Touching Base with Fellow Writers

This month we checked in with each other, sharing our writing goals for the new year and offering support and ideas.

December 12, 2019

Don't miss the next episode

Audio Transcript


Writer’s Circle – Touching Base with Fellow Writers

Presented by Debbie Worman and Diane O’Neill

December 12, 2019

Debbie W: Hello everyone and welcome to Writer's Circle. If anybody is new to the group today, it'd be nice if you could introduce yourself, if you'd like to do that at some point. We welcome that and everybody is encouraged to share comments. If you have a comment about the topic or a comment that you'd like to share with us. I'm Debbie Worman. I'm your host for today and I'm a learning expert at Hadley. We won't talk about how many years. I've been around a while, but yeah. I do three discussion groups and helping out with workshops and podcasts and anything new to Hadley that will be changing over in 2020. Diane, you want to introduce yourself?

Diane O: Hi. I've been a learning designer with Hadley quite a number of years too. I think 17, 18 years. So I've been around here a while and I'm a writer and I love joining this group, so welcome everybody.

Debbie W: Yeah, Diane and I both enjoy writing. Diane has been published a couple of times. I still just dabble in it a little bit. Mostly journal writing, but we both have a love for writing, and also for grammar. So that's why we both decided to do this discussion group and we're happy to have had it grow over the last few months. Today's topic is touching base, so what does that mean? We thought it would be fun to just this month to talk about writer's goals. What are your goals for your writing? Everybody is on here for different reasons. A lot of people are seeking support, learning how-to's, wanting resources. So we thought today would be fun to talk about writers’ goal. What is your great writing dream and your biggest goal for yourself as a writer? So those are the kinds of things we'll just chat about today. Kind of an informal discussion. Diane, do you see that how you want the group to go today? How's that sound?

Diane O: That sounds perfect.

Debbie W: So Diane you want to start us off a little bit. What are some of your writing goals and how are you addressing them this year?

Diane O: Diane speaking. That's a good question. I thought I would share this really cool quote about goals if you don't mind. It's called “goals are dreams with deadlines.” And I kind of liked that because sometimes I like to give myself deadlines because that's a good way to have the dreams come true. And I write in different genres, I write for kids, I write children's stories. I also write poems more for adults and I also write essays and different things and some of my goals... I haven't really... Every year I do writers resolutions. I'm the kind of person, I like to do new year's resolutions, but I make them fun resolutions. I don't do like, I'm going to lose 50 pounds and I'm going to save or whatever. No, I make them fun things, things I really want to do and I kind of do the same with writing resolutions and I'm still ironing those out but I like to participate in challenges and I wanted to share a little information with you guys about some of the challenges I'm joining in case you might be interested.

There's one called story storm. It started out being a challenge for picture book writers, but now it's for any kind of writer and it's to try to come up with 30 ideas in the month of January, which I think is a cool way to start the new year. And if you've access to online, the website, we'll put in the show notes, but it's at Or you can even just search story storm on the web and look for writing challenges, whatever. But you basically, it's all honors system. You sign up for and you pledge to write an idea and you'll have an idea a day. And then at the end if you do it, you're eligible for some little prizes. So it's kind of fun. And if you don't have access to the internet, you can still do a story a day. One of my writing group buddies, she has a book where she keeps an idea a day and I've started doing that and for the month of January because it's special, it's having a story storm month. I actually do an idea day, but I flush out these ideas. I actually made a little form for myself where... and I'm thinking of picture books, although you don't have to. And I think of, well what's my basic idea? Who's the character? What are the character traits? What's the setting? What's the problem? What's the character have to deal with and what's the heart of the story? So I have fun and that helps me actually see what the story is going to be if I ever get around to writing it. So I write the idea, the character and traits, setting, problem and heart. Just in case you'd like to steal that idea for me, feel free. And one other project, hope I'm not chatting too long. But one other challenge I gave herself, because I know you all are writers, so I know you're all readers like me, but there's a Shakespeare 2020 prejudice where people are pledging to read all of Shakespeare's plays in the year 2020. So if you go online, if you just search Shakespeare 2020 project, you'll find it. And if you have trouble finding, you know email me. I'm at but it just seemed kind of fun. And then the guy who was organizing it, his name is Ian Doescher, I can't pronounce his name. It's spelled D-O-E-S-C-H-E-R. But he says it's all for fun. If you want to join the thing and just read one play, that you really love, Hey that's fine. But if you want to try for all of them, that's fine. And there was a Facebook discussion group, if you're on have online access and if you don't you can still try to read them. And also one thing Debbie and I were thinking too is like, if at these meetings you ever want to report to the group about your goals and if you've met your goals, feel free because we can be accountable to each other. We can support each other and let each other know. So if you've had this great success meeting a goal, let us know. We can all applaud you. Or likewise, if you're like me and occasionally you get blocks, feel free to talk about your blocks. Maybe we can help you work through it or at least we can be a friendly ear. And I see Anne has her hand up.

Debbie W: Okay Anne, I'll go ahead and unmute you. Go ahead Anne.

Anne: Okay. You said announce goals. Okay. So last weekend I had a couple of goals. First off, I just got a newsletter out on Sunday, but then I'm backtracking, I updated my podcast logo, which a friend of mine helped me set that up. She created it on Canva and I just uploaded it and my podcast description and then I figured out a way that I can make videos on my YouTube channel. This may sound like a way to do a little cheating thing, but Hey, it works. I record my podcast episode on zoom and then I upload the audio and the video talks on my YouTube.

Diane O: That sounds pretty cool.

Debbie W: Yep. And Anne, you're one of our busy beaver writers. I think you're always...

Anne: Well, I have other friends of mine that hold me accountable. I just joined my friend Jen Lowery's Patreon page and that was one of our things are we can wrap up our weekend goals. Now, one of my things is for 2020 is to start my own Patreon page. I do a lot of crochet and I can answer writing questions and things like that, so I have... I can gift ideas for that too.

Debbie W: Could you talk a little bit more, what is a Patreon page? Could you tell the group...

Anne: Patreon, You can become a patron. It's monthly support for writers and creative people and some people have support. A lot of people start there tiers off at a dollar and some will do $5, some will do $10, $20, $50 and it just goes up from there depending on what kind of content and what access to different things that you want to provide people and they pay this amount of money every month.

Debbie W: I have a question. We had a question come in. Somebody was looking to have their writing, somebody to edit it. Is this a way for somebody perhaps to find an editor or to have somebody help them with editing? Could they do that for through one of these Patreon pages?

Anne: I don't know. I mean, I don't know. You'd have to do a search and from what I could tell, because I was worried about using Patreon because I was worried about the accessibility. Well, from what I can tell it's pretty accessible so, but I'm not sure. You'd just have to look for editors or if you listen to podcasts and see if somebody offers editing services. I know that there are a couple of Facebook groups that I'm in and there's one in particular, but it's definitely for my John Ritz Christian writers support group and there are several editors in that group and I'm looking to try to work with one, but I haven't heard back from her yet. But there are several out there, but you just have to... My thing is be very careful because there's one that I found that would only charge $60 for 75,000 word manuscript, but I had a friend of mine and looked at her name and looked into where she edits and she edits on this site called Fiverr and they start you at a low rate and I've asked other editors about that in the group and they say, no, that's actually a really low rate because there are some editors who are new that won't charge quite as much.

Debbie W: Okay. Well, Anne with everything that you have going on newsletter, YouTube, and I think... Do you do a blog as well?

Anne: I do a blog and a podcast.

Debbie W: Okay. How do you set goals for your year? How do you organize all that? Can you give us...

Anne: I keep journals.

Debbie W: Okay.

Anne: I have one that I do for writing, like dump scenes and other stuff. I've got a couple of those now. I have the marketing plan journal for doing book signings once my books get published and writing down publishing goals for my books and goals for the podcast and just admin type goals. And then I have one that's specifically for podcasting as to where I want to take it and what I want to do with it.

Debbie W: Okay, great. And you mentioned two things that I was going to bring up as something to keep in mind when people are setting goals. And Diane mentioned this as well, is accountability. It's important to find mentors who can... And it's nice if they're fellow writers, if you find somebody that can hold you accountable to your goals and check in with you occasionally and challenge you, where are you at with that? You told me you wanted to update your logo. Have you done that yet?

Anne: Yes.

Debbie W: That's very good to have accountability, to have a mentor. And the other thing is to have a journal, to start a journal. And it could be just a bullet point journal where you're...

Anne: A journal or five, depending on how many journals you... because I got to have a way to keep them organized.

Debbie W: Okay. Okay. Okay. Well we appreciate your sharing that and any little tidbits that you can share about how you keep all your goals. How you keep moving along because you do accomplish a lot. And that takes a lot of goal setting to have a larger goal, right? And then along the way, you have smaller goals to meet that larger goal.

Anne: Right. And not only that, not only do I put it in a journal, but I talk about it on the podcast, so my listeners hold me accountable too. That's another way I keep track too...

Debbie W: Excellent.

Anne: Because the podcast, I can go to the anchor app and the podcast, I can look back at the episodes and look at the titles and go back and say, Oh yeah, that's right. I said I was going to do this, or I need to let people know that I decided not to do this for whatever reason, you know?

Debbie W: Right. So, find a mentor, find a buddy and that can challenge you to be accountable. Thanks, Anne, for sharing all that. I'm going to move to Susan.

Susan Bourrie: How are you doing these things? Are you doing it in braille? Are you doing it on the computer? Are you doing it in a large print, excessively large print with a 2020 or a larger marker? Right now my vision has gotten progressively worse. And so I'm having a problem organizing my materials and I have things in print that were done way way back on doc matrix that I'm having to scan or maybe I might have to have somebody else type them up for me to put them into a format that I can now work with. And so I'd be very interested right now, because I am feeling so disorganized and not able to work so much on my goals because I have to get the writing that I've already done organized.

Debbie W: So Susan, one of your goals, if it might be to, my goal for the next year is to become more organized and so that could be your large goal and then how do you break that up into smaller steps? Is that what you're heading for?

Susan Bourrie: That is absolutely true. And at this particular time I'm marketing a book that was self-published and this year I started doing social media marketing, which has been very interesting and difficult. In fact, I'd like to share with the rest of the group that I'm currently scanning a book that I can only find in print. It's the Digital Mom Handbook and it gives information from two mothers who quit their corporate jobs and started earning a terrific income on using social media, starting their own blog. They work together on this book and they have an appendix that's all about working with social media, which is another one of my goals, trying to work with this. And my book is a children's Christmas chapter book that BARD had already made into an audio form without asking my permission and we've since gone back and edited the book after finding some mistakes and so I'm currently working with a professional narrator who will, if this project works out well, be putting it on Audible. We don't know if we'll be able to do it by Christmas or not, but the book is the Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse. It's on Amazon for $0.99 cents in an eBook, currently $9.95 in the print book. So right now completing and working with all this marketing by Christmas is my major project. Long-term goals, I want to go back to working as a poet. My children's narrative poems that could be made into picture books now, I've got the rights for that. They were a children's narrative poems, and somebody mentioned songwriting in the November meeting, which I missed but I am a song writer, a lyricist, but I have not formally done anything other than join ASCAP. And so working on songwriting, my huge goal, the real big one at the mountain job sort of, is to write song lyrics for Broadway and movie musicals.

Diane O: Cool.

Debbie W: Yeah. Diane, aren't you impressed with the number of goals just two people have shared and the list of goals they have?

Diane O: Very exciting and I'm going to be looking on Amazon for the Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse. I mean, I can't resist it.

Susan Bourrie: Thank you. And let me tell you, the people in this group have given me so much confidence that I now have an author central page on Amazon. And when I went to LinkedIn, my old high school class reunion group, they had so many likes of my page for the Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse that they told me if I wanted to pay more money, it could have its own website. I'm not doing that at this point, but I have my own website, and Goodreads has now contacted me because the book has a Goodreads page and they had me fill out a form to see if I qualified for an author page. So I know have an author page.

Diane O: Oh, that's impressive.

Susan Bourrie: Well, I'm a beginner, and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed by this, which is one of the reasons I like listening to those of you who are doing more than I am and get some ideas on how really to deal with all of this.

Diane O: Do you know SCBWI by any chance? Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Susan Bourrie: I used to be a member of it.

Debbie W: Okay. Just make sure you knew about it.

Susan Bourrie: But let me tell you the Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse had so many misadventures since I self-published it and one of those...Well the second year, because it came out of Christmas and the second year the independent bookstores were protesting against Amazon. So they didn't want to have a self-published book even by a local author in their bookstores. The year after that, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators said, here is an approved list of all publishers if you want to be considered for an award. And Amazon creates space where people were self-publishing books, including many of the members, was not included on that list. At that point I dropped my membership. Which is very expensive with that organization.

Diane O: Gotcha.

Debbie W: Okay. Susan, I want to congratulate you on all your success as you've done a lot of goal setting and I think there's a couple of things I would like to mention. I think you mentioned feeling overwhelmed. And I think sometimes when we set goals, we can overwhelm ourselves. So we really have to sit down and have those serious conversations with ourselves. What are the goals and how am I going to get there to keep us focused? Because otherwise we can just scurry about and have our hand dipped in too many things and then nothing gets accomplished. So, how are some people and not being overwhelmed with their goals? That would be some good feedback to get from people. How do you back off from overwhelming yourself and at some point, Susan, we would like to probably have a conversation with you about how you got self-published. Let's keep that for another discussion. But I think that could be a whole other topic for Writers’ Circle, having people talk about how they were self-published. So appreciate your comments.

Susan Bourrie: I'd also just like to say that part of my being overwhelmed is financially overwhelmed because I put money out for some editing and graphic design services that I could not do, and they were minimal. They were wonderful people. And with the narrator, I will be paying something for that. And so my project, this book, has not shown a profit yet. I don't know if it ever will. And that's why I'm feeling financially overwhelmed by taking this passion for writing into the marketplace.

Debbie W: Okay. Yeah. So, goals of... are people excited to be self-published and published, but the long-range goal is to make some money from this. It's really important to pinpoint some goals and goals can change along the way as we ebb and flow. So I'm a real person for goal setting. It just helps me stay focused. It stirs me to do better and it challenges me. So I'm going to move on to a couple other hands, but Susan, thanks for all your comments and we'll come back to you.

Susan Bourrie: Thank you.

Debbie W: Okay. Also I wanted to mention before I forget, we had one question that came in on the question submission line from Sue, who has been published in an anthology that's available on Amazon, again, Amazon. An anthology about stories of encouragement. It's called Pieces of Hope and she had asked, it's nice to have it available, but she would like to see it available for visually impaired people, large print or braille. And just to piggyback on what Susan was saying, check out eBooks on Amazon. See if book is available, has an eBook that you can download to your computer or to an Apple app or to a Kindle. So, Sue, I don't think you're with us today, but you want to check into that. I was on Amazon and your Pieces of Hope: Stories of Encouragement is available, has an eBook. So that's one way to have it accessible. I have area code 201 ending in 385, state your first name and then talk to us about your goals.

Tatiana: Hi, my name is Tatiana. I was wondering about the bullet journal. I'm wondering if you could explain what that is.

Debbie W: Could you repeat the question? I didn't catch what you ask about. Could you repeat that?

Tatiana: Can you explain a little more about bullet journals? What they are.

Debbie W: Bullet journals. Okay. Yeah, I'd be happy to do that and anybody else that wants to join in. Diane, if you'd like to join in too. We did have a question about journaling on these question submissions. Is there some kind of formula for successful journaling? That comes from Ellen. So we will have a discussion group on journaling sometime in the future. For today's purpose, let's talk about journals and why people might want to do journals. That could be a goal. That's in fact, my goal for the new year is to begin a journal. And so my problem in the past that I know with journaling is I want it to be perfect. I want this perfect prose. I want my feelings on the page. This year I'm going to have my goal to do a bullet journal. So, a bullet is just different points. I'm not writing complete sentences; I'm not writing a flowing feel-y type journal. I'm just maybe writing goals in my journal. So one line, bullet point would be, try to find out topics for discussion groups for Hadley. To spend more time with my great nieces and nephews. And then I would break those down maybe a little bit to how to make that happen. Schedule every other Wednesday to work on topics. So a bullet journal is not, you're writing a journal with flowing paragraphs, you're just doing bullet points. Does that help?

Tatiana: Yes and I agree. I tend to have... Want to write down so much of what's on top of my mind and I [inaudible] disorganized and I really want my story to be super, super perfect. But it always ends up in writer's block.

Debbie W: Yeah. Right. And when that happens, we don't accomplish it. We might do it for... And also be realistic. This is important for setting goals too, be real realistic with your goals. Like for example, I am not setting up my goal to write in a journal every day. I'm not going to be that disciplined. I know that right off the bat. So, I'm setting a realistic goal. Maybe to write in my journal three or four times a week. So those also, it's important when you're setting goals to set realistic goals and to take baby steps.

Diane O: Diane speaking, if I could say a little about journaling. I think there's so many different ways to journal. One thing that I use is, I think a lot of you know about the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and morning pages. I write a few minutes... I set a timer and I write for like five minutes every morning and it's kind of free flowing. I am not worried about the quality. I'm just writing whatever thoughts are in my head. Some of it might be garbage, some might not, but it's just some of it might be ideas and that's just... it's a way of telling myself a writer and it's a way of also feeling free as the writer. So that's something fun and I also do like, Penzu as an online journal. I also try to write hundred-word entries in there every day. But there's different ways to do it. Whatever makes you feel good. And I guess like Debbie said, you don't have to promise you're going to do what every day. If you want to, that's fine. It can be a goal, but you don't want your goals to be so strict that you block yourself. At least I don't. That's for myself.

Debbie W: Right. And keep in mind, a journal... If you're journaling for yourself, you can get caught up into perfection and that could slow you down. So what do you want to say in your journal? What are you really keeping it for? And over time that may develop when you have more of a schedule. Do you want to maybe look online, Google and find some journal prompts? Some prompts that may help you. Like, how am I feeling today or maybe starting a topic journal. Gratitude journals are very popular. Somebody just gave me a journal, the non-gratitude journal so you can write down your crappy moments. So, as Diane said, there's all kinds of different ways to journal, but think about when you're setting your goal, what do you want your journal to be so that will help you. So again, setting goals, be realistic about them and take baby steps and you will find over time that it challenged you to keep focused. I'm going to jump to Kim. Kim, you're unmuted.

Kim: Hello. I'm kind of excited. Like I said, well, before the meeting, I'm going to try, I'm going to enter that poetry contest from NBP and I also read a book this past month called, How to Write Poetry. And I think it was intended for younger readers and writers, but it really helped me get some ideas about exactly like, how do you get started. It gave all kinds of different types of poems, narrative, persona, all those kind of things. And the encouragement that I got, speaking of journals, it said start a notebook with say, your favorite words. And I thought that I had a really... I do have a pretty good vocabulary, but when you start reading... Like I'm doing on this, I'm taking the writer's course from the Iowa college and I'm like, “Oh my gosh, compared to these people I write like a high school kid.” But it talked about make lists. Write down ideas. Start a list of your favorite words. And I kind of get this feeling in my head where I want to write stuff, I need to write stuff, but then I don't do it because it's like, how do I even get started?

Debbie W: Yeah. Good question. That's an excellent question, Kim. And I wonder if people on today can help you with that. How can people give advice to Kim about when that happens? I'm sure it happens to all of us. And what do we do about it?

Kim: Does anyone know... One thing I know that I need is a thesaurus. I can hardly say the word, but yeah, a thesaurus where it gives you different words that mean the same thing. And anyone know if there's a free one online or if you need to pay for one. But in the poetry book they were talking about, yeah, look for different words. Like, if you want to say something like something is costly then you say, Oh, I want a different word. Precious or expensive or... A thesaurus would be a great thing to have, but I'm going to try, thank you for reminding me about writing like for five minutes and just stream of consciousness, that kind of thing. So I think I'll do that too. But I... speaking of BARD, I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to just trying to do poems or short stories. I downloaded a couple of short story books and a ballad. I downloaded, what is it, The Ballad of the Pirate Queens or something like that. It's like a 10-minute read, but I thought, Oh, I have to find out what that is. So I'm starting to read up on it and... Oh, the magazine, The Writer. I really like that. Thank you for telling us about that. It makes sense. You can call yourself a writer because that's what you like. That's what you do. Even if you're not published yet, you like to write, you're a wordsmith.

Debbie W: Yeah, I like that. I liked it. Well Kim, I like how you're challenging yourself and the poetry contest you mentioned is a National Braille Press. I think we had that in our show notes from last month, so people...

Diane O: Yeah, yeah.

Debbie W: Right Diane? We put that in our show. Okay, good. And is anybody have a good thesaurus for Kim? I know Kim...

Diane O: Diane speaking.

Debbie W: Yeah, go ahead.

Diane O: I can't pronounce it either guys. I just went there. It's a free thesaurus online. And what's interesting is they have a word of the day and they have writers prompts on it. I'm not sure how accessible it is, but try it and see. And I can also, I'll check with our accessibility expert to make sure, but you can definitely enter synonyms and get it on there. So

Debbie W: Yeah, sometimes when I'm doing writing for Hadley, I'll just put in Google, what's another word for surprise? What's another word for good, and it'll pop up and I'll just click on those sites. WordHippo is a good one. H-I-P-P-O. Again, I used to give that in the Grammar Gab chat we used to have, and some people found it accessible, other people did not. So, that was WordHippo, that might be another good one.

Diane O: [inaudible] Sorry.

Debbie W: Go ahead.

Diane O: The person who was just speaking, I forgot, sorry, I forgot you're... Kim I think, you're mentioning it, but I think you were the one mentioning about going... Not sure about what genre you wanted to write it. I think it's kind of fun to switch genres and I do that a lot. I think what's good about that is, it kind of helps prevent writer's block because maybe you're feeling blocked poetically. Maybe you're not feeling blocked writing an essay. Maybe you're feeling blacked about writing this... fan. I just think it's kind of cool to be able to switch between genres. Of course, it also makes you more scattered as far as goals, at least for me it does. But it does have its positives.

Debbie W: We have quite a few participants today and again, we'd like to hear your goals for... This is a good time, December, don't we? I tend to make resolutions in December for the new year. So, that would include writing goals. So, are people thinking about that? If you want to raise your hand and share a star nine by telephone, we have quite a few participants on the phone today. I will call on you. Let's see. Anne, your hand is up. Go ahead Anne.

Anne: Okay. I wanted to answer a couple of things. Susan asked about how to keep track of all the goals. Susan, if you have an iPhone, there is a notes app on the iPhone, and you can dictate or write those down there. If you have a computer, my journals, I keep it in Microsoft word and then I put them on an external hard drive. But I mean you can keep them on your phone. There's notes app. There's also a free Pages app, though I'm not sure. I didn't have as much success with that one, but definitely the notes app. I would definitely encourage you use that because that's one of the things. And Kim asked about how to get started. Well, I'm going to give a little tidbit. You just grab your phone, like I said, the notes app on your phone and you just start writing. That stream of consciousness. That's all you have to do because you can't let fear hold you back. And one more thing I wanted to mention before I turn the floor back over to you Debbie. As far as accessibility, the Echo devices, the Echo Dot, the Echo, the Echo Tap, whatever you have. Anything with, and if I say her name, she's going to go off, but we'll take that chance anyway. Anything with Alexa... Anything with that voice assistant. She will read Kindles. I read Kindles that way all the time.

Debbie W: Thanks, Anne. Those are all good resources. Thank you.

Diane O: Diane speaking. I would just have a way that helps me start. The couple of times I've gotten stuck, I learned this in a writing class. Sometimes it's helpful to write it as a letter. Instead of thinking of it as a story, think of your best buddy or some friend or somebody you could tell anything to. My old teacher said, somebody who you get away with murder with. Okay. Think of a person like that or invent a person like that and write it as a letter. Then when you're done, take off the dear so and so and you've got your story.

Debbie W: That's a good idea. I like that. I think that the art of letter writing has gotten a stray though, don't you think? Writing letters.

Diane O: It could be an email then. Pretend you're writing an email. That would work too.

Debbie W: Okay. Okay. So, it's easy to keep making... Hey, we just proved something. It's easy to keep making excuses. So that's what we just... What is it? Nike. Nike, Just do it. Right? Just do it. Okay.

Diane O: But be gentle on yourself if you're having a block day because we all have them.

Debbie W: Right. Right. And again, if you're setting realistic goals... Is it realistic that you're going to write every day? Or do you want that as a challenge. Do you want to keep a word count? Is that a realistic goal? Does a word count motivate you? And again, I'll go back to finding a buddy and we might want to talk about in this group how we can help each other. How we can... Is it just by having this forum available to hear ideas and resources and to hear from other people, do we need to get more down and dirty, more specific? How can we help each other or is it more helping you find writers' groups outside of this where it's more intimate and more, I'm going to read you my poem and I want to hear that critique. So we need to think about how we want to encourage each other with our goals. Susan, I'm going to unmute you.

Susan Bourrie: Okay. Thank you so much. First Anne, thank you for that additional information and I agree with her. What I wanted to tell your other caller is that I have one of those Amazon Alexas next to my computer on my desk and I'm a horrible speller now. So I'm always asking her how to spell words and I love it when I come up with a word she can't spell such as entrepreneur. And I also use it as a thesaurus, and you can Google rhyming dictionaries. I mean, you just can Google all kinds of things. Any question that you have about anything, including how to deal with your technology is out there on Google.

Two things though about writing. You're the writer and so you've got to have an idea or a passion. Something that you want to write about. Some purpose that you have and often that comes before and even determines was genre you're going to write in. And so I don't want her putting the cart before the horse. We want to have something to say and the main thing is, it's got to be fun. My goal for next year is for writing to be fun again because if you're doing 50% of your time or more with either marketing or learning all this new technology and devices. It tends to take the fun out of what you're doing where you could just close your office door, shut the computer and get away from it. So one of my goals is bring the fun back into it and all the fun that this person was having before she started taking a course on writing and reading books on how to write. You're the writer, write what you feel like writing and have fun with it and even create a new form that nobody else ever has.

Debbie W: I like that Susan. Thank you. Remember to keep it fun.

Diane O: I love that.

Debbie W: Do you do that Diane? Keep it fun.

Diane O: I really try to because I'm the kind of person, I enjoy writing. I mean, sometimes there's challenge, but as a whole I like it, it's fun. And I think a good... In fact some years, one of my goals has been to have fun writing. I think that's a good goal.

Debbie W: That is a good goal. And sometimes we can get so caught up in wanting to be published and how am I going to do that? And I need to get on social media and I need to figure... And you're right Susan, that does take the fun away. We need to allow ourselves to relax.

Diane O: And Diane speaking. Publishing, I mean, I think we all want that, but I think it's really good to remember that even people who are super skilled writers get rejected a lot. Getting published is not easy. It's wonderful when it happens. We celebrate. But I don't think we should ever feel bad when we don't get published or when we get rejected because it happens to the best. I went to a presentation by Walter Mosley, who's one of my idols. He's a wonderful writer. He is terrific. And I was shocked when he admitted that there's one piece he still can't get anybody to accept. And I thought, “Oh my God, he's been at bestseller lists. He's been on movies. He's had books made into movies and he still gets rejection.” So I think we got to be kind to ourselves and realize, Hey, it's a good goal, but it's very hard. And just writing is where it's at.

Debbie W: Yeah. Diane, do you want to take this question that we had on the submission line about peer reviewed journals?

Diane O: Yeah. Yeah. Let me see.

Debbie W: Someone has a goal of wanting to write for a peer reviewed journal or how do you get published in a peer reviewed journal? Can you give any advice on that? I have some things, like going to their website, go to the contribute link and find out what is accepted and how and what style to use, that type of thing. Do you have any more specifics on that?

Diane O: I thought I would read the email that Lydia, Lydia Schuck, she's one of our learning designers and she's been published in peer review journals and she said, and a lot of this was interesting. A lot of this applies to getting published in any journal. Not even just a peer review journal but let me read it.

First, you need to look at some back issues to see what they usually publish. Then you should read anything about their scope and aims often linked to the journals home page. Every journal I know of also has some kind of link to information for authors. This page will tell you the different kinds of writing the journal accepts, like research article, usually the longest or research report, practice report or response to past articles. You have to read it carefully; select the kind of article you plan to write and then completely comply with everything including article length and reference style such as APA or MLA style. If you don't comply, the journal may not even review your piece. If your article seems promising, they'll let you know that they're sending it out for peer review, then you wait a while, then you get the results. The reviewers may make comments or may even say whether your article should be refused, accepted without revision or can be resubmitted with revisions. Even if they accept it right out. You will have to make edits and small revisions. Then you wait a while to see it in print. That's what Lydia wrote, but it's interesting. My experience with creative writing journals, it's the same thing. You got to look, what do they want? Do they want a query letter? Do they want a synopsis? Do they want the whole thing? And even when they accept it, they're going to come back to you and say, Oh, but could you change this, or this is too long or the tone of this. And so even after you get accepted, a lot of times you're still revising the thing. And so it's a long process, but it's very similar to that.

Debbie W: Yeah. Yeah, it's a long process. I was doing just some brief reading about journals and how people can submit before this meeting, and I was amazed, they were saying millions of journal articles come in and how they are gone through by peers. The editor picks which ones go to the peer review and then the peer review. And even if you rewrite it, the editor may still say no. So you really have to be prepared. You may have a wonderful article, but it just may not be accepted so that could be something you want to consider. If you want to spend the time writing and revising and that's part of writing to be rejected. Very interesting topic I think for those interested in and writing in that for journals, peer review journals, health care journals. I know there's a lot like for the AER people that work in the field of blindness, there's a journal. So thanks for sharing that. And Lydia, Lydia was on earlier, I'm not seeing her now, so I would have asked her, she could have added more specific questions, but I wanted to get to that. That was one of the questions that was submitted. Again, there's a lot of quiet people out there that aren't raising their hands and it's fine to join us and just listen. We don't make you talk if you don't want to. But how about this? How about if I challenge you for next year that your goal might be to say something in Writers’ Circle. So, maybe that that... It's fun to hear different voices. Again, it's fine just to listen, and it's nice to hear from newbies that are just starting out. This isn't just for people who've been published. So keep that in mind. We don't want people to be wary about joining in. Okay we... Go ahead Diane.

Diane O: I was just going to say that if you're a new writer, feel free to make commentary on your process and you might still have ideas. Even if you're a new writer, that doesn't mean you don't have some ideas for people who have been published because every published writer was the new writer at some point. So, hey, you might have some great ideas, so please feel free to share your ideas with us.

Debbie W: Yeah and we all have something to share. We all have something to share. I have three hands up. We have a little bit more time. Let's get to those hands. Anne ,your hand is up. Go ahead.

Anne: Okay. Real quick, I wanted to let you guys know that she who must not be named does take notes now too.

Debbie W: Oh she does?

Anne: Yes, she does.

Debbie W: Okay.

Anne: That was something they added a couple of weeks ago and plus I have notes list and a to do list and all this kind of stuff with her too. So, she's my writing assistant among other things.

Debbie W: Wow. She's going to take over the world I think at some point.

Anne: I don't know if she'll do that because she's not that smart yet and she can get on your nerves but [crosstalk].

Debbie W: Yeah. Okay. Well thanks for sharing that Anne. So, Anne's saying that she who shall not be named, that person that begins with an A, that if we say her, she's going to start talking to us. You can take notes through her. Thank you, Anne. Let's see. Kim, you have your hand up. Kim, go ahead please.

Helen: This is Helen.

Debbie W: Oh. Oops. Okay, Kim you go ahead and then we'll get to Helen. I'm getting button happy here. Sorry.

Kim: I just realized that I didn't tell you, I guess my goal is not even necessarily for this year, but sometime in my lifetime I want to get something published. The joy of my heart to write about is Faith, I want to do inspirational poems. And so as I think about the freedom poem, I'm also going to be looking for [inaudible]. How do I get you in there? Just to mention without being preachy, that kind of thing. But that is what's on my heart. I want to tell His story. History, get it?

Debbie W: Yeah, I like that. And you speak to writing as a passion. So I don't know who it was who said earlier that. Write your passion. Write what's fun, write what's interesting to you.

Kim: Yeah.

Debbie W: I like to read science fiction, but I don't know if I want to write it. What is my passion? What do I want to write about? So I think it's important to have those talks with ourselves, and have those talks with your writing buddy, your writing mentor.

Kim: And I did find an anthology of Christian poetry and I've found one, Christian Short stories on BARD. So I'm going to read those.

Debbie W: Okay, great. Oh, I'm glad you mentioned anthology. Somebody had suggested in the question submission, if we could do at some point from this group an anthology, and Diane and I have kind of talked about that and the work that that would involve. So we're going to say, not say no, but we're not going to say yes yet. We're going to maybe explore that. Right? Am I speaking for you, Diane correctly?

Diane O: Yes. Yes.

Debbie W: Okay. So, maybe we'll do that later on. I'm open to that, but we'd have to see how that would work to have a collection. And you all know that Thrive newsletter also takes writing submissions, so you can always submit a poem or short story and see if it gets picked up that way. Helen, I'm going to let you say the last word today, so go ahead and make it really, really good.

Helen: Oh no pressure, no pressure, no pressure. For the beginner writers that have never written in any form in any way. My best advice is to write a personal review of yourself. Who do you know best? This is a way to start discovering who you are and what you want to say as a writer. Think about your past. As a kid, as a teen, as an adult. Bad habit. How did you start that bad habit? What's the story behind that? Are you still doing it today? How about a good habit? How about something you picked up that was a good habit that's carried you through so many years and you'd like to share the good habit and how you started that one? And you just start by writing it down. You're the one that you know best in your life. And sometimes this is a good way of self-discovery. So write your own personal review for 2020.

Debbie W: I like that. See you came up with something profound to end us on. Thank you, Helen. Thank you.

Diane O: Very cool.

Debbie W: Well, first of all, before I end officially, I want to wish everybody happy holidays. Enjoy the holiday season, stay warm and take care of yourself and look forward to catching up with you in 2020. Take care. Okay. Diane, you send us off with the prompts.

Diane O: Sounds good. And I'd like to wish everybody a happy holiday and best wishes for 2020 and we'll see ya in 2020.

Here are a couple of prompts I thought might be interesting. Write a story or a poem or whatever about a risk or write about hope. Write about a risk. Write about hope. Happy writing.