Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dream Writing Spaces

I’m a writer; I’m a daydreamer. I wonder, fantasize and sensationalize; my imagination runs so wild I exhaust myself. I weave thoughts, ideas, and scenarios into something bigger and bolder than what they could ever be in real life. I embrace the romantic, quirky and humorous sides of life – the tragic and sad although is not welcomed, is part of the deal. They’re all what makes humans go ‘round; what makes a story, a story.

And all this happens all day every day, wherever I am and wherever I go. The goal? To eventually make it all come together into something I hope readers will enjoy. And where does it come together? Where I write.

When I’m invited to a fellow author’s home I’m always intrigued (and perhaps a tad nosy) about where they write. I have visions of my author-friend lounging on a red velvet chaise lounge or at a gold-trimmed desk writing novel after novel without shedding a tear, uttering a blue word, or sputtering a frustrated sigh, all while looking fabulously put together.

Like me.

And yes, I’m sarcastic, too.

And although I have yet to see a red velvet chaise lounge or gold-trimmed desk, I’m always very impressed by those whose writing spaces I have been so fortunate to see (I tend to excuse myself from gatherings in search of the ‘washroom’ so I can stealthily search for said writing space). They usually have an office with a desk; indeed a room to call their own. They often have a door they can shut out the distractions of the world, and peace and quiet is at their disposal.

I know this doesn’t go for all writers – many write in coffee shops or libraries, their homes too busy or small to foster great literary achievements. I know I have done the same – Starbucks down the road has been my go-to place many times.

But I still ignore reality and insist on thinking everyone has a better place than I do. I still envision other writers – both immediate friends and those who I admire from afar – writing in a cozy, decorated, dreamy place. A cute little office, a cabin, a castle in the clouds, or a cozy nook in their basement complete with a candy vending machine where they don’t have to pay a dime for needed-for-writing sugary treats.

I dream of places I would love to write – where I know, JUST KNOW, if I simply HAD that kind of writing environment specific to nurturing my creativity, I would MOST DEFINITELY pen the MOST GREATEST opus of all time.

I’ve even collected inspirational photos of places I would love to write on Pinterest – my board aptly called “Dream Writing Spaces.” I dream of castles, cabins, nooks and crannies so remote in the world I doubt the places even really exist. ‘If only...’ is always in the forefront of my imagination.

But like I said, I fantasize everything into something sensationally bigger than what it really is, reality not something I often wish to see. It’s always much more fun to think something is bigger or better than what it really is. The truth – how and where most writers really DO write – is, well, kinda boring.

I’ve read countless articles of the writers of the bestseller lists who started out writing at their kitchen tables, basements, in their cars, in the men’s washroom and on subways. Yes, yes – I’m ignoring reality. I just want to believe what I want to believe – that THOSE writers are writing in their gold-gilded castles.

But then...

Fellow writer Norah Bennett writes contemporary women’s fiction for Evernight Publishing, and was kind enough to interview me for her blog. Her question ‘where do you write?’ got me thinking. Where I write is writerly cool. There is nothing inspirational, dreamy or romantic about where I write. Other writers won’t be jealous and it’s definitely not Pinterest- worthy by any means.

Because when not writing ‘on the go,’ jotting notes in stolen moments on the bus, at my day job, or being a passenger in the car, I my kitchen table.

I have no privacy – I don’t have a door. I write when I can in the early hours before everyone gets up. I leave my laptop up and ready-to-go at all times (moved for family meals), and the table is a general catch-all for my busy house of three men. I have done this for years, and the words ‘one day’ hover over me like a little cloud of hope. ‘One day’ I will have my own writing space. ‘One day’ I will have a castle with a turret in the clouds from which to write. ‘One day’ I will have a red velvet chaise lounge.


