Tag Archives: writing

Don’t Write Alone—Join a Support Group

In Sonoma County and the North Bay I recommend Redwood Writers

I’ve come out of blog hibernation to extol the benefits of joining a writer’s support group. Writing is a solitary occupation. The world of publishing is a formidable citadel—few scale its walls without assistance. Since joining Redwood Writers Club, I have found that assistance and so much more. With 300+ members, it is the largest branch of the California Writers Club, founded by Jack London and friends in 1909. Early honorary members included Jack London, George Sterling, John Muir, Joaquin Miller, and the first California poet laureate, Ina Coolbrith.

Whether you are a published author or have always wanted to write,                               there’s a place for you at Redwood Writers.

“Writers helping writers” is the club motto.

Our members are poets, journalists, essayists, technical writers, and creators of genre and literary fiction, as well as editors, booksellers and others involved in related fields. We have joined together based on the common goal of educating ourselves in the craft and art of writing, and to learn the realities of getting our work published.

I’ve been a member of Redwood Writers for about three years. During that time my work has been published in the California Writers Club Literary Review, appeared in four anthologies, and won two honorable mentions in writing contests. Had I not joined the Club, none of that would have happened. More importantly, I have formed friendships with people with whom I share similar interests and passions. I’ve been mentored by fabulous coaches, editors and supportive comrades.

Sometimes people explain, “I’m interested in joining the club at a later date, but I don’t want to do it until I’ve refined my story. It’s personal. I want to do it myself.”

This is what I want to tell everyone who thinks he or she can write the great American novel (or the perfect children’s book) totally alone—“You probably can’t. If you doubt me, look at the acknowledgements at the end of most books. The author had some form of support. Seek it out. That’s my advice. If you can’t find a club or critique group in your area, consider starting one yourself. But if you live in the North Bay, you’re in luck. A wonderfully supportive club is already in place.”

Perhaps the greatest gift in joining Redwood Writers Club has been my critique group. These women have become my friends and my trusted allies. They are always honest, and they are always kind. That’s a powerful combination. I am a better writer because of them.

Here’s another opportunity to hone your writing skills…sign up for Redwood Writers 2018 Conference, Pen to Published

Sign up while early bird pricing is in effect. Not a member? If you join now, you’ll save money on the conference…

The 2017 renewal period to become a member is over, but you are welcome to join at the HALF-YEAR DISCOUNT rate. If you do, you will be able to sign up for early bird conference pricing at member rates. You’ll have a club membership and be registered for Pen to Published at less than the conference cost for non-members.

 Example:  Half year membership – $42.50/Early Bird Conference fee for members – $95.00          • Non-member conference fee – $150   • Join now and save $12.50

Early Bird pricing ends February 16th. At that time, regular pricing becomes $135 for members and $175 for non-members. Register today!

Want to learn more about Redwood Writers? Go to https://redwoodwriters.org

Watch our slide show at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8jl4cKTj0M







When Doing Everything You Want To Do Leaves You Too Tired To Do Anything


Maybe you’ve been there—you had a smorgasbord of opportunities, events and interests from which to choose and, like me, you tried choosing them all. Maybe, like me,  you ended up feeling completely exhausted. Summer vacations can do that. So many possibilities; so little time. In my case, just ten weeks in which to create memorable art and publishable writing, learn new skills, visit theaters and museums, take in all kinds of other events (cultural and otherwise), spend quality time with friends and family, and still keep up with those necessary, day-to-day chores that don’t go away just because I’m on vacation.

As an homage to that dreaded back to school writing exercise, “What I Did On My Vacation,” here is what I did during the past ten weeks. You’d be tired too…

I Made and Promoted Art:

  • Created art pieces for the newest show at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery,  as well as the painting that will be used to advertise the Arts Alliance’s annual fund-raiser in November, Moroccan Nights.
  • Hosted an artist’s reception for my solo art show hanging at The Cutting Edge Salon in Sebastopol—you can view it until the end of September.







