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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Journal With Impact: Family History

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” Corrie ten Boom

Family Stories

Some family stories are repeated every time relatives get together. Sometimes as an icebreaker, or common ground, or a particular incident that no one wants forgotten. Perhaps to reflect an incident of pride or, unfortunately, to nurture a grudge. And like the telephone whisper game the reality at the beginning may not be what is still being passed down through the generations.

Or to clear perspective. A cousin and I talked recently about one of our relatives. Because she is older than me she knew more details of an incident that I, as a five-year-old at the time, had heard but not fully understood. In turn, I was able to share a later update in my teens, which she had not been aware of. Between the two of us we realized a huge gap had existed for both of us. And the reality gave us both a fresh perspective.

Journal Sources
Some places to look to fill in the gaps or jog your own stories are photo albums, especially those that include anecdotes or vignettes. Look for those both with or without stories, autobiographies and biographical sketches. Look to see if any family members kept a memory book, either as an individual or for the whole family.

Is there a family tree or special notes in a family Bible? Did anyone keep a record of archives? Sometimes even a day-today diary that only lists chores or business can open up a picture of the past no one was aware of or had forgotten.

Past. Think of a specific relative in your past. What do you wish you knew about their particular circumstances or their feelings?

I knew at some point in my life that my paternal grandmother had crossed the Atlantic in 1911 to join her husband. She had three young children under the age of ten. Yet the full concept didn’t connect with me until I saw a ship from that era and the unit size she and the children would have occupied. I was stunned at the deprivation and wished I could know more about her courage to immigrate. All I had of her were a few pictures.

Future. Write a letter to a grandchild or great grandchild, niece or nephew in the future. What do you want them to know about their family—what do you feel is so important that it must be remembered?

Action Steps:

1. Make a list of some key relatives in your past. Then choose two from different generations and write a letter to them.

2. Put it aside and then re-read the following day. Were you surprised at some of your questions? Did you think of some more?

3. Now write one to a future family member. Again leave overnight and revisit. And surprises?

Share: What has been a special story that has been passed along to you?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Journal With Impact: Family Memories

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Memories, all those little experiences make up the fabric of our lives and on balance, I wouldn’t want to erase any of them, tempting though it may be.”
Ben Affleck

Journal Note
For a few minutes write down your feelings of highs and lows over your most recent holiday. Then go back through and put a circle around your blessings with family. Next put a box around any lows. Were the lows connected with personal issues, fatigue, time constraints, or family members?

Write down in the margin any follow-up contact promises you made to anyone. Next time you sit down with your calendar mark them on a to-do list.

Since my family is now grown, any time we can get together is pure joy for me, as well as extra exhaustion—not from any additional schedules but from visiting and trying to catch up. Often I can feel guilty or sad afterwards because we only have time for surface conversation, and it’s not always possible to get to heart matters—to connect and build the new stages of relationships as we all continue to mature into new seasons of life.

At the same time the interaction of having “all my peoples together,” as my young grandson has said since he turned two, is so enriching as I listen to my loved ones relating to each other and sharing their favorite childhood memories.

Taking time to remember all the little details helps us to see our heritage in a story framework rather than dates and facts. The memories become woven into meaning.

Action Steps: Learning To Remember

1. Make a list of what you do remember.

2. Make a list of what you don’t remember. For example, I have an almost photographic memory of my kitchen when I was five years old, but without any memory at all of any smells in it.

3. What is a memory in your life that you keep going back to? Look for one or two sharp details. Write it up as a mini-vignette either in prose or poetry or a letter.

Share: What particular detail stood out for you?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Journal With Impact: Family

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“The beautiful thing about memories is that they are yours; whether they are good, bad, or indifferent. They belong to you, and no matter where you are now.”


Family Journals
Journaling about family, or with family, can help cement memories as well as build new bridges. And family may, or may not, or both, be only biological, but can also be the people who have become your chosen family over the years, regardless of geographic distance.

The interactions of past and present can impact our daily choices emotionally in ways we sometimes don’t recognize at first, because they are automatic signals that often we have forgotten, or are too busy to investigate. Taking time to journal family matters helps us find threads both for ourselves personally now, or as preparation for family memoirs, and as a basis to develop fictional characters for writers.

Inheritance goes far beyond any physical and financial categories. It involves personalities, talents, humor, values, faith, commitments, and perceptions.

There are three main areas in which family journaling is most effective: Family history, family vacations, and family communications. All three have parts which enable us to see what is strong in communication and connection, and, or, what is missing and perhaps why. Once again the exercises for each category overlap and can be interspersed.

Action Steps:

1. What inheritance from your family have you most cherished?

2. What inheritance have you most been plagued, or challenged to change?

Share: Which of these memories surprised you?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Journal With Impact: Vocation Vision

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step: only he who keeps his eye on the far horizon will find his right road.” Dag Hammarskjold


So what is calling you from your heart to be and to do? Whether full time, part-time, special time, paid or unpaid, noticed or in the background, long term or short term commitment?

Each person is unique. Each one is a special work of art.  So I’m going to share an excerpt from an artistic vision statement given by Shona Cole for you to apply to yourself as your vocation. Substitute your life where she uses the word art. Take the time to journal your thoughts before you write out your own statement.

“An artistic vision statement should reflect your personality, values and aspirations, outlining the big picture—the direction you want your art to take. In order to create an artistic vision statement, think of how you want to live your life—of ideals for which to strive. Be honest, but idealistic. Think big. Think of things that would sound ridiculous if you said them out loud.”

