Sunday, May 31, 2009

Poetry Sunday ~ Embracing Beauty

Adams pic
(the budding

Embracing Beauty
All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp
The land has erupted in a glorious sound
today the birds are searching the ground;
high above they soar to the skies
in the tree one tries and flies.

The earth is ripe with glistening greenery
new birth is lending my eyes great scenery.
I gaze out over the expansive plain
that breathes for release from the springtime rain.

I can not fathom all that has changed
My routine life has been rearranged.
I wake in the morning and inhale beauty
My call to God’s land feels like my duty.

I tend the grass, my family, my home
Out in the mid-west my soul can roam.
I craved this lifestyle for many years
through too much hardship and tons of tears.

Now I hold my dream in my hand.
No longer confined, I’m tending the land
Inhaling all that God wants me to see
I rejoice in His love, He has set me free.

I’m like the bird who sits in the nest.
just waiting for food while he’s at rest.
I have my wings, I’m ready to soar;
I take to flight I’m imprisoned no more!
All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pic by Adam

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.
~ Gloria Steinem

No one is able to enjoy such feast than the one who throws a party in his own mind.
~ Selma Lagerlöf

Writing wasn’t easy to start. After I finally did it, I realized it was the most direct contact possible with the part of myself I thought I had lost, and which I constantly find new things from. Writing also includes the possibility of living many lives as well as living in any time or world possible. I can satisfy my enthusiasm for research, but jump like a calf outside the strict boundaries of science. I can speak about things that are important to me and somebody listens. It’s wonderful!
~ Virpi Hämeen-Anttila

There are many reasons why novelists write - but they all have one thing in common: a need to create an alternative world.
~ John Fowles

The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

The novel is an event in consciousness. Our aim isn't to copy actuality, but to modify and recreate our sense of it. The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain.
~ George Buchanan

With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.
~ Edgar Allan Poe

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Poetry Sunday

Fall from Grace

Father, Father what have I done?
Seems I have strayed from number One.
Faltered, faltered where do I turn?
Save me from this hellfire’s burn.

Sheltered, sheltered, my broken soul.
Once on top I was fully whole.
Fallen, fallen from empty space.
Wiping the teardrops from my face

Hear me, hear me, my fervent cries.
Please take this sadness from my eyes.
I beg thee, beg thee, to free this sin.
Unleash my pain so I may win.

Take me, take me for I have strayed.
Forgive the choices I have made.
Save me, save me, this shallow hue.
Free my soul to begin anew.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Quotation Saturday

Pic by Adam

Are we, who want to create, in some way specially talented people? Or has everybody else simply given up, either by pressures of modesty or laziness, and closed their ears from their inner need to create, until that need has died, forgotten and abandoned? When you look at children, you start to think the latter. I still haven't met a child who doesn't love - or who at least hasn't loved - drawing, writing or some other creative activity.
~~ Natalia Laurila

One nice thing about putting the thing away for a couple of months before looking at it is that you start appreciate your own wit. Of course, this can be carried too far. But it's kind of cool when you crack up a piece of writing, and then realize you wrote it. I recommend this feeling.
~~ Steven Brust

Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.
~~ Barbara Kingsolver

Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.
~~ Susan Sontag

Like everyone else, I am going to die. But the words - the words live on for as long as there are readers to see them, audiences to hear them. It is immortality by proxy. It is not really a bad deal, all things considered.
~~ J. Michael Straczynski

I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.
~~ Brenda Ueland

For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me.
~~ Jack Dann

Friday, May 22, 2009

Writing Tips!

Some helpful tips to get those keys on the keyboard tapping (or pen rolling)

1. Free-write without stopping.

This is where you pick a word, picture, idea, and start writing about the subject without stopping. You can write about your day, your mother or sister, your dog or pet, anything, just to write something.

2. Don’t make plans ahead of time

Just write the first thing that comes into your mind. Don’t debate whether it is a good topic or whether you’ll have enough to say, just keep writing.

3. Always keep tapping the keys on the keyboard. (Or keep the pen moving on the paper)

Don’t glance up to see if you’re making mistakes. (Or stop writing when you catch a mistake on paper.) Turn the internal editor OFF. There will be plenty of time for editing when you’ve written a few thousand words.

4. Sometimes it is helpful to have classical (or what ever you prefer) music to help you along.

If it becomes a distraction, turn it off and find whatever puts YOU in the mood. Is it complete silence? Is it background noise that helps? Maybe its rock & roll? Lit candles?

5. Make your workspace fun and enlightening.

Having yourself surrounded in tranquility can help those stressful days of no-writing and turn them into productive days of key tapping.

6. Write with confidence.

If you are a writer, then having the confidence of a writer means that you will accomplish something on any given day. We, as writer’s can not say, “I’m not good enough.” That shows lack of confidence in your writing. When you sit down in front of the keyboard, repeat after me, “I AM a WRITER!” Then write your heart out!

7. Study the craft

Make sure you have studied long and hard the craft that you are about to embark on. Roads have been paved for you, sure you can make your own paths, but if you lack the confidence of ever becoming a writer, it is for certain that you will NEVER become a published writer.

8. Step out of the box

You need to find a place where you fit in comfortably. Maybe you like non-fiction, spiritual tales, horror tales or sci-fi. Whatever the case may be. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of that comfort zone and trying on new clothes. Sometimes you might find a comfortable fit in sweats and a tee, but never be afraid of trying on that little black dress. Meaning, write what is NOT in your box for a change!

9. Show determination

If you are not determined to be a writer, how will you expect to ever become a published writer? Writing for family can be rewarding, but are they hearing what editor’s are reading? No, editors expect professionalism from you and it is your determination to strive for the best that will make the editor stand up and say, “Now THIS shows promise!” Give them your best!


I say this because there will come a time when you just feel like throwing your work in the trash, times when you wish you could curl up in a ball and wish this talent away. But I’m afraid to tell you, that if it is a true talent, it will haunt your days and nights like the ghost of Christmas past, present and future all rolled into one!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pen and Paper

I was going to write my blog for today but you know, when you have a man and a son all vying for the computer at the same time, the writer in the house has a sudden inspiration, you kind of get sidetracked, give up the computer and move into a room with a pencil and paper.

We don’t push and shove one another off the computer; we try and show mere respect for one another. But by the time I’m ‘respected’ I’ve lost the inspiration that I initially had.

In this day and age with the computers at the hubbub of the writing world, it seems that the pen and paper has lost its luster. Snail mail is a term for your submissions to be sent via mail! Can you imagine, even the post office is considered obsolete these days. You do need to send mail don’t you?

I think of the men/women who penned lengthy novels all on paper. The determination and perseverance they must have had. No internal editor; no worrying if they spelled right; they just wrote! They never had a spell checker, they had editor’s. The days of pen and paper are gone, drifting off in some billowy cloud of smoke where I can’t seem to find it through the mire.

With my pen and paper, I can find a quiet spot, either inside or out, and write my to my hearts content. Sure my hand gets blisters, they also feel arthritic, but I persevere and move on like the writers of the past. I never did like losing sight of all that history has given to us. Now I need to regroup, take it all in and soar with my pen and paper.

Uh oh...I feel that inspiration churning. I better get outside under my shade tree and relish the morning sounds. With pen and paper in hand, I’m bound to get some writing done. No one will want to vie for THAT time. No one likes it under the tree but me and my critter friends scurrying about.

Remember, the pen and paper can be your best friends when you have a computer crash, a loss of Internet service, no connection to the outside world. You carry your notebook with you and when someone asks, “Hey, where you going?” You tell them, “I’m going to sit under the shade tree.” They’ll say, “Oh.” and think b-o-r-i-n-g!

