To be a writer we must write, to become a best-selling author, take a spin on the Wheel of Fortune, and see where it goes.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard. Allen Ginsberg

So you want to be a writer. The question is, are you writing, actually getting words on paper that will become something? Wanting to do is not the same as doing, and I wanted to write for years, but now I am finally doing, and life rolls along about the same as it did before, except there is now an added dimension to my life.

The more we add to our lives the more we will get out of it. A big part of what we need to add is what takes care of our body and feeds our soul. This is our life we only get one shot at it. Are we enjoying our relationships, or are outside pursuits taking too much time away so those important relationships are being hurt?

What does a successful life look like? When we look at our lives are we proud of the choices we’ve made?

Yesterday, I chose to spend my day at the “Breakthrough to Writer’ Success” – Writers Industry Day put on by the Mississauga Arts Council. It was a lovely day spent with fellow writers. Two writers’ groups had tables on topics of interest to writers and I was at the self-publishing and journaling table. The tables were so busy I didn’t get much of a chance to mix and mingle; I spent my time talking to people interested in self-publishing and journaling.

Self-publishing works for some of us and others feel without being published by a traditional publisher their work is diminished. My thoughts on the subject are to go after what you want, do the best work you can, and put it out into the world. Then write your next best book. Building a writing platform so people get to know who you are might be something you can do or it might not be, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. Joseph Chilton Pearce

We need to be okay with the turn our lives take, and writing is no different. When we write and self-publish or are traditionally published, we are taking a turn on the wheel of fortune. Will that spin take us to fame and fortune – not likely, but for some, it does. Do we want the feeling of accomplishment from setting a goal, making it happen, and moving on to the next step? This is what it is for me.

I’ve written and self-published four books and am working on two more. I love the process of being a writer, the reality of holding my books in my hand, and hearing that others enjoyed them. Writing is a solitary pursuit, it feeds our soul, and sometimes, it feeds our bank account.

Writing is especially good for those of us as we enter our later years. We’ve lived a life, we have something to say, and our self-worth shouldn’t depend on how many sales we get on Amazon or through a traditional publisher. Taking up writing is more like a pastime than an economic endeavor, some people feel writers should be paid for their time, some are paid handsomely for theirs, and others not so much.

I’m okay with that and taking my spin on the writing wheel of fortune, and where it stops, no one knows. Some writers reach acclaim in their lifetime and are then forgotten and some are still being read years after their death. Some writers entertain us, some make us think, and some will change how we look at life forever.

We all impact people in our lives and some of us will only impact people we know, but who knows what impact the people they impact will have. We don’t know what the impact of our life will be, but if we live in such a way that those we meet, and those who live with us are impacted in a good way, then we should find contentment in a life well-lived.

Is it better to be known and loved by those who never meet us or to be loved by those who do know us?

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all other; read a lot and write a lot. Stephen King

For better or worse, most of my writing life has been about people that work behind the scenes. I’m interested in finding extraordinary moments in otherwise normal people. Mark Boal

Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers. Ray Bradbury

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Telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or is every story ultimately a work of fiction with a bit of truth inside?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. Mark Twain

How true do we think it is when we watch a movie based on a true story? Do we think embellishments weren’t made to make the story a little better? The dialogue is made up, how could it be anything else? I watched Frida on the weekend based on the life of Frida Kahlo a Mexican Painter. I liked the movie, it was recommended to me by a friend, but would Frida like the movie? Would she feel she was portrayed how she was, how she saw herself, or how most people who knew her thought she was?

I ask this because Michael Oher the football player The Blind Side movie is written about did not like the movie, and did not like how he was portrayed. Did the author Michel Lewis take artistic license, or is it impossible to write a story about a living person and get everything right?

There is fact in every fiction and truth in every lie. Krisi Keley

I remember bringing home a book when I was a teenager, I can’t remember the name of the book or the author but it was written about the author’s life. If I remember correctly some people didn’t agree with her portrayal of her life. Dad said to me, “It’s how she saw it.” We can’t argue with someone about how they see things, but we know we don’t necessarily see things the same way. Every person involved would have their point of view, and where do embellishments and outright lies begin?

One of the reasons I love writing fiction is in fiction we can tell the truth, and perhaps tell deeper truths than if we are constrained by facts and feelings of real characters and actual circumstances. One of the things we learn when writing fiction is fiction has to make sense, but we all know real life does not. The character has to be motivated to do something, and the motivation drives the story. The reader needs to know the character’s motivation whereas in real life we often don’t know what motivates someone.

As someone who has kept a journal since I was fifteen, I know we don’t always see ourselves or circumstances looking back like we see them now. We think we’ve always been who we are now, and seen things how we see them, but we’ve changed along the way. We might not like to be reminded of the struggles once we’ve overcome them. We might have looked at things in a way that would embarrass us now. How many parents would like their kids to know about every stupid thing they ever said, did, or talked someone else into doing?

The reason that truth is stranger than fiction is that fiction has to have a rational thread running through it in order to be believable, whereas reality may be totally irrational Sydney J. Harris

Fiction is the lie that helps us understand the truth. Tim O’Brien

Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction. Slavoj Zizek

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Choosing how we spend our days is choosing how we spend our lives.

Choosing how we spend our lives is choosing how we spend our days.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard

We always have to make choices about how we spend our time. It seems to me something has to be left undone or never started. We can, we are told organize our lives in such a way that we can get it all done. If we get up early enough, are organized enough we can read the books we should read, exercise to be fit and healthy, cook healthy meals, keep our homes spotless, spend quality time with our spouse and children, stay on top of current events and make ourselves look like supermodels every day.

Whew, I’m tired already. I gave up all that, a long time ago and settled for what I think is “Good enough.”  Perfection is the enemy of the good and we need to cut ourselves some slack. Some slack, but not too much slack, or our lives can fall into disarray. How do we walk the fine balance?

In the early years of raising kids, I had no time for reading except children’s books. Fortunately, some of the best books are children’s books. Who can forget “The Little Engine that Could?” How many of us when we hit a tough spot have found the words, “I think I can, I think I can” going through our mind? Who can read “I’ll Love You Forever” without tearing up? Didn’t we all relate to “The Velveteen Rabbit” as well-loved stuffed animals became embarrassingly threadbare and discolored?

We get through our children’s early years and then we are into dance lessons, hockey, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, karate, music lessons, and other activities that leave us with no time. Finally, our children grow up and we have a little breathing room for activities of our own. If we have something we want to do, now is the time to do it. We will still have to put things off to have time for things that seem more important. We will still have to choose how we spend our time. We will only make time to join a band, write a book, take a class, paint, go to the gym, or whatever we have dreamed of doing when we finally have time to do it if we carve out time for it. This is my time for…  and we stick to it.

Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about. W.H. Auden

Many people tell me they want to write a book. They have a story to tell but they don’t want to hurt any feelings. I wonder if any of us can tell the “True” story. The “True” story has many sides and ours is only one of them. I believe in “The Lie that Tells a Truth” fictionalize your story and tell the truth but combine many stories into one for two reasons. If we don’t have to worry about getting the facts straight but instead can get to the heart of the story so people will understand what went on and how it impacted others we can tell the story by getting into the minds of the characters and showing their feelings and reactions. As we do this we may come away understanding the motivations or think we understand the motivations of those who may have hurt us intentionally or unintentionally. Many people, who hurt others, are hurt people themselves. In a novel, we can explore what made people into who they are and what changed them. We can redeem unredeemable characters; we can do the thing we wish we’d done.

The trickiest book to write would be an autobiography, where we are writing about our own life, and the second trickiest would be a biography where we are writing about someone else’s. Can we ever know anyone completely? Do we even know ourselves completely? Do we know the motivations that led to success or failure? What we leave out and what we include will color a story? How can someone’s niece, even a trained psychologist understand all the events that impacted someone? Would it have been better to have written a work of fiction where more could be said to understand someone? Something like, “Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham or Ayn Rand books.

If we have a story to tell, when are we going to start telling it?

There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem. Jim Thompson

I believe in not quite knowing. A writer needs to be doubtful, questioning. I write out of curiosity and bewilderment… I’ve learned a lot I could not have if I were not a writer. William Trevor

We want to know more about people who fail. We care about people who are scared, who act foolishly, who are tricked by their vanity and trapped by their desires…. Flawed characters are the unforgettable ones. Susan Shaughnessy

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Lie That Tells a Truth Paperback – Aug. 10 2004

by John Dufresne (Author)4.3 out of 5 stars 38 ratings

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas (Author)

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If you want to write a book. Make it a habit, make it happen.

Make it a habit, make it happen. If you want to write a book.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen. Martin Luther

How many of us want to write a book, have thought about writing a book, or are in the middle of writing a book? It is a huge endeavor and it is only going to happen if we write daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.

There are many experts who will show us how to write a book and become rich and famous. If we want to become rich and famous we might want to rethink our strategy. There are many ways to become rich and many ways to become famous but writing a book will not necessarily result in either. The average book doesn’t sell more than 500 copies so it is not a get rich quick scheme. There are writers who are very rich and no one says it can’t happen to us. Authors doing well usually have many books under their belt, not just one.

There is nothing wrong with reading books on writing, taking classes on writing, and attending seminars on writing. But, they are not writing and they will not lead to a book of our own unless we sit down and write.

We can if we sit down and write, produce enough words to make a book. If we want a good book that is a different matter.

What makes a good book?

A good book must be compelling enough that we read it to the end.

There must be some moments of wow, I’ve thought that too.

It may teach us something, surprise, or shock us, but at the very least it should make us think.

