Speaking FREEly

Lurking behind every set of eyes is a story. Some unfold effortlessly, intriguing you and drawing you in until you crave more. But what about that story that is held captive behind the eyes of its creator? That is the story I’m seeking to set free.

During November I’m offering to teach and motivate four groups for FREE. I’m building my portfolio and you can benefit! Clubs, homeschool groups, classrooms, etc. If you need some motivational writing tips and encouragement for your club or group, fill out the form below, or contact me through FaceBook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Details: I’m offering four 30 and/or 60 minute sessions for free during November while dates remain available.

Pen Tip #1: Where to Begin

You can’t steer a parked car.

I can’t tell you the number of people who have confessed to me, “I’ve had a story in my head for years.” From there the comments go different directions. Some say, “I should really write that thing someday.” Others, “I wish I could write but I’m no writer.” In each instance I offer words of encouragement and the all too common phrase, “You can do it.” Then as I sat in the orthodontist office waiting for my middle child to get a broken bracket glued back on, an epiphany hit me – not everyone can write. And I had to ask myself honestly, “Have I been lying to people, merely placating them with motivational drivel?”

Before you get discouraged, please read on! There is a happy ending.

To answer this question, I had to consider the definition of the word ‘write’ used in this context. It has nothing to do with penmanship, or even grammar, but has everything to do with the creative process. Can anyone write a story that people will want to read?

Back in the Jordan days, I used to think I was a major basketball fan. When he left the game I suddenly realized I didn’t have the old draw to the NBA finals like I used to. But it opened my eyes a bit to the true game of basketball. Some are gifted and some just put in a whole lot of dedicated hard work. Larry Bird for instance – now, I admit, he does have talent. I’m not diss’n Bird! Love him! But Larry had a dedication to the game that blasted the more ‘naturally gifted’ out of the water. He would practice free throws, studying; improving. He would show up  hours before a game and start dribbling the ball and practicing. Did Jordan do this? Well, I don’t know – but he was sort of a freak of nature (I say this in the kindest and most positive way, Mike!). You may not agree with me on how I see the BB greats, but just follow me to my point, which is: Both were astounding on the BB court! However, both were vastly different in their approach.

If you have a story in your mind that you’ve wondered if you can write, let me answer this way. Anyone can write a story someone else will read IF they write the story. But here’s the critical part: I don’t mean just typing words on page. Groom the story, learn how a story is put together, develop the characters, etc. Don’t just write. WRITE! You can’t make a story amazing if you don’t start typing, just like you can’t steer a parked car.

I can sit in a Hummer but if I don’t have keys I’m just warming a seat. I can ponder a scene or a character all day, but if I don’t turn the keys on my story I’m going nowhere.

Bottom line: If you want to write your story, you can but you must start typing! In the beginning it is seriously that easy. Those who can’t write are simply those who don’t really want to. Don’t believe me? Stick around. I’ll show you how to find your keys. If you don’t start, you can’t finish. Secondly, like anything you’ll need to put some effort behind it if you want it to succeed. If it isn’t worth your time to make great, it isn’t worth someone else’s time to read. Do you struggle with grammar? That’s just a Goliath waiting for a David to crush it. Can’t organize your thoughts? Just another Goliath. Whatever obstacle you’re facing, I’m here for you! That’s what Literary Clay is all about. Please don’t let your story die at the feet of the nay saying Goliath! At least give it a shot.

Incidentally, November is a great time to try. It is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Google it. Join it. Make it happen! Whether you can or can’t write is yours to decide by your own actions.

Stay tuned for more tips on how you can make your story happen. 

A Fresh New Look

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You may notice I’ve changed the look of my site. Thank you for your patience as I get my fonts and things matched up. Plus, I’ll add more content as I go along. I moved over to WordPress from Blogger a while back so it appears as though I’m brand new on the scene. I didn’t move all of my history of things over for various reasons, whether a good idea or bad. I wanted a fresh start. So, it’s fresh.

Cheers,

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NaNoWriMo

It is that time again! Every November a group of people across the nation (and perhaps around the world) take on a writing challenge. It is National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.

I’m going to use November as a time to progress on my current novel, Sword of the Butterfly, book II of The King’s Sword Series, and the sequel to Mariah’s Invisible Sword.

There are writing groups on FaceBook – just type NaNoWriMo in the search field and pick one. What do you have to lose? You’ll never get a book written if you don’t start so… NaNoWriMo!

Cheers!

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Spontaneity: Friend or Foe?

Gone are the days when a merchant puts a board in a window of a shop along some street in town among local markets. Advertising has grown to be an electric light driven pixel package, virtual and intangible. The window is in the hands of everyone with a login ID.

Writers are encouraged to blog to develop a following. And so I sit in front of my computer willing to obey this advice, and yet when presented with a blank page to fill mechanically I stall, staring blankly like I did in literature class when asked to write an essay about frogs. I am a spontaneous writer, I suppose, picking up my virtual pen whenever the inspiration, that elusive muse, hits me. Although, my muse is more like a ninja; it attacks rather than hits. But that’s a topic for a different blog.

So, in the face of a society in which advertising is largely intangible and blogging is the new Front Street, Today’s merchant has become the new barker wandering the virtual crowds waving an onion smothered hot dog. Great. Now I’m hungry. Ah ha! See there? It works! Perhaps this visual is despised by the sophisticated sellers of more highly esteemed wares. The point is, if you’re going to advertise anything in this age you’re going to need to learn to navigate the modern store front. It is this modern store front that challenges me.

Don’t get me wrong, I embrace the idea of doing business in my fluffy bunny slippers sporting my favorite raised-by-wolves hairstyle. Who wouldn’t? But my ninja muse doesn’t attack me on cue. How does one work the modern virtual store front on a consistent basis with an inconsistent muse? {crickets} One could argue that I am consistent in that I am consistently inconsistent. I resemble that remark. And I love slippers.

So, is my spontaneity the enemy because it hobbles me from continuous barking? Or is it a friend, granting me something to bark about, profound or otherwise? Perhaps spontaneity is my Goliath and consistency its helmet. Or, is spontaneity the source of my product and consistency my Goliath? Yes, that fits better. So what is my sling and what are my stones? This will be my new quest to free myself from the hobbles.

Thank you for listening to me bark.

Cheers

Literary Clay in November

I’m gearing up again for the Literary Clay series to be held at Launching Success in Bellingham, WA. Check out the new Literary Clay tab on this site for more information. This series will be aimed toward the high school homeschooler. More sessions inviting a broadened audience will be coming in the future.

Cheers!

Shai

Driving Progress

The theme of the summer seemed to be ‘driving’ as we rolled along the Pacific Northwest highways in slow progression halfway across the country. I have always loved a good road trip, but using both hands to keep a car on the road is somewhat prohibitive to the writing process. The summer was amazing – the weather, the fellowship with friends and family, and the days of swimming in the Spokane river in Idaho. Now leaves are falling and rather than steering toward the Continental Divide and back, I am ‘steering’ my way back to my desk to continue work on Fingerprints on My Heart (formerly referred to as Crayons in the Toaster) and The Sword of the Butterfly (the sequel to Mariah’s Invisible Sword).

In addition to resuming the creative writing process I am organizing some classes to be taught in coming months to help aspiring young authors bring their characters from the shadows of their imagination into the world of print. Beyond that, there will be various poetry readings and possibly a YouTube video – we shall see what the days provide me in the way of time.

Enjoy the lovely changes that come with the shifting of seasons.

Cheers,

Shai

 

Literary Clay Workshop

Introducing the Literary Clay online creative writing workshop! Early registration is $15. After May 1st, the price will be $20. At either price you will receive valuable coaching and practical guidance with various assignments, writing prompts, and training sessions. I hope to ‘see’ you there! (Register on the Events tab)Literary Clay Flyer_FB

Release of Mariah’s Invisible Sword!

After so many years of distractions and obstacles, Mariah’s Invisible Sword is now in print!

Purchase Mariah’s Invisible Sword on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

Mariah’s Invisible Sword Review

Here is a link for the review of a section of Mariah’s Invisible Sword. I would love some stars!

https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1242895

 

Cheers,

Shai