How Art Journaling Can Improve Your Writing

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I keep an art journal...
...but I am a writer, not an artist.

some of my art journals
In my art journals, I use cut outs from magazines, different kinds of markers, crayons, and colored pencils, stamps, decorative tapes, and stencils. When I am feeling extra fancy, I use acrylic and watercolor paints, gel mediums, ink sprays, and glossy varnish.

Sometimes I start with an idea or theme in mind; sometimes I just squirt paint around and see what happens.

How does art journaling relate to writing, you ask?

1. On the most basic level: I often include writing on the art journal pages. This can be as simple as quotes or song lyrics or lists, or as elaborate as a full journal entry.

2. Art journaling is a much more visual medium than writing. I can see the layers of my creations. I can see when something doesn’t look the way I want it to. I paint or paste over it and try again. It’s not always that simple to see what isn’t working in my writing, but being aware of the process of creation helps me to break down my writing process so I can see it in layers, too.
3. Art journaling inspires ideas. Working in a visual medium taps into a part of the brain that isn’t used when just writing down words.
4. The creative and meditative process lets me get to know myself, which gives me self-confidence, which spills over into confidence in my writing. I love how art journalists are dedicated to stomping out the inner demon that tells you your work is no good.
5. Creating art is relaxing. When I write, I’m often writing because it’s my job, to make money. It has to be clear, concise, and professional. Other people are going to read it and judge it. Art journaling, though, is a safe space to explore, make mistakes, and learn. I don’t expect so much out of myself with making art because I don’t identify as an artist. But I try to take that relaxed, carefree attitude into my writing. It has helped me to remember that writing should be fun, too.

inside an art journal - Christmas ephemera

Interested in starting an art journal?

Below are links to some of my favorite artist bloggers who often provide examples of and tips on art journaling:

2015 Art Journaling Challenges

Project Life is an art journaling/scrapbooking challenge to get you creating something every week of the year to document your life. This could be a good place to start.

Or you could do something even simpler. For example, I got a new notebook and I am going to challenge myself to write in it at least twice a week, and incorporate visual elements into it at least once a week.

Good luck, have fun, and happy writing and journaling in the new year!

Written by Anne Greenawalt: writer and writing instructor
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Editor Etiquette

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Showing gratitude for hard-working writers is an important part of an editor's job.
One of the many ways I make a living in the publishing industry is to work as a contract editor for a bi-monthly parenting magazine. For this job, I wear hats of all types. I assign articles, write copy, edit articles once they are turned in, proofread the layout two to three times, assign photography, and write all photo captions. It’s a lot of work, and I have to be completely honest and admit that I sometimes have a hard time juggling the little details that keep the process running smoothly.

While at the gym the other day (why do I always get my best ideas while exercising?) the idea of “editor etiquette” came to me. As a freelance writer, there are certain qualities that keep me working with the same editors over and over. But on the flip side, am I the type of editor writers want to work with as well?

Each year, I make a list of professional writing goals for the coming year. This year, I also want to add a few goals to make myself a better magazine editor, such as these:

1. Confirm receipt of articles as soon as they hit my inbox. This might seem like a no-brainer, but I am guilty of receiving articles, immediately proofreading and saving them to the current issue folder and then moving on. There are times when I’ve had conscientious writers e-mail me a few days later asking if I had received their articles because they hadn’t heard from me. All it takes is a simple “Thank you!” reply e-mail to set a writer’s mind at ease.
2. Make your expectations clear. When I assign an article, I let the writer know what type of word count I’m looking for, whether it is a service article, essay, profile, or interview, how many and what type of sources are needed, and deadline. Also, if the publication you work for has a style guide, send a copy of it to the writer so he can format the article properly before turning it in to you.
3. Be appreciative. If a writer outlines an extensive article pitch, express your appreciation and follow through with an assignment. If you think a writer turned in a well-researched piece, let her know. If she turned it in well before deadline with everything you asked for and more, send her a special note of thanks. Small gestures go a long way when developing professional relationships.
4. Follow up appropriately. When you send an article assignment to a writer, don't assume he has accepted the piece until you get a response. These days, everyone has multiple e-mail addresses and freelance writers could be traveling or have your assignment hoisted by a spam filter. Don't wait until the production deadline to check in with a writer you haven't spoken to in weeks.
5. Stay on top of invoicing. Invoicing is one of those little details that can easily fall through the cracks for me. I am responsible for getting invoices from my writers, submitting them for payment once an issue has gone to press, and then following up if a writer doesn’t receive payment. Making sure you do everything in your power to make sure a writer gets paid in full and on time is probably one of the most professional courtesies you can extend.

All of the above might seem minor, but they can quickly add up to make you  come across as an organized editor who is always on the ball or a flaky one. As one of my colleagues said when I asked about editor etiquette on Facebook, “I think it’s important to let writers/art directors how much you appreciate what they do. I also think it’s wise to explain to writers exactly what you're looking for in a story.”

If you are an editor of any kind, what do you think are the most important qualities you can offer? And if you are a freelance writer, how do your editors go above and beyond the call of duty?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor of Little Ones Magazine. She also works as a blog tour manager for WOW! Women on Writing. Right now she is currently booking tours for children’s author Fiona Ingram’s book The Search for the Stone of Excalibur and Myrna J. Smith’s memoir God and Other Men: Religion, Romance, and the Search for Self-Love. Contact her at if you’re interested in hosting either of these two authors.
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The Public Diary

Monday, December 29, 2014
Buried in the back of my closet, a box sits, unopened for the past eight years. Inside,  a dozen or so bound books - diaries, if you will - from various points of my life. The first, a leatherbound tome that my godfather gave me when I graduated from college. I filled it with quotations and poems and frivolous stuff that, at the time, seemed so important.

One of the others is a book I began when I turned 40. I called it my happiness journal. That book became my therapist, my reason for not letting depression get the best of me.

Each of these journals is an interesting read from a certain point in my life. While some entries are generic, either in content or point I'm trying to make, and suitable for public eyes, other entries were written for my eyes only. And that gives me pause. What will happen in 50 years (yes, I'm going to live to age 100 - positive thinking), I'm not certain I want my daughters to read about my escapades.
Or perhaps I do.

That's got me thinking lately. In a time when most of us are on Facebook or Twitter or write blog posts, we're leaving a digital diary trail for anyone to read. Our autobiographical online journals/diaries are broadcast to a worldly audience, an intimate expression of self-disclosure.

I'll admit that I don't write in a physical diary as much as I used to, but I'm not sure if it's because after writing and editing newspaper stories all day, I'm tired and don't have the creativity to write at the end of the day or if it's because I'm using online versions more. A hundred years from now, will someone hold one of my diaries and use it as an educational tool about life during two different centuries and the hardships endured and joys encountered? That's difficult to do with a Facebook post.

One goal I plan to work on is keeping an updated, physical chronicle of what I find important. Diaries and journals play a key role when it comes to first-person research, a tool for self-discovery and a means of self-expression. A lot of times, that takes more than a 140-character snippet.

Do you keep a physical diary or journal?

by LuAnn Schindler

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Rediscover the Joy in Writing

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Are you one of those writers who sits down at the computer eager to get to work on chapter 4 or that rewrite of chapter 2? Many of us start out this way, excited to put our words down on paper, but over time we lose this joy.

Often this is because we start to equate our words with money. We no long write for enjoyment; we write to sell our work. Writing, editing and teaching pay my bills. Unfortunately, when I focus too much on this aspect, the writing process itself becomes much less fun.

How then should I go about rediscovering this joy?

The obvious answer is to write something that I don’t intend to sell. This could be anything from morning pages ala Julia Cameron to some kind of exercise or fun project. Here are 4 suggestions.

