Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed

While attempting to declutter my office–to make room for more necessary things–I came across a box of cassette tapes of workshops given by some of my favorite authors.  There was a time when I did not get in my car unless I had a cassette to listen to while driving.  Times have certainly changed for me because now I get in my car for silence.  The beautiful, though temporary, silence.  That box of cassettes got me thinking about what else has changed for me as a writer.  I began writing in the early nineties–not that long ago, I know–but I work so very differently now.  See if you can relate to any of these obsolete activities.

  1. I knew librarians not only at my branch but other branches, too. I often asked for help locating material for a topic I was researching. (Well, I still know my local librarian’s names but they don’t point me in the same direction they once did).  Back then, the source for research usually started with one of the big sets of encyclopedias.  Now libraries don’t carry these bulky sets. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I typed on a typewriter that had ribbons that needed to be replaced when the ink ran dry. We were poor (which is why I had an old typewriter) so I always rewound the ribbon and gave it a second, sometimes third, life before I replaced it. Read fellow author Sheila Claydon’s experience about typing her first manuscript.
  1. I befriended the copy store staff. I even had an account because I made so many copies they gave me a discount. Don’t forget we didn’t have multifunction printers in our homes.  Copies of chapters for critique groups, contest entries, and manuscripts had to be made at a copy store.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I befriended post office staff. In those days manuscripts had to be mailed along with an SASE (self-addressed-stamped-envelope). The post office staff always inquired on what I was writing and mailing out, and I put one or two of them in my stories.
  1. Another thing I did was wait for the telephone to ring. Email wasn’t invented yet so writers either got a rejection letter by mail or an offer by telephone. This hopeful writer waited by the telephone, not the mailbox. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I never had to think about book promotion. This is a state I miss most about the early days of my writing career. I just focused on writing.  What a novel concept.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I had a drink. If a rejection letter did arrive I would have a cocktail such as a frothy, salt-rimmed margarita and I called a dear friend for moral support and to commiserate with. Oh, wait. I still do that.

Popular romance author Leigh Michaels shares the nostalgia of her first home office (clickhere).  How about you?  What has changed in your writing life since you first started writing?  Share in the comments below.

 

New Class For Writers!

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Kickstart Your Creative Writing Habit

Sep 11, 2017 to Oct 9, 2017

Is your creative writing lacking creativity? Are you too busy to make writing a habit? Or perhaps you’re on a roll and want to stay there. Wherever you are in your writing journey, this class will energize you and set you on a path for writing furiously and regularly. Every week students will receive inspiration for in-class writing exercises. You’ll learn techniques of craft and imagination to use immediately whether you write poetry, fiction, memoir, essays, songs, or blog posts. You’ll never again ask yourself, what do I write about? In this fun and motivating class you’ll end with plenty of new material, inspired and equipped to keep your creative fires burning.

Register online NOW!   click here

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  5 Mondays.

For More Information or to Register by Phone: (831) 475-6115

Instructor Bio:  Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker. Her published works include The Doctors Dilemma (Avalon Books), the nonfiction work Grant Writing 101: Everything You Need To Start Raising Funds Today (McGraw-Hill), and four other books. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies. Victoria is both writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. She has presented workshops on writing in the Bay Area; Chicago; Washington, DC; Vancouver, Canada; and New York.

New Workshops For Writers!

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Creative Non-Fiction: Writing That Matters

Apr 12, 2017 to May 3, 2017

Launch your writing career with a non-fiction book on a topic you’re passionate about. The basis of this course is the belief that writers can “make a difference” with their writing. Discover how to use the arsenal of tools and techniques to write creative non-fiction pieces with power, urgency, and clarity.  Students will learn how voice and theme impacts writing that matters.  Whether you write essays, articles, or books, this empowering class will guide you to create strong, inspiring prose on topics that matter to you.

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. 4 Wednesdays.

Any writers in the Santa Cruz Area will be interested in both of these workshops.

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Flash Fiction Writing Bootcamp

May 10, 2017 to May 31, 2017

Come learn how to create very short stories, also known as short shorts and flash or sudden fiction. Flash fiction stories have all the elements of fiction and have the power of their longer cousins to transform the reader. Discover tried-and-true techniques, look at great examples, and free your creativity to write your own flash pieces. For beginning writers or pros, this is a fun and motivating class that will help you improve your storytelling skills. Following a lecture each session, students will write new pieces based on the topics covered and prompts to get the creative juices flowing. You’ll also learn editing tips and opportunities for publishing your polished works.

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. 4 Wednesdays.

Instructor BioVictoria M. Johnson is a published author, poet, and filmmaker. She is the writer and director of four short films and two micro-documentaries. Avalon Books published Victoria’s fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, in 2011 (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). McGraw-Hill and General Publishing Group published her in non-fiction. In 2012 Victoria entered the indie publishing arena with a collection of romance short stories and in 2014 a how-to book on fiction writing techniques. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies.

Workshop: Social Media for Authors and Poets

Any writers and poets living in the Bay Area will be interested in this workshop

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Social Media for Authors and Poets

social media collage

Social media has become a crucial element for authors and poets in promotion and branding, finding opportunities, and fundraising. But those new to social media may not understand what platforms are best for them and what they can do once they are up and running. Some don’t understand the benefits of social media at all while others have opened accounts but don’t know what they’re doing there. This class will showcase a variety of social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, websites and more! Though the class focuses on writers and poets, all artists will benefit from this exciting workshop.

