Wednesday, December 26, 2007

No Writer Is an Island

Although today is Wednesday, yesterday was a holiday so that makes today seem like Monday so here we are together -- just as if it were angelblogmonday.

Last Monday, when it really was Monday, I wrote about the elements of a good critique group for writers. Yesterday I was reading Rachel Gifford's new book, A Gift in Wolf's Clothing: Living with Diabetes (published by AuthorHouse), and right there on the acknowledgements page, she mentioned our monthly women's writers' group. The best part is that she acknowledged, by name, the women who encouraged her in her writing: Stephanie Hughes, Marilyn O'Hearne, Betty Swisher, Sue Monaghan, Jan Davis and Jane Rogers.

Could Rachel have written the book without these helpful women? Sure. Having read her story, I believe Rachel could do just about anything she decides to do. Was the writing easier and more fun with the help of these women? According to Rachel the answer is yes.

Here are a couple of things to do to make your life easier as we enter a new year:

1. Gather around you a group of writers who will be honest and helpful as you work on your writing projects. Start a group or join a group. Our women writers' group is always open to new members. For information check the listing at

2. If you or anyone you know, has diabetes, give them a copy of Rachel's book. Urge them to read it themselves and then give it to their doctors and nurses to read.

It's snowing again tonight. Just enough to make everything look peaceful. May you find your own personal peace tonight.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Creating a Critique Group

Dear Angel Writers,

Big news! Friday I had an e-mail from Becky at ARTichokes. You have read my mentions of ARTichokes before -- it's an "art space" -- offering art for sale, classes in a variety of arts, and party space. Becky gets things done. She asked me to do a class for them and by Saturday she had it posted on their January class listings at This is the perfect class for January. Actually, it is a Critique Group (fiction, nonfiction, poetry -- anything goes). So if you have writing you want to start in the new year, if you have writing that has stalled, if your writing needs direction or if you just like to hang out with writers, join us on January 8. We will be meeting for five weeks this session. See all the details on the class listings at

Maybe you would like to start a critique group of your own or join an existing group. Great idea! Here are the member attributes I would look for if I were joining a group:

1. Well read
2. Creative thinker
3. Sense of humor
4. Supportive
5. Honest

The members need to have read widely in all areas so they don't apply narrow restrictions. They have to appreciate and encourage your individual voice. They have to offer their comments with a light touch -- no pompous, self-important pronouncements. They need to be promptly present for the reading of other members' writing -- no showing up late or only when their work is read. And, of course, keeping in mind all of the above, they need to let you know what readers and publishers are looking for, and what in your writing is truly not working and what is truly wonderful.

Additionally, it helps if you have between six and 20 members, permission to bring in coffee or other drinks, good parking, and restrooms.

Enrich your life. Enrich your writing. Start a critique group -- or join mine.

And now -- because this blog strives to be useful -- and since I have just had lunch -- here is a Cooking Tip: Never stir your boiling soup with a disposable plastic spoon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Try Your Wings

This is me today, trying my wings. Writing Day One of angelinyourinkwellblog. I'm wondering how you might want to try your writing wings. However, or whatever, you want to try, with your writing, this blog is here to offer inspiration, information, and affirmation.

Every Monday morning have that first cup of coffee or tea here with me and get your writing week started. This is our conversation for anyone writing fiction, nonfiction (memoir or life story), or poetry for personal growth, posterity (your family), or publication.

Last week I had a meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma with representatives from Oklahoma State University. My Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook will be used for a life story class offered at the Tulsa Campus as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Over coffee and scones at the Panera's on 15th Street, we went through the workbook and talked about how it could be used for the classes.

One of the things we talked about was how much writing can be accomplished even in short amounts of time. More important than length of time spent writing each day is consistency of writing every day. If you try your wings by writing just ten minutes a day, by the end of the week you will have produced an hour's worth of writing. That is much more than if you waited until you "had time" to write.

Try your wings for ten minutes every day. You will become a stronger, better, faster writer. I promise.

For more information and inspiration, visit my website:

See you next Monday.