Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blogs That Work - The Girlfriends Book Club

This month's Blog That Works is The Girlfriends Book Club - a collaborative author blog that succeeds in bringing loads of great tips, stories and perspective about the writer's life to new and seasoned writers as well as providing women's fiction authors a supportive community to share and creatively promote their work while connecting authors to their readers.

The Girlfriends Book Club is a blog I've been following for several months. Author Karin Neches (who has contributed to TLCG) directs an impressive roster of best selling, award-winning and notable women's fiction authors through daily posts organized by a monthly theme (this month has been all about process).

I chose Girlfriends Book Club as this month's BTW because of its collaborative nature, organization and great posts by an impressive list of authors (like Ellen Meister, Wendy Tokunaga, Lauren Baratz-Logsted and many more). I gladly support all the authors on GBC because of their contribution to the writing community and commitment to their readers.

I asked Karin Neches a few questions about The Girlfriends Book Club:

TLC: How did The Girlfriend's Book Club develop?

KN: The Girlfriends Book Club came out of a virtual tour group called the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, started back in 2004. Members used to host and promote girlfriends books on their individual blogs. We were one of the first groups to do virtual tours and, as a result, got shout-outs in the Village Voice and NY Times.

But after a while everyone started getting a little blog weary. It’s tough to keep up a personal blogs for years so, one of our members , noticing the success of group author blogs like Murderati and Lipstick Chronicles, suggested we start a group blog for women fiction authors. Now we only have to blog every ninety days or so although some members still maintain personal blogs.

TLC: Are there requirements for authors to become a member of the blog?

KN: You have to be a female, traditionally published author of women’s fiction and we usually only take on new authors when someone leaves. However we love guest bloggers so any authors of women fiction are welcome to pitch a blog. Just email me Karin Gillespie at karin_gillespie (@)

TLC: How important do you feel collaboration is in today's book selling climate?

KN: I’ve always been big on collaboration, whether it be the GBC or touring with other authors. Marketing people will claim that collaboration can dilute the author brand, but I don’t give a fig. It’s lonely being a writer and it’s great to chum up with thirty some odd “girlfriends.” Privately we solicit each other’s advice and support each other’s new releases on Facebook and Twitter. It’s truly an old girlfriend network.

I can't think of a better resource for writers than a supportive community. And I agree with Karin, there is strength in numbers - the writing process is lonely enough. Check out Girlfriends Book Club, subscribe, book mark it, do whatever you need to be in the loop. I never miss a post.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Flashback Friday: Creative Platforming with BenBella Publisher, Glen Yeffeth

This post originally published 7/25 /10. Looking back on this year's worth of work with authors in this new age of ebusiness - two things about the process of publishing remain the same: editing and platform building; both take time to do correctly and build with quality, respectively.

In publishing, the evergreen issue of Author Platform is one more and more savvy writers are finally becoming familiar with. Ah yes, the P word. The very short and sweet definition of platform from a publishing perspective is how you reach your audience; columns, articles, journal pieces, newsletters, blogs, workshops and regular appearances on TV (or your own show!) are considered platform. Pick up a reputable publishing trade magazine and no doubt you’ll see a “how to” article on crafting a successful platform. Head to your local bookseller and you’ll find a few books on the hot topic. The bottom line is, if you want to attract an agent or editor’s attention, you must possess a strong platform, period! Clearly, I see aspiring authors are listening to this “must have platform” message when I scroll through their social media pages and read their status updates about their projects and blogs – another building block of the author platform.

Relatively new to the social media scene, I’m totally fascinated by how today’s author is using this tool as a means to promote their work and broaden their network and influence. Authors don’t just have a website anymore, as they did when I was agenting, they’re now updating their status (stati?) on several social media and professional networking sites. They’re blog, blog, blogging away. Some even have pages for the main characters of their books, which I find fascinating. What agent or editor wouldn’t love an already strong following of a character that hasn’t even been formally introduced to its book cover yet?! Brilliant! Caveat: You better make good on your promise to deliver your exciting character and get that book published one way or another or suffer some very public professional humiliation not to mention loss of integrity.

Looking around my city, I see the majority of people’s attention turned downward to the glowing rectangle in their hands. Scrolling through scads of info, suddenly “more important” things are happening online in real time. We’re getting used to this, aren’t we? This new speed of instant connection, communication and gratification? Push button publishing is easy! Sweet validation!

o does all this super quick online activity affect the speed of successful platform building, which traditionally takes years to build? Amazon has so far successfully proven self publishing through e-books has saved many writers from years of traditional publishing anguish. Will we experience the same evolution in platform crafting?