As I was answering Norah’s question and wrote about what I have and don’t have by way of a writing space, I realized...what I have is perfect for me, in my life, in my NOW. I’m in the hub of the house, aware of what is and is not going on. Sure I have distractions, but without said distractions I wouldn’t have a chance to have a mental break when looking for JUST the right word or sentence for what I’m writing. If I was cut-off from everyone I wouldn’t be inspired – people and most specifically, my family, inspire and fuel my writing. My busy life keeps my writing active, although this busy mom/writer/office worker could sure use a cabin-in-the-woods writing day now and then – peace and quiet to sort out my thoughts would sure help too! I know deep down I’m no different than other writers, and they no different from me. We’re all just trying to get the words down, no matter where we are.

Besides, if I had a red velvet chaise lounge I would likely get a backache that would prevent me from writing at all. Castles require climbing lots of stairs – and again, my back. A cabin is often cold and damp, which would lead to more backaches.

So I realized that my kitchen table in the centre of my home – my home which is who I am, what with the cat crying for food, someone microwaving their dinner, the sound of the shower, the whir of the clothes dryer and the ringing of the phone – is the perfect place to write...for me.

Be sure to visit the site of Norah Bennett and read the full interview here.

Friday, November 18, 2016


My young adult book THAT NIGHT under my author name Lisa McManus is a FINALIST for the Evernight Publishing Reader's Choice Awards in the Best Evernight Teen Book Cateory! Final voting is happening right now - Deadline to vote is November 30th.

Those who vote are entered for a chance to win a gift certificate - I'm hoping those who voted last time (thank you!) will revisit, and anyone who wanted to before but missed out will take a moment and vote.

If you're so inclined, the link is below and be sure to click on 'Click Here to Cast Your Vote' and scroll through to Category #29 - Best Evernight Teen Book - That Night Lisa McManus

Evernight Publishing Blog

I'm so thrilled and so excited by this! Thank you so very very much for your past and present support!
Winners and runners up will be announced in December smile emoticon:)

Find out more about my book at Evernight Teen

Friday, November 4, 2016

Evernight Publishing's Fourth Annual Reader's Choice Awards!

Being bold today and reaching out to my readers...

My publisher, Evernight Publishing, has a call out for nominations for their Fourth Annual Reader's Choice Awards for books in their romance line as well as their teen line, Evernight Teen. My book THAT NIGHT under my teen author name of Lisa McManus is up for four possible categories of:
Category #1. Evernight Book of the Year
Category #2. Favorite Evernight Author
Category #4. Best Evernight Cover
Category #31. Best Evernight Teen Book.

I hope you'll stop by their site and vote as well as discover other author's books! The link is on their blog as below - the link is titled 'click here to enter your nominations' which takes you through just a few quick screens to get to each category. Everyone who enters is entered in for a chance to win a $25 Evernight gift certificate.

Thank you so much for everyone's ongoing support! Nominations close November 13th!

Evernight Publishing Fourth Annual Reader's Choice Awards

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fabulous Day at the Library!

I attended my first book signing at the Bruce Hutchison Branch of the Greater Victoria Library. I signed copies of my young adult novella, THAT NIGHT (Evernight Teen/Evernight Publishing), as well as copies of various Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies in which my slice-of-life stories appear. Many friends and new friends stopped by and chatted and left with either a signed book or a bookmark!

Among all the fabulous folks I met was my table-mate, Thora Kerr Illing author of 'Gold Rush Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Nellie Cashman' a historical biography, as well as, 'Adèle: Wilderness Bride. A story of New France'. I very much enjoyed chatting with Thora who was a journalist in Britain 'back in the day' and later became a travel journalist with a magazine. A retired librarian herself with the Greater Victoria Libraries, Thora and I got to chatting about writing and one thing she said that resonated with me was the importance of writing every day - even if it's not a lot, little 'gulps' of writing every day is important. I liked that - gulps of writing. We had a great day together and the new experience of my first book signing was made all the better with Thora at my side. It was a great day all around, thank you to all who attended!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Signing!

Lots happening these days - top of the list right now is that I'm getting ready for my first book signing! In May of this year I was honored to be able to have my young adult book, THAT NIGHT, included in the Emerging Authors Collection Catalog within the Greater Victoria Public Library! I was part of a fabulous gala event unveiling the books included in the catalog and you can read about it here - I've Been Cataloged at the Library

As part of their support of local authors and their books, the Greater Victoria Public Library (Victoria, BC, Canada) has been hosting book signings for their authors who are part of this special collection. On Saturday October 22 from 10:30 - 12:00 I will be signing copies of my book, THAT NIGHT, as well various copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul where many of my slice-of-life stories appear.

