Congratulations to Christy E of Ohio who won the newsletter subscriber’s September drawing for a signed copy of Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020.) Watch for an announcement about the October contest in a couple of weeks.
If you’d like a chance to win the next drawing, please sign up for my newsletter here:
You may already know that am a fan of the blood type diet as explained by homeopathic physician Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type. My blood type is O negative, and wheat products are hard for me to digest. D’Adamo suggests trying the ancient grain granddaddy of wheat called spelt. Less processing and high in B vitamins.
It was tough to find spelt bread and pasta when I first looked for it. It’s more available today thanks to my absolute favorite bakery located in Amish country in Berlin, Ohio. Give them a try. They are a small, family owned, multi-generational company that makes great products, and the customer service is awesome. Tell Nicole that Joy sent you!
All good things,
Women with clean houses do not have finished books.
This is our moment. Yours and mine. And as my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Mary Young, was very fond of repeating, “You can’t get this moment back, so don’t waste it.”
Many years later, I think about Mrs. Young using this call-to-action to teach eleven-year-olds the value of time. I believed and followed everything Mrs. Young said. She was the first teacher to encourage my writing and tell me that I could and should follow the path of a writer. Even though she knew that I was the heir apparent to my mother’s thriving ballet school, (Mrs. Young’s granddaughter took ballet from my mother,) Mrs. Young let me know that I was a writer. She was also the first person to impress the importance and meaning of a deadline. She is why I became a writer, got a journalism degree, and have pursued the craft and publishing for fifty (yep) years.
The point of this vignette is that everyone must have a champion, someone who sees their potential and supports them in every way, even when the going is tough, and the champion falls off the horse. Who is that person for you? Who first voiced, “You can do this” convincingly enough to motivate you to pursue it? This person is due your thanks.
I often thank Mrs. Young in my journal and sometimes I complain to her that being an author isn’t a piece of cake. Those are the moments when I’ve fallen off the horse and am looking up from the dirt searching for someone to blame. That’s when the query letter doesn’t hit the mark. When a reviewer says something less than adoring (they’re allowed, but it still stings.) Simply dumping my frustrations into the journal helps clear away the doubt, and I’m able to remind myself that writing and teaching it is what I do. I get up, dust off my cheeks, get back into the office chair, and start typing or researching or whatever again. It’s what I do.
I write, publish, and teach to reach out, to connect with other people. Thanks to Mrs. Young, I have the belief (not always the confidence because I’m just human) that my words and ideas may help someone else.
This support notion applies to everything, every field, and every person. Who first pointed out that you make a fabulous fill-in-the-blank and drove you to be better at it? Send this wonderful soul an unsent letter of thanks by writing to them in your journal. Unsend the letter. Keep it in your journal, unless you want to send it in some way-message in a bottle, email, snail mail. It’s all good.
All good things,
Women with clean houses do not have finished books.
If you’d like to receive a free download YOGA FOR WRITERS exercise routine click the link below to sign-up for my newsletter.
DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts
Taught in private Groups.io forum
REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com
WRITER WELLNESS & FIVE THINGS FOR YOUR WRITING
By Joy E. Held
The idea for my book and workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020) came to me when some of my critique partners asked how they could be my clones. They wanted to shadow me for a week to see what I did every day that led to my prolific publishing (over 500 articles and counting,) life as a homeschooling mom, and part-time hatha yoga teacher. Up to that point, I hadn’t done any self-examination of my processes, but when they asked, I stepped back and watched myself for a month while documenting my doings and beings in a journal. This article is a peek into what I learned.
Please take out a pen and paper (or your phone or computer) and list five things you’ve done in the last thirty days to promote/support your writing.
Now list five challenges or obstacles that you believe are standing in the way of accomplishing your writing goals.
Next, list five writing wishes or desires you want to come true.
Following the Writer Wellness plan will help you to always have five things on those lists. It will also allow you to maintain a level of health and creativity that some writers are missing.
Are you happy with your writing in general?
Are you happy with your health?
Do you ever notice a direct relationship to the productivity and quality of your writing and quality of your life?
A physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy individual is by far a more productive, creative, and pleasant person. This is evidenced by the fact that many corporations have implemented programs to keep employees happy and healthy. Programs range from day care centers in the workplace to personal trainers for every ten employees. A healthy, happy employee is more productive, misses less work, and is a more cost-effective employee.
