A valuable commodity. 
(The stories we tell ourselves create perspective.)

Quiet time.
An even more valuable commodity.
(Daily quiet time centers the mind and allows for creativity.)

A warm, cozy memory-maker that, 
once shared with a quiet space,
can bring a healthy perspective, faster. 

(yep. coffee, among other things, can do that.)


Oh, that we can use the moments of our day to 
seek wisdom…

to be better versions of ourselves
and to

focus on who we are
and on what we can give back — 
despite negativity, disbelief, attitudes, or
any other circumstance with the potential to tear down.

(Because no matter how hard we try, it’s true —
people will simply think, say, and do what they’ll think, say, and do.)

To humbly live out our lives,
gaining perspective in our quiet time,
drinking coffee,
continuing to grow
is sometimes
the best thing we can do.
(I’m raising my cup to you.)

is precious. 
is life-giving.
in yourself, who you are and what you do,
is priceless.

(Come choose the positive with me.)


Space. The Final Frontier.
(Trekkie here.)

Okay, not the final frontier. But, at the least,
for your best productivity,
it’s a frontier to think about.

Watch my Tuesday Vlog Minute..
Click here.

* Thup

We’re all authors
filling in the blank pages
of life.

The plot may twist,
but how the Hero responds
is always the author’s

(we write the script)

* Thup

My friend and mentor, Russell, recounts the story of sitting in a bar with George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones guru-author). Russell asked, What’s your secret?

Martin’s answer?
“I don’t give the characters a meal. I give them a banquet.”

My first thought was, Oh! I get it! Make it “big”!

But then I realized…
it’s not just about big.
It’s about making it memorable.
And memorable doesn’t come only in one size.

Decidedly different can be memorable, too.
Something so different, it shakes us out of our complacency.
Or so different, its desirability draws us in.

A character’s incessant quirk. (memorable)
A dash of yellow in a key area on the canvas. (memorable)
An unexpected light source in the photograph. (memorable)
A bold line on the Manga character’s hair. (memorable)
A shift in scene through one unexpected line in the dialogue (memorable).
(you get it)

(And if you’re a motivator, speaker, instructor/teacher, or leader of any kind, you see how this applies.)

Be purposeful. Make it memorable.
If it works for George, it just might work for you and me.

* Thup


So I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of belief.

How much does our belief influence our ability to make the passionate, artistic side of us a viable career choice…and a successful career path?

(That was a long sentence.)

In other words, when it comes to being a writer (or visual artist, or screenwriter, or illustrator, or photographer, or poet) — how much does belief influence our future?

(This question has been bugging me.)

I made a 1 1/2 minute video for you here…

What do you think? Take this poll and leave a comment, if you will…

* Thup

Will Monday’s dreams
be Friday’s reality?

(When TGIF rolls around, will the grand plans to get things done be
grand accomplishments
or regrets?)

Plan it.
Work it.
Stay with it.
If need be, flex with it
(and come back to a new “it” that works).

Plans are good.
(Writers, word count plans are even better.)

My calendar’s out right now.


What’s in your future?
Do you ever wonder?


Being uptight doesn’t help.

On this journey, with roadways and pathways,
winding as wet willow branches gently waving in whispered wind
or whipped in wild wrath in paths of past sorrows and struggles,

For I know the plans I have for you.
Plans for a future and a hope.
Wise words.
Solid words.

What’s in your future?
Let passion lead.

Whatever we focus on, it will call to us.

What do you focus on?

In order to succeed in your art — yes, in life –
our focus has to be sure.


What is in your future?
What is your purpose?
What is your dream?
What do you want to do?

What are you called to do?

(Don’t worry.)

* Thup




Let me show you how Neurolinguistic Programming — NLP — is oh-so interesting…and useful for your writing.

I saw this in someone’s Linked In profile:
“My name is Erin — Remember me”
(with someone else’s name, though).

That phrase — Remember Me — is an embedded command
(part of NLP).

Embedded commands tell our brains exactly what to do:
You’ll enjoy reading this.
It’s something you’re going to like and use.
You’ll remember it, because it’s important to you.
(Each of these phrases makes your brain say, uh-huh. Okay.
If you say so

You’ll find a ton about NLP on the web, but basically,
NLP takes how we think (neuro) and communicate (linguistic),
studies the info,
and then uses it to influence ourselves and others (the way we act).

Though some believe it to be highly controversial and even manipulative, it doesn’t have to be. Ideally, NLP is about transforming. Teaching. Leading.

Because, hey,
It really can work.
“My name is Erin — Remember Me.”

What does this have to do with writing?
Aside from the marketing implications for getting your name out as an author (or artist, or photographer, or poet, or screenwriter…etc.) and selling your stuff,

you can use NLP techniques within your characters:
Antagonists with NLP in their dialogue can be influential…and scary.
Protagonists finally falling into their intended leadership positions can use NLP to lead.
In the language of archetypes, Heralds and Gatekeepers can use NLP to direct.
and so on.

Dialogue. It’s a great place to use NLP.
First person POV. It’s a great place to use NLP.
(The first chapter of Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid is full of NLP.)

Read about NLP.
It’s cool.
(And useful.)

* Thup


Note: This post is for business-minded, entrepreneurial,
creative types.
If you want to make a living at your art, you’ve most likely heard the term audience.
(Be forewarned: This post isn’t the usual “identify your audience” banter.)

Regarding your audience, a well-known speaker said to me recently,
“Too many writers make blogs for other writers. That’s bad.
You need to write to the audience you want to sell to –
those who will buy your stuff.

I’ve thought about this quite a bit –
and I don’t believe the audience thing (or the whole social media thing) is that cut and dry.

Yes, as an artist of any kind, it’s important to build a social media platform.
People need to know you — who you are and what you do –
in order to like you, follow you, and buy from you.
(Buying is good. As we all know, this starving artist thing is real.
And I like to eat, don’t you?)

But there are many reasons to interact within social media.
Just think of the different social media outlets –
from Pinterest to LinkedIn,
Facebook to Instagram,
blogging to tweeting…

It’s not all about money.
(Thank God.)

Okay, I know –
Some blogs are clearly money-seeking ventures bleeding insincerity.
(Uhyeah, there’s enough insincerity and manipulation out there to
choke a dinosaur.)

Social media, once it becomes only money-and-sales-driven drivel,
turns us into takers
(and alienates people).
(we know this. we’re turned off by this. we need to avoid this. big. time.)

If we’re not careful, this Audience #1 — those who we intend our message to grip, grab, and bless the socks off — can become the Target Market that we hunt for the sale, with little regard for sincerity.

How does a healthy Audience #1 work? 
* Passion. We have something we’re passionate about.
* Benefit. Audience #1 benefits from what we share.
* Follow. Because they benefit, they follow. We now have a Tribe.
* Connect. Tribes like your stuff. But they mostly like us. They keep coming back because of us — the authenticity, the passion, and the willingness to be real while sharing the transaction.
(so, yeah. be authentic, passionate, and willing to be real.)
* Buy-Sell Transactions. Yes, interacting with Audience #1 involves selling something. A book. A work of art. A film. Audience #1 is willing to pay for that benefit, follow, and connection — in a transaction.

With Audience #1, the benefit goes both ways.
It’s both a hard and soft transaction.
(Hard = money; soft = benefit sharing)

But your Audience #2 has a different kind of transaction happening. 
Audience #2 is only about the soft transaction.
(We both benefit, and the benefit is intangible.)

How does Audience #2 work?
* Sharing Art. We create (make our art) and share it.
* Feedback and Support. By sharing our art, we receive feedback and support. while they receive positives from our art, too. Those with like minds cheer us on, keep us on our toes, and keep us sane. By sharing our art with those who wholeheartedly resonate, we form an intangible — yet highly beneficial — bond. And there’s something wonderful about resonating with a group, isn’t there?
* Personal Growth. Finally, that support feeds our spirit. Especially among artists, like-minded banter sharpens our thoughts and, ultimately, sharpens our craft.

What kind of audiences do you cultivate?
<<I contend that we need both.>>

I believe
when we aim ONLY for the target-market transaction,
the arrow may hit the mark, but we lose a bit of humanity.

(Not everything we do is about getting.)
(Balance your audiences.)
(We need a Clan, not just a Tribe.)

A Clan is your like-minded, life-minded people-group
bound by intangibles that matter.

Don’t think it’s a waste of time, to give freely to your like-minded peeps.)

* Thup

Most of us know:
It’s important to refresh ourselves.
to reboot.
re-cast the vision.
re-make the life-clay.
learn. grow. get better at
what we do and who we are.

(The same-old, same-old needs to be broken up
through inspiring away time.)

Because “away time” — taking time and changing physical space –
getting a heaping dose of learning and growing –
hoes up rocky ground,
plants potential-filled seeds,
and super-packs nutrients deep down into the umber soil,
super-charged for the growing season.

(To change metaphors, without the away, the likelihood of jumping forward is more like a pathetic hop. From my own experience, just sayin’.)

Conferences. Retreats. Trips. Meetings. Classrooms.
In backwoods cabins or skyscraper hotel rooms –
It doesn’t matter where to go, as long as the GO
gives the POW-BAM needed
to recommit, rework, and instill –
ultimately, putting us on the path we’re meant to walk.

(to be better. because we can all be better.)

immersed in time away, the fallow marl crumbles
and little sprouted bits poke their bright green through,

We return home.
Hope-filled. Ardent. Eager. High.
(the mountaintop view still crisp in our mind)

Then, IT happens.
The proclivity (as normal human beings)… to drop. it. all.
(followed by silence. crickets. looking left and right, with no one in sight)

How do we bring the mountain top home?
(My question, right now, after coming home from MFA-mountaintopness
with a group of brilliant people with grand skills and even better hearts.)

The question rings loud in my ear:

How do we take what we experienced and put it into practice?
Because reality has a way of biting at our heels, barking, drowning out the memories and fresh approaches gained — approaches that, if held to, can take us on a whole new journey filled with positive attitude. new perspectives. new skills. new ideas and approaches and, yes, through the journey, new successes.

My answer is simple. Two words:
schedule and accountability.

(“Well, now. That sounds incredibly boring.”
Hm. Not really. Let me explain.)

“Schedule” is not a dirty word.
Schedule is our friend.
All those new and wonderful ideas gained on the mountaintop
only flourish through repeated action.

Repeated action only happens in a schedule.
<<Making the doing real.>>
(“Intentions Minus Actions = Squat” — James C. Hunter)

Frankly, for myself, I don’t care how boring that is. Unless I put time into doing what I just learned — consistently — then change won’t happen. We’re creatures of habit, no matter how bad the habit is.

Look at any athlete. Schedule matters.
Schedule makes masters. Masters of craft. Masters of attitude. Masters of good decision-making. Masters of good skills and good outcomes.

And mastery brings results.
(a life you got because you made it so.)

“Accountability” is not a dirty word.
Accountability is our friend.

It’s our responsibility to find a friend who cares enough to be the voice of responsible discretion. Someone on the same track, who has the same values, visions, and aspirations. We’re creatures of disappointment — to ourselves and to others — without accountability. No man is an island, no woman is an island, no journey can be walked alone. If you (or I) become islands, we cease to become who we’re meant to be — who we CAN be.

Masters of life — those who live with joy, who can navigate change and trial, and who become more filled with the powerful stuff of humanity — are those who are accountable. Master accountability, and your life — my life — changes. For. The. Better.

The mountaintop puts fire in our bones.
But it’s schedule and accountability that makes the coals glow hot,
unable to be extinguished
by reality and every-day life challenges.
(real. life.)

All three matter: Mountaintop, Schedule, and Accountability.

I’m infinitely glad for my MFA mountaintop.
But I’m even more excited about my daily schedule and the people who will hold me to it.

* Thup





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