But to you, it will be your meditative place to do what you love best and that my friends, is to WRITE!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Poetry Sunday

A Rainbow's Song

You descended upon me

as a fine billowy white cloud.

Wrapped your essence around me

absorbed all of my gray,

to rain your love on me.

You carried me blissfully away

into the warmth of the sunshine

to create a beautiful rainbow's song.

You enveloped me with the

flaming passionate reds.

Gave me the blue hues

of an infinite sky.

Showered me with the yellows

of purity

Blossomed around me

the fragrance of aromatic oranges.

Planted me safely

in a field of wondrous green.

Your love has been a song to my soul…

an everlasting rainbow's song…

To infinity…and beyond.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quotation Saturday

Welcome to Quotation Saturday
pic by: Adam (my son)

The generous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire, And taught the world with reason to admire. ~ Edgar Allen Poe

If writers stopped writing about what happened to them, then there would be a lot of empty pages. ~ElaineLiner

Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing.
~ Heather Armstrong , Keynote Speech, SXSW 2006

I am a galley slave to pen and ink.
~Honore de Balzac (1799 - 1850)

Writing well means never having to say, 'I guess you had to be there.'
~Jef Mallett , Frazz, 07-29-07

The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer. I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and the blood.
~John Burroughs (1837 - 1921), The Snow-Walkers

Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them. ~John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.
~ Jules Renard (1864 - 1910)

I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it.
~ Lord Brabazon(1884 - 1964)

There's always something to write about. If there's not then you need to live life more aggressively. ~Min Kim, Better Blogging Brainstorming, SXSW 2006

This is the challenge of writing. You have to be very emotionally engaged in what you’re doing, or it comes out flat. You can’t fake your way through this.
~Real Live Preacher

I never feel that I have comprehended an emotion, or fully lived even the smallest events, until I have reflected upon it in my journal; my pen is my truest confidant, holding in check the passions and disappointments that I dare not share even with my beloved.
~ Stephanie Barron, Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, 1996

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Free Writing Workshops

My Front Yard
at sunset

Many new writer’s need an outlet for their work. A writing workshop is the place for you. There are so many FREE Writing Workshops online that there is no reason that you’re not in one right now. (Well because you’re reading me, it is okay to be absent.)

A writing workshop will help with the struggles you’re having as a writer. The people from these sites are usually writer’s themselves and are seeking the same thing for their writing, someone to read their work and someone to tell them what they are doing wrong.

We can’t grow as a writer if someone is always telling us how good our work is. We need someone who will be brutally honest, not the the point of telling us our work stinks, but maybe a softly guided form where they head you in the right direction of what you are doing right and where you are going wrong.

If you understand the basic elements of writing and think that you know everything there is to know about writing, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. We writer’s never stop growing in knowledge and we can not ever have such an ego to think we don’t need assistance in bringing our work to completion.

We get published by having someone review our work and through many revisions (and I mean nail biting, cutting to the bones revision.) We think it’s complete and has gone through all the ranks and rigors but when we submit, it still gets rejected. What are we doing wrong?

Nothing! This is a dog eat dog world out here and writer’s are not exempt. Knowing the craft will aid you in becoming a published author, but what it really takes is persistence and perseverance!

Writing workshops, I believe, build the confidence up for you when you’re struggling through the revisions. Having that voice egging you further, having someone as a mentor of sorts with encouragement overflowing, this is what will aim you in the direction of publication. Being persistent in your goal of becoming published is what keeps you coming back to the writing craft again and again.

Listen to your writing peers, fix what is wrong, learn what you don’t know and give to the writing world what you always knew was right at the tip of your fingers all along, and that’s refined writing! Yes YOUR refined writing.