As a writer, you are the employer and the employed. Happiness, productivity, and health are definite factors in the quality of work you produce. It is therefore in your best interest as a writer to do everything you can to stay healthy and be the best writer you can be.
But where are you supposed to get the time? Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves to the time factor. Hopefully, you will instinctively see that working these ideas into your life will make positive use of your time while adding to the quality of your life and the productivity of your work.
The whole premise of Writer Wellness is that creativity and productivity are crucially dependent upon an overall quality of life. This includes the physical, mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual aspects of life.
To serve the purposes of Writer Wellness, I’ve broken down a writer’s quality of life into five interdependent components necessary to sustain a healthful, creative life.
The five key concepts of Writer Wellness are JOURNALING, EXERCISE, RELAXATION, PROPER NUTRITION, AND CREATIVE PLAY. These areas contribute to an overall wellness way of living and working.
I was raised in my mother’s dancing school. Before she retired after 52 years, she kept the books, wrote the grants and publicity announcements, directed weekly rehearsals, and taught five ballet classes a week. Thanks to her excellent example, the principles of physical fitness and eating right were pounded into me from an early age. At age fourteen, I began the Writer Wellness life (even though I hadn’t labeled it yet,) when a local newspaper carried a weekly column I wrote about my junior high school. I saw my name in print. I was hooked. From then on, I was a dancer and a writer.
I discovered yoga, meditation, and modern dance in college, and everything fell into place for me. Thirty plus years later, I still journal almost daily unless I’m working intensely on a writing project, exercise five to six times a week, follow a strict eating plan with supplements, practice daily meditation, and engage in creative play through art journaling, crafting, and scrapbooking.
When other writers in my critique group asked me how I published so much, I reviewed my life and named the process “Writer Wellness.” Now I teach other writers the basic principles and encourage them to find their own versions of the five concepts.
Today I maintain myself as a writer by incorporating each of the five key concepts of Writer Wellness into my day. Depending on obligations and scheduling, I’m able to journal, exercise, follow a prescribed food program, and meditate seven days a week. The creative play happens more on the weekends when I’m not writing, editing, promoting, or teaching online. I have two new book releases in 2020, a two-book contract with an independent publisher, teach college English composition online, teach hatha yoga three times a week, and run online workshops for various writing associations. I’m also on the board of directors for my RWA chapters.
You can do this as well.
Looking back to the lists of five things you made at the beginning of this article, make a pact with yourself to create a new way of life that will support your goals as a writer and a healthy, productive person. My book and workshop will show you the way so that you’ll always have five things done every month to help you live the writing dream.
The workshop I’m leading October 4-29, 2021 is a detailed look at the five key concepts of Writer Wellness and an exploration of how you can incorporate the practice into your life. With Writer Wellness as the foundation, you can achieve the writing dreams and personal goals you desire.
Be well, write well. See you in workshop!
All good things,
WRITER WELLNESS ONLINE WORKSHOP
STARTS: Monday, October 4
ENDS: Friday, October 29
DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts
Imagine being a creative, healthy, writing machine 365 days a year. Regardless of your genre, the tips in my online workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity will guide you to realizing your potential as a creative person.
I have been sustaining good health and mountains of creative energy for many years by following this program, and I can help you learn the tricks then customize the program to suit your needs.
Writer Wellness centers around five fundamental practices:
Sound nutritional choices
These components are already helping hundreds of past students who learned the particulars then organized each one around their needs and lifestyles. You can do this as well!
For the first time ever, I’m leading small-group online workshops that include all of the following:
Private online forum in Groups.io
Self-paced lessons (12)
Live chats (weekly)
24/7 access to the course and
One-year access to the online content
Print copy of the book* (signed 😊)
Membership in a private “graduates” forum when you finish the program
Personal one-on-one 30-minute coaching session via Zoom with me at the conclusion of the course!
There are strict start dates for the upcoming Fall 2021 sessions. The next workshop begins on
13 September 2021
When you sign up, you’ll receive full access on the start date to the course content to read at your convenience. The workshop runs for four weeks with new lessons and suggested activities posted three times a week in one of the main areas (journaling, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.)
This workshop has never been available to the public until now. Only private writing organizations and their members have experienced this course.
The special introductory price is $97.00 which covers the online course, a print copy of the companion book, everything listed above, and the private coaching session!
Registration is limited to 15 persons, and you can register by contacting me at writerwellness at gmail dot com. You will receive a response from me with instructions on how to pay for the course.
The price will go up after this session! Alert your creative friends.
