Monday, March 3, 2014

What Will Tomorrow Bring?


Here it is almost St. Patrick's Day and my ancient Christmas cactus is still blooming. Is it behind the season? Ahead of the season?

Photo by Carol Newman

I like to think it is ahead of the season. Just like a writer needs to be.

If I want to write an article about  this plant for next Christmas publication, I need to photograph the flowers now.

Then I need to get the piece written. Begin looking for markets. And submit the writing maybe as early as July. This applies to novels as well as magazine and newspaper stories, print or digital. Markets vary so check your market listings.

Right now (well not right now, right now I am writing to you) I am reading the novel The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
Photo Courtesy of

This 784 page coming of age novel is set against a backdrop of an explosion in a public place, post traumatic stress in two of the survivors, art theft and the black market in art. I would not presume to know what was in the author's mind, but as writers we can look to this for an example. Suppose I want to write a coming of age story but make it timely. I can look at what is happening around me every day: bombings, wars, natural disasters, recovery of art stolen during WWII as dramatized in the book and movie The Monuments Men.

We must do the same. Snap out of that fog of someday. What will tomorrow bring? Whatever you create today. Think about topics that are in the news and in conversation. But also, think about topics that are timeless, like Christmas puppies. Then start a list of topics and start writing.


Make a list of three timely things you could write an essay, article, short story, novel or memoir about. Make a list of three timeless things you could write about. Do some thinking, researching, and then some writing.

When I was a writer as green as a seasick goldfish, I made every mistake in the book. The first human interest story I wrote and sold was to the Hamilton, Ohio weekly newspaper on the subject of how to care for a Christmas gift  puppy. Fortunately for me, the Lou Grant-type editor didn't kick me out when I walked in a couple of days after Christmas with my bright idea. No, I should not have just shown up at his office. No, I should not have waited until a week after Christmas to have my bright idea. But it was both a timely topic and a timeless one. Must have been a slow week because he growled, "Bring me what'cha got."


Five cups of chocolate chips? Yes, that is what this recipe calls for. Hey, we love chocolate so it is okay with us, isn't it? And, we love Almond Joy candy bars. Looks to me like we are all set. This recipe and photo are from  Just a Pinch.

Almond Joy Cookies

Photo Courtesy of

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups chocolate chips
2 cups sweetened coconut
2 cups chopped almonds

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
Combine dry ingredients, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stir in the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until well mixed then stir in the chocolate chips, coconut and almonds. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Are you writing memoir, life story, fiction, nonfiction, poetry?Are you writing for personal growth, posterity or publication? Find more Writing Tips, Launching Pads, Resources, and a handy-dandy workbook to help you along the way -- at There's An Angel In Your Inkwell. See you there. 

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