I'm excited and thrilled to be signing books with other authors - so if you're in the Victoria, BC area, hope to see you there!

Bruce Hutchison Branch of Greater Victoria Public Library
4636 Elk Lake Dr, Victoria, BC V8Z 7K2
10:30 - 12:00
Phone: (250) 940-4875

THAT NIGHT - a contemporary young adult novella published by Evernight Teen (Evernight Publishing).

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Banned Books Week - September 25 - October 1, 2016

Banned Books Week is from Sept 25 to October 1, 2016, and is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read - anything and everything in between, especially books deemed unorthodox or unpopular. To learn more about banned books visit and

To honour and celebrate Banned Books week, all ebooks at Evernight Teen are on sale (discount at check out). Hope you'll stop by!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Get Writing With Image and Imagination

Writers are inspired by countless different things – or ‘nothing’ at all. Some can pinpoint exactly what inspired a story, where others smirk and shrug ‘I don’t know where the idea came from – it just appeared.’ Those unknown idea-triggers often started from a little kernel of something deep in their subconscious that had been buried by a zillion other thoughts – too many to dig through to find that originating kernel. But what does it matter? The idea found its way out, was put to paper (ya gotta move quick - ideas can disappear so fast!) and even then the idea can morph into something else entirely through the process of writing, discovery, development and again more writing.

An idea for a writer can be inspired by senses, a trigger for various emotions that can be transcribed on paper. The smell and taste of mom’s home cooking, the sound of a drill at the dentist, the feel of a handful of marbles – the possibilities are endless.

A story can also be inspired by a single word, a sentence, a phrase or cliché, and even by overheard conversations. There are countless words out there and with infinite combinations – make them count! It’s all about the words.

And then there are those writers inspired by a found object - something unexpected discovered at a thrift or antique store. The unique and often-rare treasures tucked in the shadowed corners of stores are priceless compared to the innumerable stories they can start.

Having the object in your hands and in your home to touch, feel, admire or hate everyday (yes, sometimes an object that gives negative feelings is needed to fuel the writing) will get the creative juices flowing.

Then there are my favorites – images. Picture clippings from magazines, old photos or postcards from an antique/thrift store, an old painting or an appealing photo you found online. As the cliché goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ There are no wrong or right words – they are YOUR words laid out in the right combination and order that YOU need to tell YOUR story. And no one has to ever see those words, if that’s what you want. Not every word written needs to be destined for publication. Whether it be journal writing or writing stories for your own enjoyment, any writing is perfectly acceptable to be considered a ‘writer.’ But if you want to be a published writer, unique use and order of those words will get you far.

I have found that using just an image as a prompt for writing can heightens my senses and imagination to describe the object and the emotion/memory/sense/idea it evokes. With an image you are forced to dig deeper into your imagination to get the words flowing – to describe what is being seen, felt (emotional), touched, or heard - as opposed to the object, place or person actually being right in front of you.

Whether writing poetry, fiction (any genre), short or long stories, personal essays or humorous slice-of-life vignettes, all these story-starters can kick-start ideas – ideas you might not have so easily come up with in the first place. Sure ideas are there deep down in your mind and imagination, but why not use a prompt, and specifically an image, to help coax it out?

I recently discovered ‘Image and Imagination – Ideas and Inspiration for Teen Writers,’ a writing-prompt book by Nick Healy and Kristen McCurry (Switch Press, an imprint of Capstone Publishing, 2016). This hearty book of inspiration has 150 images with accompanying inspiration-inducing text. The prompts are meant to stir the mind, prompt a story, dredge-up a memory, or induce an emotion to foster writing of all kinds – fiction, non-fiction, journalling, poetry – the possibilities are endless. The book has space to jot down notes or ideas, or you can save the note-taking for a separate notebook.