  1. Dear Author. If I’m writing fiction, I can start my day creating a letter written by main character to me. What is important to my character in this scene or chapter? What do I need to know that I am missing? This starts me thinking about the story, but doesn’t put me under the pressure of “getting it right.” Although this letter isn’t something I’ll submit, it does teach me about my character and my story.
  2. Haiku or free verse? In the past, I’ve started my day by writing poetry. Sometimes I locate a poetic form or poetry writing challenge on Poetic Asides (, the Writer’s Digest blog by editor Robert Brewer. Other times I pull a form out of In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit. At best, my poetry is pedestrian. At worst, it is dreadful, but that doesn’t matter if I’m just writing for fun.
  3. POV shift. I can also rewrite a scene from my manuscript using a different point of view character. If I’m working on a picture book, I rewrite the whole manuscript. Otherwise, I simply rewrite a scene. Sometimes I switch to the antagonist. Sometimes a secondary character. Sometimes I pick a character who didn’t even rate a name. When I’m doing this for fun, the quirkier the character’s take, the better.
  4. Marketless Musings. Think about that project you’ve been dying to work on but you are sure it won’t sell. Maybe it’s a dystopian novel or vampire love story – something editors no longer want. Maybe it is something that defies classification so the libraries and Amazon wouldn’t know how to categorize it. No worries. Write it anyway; write for the joy of placing your words down on the blank page.

Writing for fun is definitely different than writing for pay. Although it may never find an audience, it can help you rediscover the joy in writing, joy that will flow over into your other work.


Sue Bradford Edwards teaches our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next section starts on January 5th.

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Book Review of Christmas Clash by Dana Volney

Saturday, December 27, 2014
Book Review By Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

I was recently approached by friend and author Jennifer Snow. She asked if I’d be willing to judge her annual Snow Globe contest, a short story contest for Christmas themed works. I love Jennifer’s books and could hardly say no. I truly enjoyed the experience and felt so moved by one of the submissions that I practically begged Jennifer to allow me to write a review. I hope this review convinces you to check out Christmas Clash by Dana Volney. Whether you read this story before or after the holidays, you’ll be sure to love it! (I am excited to see who is announced as this years winner on January 1st! Winners will be announced here: )

Christmas Clash had me hooked from the very first pages. I loved the opening and the dialogue of the first paragraph; it really set the mood and foretold of the tension between main characters. The stiff dialogue in the beginning was perfect since the Candace and Luke were certainly not friendly toward one another. As the story developed and I learned more about the characters, I felt the interactions were believable and added to the authenticity of the relationship.

The overall plot of Christmas Clash kept me guessing. Just when I thought I knew how the story would unfold, I learned something new and wasn’t quite so sure where things would end up. The twists and turns of the story added to the excitement for me as a reader. The characters were well written and the dialogue as well as the setting really appealed to me. Christmas Clash is a fabulous holiday read but can certainly be enjoyable regardless of time of year.

Book Description: For the first time in her life, Candace Ellison is determined to stand on her own two feet. When the city council’s new convention center project threatens to demolish her new flower shop, Kiss from a Rose, she vows to win the fight without help from her wealthy and well-connected family.

But to keep her doors open, she’ll have to turn to an even unlikelier source—Luke Carrigan. Problem is she hasn’t been able to get along with the guy since that fateful day they met . . . back in kindergarten.

There’s more than building blocks and coloring books on the line now though. Luke’s recently inherited his family pub, and isn’t about to let the city put a wrecking ball through years of memories and tradition. This is his chance to show his family he can be more than just the fun-loving, favored son . . . except Luke’s not exactly singing “Jingle Bells” at having to strategize with spoiled Candace.
The only hope they have is in finding some common ground. Will this Christmas bring miracles or the destruction of everything these old rivals love?

