Category Archives: The Writer

Writing Tips

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How Do I Write?

How do I get the pen to write words across the page?

First Comes the Idea

  • I carry small notebooks with me.  I have one in my purse and one in the car.  I write any idea down as soon as it occurs to me.  Some times I carry index cards in a pocket for the same reason.
  • Don’t wait for a full blown idea.  Any snippet of information, jot it down.  It may be a funny phrase, or just a cute story someone told you.  A song lyric.  An unusual name.  WRITE IT DOWN.  Don’t worry about how you will use it, yet.
  • Reading quotes gives me ideas for stories.  A quote may remind me of a time in my life when I lived the words in that quote. A quote can give me an idea for a whole story.
  • Listen to music.  Songs inspire me to write.  They give me ideas.  They help me believe I can write.  I write stories in my head as I drive listening to music.

Then I Organize

Post it notes help me think!

  •  As soon as possible I transfer my ideas out of my small notebooks and put each snippet of an idea on a post it note.
  • I arrange these post it notes inside a file folder…just a plain file folder that opens flat.
  • When I sit down to write without an idea, I open up the file folder and pick a post it note with an idea.
  • Often if I am writing an article or story I can work in the ideas off several post it notes.  That’s why I like post it notes better than outlines.  I can just easily move the post its around and group them in different ways.
  • I don’t wait for the perfect opening or a fabulous ending to come to me, before I begin to write.  I usually start to write anywhere in the piece.  I almost always start in the middle.  A great opening or perfect ending will occur to me as I write, not while I’m staring at the wall.
Woman\'s hands on a notebook keyboard close up - typing  stock photo
  • I find that the more I write, the more ideas occur to me.  Writing leads to more writing.
  • Therefore I don’t allow a writer’s block to fester.  I just write.  If it means I have to write in a different genre for a while that’s OK.  If it means I throw out everything I write on a particular day, that’s OK too.  But writing leads to writing.  I just write.
  • Most important…I read.  Most writers learn to become good writers because they are prolific readers.
  • I’m involved in two writer’s groups.  We listen to each other’s work and make suggestions.  We encourage one another and share publishing ideas and experiences.
  • Get a first draft down.  Don’t be too picky. Lots of first drafts sound like sewage.
  •  You can make it sing in your rewrites.  But push forward to get the first draft down.  Then work your magic.

Happy Writing! 

The Coincidence

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Melody Beattie is a favorite author of mine. She doesn’t write novels. She writes nonfiction books that help me navigate through my days. Her pages always encourage and inspire me and give me new perspectives on the things that happen in my life.
I also admire Ms. Beattie because her first bestselling book was rejected by twenty publishers before it was finally published. I simply love stories about authors proving publishing companies wrong. Fortunately there are dozens of stories just like that to give aspiring authors hope. Did you know that Kathryn Stockett’s book The Help was rejected by sixty agents/publishers before it was finally accepted by one? You see, there is hope for all of us.
My personal two favorites of Melody Beattie’s books are titled The Language of Letting Go and More on the Language of Letting Go. (But all of her books are great.) Each of my two favorites contains daily readings that comprise a year’s worth of inspiring thoughts and suggestions. I’ve read both of these books several times. In fact I carry them in my car and read them at traffic lights. If you catch me reading, please don’t honk.
Ms. Beattie’s latest book is titled Making Miracles in Forty Days. Who wouldn’t want a miracle? I learned about the existence of the book by exploring on Amazon.com. I was intrigued by the title and have always been impressed with Melody’s advice. The paperback wasn’t even out yet, but they promised it by December 10th. In late October I decided to order the CD read aloud by Melody. How fun it was to finally hear her actual voice after only reading her words off a page for years.
Now here’s my secret. I’ve been following her suggestions in her miracle project for the past thirty days. I see you shaking your head and doubting my intelligence. I used to teach high school, so I’m used to people questioning my intelligence. But I am definitely NOT one of those gals who receives a pen pal type email offering good luck if you pass it along. I just hit the delete button and take my chances.
I must admit I feel sheepish even telling you this. I began on November 4th. It requires you to write out how you would like to change your life if you had a magic wand. You also write out your goals. Haven’t we all done that at one time or another? “So what?” I thought. But I did it.
She requires that you list things you are grateful for each day, first thing in the morning. I’ve listed my gratitudes before too, no big news there. However, she also insisted that we list the negative issues going on in our lives first, and claim in writing, that we are grateful for them. Is she nuts? By then I not only questioned my sanity, but hers as well. But what did I have to lose? No one would know. I felt like an idiot.

• I keep getting thicker in the middle. Joy to the world.
• I enjoy writing but no one seems to care. Woo-hoo! I’m grateful for that.
• I’m grateful for a pain I have in my neck…no, not a person….an actual pain. Love that pain.
• I am so thrilled that I received another rejection yesterday from an agent to whom I sent a manuscript. I   love receiving emails and letters that reject me. Just makes my day lovely.
Well, you get the idea. I felt completely absurd the entire time. Following your kind of “fake” gratitudes each day you may list the real things for which you are actually thankful. I like that part better. Melody demands you do this as soon as you wake up each day. She claims that is when we are most honest with ourselves. Later in the day we click on our denial skills and never even recognize our negative issues that bug us.
Well, there you have it my embarrassing confession. I have only a few days left before my forty days are up. So if you possess a miracle, send it my way.
There have been some baffling things I have noticed along the way. It seems like when I list a negative issue and ‘fake’ claim my gratitude for it, somehow it plants itself in my subconscious mind or something and my subconscious mind seems to work a little harder at resolving it. This takes no effort on my part. So I say, “Cool.”
In the beginning one of the issues I wrote that I would change if I could wave a magic wand, was to overcome my fear of technology enough to begin to blog. Agents and publishers insist that today’s authors blog, have a website and are active in social media. Blah. I wanted to do none of those things and had avoided them like being weighed in public. But here I am blogging and enjoying it. In less than a month I have received “likes” and positive comments from all over the world. I’ve discovered I enjoy writing humor pieces. Who knew? Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read any one of my pieces. I think you are pretty miraculous.
Just last week I received an email from someone in Seattle. I live in Cincinnati. For those of you who don’t live in the states, or are geographically challenged, these places are maybe 2,000 miles apart. Completely out of the blue this was an old friend contacting me and asking if I wanted to collaborate on writing an eBook. She is a person whose writing I have always admired and she was suggesting a topic I never thought I would write about. But it is a topic close to my heart. This other gal has a website, blog and is into social media. She suggested a coach she uses who could help me with the eBook process. This gal is someone I send a Christmas letter to once a year. We typically have no other contact throughout the year.
You know what? I’m going to do it. This sounds eerily like a miracle. Nah, couldn’t be. I don’t believe in that stuff. It’s obviously just a coincidence. But guess who is going to keep listing her challenges each morning and claiming that she is grateful for them?

Move Over David Letterman

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No, I don’t have a nationally broadcast program on television.  If I were a celebrity people would care about my thoughts.  Heck, people would beg for my views.  If I were famous (or even infamous) I’d have a publisher chasing me around waving a contract in his hand with a ghost writer close beside him.  If I were a Wall Street type who had embezzled millions, even my family could get rich writing about how terrible I am and how innocent they are.

But I’m none of those things.  I’m just a gal who likes to write.  I enjoy commenting on some of the inspiring things I see and some of the absurdities I notice, hopefully with a little humor thrown into the mix.

But just for today I’m going to pretend that I am David Letterman.  Stay with me now.  I don’t have a team of  humor writers or a camera on me though.   I just have my thoughts, my blog and my faithful readers.

 Dauna Easley’s Top Ten Things I Dread about the Holidays 

#10  Dragging all the tubs full of Christmas decorations up from the basement.

#9    Watching my bank account balance plummet.

#8   Stores that make me shop at midnight on the day I’ve prepared a family feast.

#7   Tangled Christmas lights, or worse, those that work just long enough to string them up.

#6   Greed.  People who are jealous of another person’s gift.

#5  Being in charge of decorating, baking, mailing, shopping, wrapping, and cooking.

#4  Begging and then arguing with family members about helping.

#3   Commercials that run 500 times per day for a toy every kid wants but is unavailable in stores.

#2  Impatient shoppers and rude store clerks.  Bah humbug.

AND….the number one reason I dread Christmas….is…

#1  Taking down the decorations and dragging all those tubs back to the basement after all the fun is over.

Now…lest I seem like a total Grinch…keep reading

Dauna Easley’s Top Ten things I Love about the Holidays

#10  Repeating any family tradition and marking things off my to-do list.

#9  Sitting around the fireplace eating peppermint ice cream.

#8  Attending children’s Christmas plays and concerts-the younger the kids the greater the fun.

#7  An early unexpected snowfall, especially on Christmas Eve or while shopping.

#6  Driving around and looking at Christmas lights with family.

#5  Seeing our outside decorations complete…the effort, groaning, and arguments involved forgotten.

#4  Listening to Christmas music while baking cookies with children.

#3  Knowing I have the perfect gift for anyone.  Watching their face as they open it.

#2  Remembering the reason for the season.  Filling up with peace and gratitude.

And…the number one thing I LOVE about the holidays….is

#1  The day after Christmas when all the work is done.

Confessions of a List…aholic

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Hi.  My name is Dauna; and I am a listaholic.   I make lists to organize my days.  That’s what I tell the world.  Frequently, however, I get carried away.  I’ve been known to write two or three things I’ve already done that day on the top of my list because I want “credit for them.”  Scrapbookers, who plan their vacations around the photo opportunities their destinations will provide, will understand this point of view.  It’s a disease.

I love scratching things off my list after I complete them.  It makes me feel powerful, valuable, and efficient… like Wonder Woman with a pen and a much bigger costume.

“What did you do today, honey?”

“Look, here’s my list.  See how looooong it is.”

Any time there is an article in a magazine about making lists I read it. Let’s be honest, I could write these articles.  I can visualize the list of bullets I could include in my article.  It would be a beautiful list about making lists. One wonderful suggestion they always write in these articles is to do the thing you dread the most, FIRST.  Great advice, but hard to execute.

For the past three days I have had the same most dreaded item (make a call about my health benefits) on my list.  Do you know how upsetting it is to have the same top dread on my list for three days in a row?  Paralyzing.  Failure is having everything crossed off your list at the end of the day while the one most distasteful item glares back at you.   Each day it peers back at you the stress builds.  It’s enough to give a listaholic nightmares.

I’m proud to announce I called about my health benefits today.  Ahhh.  What a relief.  (There’s a reason I didn’t write this article yesterday).  Tomorrow my list will be fresh.  No festering reruns.  That is really fortunate because with Thanksgiving only a week away my lists seem to be consuming steroids while I’m not looking.

But my conscience won’t be clear until I make one more confession.  What I’m writing now is my blog for tomorrow.  I will save it overnight.  When I get up tomorrow the first thing on my list will be “Write and post blog entry.”  I’ll hit one button and then cross it immediately off my list. Tomorrow is going to be a great day.