A Sunday afternoon writer’s retreat-Revelations and learnings…up to 10 items.


I’ve started my retreat and I just realized…with the power of an Internet-connected laptop, these speakers and experts can follow me all around the house. I can even do some cooking and not miss a beat.

From Jenna Moreci, I’ve learned:

1. the benefits of writing your characters’ dialogue straight through. Just write the spoken word. Don’t bother with tags or action or imagery. The exchanges will be more natural. You can fill in with the other stuff later.

2. the proliferation of online passive voice checkers

3. a YouTube teacher/speaker’s use of an ‘F-bomb’ feels tacky and lazy. Repeated use of it just feels forced. She has tons of good ideas and information. I’m guessing this whole F-bomb issue is generational.

More as the afternoon progresses…

4. Love that I can rewind video…multiple times when some point doesn’t ‘connect’.

5. With online instruction, I’m afforded [I need my passive voice checker, don’t I?] the ability to slice and dice, clang pots and pans, and curse my clumsiness as I spill wine that I’m glugging into the ribollitawithout the speaker glaring at me and questioning my social graces, not to mention my kitchen skills.



6. Scrivener is an ideal organizing and editing tool for my 50 Stepping Stones draft on my first year of retirement.

7. I could set aside whole afternoon retreats targeting just Joanna Penn videos and website content. Ditto Austin Kleon and Steven Pressfield.

8. Thanks to Joanna’s podcast will soon be buying Tim Grahl’s Running Down a Dream.

9. Most first novels are barely readable, so lighten up and finish it. [Joanna Penn, with my paraphrasing]

10. Sarra Cannon–For those who want to sell what they’ve published, release your work within a single series. [One of her videos auto-played at the the end of the Joanna Penn conversation with Tim Grahl.]

I’m down to 4% on my laptop and I’m using that to get my in gear to finish this post…

So, the more detailed plan for today…

1. Pep Talk on Paper [just a quick riff to get me going]

2. Inspiration from books:

Will try to include excerpts

3. YouTube/SkillShare/Podcasts

Productivity Sessions: [At least 10 minutes apiece; probably 15—interspersed between short inspiration and online skill development/refresher sessions]

  • Retire/Renew Blog Posts
  • ESL Course Module
  • New project: My take on the NFL Network’s RedZone, only I do lightning fast updates on six different kids in a fictional classroom.
  • Teachers Pay Teachers Project: Find graphics/images that pertain to my project
  • At least two segments on my other children’s writing project

Coffee and chocolate cake somewhere in the middle


Gee what are the odds the results will look entirely different from the carefully crafted plan above?

The earlier post—

Yep, get the cooking and other distractions out of the way.

Free up the afternoon

In preparation:

  1. create a playlist of YouTube/SkillShare videos to boost my confidence and expertise
  2. set writing goals–# of words, # of posts, # of minutes actually writing/editing
  3. tools for first draft work [camera, audio recorder]
  4. coffee and home-baked goods nearby

Other necessities:

  • A readiness to change locations if it’s called for. [Move to a coffee shop, a city park, the backyard]
  • Phones are off/airplane mode
  • A timer to maintain focus

Let’s see how it goes.

5 Twitter Gems


  1. Joanna Penn @thecreativepenn

Developing a powerful #writing habit buff.ly/2ra5I7g w/ @Honoree

  1. Jon Winokur  @AdviceToWriters

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days…”

twitter-rubix cube


  1. MakeUseOf  @MakeUseOf

7 Free Windows Apps for Exploring Your Creative Side muo.co/2taPMAL

  1. Jon Winokur  @AdviceToWriters

Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.

  1. Mike Brown @Brainzooming

Has your stream of creative ideas dried up? Here’s the Answer! hubs.ly/H07C6xZ0

Curation Station, May 18th

A few favorites I’ve come across recently:

curation image magnifying glass

  1. http://www.mykitaab.in/ I’ve enjoyed these instructive podcasts on writing/publishing. Episodes have included a number of Indian authors, but also Joanna Penn and Paul Brodie, who churns out a number of well-targeted ebooks.
  2. Though the title is a little deceptive, Consistency Will Make You Feel Like a Loser should give you a quick jolt of inspiration to hang in there.
  3. Daily sub-ten minute podcasts from https://sidehustleschool.com/ are not only interesting, but they are thought-provoking and inevitably spur a fair amount of ‘Gee, I wonder if…’ kind of thinking. This is one of Chris Guillebeau’s latest ventures. He’s currently in Amsterdam, but will soon be back at work on the 2017 World Domination Summit in Portland, OR this July.