Amazon Link

Product Details:
• File Size: 734 KB
• Print Length: 134 pages
• Publisher: Crimson Romance (November 3, 2014)
• Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
• Language: English

Author Bio:

Dana Volney lets her imagination roam free in Wyoming where she writes romances and helps local businesses succeed with her marketing consulting company. Surrounding herself with good friends, family, and boating on the lake whenever she can, she thrives on moments and memories created with loved ones, especially on sun filled days. That's when Wyoming's charm really sinks in. Dana is bold, adventurous and--by her own admission--good with plants, having kept a coral cactus alive for more than one year.

Find out more on

Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, three young children (Carmen 7, Andre 6, Breccan 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 200 Holsteins. The Otto family is expecting an addition with Delphine Elizabeth Otto in February 2015!
You can find Crystal blogging and reviewing books and all sorts of other stuff at: and keep up with her WOW! tours and blog posts at:
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Friday Speak Out!: You Oughtta Write a Book! (Part 1— Discover Your Style of Writing)

Friday, December 26, 2014
by Heather Heyford

If you want to write a book, it’s essential to understand where your natural style falls within the wider realm of literature. “What genre do you write in?” is one of the first questions asked when writers, editors and agents convene.

There’s a practical reason for being familiar with your style, too. You have to know which publishing houses and editors to target. It won’t do you much good to send your mystery manuscript to a romance publisher!

Literary fiction is character driven. It’s been described as distant, serious, often dark. It is slower paced, concerned with beautiful writing, and intellectual. Focused more on broad themes, such as human suffering, than on plot. Literary style encompasses the 3Rs: reflection, remembering, and reaction. Examples of literary fiction and its sweeping themes are:
The Great Gatsby — the quest for wealth, the American dream
Romeo and Juliet — star-crossed love leads to tragedy
Catcher in the Rye — alienation as a form of self-protection, the phoniness of the adult world, it’s painful to grow up.
In contrast, commercial fiction is considered to be plot-driven. It is pro-active, fast-paced, emotional, and personal. Usually broken down into genre (romance, thrillers, etc.). Examples of commercial fiction are:
Gone Girl — the wife in what appears to be the perfect couple disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary
The DaVinci Code — an ingenious code is thought to exist in the works of Leonardo DaVinci
Outlander — a WWII combat nurse falls into a standing stone and lands in 1743 Scotland
Mainstream fiction falls somewhere in the middle of literary and commercial. To go a step further, the type of contemporary, emotional, universally appealing, mainstream fiction that occasionally becomes a blockbuster is often referred to as high concept. High concept novels and films can be explained in a quick elevator pitch. For example, here’s a pitch for the high concept movie, Jurassic Park: What if we could build dinosaurs?

In preparation for bumping into a potential editor at a national writer’s conference, I pared my current 4-book series down to this: “The Napa Wine Heiresses is a series about the lives and loves of the daughters of the most notorious vintner in the Napa Valley.” I feel sure this exercise helped me get multiple offers from publishers.

Sometimes the entire premise of a high concept story is evident in the title:
Snakes on a Plane
Try distilling your idea into 1-3 sentences. Even if you have more of a literary bent, boiling your book down to its essence is a great exercise in clarifying what it is you are trying to say.

Whatever your style, good story transcends genre. To paraphrase literary agent and writing coach Donald Maass, the reason fiction exists is to use a stranger in strange circumstances to surprise us with ourselves. Personally, I aim for both powerful story and beautiful writing.

[In Part 2 of You Oughtta Write a Book, I’ll explain the myriad methods—print, digital, indie, and so on—by which you can consider publishing your book. And be sure to stay tuned for Part 3 — The Importance of Social Media in Helping Your Book Get “Found”.]

* * *
Heather Heyford is the author of Wine Heiresses Series: A Taste of Chardonnay,  A Taste of Merlot, A Taste of Sauvignon, and A Taste of Sake, from Kensington Publishing. She is represented by The Nancy Yost Literary Agency. Visit her at, and

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
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My Favorite Christmas Story: What's Yours?

