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Things have been kind of busy around here what with the holidays coming up (Thanksgiving is already over!), the end of the year racing toward us, and lots of planning going on for noveling and coaching and classes.  I haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like for creative projects outside of novel outlining, but I know keeping my hand in the creative ring is really important for my general outlook on life.  So while I'm busy with a lot of in-my-head stuff right now, I've been making a point to do some photography.  Lucky for me, Mother Nature has really been helping out with this fantastic, constantly changing fairy ring right next to where I park my car at work.

Mushrooms 1

Mushrooms 2

Mushrooms 4

Mushrooms 5

Mushrooms 6

What about you?  What do you do when you are busy but want to keep your hand in the creative game?  Leave a note and let us know--we all like to add ideas to our stash.




August Challenges

I love August!  I have loved August since the first year I went to school (in the Chicago suburbs where I grew up, school starts in August rather than September).  There's always been so much promise in the start of a new year for me, kind of like in January, but for me I feel that new year vibe even stronger in the Fall.  I love new classes and subjects and schedules, all bursting with good new things to learn and try and practice.

I think my love of that back-to-school wave must have been seeping in even though I didn't realize it, because this week I signed up for three creative challenges for August--one for writing, one for journaling, one for photography.  I should find plenty of new things to try with these!

Writing: I'm signed up for DIY MFA's Conquer the Craft challenge, which is actually a 29-day challenge.  I'm going to use it in conjunction with a group I signed up for called My 500 Words that focuses on--I bet you know this one--writing 500 words a day.  After August I plan to do it only one weekdays/work days, but for August I'll use if for the 29 days of Conquer the Craft.  This might even fit in with my #Just10Minutes practice, at least on some days.  If I'm on a roll, I can write 500 words in 10 minutes, so I might try to push for it a few times just as an extra challenge.

Journaling: I'm also jumping back in on Lisa Sonora Beam's ROOT 30 Day Journal Project.  I sort of participated in January, but I was still heavily in a Lull phase and didn't get all the way through.

Photography: And finally I'm doing the Life in Black and White challenge. Thirty-one days of black-and-white photography.  Since getting a digital camera, and then an iPod Touch, I never shoot b & w anymore, and I used to love doing that with a film camera.  I'm looking forward to focusing on some photography plus getting back to black-and-white.  I even got two new apps for my Pod (Noir Pro and Hueless) to try out for the challenge.

So what about you?   Do you get the same kind of vibe I do when it's back-to-school time?  Any plans to start something new this August? Tell me all about your plans--I'd love to hear them!





Today I have the great pleasure of taking part in a blog hop to introduce Wild Woman Waking, a book of poetry by Morgan Dragonwillow with photos by Tui Snider. The thing is, that statement doesn't come close.  This book is filled with deep, heartful poems that reach straight into our hearts and minds, expressing so much that we all think and feel.  And the photos are exquisite and rich and visual poems all on their own.  And at the end?  "Recipe for a Poet." I think I might have the ingredients! I love that this book is born of a creative collaboration because I love creative connections. Read Morgan's words on the journey to this book, and then check out the other links in this blog hop. And don't forget to grab a copy of Wild Woman Waking for yourself! (Grab one in March and Morgan will donate $1 of royalties for Women's History Month.)

The story behind the book:

How We Met

Tui and I met online during #Relish11, a blogging challenge during December to reflect on the past year, facilitated by Rebecca Murphy. I was looking for something to blog about because I really didn’t have a clue. Tui had a post talking about the different blog challenges for Dec. 2011 and I found her when I either Googled #Relish11 or found her tweet about it, not sure which. I of course fell in love with her photos and style of writing and began chatting with her through comments on her blog and in turn she visited my blog and shared comments. She let me know about the #commenthour chat on Twitter (that is no longer available) and I happily joined in to chat with other bloggers and to share my blog.

Teaming up to Write

One such chat we began talking about our writing and how most of us had books that we wanted to write but I don’t think any of us were writing seriously. Julie Jordan Scott mentioned the Row80 group of writers and I joined up as well as Tui.

Tui and I had a natural way of getting along and seemed to have many things in common, such as our quirky and eccentric ways; of course our creativity and writing was at the core of our similarities and both of us not always believing in ourselves. We were natural cheerleaders for each other. Thankfully we teamed up and became writing buddies helping to keep each other motivated in our writing endeavors.

Deciding to collaborate on Wild Woman Waking

I love photography and especially artsy photography. In my first book, Dancing within Shadow, I created my own art and photos to go along with the poems. I had discovered another poetry book that shared poetry and photos together and I really liked the idea. That book was created through collaboration and I started thinking about who I would love to collaborate with. Of course Tui’s artsy photos came to mind and, thankfully, she agreed.

At first she was sending me photos for me to write poetry but before too long she decided she would rather I choose from all the photos in her instagram. Some of her photos I created poems for and some I matched up with the poems I already had until I felt there was a flow that made each more powerful together than apart.

Learning not to listen to the Critics

It is a shame that so many of us that like to create and write, whether poetry or novels, have a history of others telling us why it isn’t possible, or telling us that we just aren’t good enough. About a week ago I reached out to someone that I thought I had a lot in common with. It didn’t turn out well because she kept trying to tell me what I wrote wasn’t poetry, that it was written from the ego, that I needed to learn to connect in and write from the universe. I fell apart. I began doubting myself, even as friends told me that she didn’t know what she was talking about. They told me that my writing was beautiful and that it was her narrow idea of what poetry “should” be, as so often others want to tell you what your art “should” be. I know that I write what I am guided to write. I connect in to my muse, my higher self, and the Divine in many different ways. In fact I have made an art of it long before this person came along and tried to tell me my words weren’t poetry.

Let your light shine!

If someone in your life has told you that your writing/creating isn’t good enough, look at what they aren’t doing because they are too afraid to even try. Or do they themselves feel inadequate and have to push you down to pull themselves up? And then tell yourself it doesn’t matter what someone else says, it only matters how it feels when you are creating. Do you enjoy it? Do you feel connected to your muse when you are in that moment and inspiration is flowing? Then please keep going, keep creating, the world needs your creations.

Hopefully you will find that special person or persons (if you haven’t already) that will cheer you on and your creativity. Someone like Tui, Julie, Beth (both of them), and all of the other wonderful women in my life that cheer me on when I am doubting myself and that I cheer on when they need a little love and support for their wonderful gifts and talents.

About the creators:

Morgan Dragonwillow Head shot

Morgan Dragonwillow is a shadow poet and recovering perfectionist that strives to inspire other poets and writers. She especially enjoys helping those that have had trouble letting go of the fear holding back their words from landing on the page. It thrills her to her marrow when her words inspire someone to write; it is one of her greatest joys. Morgan released her first poetry book, Dancing within Shadow, in March 2013. She is intimate with shadow and dances into the heart of it. She believes that diving into what most people try to avoid makes great fertilizer for all types of creativity, especially writing and poetry. She writes poetry to be able to say things, feel things that she can’t seem to express or feel anywhere else. Morgan lives in Marietta Ga. with her partner, their Pekinese, and their long haired Tabby. She loves creating of all kinds but words are her passion. You can connect with Morgan from the links below:

Morgan Dragonwillow's Amazon author page
Morgan Dragonwillow's Shadow Poet & Author Page: Dancing where others fear to tread.
Facebook Author Page

sm-head-shot-tui Tui Snider is a writer, travel blogger, and photographer specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cultural traditions, and quirky travel destinations. Her articles and photos have appeared in BMIbaby, easyJet, Wizzit, Click, Ling, PlanetEye Traveler, iStopover, SkyEurope, and North Texas Farm and Ranch magazines, among others. She also wrote the shopping chapter for the “Time Out Naples: Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast 2010” travel guidebook. Unexpected Texas is her first book. For Tui, travel is a mindset. Her motto is "Even home is a travel destination," and she believes that "The world is only boring if you take everyone else's word for it." She has worn a lot of hats in her life - literally - and is especially fond of berets. Her first book, "Unexpected Texas" is a guide to offbeat and overlooked places within easy reach of the Dallas - Fort Worth region of North Texas. You can find Tui all around the web.  Feel free to say hi!

Tui Snider's Amazon author page
Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel blog
Facebook author page


Don't forget to check out the blog hop: And click here for prizes! We have prizes for you as a thank you for participating! Morgan will be giving away personal poems, soul messages (you can read one here), and paperback copies (which aren’t for sale yet) of Wild Woman Waking! The Winners will be announced on Monday, March 24th, 2014. Enter for your chance to win!a Rafflecopter giveaway