On the subject of my current favorite T.V. show

Watching British Baking Show, it occurs to me that most people have no idea that they’re disqualifying themselves from the running by committing some grave error because they’re unaware they’ve made an error. It’s a blind spot—you can’t know what you don’t know. Mostly, they’re shocked, if not totally horrified. Only a couple of times do you see anyone say, “Screw it; I’ll be lazy/stupid here.”

It also occurs to me that writing is very, very similar. No one *knows* how they’re screwing up until they’ve already done it, and somebody points it out. Then, forever and ever, the mistake is emblazoned in your brain.

Life’s the same. All of it. You have to try over and over to make enough mistakes to be excellent. Go make mistakes.

Creating in Chaos (Supporting #OwnVoices writers): Interview with Laura Noakes!

laura-noakes-author-photoIt is my deep pleasure and privilege to introduce the brilliant MG writer, Laura Noakes! Besides writing sparkly, magical stories, she’s also an excellent critique partner (whom I love to minuscule bits). Welcome, Laura! 🙂

Tell us a little bit about your writing!

I write middle grade fiction, and I’ve written MS’s that are fantasy, sci-fi, historical and
magical realism! Basically, I write everything, although all my MS’s generally feature a touch of magic and a lot of quirk! All my main characters so far have been girls—I LOVE girl MC’s. I also have a penchant for writing characters who love science (my dad is a science teacher, that might be where that comes from), and girls who are kind of scrappy and tomboy-ish (Lyra from His Dark Materials is one of my absolute favourite female characters). My current WIP is probably my most personal work so far. It’s about a girl with hypermobility, a disability that I also have, who is a complete superhero nerd!
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Creating in Chaos Series-Interview with Daniel Tidwell!

On this cool and overcast Thursday, I have the honor of introducing one of my favorite people in the ENTIRE WORLD to you. And this is not just because I used to annoy him ruthlessly in the back seat on long road trips (and still have a vague sense of lingering guilt about it). Mostly it’s because he’s something of a creative midwife and an exceptionally gifted communicator. Welcome, Daniel Tidwell!

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Image of Daniel taking selfie while his sister uses her cell phone in the background.

Tell us a little about what you do: 

Well . . . To pay my bills, I work in higher education. I design co-curricular programming for graduate students who are going into helping professions. The focus is helping people steward their own vocational development and sustainability. Basically, I help people practice checking-in with themselves and making sure they know how to get what they need in order to thrive and not burn out in fields of work designed for burn-out.

In addition to that, I work as a Spiritual Director–in my context, that means accompanying artists and LGBTIQA folks pursuing spirituality, especially when they don’t find a good fit in organized religion. I offer group classes geared toward the writing arts on understanding your own creative practice.

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Strategies For Creating in Chaos: an Interview with Author Robert Duff

Today, I’d like to welcome psychologist and self-help author Robert Duff for a chat about self-management and stress. Hi Robert, and thanks for joining us here! 🙂

What role do you feel creative expression plays in fostering mental health? 

I think that it plays a very important role. I often see the world in a yin and yang sort of way – creation and destruction. Often when we are depressed or having other mental health issues, we have to go through a sort of grieving process and we have to allow the life we expected to have (free of these issues) to die. In my opinion, one of the most helpful things for overcoming a loss is to create something new. The definition of creative expression is pretty broad in my book. That could be creating physical art, writing something, or even just cultivating new friendships or hobbies. Continue reading

Maxing out Focus-Guest Post by Isobel DeBrujah

Let’s talk about maxing out focus. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life studying crime and psychology and the absolute best place to read about this phenomenon is the Persuasion Skills Blackbook: Practical NLP Language Patterns for Getting the Response You Want. Use your new found powers only for good.

Maxing out focus is a term used most often in descriptions of grifting and con artistry. Continue reading

Creativity Series: Finding Your Magic In The Chaos

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Unless you’re living on Mars, you’re probably aware that things are, in a word, shitty.

Our new “President” (he’s not mine, for the record) has a cabinet that closely resembles one from Borgin and Burkes; complete with tiny grabbing hands, nasty-ass masks to hide behind, and instruments of torture and bigotry. Things are crappy. And they’ll probably get worse. Continue reading

Spend a Day with your MC

One of my favorite writing exercises for developing a multi-layered character is essentially method acting for writers.

Spend the day as your MC. Ask yourself, “What’s my rationale for this behavior? Given my own headcanon for this character, how will I respond crossing this busy, wet city street? What will I order for lunch? Why? What do I see right now that might trigger a memory or pain in me?” Continue reading

Interview with Emily Steward, author of Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure!

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After a few delays (involving the tragic smashing of my laptop and a nasty cold), I am thrilled to introduce you to Emily A. Steward and her debut MG novel, PENELOPE GILBERT AND THE CHILDREN OF AZURE!

So good to chat with you, Emily! Why don’t you tell us one of your favorite childhood books? 

It’s difficult to pick one so I’m going to cheat a little bit. I have always LOVED Matilda by Roald Dahl. I also enjoyed The Littles, Goosebumps, and The Boxcar Children. Continue reading