Although intended for teen writers, as an ‘adult’ writing for teens I have found the book a perfect inspiration for writing for the young adult market. Flipping through the thought-provoking images and accompanying text, I can tap into the teenage world of dilemma and introspective thinking teens experience during the tumultuous adolescent years. It’s been years since I was a teen (I won’t say how long ago), but these prompts bring forward feelings and experiences I had long buried in my memory, all fuel and fodder for story-building.

So be sure to grab a copy and get writing, and remember: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Visit Capstone Young Readers/Switchpress to find out more about 'Image and Imagination' - Nick Healy and Kirsten McCurry

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lovely to be Reviewed

A very kind reviewer at YA Insider took the time to review and write her thoughts about my young adult book, THAT NIGHT (Evernight Teen/Evernight Publishing). I am always very humbled when someone takes the time to read my book and then to share their opinion about it. Thank you so much the folks at YA Insider! Hope you'll stop by and have a peek at the review, and be sure to check out the countless other young adult books folks are chatting about!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I’ve Been Cataloged – At the Library

The Greater Victoria Public Library has created a specialty collection featuring fiction and non-fiction works by authors and illustrators specifically from South Vancouver Island aptly called…The Emerging Local Authors Collection. This year my young adult book, THAT NIGHT, is part of that collection and I am honoured to be part of the collection.

In May the library hosted a special celebration night for authors of this collection – snacks and bubbly (non-alcoholic) along with speeches from library executive and a great unveiling of the books made all the authors in the collection feel special. It’s quite something to start writing a book, a greater feat to type THE END upon completion, and then too-magical-for-words when it gets published. And to see your book cataloged in a library!? Wow!

For most writers books have always played a part in his or her lives. A library is often where a writer is born – where bibliomaniacs are created! It’s in the quiet reading corners of these book-infested buildings where books and their authors are discovered – worlds are escaped to between the pages of someone’s imagination. As a kid I made a constant beeline from my home in Richmond to the Richmond Public Library – I think I still have my old library card somewhere – so having my book available to readers to take out on loan at a library with other authors? Awesome!

At the special collection-unveiling gala evening, authors had an opportunity to autograph their books as well as a large sign prominently displayed in the library. Next year a new collection of emerging author’s works will be showcased for library patrons to discover. Hats off to the folks at the Greater Victoria Public Library for singling out local authors and showcasing their works!

THAT NIGHT, a gritty young adult contemporary teen fiction novel, is available for loan in paperback and ebook now! Be sure to take it out – but don’t forget to return it! Visit the Greater Victoria Public Library here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Little Free Libraries - Books Taking Neighborhoods by Storm

'Little free libraries,' 'neighborhood libraries,' 'book nooks' - whatever you want to call them, they're everywhere. On sidestreets, busy streets and everywhere in between. Quiet neighborhoods and busy urban areas have taken to the 'take a book/leave a book' idea and little libraries are popping up everywhere - and often when you least expect it. They're taking our neighborhoods by storm, and I'm loving it!

Someone, or often a group of someone's, builds a little box, erects it in a common area, and on the honor system invites folks to leave a book/take a book/borrow a book. The concept is to promote reading while fostering a sense of community. These little biblio-gems have been spotted all over the world in recent years, and even though I had heard of them in-and-around the city where I live, I had yet to actually see one.

And then I finally did.

We must have traveled down this particular scenic side-road a dozen times, yet never saw the little library there before. Maybe we had been so focused on our own busy lives and never noticed it, or maybe it had only JUST been recently erected, I don't know, but I was surprised when my husband said he found one on this particular road. Given my infatuation with books, I was beyond excited.

So the next time we knew we were to travel down this road, I was ready. With camera in hand and a few signed anthologies containing my work along with my young adult novel, THAT NIGHT, (Evernight Teen/Evernight Publishing), off we went - and at last there it was!

Complete with a latch, glass doors, decorative painting and gosh! - a shingled roof for all kinds of stormy weather - the library was open for business! So among the romances, a mystery or two, and a cookbook featuring salads, I tucked in my books with the hope that someone will enjoy them. I didn't take a book - if you only knew how I many I have at home - but the temptation was there! Instead I took a few photos (of course!), secured the latch, flicked away a leaf, and headed back to the car thrilled that I had, too, been part of the little free library trend that is taking our neighborhoods by storm.

