I spent a couple of post retirement years writing full time and I had a blast. 5 books on parenting and 4 of my first fiction series – The Witches Of The New Moon Beach later, I felt fulfilled. However, I never anticipated how quickly I would gain weight and at the same time stiffen up from lack of movement. Oh sure, my fingers were regularly flying across the keyboard but my butt remained stationary for hours on end.
All three years I focused my energies on my writing. During that time I religiously avoided visiting my bathroom scale until one day when my doctor asked me to “step on up” and I froze. Yikes, I had gained ten, twenty… uh oh more pounds! What had happened? After all, I wasn’t a total slug. I had actually taken an occasional yoga class or two.
I knew that I had to make a change so I altered my eating habits, upped my yoga classes and increased my walking time. I poured myself into my black stretch pants and promised to stay faithful to my yoga master and my new found routine.
But wait! My weight gain was not my moment of enlightenment; at least not the one I want to talk about today.
Almost anyone can do yoga and I am surely an example of that. Moving from Mountain Poses to Yoga Backbends has taken some time, but I have actually started to enjoy it. I find myself centered and calmer as I leave the studio and that certainly has helped me with my writing focus. It was during one of my recent yoga sessions that I had this revelation of which I now speak.
Here it is – Practicing yoga and writing a book have a lot in common. I truly believe that as a byproduct of my self imposed, yoga packed, body limbering routine, I simultaneously improved both my body and my writing abilities!
According to the latest YOGA Journal the three segments that every yoga class should have include a slow warm up, a recognized theme and a slow cool down. Hmm, sounds similar to the elements of writing an article, story or book.
Slow Warm Up– Just as a yoga master warms up their students through challenging stretches so do writers warm up their readers by introducing characters and locations to engage and stretch the imagination. While yoga teachers struggle to keep their students fully involved in their yoga practices – so do writers toil to keep readers connected to their story line. It’s important to mix up yoga poses and some sessions need to be more impactful than others. This is also true when writing a book. A good writer builds from scratch, keeping the action moving and creating momentum while making some passages more action packed than others. A solid warm up is critical to the success of yoga students and writers as they learn to stretch both body and mind.
Recognized Theme – While a yoga class may focus on leg stretches or balance enhancement a book must have an equally identifiable focus or theme. The writer must be able to clearly articulate a storyline. Whether completing a challenging yoga experience or typing the last words of a book, the benefits can be similar. Both can bring satisfaction -physical and mental.
Slow Cool Down – One can find a parallel between a yoga cool down session and the completion of a well written conclusion. A passionate yoga practitioner might expect to feel more limber, relaxed and properly aligned – both mentally and physically – upon completion of their workout. Upon creating a final passage, a writer could anticipate feeling mentally stretched, emotionally fulfilled and totally in tune with their thoughts. Of course, throughout the process, both activities can be potentially filled with frustration and challenge.
I found a couple of other similarities between yoga and writing. I have to work hard at both to achieve any success and neither come naturally to me. Upon completing a satisfying chapter or a fulfilling yoga class I experience a sense of calmness, mental clarity and satisfaction. Usually exhausted at the end of either, I quickly recharge. I am now fully committed to both as they bring me joy. And some of my best storyline twists and turns have actually come to me in the calm of my yoga studio.
Surely you too can add a bit of magic to your day. I would encourage anyone to take a yoga class and if your heart so desires – try writing. Over time, you are sure to find satisfaction in either or both. For me a side benefit is that the scale numbers are going down; something we can always talk about later.
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
You’ve been hearing about self-publishing for a long time now. You may have heard the stories of wild financial success, or stories of massive amounts of work with virtually no sales.
Perhaps you’re feeling a bit dazed about all the steps involved. Maybe you’re interested in becoming an indie author, but you’re confused about where to begin.
If this sounds familiar, you may not have decided yet whether this is the right path for you. No worries! There’s still plenty of time.
I’ve put together a 4-week class called Self-Publishing 101 for the Dazed and Confused. I’ll help you understand all the parts and pieces so you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right publishing option for you.
I’ll cover the kinds of business decisions you’ll need to make, and the kind of business tasks you’ll need to commit to as a new entrepreneur. You’ll learn about finding and hiring editors and cover designers, things you’ll need to do to build your audience and market your book, and the least complicated ways to make your book available at the major online retailers.
This isn’t a “how-to create and publish an ebook” class (I teach one of those, too!), but a “tell me more so I can make an informed decision” class. If you decide this is a direction you want to take, I’ll explain to you what your next steps are.
Self-Publishing 101 for the Dazed and Confused is sponsored by the RWA Kiss of Death chapter, and costs only USD$30 to attend – just $15 for Kiss of Death chapter members! The price will never be this low again, so sign up today.
The class will run April 4-29, 2017, as a Yahoo Groups email class – meaning you’ll get all the lessons as emails so you can participate on your own schedule. There will also be some live Q&A sessions in a video classroom, so you can ask all the questions you can think of in order to feel confident about whatever decision you choose.
The world is changing, and technology seems to be changing even faster. Some days, it’s a little scary wondering how we’re going to keep up. Don’t worry. You’ve got friends to help you through, one day at a time, and I’m one of them. I look forward to helping you decide if 2017 is the year you become an independent author, publishing your own books!
Kitty Bucholtz writes superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. After she earned her MA in Creative Writing, she decided to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher, forming Daydreamer Entertainment and self-publishing her first novel in 2011. The founder of WRITE NOW! Workshop, she loves to teach writing workshops online and in person.
One of the most enjoyable parts of researching a new book is when I get to travel to the location where the book is set. That’s the case with my latest release, Lily and the Gambler, a Western historical romance set in California’s Gold Country.
Western romance is popular again right now, but most of the books are set in other states, ones that are more associated with ranching, like Montana and Texas. In California, Western history means gold mining towns.
My husband and I toured California Gold Country twice some years ago and I fell in love with it. The area is best enjoyed by driving State Highway 49. We started at the southern end, in Mariposa, and drove north to Sacramento, and then Grass Valley and Nevada City, where my book is set Valley in September 1868. I recall scribbling descriptions of the scenery as we drove along.
She watched mile after mile of open spaces pass by, all bathed in brilliant sunlight. In the distance, clusters of dark green trees dotted a hillside, standing out in contrast to the lighter yellow-green of the grass. Wispy white clouds, without a hint of rain in them, streaked the sky, separating shades of blue ranging from pale turquoise to bright azure.
We made the trip twice, first strictly as a vacation, though I kept thinking how I’d like to set a book in the area. The second was a research trip for me, if not for my DH. At one point, he threatened to divorce me if I dragged him through one more mining museum!
A lot of the old Victorian homes have been turned into bed and breakfasts, and we took advantage of that to stay in some lovely old homes.
Interesting stops along the way include:
Sonora, a lovely little town that hosts the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. For the kid in all of us.
Columbia State Historic Park, the best preserved Gold Rush town.
Angels Camp, where Mark Twain heard a story on which he based his short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”
Placerville, formerly nicknamed Hangtown for the zeal of its law enforcement.
And my favorite, Grass Valley, a charming town with the attraction of having the wonderful Empire Mine State Historic Park, a fascinating glimpse into the lives of 19th century miners. I could see the rudimentary escalator they used to convey the miners down into the shafts, holding their lunch boxes, spherical tins that held tea in the bottom and a pasty on top. At the boarding houses, the cooks carved each miner’s initials into one end of the dough before baking them.
Grass Valley was especially interesting to me because of the large Cornish population in the 19th century. This area had deep gold veins that couldn’t be panned. The Cornish miners were encouraged to come because of their experience in the tin mines of Cornwall, which were petering out. To this day, the Cornish pasty is a local treat, and the city still celebrates a Cornish Christmas. I chose to make my heroine a Cornish lass looking for a respectable husband. Of course, she falls in love with a gambler.
If you’re up this way, do take a side trip to Sacramento, the state capital, with its charming Old Sacramento historic area, and the amazing California State Railroad Museum. This is one of my all-time favorite museums. It was fun to climb aboard the old trains and imagine a different time.
If Bob were still around, I’d be nagging him to take another drive north. After all the rain, the scenery should be gorgeous this spring, esp. when the poppies are in bloom.
by Linda McLaughlin
Blurb: Respectability is in the eye of the beholder, or so Lily hopes. After her lover’s death she pretends to be his widow and travels to California to marry a mine owner. Then she meets King Callaway, a charming gambler. King knows he’s found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to take a chance on a foot-loose card sharp? Only Lady Luck knows for sure…
Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history, so it’s only natural that she sets most of her books in the past. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O’Farrell. A native of Pittsburgh, she now lives in Orange County, California.