Category Archives: The Motherhood Muse

5 prompt Friday

         Here we go again…

  1. The empty feeling in my stomach spread to my chest and head, threatening to pull me inside out.
  2. How do I say this to you?
  3. On her wrist was a bracelet made from multi-colored paperclips.
  4. His voice crackled through the walkie-talkie, “The Eagle Has Landed.”
  5. Are you ready to do this?

Have a story or prompt to share? Post it here : ) Happy writing!


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I’m going on a Blog Trip! Meet me there!

The Motherhood Muse  is sending all of her columnists on a blog tour!

So, today (April 27), I’ll be visiting Robin’s Blog . In my interview post, I talk about my new direction for my writing, tips for creative writing teachers and parents to encourage their young writers and how I balance all the hats I wear.

Won’t you come by and leave a comment or question? I’m there all day ; ) AND, you’ll be entered to win a YEAR’S subscription to The Motherhood Muse.

See you on the flipside!

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Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, Education, teaching, The Motherhood Muse

The Ick and Awe of a Nature Journal: Guest Post by The Motherhood Muse

One lucky reader will win a FULL YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to The Motherhood Muse just for leaving a comment today or tomorrow! Winner will be randomly selected! (Scroll down for info on The Motherhood Muse)

The Ick and Awe of a Nature Journal

guest post by Kimberly Zook, Editor, The Motherhood Muse

Despite taking numerous photos of insects on family vacations and collecting caterpillars for my pet turtle when I was a little girl, I did not begin ‘collecting nature’ in a nature journal until I was in college. I had plenty of diaries and journals throughout my childhood, but the idea of a nature journal had never been presented to me. But the experience of creating my first one at the age of 21 inspired me to continue making and using nature journals, because they are different from the typical writing journal.

Whether you come to Writers Inspired today as a follower of this blog, a student of Mary Jo’s, a reader of The Motherhood Muse, or a blog surfer, I hope this post will inspire you to begin a nature journal, even if being in nature isn’t one of your top favorite things to do!

{courtesy of Sierra Club}

Nature journals can take on a number of appearances and can be used in a variety of ways. My first nature journal stinks, literally. My second and third ones are hardbound, store bought. My fourth journal is stained with juices used to preserve frogs for dissecting. And my fifth nature journal is in the shape of a belly.

Like the range of smells and shapes projected from my nature journals, each journal has its own unique meaning and usefulness.

During and after college I lived in a tropical rainforest in Costa Rica. This is when I began my first nature journal, so I could record the overwhelming biodiversity that captivated me yet left me dizzy with confusion. Stepping into the rainforest is like seeing Disneyworld for the first time. To the untrained, novice eye, it is hard to know where to look, what you are looking at and where to go. In the rainforest I first tried drawing every creature I saw and writing a description about it. But I soon began seeing too many things to record it all: a dung beetle rolling a ball of dung along, a leaf cutter ant carrying a leaf down a tree, a capuchin monkey screeching at me, a flower that smelled like a dead mouse, a leaf as furry as a lamb . . . I started taping leaves and flowers into my journal. I wrote short poems to describe the activity buzzing around me. I searched the forest floor for feathers and fur to place in between the pages. It’s been several years since I created my first nature journal, and I still open it occasionally to read through it. After all it is sitting only five feet away from me, tempting with the smells and textures of the rainforest.

{photo: newhorizons.org}

My next two nature journals I purchased during graduate school as it was a time in my life when I did a lot of technical writing. The two journals, however, are catered towards young writers, so I found the style and layout inspirational after spending several hours a day writing pages that consisted of words like statistical significance, alpha and beta, fitness, experimental design, and ‘in conclusion.’ The two journals, My Nature Book by Linda Kranz and My Nature Journal by Adrienne Olmstead, gave me a structured space to observe and think about nature when I didn’t always get a chance to step outdoors.

A few years later I created over 100 nature journals for my students. I was teaching biology to 9th graders and wanted to introduce them to nature through writing. We used our journals outside to record our observations of the community of organisms in the pond. We drew diagrams of our dissected frog in the journals. We painted chemicals (the safe ones) on the pages and wrote about the relationship between chemistry and nature.

{photo: Spirittibee Blog}

My latest nature journal is more of a ‘human nature’ journal as it consists of my musings during my first pregnancy. The pages grow in size for each month that my belly grew bigger. The words question and wonder about the new life that grew inside of me. I worked through my concerns and anticipations on the pages until the journal expanded into motherhood. I wrote letters to my daughter, making wishes and promises to her for her future.

Now that my two daughters, ages three (almost) and 10 months, are accompanying me on nature hikes, helping me grow flowers, watching squirrels hang upside down on tree trunks, splashing into puddles, and searching for rocks to skip, I am looking forward to starting my sixth nature journal, our first nature journal together. I wonder what shape and size and smells it will take on?

As a writer, nature journals have created entire worlds of ideas for me to write about. My writing has improved, because I’ve learned to incorporate and develop all five senses into my writing as well as elements of nature. As a woman and a mother, nature journals have deepened my connection to the environment and given me the freedom to explore the ick and awe of Mother Nature.

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We’d love to hear what you have to say about nature journals on this blog here today! One person who comments will be chosen randomly to win a free subscription to the 2010 issues of The Motherhood Muse literary magazine! Please stop by our blog for the blog tour so you can continue reading more about motherhood, writing and nature.

We also hope you’ll consider entering our first writing contest by May 1st! There are two categories, both open prompt: essay and short story. Winners will receive monetary prizes, publication, free subscriptions, and more. Please click here for contest details.

The Motherhood Muse offers mothers and writers the opportunity to dig beneath the surface of spilled milk, Band-Aids, and crayon-scribbled walls to explore the depth of their nature. Children nourish our souls while words nourish our minds.

