Tag Archives: Inspiration

Some gems found on the web:

Found while randomly trolling the internet….

Any of these sites speak to you? Please share! I love to hear what my readers are thinking.

This blog post was written to the musical muse of: Chasing Cars /Snow Patrol



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a.p.a.p.a.d. day 2

(a poem a pic a day)

Writing Buddy

Half pint of dynamite

My Sam

Sass and spice

My Sam

Shake him up – watch him blow


His eyes will melt your heart

His words will melt your soul

His giggles will fill you with faith

in beauty and lightness and sprite

He is my writing buddy

He is My Sam ❤

*I’m aiming to post a poem and a pic a day for the month of April

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Filed under Poetry, writing inspiration, Writing Space


Today’s Thankful Thursday is being interrupted to announce the winner of Kathy Handley’s Birds of Paradise…

Randomly selected from those who left a comment, the winner is…

Sandi Hershenson

Congrats, Sandi!  I sent you an email with details. Thank you to Kathy for her inspirational post and to all my readers who stopped by.  Keep us posted on your progress with those writing contests.

Quick list of love:

  • My followers!
  • My Man
  • My boys
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes
  • Deep purple Nailpolish
  • Led Zepplin (I’m adding to my LAKE RESORT NOVEL’s playlist and Zepplin figures prominently.)

Who do you LOVE ??


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Part 2 in the 3-part series to Stop the Chaos

Have you completed your Top 5 Priorities for Life? Heavy stuff, right? Good! It should be! Now, armed with our Top 5 Priorities list, let’s set some measurable, realistic goals that will help us achieve that dream lifestyle. Remember, these goals must align with our Priorities, otherwise we may end up with 10 ways to make more money, but forget that we also wanted to build intimacy in our relationships or learn to laugh at ourselves.

State your Priority

Let’s take an easy one from my list yesterday, which happens to be my #1 priority:

Reach and maintain a healthy size 4, while toning and defining all-over.

Find Your “Why”

Why is this priority important to me? Because losing weight, toning up and gaining energy will help me achieve the long-term goals I have and give me the added confidence I need to make some big life changes.

Your WHY is very important – it would benefit you to Write. This. Down. And refer to it often.

Make it Measurable

Well, it’s nice to have a goal weight – but I need to give it a deadline. A reasonable weight loss is about 2lbs per week. So, let’s say I want to lose 10 lbs by Aug 7 and fit a size 6. That would be my goal, it states the “what”  and the “by when.”

Now I need 9 more that align with my *Priorities.

Drop and give me 10!

Currently, these are my Top 10 Goals (NOTE: These will be reviewed and renewed every 4 weeks, so don’t stress about what to include on your list):

  1. By August 7, I want to have lost 10 lbs and be a size 6. {Life Priority #1}
  2. Earn $______ by Feb 28, 2012 through teaching writing workshops. {Life Priority #3}
  3. Earn $_______by April 1, 2012 through teacher workshops and speaking engagements. {Life Priority #3}
  4. Have Half Moon Bay Resort novel ready to query to agents by January 1, 2012. {Life Priority #3}
  5. By November 1, have our bedroom de-cluttered, repainted and my office area streamlined to promote focus and creativity. {Life Priority #2}
  6. Save $____ per month, so we can take a family beach vacation in December. {Life Priority #5}
  7. Stay true to my weekly planning and prepping nutrition. {Life Priority #1}
  8. Train to walk in the JDRF 5k on Oct 2, 2011. {Life Priority #4}
  9. By July 15, have hall and front closets cleaned out and repurposed. {Life Priority #2}
  10. By August 1, have the boys’ bedroom de-cluttered and organized into “zones” they can maintain to simplify their space and promote creativity and peace. {Life Priority #2}

I’m curious to see what you guys have on your Top 10 List of Goals – and your Top 5 Priorities. Please share with us!

*What happens when something on your Priority list is so far-off, you don’t know where to begin to reach it? Come back tomorrow when we’ll  talk about all the baby steps that lead up to the Big Goals. It’s the Motherlode List…


Blog subscriptions are free! Like hugs. And love. Don’t you want a little love in your inbox? *Subscribe at top of page*


Filed under Advice, Believe, Commit to 3, goals, Inspiration, Perseverance, writers

Commit to 3

I started this weekly series a few months back, with the intention of motivating myself and others. The purpose was to have that One Big Goal in mind and chip away at all the necessary steps in reaching that Goal, while maintaining the other “necessities of life.”  Commit to 3, i.e. baby steps.

Well, I’ve been slacking in the commitment department, at least in the posting and focusing of those commitments.  I apologize if I let my readers down.  Going forward, my promise to you (and myself) is to post my Top 3 Commitments each Monday. You can help me, by posting your goals, too. And if you don’t see the “Commit to 3”  post every Monday(by dinner time), I give you permission to email me and ask “What’s up, Mary Jo? What are you committing to this week?!” mjcwriter”at”comcast”dot”com

So, from my list, I’m going to choose only 3 items that MUST be completed this week. I challenge you to do the same! Oh, and don’t forget your “Salary.”  

*BONUS CHALLENGE: Make 2 of the 3  goals for YOU only(not your kids, spouse, friends, etc.)

This week I commit to 3:

  1. Bake cookies for teachers of KidsClub (deliver Wednesday)
  2. Complete Exercises from Ch 1 of Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress (use as Reader Wednesdays post in the future.)
  3. Phone call with (possible) new personal trainer – learn about her plan and rates – make decision (excited, scared!)

Salary:  2 hrs of uninterrupted reading time on Sunday (to catch up on FREE ebooks & workbooks  by Jonathon Mead)

As you’re creating your Commit to 3 list, keep this in mind:

“One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.”

Earl Nightingale
1921-1989, Author and Speaker

So, how are you pushing yourself towards your goals? Make your list, commit to it, post it in the comments so we can keep each other accountable! Go!


If you’d like weekly or daily inspiration to reach your writing goals – SUBSCRIBE! You’ll be in my VIP circle ; )

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Filed under Commit to 3, goals, Perseverance, procrastination

Reader Wednesday

What I'm reading now

Once again, from Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure (Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish) – James Scott Bell

Stretching the Emotional (tension)

We humans are a circus of doubts and anxieties. Play them up! Give us the whole show.

To stretch the inner tension, ask these questions to get your raw material:

1.    What is the worst thing from the inside that can happen to my character? (This encompasses a whole universe of mental stakes. HINT:  look to the character’s fears.)

2.    What is the worst information my character can receive? (Some secret from the past or fact that rocks her world can be stalking her through the scene.)

3.    Have I sufficiently set up the depth of emotion for readers before the scene? (We need to care about your LEAD characters before we care about their problems.)


Feel the inspiration reaching out from the screen? Feel it faster – SUBSCRIBE to this blog and rec’v an email every time a new post appears. Poof!

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Filed under Believe, books, Reader Wednesdays, teaching, writers, writers block, writing inspiration

Tuesdays with…Mari L. McCarthy: JOURNALING


Win this ebook!


Journal: Write: Reflect

By Mari L. McCarthy

If the world seems to be off its rocker, your friends turn on you, everybody’s pressuring you, and your mother is obviously out to ruin your life, it’s time you took up journaling.

Keeping a journal is like having a secret garden or hideaway that is always available to you. You can go there anytime, and you always come back from there with a better grip on life.

It seems like a simple thing, and it is. You just get hold of a small notebook and keep a pen with it, and have it always in your purse or back pocket. Whip it out at the mall, on the bus, between classes, at the basketball game, in the middle of the night. Make note. Observe. Reflect. Notice what you notice.

Or you can do it more formally, of course, with a nice big notebook, a selection of pens by your cozy chair at home, and an ingrained daily habit of writing every evening at 9. Whatever works. Whatever system best encourages you to reflect on your experiences and articulate your reflections.

The more you become accustomed to reflecting like this, the more you appreciate the enormity of your awareness, and the infinite number of possibilities that are open to you.

Here are a few ideas to write about, just to kickstart your practice.

  • Write about what makes your best friend special to you.
  • Recollect the best vacation you ever took. 
  • Describe your immediate family and what makes each person unique. 
  • Write about your proudest accomplishment. 
  • Describe your favorite activity or sport to do in your spare time.


Or try this: make a scrapbook snapshot. Create a mini time capsule of your life by filling a page or two with photos, magazine cutouts, drawings and writing about what you love at the moment. Include your favorite foods, books, toys, movies, hobbies, songs, hangouts and friends, and go into detail about why you like these things.

Another idea: think back to a time when you were younger. Doesn’t matter how much younger, just some event that occurred when you were appreciably less experienced than you are now. What would it be like to have a conversation with your younger self? What would you say as encouragement? How would your younger self view the person that you are now?

I love coming up with prompts for journaling, but the soul of journaling is You and Your practice and Your understanding and joy. Interacting in a friendly way with your experiences, especially your younger self, can turn up a ton of good stuff, including making you feel happier and more confident in the here and now.

Mari L. McCarthy

By Mari L. McCarthy – The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™.  Please visit Mari’s blog at http://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog/. In 27 Days of Journaling to Health and Happiness (http://www.createwritenow.com/peace-of-mind-and-body—27-days-of-journaling-to-health–happiness/), Mari walks you through an easy process for accessing your natural inner strengths. Mari’s latest publication is titled, Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life. See http://www.createwritenow.com/journaling-therapy-ebook/ for details.

 *For a chance to win a FREE copy of the ebook 27 Days of Journaling to Health and Happiness, leave a comment under this post before MIDNIGHT. Winner will be randomly selected and announced Wednesday, May 18


Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, Give Aways

5 Prompt Friday

First, I must ask for a moment of silence to honor our fallen American Idol comrade, Casey Abrams. I believe Casey possesses the whole package: an understanding of music: both history and theory; the IT factor to experiment and challenge himself and of course, the confidence that makes this red-headed, bearded guy “sexy” and charismatic. I’m not worried about Casey’s future – I’m sure we’ll hear and see from him again outside the American Idol realm. But, remember, as you write – Experiment and Challenge yourself; you don’t need to impress the masses, just your own circle of fans. Find them, be true to what they expect and love from you and you’ll have a following of loyal readers.

And now…

Prompts to motivate that pen!

  1. At the tone the time will be….
  2. “Squeeze my hand if you understand.”
  3. Inside the locket was a picture of…
  4. A sobbing child with smeared chocolate on his cheek.
  5. Beer here! Get your ice-cold Beer here!


Truth or Dare? DARE!! I dare you to Subscribe to the Writers Inspired Blog! C’mon, all the cool kids are doin’ it ; )

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Reader Wednesday

How are you guys liking the Reader Wednesday Series? I’m having fun posting my findings…

What I'm reading now

This week, From Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure (Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish) – James Scott Bell

RE: the Lead Character

I love creating characters, probably my most favorite part of writing fiction, hence the reason I’m reading several books on developing plot! In Plot & Structure, Bell tells of the four characteristics your lead must have in order to hook the reader and carry them along for the journey of the book, the “why should I care about this character?”

Here are the four, and how my lead character, 16-year-old Lily Capriani, ranks:

IDENTIFICATION: How will readers identify with Lily?

Bell says readers will identify with lead characters using “the marks of a real human being.” Most likely we are 1) trying to make it in the world, 2) a little fearful and 3) not perfect.

This is how Lily is…

1)      Trying to make it in the world…

Surviving her mother’s abandonment

Needing to separate herself from her alcoholic mother and the gossip she left behind

Wanting to study culinary arts overseas to create her own future, far away from her current circumstances

2)      A little fearful…

Hoping her mom will return

Shelters her emotions, keeps a distance

Being stuck on Half Moon Bay Resort forever

Ending up like her mom

3)      Not perfect…

Low self-esteem



SYMPATHY: Why will readers care about Lily? Root for her?

