Oct 022015
 
podcasting play button

Is podcasting for you?

You may have noted that TRLW writers have literally been on a road less written for a few weeks.  Hopefully, we’ve been conspicuous by out absence.  Laura took a month to travel and John is taking a couple of months to change day-jobs and move across the country.  There are, of course, stories in that, but Justin has been up to something that might be interesting for a lot of us: podcasting.

As any “emerging” or veteran author knows, you can’t do it all.  Authors have to decide where to focus their energies. Writing their book, blogging, generating an income, promotion, speaking, and staring into space all vie for their time and creativity.  Justin is currently focusing on podcasting (in addition to being a family man, screen writing FOR PAY, promoting his books, and the other things that we all juggle.)

Personally, I think Justin’s decision to let others literally hear his voice is a great fit. If you listen to the podcast embedded below or have heard any of his radio interviews, you’ll note that his voice has a warmth and openness that’s hard to convey in non-fiction blogging.  Self-Publishing Answers (SPA) podcasts at www.writehacked.com allows him and his entertaining cohorts, Kevin Tumlinson and Nick Thacker to present helpful advice in a friendly, mentoring tone.

The podcast page is embedded below. (Scroll down to find the play button.) This one happens to be about where to focus your energy as a first-time author. Give it a listen (as you do your work) and see what you think.  Could podcasting work for you?

Apr 132015
 
Author Judith Fein

Author Judith Fein (Photocredit: Paul Ross)

If anyone personifies “The Road Less Written,” it’s travel-writer and author Judith Fein who “lives to leave.” You can find her articles in nearly 100 different publications, and she and her husband, photojournalist Paul Ross, share their travel adventures at GlobalAdventure.us. And, she’s a co-founder of the group travel blog, YourLifeIsATrip.com, the “#1 website for experiential storytelling and narrative travel writing.”

Judith is also the author of Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel and a new memoir, The Spoon from Minkowitz: A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands. I came to know Judith’s writing through the latter. Her voice and her ability to connect with the reader, her past, and well…everything else in her path, made me yearn to ask her a ton of questions. Being polite, I limited it to a few. Continue reading »

Mar 232015
 

The RedwoodsSociety will soon be TheRoadLessWritten.

Like the butterfly, we’re maturing and finding our wings. But the caterpillar is still crawling around in there. We’re staying with our original calling—promoting fellowship with other writers who, like us “attempt to enhance the varied experiences of life through writing.” We’re just refocusing a little. Maybe our wings will look a little prettier–which means we have a new logo.

The Redwoods Society grew out of a group of aspiring authors that met at the San Francisco Writers Conference in 2013. Since that time, we’ve supported each other as we’ve each moved from aspiring to finding our routes to publication. We’ve not only watched each other succeed; we’ve been a part of it.

In fact, we writers are lucky to work in a field where even our competitors can give us a boost. Spreading the love of another author doesn’t cost us a single reader. One good book can make them eager to buy another—by another author.

We are uniquely qualified to help each other to achieve new successes, improve our craft, and to find our voice. We help each other with tips and tricks on everything from fight scenes to social media. We encourage each other when we’re attacked by trolls or slighted by agents. We advise, cheer, challenge, console, and promote.

In short, as writers seeking to better our craft and to find our individual path, niche, and voice, we help each other along the Road Less Written, with all the rich metaphors that implies.

Your road less written probably won’t look like ours does. It might be curvier, less traveled, or more traveled. But wherever it goes, we hope you have companionship, sustenance, and someone to bounce ideas off of. And we hope it takes you to places you want to go, even if you don’t yet know where those places are yet.

Stay tuned. More good things are coming.

Jan 052015
 

WordPress.org Plugins.

The writing life should be about sitting in front of your keyboard and creating. Even better if a roaring fire, quietly content children, and an adoring dog and spouse are thrown in.

But, for most of us, it’s not that simple. We blog. We take to the blogosphere, not out of a desire to create and communicate, but because it’s good for business. Website builders and their plugins can boggle the creative mind.

When I decided to get serious about blogging, I looked to my small business and non-fiction authoring idol, Stephanie Chandler. Back in 2011, she had published 8 Favorite WordPress Plugins for Business Blogs. Although not all her favorites are my favorites, I found it a great starting place.

Of course, the plugin landscape keeps changing. It’s time for a fresh list. Continue reading »

Oct 232014
 

cloud of cereberal liesOne thing I’m learning— “I’ve learned” would be a lie—is that there are no short cuts on the Road Less Written. That is, unless you do actually want to take a road to writing less.

But when it comes to listening to gurus, we’re always tempted by the most unreliable one: our brains. Our so-called centers of higher thought, the very organ that should be busy helping us plot out an optimal path to success, can sabotage us.