I asked Glenn Yeffeth, Publisher at
BenBella Books:

"Since an author's platform is so critical to their publishing success, how have writers become more creative with their platform building? How are you seeing writers use social media to boost their platform?"

GY: There has been an enormous amount of nonsense posted about social media and the need for a platform and I think this has taken a lot of writers in the wrong direction. So here are a few realities about social media and building a platform.

Your book has to be strong, original and fascinating to your target market. I see a lot of proposals by folks who seem to have put a lot more thought into their platform building activities than their book. Everything you do with platform building and social media is simply to light the kindling underneath the big logs – word of mouth. If your book isn’t great your social media efforts will be fairly pointless.

Having said that, using social media effectively takes as much effort and creativity as writing a book. It takes focus and passion. “Everyone should blog” is nonsense. Authors should blog if they have something unique to say and if they are prepared to invest years in building an audience. A platform transcends any given book; in fact it transcends books altogether. A strong platform drives opportunities for speaking, consulting, free-lancing, selling non-book products, career-enhancement, etc.
Whipping up a platform for a book proposal is pretty much impossible. It takes time – calendar time as well as hours.

Figure out what you are really good at – speaking, television, essay writing, radio, short pithy blog posts, whatever – and what you really know a lot about and leverage these two things to build your platform.
Focus is important, and don’t feel like you need to do everything. If twitter doesn’t fit your strengths, don’t tweet. Originality and creativity are less important than finding your strengths and focusing around them. Once you’ve done that, creativity will come a lot more readily.

TLC: So, dear writers, you may have more options and opportunity to connect than 5 years ago, but this new connection speed doesn’t necessarily change the speed or quality of platform building. It doesn’t mean your book will write itself, either (check out Inkygirl’s apropos cartoon, First Things First for some comic perspective). Take heed and take a breather – good books are still good books no matter the format. A well written book by an author who has taken years to build an impressive platform will still distinguish itself well above the slosh in the marketplace. And stellar platforms are built slower than you can say, What’s your status update?

Your Exercise This Week: Do a little research on your favorite author (this century, please. Even more preferable, no later than the last 20 years). How did they get their start? How long did it take them to build their successful writing career? What was their first publishing success? What do they do (other than write books) that makes them uniquely qualified to be THE EXPERT in their field (for nonfiction work)?

Have any platform building tips or success stories? Share them with the group! I want to hear all about it!

Have a fruitful day, writers!


Glenn Yeffeth is Publisher of BenBella Books. Before BenBella, Glenn was a corporate strategist and marketer who ran companies in Chicago, London and Dallas. BenBella Books, named after Glenn’s children Benjamin and Isabella, publishing boutique that aims to be the publisher of choice for a select group of authors who value personal attention, a partnership philosophy, flexibility and a creative approach to marketing. Glenn has an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Chicago and a BA in history from Oberlin College.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Promoting your Book through Passion, Relationships and Collaboration

The last decade in publishing has truly been a wild whirlwind and authors have had to evolve from lone, brilliant artists to super social creators, marketers, publicists, event coordinators, social media strategists and major book sellers in a matter of minutes. Well...when you consider the overall history of publishing.

And even though you writers are expected to evolve as quickly as the newest iPhone, selling your book is still an icky thing you guys don't like to do. I get it. It feels a little used car salesman-y. A little disingenuous because yes, you want them to love it and tell their friends all about how awesome it is...isn't that what writing is all about? The affirmation? The public acceptance? And yet, you really want, need to make a few bucks off your gem to pay the bills - is that so wrong? Oh, the portrait of the artist as a tortured salesperson!

The act of sales is not icky. And it's not necessarily about you putting your book into someone's hands and saying, "Buy this!" either. Rather, book sales flow from concentrating your energies on the following three actions. So let's think a little more creatively about how to sell your book in this new age of publishing.

Selling begins with passion

The most successful salespeople are passionate about their product (whatever it is) and aren't afraid to put themselves out there to spread the word about it. They don't look at selling as selling - they look at it as, "hey, you gotta check this out!" and mean it. Think about the last time you told a friend they absolutely had to drop everything to read a book you just fell in love with. That was you sharing your love for a book through your enthusiasm. That's just the kind of energy you need to get out there and tell people about your book.