It’s more important than ever to maintain sound physical, mental, and emotional health so that you can reap the rewards of good health and being able to write the stories you want to share with the world.
From the beginning of time, stories have served to bind us together. Your story matters. Tell it. But if you don’t feel good or your health isn’t what it should be, you don’t feel like putting words on the page. Writer Wellness is an individualized approach to keeping you happy, healthy, and creatively productive.
If you have any questions, send an email to writerwellness at gmail dot com, and I’ll respond as quickly as possible.
I look forward to opening the door to your better life and awesome writing.
Be well, write well,
P.S. This offer expires on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Please register before that date and feel free to share this offer with friends.
*Currently available to ship in the continental US only.
I grew up in my mother’s ballet school, so, of course, I’m familiar with the image of the flowy, beautiful Terpsichore, the Greek muse of dance. I believe in the mythology of the muses, and I can easily play along with the notion when it comes to creativity, but if I sat around and waited on ideas to be gifted to me by some ethereal being, I wouldn’t have published as much or as long as I have.
From my love for studying history and literature, I have learned that the Greeks sought ways to explain their world and themselves. True, this ancient culture contributed a great deal to philosophy, government, education, and so on, but anything they couldn’t exactly touch, eat, or screw didn’t qualify to their norms of rationality and were obviously gifts from the gods who ruled their lives.
We’ve progressed a little farther from that perspective, but the image of the muse bestowing genius and inspiration upon a poet, writer, and others is still with us. For example, in between his writing advice to “work your ass off” and read, author Steven King claims that, “There is a muse*, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground.” (144-145)
As I see it, the problem with depending on a mythical character to do the grunt work is irrational and risky. And since my Scorpio roots ground me to at least listening to my intuition, I’m in between a rock and a hard place that are both falling in on me unless I take a pragmatic approach to things so I can get $h!t done. Because if I don’t, I don’t get paid, and I doubt if I need to explain the avalanche of problems that results from that precarious place. I actually have worked for food writing and posting social media for a local restaurant, so I know what it feels like to sell my ideas in exchange for a sandwich because that’s how they paid me—in calories.
The point is that inspiration most often comes from motivation. Even King explains that he wanted out of a distasteful, go-nowhere teaching job and that compelled him to write and submit until the strike hit the mark for him. He was motivated by survival despite his tongue-in-cheek nod to his muse which he describes as a “basement guy” who smokes cigars while admiring his bowling trophies but has wings and a bag of magic. The muse may have the magic, but the writer must have the motivation. Besides needing to pay bills, where do motivation and ideas come from?
The idea for my online workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” was originally motivated by an assignment in graduate school. I was motivated by getting a grade and inspired by the work of college English teacher and author Wendy Bishop. Her book Released Into Language: Options for Teaching Creative Writing has a delicious chapter on how she teaches her students to always be inspired to write and not dependent on the muse. She calls it “getting in motion” to write. I like that imagery, not only because of my dance background but because I really do feel like whizzing, whirring, buzzing, clunking, clanking, cranking writing machine when I’m in the flow.
Bishop has students write to and about their personal muses. Those examples in Bishop’s book inspired me to make a list of all the things that can, do, and have contributed to my life as a writer. A writer who is constantly on the run from writer’s block because it doesn’t have a place at my writing table. There’s a place for my lovely muse who eats daintily and quietly with a constant twinkle in her eyes no matter what I’m serving. She’s polite and inspiring, but like King, I always do the dishes, which is the hard work of procuring, pounding out, and proofreading the sentences. We have a lovely relationship, my muse and I, because I stay open to EVERYTHING. That’s what the workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” is about: staying open to the world so you never miss the whisper of the muse. And fun.
The next online workshop of “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks for Writers” is a self-paced course hosted by Hearts Through History Romance Writers of America. It runs June 1-25, 2021. You can register here:
They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book, Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!
I’m getting closer to clinch the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor! I’d need as much support from you guys as possible. Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here:
The idea for my online workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” was ignited by an assignment in graduate school. I was motivated by getting a grade for the assignment and inspired by the work of college English teacher and author Wendy Bishop. Her book Released Into Language: Options for Teaching Creative Writing contains a delicious chapter on how she teaches her students to always be inspired to write and not depend on the muse. She calls it “getting in motion” to write. I like that imagery, not only because of my dance background but because I really do feel like a whizzing, whirring, buzzing, clunking, clanking, cranking writing machine when I’m in the flow.