It should be discussable.

Have I written a good book? When you read it let me know by giving me an honest review on Amazon.

This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard. Neil Gaiman

I’ve always wanted to write, but I haven’t always written. If we don’t write we can’t call ourselves a writer. In 2002 my husband brought home an old laptop. I sat down at the kitchen table and began to write in the evenings after the kids went to bed. This started my habit of writing. I kept a writing log of when I started when I stopped, and how many words I produced.

My son saw me writing and he began asking. Mom, do you want to publish your writing. At first, I shrugged, but over time I said, “Yeah, I think I’d like to.” Then he started telling me I should start a blog, “All writers should have a blog.” I shrugged my shoulder over that one also, until one day I saw the book, “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly. He tells us if we can develop 1000 true fans we can create a market for our work. 1000 isn’t a million. 1000 might be doable and so with his help, this blog was started in July 2018.

On the long August weekend past, I faced another fear; formatting my novel for Kindle Publishing. All the reports on how hard it was intimidated me, but I thought I would try to format it myself. When I followed the directions it worked like a charm. Then my son asked what my publishing date was. When I realized we could pre-publish I picked the date September 5, 2020, and committed myself to call my novel complete.

If we don’t set an end date writing a book can take as long as we let it. Some authors never finish, because when is it actually finished? When we decide it is. For the next one, I already have an end date in mind.

Creating the habit of writing and setting goals will get us where we want to go. Everything in life becomes a habit that adds or detracts from our life. When we reach a goal or dream we need to have another goal or dream.  We never want to run out of goals. Prolific authors like James Patterson believe they will run out of life before they run out of ideas to write about.  Ideas are all around us if we look for them. We should never save something for another book, put everything we have into the one we are writing. There will be more to put into the next one.

Are we dreaming of writing, or writing about our dreams?

Books can truly change our lives: the lives of those who read them, the lives of those who write them. Readers and writers alike discover things they never knew about the world and about themselves. Lloyd Alexander

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works. Virginia Wolf

The art of writing is discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert

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Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Hardcover – Illustrated, Oct. 16 2018

by James Clear (Author)4.7 out of 5 stars 4,795 ratingsAmazon Charts #2 this week

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Kindle Edition

by Belynda Wilson Thomas (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

The power of storytelling. We are all storytellers.

We are all storytellers. The power of storytelling.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. Robert McKee

Listening to Margaret Atwood on YouTube last night she tells us writing is hope. It is hope we will finish what we started. It is hope what we spent all this time on will be good and worth reading. It is hope it will get out into the world and we hope it will get read once it gets there.

Writing is a way to make sense of the world. In fiction, we makeup stories or take a nugget of life and turn it into something else and if we do it well our lies tell the truth of life. In books we understand not just what happens, the choices someone made, but why they made those choices.

My mother tells me about someone who is in the hospital and is only allowed, two visitors. His mother drives a long way to see him and she isn’t one of the visitors he chooses to see. There could be a complete novel in how that relationship got to that particular moment. Would this be the inciting incident that starts the book, would it be in the middle, or at the end?

Life is full of moments, and writers take those moments and weave them into their books, and even when a character might be based on someone it isn’t based only on them. Life in novels has to be bigger, full of more challenges and problems than real life. Often characters in books grow more than we seem to in real life. They see the light and sometimes we see it through characters we read about when we didn’t notice it in real life.

Life is a marathon and so is writing. If our goal is to become rich and famous we may be disappointed. If our goal is to write, to tell our stories, and we do, what we get out of it will be more than what we put in. Writing changes us when we write and it changes us when we read. Much of the change that happens in our lives will be the result of the books that we read and the actions we take. Reading books shapes our thinking in big and small ways. Books teach us about the human condition and help us understand ourselves and others on a deeper level.

Last night I was listening to another author on YouTube Jerry B. Jenkins he’s written 190 books in forty years. I thought I hadn’t read any of his books, but I read some of the Left Behind series and maybe others because he writes in multiple genres biography, self-help, romance, mystery, science fiction, and young adult. Now, that is a writing career.

Fiction has a unique role in conveying Truth. In fact, only fiction that is Truth with a capital T is worthwhile. Jerry B. Jenkins

There are so many books out there we may think what could we possibly say that hasn’t been said? We love stories and no one can tell our story. No one will see things exactly the same as us.

When we listen to writers talk they often have a self-reflection that is enviable. If we all wrote would we be more self-reflective and would that make the world better? Would we think we can fix things in real life as we can in a book, and make matters worse? The unintended consequences of our good intentions make a difference in real life. In a book, the consequences are exactly what we want them to be.

We pass on our knowledge through stories. Some people tell their stories in the living room, around the dining room table, or in a coffee shop. Salespeople tell stories, lawyers tell stories, parents and other family members tell stores. When people move us it is usually through a story. Some people write their stories down. Telling our stories is part of life. We learn and grow by telling our stories and listening and reading other people’s stories.

There are many stories to tell, there are many ways to tell them. Are we finding ways to tell our stories?

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. Sue Monk Kidd

We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling. Jimmy Neil Smith

You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it. Margaret Atwood

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The Power of StoryTelling by [Ty Bennett, Don Yaeger]

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The Power of StoryTelling Kindle Edition

by Ty Bennett (Author), Don Yaeger (Foreword)  Format: Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars    38 ratings

Is there a story we need to tell? If not now, when? Telling our stories.

Telling our stories. Is there a story we need to tell? If not now, when?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. Sue Monk Kidd

Yesterday I received a gift in the mail. My cousin asked me to send her a copy of my novel. She said she would make notes as she read it. I was not expecting what I got back. She filled three notebooks full of edits. She’s a retired teacher and this is the kind of edit that costs money and takes a long time to do. I am so grateful for the work she put into this. My novel will be stronger for it.

I started working on her notes last night. I’m also going through scene by scene and using her notes as a guide for my own questions. Do I start each scene with a hook and end with a cliff hanger? She gave me some actionable feedback when she called me to tell me she was sending her notes. I didn’t answer the question she wanted to be answered. I’m fixing that.

Everyone who reads my novel has given me feedback. This is why we need early readers. We need people who look at it with fresh eyes and give us another perspective. They ask us questions we might not have answers to but we should figure out what those answers are. Do we understand our audience? Do we know what genre the novel we have written fits into?

Learning to write is a process. We can edit, edit, and edit some more, but at some point, we have to say it is finished and move onto the next project. My son has been prodding me to do that for a while now. I’m getting there. When I get through this round of edits I’ll be closer. Then I’m told I need to read it out loud.

After that, a professional edit and then I should be able to publish. The next novel I don’t think will take anywhere near as much time. I will write and edit in Microsoft Word. I know more about structure, plotting, and organizing my writing.

The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you things to think upon. Brandon Sanderson

Yesterday I stopped by Indigo and another book on writing called to me. Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody based on the books by Blake Snyder. The reason I bought the book is Blake Snyder has developed ten genres that any story falls into. I’ve found categorizing my novel difficult but voila there’s my category in this book. My category is Institutionalized so my characters will Join Em, Leave Em, or take Em down.

I have purchased many books on writing. I wouldn’t want to part with any of them. They have all helped me on my journey.

The author also talks about sequels and how they fit into story structure. The other book on story structure that has really helped me is My Story Can Beat Up Your Story by Jeffrey Alan Schechter. It doesn’t matter what we write, it is like building a house. We need the scaffolding to hang our story on. Without structure, we are wandering in the wilderness stringing words together that don’t build anything. Like we piled the lumber, cement, and windows into a pile, instead of placing them where they need to be to build the house. We are the architect and the builder of our stories.

It doesn’t matter if we plot it all out first, or we write as we go, we need to fit it into the structure. Just like building a house we can buy a window at a time, as long as we know where to put it.

We have walls in our house to hang artwork on; we need structure to hang our beautiful sentences on. Our readers need to want to know what happens next to keep turning the page. Some writers have us waiting for their next book because we have to know the answer to the questions they left hanging. We stay up long past our bedtime if the writer keeps us saying, just one more chapter.

If we want to write, we should write. There are lots of books, classes, courses, and writing groups to join. Is it true when we find our voice, we find ourselves?

Is there a story in us we need to tell? Have we already begun the journey? If not now, when? What are we waiting for?

We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling. Jimmy Neil Smith

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. Robert McKee

Stories are memory aids, instruction manuals, and moral compasses. Aleks Krotoski

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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need Paperback – Oct 9 2018

by Jessica Brody (Author) 4.8 out of 5 stars 473 ratings

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Finding groups to support us on our journey. Coming out of the writer’s closet.

Coming out of the writer's closet. Finding groups to support us on our journey.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

My second husband encouraged me to go to a writing group at our local theatre. It was my coming out of the closet moment. Sue Townsend

Yesterday was another great day at the Writers Group. If you want to write I suggest you find a supportive writers group. They will each have their own personality but if you are looking for one you will probably find one that fits.

When we join a group we get to meet other people further along our journey. They know things we don’t know, they’ve already conquered challenges we may have.

We write for ourselves, we write what is important to us, we write about our journey even when we write fiction. A new person came yesterday she’s written a book called My Unforeseen Journey Losing Sight Gaining Vision by Melanie Taddeo-Nxumaio. She suffered a stroke which left her legally blind and paralyzed on her left side.

The leader of our group Elizabeth Banfalvi has written many books on meditation one of them is Meditation, Defining Your Space. Paul Edward Costa Mississauga’s Poet Laureate has written Dark Magic on the Edge of Town. This is a small sample of the variety of writers we meet in writers groups.

People write about recovering from grief, overcoming rough childhoods, fiction, memoir, and whatever their interest and focus are. A new member who came with Melanie is writing about Louis St. Laurent the 12th Prime Minister of Canada.

As Elizabeth says we are not competing with each other. We can learn from each other, support each other, and grow with each other. Writing can be a lonely life, and non-writers do not want to hear about our writing life. Writing group buddies do, they have insights to share, and love to hear our insights. How exciting can a conversation be about the oxford comma? This is when you use a comma before ‘and’ or ‘or’ in a string of three or more, for example, they wrote fiction, memoir, and self-help.

I know I was supposed to be a writer; I had made that declaration in the closet of my soul. Padgett Powell

We love to get together with like-minded people. Writers are no different. My husband wonders what we do for four hours when I tell him next month I intend to stay for another hour and give a reading of my work. He doesn’t have to see why four hours that would bore him to death; are what I look forward to every month.

Many writers find their family does not read their books. It is why even if we purchase the book ourselves, and give it to them, we shouldn’t be surprised if it is never opened. They might not even see the lovely inscription we wrote in it. They are proud of us, they encourage us. It is still worth giving it to them. One day a grandson or granddaughter may find it, may read it and maybe encouraged to write themselves.

I’ve kept a journal partly or maybe totally because my grandmother kept one. A grandmother I never had an opportunity to meet. Journals I never got to read because they were destroyed by squirrels, except for one.

If we want to write, we must write. The end result is unknown. Not knowing where our journey will take us is part of what makes it worthwhile. We may be fast writers, or slow. Maybe we can’t wait to get our work out there, or we aren’t sure we ever want to put it out there. That decision can be made when the work is completed or partially completed, but it can’t be made if it is never written.

Is it time to come out of the closet as a writer? Do we first have to admit to ourselves we want to be a writer? When we take the step will the bridge be there? Where will our journey take us? Will we find help along the way?

Writers wear their skeletons on their sleeves. While the rest of the world locks them in a closet. Unknown

I do find it therapeutic, writing about stuff that was frightening and painful as a child, and managing to see it from an adult’s point of view. To get it out of the closet onto paper, metaphorically speaking. It is therapeutic. Unknown

Don’t keep your Muse locked up in the closet. Set them free to dance across the page and what they create will be a masterpiece. Michelle C. Hillstrom

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Meditation, Defining Your Space by [Banfalvi, Elizabeth]

Meditation, Defining Your Space Kindle Edition

by Elizabeth Banfalvi (Author)

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My Unforeseen Journey: Losing Sight Gaining Vision Paperback – 2019

by Melanie Taddeo-Nxumalo (Author) 

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Dark Magic on the Edge of Town by [Costa, Paul Edward]

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Dark Magic on the Edge of Town Kindle Edition

by Paul Edward Costa (Author)

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Telling our stories. No one will benefit more from telling our stories than ourselves. Life is a journey and telling our story helps make sense of it.

No one will benefit more from telling our stories than our self. Life is a journey and telling our stories helps make sense of it. Telling our stories.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The telling of your stories is a revolutionary act. Sam keen

What motivates us? What keeps us going? We all have to find something within ourselves to keep going when all we want to do is quit. Those of us that are close enough to rally around my niece who lost her husband will be there for a day, for phone calls, but she will have to pick up the pieces herself.

My recommendation and I wonder if it is too soon to suggest, is she writes. In one of my writing books called The Lie That Tells a Truth by John Dufresne. Only fiction can tell the real truth because we don’t have to hold back about how what we did affect someone, or how what they did affect us. A character can take revenge we wish we could have, or take the chance we were too afraid to take.

Yesterday I learned that published writers are using Google Docs to write their novels. They are using Google Docs for a few reasons. Number one it is free and because it is in the cloud you never lose your work. The document can be accessed from any device and we don’t have to worry about what copy we are working on.

If we have people we are sharing our work with it can be shared so everyone is reading and making notes and suggestions in the same document so editing is easier. In Google Docs we can have different types of documents.  Spreadsheets are effective for plotting.

I’m going to try Google Docs and see what I think. We gather tools along the way that make things easier. The author that recommended Google Docs has been publishing since 2010.  She’s an Indie author and has made over a million dollars. Her name is Sara Cannon.

When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending. Brene Brown

Telling our stories is therapeutic. Some of us have to make up stories because our lives have not been filled with angst and turmoil. Other people need to write to make sense of the lives they’ve lived. We can learn a lot from reading whether we read fiction or non-fiction. The characters may not be real in fiction but the truths they tell about the human condition are. We sometimes think we know characters better than people we interact with every day.

Sometimes a character will help us understand what someone we know is going through. This is the power of writing and telling our stories. We may tell our story in a speech, novel, song, painting, dance, or another form of self-expression. What is important is that we express ourselves in some way. Self-expression leads to healing, self-discovery, self-awareness, and self-acceptance.