Selling is all about building trust and forming relationships

There are no shortcuts with this step - building trust and forming relationships takes a lot of time and commitment on your part. You build trust by being authentic. You can smell a disingenuous sales person a mile away, right? Your reading public will have the same reaction if you put out an image that is something other than your most authentic self. It's like your writing - you don't think about your voice, or your writing style, it just flows. If you over thought your style, your prose would be self-conscious and unoriginal. Sure you craft, edit and polish your manuscript just as we all use social filters (mostly)...but your core is there and that's what people are drawn to.

You'll never build relationships or trust if you don't put yourself out there in your own neck of the woods and online. If you're just starting out on this path and have just a few writer buddies, start slow and allow yourself plenty of time to connect with others. Seek out and join local writer and/or professional organizations that are right for you, your writing style and/or your professional association. Take this action online and start building relationships by blogging (if it's right for you and you're able to seriously commit to this); by commenting on other blogs thoughtfully and frequently; by contributing entire pieces to other blogs (if you have a story or tips to share); and by creating and being active on a few select social media platforms, for starters. Freelancing articles in your area of specialty or interest is also a very worthwhile way to build trust and readership.

Success can be found through collaboration

Today's author is not threatened by their creative neighbor on the book shelf. Instead of seeing an author within their genre as a competitor, they look at them as a possible collaborateur. I'm seeing a surge of co-hosted collaborative author blogs, multi-author book signings and other literary events, and now online twitter, LinkedIn and other social media groups. Readers don't just read one author. Writing is a solitary enough endeavor; promoting and selling your book shouldn't be. You know the saying, it takes a village.

Your Action: If you're still crafting, just make friends and connections. There's no need to have an agenda (nobody likes a hard pitch). Your main focus should be on writing. You'll have time to consider your events when you have something to sell.

Authors who have a finished project, work on these three things: nailing your pitch; continuing to connect and share; and getting creative about collaborating.

Share what's worked for you or other authors you know!

Have a fruitful week, writers!


*The image used in this post is titled "It takes a village to raise a child."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Flashback Friday: Living the Creative Life: A Blogshop with Mary Beth Maziarz, author of Kick Ass Creativity

I've decided to add a new element to TLCG - Flashback Friday! So now, every Friday you'll received a blast from blogshop past to help kick start your process or introduce you to a new fabulous author. I'm kicking off FF with a post from last year with author, critically acclaimed musician and "kick ass" creativity muse, Mary Beth Maziarz.

The following post is from July 5, 2010

July is all about Creativity – how to prepare yourself for the best creative experience; how to identify and foster good energy, letting it flow into your creative work; how to distinguish and market your own unique voice amongst other commercial fiction authors; and how to get crafty with your platform.

So let’s get into it. We’re kicking off the month with a major two-part blogshop on preparing yourself: mind, body, soul and space for the most productive, pleasurable creative time possible. Our special guest expert for the next two weeks is critically acclaimed musician and author of one of my favorite books, Kick Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers and Creative Professionals, Mary Beth Maziarz. Mary Beth’s music has appeared on the hit WB shows, Dawson’s Creek, Party of Five, Everwood and Joan of Arcadia and in the films, Broken Hearts Club and The Real Thing. She’s also a sought-after presenter whose popular creativity workshops inspire artists, writers and creative professionals in all stages of their career.

MB and I connected as I was mid-way through her book. I was totally thrilled to find an inspiring text that seemed to reach beyond the “how to succeed” template with more perspective than the “reveling in the artist’s life” tomes and meatier than the sea of “law of attraction” books floating around. I wrote a favorable blip on one of my social media sites, she became aware of it and voila! We have a juicy two weeks planned for your creative inspiration! These blogshops will be longer than usual so plan to read when you’ve got a good chunk of time to digest, reflect and make plans for action.

Creativity is Life!

I’m happiest when I’m elbows deep in whatever I’m creating. Whether it’s writing, baking, chopping veggies for a fabulous marinara, painting with my kids – anything creative – I’m totally into it, getting messy and feeling nothing but pure joy. Life is great! Isn’t that what it’s all about? It took me some time to realize, though, creativity isn’t about plunking down in front of your laptop and banging away at the keys until something brilliant happens. Creativity isn’t solely about finding the perfect words for a stunning piece of work. Creativity is life unedited happening all around us! Look around!

Now that you’ve got our eyes open, take a closer look. This idea of living the creative life is ideal, right? What artist, writer, musician, creative person wouldn’t love to be plugged into this constant flow of creative inspiration? But ultimately, life gets in the way. We’ve got stuff to “deal with.”

