It’s The Journey That Matters

In Writing, as in all endeavors

It’s The Journey not The Destination

I know this is an old, cliché proverb. But, as with most forms of advice that have stood the test of time, there is a lot of truth in this statement.

It's The Journey That Matters

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

I spend a lot of time on social networking sites. I do this to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the two industries that I love dearly: publishing and photography. The three sites that I’m quite visible on are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. I have joined many writing and photography groups (on all of these sites) to help connect me with people who love these creative outlets as much as I do.

I’ve noticed something that has been on my mind.

Many of the people who post to these sites seem focused on the destination and not the journey. I call this, The American Idol Syndrome. In our modern (digital) fast paced world we’ve become accustomed to the idea of quick success.

People repeatedly post about subjects such as: How to get an agent, or, planning their book tour, when many times they haven’t even finished writing their first book, or, they’ve pumped out tons of books in an unreasonably short period.

The photograph, above, illustrates a point of success that you may want to think about. I recently had a small blurb appear in, Writer’s Digest Magazine. No, it wasn’t a story I had written. And, it wasn’t an author interview telling the world how great I am. It was just a simple blurb about the steps that I’ve taken to advance my writing career.

Was I paid for this? No.

Will it bring me an agent? I doubt it.

Do I consider this a huge success? Absolutely!

It is a small piece of writing, in a nationally recognized magazine, that has been around for as long as I can remember. Why do I see this as a success? First of all, it is a personal success. My name is in a magazine dedicated to a craft that I seek to become successful at. Secondly, many industry professionals read this magazine; it may help open a door for me down the line.

My point today is simply this. Consider slowing down. Consider fine-tuning your craft. Treat each story as if it were a golden crown, and you are crafting it to give it the King.

Due to the success that I have achieved in the publishing world, I get a lot of people asking me to read their stories and books. I can tell you without batting an eye that 99% of them are not commercially viable. And, it’s not because they’re not good ideas. It’s because they’re rushed. Some of these stories are almost unreadable. I believe this is a result of authors trying to “get it out there” before giving the book it’s due.

When, I read an author’s bio, and they proudly state that they’ve written twelve novels in under five years (just an example). I know what I’m looking at, and so does an agent, or, a publishing executive.

Embrace the concept that you might not get an agent this year. Consider the idea that you will write a perfectly crafted book BEFORE announcing to the world that this is the first in a twelve book series.

Embrace the Journey!

Enjoy the small steps and perhaps a leap forward will be just around the corner!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “The Time Machine”, by H.G. Wells.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

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Flash Fiction Writing Contest has Closed

Our Flash Fiction Writing Contest

has Closed… Now The Fun Begins.

Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Photograph by, thecrazyfilmgirl.

I want to thank everyone who entered. I know that you took specific time out of your life to write your stories: due to the specific theme in the guidelines.

I’ve had a chance to glance through the entries, and it looks like we’ll have a tough decision ahead of us.

The judging process will begin with each story being read by myself, and two other readers. We will score each story with a rating of 1 – 10.

Then the top 3 stories will be further analyzed by all three of us and rated a second time.

Flash Fiction Writing contest

Photograph by Christine Grabig.

The top two stories will then receive a review by me, and I will make the decision as to the First Place Winner.

Good Luck!

Watch for the publication of the winner on
August 19, 2013
and the runner-up on
August 26, 2013.

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Hopscotch”, by Julio Cortazar.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Get That Monkey Off Your Back

WRITER’S BLOCK

The mere utterance of these words can send chills down the spine of a wordsmith. It’s the equivalent to a professional baseball player going a hundred games without getting a hit, or a cartoonist that can’t think of anything to draw. It’s a momentary lapse of creativity; it stifles us and brings our output to a halt.

Writer’s block is nasty.

There has been many articles written on this subject, both online, and in print. I’m sure most of us could list techniques we’ve heard of on how to deal with this internal demon.

But today, I would like to offer you an alternative.

The End of Writer's Block

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

A solution you may not have heard of!
The Writer's Toolbox

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

It’s A Game!

And this is why I want to tell you about it.

  1. It works
  2. It’s fun
  3. It can be done individually or in a group session

This super cool product came to me in the form of an unexpected gift from (you guessed it) my wife. I have to tell you, I don’t generally have a problem with writer’s block, my problems lie more with time management and procrastination. But those issues are for another blog on another day. My wife bought me this gift just because it looked cool. And you know what? It does. It has a slick, fun to touch box; everything about the product is designed well and visually stimulating. I use it because it’s fun, and it has helped me develop some really fantastic story ideas.