Interested in more about these little libraries? Visit here and here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Guest Post and a Giveaway!

I'm a guest on the blog of fellow young adult author, Charity West. She writes teen drama with a humorous twist and also has a fantastic blog where she talks about her books and her writing life. Charity's newest release, THE BOYFRIEND DEAL, was published by Evernight Teen in February of this year. Congratulations to her!

Be sure to stop by her blog where I chat about my own writing and share an excerpt of my young adult book, THAT NIGHT (published by Evernight Teen/Evernight Publishing). And don't forget to leave a comment by JUNE 10, 2016 for a chance to win some books!

Click here: Charity West - Guest Post by Lisa McManus

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

YA Insider - Grand Opening!

YA Insider - an all-about-books site - is having their grand opening this month! If you love young adult fiction, be sure to stop by and check out their site - fabulous books and fantastic giveaways! Be sure to enter!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

In Print!

What a thrill! My young adult book, THAT NIGHT, published by Evernight Teen Publishing is available in ebook and print - and the print copies are now in my hand! So thrilled! To hold my book in my hand is such a thrill and an honor - I'm so grateful to the folks at Evernight Teen for believing in my work. I'm busy working on other books, but for now I will enjoy having this book in my hands.

What's the book about?

On what was to be just another Monday morning at school, Luke’s girlfriend Jessica is nowhere to be found. Names like ‘psycho lover’ follow Luke to his locker, even from his best friend. Luke soon learns Jessica tried to kill herself at a party from the previous Saturday night, and she’s blaming him. With posts on FaceBook feeding the rumors of what happened that night, the school has to investigate.

Torn between worry, guilt, loyalty, priorities, and an urgency to clear his name and protect hers, he has to find her—he loves her no matter what. The teacher in the middle of the investigation is also the same one to provide academic and character references for Luke’s college applications due by the end of the week. Luke knows he’s not to blame, but with no contact from Jessica and everyone blaming him for what happened, he’s at risk of losing everything—Jessica and his dreams of being a mechanic—all because of what happened that night.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Netflix and Reading - Who Knew?

I’m a book-lover; a bibliophile. The more books I can own, the better. I gluttonously hoard them yet I will trade and share them - but only the ones I don’t have room for on my ‘keeper shelf’ (I have countless ‘keeper shelves’ so I rarely share. I know – I’m a big contradiction). It’s always a great day when I can add yet another book to my constantly growing to-be-read-pile.

Discovering a new author and their book(s) is up there with Christmas morning. Whether in a regularly-read genre or in a genre I don’t read very often, a new find is always exciting. Although nothing can replace browsing through a bookstore or library, things like magazines about books, book websites or simply word-of-mouth are among the few ways I have learned about new-to-me reading treasures.

But I have recently learned of another way to discover a new-to-me book, and somewhere I would have never imagined:


Yes, the global provider of countless movie and TV shows readily at your finger-tips as a subscription for only a few dollars a month has helped me discover new adventures in reading (I should write commercials for them).

It started innocently enough: Netflix has ‘categories’ of movies – thrillers, dramas, documentaries, etc – but I’m kind of scattered and didn’t really clue-in to all the categories available when we first subscribed. If a movie looked interesting based off the description, I’d watch it, and ignore the categories they were divided into.
But then one day I watched a movie I hadn’t heard of before and LOVED it. When the credits rolled and the words ‘Based on the book by…’ flashed across the screen, I nearly fell off the couch. WHAT? How come I never knew of this particular book-to-movie?

Well Lisa, you can’t know EVERYTHING.

Then I discovered the movie was in the category ‘Movies based on books…’ and my world changed.
(I never said I was a fast-learner.)