Thursday, December 25, 2014
After debating what to write about today AND following an amazingly creative post from Jodi Webb yesterday, I came up with a simple idea: sharing my favorite Christmas story and why. Then asking you to share yours. (Okay, you know after you're done baking and opening presents and washing dishes and setting the table and last-minute cleaning and driving to the in-laws, etc. etc., you can take time to share your favorite story with us: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's--whatever you want!).

From the photo on this post, my favorite is obviously not a secret. I love How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. I love the book and the 30-minute animated special--not as crazy about the Jim Carey movie, but my daughter is. I love this book so much that when I had to plan a contemporary church service one year on Christmas Eve, I included a reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I really did.


After all, it's silly and short and for kids. Plus it features a disgusting green creature and his underfed dog. But the message is what that story is all about. I don't even have to explain it to you, but I tear up at these lines:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”

"And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew THREE sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches plus two."

Whatever your beliefs, the true meaning of the holiday season is generosity and love, hope and inspiration. I find that one of my favorite modern Christmas songs, "The Christmas Shoes" by New Song, sends the same message as The Grinch: stop the holiday bustle and get in the spirit, as hard as that is to do.

So, I know some of you love It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Others love the animated Rudolph and Santa Claus specials. Still, some look forward to Charlie Brown and his little tree every year. These are all great! But if I could only watch one, and let's face it--I'm supposed to be writing during all this holiday bustle--my choice is the big green guy.

What's yours?

Margo Dill, who teaches novel writing and writing for children, is the author of three books: Caught Between Two Curses (YA), Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg (MG), and Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies. These are available at all major retailers!  Find out more about Margo’s books, speaking, and teaching at  
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The Twelve Days of Writing

Wednesday, December 24, 2014
In keeping with the holiday spirit, I've taken a few liberties with that old favorite "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Is everyone ready?  Here's hoping we're all singing this song in 20015. One, two, three...sing!

On the twelfth day (week, month, year...) of writing, my WIP gave to me:

  • Twelve plot ideas percolating
  • Eleven character biographies
  • Ten months of researching
  • Nine eons of writing
  • Eight fights with writer's block
  • Seven beta readers reading
  • Six plot holes needing filling
  • Five l - o - n - g drafts
  • Four proposal letters getting rejected
  • Three full manuscripts requesting
  • Two publishing houses bidding
  • One freshly printed book with your name on the cover
One day off for merrymaking and then back to writing!

Merry Christmas!

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Favorite Hooks for Writing Articles

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

If you don't have a hook, try a carabiner.
Photo credit | EKHumphrey
I started researching an article a couple of weeks ago. Because it was due late last week and, in between holiday baking and shopping, I wrote a draft and revised it. Then I deleted the draft and rewrote it because I found a better image to use and draw the reader into and sometimes through the piece.
The image or idea I found could capture the reader’s attention and provide instant recognition (a popular celebrity), while providing a meaning to the piece (the celebrity’s questionable actions) that could illustrate a larger concept.

Normally I don’t start writing a piece until my research—interviews, news articles, books—uncovers something that stands out as the hook to draw the reader in. There are many approaches to take when looking for a way to draw a reader into an article. Here are a few of my favorites, which are techniques often used within fiction:

  • A detailed description of the article’s subject These beginnings always bring me directly into a piece because I start to visualize the person. If it’s not a person, the description of an object is incredibly useful. A recent example appears in “The Big Kill” by Elizabeth Kolbert, she describes an animal, which is a major focal point of the story. (The New Yorker, December 22 & 29, 2014)
  • A quotation or an unusual fact or figure What better way to introduce a fascinating topic? Give the key subject a starring role by providing a cogent quote in the opening. Finding an interesting or out of the ordinary piece of information can have your reader feeling enriched and educated on the topic. These often intrigue the readers and make them want more. Laura Jacobs, in “Balanchine’s Christmas Miracle” begins her Vanity Fair piece with an excerpt from a journal written in 1964.
  • Conflict — Nonfiction and news pieces often set up a David versus Goliath conflict in the early paragraphs. In American Queen, a book I’m currently reading for review, John Oller uses conflict well. He contrasts his subject—Kate Chase Sprague—with those in her orbit, which sets the stage for a chapter's action. (Oller also alternates with using detailed description.)
What draws you into a piece of writing? What do you try to do within your articles and writing to entice someone into the story?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her free guide,
Harmonizing: Find and Communicate to Your Audience, helps health and wellness professionals communicate with their potential clients.

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The Trick To Emptying the Inbox

Monday, December 22, 2014
The other day, I shared an online update: “For my next act, I shall make 331 emails…disappear!”

I was joking, of course, but there’s nothing funny about an over-stuffed, neglected inbox. I needed to take care of that situation, and unfortunately, my magic wand wasn’t quite up to the task. So I reached into my hat and pulled out good, old-fashioned prioritizing tricks.

I use two different accounts, one for business and another for…well, let’s call it “nonessential” business. (Getting separate email accounts is the first trick of the writer’s trade. I can go weeks without checking my other account and the only thing I’ve missed is 87 store coupons.)

But I still end up with lots of “somewhat” essential emails in the business account. I usually zip through those emails daily, but occasionally, I forget to delete them or file them properly. So first, I deal with the “somewhat essential” emails junking up the inbox. (Right off, I feel pretty productive!)

Now, I’m left with business emails, plus updates from writer blogs or newsletters.

The business emails from connections I recognize are not sitting around the inbox. ( No, sirree. I am on top of those emails.)

(Most of the time.)

But the other business emails, the ones from names I don’t know, might still be hanging about, waiting for attention. If they begin “Dear Writer…”, I stop reading. (Whee! I’m down to 297 emails!)

And now, I’m left with the blog notifications and newsletters, important tips and information that keep me on top of the trends and such in the writing business. I tend to leave these emails for reading when “time permits.”

Time, I’ve found, thinks that expression is hilarious. But I’ve also found that sweeping through the inbox emails while watching sports keeps me from throwing stuff at the TV when my team is losing. (See what I’ve done there? Multi-tasking is another trick of the cleaning-up-the-inbox trade.)

What I realized, writing this post, is that I catch up on blogs first, whether they’re writer friends or writing business. I think it’s because blogs tend to be more entertaining—and much shorter.

Which brings me to the newsletters—and a tip for those of you who send out a newsletter. I read the ones that are well-organized. And by “read”, I mean skim for the information I need and toss. The long and tedious newsletters tend to linger forever in my inbox, unread. And that, friends, brings me to the last hundred or so emails—and my final trick.

If I’m scrolling through the inbox and see an email that’s months old, I act like the song and let it go. If it were important, I wouldn’t keep skipping it, right?

And Abracadabra, y’all. The inbox is empty.

~Cathy C. Hall

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Do Your Private Journals Have an Audience?

Sunday, December 21, 2014
I got my first blank journal from my aunt when I was seven years old. My first entry is one page and documents a trip to a Penn State Football game and how my family tailgated and ate good food.

Not long after I wrote that, I walked into my aunt’s living room to find my 13-year-old cousin reading my journal entry out loud to his brother and mine, both about 10 years old. (This is the same cousin who spilled the beans about the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, although surprisingly not about Santa Claus.)

I remember feeling embarrassed that he read my unedited thoughts out loud to an unintended audience. And yet I stood in the doorway for a minute or two to hear the sound of my words coming from another’s voice.

I have continued to keep journals, but have not, apparently, gotten any better at hiding them. When I was a teenager, my mom seemed to know a little bit more about what I did and where I went and with whom than she should have. I remember scouring my old entries, looking for the evidence, trying to read the entries from her point of view.

One day in my late twenties, I came home from work, sat down at my desk, and bumped my knees on an open desk drawer, one I knew I had not left open, the one which housed my journal. When my boyfriend--who is now an ex--came over, I asked him how long he had been reading my journals. He shrugged. And here I thought he was just really intuitive about my thoughts and feelings.