Let me introduce you to – The Writer‘s Toolbox
Take a look at what’s inside.
The Toolbox Contents

Photography by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

The first thing you will want to do is peruse the guidebook. It talks about the elements of story. It gives detailed information about the tools that are included, and it outlines a number of stimulating games to unfreeze that frozen brain. There is so much information packed in there, it’s too much to cover in one blog.

So, what I’ve decided to do is pick one game, describe it to you, play the game myself, and share the results.

The First Sentence to the Last Straw game

There are three types of sticks included in the set. There is the, “FS”, First Sentence Stick, the, “NS”, Non Sequitur Stick, and the, “LS“, Last Straw Stick.

Sticks

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

You begin the game by drawing a, First Sentence Stick. Once you have your stick you have 3-6 minutes (I use six minutes) to write a piece of fiction that begins with the line on your stick. Here is my First Sentence Stick.

The FS Stick

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

This is what I wrote

There she was, Amy Gerstein, over by the pool, kissing my father. My heart sank, even though I knew that our shapely neighbor had subversive intentions, and it really wasn’t my dad’s fault as she had pinned him down with her bikini-clad bottom. But, my suspicions were well founded; because nobody can smell like lilacs every day of the year and be totally on the up and up.

I hid behind Dad’s new stainless steel grill, the one with the special tongs and flipper attachment, and clenched my fists. Old barbecue sauce stuck to my nose as I tilted my head to get a better view.

Dad appeared nervous.

Amy moved and sat down next to him; her long legs stretched out, gleaming orangey-brown in the afternoon sun.

I could hear Mom singing to herself in the kitchen behind me.

Amy’s a bitch, and I’m going to find out what she’s up to- no matter what it takes.

Amy laughed, and my father looked her way. His eyes grew wide, when he peered past the vixen and saw me hiding behind his prized possession.

Time is up!

Now, It’s time to draw a Non Sequitur Stick. The rules state that you must begin the next section of writing with the sentence on that stick. Once again, you have 3-6 minutes. It also states that once your time is up you can draw another NS Stick and keep writing in timed segments. For our purposes here, we will draw one stick.

The NS Stick

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

Here is where my NS Stick took me

Margaret had a habit of spitting. It began to get on my nerves. But, the moment she entered the backyard all that changed.

Margaret is my best friend; she has been for six years, ever since we entered the first grade. She’s a strange duck, no doubt about it. But, her peculiarity intrigues me.

I had no idea what was about to happen until she walked right up to Gerstein and placed her hands on her hips.

Oh, no! I thought.

I’ve witnessed my friend taking this posture on the playground.

Oh, no! I thought again. But this time it was followed by a serious giggle.

It happened right in front of my eyes. My best friend hawked up the nastiest snot-ball on the face of the planet, and she deposited it right on Amy Gerstein’s forehead, a little bit even sprayed across Amy’s stupidly large sunglasses.

I’m sure Gerstein’s bloodcurdling scream was heard for blocks.

My father jumped to his feet in an effort to do something, God knows what, because Gerstein had already sprinted for her house.

Margaret walked over to me, and I timidly left my hiding spot.

She smiled.

Time is up, again!

And Now… The Last Sentence Stick

The LS stick gives you a final line and you must move your story in the direction of whatever it says and complete your story arc. I usually include the line right into my story; it makes it more challenging for me.

Here is my LS Stick
The LS Stick

Photograph by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

This game is just one of many that are listed in the booklet. If you have writer friends, it would be an awesome party game. It doesn’t take long, and it’s really fun to see what everyone comes up with. If you’re interested in this superbly craft, awesomely designed, and super cool tool- click the link below.

The Writer’s Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the ‘Write’ Side of Your Brain

Everyone here at NovelNook.com wants you to succeed.

Writer’s Block can be debilitating. We hope you found this article fun and informative.

And when you finish your masterpiece, please submit it for review. We’d love to help you get published.

Wondering what happened with the story?

Click my Facebook link below, and I’ll provide a link to the entire story. While you’re on Facebook- Why don’t you connect with me by liking my Author page. I always try to inform and entertain.

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “The Stories of Eva Luna”, by Isabel Allende

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky