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Writing for Your Life

Monthly Writing Circle @ The Hivery


Monthly Writing Circle @ The Hivery

"Thank you for all of your support. It’s a real testimonial to your Writing Circle because that really felt supportive and made me take bigger risks in my writing.  I am very grateful.  The children’s book has taken on so many different edits. I will let you know what is happening as it unfolds. Lots of high fives to you."


A Day With Joyce Maynard


A Day With Joyce Maynard

I couldn’t remember if food was provided, so I packed an almond butter sandwich just in case. And then, I headed out on the curvy, redwood trimmed road up to Joyce’s house.  I parked where she recommended since there'd be a fire drill on her street that day. The dirt lot was many houses down the hill from her house. I saw cars pull up and stop around the same time. It was early Saturday morning so I presumed that they had come for the same workshop. But instead of waiting, asking to be sure, and awkwardly striking up sleepy conversation, I walked alone up the shaded road.



The Op-Ed Project

Spent my Saturday learning to write opinion pages. Did you know that op-ed pieces are 80% white male? And the kicker is that it isn't because the editors are bias, it's because women and minorities aren't submitting.



Building the Writer’s Platform

My Amazing Writing Group @ the Book Writing World

(Originally Published @

The Book Writing World Blog


There’s a lot of pressure on me to make money from my writing. Just doing art for the joy of doing it doesn’t mean scheduling time for it during the weekends. Art is something that’s acceptable to do only when all the real work is done. Well the “real” work is never done.

So I make time for my writing in the waiting room of my son’s speech therapy session. A half-hour. I’m always looking for those little time nuggets, when I pull out my purse, take out my notebook and get some work done. I’m not making any money yet but wouldn’t that be nice if I did? Maybe that’s the hope that keeps me going.

The real question is, “If I never make money off of my writing, would that stop me from writing?” Well, my real answer is “No.”

Here’s my compromise: maybe I can find paid work for writing that I like to do. In today’s writing world, I need to build a writer’s platform to help my writing get “out there:” picked up by editors, agents, and publishers. Part of a writer’s platform is Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, books, and articles.

Publishing articles is an interesting one and it might be possible to build a platform by getting paid for writing articles. When looking for writing gigs, I focus on the jobs that I might really want to write. If I’m not picked, well, I might just write about the subject on my own blog.

I’m a mommy blogger, and so I look on sites like 



, and 


 for writing jobs that support my current writing trend: parenting.

Elance doesn’t seem like a promising site because it’s global. I can’t compete with the price bids from freelancers in India, but I do like the daily job listings sent to my inbox. I’m hopeful there’s someone out there who wants a writer living in the U.S.A.

Media Bistro has some great articles on how to pitch to some well-known publications. It also allows you to post your portfolio so editors can seek you out. For example, if an editor is looking for a mommy blogger, he or she might see my resume in his or her search.

And, Craigslist never fails to be an excellent resource. I had a few back-and-forth emails with an editor from a parenting site after I saw their ad on Craigslist.

Maybe the day that I get paid for what I love to do isn’t so far off after all. It just takes some patience, research and realization that I’d be writing either way.

How are you building your writing platform?



Moving Beyond Embarrassment

Let’s face it, being a shy writer doesn’t work that well these days with the world of Twitter, Face Book, and blogs. I’m more exposed as a writer than any other job that I’ve had. Different versions of me (aging me) over the past six years are documented on my blog. My kids’ pictures are there. My husband might still be spared from a public appearance. When moms that I see every day at school pick-up and drop-off tell me that they read my 

About Me

 page, I turn bright red.

I’m putting myself out there, yet I’m embarrassed by it. I write about parts of my personal life that I would only tell a close friend, but I blurt it out to the world. And then, I’m surprised when someone who I haven’t “told” begins to talk to me about it. It’s like owning a business but my face, heart, and soul are the business and to succeed I have to promote myself. I write what matters to me and sometimes that leaves me feeling a little vulnerable. These days a writer has to have some guts. Having a blog or website to quickly point to in a submission email to an editor is important and required.

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The Art of Merging

Ice Cream Cake

As I write this technical blog post, I can’t help but think back to my days working as a technical writer. After some unfortunate childcare situations, which I write about in my upcoming book “First Do No Harm: A Memoir,” I decided to stay home and take care of the kids full-time. Now I’m still writing but it’s creative.

So when I merged all the edits from Elizabeth Stark’s workshop class into my original document, I couldn’t help but want to pass on the technique. I’ve known about merge documents for a long time. I’ve even used it before for work, but it had been a while and I was a little scared of messing up my document or getting bogged down in some buggy Word feature. I was elated by how easy it was, useful, and by how much time it has saved me!

Every week in workshop class, a writer submits their 5K piece and the rest of the group has a week to comment on it. There’s line edits, readers comments, questions, and a brief statement at the end. To make comments, each reader uses Word, clicks on the Review tab, Turns on Track Changes, and begins reading. Some people prefer to write all their comments in the text of the document with Track Changes On and some like to use Comments that appear in the right-hand column.

Here’s the tricky part, when I get three or four replicas of my piece back at the end of the week, it’s a lot of toggling between documents. And I get lost on what comments I’ve done and haven’t done. Not to mention how hard it is to open all four Word documents, get everything organized only to be distracted and have to start again reorienting myself. There’s too much start up time and I don’t have that kind of time. 

Merging all the documents into one solved all these problems

. Here’s how I did it:

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180 Degrees South

After watching the movie 180 degrees South last night, I came away with this thought:

When a climber gets to the top of a mountain, they stay for only a few moments looking at the view before heading back down. The top is the goal, but it is the journey to the top where the hiker is most likely to learn something about themselves.

Although having a baby at the end of pregnancy and labor is a lot different than the top of a mountain. The similarity is in the journey. If we focus solely on a healthy baby, healthy mama, and not on the journey to that place, then we miss out on all the possibilities for transformation and growth.


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Writing a Book

Well, I am writing a book. Yes, I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am going to pull this off while being a stay-at-home mom with a 3-month old and a 3-year old. I don't even have a babysitter. Although I am looking if you know anyone. It's me and boys all day every day. I love it! I picked the hardest time of my life to accomplish a goal that I've had since I was 10-years old. I love food and cooking, but it turns out that my book is about neither. It's about birth. It's about my polar opposite experiences giving birth to two children. One was a planned hospital natural birth (aka. no drugs) that went wrong and ended in a lot of drugs and the icing on the cake, a cesarean. And, the other one was a planned home birth that changed my life forever.

All this to say that I am not doing a lot of creative cooking right now because I am sooooo busy with the kids and my book at night. I did make a pumpkin pie last night which turned out great. I'll post that soon.

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I just am

I love my niece, Emily, so much. She was the first baby in my life. I spoke French to her until she was three, something I didn't do with my own son. She turned seven this month and I wanted to share my thoughts on life with her. So, I wrote her this little story and slipped it into her birthday card. Would anyone like to share a story that they have written for their children about life?


There lived a little girl named Penelope. She was seven years old. Although she was only in first grade, everyone always asked her, "What do you want to be when you grow-up?" She never knew what to say because she didn't know who she was yet. She wished for the future and to be big so that she would finally be able to answer the question.

Many years later when she was married, had a house, and a dog, she realized that she still didn't know who she was nor what she wanted to be when she grew-up. Yet she was grown-up and had a job. Where were the answers?

Then one day, while observing a flower blow in the wind, all her other thoughts stopped. She felt calmness flood over her. She felt so alive and at peace. Her existence wasn't much different from the flower that she watched. She felt the wind tickle her skin and move her hair. She put her hand on her chest and felt her heart beat. "I just am," she said.

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