since I missed doing drugs in college due to financial constraints,  this is my next best experience.

The  Amazon one click option is like main-lining in a meth lab.

If you are a real writer you are not book – free or novel-neutral.  So it’s not a question of  addiction, the question is,  how does your addiction manifest?  The local used book store?   The monthly Friends of the LIbrary sale?   The library itself?  Amazon?  A fabulous destination store  like (cue the god-clouds and heavenly chorus) Powells?

This is not an intervention, this is not a plea to just say no. On the contrary, don’t say no, say yes, and if you know your weakness, then you know that when you come across it in your in bo

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: