Your Writing: Make It Real

by Chris Stewart

(Warning: Some of you are going to hate these ideas. Too bad for you!)

So, we all write because we love writing, and if we were never published, we'd still do it because we have to. We can't do without it. Right? Right? (Hint: the correct answer is ‘yes.’)

Even so, it’s hard not to feel like one is falling behind. Not doing enough. Not publishing enough poems or attending the right conference or keeping to the right writing practice. Sometimes half of your brain is focusing on your writing, the other half is focusing on this go-go-go, more-more-more, better-better-better idea.

The latter half can really stifle the good things coming It's draining, isn't it? As long as you allow it to, it pulls away a percentage of your consciousness and energy that are always at work (uselessly, most of the time, I might add) on this problem, and could be better used elsewhere. your writing?

We've all heard about how we need to live in the present, how the present is where we create the future - by the seeds we sow today - the actions and thoughts and emotions we have this minute.

So how do we let go of this publication thing and enjoy life, send out our queries and not obsess about them, enjoy our writing, and also believe that, one day, we too will find our book on the Barnes & Noble remainder table?

It's pretty simple: pretend you're published. Pretend that you've got a book deal and your book is coming out one year from now. It's all signed and sealed. You can relax now. You've made it.

So, with that taken care of, what would you do with that year? How would you enjoy your life? What would you focus on? What would you write?

Something you've always wanted to, hopefully. Something that involves challenging yourself and/or taking a risk. Maybe a new form you're not so sure about - poetry if you're a prose writer. Playwriting. Screenwriting. Not what you think will sell but what you feel called to write.

Sit down right now and answer these two questions. Make a 'life' list and a 'writing' list. Then start at the top of each and do and write those things in 2010. Make it long or short, but don't just focus on the writing list, because what you do from the life list will energize your work. The two go hand in hand.

Extra credit: if you need a little help with the pretending your book is coming out, create the cover. Do it as a collage or do it in Photoshop or Word, or whatever you can manage. Pick your colors, font, cover art, publisher name, price, author photo, and even write some blurbs from writers you admire for the back.

Hell, add 'now a major motion picture starring______' if you want. Why not?

Then tack it up somewhere where you can see it every day.

And start planning your publication party, because I bet once you've relinquished your death grip on that desire, it will happen faster than you think.

Chris Stewart is program director for literary arts with the Maryland State Arts Council. A teacher/mentor of prose and poetry, she lives in Baltimore. Check out her new Sense and Sensibility-inspired project at


Novel May Be More Fact than Fiction

Anthony S. Policastro

I just received an email from Dirck Storm, who confirmed that journalist Vic Livingston from Philadelphia, has in fact been harassed by some of the technologies I mention in my novel, Dark End of the Spectrum.

What's intriguing about his email are the links at the end. One site has information I read about five years ago during the initial research for Dark End of the Spectrum about how the Russians turned a conventional microwave oven into a deadly weapon. I included this information in one of the chapters of the book where one of the main characters tells how his wife died of cancer caused by this heinous weapon.

While this information is eye opening, I used it in my book for dramatic purposes and sort of half believed it. Now, it appears it may have been true.

Here's Mr. Storm's email and make sure you read my earlier post about Vic Livingston and how he says he has lived and breathed the dark end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

"Dear Mr. Policastro,

I am writing to confirm that what Vic Livingston wrote to you about his having been thrown into what has sometimes been described as a virtual global prison, replete with its uniquely tormenting features, is unfortunately all too true.  I do not personally know Mr. Livingston, but my own experience of being harassed in every conceivable nonelectronic and electronic fashion -- in ways that are essentially deniable and impossible to prove -- for nearly two decades leaves me no other choice but to endure this evil and engage in whatever feeble efforts I can to help end this monstrosity.

Because of its extreme sophistication, its utterly opaque leadership, its devastating physical and financial effects on its targets, and its now global reach, the targets are typically left with nothing but mutual consolation and ineffectual appeals to the authorities for help, and that is if they are lucky enough to figure out that others around the world have been similarly inducted nonconsensually into this unprecedented program. 

Knowing how extremely difficult it must be for any nontarget to understand what, how, and why this is happening, I would only ask your forebearance and time sufficient to read a couple of the better overviews of this covert hell on Earth, obviously written by targets without the benefit of a full explanation by the directors of these outrageous but deniable violations of human rights: (a cogent summary of what's happening) (longer initial page, with many other pages for further info) (single long page with technology and relevant historical information)

Sincerely yours,
Dirck Storm"

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]