So now I write my journal entries in digital documents that cannot be accessed without a password or really refined hacking skills. I need a space to myself. I use my journals as a form of meditation; as a place to brainstorm; a ranting room; a sanctuary. It makes me wonder, though, who IS my intended audience? I think I imagine and older--hopefully wiser--version of myself reading them someday. But with what purpose?

Writing digital journal entries in password-protected documents has its obvious perks—security, I can write more because I type faster than I hand write, I can add digital content like photos, web site links, videos—but it lacks something, too, and I’m not sure what it is. I keep contemplating returning to a paper journal. Perhaps I could buy a safe to keep it in.

I am curious what your experiences are with keeping journals. Have you had your journal privacy violated? If so, what, if anything, did you do about it? Or do you willingly share your journals with others? Who is your intended audience?  Is there any reason to keep your journals when you finish writing them? What do you plan to do with them?

Some great resources I frequently visit for journaling inspiration:

I am also a fan of art journaling, which helps my creative writing. I’ll discuss in a later post, so stay tuned!

Written by Anne Greenawalt, writer and writing instructor
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Why I Love My Job as a Blog Tour Manager

Saturday, December 20, 2014
© Freds| Dreamstime Stock Photos
About two years ago, I came across an ad that WOW! was looking for blog tour managers. Although I wasn’t really familiar with what a blog tour manager did at that time, the job description certainly appealed to me and I’ve always loved the positivity in the articles and blog posts I read here, so I put together a cover letter highlighting my qualifications and submitted my resume for review. I got the job, and after absorbing a wealth of information about how our tours run and the variety of packages we offer authors, was off and rolling.

If I’ve learned one thing over the years as a writer, it’s that in most cases, we can’t just rely on one income stream to keep us going. I started out working in public relations, meandered into a brief stint in media planning, eventually navigated my way into freelance writing and editing, and am now an aspiring children’s book writer. Every time I begin work on a new tour for an author, I am reminded of how all the little details that go into each launch also benefit me as a writer.

Working with other authors keeps me motivated. There’s nothing like watching another writer’s hard work pay off to keep me writing. Reading the promo copy, author’s bio, book, and researching blogs that are the perfect fit to host the author always provide me with an added dose of inspiration. I find myself itching to get back to my latest book revision and thinking, “When my book gets published, I’ll be sure to do X, Y, and Z when I go on a virtual tour.”

I’ve been exposed to some great books I probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon on my own. I’ll admit it—sometimes I get stuck in a rut when it comes to deciding on what book to read next. For the longest time I reached mostly for women’s fiction or young adult novels. With my job as a blog tour manager, I never run out of options, whether fantasy, dystopian, memoir, anthologies, or middle-grade children’s books, and it helps me to be a more well-rounded writer and editor.

I continue to hone my PR skills. As I mentioned before, I had a background in public relations before I started working as a blog tour manager, but I’ve been able to build upon those existing skills. Depending on what book is touring, I research blogs that cater to a variety of readers and discover some hidden gems I never knew were out there. I get quite a thrill out of finding a new blog I know will be perfect fit for an author’s book, getting a positive response from the blogger, and having an author write a blog post that resonates perfectly with the blog’s audience.

I’ve made some wonderful connections. Between the other blog tour managers and staff at WOW! Women on Writing, to the amazingly talented authors, book publishers, and creative and organized bloggers, my normally-introverted self has made connections I never could have made on my own. When you work from home, this can sometimes prove to be difficult, and I’m grateful for the connectivity with these people I have on a daily basis.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also works as a Blog Tour Manager for WOW! Women on Writing. Right now she is currently booking tours for children’s author Fiona Ingram’s book The Search for the Stone of Excalibur and Myrna J. Smith’s memoir God and Other Men: Religion, Romance, and the Search for Self-Love. Contact her at if you’re interested in hosting either of these two authors.
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