And as you process through these suggestions think about what you are hesitating to say out loud even to yourself.

We need to know and commit to our personal vision, accept the cost of that vision, know our product, and know the business. According to Brian Tracy, goal setters need a clear vision of the end result, based on your values. “You know what you want and why you want it.”

What kind of  ____________ do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like in five years? “Practice ‘back from the future thinking.’” Tracy suggests you envision it in the future and then backtrack to today. What has to happen to make it real?

Action Steps: Define

1. What is your major definite purpose?

2. What do you need to increase your productivity?

3. What do you need to increase your quality?

1.     Who do you want to be?

Share: What call do you choose?

Read deep, marcy

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Write Now! Workshop Podcast

Great Conversation!

Check out this interview with two outstanding authors. Kitty Bucholtz interviewing Sarah Sundin.

Writing Historicals Set in WWll

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Great workshop opportunity. This book is excellent. And with this workshop you get time with the author. 

April 19
Check it out. This blog post is in conjunction with my upcoming workshop.
April 23-29, 2018, Karen Wiesner will be teaching a workshop titled THREE-DIMENSIONAL WRITING based on her new writing reference Bring Your Fiction to Life: Crafting Three-Dimensional Stories with Depth and Complexity at Savvy Authors
Register: Click the “Register Now” button on the Savvy Authors course page just listed. Cost: Premium Members $25; Basic Members $30 (sign up for free membership here: to qualify for the workshop. Register at least a week before the class starts to receive a $5 discount.
Course description: Applied to writing, the word "three-dimensional" is easy to define as solid, realistic, rounded and lifelike, even living. The hard part for authors comes in translating these concepts into the craft of writing. Writing that is three-dimensional seems to have length (essentially the foundation of a story), width (structure), and depth (the completeness of fully-fleshed-out characters, plots and settings as well as multiple layers and rich, textured scenes).
Your host for this workshop is Karen Wiesner. Many of you know Karen as the author of First Draft in 30 Days and Writing the Fiction Series available from Writer’s Digest Books. Her writing reference Cohesive Story Building was reissued by Writers Exchange E-Publishing in print and ebook formats. She's also the award-winning author of 120 fiction titles and has 39 more contracted releases. She writes in nearly every genre of fiction. In this workshop, she’ll be talking about her newest Writer’s Digest release, Bring Your Fiction to Life: Crafting Three-Dimensional Stories with Depth and Complexity which teaches writers the three aspects that need to occur in order to bring about the potential for three-dimensional writing including three-dimensional characters, plots, and settings; complex, three-dimensional scenes; and multilayered storytelling. This intensive five-day workshop will show authors how to:
-master the three-dimensional aspects of characters, plots, and settings using detailed sketches that define the past, present, and future aspects of each element.
-develop complex opening, resolution, and bridge scenes that expertly lead readers through the fictional world.
-construct helpful aids and utilize tools and techniques to analyze where a story may be lacking dimensionality.
Three-dimensional writing is what allows a reader to step through the pages of a book and enter the world created, where plot and characters are in that glorious, realistic realm that starts with little more than a line and progresses into shape and finally represents solid form. Once three-dimensionality is within reach, all things are possible in crafting a vivid story world that readers will instantly recognize as remarkable.
Find out more about this book

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Journal With Impact: Vocation Production

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Goals give you a sense of meaning and purpose. Goals give you a sense of direction.” 
                                                                                                                            Brian Tracy

How well do you know your “product”? And what is required to keep a steady flow going according to your purpose? Or what complications might you need to work around? Time? Weather? Costs? Deadlines?

For a Christmas tree farmer one key to their productivity is that the average tree requires six to eight years to grow to maturity. How do they factor that in along with trees per acre? And it is a labor intensive commitment. Could there be a physical deterrent to the long haul?

A landscape artist juggles a broad variety of plants and trees both indoor and outdoor from seedlings to full growth. Each one may have its own unique growing cycle that will need to be calculated into each overall project. How to set up the seedlings for multiple projects to meet deadlines?

Prolific author Karen S. Wiesner shares in her book, First Draft in 30 Days, a multiyear goal sheet that includes contracted releases, uncontracted projects, and uncontracted project (optional). She says, “Your multiyear goal sheet will include accurate predictions as to when you’ll be working on outlines, writing books, researching upcoming projects, and allowing shelf-time for each stage of the writing process.” She is not working on only one project at a time from start to finish, but several possibilities in different stages of development.

Or, if just beginning to discover how long your projects might take to reach productivity, try beginning with Shona Cole’s art action plan for a creative life. “When you start out try committing to an hour of art a day. If you think you can get two things done in sixty minutes, for each day pick two things to put on your weekly action plan.”

So what do you want your production to look like? Using Shona Cole’s suggestions over the next week daily set up your design to become one like Karen S. Wiesner’s, regardless of how long it might take to get there. Dream big!

Action Steps:

1. First write down your long-term production aim.

2. Next write down every possible facet needed to get there. For example: time, cost, energy, complications, associates, materials, family commitments etc.

3. Then right down two beginning steps to apply or investigate for each area on your list.

4. Take the first two key components and set up a time frame to address them over the next week. Then assess any positive and negative adjustments you need to make.

5. Take a calendar and choose your end date.

6. Then work backwards filling in all the time factors required to meet that deadline. Adjust as needed.

7. Start!

Share: Which area of your production surprised you?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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