Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Creative - Ritual

"ritual"
definition…noun 1. the established form esp. for a religious ceremony 2. a system of rites 3. a ceremonial act or action 4. an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a precise manner



Friday, February 25, 2011

New beginnings....


I want you to forget everything you have learned in your whole life. this is the beginning of a new understanding, a new dream. ~~ Don Miguel Ruiz
That every day, every minute is the beginning of a new understanding, a new dream is a wonderful and refreshing concept. I like to start over. I love to take out blank paper and write something completely new. It's energizing, the center of creativity.

Make room for creativity every day...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Creative - Warmth


"warmth"


definition…noun 1. the quality or state of being warm 2. zeal, ardor, fervor




Friday, February 18, 2011

Pet Peeve Saturday--Quotation Marks...Use Them

"..."

So what's the deal with quotation marks. Some authors are not using them anymore when writing dialogue and it's driving me nuts when I read their writing.

The first time I noticed this was a while back. Frank McCourt didn't use any quotation marks in Angela's Ashes: A Memoir. It shocked me at first... and it annoyed me throughout my reading of the book, but I didn't think much of it. I thought he was just some eccentric who decided that his style would be sans quotation marks.

Then I noticed a couple of other authors do the same thing and most recently Mary Karr in Lit: A Memoir has omitted the quotation marks of dialogue.

I see a little trend starting here and I have to speak out. Use quotation marks. Although as a writer I would love to omit them myself, I won't because they are a part of the symbols of written communication. Quotation marks make it easier for readers to read your book and become immersed in the story.

I guess we can call this Pet Peeve Saturday.... Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Creativity for the fun of It


Do you do something creative for practice everyday?

Beyond that... do you do something creative for FUN everyday?

Remember when you were a kid? Barely? Well, think back. I remember long days of coloring. I mastered blending with a tissue early on. It was my specialty.

I have specific memories of sitting in the front yard on a blanket coloring for hours. I did love the blending, but my favorite (we did this one at school) was coloring a whole piece of construction paper with vivid colors, then painting the surface with black paint. Once the paint dries, you scratch the shape of a picture through the paint so the vivid colors of the crayon shine through. It was always a surprise to see what color was where on the picture.

Why don't we do any of that today? I, for one, often get too caught up in the seriousness of everyday life... time to break that habit.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Get started marketing your art or writing

To carve out a piece of the art or book market for yourself, you must let your creative mind consider all possibilities. Ultimately, you'll want to grab the attention of the market and set yourself apart from the others.

Here are some tips on how to go about devising a marketing plan that will work for you:

Create a brand that sets you apart

Devise a look for your your business (the paper and online communications) that will remind people of you. For example, if you are an oil painter and you do mainly landscapes, you would do well to include one of your favorite landscapes on your business cards, on post cards that you use to announce your art events, and on newsletters that you send out to tell people what you are doing. Of if you're an author and have a logo, use that to represent you, or use an image of the book cover of your most recent book to represent you. Essentially, you want people to think of you when they see that picture.

Create a presence on the Internet
You might want to have a website, but a blog is a must. Remember to use the painting or logo or book cover you chose for your brand and the predominant colors in that painting or book cover on your website as well. That’s your brand. It goes everywhere.

The power of a blog
In addition to a website, create a blog and publish frequent articles about what you are doing as an artist or writers. Let people get to know you and like you. . This will draw traffic to your website. I know artists who post sketches of artwork-in-progress to draw people to their websites. And writers often post teasers about their next book.

Make sales easy for your customers
Be sure to have an online means to sell your products. For artists, this might be an Etsy.com shop or some other on-line gallery. For writers, that may be a buy button on your website or you may sell your books through amazon.com and other such on-line book stores.

Be active and be generous
Be active on the Internet. Visit blogs and galleries. Submit your work to reputable online galleries or book stores. Also, chat with other artists and writers on line. You can do this by commenting on their blog posts. You never know when they might hear of someone looking for your type of work. Do a good deed and recommend their work as well. Build a network of colleagues on line.

Don’t concentrate only on the Internet. Continue all the traditional ways of creating a presence. For example, join art/writing groups and associations in your area and other areas if they pertain to your type of work. Enter your work into local exhibits or contests. Join the local chamber of commerce to spread the word about your artwork.

Personal appearances
Show your work locally and in surrounding areas. Many times libraries will welcome an exhibit of artwork or a book signing.

Update your customers
Keep your customers and potential customers up to date about what you are doing. Learn to write a professional press release. Create a mailing list on the Internet and one for the regular mail. Every time you show your work, send a press release to these two lists. Keep your name and your activities in front of the public by sending short notices to community magazines that publish a monthly calendar of events. Publish a newsletter on at least a quarterly basis to update previous customers and to let potential customers and groups know about what you are doing.

As an artist/writer, you are an asset to the community. Be sure to keep everyone up to date on what you are doing and the artwork you are producing. Your contributions to the world of art/writing around you will be one of your greatest marketing tools.

(I received a question from a new writer on how to get started marketing her book. I thought I'd post the response here.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Keep Reading...

Is reading becoming obsolete? What a tragedy that would be to those of us who not only enjoy reading but are hoping to sell some of our own writing to others.

I'd like to say it won't happen fast, but look what has happened since the beginning of the Internet -- already people are beginning to use voice commands to send messages on their phones and others are talking into Dragon Speak and other such programs to decrease the writing/typing time.

And in the non-literary world, the need for the basics -- reading, writing, math -- has been diluted. For example, we all have calculators on our phones. Who needs to add and subtract anymore? Who even needs to read. Menus have pictures, most signs are illustrated, and we all are getting more and more used to the convenience of anything that expedites everything we're doing.

I have long hated to even think about all books going digital, but I'm beginning to realize that the scope of the problem is much broader than a concern over a tendency toward not valuing the book. Maybe we should take a look at creativity as a whole. Is that being shoved aside? I hope not.

Where do we want to be on this issue in ten years?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Enjoy the process

It seems to me... we should make our writing fun. I don't mean the writing has to be about only fun things, but it helps the writing just to enjoy the process. The same goes for art.

I know there are writers and artists who think they need to agonize over their craft to feel as if they have created something meaningful. Well, I give you the example of Tim Dorsey. There's a writer who has made a life for himself writing and he has a great time doing it.

Tim was in Melbourne this week, signing copies of his latest book... I hadn't seen him in several years and as soon as he opened his mouth, I was reminded to make it fun, no matter what I'm doing. Basically he travels around Florida doing research for his books. Now, that research consists of eating great bar-b-q in out of the way places or settling in on a bar stool in a local pub and getting to know the natives and their history.

Now, you might not enjoy that exact approach, but it did remind me that I should make sure I enjoy it all... I think the writing is better that way.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Describe your writing.


Someone just asked me to describe my writing. Oh man, do you have an elevator speech ready for that one? I don't. I guess I should work one up, but my writing is all over the place. There's the blogger me, there's the memoir writer me, there's the magazine column writer me, there's the novelist... etc. I guess I'm a generic writer. As such, do I even have a style?

Yes, I think if I could just link writing together with dots after each sentence, that would be my style.

What do you say when people ask you that question...?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stylish Blog Award


Writer's Creative Studio received the Stylish Blog Award a few days ago. It was awarded by Glynis Smy. Thanks so much. It was a most pleasant surpirse. She has a wonderful blog. Stop by to visit her... click here.

As part of the process, I am to tell you 7 things about myself ... Here goes.

1. I'm a writer and photographer.
2. I have 5 blogs. Two are about writing. This one is where I talk about my writing. The other is called Florida Book News and is aimed at the book world of Florida and beyond.
3. I also have a blog for my photos. I've shamelessley neglected that one lately.
4. Another blog (Brevard Art News) is to help keep people informed about art events and opportunities in Brevard, Florida.
5. The fifth blog is MaxtheQuiltCat.com. It is a blog dedicated to Max (a cat) and his nephews, Bugsy and Knuckles.
6. I wrote a book about Max. The Zen of Max (a memoir of great wisdom and many naps). It contains the story of friendship and lessons learned from that friendship.
7. I am taking art lessons. Don't know if I'll ever do much more than use the creations for crude illustrations of my writing, but I'm enjoying it.

Thanks so much to Glynis for thinking enough of my blog to send this award. Have a great day.