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Sunday
Oct262014

Healer, Heal Thyself! Writer, Write Thy Book!

I went to a new Meet-up this morning called Shut Up and Write! I find that as a writing coach, I am very good at telling my writers how and when to write or my authors how to get out their books, but as a writer, I am not very good at finding time to write my own 'stuff'. Reminds me of the sayings about those cobbler kids without shoes, or the doctor's kids who are always sick. Healer, heal thyself! I needed to get writing for myself.

So, I signed on to this Meet-up where we take 6 hours to WRITE... with no interruptions other than the occasional check-in for writing support. It's at a cafe where food and drink are right here so no excuses to get up and make some food. I can't do my laundry, surf the net or watch TV, do the dishes, play in my garden or any of the million of other little things I do (and tell my writers NOT to do!) to interrupt a consistent writing time.

We all introduced ourselves and mentioned a few things that seemed important to us at the time. One woman mentioned that the day before, she had locked herself into a stairwell in a large, downtown San Francisco building. She pounded and pounded on the door but slowly began to freak out as no one could hear her. Apparently, they were all listening to the World Series game and loudly cheering so pounding was to no avail. Eventually, a crowd of guys passed by and saw her behind the door and let her in.

At this point she was in a full blown panic attack, crying and probably thinking she'd die there. Although it seemed like hours to her, she said it was probably only 5 minutes. However, she became so caught up with the situation that she couldn't see her way out. One of the guys who 'rescued' her then pointed to another door and said she could have just come out that way because it was always unlocked.

I immediately saw the metaphor of her experience to writing (or life in general for that matter). How many times have you been stuck in your writing, pounding on the doors of writing paralysis and unable to break through? You start panicking, afraid that nothing will ever get written. You will never get out of your dark hole of frustration, crumpling up page after page and becoming more and more thwarted as the words fail to come and rescue you.

My advice? Just look for that unlocked door and step through. Stop, take a breath. Take a walk. Take a break. Read a book. But most importantly, just take a look around and see what's around you. If you can't think of anything to write about, open that unlocked door and write about the first thing you see behind that door. Don't get into that spot where panic takes hold and you become immobilized and forget to look for all those unlocked doors that are all around you all the time. Remember, YOU are in charge of your writing, not your situation.

And look at me! I've only been at this Writing Meet-up for a couple of hours and I've already written a few blog posts and am getting ready to continue on the next chapter of my first novel (how's that for opening doors...moving from all my previous non-fiction writing to fiction!) I had no idea about this blog before the idea jumped into my head when listening to someone's story about being behind locked doors, but a door opened for me and I jumped through with words. Writer, write thy book!!

For those of you who would like more tips on how to deal with writing paralysis, or how to work with me 1 on 1 to get your ideas down on paper, please contact me and let's chat about what you need.

Saturday
Sep062014

Upcoming Writer's Workshop- 9/20/14

We are very excited to present a full day Writer's Workshop, (including food!), on September, 20, 2014. Plan to come out of the day with direction, confidence, and an outline for a book that you can use as a marketing tool for your business.

Don't think you need a writer's workshop? Think about the following questions and, if you can answer yes to any of these 4 questions, then we invite you to attend this one day Writer's Workshop!

1. Have you always wanted to write a book but didn't know where to start?

2. Have you heard a million times before that it is important to write as a marketing strategy for your business, but every time you start, you feel stuck?

3. Do you understand the importance for your business of being a published author, but have been overwhelmed just thinking about it?

4. Would you like guidance on how to transform that writing overwhelm to writing confidence?

For your investment, you get a full day of education, instruction, guided and free writing, plus food to keep your writing creativity stoked with fuel. The end-of-the-day goal will be for you to have a complete outline and definite direction on how to keep going in the days ahead on your book. Please come ready and willing to put pen to paper, (or hands to keyboard) as you will be challenged to take everything you wanted to write about and put it all in order as a book.

If you know you want to get a solid foundation down for your book and want to learn how to combat the overwhelm you feel every time you sit down to write something, then sign up at:

www.ourlittlebooks.com/writers-workshop.

If finances are limited, please contact us directly as we have a couple of scholarships available but please understand that space is limited as I want to give everyone the individual attention they need. We are almost full at this point, so this is something you should do NOW!

Monday
Jul282014

Upcoming Event- Free Webinar on August 5th, 4:30 pm PST!

 

We are very excited about our upcoming event on Tuesday, 8/5, where I will be talking about the most underused Marketing Strategy that businesses rarely use!

  • Do you passionately love what you do, yet feel that you're in a sea of credible people doing the same thing as you and you don't know how to stand out from the others?
  • Do you know that you deserve to earn more, and want a powerful strategy to help you do that?
  •  
  • Have you heard a million times before that it is important to write but every time you start, you feel stuck?

  • Would you like to learn a simple and effective marketing strategy to help your business grow and increase your reputation in the business community?

{You can sign up here}

Join us as I discuss the 5 most common (mistaken) beliefs business owners have when thinking about their marketing. Do you resonate with any of these?

  1. “I don't have anything valuable to say, so why would people want to listen to me?”
  2. “Everyone else does what I do, so why bother since I can't stand apart from anyone else.”
  3. “Social Media is marketing, so if I just spend more time on Facebook/Twitter, that will result in more revenue for my business.”
  4. “I don't have a story to tell. My life is so boring.”
  5. “I don't have enough time to write, and it takes so long to create new products.”

During the webinar, I will show you how this simple marketing strategy will increase your credibility and make you an expert in your field. We would love to have you have a 'virtual seat' in the webinar!

SIGN UP FOR THE WEBINAR HERE!

 

I am Candace Davenport, and I show speakers, coaches and other service based professionals how to take what they uniquely do and build it into a marketing strategy that builds instant credibility and an opportunity to have a greater visual presence both online and in person. I am currently the Publishing Consult and Writing Mentor with Our Little Books.

I honed my writing skills during my 30+ years as an attorney, writing thousands of Court briefs in support of my clients. I've also written two books, co-authored others, and ghost-written even more. In addition to numerous articles and blog posts, I am currently working on my next two books.

Since 2008, after co-founding Our Little Books, I've shepherded and mentored authors through the sometime daunting task of writing their books. I speak on writing and publishing, and during the school year, I mentor high school students as a writing coach. When not writing for myself or helping others write, my passion is capturing and banding migrating raptors.

 

Saturday
Jul052014

Beans and Writing Overwhelm- Is There a Connection?

I just brought in a handful of beans for dinner tonight. I live in a smallish apartment, on the second floor, so all my ‘gardening’ is done on my small balcony. Instead of having rows of beans, I have to plant each plant in its own pot, starting with good organic dirt mixed with my worm castings which provides wonderful organic fertilizer.

I get the worm castings from my box of worms I have up on the balcony as well, which I feed with all my food scraps, cardboard, and various other organic material. Although gardening on a small scale, I am able to get my hands into dirt, plant either a seed or seedling, and the soul-enriching chance to watch what I started grow into a plant that provides me with food whose trimmings then go back to feeding my worms. A truly life satisfying cycle. 

Someone said to me that all that seemed to be a whole lot of work for such a little reward, picking just a handful of beans maybe only 3-4 times a season. While others are bringing bags of extra zucchini and tomatoes to share with their friends (a VERY good thing, I might add as I was one of those people when I owned my home with a huge organic garden!), I am happily content with what I produce given the space/time available. The difference is just size. I still get to play in the dirt. I still get to see my plants grow and I still get to produce wonderful food. I just do it on a smaller scale, and I don’t get overwhelmed as I used to keeping track of my previous large garden. 

The same can be said for writing. People look at writing as a huge task, expecting huge results. This can create what I call writing overwhelm, which then can result in just doing nothing! When I lived in my house with my huge garden, there were times when all the necessary digging, weeding, planting, watering and general tending created garden overwhelm where I ended up getting nothing done. But when I broke it down to weeding or watering one section, then doing another section the next day, it became completely manageable.

Think of writing as a small, balcony garden. Do a little at a time and keep at it. Slow and steady is what is going to bring big results. Set up a time to write, every day, even if only for 10 minutes. But keep at it. Plant your writing seed. If you can’t think of anything to write about, write about not being able to think of anything to write about. Or think of how beans and writing go together! Who would have thought that there was a connection. It is all there in your head. Just nurture it and allow it to come out in small, little bursts rather than getting into writing overwhelm. Keep at it and your ideas will grow into beautiful successes!

 

For those of you who would like more tips on how to deal with writing overwhelm, or how to work with me 1 on 1 to get your ideas down on paper, I am doing a free online webinar on August 5th, 2014, and I will discuss my four step process.

Wednesday
May072014

Guest Post Wednesday - How to Teach Special Needs Children to Read and Write

We are very pleased to have for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday, a post from author Tara Health. Tara is a journalist who writes about parents, children and education. Enjoy the post!

 

How To Teach Special Needs Children How to Read and Write

Teaching at any level, to any type of student, is not without its challenges. At times, teachers must modify their instructional strategies to make the material more understandable, more enjoyable or more accommodating. This can be particularly applicable when it comes to teaching special needs children to read and write.

With more and more schools incorporating the practice of inclusion, it is falling to a growing number of teachers to instruct special needs children. Fortunately, many are up to the task. Are you?

 

Roadblocks on the Path to Teaching Special Needs Children

While it can be challenging to instruct any student if they are bored or easily distracted, these challenges are magnified when it comes to special needs children. In many cases, these children are more easily frustrated and distracted. They might be given to emotional outbursts. They may lack coordination or memory skills.

Special needs children might also:

  • Be demanding
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Struggle with following directions
  • Have difficulties staying on one task for a long period of time

Learning to read and write can be difficult enough; to do so when faced with these types of obstacles can make the teaching and learning of these subjects more demanding. Try and come up with different strategies to help motivate the children you are working with and be sure to have fun.

Tricks of the Trade

Teaching special needs children how to read and write may take a different approach than what you're used to. But if you're like the vast majority of teachers, you simply want to see your students succeed, no matter what it takes.

With some creativity, patience and perseverance, your special needs students can learn how to read and write. Maybe not in the manner in which your other students will learn, and most likely not in a manner you even envisioned. But it will happen.

Here are some ideas you might consider when teaching special needs children how to read and write:

  • Use visual learning aids, such as flashcards or overhead projector displays
  • Break down material into smaller increments
  • Use speech-recognition software; it is helpful for children to see words spelled out as they speak
  • Encourage group work, as children can learn from their peers

It is also helpful to be repetitious. Going over and over the same material for a few minutes each day generally yields better results than teaching the material once or twice a week. Also, provide frequent progress reports. Special needs children can relate better between the material and their performance if they have more immediate feedback.

The Thrill of Victory

If it seems the deck is stacked against you, remember that there are several factors working in your favor when it comes to special needs children.

Many of these students tend to be curious, imaginative and often excited about learning. Of course, each student is different. But once you find the right approach for your particular student (or approaches for your particular students, as the case may be), you'll be amazed at the results.

In the end, you'll have your special needs children mastering two of the "three R's" of education: reading and writing. You, and they, will have overcome the challenges. Perhaps few other experiences can as adequately illustrate the joys of your chosen profession.

 

Tara Heath is a journalist who lives in Southern California. She has a passion for writing on topics such as parenting and education. In her earlier years she used to work in a special education classroom as an aid and learned so much from being in that atmosphere, the most important was to smile and have fun.