I Went To The Theater:

  • Saw Hamilton at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco.  So wonderful it’s indescribable! Let me just say it was, perhaps, the theater high-point of a lifetime. I added “perhaps” because my life isn’t over, but I can’t imagine anything better.
  • Had season tickets to the Summer Rep Theater Festival at Santa Rosa Junior College: West Side Story, Chicago, Raisin In the Sun, Clybourne Park and The Drowsy Chaperone. All the plays were very well done and I enjoyed them all, but the play I remember best is the one I didn’t particularly want to see— The Drowsy Chaperone. Advertised as a parody of musicals from the 1920s, I didn’t expect to like it and I didn’t—I LOVED it! Funny beyond words.
  • Went to Shakespeare at the Cannery for the third year to see In the Mood, the company’s musical version of Much Ado About Nothing. The singing and dancing were not up to the level of the acting, but David Yen, who played Benedick, was so good, I almost didn’t care.
  • Kicked off the theater season with my annual sojourn up Mt. Tamelpais for The Mountain Play. This year was West Side Story so, yes, I saw this play twice at two different venues with two different casts. You haven’t lived if you haven’t taken a trip to the top of the mountain in a big, yellow school bus.
  • Flew to Los Angels to see Sondheim on Sondheim at the Hollywood Bowl with my good friend Lynn. The performance was wonderful but the real show is always the bowl itself—an intimate evening with 17,000 people.

Continue reading

Why I Procrastinate…

This week I am a casebook study in extreme procrastination. Case in point—there is an art reception at my gallery this coming Saturday. We hang the art on Friday, just five days away. I have nothing new. I am working on a painting that I hope will be done in time, yet I have come up with a long list of reasons not to paint. Today, I have soaked in the tub, taken a lovely walk (such a nice day), watched reruns of Fixer Upper on TV (I’ve seen them all before), cleaned my kitchen, viewed my email and even played a few games of solitaire on my phone. What I have not done is paint.

To be honest, I’m in more of a writing mood this week. I just finished a fan fiction story for an upcoming Redwood Writers contest. I’ve done some research on a story about Sonoma County for the next Club anthology, and attended a workshop yesterday morning designed to facilitate writing said story. I’ve written a few pages about an ugly little man who turns women into flowers (I’m working out a few logistics on that one), and started a memoir about the man who broke his thumb over my head. Yet, I admit, I’ve procrastinated a bit on those stories as well.

zebraartwIn addition to all the above, I desperately want to publish my children’s book, Amazing Animals! Fun Facts from A to Z. Everyone who sees it claims to love it, but no one (yet) has been willing to publish it. So, I’m considering self-publishing. All I need to do is finish the art—four paintings done, only twenty-two more to go. Procrastination!

A peek at Amazing Animals!                                                                 Z is for Zebra…do you know why they have stripes? It’s not just for camoflage.

Getting back to the painting I should be working on today— I love the subject matter, but find working on the background a bit tedious. It’s a portrait, and painting people is my thing. That’s what I really enjoy…people and animals. Still, I have resisted doing the work all week. Oh, I’ll probably finish in time, although it will likely involve some serious sleep deprivation, the price I will pay for my procrastination. And, actually, writing this blog could also be labeled procrastination. I have promised myself I would write one blog a week, but finishing the painting should take precedence. After all, I have a deadline.

I’d love to show you where I am on the painting thus far. However, it’s a surprise for someone. Showing it here would likely ruin the surprise. I will publish it if/when it’s done.

All this brings me back to the title of this piece, Why I Procrastinate. Let me admit that I really have no idea what causes me to procrastinate. My mind is spinning with so many great ideas. Or maybe they aren’t so great. Is that what stops me? Fear of failure? Or, maybe it’s fear of success that puts up roadblocks. What would my life be like if I succeeded?

You might ask yourself, “Why would anyone be afraid of success?” Mark McGuinnes addresses this interesting question in his blog, Are You (Subconsciously) Afraid of Success? Check it out.

Perhaps Marianne Williamson penned the most famous quote about fear of success…“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Fear of failure, fear of success—the end result often looks exactly the same. With that in mind, I’m drawing this blog to a close and returning to my painting. I’ll let you know what happens. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Why do you procrastinate?


You’re Invited! Reception hours are 5 to 7:30. Wine, food, art and brief presentations by the participating artists. I’ll be there. Join me at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery.