Monthly Archives: June 2019

The Trials of Writing in the Summer Time

By Rhonda Strehlow

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The road is calling. The lounge chair beacons me.

The garden needs hoeing.

The day is so beautiful the sheets should be hung on the clothes line.

Is it time to drive to Door County to pick cherries?

My desk is a mess. There are birthday cards to be sent. The neighbor wants to go on a ten-mile bike ride.

We only have a few real summer days in Wisconsin. I’ll write when it’s raining.

Re-seal the deck. Trim back the trees. And, now the peas should be picked. And shelled. And frozen.

I’ll write when it’s raining.

The dog needs a walk. The cat needs a treat. The bird feeders are empty.

It’s time to weed the flower garden again. Who ordered three yards of mulch?

The fish are biting. The fair is next week.  I need a haircut. And, so does the dog.

So now it’s been raining for three days. No more excuses. I open the laptop with a sigh. I re-read the first three chapters. Not too bad. The characters talk to me. I get lost in the drama of another life, another time.

Ten p.m. and 3,512 words! Where did the time go? I’m just getting started. I’m sure I can get in a few more chapters before midnight. Who needs to sleep?

Travel for Inspiration

By L.E. Aronis

I recently bought a t-shirt that reads “Love Where You Are,” which is completely the opposite of my usual life-view. I’ve lived in Wisconsin all my life, and while there are many things I love about the state, there are increasingly more and more things I’m growing to dislike each year. I love the natural beauty and friendliness of most people, but the long winters have me longing for a more temperate climate.

I have been to several different countries, including Canada, Israel, Ireland, and Great Britain, as well as Puerto Rico, which is an American territory but feels like a different country. I’ve flown on many planes and taken a passenger train between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland. I’ve taken a ferry from Wales to Ireland, spent a whole week exploring the amazing city of Edinburgh by city bus, and my two feet. I’ve spent way too much money to rent a car, driving along the Jurassic Coast of Southern Dorset, England, as well as County Cork, Ireland. I’ve harvested grapes in a vineyard for a winery in Israel and tasted the wine that those before me worked so hard to help produce.

I’ve taken chances and not always been very wise in my decisions when it comes to travel, but it’s all worked out, and I’ve learned quite a lot from it. Those experiences and the places I’ve traveled to have enriched my writing, as well as my life. I can draw on so many amazing things in order to create characters and situations that I’d never have thought of if I’d stayed put in Wisconsin. I’ve written about people living in large manor homes in Edinburgh, Amazing townhomes in London, beach houses near the sea in Dorset, as well as a normal, middle-income home in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Through travel, I’ve become a better writer and I think, a better person who sees things in a different, less narrow way. If you want variety and something different to write about, I’d recommend travel; you never know the things you’ll come up with, having gleaned inspiration through the people you’ll meet and places you’ll see.

Writing for Publication

By Valerie Routhieaux

I’m not a best-selling author, though that is my goal. I’m here to give you pointers on how to write for publication, not blogs. Blogs are a different kind of writing, more relaxed and you can break every rule, and I’m sure I do too.

Day 1

Write. Don’t edit. Don’t worry about your grammar and punctuation.

Write. When you start a new project, the idea is to get the story down. This is your rough draft, and believe me, it’s rough. I guarantee you probably broke every rule of good writing. You’ll have typos and even words that don’t look like typos called homophones. Those are the trickiest typos of all. You’ll also have punctuation and grammatical errors.

Leave your editing for the finished project.

When the story is finished, it’s time to start polishing it. Everyone writes differently. Some people use index cards and map out their book from beginning to end. Some use a storyboard. Some outline. And some just write.

There are two kinds of writers. Plotters and Pantsers. The plotters are the ones who use the index cards, storyboard, and outline. Pantsers are those who plant themselves in the chair and write.

I’m a pantser. I don’t know what my characters are going to do until I put fingers to keyboard.

If this is day one for you, decide what kind of writer you are and get started. The book won’t write itself, though some days you will feel like it is, especially if you’re a pantser, like me.

What kind of writing do you do? If you’re an author, what genre do you write in? If you haven’t published yet, what are your interests when you sit down to write? If you’re thinking about writing, what genre interests you? Is it fiction or non-fiction?


Why Writing Groups

By Ruth Wellens

            Writing groups are much like family. Some groups are larger than others, but each person in the group will have a definite personality that will come through and need to be interacted with. Then there is the unique writing each author in the group possesses.  Once again, some writing you will have more in common with than others depending on genre, subject matter, audience and simply style.  Don’t we find more in common with certain siblings or cousins than others?  It is human nature and the nature of a family. 

            What is the glue that binds us together?  Families have history; writing groups have language. The language of writing and the writing process is unique to English teachers and authors. Who really considers point of view? How many people do you discuss verb tense with besides your writing group? Who responds about whether a group of words contain a definite subject? Who cares (or even understands) if there is a clear antecedent for the pronoun that is written?  Exactly what I mean. 

            Besides the technical side of writing, who else can really understand having all the stars aligned, a whole day ahead of you reserved just for writing, and sitting down to the computer only to have no ideas come to you to write about.   Who else knows what it’s like to feel the euphoria of being accepted by a publisher and then the depression because of the pressure of an editing deadline?  Writing is a solitary endeavor, no doubt, so it is very special, and some would say necessary, to have a group-like family to meet with on a regular basis – to have a writing group.