Everyone has a story. Just because we write something does not mean we need to put it out there for public consumption. But, then again why not? We have no idea how our story may resonate with someone. Who we may touch, how they will be moved, encouraged, entertained, or made to understand something in a new way.

If we have ever felt the urge to write it has never been easier to get the words onto paper or on a computer. The words still have to come from us, that hasn’t changed at all. We still have to sit down and make it happen. We have to find the motivation to keep going when we’d rather quit because we know it isn’t very good anyway.

There has never been so much advice on how to write. Here I am, giving some myself. If you have something to say, can you find a way to say it? The person who will get the most out of telling your story is you. Writing is a journey, and on any journey, we learn things we didn’t know, see things in a new light, and make sense of things we couldn’t figure out. We may make friends with parts of ourselves we’ve disliked, or wished were different. When we build our own world or part of it, we can make it anything we want. What kind of world would you build? Who is the hero in the story you want to tell?

When we cannot find a way of telling our story, our story tells us-we dream these stories. We develop symptoms, or we find ourselves acting in ways we don’t understand. Stephen Grosz

Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution, more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to. Lisa Cron

After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. Philip Pullman

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction by [Dufresne, John]

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The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition

by John Dufresne (Author)

4.3 out of 5 stars    33 ratings

 See all 7 formats and editions

Feel the fear, make a decision. Are we just one decision away from a totally different life? Sometimes all we have to do is ask.

Are we just one decision away from a totally different life? Sometimes all we have to do is ask. Feel the fear, make a decision.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Dale Carnegie

Yesterday I had the privilege of giving the test speech at a Toastmasters contest. This is the speech that the contestants in the Evaluation Contest evaluate. I asked my husband if he would like to come. My part would be in the first half of the contest I assured him, and then we could leave.

Just before the contest was to start I realized the order was not how I thought. The Evaluation Contest was set to take place in the second half of the contest. One of the members of the club who knew my plans to leave after my part of the contest said to the gentleman helping organize the contest he should speak to the organizer. “Not me,” he said with a laugh.

“I will,” I said. I stated my case and they graciously changed the order of the meeting. One of the reasons I hadn’t enquired what order I would be speaking is because there is an order of importance in speaking or performing instances. The most important event, speaker, comes last. The most important segment of the contest is the International Speakers Contest. The winner of this contest as they go up the levels competes at the Toastmasters International Speech Contest with contestants from 142 countries.

Had I been there by myself would I have spoken up? I might still have been upset, but because I promised my husband he’d only be there for about an hour, I felt I had to speak up.

How often in life do we accept things we don’t want to accept and we could have changed them by speaking up? Sometimes no amount of speaking up will give us what we want. Even if they couldn’t have changed the order, because I literally didn’t ask until the Chair was almost ready to open the meeting. I would still feel better because I stood up.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou

The meeting was beautifully handled. The Chair was gracious, enthusiastic and warm. The feedback from four evaluators can be used to improve my speech. This was my first opportunity to be a test speaker.

Because I have a position as Area Director I am not eligible to enter contests. This is a way to improve my speaking because it is different when you speak before a club that doesn’t know anything about you but your name and title of speech before they hear you speak.

If I get the opportunity to be a test speaker again in this contest season I’ll take it. We improve by doing and incorporating the evaluations will help me grow and develop as a speaker.

As I said in the speech I gave yesterday. Feel the Fear, Make a Decision we never know where a decision, or saying yes to an opportunity will take us. We are just one decision away from a totally different life.

Are there opportunities presenting themselves we should take? What would be the change in our lives if we said yes when an opportunity presented itself?

Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination. Dwight D. Eisenhower

It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. John F. Kennedy

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway (r): Dynamic Techniques for Turning Fear, Indecision, and Anger into Power, Action, and Love Paperback – Dec 26 2006

by Susan Jeffers (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 92 ratings

 See all 32 formats and editions

If they can do it, so can we. Inspired by people we meet on the journey.

Inspired by people we meet on the journey. If they can do it, so can we.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly we are not the same afterwards. Life of Pi

Yesterday I went to The Writers Group after being away for a few months, our fearless leader is ill but the meeting was handled well. I had the good fortune of sitting beside a published author who attended the meeting for the first time. We had some time to talk so I asked about his publishing process. He’s published on Kobo and if anyone wants to check out Paul Stegweit’s books you can find a link to purchase them through his website

One of the things that struck me when I went to Paul Stegweit’s website is his covers. His granddaughter produces his latest covers and even though we know we can’t judge a book by its cover we are drawn first to the cover.

It is great meeting people who are ahead of us on the journey. The editing stage is taking me forever, partly because I don’t want to pay someone until I think I’ve made it as good as I can.