When I sat down and made a list of everything I do to stay healthy and creative, I realized that it was something I could share with others. The online workshop “50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks” was born. Here’s a look at the lesson schedule:
SCHEDULE: 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR MUSE: CREATIVITY HACKS FOR WRITERS
JOY E. HELD, INSTRUCTOR
Welcome, Schedule, and Student Introductions (M)
LESSON 1: THE MUSE RUSE (W)
LESSON 2: CURIOSITY*EXPERIENCE*TRAVEL (F)
LESSON 3: PHYSICAL FITNESS*NUTRITION (M)
LESSON 4: RELAXATION*MINDFULNESS*MEDITATION (W)
LESSON 5: JOURNALING*INCUBATION (F)
LESSON 6: EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY*PLAY GAMES (M)
LESSON 7: ART*SCIENCE*WOOWOO (W)
LESSON 8: GRIT*CONNECTIONS (F)
LESSON 9: READING*THE SENSES (M)
LESSON 10: SLEEP*DREAMS*INTUITION (W)
Wrap-up, Resources, The 50 Ways (F)
I have the awesome opportunity of leading this online workshop in September ’20 hosted by Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Writers of America chapter. It starts on Sept. 7 and goes until Oct. 4. The price is very reasonable and anybody can sign up. Here’s the registration link:
OCCUPATION THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO JOBS, VOCATIONS, AND CAREERS
BY ANGELA ACKERMAN AND BECCA PUGLISI
If there’s one thing writers learn early, it’s how important details are to the success of the work. Fiction, nonfiction, and everything else resonate better with readers when the content rings true. Getting the specifics correct says that the writer cares about the product and the consumer. It’s also a good idea to get the small things correct because readers know they’re reading good work by an author who went the extra mile to be sure the details are solid. Readers will applaud such effort with positive comments and buying the next book, but they will also let everyone know when something isn’t quite right.
Due diligence by a writer where the nitty-gritty is concerned is how the helpful line of books from authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi come in handy. These two word nerds (term applied lovingly) have done more than enough leg work to help any writer get the facts straight. The latest addition to the Ackerman/Puglisi library is THE OCCUPATION THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO JOBS, VOCATIONS, AND CAREERS. Not only does this work offer a treasure trove of information and the all-important details, the title is a tiny thesaurus in and of itself (occupation, jobs, vocations, careers.) Why would anyone fall prey to the dreaded “word echo” (using the same word too often on a page, in a paragraph, etc.) syndrome when books like the Occupation Thesaurus exist?
In addition to offering concise job descriptions, the Occupation Thesaurus is a handy tool for coming up with ideas. When the brain seems dry but the deadline looms, reference tools such as those crafted by Ackerman and Puglisi go the distance when inspiration is sought.
Before you think that the book is simply a list of careers and what they do, glance back at the full title. It states that this work is a helpful tool for writers, and the content proves this by suggesting a range of writing helpers to further inspire and add depth of understanding. For instance, each vocation provides an overview of the work done followed by juicy details such as training necessary, character traits, reasons why a character might choose the profession, and so much more.
For a quick and different perspective on this book, if you work in any kind of career counseling or services, this book should be sitting on the top shelf in your office. It’s an amazing collection of who, what, why, and what if about the work people do.
Ackerman and Puglisi have previously published other books in their thesaurus line as well. The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is the crown jewel that cracks the code for crafting realistic character occupations that adds detail to the work. This information contributes to what readers want: the real deal. Thanks to Ackerman and Puglisi, writers have a tool to help them create authentic characters that readers will believe.
My flagship online workshop is based on my book Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity. The awesome writers at Orange County Romance Writers of America chapter are hosting Writer Wellness 100% online August 10-September 4, 2020. Registration is open and anyone can take the course. There are twelve lessons posted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with ongoing discussion throughout the month.
August 3-28, 2020 I’m leading the online workshop Reflective Writing: A Journal Workshop for Writers. This course leads participants through different kinds of journal keeping as well as a look at how some famous published authors utilized their journals in life and work. The workshop host is Romance Writers of America San Diego chapter. Registration is open and anyone can take the course. Lessons are posted three times per week with ongoing discussion throughout the month.
Hi everyone! Today I have something fun to share…a special chance to win some help with your writing bills. Awesome, right?
Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them so they can tell you about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!
Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?
It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.
Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles…or bringing you joy and helping you live your truth?
Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.
Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles For Your Characters
Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past. What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right? To access this list, GO HERE.