Tag Archives: inspiration for writers

Tuesday Museday

How about non-writing related images, sounds and experiences that lend to our writer’s muse?

First up, a young (14 yr-old!) student of mine, Melissa S. has written her own song (music and lyrics!) and sings and plays the piano in her YouTube debut. I think the chorus is mesmerizing and the lyrics inspire ideas for my teenage heartbroken protagonists. What do you think? Leave her a comment of encouragement!


A party for your tastebuds! Have you tried Honeycrisp apples? OMG – yum! The tangy yet sweet crunchy goodness floods my mind with images of autumn: Golden and crimson leaves, deep blue-gray skies, fattened squirrels and bunnies readying for hibernation, creepy time via Halloween

 And the ordinary becomes extraordinary… “Flipping ” through my digital photos via Kodak EasyShare, I found a number of interesting images my 12-year-old son, David captured with my camera. His artistic eye caught usual images in unusual shadows, light and context.  Try looking through your pictures for the unique. Or better, hand your camera off to child who will capture magic for your muse!


Watch the pendulum…you are getting sleepy…you are clicking SUBSCRIBE…you are gleefully under my spell..you are sending chocolate and pumpkin spice lattes to me…


Filed under Believe, emotion, Fun Stuff, Inspiration, writing inspiration, Young Adults

thankful thursday

Though I try to find the blessings in my life everyday, I dedicate a weekly post to Thankfulness.

Today, I am thankful for…

The glimpse of sunshine and promise of Spring, despite the low temps and forecast of light snow

Unlimited texting on my cell – it’s how my husband and I flirt with each other throughout the day!

My new car! and the AMAZING experience of buying it through CarMax  

my new ride!


Meeting fellow creative spirits in everyday life

Inspiration I’m gleaning from watching American Idol.  Seriously. All that passion, determination and talk of “being a true artist,” “challenging yourself” and “going beyond what’s safe.”

What are you thankful for today? This week?

If you look at your list of things to be grateful for and can’t find topics or characters to write about.. .you aren’t looking hard enough!


Filed under Thankful Thursday, writers

Do What You Want To Do

 “Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should, they never get around to do what they want to do.”

Kathleen Winsor – 1919-2003, Author

Wow, does this quote resonate with me. How about you? Do you “knock yourself out” trying to cross too many things off your list, or spend time flitting from one task to another, never really sure they’ll add up to what you want in the end?

I just began reading A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, which (the book cover) promises to relax and open my mind, take life in the slow lane and value the simple things.

“Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify…”

 I’ll get back to you with my thoughts once I’ve finished reading this best seller from 1955.

But for Today: Take a break. Breathe. Do what you want to do! It’s the best antidote for stress and the elixir of creativity.


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Filed under Advice, Believe, books

Help for Hump Day: Chill out!

First, an announcement: The Random.org generator selected Dani as the winner of Barbara Barth’s The Unfaithful Widow. Congrats, Dani! Pls send me your snail mail: mjcwriter”at”Comcast”dot”net. Thanks to all who visited and commented and to Barbara for her time 🙂

 And onto Help for Hump Day…

 Chill out!

I need to take this advice today. I needed it yesterday. Maybe because I sit in the watery sign of Scorpio, I FEEL everyone and everything around me with undeniable intensity. This comes in handy when my intuitive outlook can help others over a hump, or serve as a warning against red flags, or even kick motivation into high gear to get things done. I’m good at “reading” people. However, I tend to “read” a bit too much into things. Facial expressions, side remarks, even things unsaid dig deeply into my psyche. I take it all in. And now, I’m full to capacity and busting at the seams. Overfilled. Overwhelmed.


Teaching for the past two years has brought me such joy, motivation and satisfaction knowing that I’m inspiring young writers in their craft. Last night I had a difficult class. Students were getting off topic, talking over one another, yet not offering much feedback for our readers. To change things up, I held a mini contest: each student was to share their best writing tip for finding ideas or getting over the “block.” After voting for our favorite tip, the winner would get a small prize. Note to self: Do. Not. Hold. Contests.  Instead of learning from each other, this turned into a match of cheat the system and vote for self to win the prize. The prize, which some thought would be $50 – No. OK, “$49?” “A new journal off the shelves!” “A free Starbucks drink!” Err. Too much shouting, not enough listening. And little to no gratitude for a “small” prize.  After 20 minutes spent of our 60 minute class, two winners tied and selected their prizes from a bag of new Scholastic chapter books, highlighters, writers’ pins and such. Not sure anyone took these fab. ideas to heart. It’s painful when ideas float up and away from your students. It’s discouraging when an exercise flops. Lesson learned. Chalk one up for the teacher being “taught.” 

Though, I somehow internalized this whole challenging night as a demerit to my teaching skills. What teaching skills? I asked myself as I browsed the bookstore after class. Graduate gift tables filled with positive books for teachers! (Who am I kidding?) Inspirational stories for Teachers! (I’m not a “real” teacher)  Change the world, Teachers! (sigh)  Quotes and encouragement for teachers! (ugh) Down. I. Go. Slippery slope into the feeling-sorry-for-self valley.

Writing is supposed to rejuvenate. Teaching is supposed to be light and fun and “unschoolish.” That was my original intent for my writing workshops, anyway. But, me being passionate and intense was transformed to serious and uptight. I don’t like uptight. Uptight is scowling, close-minded, slapping-ruler-at-the-ready (no, I would never strike anyone with a ruler, it’s old school imagery people, go with me on this.)

Ok. Here I am, resembling an overstuffed plush toy busting at the seams, uptight old biddy, with a feverish head ready to pop off.

How do I R-E-L-A-X? How do I Chill out?


Well, I blew up. Head popped. Tears flowed. Makeup ran. I blubbered and babbled to my husband, who listened patiently. And then he reminded me:

You just had a bad day

It’s been raining and gloomy outside; you had a long commute home from work and then went to teach.

You’re tired.

You love teaching – you’ve been doing it successfully for two years.

Think of all the kids you’ve already inspired!

And, then, “Take a break, Mar. Maybe announce that next month will be your last free workshop so you can work on your novel.”

Huh. Can I do that? Do I want to do that?

I’m not sure yet. I do know the morning after a breakdown feels like I’m nursing a bad hangover. Though writing about it helps. And detaching myself by looking to non-teaching, non-writing tasks to keep my hands and mind busy. And breathing. And smiling. Just “chillin’ out.”

Want to witness more of my insane breakdowns? (Kind of like watching Jerry Springer to make yourself feel better!) Subscribe to this blog and get a jolt in your inbox every time a post pops up. C’mon, you know you want to…


Filed under Uncategorized

Help for Hump Day

"Looking Up", original drawing by Dave Campbell

“Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way.” ~ Eileen Caddy, Author


Where are your sights set? Can you see it in front of you, now, this very minute?

I’m sitting on my wrap around porch overlooking the river, in a white Adirondack chair crafted by my handy husband. Notebook in my lap, cuppa joe at my side. Ideas swirling, dipping and weaving on the summer breeze, flowing in me, through me. Onto the paper.

I want to write about the old-fashioned meaning of the word queer, before it became an ugly insult. (I’ve been reading Virginia Woolf.)

I want to write about a black bird with flame red markings on its wings; it settles on the roof of a minivan and leaves a permanent curse on the family within. I want to write about the warmth of the morning sun on my face, the time I waited for Dave to finish an emergency alarm security job as I sat in his company truck, scribbling madly of the insane couple that lived there, the creepy grown boy who lurked about, who was watching me from the woods at that moment.

Of course, I have no wrap around porch or Adirondack chair, though my husband had built one in our previous life. I sit in my cubicle, tapping away at keys before my workday begins. The work that brings me a steady paycheck and the security of health benefits. My dream just at the edge of reality…

Is your dream taking shape, living within you today? The more detailed, the more real, the easier to get over the hump of a Wednesday.



Filed under Believe, emotion, Inspiration