I’m a mentor with a Free Writing Course called F2K (Fiction2000 for those who are bound to ask what F2K stands for.) It is brought to you by Writer’s Village University and offered three times a year. A seven week course of some of the basic elements: voice, characterization, dialogue, POV etc. We offer a mentor (for a small fee) to those who want to upgrade and get that one-on-one indepth critique. It is a peer-to-peer course that remains a success in the writing world. Writer’s who completed the course keep coming back because they love the atmosphere it offers, but most of all, because they love learning!

Mark your calendars for May 20th. Registration is happening NOW!
Write Right my friends and what better way to do that than WITH friends?
(page is not currently updated)
Author's note: You will not be able to login to f2k UNTIL May 20th.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Setting Goals

This is my backyard
Setting Goals

I am not one to set goals or make plans for myself but as I get further into my writing career I realize their needs to be some discipline in setting goals.

I’ve been so entranced with life’s happenings that I haven’t had the time to set goals. I realize how important it is to set and KEEP goals. Maybe start off on a small scale of, “Today I’m going to write 100 words.” Then as you move onto the next week try 500 words, then a 1000. The goals are limitless!

Another trick for the brave, is to set your goals high! If you set them too low, all that you will accomplish is low achievement. Do we want low achievement? I didn’t think so. You want success! That is what we all want. Achieving success is not easy, it takes hard work and dedication. Commitment. Perseverance.

When we aim high in our goals, we are setting ourselves up to become all that we can be. Accept no less.

I set a goal many years ago of getting out of the city. Although it took close to twenty years, I am now sitting on a 40 acre farm. Sure I’m renting the house, but the 40 acres is attached to the homes on the property and when I wake up in the morning, I no longer hear cars bustling through the streets, music pounding making the windows tremble. No longer do I have neighbors thumping up the stairs and across the floor.

I hear birds, and horses, cows and wild turkey’s. I see miles and miles of land and I’m savoring all this beauty. Now I need to set my writing goals. As soon as I get settled in and unpacked, I’ll be focusing on my writing like never before. I’m going to obtain the unobtainable, I’m going to achieve the highest standards I can and accomplish everything I set my mind to.

Now what are you going to do? Are you going to set goals daily? Weekly? Monthly? Don’t just say it, DO IT! Get yourself a journal just for setting goals and then go after the goals like prey in a field, waiting to be devoured.

Stop by and let me hear your progress. We can do this together or alone, the choice is yours, but always know, you have an eye that is here to coax you along!

Now get to it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Write Right!

Rules Rules Rules

In writing, we are inundated with rules to follow and often times we get confused with what we’re supposed to do and what is right and acceptable to the editor/reader.

I have many links on the side of this blog on the “how-to’s” to writing but even as I scan through them, I get a little confused with what is right and wrong. One author says to use parentheses to set off a word or phrase, another says parentheses are ‘out’ and that we shouldn’t use them.

What is right? What is wrong?

My first rule of thumb is write it all out and get your story on paper (or on your computer.) Turn the inner editor off and write your heart out, keeping the flow moving along until you feel satisfied with your story.

Then you go back and revise and cut out those excess words that add nothing to the story; they just add redundancy.

Read what is said about proper punctuation, tenses, and structure. Look at your work and see if you’ve followed any of the rules. Hopefully you will have the basic knowledge, enough to get your story in order.

Post your story in a critique group and see what jumps out at them. Some may say, “This doesn’t work.” Don’t let that discourage you! You need to get your confidence built up, so plow ahead. Forge onward and upwards in your writing skills allowing all of the comments received to go in one ear and sink into that brain of yours.

If you get all negative comments, then you’re in the wrong critique group. A good critique group will point out the positives AND the negatives, but never be solely negative. Drink all the comments in like a good cup of coffee and go to work on revising your piece until you are satisfied that it is your very best.

When you show your story/article to the critique room, they will see that all of their advice was adhered to and you’ll get more positive feedback. Don’t bore a critique room with sloppy and unfinished work. A critique room is there for you, to help guide you in the right direction but they can’t do all of the work for you, nor should they be expected to; it is your work.