Sure, it provides inspiration, strategy, and common sense. However, it also peppers us with false rationales. We get caught up in delusions of grandeur, denial – not to mention feelings of hopelessness and discouragement.

So why do we buy into the load of shit our rationalizing cerebral cortex spits out…?

Continue reading »

Oct 142014
 
Tabula rasa

Tabula rasa — a blank slate — offers freedom and potential

When suffering from writer’s block, do as the Romans do and utilize tabula rasa.

Latin for “blank slate,” tabula rasa is a literary term that stretches back to the days of ancient Rome. In those days, people wrote upon wax tablets or tabula. When they wanted a new “page,” they created it by heating the wax and smoothing it out. Though we modern-day writers aren’t penning future best-sellers on wax tablets, we can take a page from those days of hallowed antiquity by utilizing the freedom offered by a blank slate to get the creative juices flowing. Continue reading »

Sep 102014
 
Learning by doing

Learning by doing isn’t the hard way; it’s the only way.

Writers, by definition, have to learn by doing.

“A writer writes.” Yeah, duh…

It’s that “doing” that separates the dreamers from the aspirants and achievers.

“A writer writes,” uttered with conviction by a fictional character, was one of the catalysts that induced me to commit to full-time writing. I wrote now and then for non-profits. I reveled in the fact that my cousins all thought I should write a book after they read my annual holiday letter. Strangely though, it was the urging in the young adult novel Sahara Special that made me start taking risks.

“A writer writes,” struck a chord with me. Ability, creativity, ideas, and aspirations didn’t mean anything if I wasn’t actively writing and developing my craft. Finding my voice.

Redwoods Society and Learning by Doing

“I didn’t know what I didn’t know.” With that, John Kingston pretty much summed up the Redwoods Society writers’ experience with launching a group website. Blogging and curating a website require different skill sets than writing a book. The Redwoods Society writers are also learning by doing—and by adjusting and growing to find our collective voice and to refine our focus.

We could try to do all that based on others’ expertise. In fact, we did—try that is. But, we didn’t know… you know… all those things that we didn’t know.

What we didn’t know

Redwoods Society grew out of a meeting of minds and purposes at the 2013 San Francisco Writers conference. We expected writers from the West Coast to join us. One of those things we didn’t know then was that four out of five of us would live in Michigan.

We also didn’t know that the mantle of “expert” or “teacher” would sit heavily on our shoulders. We’re all learning and experimenting. All of us are much more comfortable with sharing our journey as writers and authors than telling others the right way to do it.

What we’ve learned

Writers aren’t bound by a geographic region.

Writers can help themselves by helping each other.

Looking forward

This site will continue to be a site full of content for writers by writers, a meeting place for writers to share content and thoughts.

In addition to our blog, we’ll be rolling out some additional resources pages and prompts. No matter where our travels might take us, we look forward to meeting you here to share the road less written.

Jul 222014
 

alternate povI recently finished writing a novel… Or did I? That is a question we often ask ourselves, and in some cases that may revolve around a doubt that what we have is enough and whether a second point of view (POV) would improve our writing or distract from it. Continue reading »

Jun 302014
 

Writing about fighting With split-second timing, the hero levels his enemy with a perfectly-timed jumping front kick. Striking his erstwhile attacker on the chin, his steel-like foot sends the villain careening into the two evil henchmen behind him, knocking them down. As one enemy gets up swinging, the hero rattles off six strikes to his body with the speed and damage of a cobra’s strike, and he smiles wryly as the bad guy’s body jerks and convulses before falling to the ground. Sensing movement behind him, the hero turns just in time to duck the attempted cheap shot before executing a judo flip upon his charging attacker, sending him crashing through a conveniently-placed window …

Writing dramatic battles is alluring, violence is quick, brutal, and chaotic in the real world. I learned this from fights in the playgrounds, street corners, and dive bars in Flint, Michigan, one of the “Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.” And while the School of Hard Knocks has made me a better writer, my tuition was paid with a broken nose, broken orbital bone, and various and sundry injuries. For the gentle literary types, there are other ways to learn about real-world violence that won’t put you in mortal danger. Continue reading »

Jun 162014
 
Post topics to end confusion

Perplexed about something? What post topics would help?

I’ve come to appreciate the online community of writers. Authors generously sharing advice, experience, and expertise has made me feel a whole lot less of a clueless newbie. In fact, I’ve gotten so used to it, that when I face a quandary, I simply search Google to see what other authors have to posted on the topic.

The Redwoods Society was conceived for just this purpose. We’re always looking for informative articles to share with other authors. If you have expertise or an experience to share, contact us about guest posting.

In the meantime, here’s three post topics that would be helpful—at least to me. Continue reading »

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