Tag Archives: writer

New from the HWP Poster Collection

Now available from HWP:

“If you have a pencil and a sheet of paper, you have everything you need.”

This poster is printed on 80# cover stock 12″ x 18″.

Shop here!


There is no defeat in NaNoWriMo!

As part of my NaNoWriMo ML duties, my CoML and I are posting thirty days of inspiration for our Valley Writers. I think maybe Day 19 goes beyond NanoWriMo. Perhaps other writers could benefit from a “No Defeat” zone as well.

Shenandoah Valley Daily Inspiration From Your MLs – Day 19:

I’ve noticed a trend these past few days. A word that keeps popping up here and there, catching the attention of all. Defeat. I ask you, what is all this talk of defeat?

Defeat is not an option in NaNoWriMo. Why? Because NaNoWriMo is not a war against some imaginary foe who can crush you by scheduling appointments, making your work overtime, or inviting relatives over for the weekend. It cannot beat you, take possession of your creative mind, or claim victory over your writing soul. It is a battle of words! Your own words! It is a personal commitment of heart, strength and perseverance. There is no defeat in putting yourself out there, for attempting what others only dream of, for putting words down on paper, no matter how many, no matter how few.

NaNoWriMo is about pushing through! It’s about the discipline, and a growing appreciation of the grind. If you do not settle for anything less than your best effort, you cannot be defeated! At the end of thirty days, should you not reach that magical, arbitrary number set by some brilliant guy who decided it would be a cool number to strive for, even then, you are not defeated. Because you did not quit, because you did not give up, because you did not abandon your words. In the end, if you fight your heart out in an attempt to reach the goal, if you lie exhausted on this imaginary field of battle, then you have achieved success and I will raise my glass to salute you.

Vince Lombardi once said “A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.” 

This area is now classified as a “No Defeat” zone! Go forth and conquer! Now go write something brilliant!Image

Flash Friday: NaNoWriMo Update

It’s that time of year again. Today is Day 4 of another exciting season of NaNoWriMo. For those unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month represents the one month out of the year where authors throw caution to the wind, break all the rules of writing, ignore their inner editors and just write to get the words down. The goal? 50,000 words, 30 days, 1 novel. Will it produce the next great American novel? Not necessarily, but who knows? Stranger things have happened. As an added bonus it gets all the uppity-ups and muckety-mucks of the writing and publishing world in a tizzy. But then these days so do shiny vampires, kid wizards and zombies.

For me it is an exercise in reckless literary abandon and a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Yes there are stumbling blocks, but more often than not, those blocks are followed by moments of brilliance that make me smile and push me forward. This season, my stumbling block hit me right out of the gate at 98 words when I accidentally killed off my main character. (I think she was trying to tell me something.) Fortunately, Day 2 delivered more caffeine and new inspiration. So here is my Flash Friday synopsis of the work in progress:

After killing off my main character within the first 98 words of what was to be a grim post apocolyptic piece, I changed directions and have begun writing what appears to be a young adult novel with a hint of a magical/fantasy element that has not yet been fully revealed to me. As I progress beyond the first 3000 words I am sure much will change but here is where we are now:

It began with a leaf blowing on the wind and landing on the windowsill of an unknown girl who introduced herself to me as one Miss Emilee Penderhaven the great, great granddaughter of Adolphus Penderhaven founder of the Penderhaven School for Unwanted Boys and Girls and author of Penderhaven Tales, a collection of dark bedtime stories read to very bad children. Emilee is a student of science who has both feet firmly planted on the ground, except when she is falling out windows or tripping up stairs. When a peculiar new professor arrives on campus, Emilee finds herself with a schedule change that takes her from the stainless steel, glass enclosed laboratories of the Penderhaven Science Department and lands her in the rich, dark, mysterious passageways of Penderhaven Hall, a castle like structure which houses the English Department and more than a few family secrets. Above the arched entrance of Penderhaven Hall Emilee encounters the Latin phrase, “ALIS GRAVE NIL, Nothing too heavy for those who have wings.” Where that will take her only the pen knows.

For those of you participating in NaNoWrimo this month, good luck to you!

Flash Friday: Breathe

Photo public domain gifted to the U.S. Library of Congress by Toni Frissell.


by Susan Warren Utley

my fear is gone
you know the one
where I forget to breathe
the heart is healing
one friend lost
another poised to leave

no regrets
no long goodbyes
in silence we will grieve
accept the loss
embrace the pain
remind yourself to breathe


Contribute to Flash Fridays
If you have a piece of flash fiction or poetry you would like to see featured in a future installment of Flash Friday on Creative Procrastination, please send your submissions using the submission form located here

Flash Friday: Necessary Cuts

Universal Studios (Boris Karloff/Frankenstein promotional photo) [Public domain]

Universal Studios Boris Karloff/Frankenstein promotional photo Public Domain

Necessary Cuts
by Susan Warren Utley

She held the weapon in her hand. Her victim lay motionless upon the table unable to defend itself. She began cautiously, poking and prodding, slow to commit to her actions. Her cuts were shallow and tentative; almost giving the impression she had not done this before. But then a smile emerged upon her face revealing a grim delight. Her cutting began to resemble the precision of a surgeon. Her dissection was deliberate. Red liquid oozed. Then something inside her seemed to snap as she feverishly began to slash and slice. Then, as with the tools of a seamstress, she pieced it back together with subtle stitching.

On the surface, the masterpiece bore little resemblance to the original but she knew at its heart was what the creator had intended but simply failed to execute. She also knew she would have questions to answer for. But then this is what they hired her to do. She was willing to make the necessary cuts to make it better, to make it stronger and to do so without killing it. It would live to tell the story and only she would have the ink upon her hands.

Contribute to Flash Fridays

If you have a piece of flash fiction you would like to see featured in a future installment of Flash Friday on Creative Procrastination, please send your submissions using the submission form located here

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