For more information or to register, click here.

Instructor: Victoria M. Johnson is a published author, poet, and filmmaker. She is the writer and director of four short films and two micro-documentaries. Avalon Books published Victoria’s fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, in 2011 (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). McGraw-Hill and General Publishing Group published her in non-fiction. In 2012 Victoria entered the indie publishing arena with a collection of romance short stories and in 2014 a how-to book on fiction writing techniques. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies.

Workshop: How To Write Your Novel In Two Weeks

Any writers living in the Bay Area will be interested in this workshop

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How To Write Your Novel In Two Weeks

LGSR WorkshopDiscover techniques to write fast and get your first draft written in two weeks.  Learn how to prepare for the two-week event, how to execute during the two weeks, and how to fine-tune your masterpiece.

For beginners or pros, this is an exciting and motivating workshop that will help you improve your storytelling skills.  Don’t waste years trying to get your novel written.  Learn secrets to avoiding writer’s block and write your novel once and for all!

For more information or to register, click here.

Instructor: Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker. She is the writer and director of four short films and two micro-documentaries. Avalon Books published Victoria’s fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, in 2011 (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). McGraw-Hill and General Publishing Group published her in non-fiction. In 2012 Victoria entered the indie publishing arena with a collection of romance short stories and in 2014 a how-to book on fiction writing techniques. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies.

Balancing Act for Writers

Do you ever feel like you are standing on an unsteady surface trying to balance what’s in your heart versus what’s in your brain? I know you do! I can’t be the only who feels this way sometimes. I believe this balancing act is especially tricky for writers because we deal with matters of the heart (emotions) in our writing and we also think (analyze and create) while we’re writing. Some of us have a demanding internal editor looking over our shoulder and we need to find ways to keep that editor away while we’re spilling our hearts out. I say, shake that editor off and keep going… keep writing. Who was it that said write with your heart and edit with your brain? I don’t remember, but these are wise words. They suggest a great way to keep your balance.

balancing act for writers by Victoria M. Johnson

Photo by John Salvino

I teach writing classes a few times throughout the year and one thing I impress upon my students is the idea of not censuring the muse and completely freeing their creativity. They accomplish this by giving themselves permission to write a crummy first draft. It takes practice but eventually they stop editing as they create. It’s a wonderful thing to get to that point and results in deep explorations, wonderful surprises, and more writing. Of course our first drafts need editing eventually, but the brain can work that out later. In your first drafts let the heart say what the heart wants to say. It’s a balancing act that we as writers can learn and enjoy rather than struggle with.

 

 

How To Write Your Novel In Two Weeks!

New Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Register online NOW!

How To Write Your Novel In Two Weeks! workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Register online NOW! 

SATURDAY, March 29, 2014

ONE DAY ONLY

Bio: Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker, both writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries, and she served as assistant director on a feature length horror film. Her published works include The Doctors Dilemma (Avalon Books), the nonfiction work Grant Writing 101 (McGraw-Hill), and a collection of short stories as an independent publisher. Her poetry, published this year, appears in the online journal, When Women Waken, and two print anthologies, Red Wheelbarrow and Song of Los Gatos. Victoria is an energetic speaker at workshops and conferences, and she hosts a blogtalk radio show.

Discover techniques to write fast and get your first draft written in two weeks.  Learn how to prepare for the two-week event, how to execute during the two weeks, and how to fine-tune your masterpiece.  For beginners or pros, this is an exciting and motivating workshop that will help you improve your storytelling skills.  Don’t waste years trying to get your novel written.  Learn secrets to avoiding writer’s block and write your novel once and for all! Registration is $64 and small materials fee.

What Will You Do With Your Ten Minutes?

When was the last time you did nothing?  Ah-ha.  You can’t remember that far back, can you?  Neither could I.  But one day I realized I’d been on this fast mode for so many years that I didn’t know how to slow down.  But if we’re to write creatively we need that down time.  We need to disconnect and enjoy the moment every once in awhile.  If your life is as hectic as mine, I know how difficult it is to truly take a break and live in the moment.  Taking a break sounds too simple a solution but it is the key to stress reduction and living a fulfilling life.  Try carving out a little time for yourself: for your writing, your imagination, and your well-being.  Just a few moments a day is a good start.  Did you know there are 1,440 minutes in a day?  Take ten for yourself.  Enjoy the sunshine.  Take a quick walk.  Admire a painting.  Or better yet, do nothing.  Just relax and clear your mind.  Since I started this practice I feel much more relaxed and more productive.  I hope you’ll try it.  Once you get into the habit of taking ten minutes off each day you’ll find many benefits.  You’ll gain a revitalized spirit with just a bit more energy for your writing.  In case you need more coaxing, here’s a wonderful poster with 50 great ideas for taking a break.  For a free printable copy of the poster below, visit author Karen Horneffer-Ginter’s Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit website. And here’s a great article, Living In The Moment, that includes tips for making every moment count.  The author suggests we’ll feel more gratitude and enjoyment of life.  I earnestly agree.  What will you do with your ten minutes?

What Will You Do With Your Ten Minutes? by Victoria M. Johnson

What Will You Do With Your Ten Minutes?