I’ve heard the endless round-about argument ‘the book was better than the movie’ vs. ‘the movie was better than the book.’ I’ve always been one to read the book first and watch the movie later; I’m a patron to the written word. But now I don’t care – I know I will likely end up getting the book after watching the movie, regardless of my thoughts about the movie. I’ve taken to scrolling right to the ‘Movies Based on Books…’ category on Netflix just to give me an excuse to inevitably buy another book. Sometimes the movie was made first and then a novel adaptation is made after, but it doesn’t matter to me; I’ll still watch and I’ll still read.

So now when I discover a loved book-to-movie on Netflix, something I know I would enjoy reading, I’m of the couch and racing to the bookstore before the credits have started rolling (unless, I’m in my pajamas – mind you, that’s never stopped me before).

Confusing times for this book-loving girl....

But I'm full of double-standards and contradictions. Confession: I love all the Star Wars movies, but reading the books is just not my thing. I tried – I did – and my lack of interest in the book is not a reflection of what I think of the writing in any way. But I fell in love with the hunky Hans Solo when I too young to go to a movie theatre by myself and I had watched the movies so many times before I discovered the books that I couldn’t shake the on-screen version of the story enough to immerse myself in the books. And in this case the movie came first and the book second – the novelization of the 1977 George Lucas sci-fi classic was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster. (Read about it more here.)

This whole Netflix/book-to-movie mode I’m on has made me a big contradiction, I guess. My allegiance and loyalty IS to the written word – and in turn to a fellow author. And I suspect my bookish friends will consider me a traitor – and defector in a way. But at the end of the day it’s all entertainment – it’s storytelling – and for a booklover, writer and movie-lover, a good story is all that really matters.

And what will remain equally timeless for both movies and books? A bag of popcorn – if you don’t mind salty/buttery pages.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

YA Insider - The Inside Scoop on YA Books

Are you a fan of young adult fiction? Be sure to check out YA Insider - where you'll get the inside scoop on YA books. Reviews, new releases, and classic favorites - they have it all. Whether you're committed to contemporary or a devout fan of dystopian fiction, YA Insider is the place to learn numerous books in countless genres, and maybe end-up trying something new!

My contemporary young adult book, THAT NIGHT(published by Evernight Teen), is there so be sure to stop by YA Insider to learn about my book and countless others!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Click and Go Photography

I have always enjoyed taking pictures, but never had the right camera to do it. My dad, an aviation photographer, recently gave me a Nikon D3000 - a fancy camera like nothing I have ever had before. I love it! And even though I always knew how being able to take my own high-quality photos would enhance my writing, I didn't really know how much photography would ignite my creativity. I've only had the camera for a month, but have I ever enjoyed playing with it! There's a saying: creativity begets creativity. How true that is! And as with anything, learning and improving is never-ending. I hope to take a photography course, and I look forward to learning the countless ways of tying photography and writing together. My dad and my two sisters both enjoy photography; for fabulous nature and life-stills, stop by and if you're into aviation, be sure to visit

I started a photography site showcasing my photos - I hope you'll stop by!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Happy Birthday Evernight Teen!

EVERNIGHT TEEN, who published my book THAT NIGHT, is celebrating their anniversary this month with a 3rd Birthday Blog Hop. Even though it's their birthday, they're giving out the presents with a Grand Prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate!

EVERNIGHT TEEN books feature fresh teen fiction that is raw, gritty and real. Whether paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi or suspense, their books are about real issues and pack a strong emotional punch. You’ll find cutting edge fiction that today’s young adults can relate to and will keep you turning the pages long into the night.

Be sure visit each stop on the BLOG HOP for more chances to WIN the GRAND PRIZE of a $100 Amazon Gift Card. You’ll receive bonus entries for commenting on each blog!

Visit Evernight Teens' blog to enter and good luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Write Like No One’s Gonna Read It

By the end of 2015, I was kind of…exhausted. It was a long year, but technically it was no different than any other year; it wasn’t like extra days were added, or anything. But health and general life challenges seemed to drag out the year for me, and despite it all I managed to keep writing – slice-of-life essays, novellas, blog posts, and a novel I started in 2014 – which was all exhausting in itself! But I had a goal to finish various projects by the end of the year, namely my novel, and the harder I tried – the more I focused I became on what to/what not to write coupled with the dream of publication pushing me to keep writing – the more stifled I became. My writing became less authentic – less ‘me.’ I was slowly starting to feel that whatever I wrote was becoming stilted, censored, stalled and basically STUCK.