Paul Stegweit uses Grammarly for editing and so do I, although I’m still using the free version. Yesterday, I found a new editing tool I’m trying out. I have a free fourteen-day trial of ProWritingAidPremium. It looks amazing. I was able to print out a report showing sentence length, something called sticky sentences (sticky sentences contain too many common words, they slow the reader down). One of the comments I’ve gotten from readers is they found it slow getting into my novel. I have 961 sticky sentences the goal is zero. I need to pick up the pace of my novel by looking at verb tenses. There are many other reports generated and I printed it out so I could compare where I am after editing compared to where I started. On my spelling, I got 97 out of 100.

I find it’s hard to edit when I look at the pages I’ve written. If a word is misspelled that is easy to correct but little inconsistencies in our writing are one of the hardest things to catch. This program helps with this. They even have a report you can run on your manuscript for that.

At the end of this edit, a human editor is still advised. After all, it is not computers that will read our work, but when we give an editor something better to work with they can help elevate our novel to a higher level instead of finding the mistakes we should have found ourselves.

How far we travel in life matters far less than those we meet along the way. Robert Louis Stevenson

The journey of becoming a writer is a long one; at least it is for me. Writing fits in the periphery of my life, perhaps that is why I enjoy it so much. Writing doesn’t have to pay the bills. No one tells me what to write about, or what not to write about, or how often I need to write.

I hope my writing is an interest that carries me into my later years with passion and purpose. It is in speaking to writers whose journey is for the love of doing not just money that makes me believe it is possible.

It is the journey, not the destination that is important. It isn’t just about publishing a novel, but it is also about that. We can spend time fixing, and tweaking, because we don’t want to put our work into the world. It is time to put in the work to make it as good as I can and then release it. Then write something else. Paul Stegweit has ten books on his website, he started writing after he retired. That is a big accomplishment.

One of the questions we need to ask ourselves is what do we want to do when we retire? What will a great retirement look like? Is there something we can do in retirement we never had time for that brings passion and purpose into our lives?

And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. Randy Komisar

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Notebook and Pen

The Writing of Paul Stegweit




What would it be like to have a baby born on Mars?

NASA has the capabilities now to transport humans to Mars. They just don’t have the

budget — at this moment.

Instead, this knowledgeable author will take you along on his six month journey to Mars,

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Experience the magical birth of a baby boy delivered on Mars and the life saving emergency flight from Earth to save his life.

Follow Oliver Kensington, star reporter for the Miami Sentinel, as he reports on the life

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This young man from Mars, gifted with an extremely high IQ, lectures his beliefs on the

origin of the Universe, the creation of life and the final destiny of man.

His toughest sell is his one – man war against the beliefs of mankind and what he believes can be a new start for the betterment of the human race. This is a tall order, due to dark and mysterious forces shadowing this young man placing his life in mortal danger.

One day, in the very near future, parts of this story will no longer be

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When we are asleep, we all dream. Some of us have a gift to remember them, while most of us do not recall our dreams at all.

Can a dream actually change your life?

Can you become someone else?

Can you honestly fall passionately in love with someone in your dream?

Can you be capable of murder?

Can you visit the past — or even the future — or both?

When you’re in a deep sleep, dreams can be enjoyable, rewarding and refreshing.

This author will take you on a remarkable journey through the dreams of one, Peter Blackwell. His story will surprise and astonish you. Could there be any truth in his dreams? Is there the possibly of another world, accessible through dreams? Could your mind create or enter an unknown dimension? And, if it actually exists, is it attainable to us all?

Follow the strange occurrences of Peter Blackwell, and hope for your sake you never remember your last dream.

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Chief Petty Officer, Sterling Kincaid has returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, having spent too many years as a Marine. His psychological health was being effected due to PTSD, and he genuinely longed for a peaceful and quiet retirement.

To emphasize his resolve, he reluctantly left his trusty sniper rifle behind in Afghanistan in order to distance himself from the past.

A heart warming reunion to a life he missed had now allowed him to enjoy his life and family to the fullest, in the beautiful foothills of Montana.

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Murder, fear and revenge takes the reader at neck-breaking speed to a conclusion of retribution and justice.

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The Kennedy assassination — What if you could venture back in time to witness this crime, first hand?

The mysterious loss of Flight 370 on its course from Kuala Lumper to Beijing — What if you could be on Flight 370 to witness its demise?

The Americans have developed such a process. It allows traveling back in time to witness history in progress.

  • To see history as it really happened.
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  • To discover covert information before it can be implemented.

It is so dangerous that America must keep it classified at all costs. With this exceptional weapon the United States is capable of investigating anyone’s past, at any time, without the subject being aware — or to realize they have been compromised.

The United States has currently been utilizing it for counter-intelligence on the Russian Federation. President Putin of Russia, not aware of this secret, is determined to discover how sensitive information from the Dumas is being conveyed to the Americans. A master spy is dispatched to Washington to locate the source of this information leak.

