Blog & Updates

Facing Down Nanowrimo 2014: Third Time’s No Room for Excuses

Nanowrimo puzzleThe goal of is, basically, to barf out an entire book in 30 days.

Nanowrimo forces you to push your literary muscles to their breaking point.

The goal is to FINISH, to untrain yourself of delay, obfuscations, and so-called .

The goal is to write the book you always said you would.


All Those Reasons to Stop

This is my third year (read, attempt) at National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo 2014).

The first time out of the gate, I set down 1890 words in the first week or so– then fizzled out. Apparently, Thanksgiving and all of the shopping days between by son’s birthday and my twins’ birthday and Facebook fall in November. Excuses.

The second time I signed up, I was “prepared. I has a buddy. I had  a really good grasp of the novel I wanted to write. I outlined. I thought about the story a long time in advance. I bought software. I set down 11,000 words.

But then there was this strange Nano writing date at Panera in a mall. Something happened.  I fizzled again.


Year 3: The year of the calamity. 

I consider my previous experiences to be great warm-up  to all the excuses any one person can handle.

I feel good about 2014. Why?

I’ve exercised my writing muscle a lot more this year (writing regular pieces for the newspaper). There’s a lot less lag time between impulse to write and word count for the day.

But there’s always that nagging fear. What I’m concerned about?

The usual things, plus one. I have a life, work and a family, demands on my time and attention. Facebook. The usual. Nanowrimo is a pleasantly encouraging bedfellow, but doesn’t seem to give a flip about gymnastics and hockey and carpools.

The plus one is my mom’s leukemia and her terminal diagnosis. If there ever was a good excuses to hide in a hole and eat donuts, it’d be that.

But, I am taking the chance that writing “into” that space is the way to go. To not just try to avoid the obstacles… to write through them.

So, hello last day of October. Happy Halloween. Welcome and bring on November. … Read on…Facing Down Nanowrimo 2014: Third Time’s No Room for Excuses

New class: Creativity & Writing at Sterling House

Royal Typewriter drawingI’m looking forward to getting back to teaching with my upcoming new class “Creativity and Writing Workshop,” to be offered at The Sterling House in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

The workshop will be held starting Oct. 15, (Wednesdays) from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

This is a 6-week program, open to fiction and non-fiction writers, from beginner to pro. The goal of this class to “jump-start” your writing, wherever you are.

We will explore topics such as: getting started and making time for writing, how to approach a first draft, what your “writing” style is, how to create meaningful characters, and how to use personal experience in writing, among many other topics.

This is space to learn how to do what you don’t know how to do, to reengage your abandoned writing passion, to activate and shape a new area of your creative brain, or to just to see words (and the world) in ways you probably have not before.

To register, please contact the Sterling House, 203-378-2606 or stop by 2283 Main Street in Stratford to register. Fee is $65 (plus membership) for 6 weeks.

You might have any number of questions that aren’t answered here that maybe stopping you from signing up (like, is this class REALLY right for me? Are they going to horrible long writing assignment like my high school teacher made me do? Do I have to let other people read my work?)

If you do, just send them to me or post them as a comment below. See you!

Here’s a bit more about me as a teacher and writer:

I’ve been a writer since I was 7 years old when I created my neighborhood newspaper on my mom’s typewriter. That was the beginning of a lifelong romance with telling people’s stories.

I studied Journalism at the Iowa State University in Ames and while studying there, I worked as an editor for the award-wining Iowa State Daily. I also trained in electronic media, workings as technical director at WOI-TV, the ABC affiliate .

I completed my internship at Walt Disney World in Florida and went on to direct the morning news at WDAF-TV (FOX affiliate) in Kansas City. After four years, I “retired” from television and went back to my first love, writing.

I freelanced for the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Business Journal, Review and many other publications while I completed my master’s degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

I taught two years of college writing at UMKC and was awarded “Outstanding Graduate Teacher” award by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I went on to work as associate editor for all media at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths until our overseas move.

In London, I had the opportunity to write intensively. I completed two novels (in edits), was shortlisted for the Asham Award for Short Fiction, and studied short fiction under Mary Flanagan.

Back in the States in 2007, I have continued writing, freelancing and created “Demand Poetry.” I taught college writing for three years at Sacred Heart University. I am the resident poet of the Stratford Arts Guild and I currently string for The Stratford Star.Read on…New class: Creativity & Writing at Sterling House

Why I Write Demand Poetry

[caption id="attachment_433" align="alignright" width="300"]Inside the Box by E. Howard at Demand Poetry Come out. Ask for a poem.[/caption]

I started writing Demand Poetry because there was something missing in my connection with readers.

Not all writers are solitary introverts in their garrets.

It’s hard to predict just exactly what a reader wants. I know most editors would say: it’s not a good idea to let the reader dictate to the writer!

I don’t take dictation when I write a Demand Poem.

I just listen to the person who has asked for a poem.

I meet them in the place they have arrived that day. Where they are curious. Where they find themselves with something to say to someone they love, yet are not quite satisfied with the way they have said it themselves.

Because though we still have access to wonderful love songs, we are losing our love letters.

We are very busy writing status updates and tweets and posts and texts.

So that’s what I am offering when I say:

Would you like a poem? 

It’s the chance to co-write a love letter.

It isn’t meant to be pretentious or frightening or strange.

It’s just my way of saying:

Hey. I know you have things you want to say.

I know you’d like to tell someone how remarkable they are.

I know how to help you with that.

It’s Ok to say: Yeah sure. I’ll have a poem.

I will be reading live with some other awesome poets at Artists & Artisans in Paradise, August 24, 11 a.m. and creating Demand Poetry from 11:10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Paradise Green, Stratford. See you there. Limited poems so come early!Read on…Why I Write Demand Poetry

In the News, in the news

If I seem distracted lately, it’s all for an excellent cause.
I’ve been stringing for the Hersam Acorn publication, The Stratford Star.  You can click through here to the site to read all of my stories if you are interested. They are a decidedly local news bent, which is something I am passionate about.

My favorite piece was about two Korean War veterans who lived in Stratford and had never met till recently. They had fought together the same day, on the same beach.

Local news is meaningful news. It impacts what we do everyday.  It’s where the heart is. It is full of actionable items. If you want to get involved, it’s a good idea to tweet out #bringbackourgirls, but you may find it more meaningful to ride your bike down to the senior center and volunteer with your neighbors.

So even though the pay is pretty low, I am happy to be writing about important business, features and news developments around towns. Not just “content” and filler, but the real deal.

On a side note and more word to power of local: Did you know that Stratford has approximately 50,000 and a FB group called “Stratford Ladies” that is populated by almost 1,000?

On that FB group, these women do what ladies used to do in social clubs, and in the newspaper — share great and useful information about local businesses, recipes and town meetings and more.

It’s an powerful resource.

  … Read on…In the News, in the news

Mindful Writing Challenge 2014 Small stones

brave – #smallstone – Day 7

you want to brave the cold? I can wrap you up
totally: velvet scarf, down parka, mitts,
a rabbit skin hat  grandpa stitched himself, and
two pairs of woolen socks. you want to
brave a path into
tomorrow? wear

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.Read on…brave – #smallstone – Day 7

steam – #smallstone – day 6

confused geese pass invisible overhead.
puffed air swallows the hilltop in a bank of
steam.  my pores open in this transient
warm air mass.

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.Read on…steam – #smallstone – day 6

Mindful Writing Challenge 2014 Small stones

Bat – #smallstone – Day 5

one last glow-in-the-dark cling film
bat, still holding onto the
glass pane. Halloweens gone by neither
here nor there.

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.Read on…Bat – #smallstone – Day 5