Enter the enchanting world of motherhood literature to nurture your inner writing voice. The digital magazine shares literary pieces on motherhood written by mother writers across the globe.

The Motherhood Muse is about connecting two worlds (the writer and the mother), creating one voice, and crafting words into an infinite number of worlds. We come here to reconnect with mother nature through writing to share the beauty of our world with ourselves and our children.

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Filed under Advice, Creative Essays, Fun Stuff, Give Aways, Inspiration, The Motherhood Muse

Holiday Gifts for (Budget-Wise) Writers!

‘Tis the season. Well, some of us have already starting (maybe even finished) shopping. But, there is always room for more gift ideas – especially for WRITERS!

And, because I’m budget-conscious, these are listed by $ categories, The more “$$” the pricier the gift.

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All the buzz…Kindle Who has one? Do you like it? I’m an old-fashioned “love the feeling of manually turning pages” kind of girl, but this device is really piquing my interest. Especially for those who read multiple books at any given time….Cuts down on the bulk if you brings books to the gym or on trips.

Bookcases: What writer has enough space for all their books? I know I could use several more bookcases. Of course we all have our own decorating and organizing style, so don’t leave this purchase to chance. Browse on your own and send Santa a link to your top choices!

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Digital Dictionary: We all need to look up the proper spelling or definition from time to time, or just find that word that perches on the tip of our tongue. Everything’s going electronic – why not Websters, too?

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The Writer’s Toolbox: This little kit is so much fun for projects you are beginning or stuck on. Use the sticks for First Sentence Prompts, Non Sequitur Stick to get your characters or stories moving in a new direction and the Last Straw stick to create a “dramatic arc.” There are several other tools in this toolbox to inspire creativity and get you writing until The End.

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Subscription to the new ezine for mother writers: The Motherhood Muse. If you sign up for the free newsletter now, the first issue of this ezine is FREE. Learn how to reconnect with nature: both Mother Nature and Human Nature, while inspiring your inner muse to write and mother from a natural center. (check out my column: Into the Wild!)

T-shirts and other writer-wear: We can’t just thrust our manuscripts in strangers’ faces, but we can declare our literary greatness by wearing it on our sleeve (or chest, or back!)

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Sketchbooks: for jotting down ideas, character sketches, or taping and stapling scraps of notes you have lying around your desk and in your wallet or purse.

Spiral Notebooks: I like the inexpensive though sturdy Mead Trapper notebooks. They come in cool colors for organizing different writing projects and hold up nicely against the perils of mothering young children.

3×5 Notecards: either ruled or non-ruled, these bad boys get me through my scattered or frenzied plot points and character descriptions. I keep them in my car, purse, notebooks and novels I’m reading – ya never know when inspiration will strike.

Bookmarks: very cool, unique ones found here.  And here. And here.

Gift cards from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders or (my favorite) your local indie bookstore.

For my recc’s from 2008’s gift ideas, click here.

Have any ideas to share – please shout it out!

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Filed under books, Fun Stuff, The Motherhood Muse, writers

New Magazine launches: The Motherhood Muse

LOGO_motherhood museBeginning January 2010, I will be writing the column “Into the Wild” for a groundbreaking new mother-literary magazine: The Motherhood Muse.  And today, is the grand launch! Please welcome this new magazine with open arms and be sure to sign up for your subscription!

The Motherhood Muse Storywebsite-mag-launch

Kimberly Zook is the founder of The Motherhood Muse. Upon the birth of her second daughter she recognized a growing distance between herself and nature. Determined to send the message to her daughters that having a relationship with nature is critical to the human body, mind, and spirit, Kimberly created The Motherhood Muse. This organization is a blending of Kimberly’s passion for literature on motherhood and on nature.

What is The Motherhood Muse?

The Motherhood Muse is a community for mothers and writers.  We are writer-mamas wishing to connect with each other as we journey through motherhood with a desire to draw nature into our lives.

What does this community do?

The Motherhood Muse has four main functions:

The literary magazine (an e-Zine) features literature on motherhood, nature, and children. From literary essays to short stories to poetry, the e-Zine reaches across the globe to explore a mother’s relationship with nature. The e-Zine also includes columns by mothers and unique, intriguing features that will inspire you in many ways. The e-Zine is published four times a year online.

The e-Newsletter offers more for our readers. Eight times a year our free newsletter is sent out to subscribers. It includes blog highlights, writing contest information, features about the readers themselves, web-only deals, and more. By signing up for the e-Newsletter on our website by January 1, 2010 subscribers will receive the first issue of The Motherhood Muse e-Zine free!

The website is the central resource for mothers and writers. We host two writing contests (one for adults and one for children) and accept writing pieces for submission. In addition, we also have a fantastic bookstore with books for writers, mothers, and children. Our boutique features items with The Motherhood Muse logo such as journals, note cards, and more.

The blog is a continually updated resource for mothers and writers. Writers and mothers come here to share personal stories about motherhood, nature, children and writing. Our blog also hosts interviews with authors (and book giveaways), tips on writing, activities to do with children in nature, and more. Our blog is open to submissions from anyone!

Why did you create The Motherhood Muse?

In a nutshell I created The Motherhood Muse for mothers and writers like me, who struggle to connect with nature every day and find nature to be absent in their children’s lives. I needed a voice to help myself and others discover nature through our bodies, minds, and souls. I wanted to set a good example for my children by having a close relationship with the environment around me. The Motherhood Muse is that voice. It is a body of literature uniting writers and mothers with nature.

Sources to check out:

http://www.themotherhoodmuse.com

http://themotherhoodmuse.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/motherhoodmuse

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Filed under Author Interviews, Believe, The Motherhood Muse