· The Mind Stuff: Keeping our thoughts positive and making choices that benefit our lives and the lives of those we support.
· The Body Stuff: Eating healthfully regularly; drinking the right amount of water; getting adequate exercise and rest.
· The Soul Stuff: Securing our connectivity with the creative universe.
· The Space Stuff: Clearing our creative workspace of distraction and negativity.

R.I.P. Tortured Artist

All too frequently, I witness writers falling down the rabbit hole of neglect when they’re elbows deep in their masterpieces. The portrait of an artist as a mal-nourished, overly caffeinated, hung over, emotionally tortured writer with tunnel vision, glued to his computer writing away as piles of mail overtake the desk is outdated. People, this is not the writer’s life. Not anymore, at least. No matter how the movies depict the lives of our favorite authors from the past, there is nothing romantic about neglect.

What Today’s Successful Author IS

Today’s career writer is mindful of what they need mentally, physically, spiritually and spatially. Without a clear mind, you can’t create to the best of your potential. Without feeling good physically, creating confidently is a struggle. Without feeling connected spiritually to this universe, it’s difficult to create beyond yourself. Without a creative working space free and clear of big distractions and clutter, you’re facing major disorganization fallout. The most successful writers, those making a living from their writing, know this and live this the best they can.

Musician, author and creativity coach, Mary Beth Maziarz is a great example of this. I asked her,
"How important has clearing away the toxic clutter in your life been in your career as a musician and now author?"

MB: I’ll be honest: I’m not sure traditional clutter has been cleared from my life at all. If you were to look around my house on any given day, you might be inspired to call Oprah’s organizing team and suggest they head on over. But toxic stuff is another matter. I am vigilant about dealing with anything that gets in the way of my creative life. I have to be; otherwise I get sucked into energy drains all over the place and there’s nothing left for my writing or music.

TLC: Sure, there’s a difference between “happy little messes” that let others know life is happening and toxic clutter…the stuff that totally gunks up the works.

For me, relationship stuff can be very distracting. If I feel that something is ‘off’ with my husband, another family member, or a close friend, I find I need to sort it out (either with the person or in my own mind) before I can get quality work done. If I sense that the issue is something I need to work through on my own, I’ll journal or write an imaginary dialogue about it. I’ll also take a moment to figure out what I really want as an outcome, which can be surprising. A few years ago, I was really torn up about a long-term friendship that had become very difficult. When I put some deep thought into what I really wanted as a resolution, I realized I didn’t want things to go back to “normal” – in fact, I was finally ready to see that it was time to move on.

TLC: It’s especially important to recognize toxic friendships and relationships that drain you emotionally. Choose to recognize and resolve the issue and move to a higher place with that someone or choose to move on. Either choice is better for your overall well being.

Environment matters, too, but not always in the ways that you might think. In terms of home and studio, I find there’s a real sweet spot between huge distracting mess and so-perfect-you-don’t-want-to-disturb-anything where the good work gets done. When my environment starts bugging me, I’ll address it. Other than that, I have a gift (or curse) that leads me to let go of all but the critical things when there’s a project at hand.

TLC: Again, “happy little messes” are just fine. I like pictures of my children and family around. I like books handy for me to grab for reference. I love to light my
J.Bella Soy Candles to arouse the senses. This makes my office my office. This is different from obligations piling high in the corner and choosing not to address them. Always, always take care of the stuff that needs your attention before you sit down to write. It’s tough to be your most confidently creative self when there’s a dark, scary cloud of neglect looming overhead.

I’m also sensitive to isolation. I used to do weird things like write (even music) with the TV on in the background. Now I find that if I go to a coffeehouse where there’s a nice amount of ambient noise and “life” happening around me, I feel like I’m in the flow of things while still getting work done. I frequently find that helpful conversations and synergistic meetings take place when I work in public too, which reinforces the sense that I’m where I’m supposed to be as I work in public places.

TLC: Absolutely! Connecting to the universe around you breeds all good things. You never know who you’re going to meet, where you’ll pull inspiration from, what brilliant ideas will come to you or what great info someone might share that connects you to something awesome. Be open.