What follows is an intriguing tale of covert espionage, blackmail and murder, placing the United States in a deadly grip for its very survival as the leading world power.

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A diabolical serial killer is stalking the City of Seattle, seeking out chosen business men and murdering them in a horrendous and bloody fashion. The police are no further ahead in their investigation.

Why are these men being selected? What is the common denominator that connects them?

Lead Homicide Detective Theodora Mancini, a committed nineteen year veteran of the force, with an exemplary record of closing many difficult homicides has her hands full with this case. In all her years on the force she has never encountered such a ghastly and grisly crime scene.

Appropriately named The Skull & Crossbones Killer Case has few substantial clues, and the body count is steadily climbing. The only fundamental clue from the crime scene indicates a revenge killing and evidence of more to come.

Mancini and her partner, Trevor Greene, work tirelessly in their investigation including profiling the killer. Eventually they know who the killer is. As they eagerly move in, suddenly, as quickly as it began, the killing stops. The police, anxious to close this case move in for the arrest.

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JeffersonBRIDGE_revised FINAL Reduced Pi

Ethan Manderack lives a quiet, uneventful life, driving a taxi for a living.

During the worst hurricane in Virginia’s history, he picks up an out of town fare that literally changes his life forever. Unfortunately, due to the storm, he and his passengers become stranded at an Inn for two nights.

Ethan, while socializing with the other stranded guests, and his observations of them, is not remotely prepared for the mystery that is about to take place.

In the middle of the second night, his female passenger is mysteriously and brutally attacked in her bed.

At the time, a controversy prevails, who or what attacked her? There in lies the mystery.

It will be up to Sheriff Nazarene Harper and his team to sort out what took place on that stormy night in Virginia.

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This is an intriguing love story.

The hero of our story, Jesse Catcher, is stationed in the US Air National Guard as a fighter pilot. It is in the middle of the Vietnam War. He is happily married, with a child on the way.

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Back home, it is reported to his wife that he hasn’t survived the crash. His wife Rebecca remarries after five years of waiting for a husband that is not returning.

Jesse manages to escape and returns to the United States, only to find his wife has remarried.

Rebecca now has two legal husbands and unfortunately, is in love with them both.

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What would you do if you were Rebecca?

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In a posh neighborhood of Chicago, 11-year-old Michael is kidnapped.  A colossal ransom of $5,000,000 has been requested for the safe return of the boy. The FBI has been unsuccessful in finding the boy or in locating clues that might assist them.

The father, a multi-billionaire, is frantic at the slow pace of the investigation. He hears of a private investigator, known for his high rate of success.

Otis Cage in not your ordinary investigator, his reputation precedes him. His methods often border on the illegal and criminal intent, but it does bring results. Although he has trained Marines in Okinawa, in jungle warfare, the streets of Chicago prove to be just as challenging.

As he begins to bridge his case, the kidnappers hire professional assassins to stop his progress. Fortunately, they weren’t aware of his ability to survive their attempts.

With excellent work, Otis Cage is successful in solving this complicated case. But, in the end, not everyone is thankful. As in the game of life and death, some win and some lose.

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Otis Cage is a highly respected private investigator. He is also noted as a one man war

machine. A no nonsense private eye that often uses illegal justice, if necessary, to solve a difficult situation.

This no doubt stems from his years of training in Okinawa, Japan. He was

stationed at the US Marine Jungle Warfare training facility where Marines still train

to this day.

Cage has been hired by a mobster’s wife to rescue her daughter from a dangerous religious Cult. Most importantly, her daughter has no intentions of leaving the church. The church does not want to loose any members and has been known to kill for that belief.

Otis Cage has never been in this type of circumstance before. He will have to devise a plan that can penetrate the church, not be discovered and rescue the daughter without being caught. The second part of his contract calls for the demolition of the cult including its charismatic Messiah.

Similar to a house of cards, Otis Cage must find the right card that will bring down the “Church of the Second Messiah.”

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Otis Cage is a highly respected Private Investigator. He is however, a no nonsense private eye that on occasion will use illegal justice if necessary. This attitude no doubt stems from his years spent in today’s Okinawa’s US Marine Jungle Warfare training facility.

Otis Cage and his former Marine buddy Nick are planning a bear hunting trip in Northern Canada. Nick is to arrive at the commercial hunting lodge two days before Otis. Upon Otis’s arrival he is devastated to hear his friend has been mauled and killed by a Ghost Grizzly Bear, called The Mistaya.

An autopsy causes Otis Cage and a Mountie to open an investigation. Something is happening to the local population. It appears they feel threatened by the elusive Mistaya, which has already killed six victims.

Otis Cage and the Mountie believe there is more to it than that.

Someone is attempting to kill Otis and the Mountie.

The question now, is who and why is someone protecting the Mistaya?

Excellent investigating, by Cage and following the money brings a shocking conclusion to murder.

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