Now study to your hearts content and get the basics down. Read current author’s and see what they are doing. Notice all of the little subtlety’s, whether it is a comma, brackets or parentheses. See what is the accepted form now not what was used way back when. Things change and with time, elements of writing change. It is wise to know the here and now instead of redoing what was done in the past.

The number one rule in writing? WRITE! Worry about rules later. :-)

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

What Is A Mother
A mother is God’s way of saying
That He’s with you all the way
He put her here in His place
So you would never be led astray.

She watches over and protects you
In any manner that she sees fit.
She brings you up to be a good person,
Yet she spoils you a little bit.

Once you’ve left home she’s still there
As God would want her to be
A mother goes on with her own life
Yet she always has room for me.

God created a beautiful thing
When He created a Mother
Especially the one he blessed me with
Who could be replaced by no other.

As dreary clouds are hanging today
Thoughts of you have come my way.
Thoughts of all the good times we shared
Times of love that showed you cared.

I think of me as a very young girl,
Who scampered about to brighten your world.
I think of times we would sit and talk.
Or the times we’d spend on a shopping spree walk.

So many times your words I would heed
And now I’m away in your time of need.
I wish I could hold you tight in my arms
Sing to you with lullaby charms.

I want so much to turn away from this dream,
Of becoming a writer with a pen-filled stream.
I wish I could give what you gave to me.
But I have nothing to offer, a burden I’d be.

I know in my heart I can not return.
To a life of uncertainty with bridges to burn.
I need to stay here and make you proud.
Shamefully leave my humble head bowed.

But on this day I can send my love
And know in my heart your blessed from above.
For God has watched us through the years
And surely he’ll dry up all of your tears!

Happy Mother's Day to all

Friday, May 08, 2009

Mere Coincidence

Coincidence? Serendipity? Fate?

Is it coincidence that we write what we know? I always find myself writing about subjects that I’m familiar with. Whether it is spirituality, the cosmic world or plants and animals; I’m always writing what is familiar to me.

Even names for my characters are chosen because I find myself accustomed to them. Places I’ve been and explored all come out in my writing. But I have to say, some of my writing has had a psychic aura to them.

I’ve written a story (which I’m revising but not changing any of the premonitory factors.) My character winds up in Broken Bow Nebraska after her husband passes away. I wrote this story, all thirty three chapters of it, three years ago. I’m finding so many similarities now in my present life, I’m wondering if it was all coincidence or a precognitive thought that I relayed into a story.

I was living in Texas (after separating from my husband), but now I’m in Nebraska, extremely close to Broken Bow. (you’ll have to read the haunting story of Angel when it gets published.) I was going to title it Mere Coincidence but changed my mind and I think I’m going with Crossroads. But after realizing how much coincidence lies within the pages, it might just be titled Mere Coincidence.

When we write, we do our research, we create new characters and we forge ahead with a story. It can become quite ironic when your story begins to correlate to your real life. I try not to write too much of my real life in a fictional tale but little slithers of my life will filter through into my characters or incidence's in my life will weave their way in and out of my story like a car in traffic.

I envy people who can write about pioneer times when they have no concrete physical knowledge of the times; only what was read about or learned. I read these tales with great interest and I’m always wondering what experience the author had with the story they wrote. Sometimes it’s a story handed down from generation to generation and sometimes it’s just a matter of really good researching.

Stephen King, as you may have already guessed is one of my favorite author’s, is also a writer whose life slips into his stories. He may deny it, but when I read “On Writing”, I saw the similarities of many of his characters well defined in people and places in his life. Even though Castle Rock Maine is a fictional town, it is no coincidence it is in Maine, his home state!

My point in all this being, write what you know and what you don’t know. Someday, what you thought you didn’t know may become an experience that you’re all too familiar with and you’ve written about it before hand and are now “in the know.”

Did that make sense?

Of course it did. If it didn’t, it will one day. :-)