Jan Marquart, Author

Write On!

The Contest by Ben Easton

Posted on | April 8, 2015 | Comments Off on The Contest by Ben Easton

beneaston I’d like to introduce a very special writer. My friend and colleague Bennett Easton. Bennett writes with flare and dimension. His new book, The Contest, is extraordinary. With the summer approaching, this is a great book to take to the lake, beach, or park. Please check it out. http://www.amazon.com/Contest-Bennett-Easton/dp/1507653344/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428517602&sr=1-1&keywords=bennett+easton+the+contest

Bennett Easton is a former math teacher and software trainer who now works as a freelance writer in Austin, Texas. He pushes the envelope on political and social issues in the hopes of inspiring his readers and serving mankind. And an inspiration he is. You must read how The Contest came to fruition.
Ben’s story about how his new book, The Contest, came to be a reality:
I came up with the idea for The Contest while writing in my “morning pages,” part of The Artist’s Way regimen. I was already in mid-manuscript on another book, but when the novel turned into a memoir, and then back into a novel, I knew I needed clarity. If I were losing focus, my readers would no doubt follow suit!
I asked myself, “What would give people a reason to pay attention to a story about ideals – perhaps a cultural dialogue – for an extended period of time?” One answer came immediately: “Money … lots of money.” Okay … so I followed this thought up with another question: “What if a billionaire were to sponsor a global contest that focused attention on solutions to our biggest problems … sort of a showdown between Idealism and Pragmatism?”
For whatever reason, I moved on. This little nugget remained a one-paragraph entry in my journal … for almost four months. I would think about it occasionally, but I continued trying to breathe new life into the novel-memoir-novel-thing.
Eventually demoralized, I reached out to a trusted friend who knows a great deal more about writing than I do. He instructed me to take a legal pad and list every single asset in my author mind … everything from seed idea to outlined projects to largely completed. Within minutes, I wrote down a dozen ideas, and I handed him the list. He went through every item, asking me to expand on any that still inspired me. While the work-in-progress received only a mild 5 on his “enthusiasm” scale, he informed me that the global contest idea registered a 9. I was amazed.
A long discussion ensued, mostly centered around the guilt and fear that I imagined I would feel if I were to suddenly stop work on my manuscript in order to start again from scratch. After all, I had already invested one year on the damn thing! My friend convinced me, however, that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. “Stay true – follow your passion.”
The next day, I sifted through several months of journal entries and found the seed. I planted it, and The Contest is the result.
thecontest
Thank you Ben. I know my followers are going to love your book as much as I do. But what I am most impressed with is how you turned a simple writing practice exercise into a fabulous book. We all need to take this attitude into our writing and ‘make it happen.’
Keep the pen moving,
Until next time,
Jan

Dialogue

Posted on | January 21, 2015 | Comments Off on Dialogue

Have you ever gone to a restaurant or coffee house and overheard a conversation that drove you nuts or touched your soul or made you want to step in with advice? As a writer, what does that tell you? To me it says that if a conversation stirred me up that much that it is powerful enough to write out and maybe drop into a story.

I speak with many writers who have difficult getting dialogue succinct and with impact. But dialogues happen all around us. You don’t have to use every one you hear, but some are pearls just waiting to be plucked and valued.

So – go out there with journal in hand and start documenting dialogues for your next story.

Keep the pen moving!

Jan

author of 11 books

The Power of Poetry to Inspire Writing

Posted on | January 7, 2015 | Comments Off on The Power of Poetry to Inspire Writing

  Scott Hastie is a powerful poet. Each time I read his poems I get inspired to write. I know he will do the same for you. All writers must read to keep themselves on top of their writing mind. And don’t we just love how poetry inspires us to pick up our own pen! So, let me share Scott’s poem with you. I know you will enjoy it and you too just might spend the day writing as you get filled with wild enthusiasm.scotthastie

 

The Price of Wisdom

Posted on | December 18, 2014 | Comments Off on The Price of Wisdom

Jan2014I’m sure everyone has heard the maxim, Youth is wasted on the young. When I was young that sounded silly. Now, in my 60’s it makes so much sense. Just when we think we finally understand how life works and how much more there is to learn we wonder where all the years have gone. That is the price of wisdom isn’t it? One must actually live through a variety of experiences in order to learn the meaning and purpose of what being human is about.

When someone asks me about my life and I begin my story I am often asked how I got through it all, especially since I traveled my hard times alone often with harsh judgment and abandonment by those I thought would always be around when tough times hit. I’ve learned that everyone has his/her limits of compassion and the ability to give. I’ve learned that is okay. My life is mine and only mine so no one has to give help just because I need it. That philosophy has saved me tons of grief. It has allowed me to move on in a positive, hopeful, and easier way. But that is not to say I have denied any honest disappointment or confusion about which way I had to go next or why trusted people seemed untrustworthy. I simply took out my pen and wrote it all out. I wrote about my emotions, my thoughts, my expectations, my wishes, my plans, my resources, and what I could do to create an open door for the next step. Was it easy? Heck no! Was it desirable? Heck no! Was it necessary? Only if I wanted to live a life without letting anger and disasters destroy me.

Claiming my life and its separateness from others put matters into perspective. I truly didn’t want anyone not interested in being supportive to walk a difficult path with me anyway. This was most difficult because we all need help when faced with tragedy and difficulties. I felt thrown into a position to face creating my life alone and I wasn’t happy about it. But it was a powerful way to find my unique inner voice and I had to become my own companion and allow my inner sense to direct me to do what I had to and go where I had to in order to take care of my health.  Not all of this journey was desirable, in fact, in the last 15 years much of it was unwanted. Luckily, by writing my story day to day, whether in my journal or in books, articles, or poems for publication, I have witnessed the writing process save my life. I felt an inner power I didn’t fully feel before and it took over led me. As it turned out, that was better than the help I would have gotten from the people who turned away whose lives were a mess of their own.

I no longer keep my journals. I write and just as I cross days lived off my calendar, I shred my journals. I do not carry the past if there is a way to unload it except for the great wisdom I discovered. The price of wisdom is living difficult journeys, reflecting upon them, spending time knowing how your mind works so you can continue to create the life you want, and listening, listening intently to the power of the voice that lives within.

I recommend everyone write daily. Write for 30 minutes each day. Know your mind, face your emotions, study your actions, get the wisdom of what you really need to do for yourself because wisdom is all we use day to day when we need to make decisions and plans for the rest of our lives.

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and above all —

keep the pen moving.

Jan

CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

Meet Markie Madden and How Writing Helped Her Heal

Posted on | December 15, 2014 | Comments Off on Meet Markie Madden and How Writing Helped Her Heal

Hi all,

I want to introduce you to a woman who is difficult to forget. Her recovery through writing will amaze you. Please meet Markie Madden.

Markie Madden

 

I’m Markie Madden, author of three books and founder of Metamorph Publishing. I’m also a recent cancer survivor. I may have a rather unique view on this topic, as I was a writer before I was ill, and I continue with this endeavor to this day. So I have a perspective from both sides of the coin. This is not to say that there aren’t other authors out there who do as well, or those who were writers, but now, having gone through chemotherapy, aren’t sure if they can continue to write.

As a child, English was always my best subject, and I never expected that to change. Then again, I never expected to get cancer at the age of 37, either (who does?)! I had previously published one novel through Smashwords before chemo, so when cancer took me out of the traditional workforce, I turned back to my writing skills, only to find they were a little rusty! My brain doesn’t process as quickly as it did before, and my memory is much poorer.

Fortunately, there are many ways to help clear the brain fog and keep me focused on writing. One of the tools I’ve just begun using is Scrivener writing software. The organizing capabilities of this software are amazing, and it’s so helpful to have pesky little details such as character’s names, descriptions, settings, and so on so close at hand. It saves me from digging through a pile of PostIt notes!

I never used to outline or use notes when I wrote, besides the occasional idea of what may happen several chapters in the future; I was one of those blessed writers who could lay fingers to the keyboard. Now, I make sure that I have a little bit of an idea of what my next chapter will be about, even if it’s just a chapter title or a question to myself about what I want to do.

I always hated relying on the built-in spelling and grammar check on my word processor, only using it to identify words misspelled from typing too quickly. But now I keep a dictionary app on my phone close at hand (yes, there’s an app for that), because I often have trouble recalling what a specific word is, what it means or how to spell it, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary app will prompt me after just a few letters, enabling me to quickly identify a word and move on.

I’ve also set myself a schedule of sorts, like a “real” job, so I can effectively divide my time up between writing and marketing, and to keep me on track with both those important tasks. Also I’ve also found that it’s necessary to schedule in “days off” as well, to give myself a break. For anyone out there who wonders if they can still write “post-chemo”, I say, “Yes, you can!”

http://www.metamorphpublishing.com/

http://www.writermarkiemadden.blogspot.com/

Thanks Markie. I’m sure you have helped many of my readers. All the best to you.

Keep the pen moving – writing heals

Jan, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

Author of Write to Heal and 10 other books on this site.

 

Holiday Stress Got You Down?

Posted on | December 4, 2014 | Comments Off on Holiday Stress Got You Down?

Jan2014Oh that holiday stress. It can make you want to scream but don’t do that, write instead. Writing helps our minds to organize and sort out the important from the doesn’t matter categories. Writing out any internal conflict the holidays bring up can increase your sleep, put pep in your step, and best of all, increase your immune system. You know that headache or cold you always get this time of year, well, it’s possible not to get it. Just five to fifteen minutes of free-write writing in your day can be just the thing to keep you from running down the street screaming over holiday stress.

Enjoy your holiday season,

keep the pen moving

from

Jan Marquart, author, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

What If Your Mind Distracts You?

Posted on | November 18, 2014 | Comments Off on What If Your Mind Distracts You?

anduze2004Open your journal to write an idea or think about a plan and what happens? You can try to avoid it. You can try to get back on course. You can try and try and try again but the mind is insistent, right? When your mind distracts you as you try to write, don’t get annoyed, don’t give up, and don’t think your mind is working against you. What if you saw that your mind wanted to speak to you through your pen? What if you saw the distraction as your raw self trying to find a crack for your attention? What if you saw that your imagination was trying to get out of the mental prison you might have put it in? The mind has its own language. It is a subconscious one and it holds everything you every experienced, felt, and believed so trust that it has somewhere it wants to take you. Allow yourself to let that inner voice speak without censoring it and without trying to take control of it. Make your journal writing experience a time for free-writing and allow your mind to let its very structure to be uncovered, recovered, and acknowledged.

The next time you sit to write in your journal let your mind wander into the topic your mind wants to go, you just might be surprised to find that your mind had something imaginative or important to say. Sometimes the mind just waits for us to shut up, pay attention, and listen. Every writer I ever worked with was glad they finally shut up, paid attention, and listened.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan, LCSW, Author of 11 books, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

To inquire about Jan’s 6-week intensive writing course contact her at jan_marquart@yahoo.com

The Provocation of Journal Writing

Posted on | November 14, 2014 | Comments Off on The Provocation of Journal Writing

mindful final coversmallThe number of things you can write in a journal has no limits. During the course of a year my journals can contain, lists, plans, goals, dreams, lists of affirmations, pages of venting emotions, documentation of events, relationship issues, quotes from writers, financial goals, and time-lines for new books. I also work on poems, short stories, and essays. As long as I have a blank page I can find something to put on it. But the provocation of journal writing holds the most surprises. Whether I write fiction or non-fiction there is always room to go deeper and that’s where the provocation part comes in. As I read my entry, often aloud, I’ll circle the places that gives me an emotional reaction and then begin a new entry from that point. It never ceases to amaze me how much deeper I can go.

Normally when we write, we like to think first about what we want to write. But in journal writing it is important that you don’t let your mind control your pen; you let your pen express your mind. So once the pen hits the paper you don’t stop. You let your mind empty onto the page, even if it seems to be going in circles. Writing of this nature opens a different point of view and the results can be dramatically different and quite self-enlightening. Try it!

Keep the pen moving!

Jan, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

Writing Grief

Posted on | November 12, 2014 | Comments Off on Writing Grief

1256335_bwsmall.coverGrief isn’t  something people want to experience, read about, or remember. However, the problem with grief is that, try as we might, we cannot escape it or control losses from happening. Grief comes in all sizes, experiences, depths, and teaches us about impermanence. We don’t like it. We don’t like losing and we don’t like suffering from loss. Period! We want to keep things, people, and experiences we love, like, or want for always. Why write about grief? Why focus on it? Let’s just move on? Right? Wrong! Writing about grief not only helps the writer heal, find peace, and transform its pain into strength, but it helps the reader as well. Readers like following the healing path of others. Everyone of us walking around has unresolved or painful grief. Whether you lose a person, a belief (as in my book The Basket Weaver), or your body as you know it (as in my memoir The Breath of Dawn, a Journey of Everyday Blessings), grief is ever-present in our lives. It is important that we find a way to have a relationship with ourselves around our losses because that process allows us to continue to grow and move forward. breathofdawnsmall

Keep the pen moving!

Jan

CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

Kate’s Way

Posted on | November 8, 2014 | Comments Off on Kate’s Way

Kate'waysmall_3498926 Kate’s Way by Jan Marquart

Yes, this is my first novel and I’d like to share how this book came into existence. I had just finished a book by Elizabeth Berg, one of my favorite storytellers. I don’t remember which book provoked ideas for Kate’s Way; I only know that it was one of her books that gave me the impetus to start a novel too. I’ve them all. There are many benefits to reading all the books by an author. First, you get to watch an author grow in her skills. Second, you get to know the author’s mind and how they like to spin the web of their story.

For a writer, reading is an important tool. By reading we get our own ideas cultivated enough to write stories of our own. I no sooner finished the last page of her book when I raced to my computer, ideas running wild about love and the trials of a romantic relationship. Life can turn on a dime with a new idea, feeling of inspiration, or remembrance of something. Write your heart out as soon as you feel an urge to do it. Waiting for the ‘right’ time will make the thought disappear. Our minds give an idea for a brief second and then takes it away. I keep pads all over my home so when the thought hits I don’t have to search for paper and pen. This had proven to be invaluable. So read, read, read, and when a sentence, story line, or character brings to mind something powerful, write it out for all its worth.

Keep the pen moving!

Jan, author of 11 books (books can be ordered to the right of this page)

CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

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