Bell says there are 4 ways to establish sympathy: 1) Jeopardy (physical or emotional trouble) 2) Hardship (facing a misfortune not of her own making) 3) The Underdog (we love rooting for those rags to riches heroes) 4) Vulnerability (we worry about a character who can be manipulated or injured or worse)

Lily evokes SYMPATHY by…

Vulnerability: she is stuck in her current life on the lake, reliving her mother’s abandonment each time she reappears to wreak havoc; Lily has an unsettling suspicion that her Nonna is keeping a terrible secret from her, which would have devastating results on her already unstable life.

LIKABILITY: Why would readers want to hang out with Lily for her journey (through several hundred pages?)

Lily is a likable character because…

She has an empathetic heart, kindness especially towards the elderly (her Nonna, the older resort guests) and underdogs (Frank) who she observes in an abusive situation, even though she struggles with her own distrust of people and need to remain “disconnected” so not to get hurt (mom’s abandonment)

She has a witty sense of sarcasm and humor and some smart ass one-liners

INNER CONFLICT: What inner voices battle within Lily making her a complex, multi-dimensional character?

Lily battles with the decision to leave Half Moon Bay and her Nonna to study culinary arts overseas

She justifies this decision by the need to live her own life and get away from the looming family secret, yet guilt over leaving her elderly Nonna to run the resort.

Lily also battles the improbable dream: that her mom will return sober, wanting to have the perfect mother-daughter relationship. If she leaves, she leaves that dream behind.

So, how does your lead character rank?


Feel the inspiration reaching out from the screen? Feel it faster – SUBSCRIBE to this blog and rec’v an email every time a new post appears. Poof!


Filed under Believe, books, Reader Wednesdays, teaching, writers, writers block, writing inspiration

-able Minded

 Scott Ginsberg, AKA The Nametag Guy, has a theory on the universe. Sounds heavy, huh? It is and it isn’t. Having a theory on the universe can be quite simple really: decide what it is and make it so. Ginsberg has many ideas on creating and implementing a mindset – specifically when it comes to business success. Writing is a business. Creating for a profit is a business, and you’d be wise to have the same attitude.

Ginsberg invited his readers to come up with their own “theory on the universe” as it relates to increasing profitability. Profitability can mean more money coming in than going out, but I think it can also mean more creativity, ideas and spirit coming in than going out. Don’t expend more than you’re taking in from the world.

So, my theory is “Inspirationable.” Inspirationable means being an inspiration to others, and myself as well as being open to receive inspiration. Always.

The title of my blog states this attitude: Writers Inspired, which I try to make my daily motto: Inspire and Be Inspired…

  • As a writer…I aim to inspire my readers to think bigger, bolder and well, differently than they’re used to thinking. Profit: that all-time rush of “connecting” with the world outside myself


  • As a writer…I also absorb inspiration from books, music, nature, movies, others, and myself through daily observations. Profit: Creative well fills; soul soars!


  • As a teacher…I hope my lessons, casual workshop formats and open dialogue with my students inspire creativity and passion for writing and reading Profit: Creating the next literary greats from these nimble young minds, plus my workshops fill quickly * throws confetti *


  • As a student…I devour books, blogs, videos and classes to open my mind to deeper thinking and ways to utilize this new inspiration in my writing. Profit: my craft improves, my writing rings clear and my stories, articles and books get sold!


  • As a mom…my boys inspire me daily: to go with the flow, laugh at gross stuff, see people as they truly are – not who they pretend to be Profit: in tune with my inner child reminding me to be my authentic self, which kind of helps in the business of creating and communicating ; )


How Inspirationable are you? Maybe you have some other –able theory on the universe. Share!

To learn more about Scott Ginsberg and his latest book: -able, check out his site. I guarantee you’ll be inspired.


Be Bold! Be Brave! Be Inspired! Hit SUBSCRIBE at the top of the page and watch the magic unfold…


Filed under Advice, Believe, books, Inspiration