Frustration led to reflection and I realized I had to take a step back and change how I write and WHY.

So I made a writing-related resolution/goal for the New Year – or at least until I could get myself kick-started and back on track. I decided not to worry about my works-in-progress for the time being. Instead, I decided to “write like no one’s gonna read it.”

I have been a writer most of my life, and most actively in the last fourteen years. And like many other writers aspire to, I have primarily focused on writing for publication, hoping my work is liked by an editor or publisher enough for them to publish my carefully sculpted words. I’ve always written to be read by someone else, hoping my words would entertain, inspire or help. I have been fortunate to have had the professional and personal satisfaction of seeing my work in newspapers and magazines, internationally selling anthologies, and now single title fiction novels. And most importantly I have had readers write to say how much they enjoyed something I wrote, how it made them feel, and how my words – my thoughts and experiences – inspired, helped, or encouraged them.

I know a writer’s job is never done – never fully learned – so watching the markets and trends in the publishing world and learning about what readers want and focusing on writing for the readers I want to reach out to, is needed for the publishing world.

But constantly doing so, although I am not complaining about the readership I HAVE had, has stifled and stalled my writing a bit, I think. That’s not to say my readers don’t come first, but if I don’t sometimes write simply for me, seemingly and selfishly putting ‘me’ first in my writing, how can my writing be authentic, pure, real and raw for my readers I want to reach out to? I realized that I had been trying too hard. I knew I had lost the freedom to just let go and…write.

I knew I had to take a step back and do something to kick start my writing, and get out the writing slump I was slowly finding myself in. So I came up with a plan. I realized that to write, I had TO write.

I had to write like no one was gonna read it. Yup – that was my resolution: to write like no one was gonna read it.

Using Judy Reeves’ book “A Writer’s Book of Days,” I came up with a new writing routine for myself. I am a big believer in routine, but with life’s challenges throwing my routine RIGHT OFF, I had to get back on the horse and get back to writing FOR me if I was gonna kick start my writing for the new year. Sure there are many writing prompt books out there, but this one, for me at least, was perfect. Quick, short prompts, listed by day starting at January 1, along with an accompanying inspiration, advice, encouragement and suggestions for the prompts for that week, were just what I needed.

So on a WORD document I typed out the dates and the prompts for two weeks at a time (to add more as I followed along in the book), and every morning for 15minutes ONLY, and with the mindset I wasn’t writing for anyone else but me and with no editing, no backtracking, no over-thinking, and no plans for sending any of the work out there, I got busy. But I took it easy on myself; I gave myself a break. If I only wrote two sentences – fine. If I only wrote a paragraph – fine. If it was more than a paragraph – fine. It didn’t matter what or how much I wrote, but just the fact that I wrote SOMETHING for no other purpose than writing it, was the intention.

If I continue this little project through to the rest of the year – fine. If this is only intended to be what I need to fuel my other writing and I eventually stop doing it – fine. NOT that this was ‘bad’ writing, or non-worthy writing, but with my writing time always at a premium, I have to make the most of the time I DO have when I write. I truly do hope I can do both, but I won’t make promises to myself I will worry about not keeping. I don’t want to end up back to where I was – putting more pressure on myself.

So here we are, 20 days into the New Year, and I’m still at it. I don’t know what will happen in the future, of where this project of mine will go. So far, though, I think it was just what I needed. I’m feeling creative, re-charged, re-energized, and re-inspired. And heck, I wrote this didn’t I? I won’t go back to my other fiction writing projects just yet, even though I'm itching to. I know I can’t leave them for too long, but at the same time this is the time I need to nurture my writing self. My daily prompt plan might just be the kick start I need if I'm going to write better, freer, and more authentically. I just have to learn to write like no one is gonna read it.

For more information, please visit Judy Reeves at her website here.

(Author's note - I haven't 'given up' writing - oh no, not never - just getting a recharge!)