I think the biggest form of toxic clutter that people face today is media. Media is amazing – and many of us are hustling content for it – but it’s also become omnipresent. Learning to take breaks from sonic static has become critical for me as far as keeping an open connection to inspiration and ideas. One of my favorite things to do is to roll the window down and turn the radio off (oh, sweet NPR – I’ll listen tomorrow!), on my way home from a rich work session and just let my thoughts spread out a little. It helps re-center me, so when I walk in the house I’m present for my family in a much more satisfying way for all of us.

TLC: Right. One thing I coach writers on is the value is scheduling social media time and knowing when to put it to bed for the day. This outlet has become a fabulous resource for writers but you gotta know when to step away from your online communities. Now it’s easy for agents and editors to check up on their writers when they’ve missed a deadline; all they have to do is look at their author’s status bar and home page to know their author has been spending more time chatting than honoring their commitments.

If I were going to get instructive, I’d say that creative clarity for me is about BEING three things:

1) being present and available for inspiration

2) being willing to do something with it when it comes

3) being brave and clever enough not to get in my own way

Get Present & Available
Our lives are loud. We’re surrounded by news, music, TV shows, and a dozen other ways to keep our ears and neural pathways occupied all day long. Our minds are loud; even when there’s no media distracting us, many of us have to-do lists, errands, concerns, and other thoughts bouncing actively around our brains. Get present by creating a non-negotiable window of quiet in your day. Fifteen minutes is a good start. Sit quietly somewhere and use a basic breathing meditation; just notice your breath going in, and note it going back out. Keep a notepad nearby in case you get an incredible idea (or remember something so important that it will distract you throughout the rest of the quiet time if you don’t jot it down). Hint: the more you need this kind of quiet time, the more you will avoid it. It will prove to be exceptionally valuable to creative projects. Being quiet opens you up to all those wonderful, rich ideas that get lost in the chaos of our full days.

Get Willing
Once you have inspiration on your side, give it some love and attention by giving your ideas a chance to develop in a low-pressure environment. Grab a notepad and do some “story play” – sketch, doodle, or write out possible scenarios of how your idea/product/project might come to fruition. Find the part of the story that sounds fun and great (stay clear of anything that makes you nervous or causes you to cringe) and imagine how it would feel. For instance, if you’re playing with a book idea, imagine yourself holding your finished book in your hands or signing books at your release party. If your sparkle of inspiration feels half-baked, honor the partial idea by jotting it down in a dream notebook or idea box. Just taking the time to save your idea bits in one place will help cement them into your memory for when the rest of the puzzle begins to come together.

Get Brave and Clever
Some people are probably naturally courageous when it comes to putting themselves and their art out there. The rest of us need an occasional nudge in the right direction. A safe, ritualized creative space and process can help you get into the flow of work without entertaining too much resistance. Knowing yourself and your unique tendencies can help, too. Maybe you can trick yourself into a helpful energetic surge with a vitamin packet, or some caffeine or sugar. Perhaps you have a creative cheerleader in your life who always makes you feel competent and confident – a quick call or text might help you channel their certainty.

Use whatever works! Happy creating!

TLC: Great advice, Mary Beth! Thank you!

Ok, writers, if you’re already on this positive, balanced path, fantastic job! You are so on track. Sure, stuff happens and maybe we fall off track for a day. That’s ok. The important thing is to not beat yourself up over it and recognize what lead you off track. Address the issue honestly, promptly and resume work as usual.

For writers who have a little work to do in this area, your tools are right here, but you may want to take it one step at a time. As you make the changes necessary to create more freely and brilliantly, you’ll see and feel the difference. Start slow…either choose one area to concentrate improvement or take one step in each area: mind, body, spirit and space. Next month, work on two areas or two things in each category in which you want to see improvement.

Your Exercise This Week: Check out Mary Beth’s book, Kick Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers and Creative Professionals. And check out her
blog, too, for creative inspiration and opportunities to attend some of MB’s creativity workshops.

Questions, concerns, success stories? Let me know! Need one-on-one coaching to begin creating confidently? Email me at

Here’s to a beautifully creative life, writers!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Your Summer Creative Challenge - Juicy Scenes

I think our brains are hard-wired to take it easy during the summer months - a lingering memento from our school days when we were allowed to stow away books and pencils to spend those hot and hazy days dreaming, playing and living off ice cream and the fruits of the season.

For writers, this season is ripe with juicy creative possibility. I'm getting the message loud and clear from all my lovelies that summer is a busy time for their family - there are vacations, day trips, time spent with kids, a whole new routine to get used to, in essence. And for my writers who don't have families, this season means an opportunity for a social life and some well-deserved R&R. Despite the siren's tempting summer call, they want to write and see their work moving forward, taking shape. Alas, there's pressure - to have a somewhat social and enjoyable summer and still be creatively productive.

The Answer: if the summer siren won't back down, give in and play a little (after all, you need something to write about, right?). Forget about page or word count if you're having difficulty breaking through and connecting one scene to the next. You'll push and push and eventually end up with a chapter that reflects the disconnect. Instead, I want you to focus on SCENE. Write a scene that takes your characters to the next level in their development. Write a scene that gives your characters context. Write a scene that moves your plot forward. Write a scene that is tight, where every word counts, that moves you and that will move us. Give it texture and flavor - put your reader in the moment. These don't need to be high concept, big blockbuster scenes - they just need to count. Put all your creative energy into that one scene and forget about word and page count. Allow yourself to be totally in the moment with your craft and let it take you somewhere. Enjoy your trip!

The Result: after writing several powerful scenes, you'll not only enjoy forward momentum with your work, you'll have reconnected with two of your most powerful creative tools - passion and the senses. You may forget these good friends while being bogged down with word and page count goals or are rushing to get something to an agent before they forget about you (they will only forget about you if you turn in something less than inspired. They'd rather wait for perfection).

There is no rush, writers. Take time to enjoy the season and let it inspire your creativity. Live a little and give us something juicy to sink our teeth into!

Your Action: If you're stuck mid-draft (or have yet to begin), take a break and do a little summer living - GO OUTSIDE OR SOMEWHERE FOR SEVERAL HOURS (I don't care how humid it is). Come back to your pen ready to write a scene that captures your experience or insert the people you met or observed and write about them! If you must write about how much you hate least write a scene where you or your character is dealing with the sweltering heat WHILE doing something else (let's see 'em sweat!). I'd love to know what you come up with.

Extra credit for those who blog this exercise. Post the link with your comment so others can check out your work and I will too. (I review all comments before I post, so please, keep it classy.)

Have a fruitful week, writers!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Creativity in Collaboration

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of leading a private "From Blog to Book" workshop with an intimate group of women in the greater LA area. I prepared myself by taking a look at most of the attendees' blogs to get a snapshot of their blogging experience so far so I could better direct them when it came time for the one-on-one breakout session. And of course, I had an outline and I was pleasantly fueled by coffee thanks to our gracious host, Erin Shachory. I was ready. Something you should know before I go on...while I consider myself a fairly creative person, I lean toward type A tendencies when it comes down to business.

After a few introductions the workshop began and I did something very out of character - in a snap, I completely ditched the first part of my notes and went off-road. I was familiar with many of these writers' blogs and I found this format of workshop, one where information could be shared and considered openly would best suit this particular group. So I asked each writer to introduce themselves and share about their blog. Then the real workshopping began. They shared and I gave them direct, on-the-spot feedback. They asked questions...questions I had prepared to answer as we moved along, but here we were NOW and so answer I did, only looking down at my notes here and there making sure I was covering at least half of what I was prepared to discuss.

A beautiful thing happened that day - while I was leading the workshop, this dynamic collective group of talented, smart, seasoned and savvy writers opened themselves to one another to share their perspective on blogs, good writing and the evolution of publishing, answered questions from other writers as they bubbled up and shared resources.

This group left with new-found creative inspiration ready to give more shape and definition to their current blog or start a new one. But that creative mojo wasn't just sourced from me - they found it by connecting with writers who've been down a few roads they hadn't yet, they found it by community. And I left totally inspired by their energy, know-how and willingness to reach across the table to guide another writer.

You read a lot about the business of publishing, the rules of writing and the how-not-to-shoot-yourself-in-the-foot-when-approaching-an-agent advice from those of us who deal of have dealt with the nuts and bolts of publishing. But you deserve a little creative off-roading from time to time. Put your notes aside. Forget the rules once in a while and let your hair down. How else will Creativity find you?

Your action: Partner with a fellow Creative or a group and get to talking. Talk about books, writing, media, and all the possibilities writers have today they didn't have 10 years ago...let the brain wander, soar and dream. Connect. Collaborate. Create.

As for me? You may have noticed I didn't post a blog last Monday. I've been on vacation in the mountains with my family. I spelunked, hiked, fully explored my 5 senses, rafted and got soaked. The creative batteries are recharged!

Have a fruitful week, writers!


* The "From Blog to Book" coverage linked above was written by attendee and blogger Kim Tracy Prince.