Posts Tagged "writing"

First retreat of 2017

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in Components of other posts | 0 comments

It’s funny that I started doing these last fall–near the end of the year, as the season started waning. It became a pivotal point of change for me. Spring often feels like that, but in more of a re-awakening sense. That was certainly the case this year. As my life has grown increasingly hectic over the last several years, this disconnect from society has become necessary for me. An escape into the forest of any kind is refreshing when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but a complete 24-hour unplug and hideaway seems to wipe the slate clean altogether. This spring in particular was an important time to unplug because I was about to embark on a crowdfunding journey for Mushroom and Anchovy, and I knew I’d need to take this time to gather the energy to see it through. I’m not going to say much about this one, as it’s already taken me nearly two months to get to this point. I went on my retreat during May 25th, 2017, and am now at the point that I’m looking toward the late September retreat already! But regardless, I worked on lots of different things, I wrote some new things and planned others. I gathered images that will be used for a project I began to flesh out at the last Retreat. I stayed in Chignecto North this time–again in an Otentik–in my attempt to squirrel myself away for a brief time. While I preferred Point Wolfe overall, I made some interesting travels and discoveries that wouldn’t have been possible had I not stayed in Chignecto. More on that later! I started my daylong journey as all May experiences should: by admiring the new growth and vegetation the world had managed to bring forth during the short window of time that is spring. My favourite discovery was the triad of burgundy trilliums I found on my way through the campground. I crossed the road and went to Chignecto South, having spent a lot of time travelling through that campground during my youth. I remember a summer with my now-husband, walking through those woods with him while we talked. I camped there with Girl Guides, and, two summers ago, went to a star-gazing event with my father in the picnic area there. I have a picture of myself with the staff of the Corn Crib in that same picnic area when I was pregnant with Amelia. Dad and I spent winters cross-country skiing in the backwoods when I was a child. Being in such close proximity to this campground seemed to call to me, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I found a lot more than I planned. I followed through a few side-paths and entered onto what looked to be a long-forgotten campground. I called it the Campground Graveyard. Too cool. Broken-down and destroyed water taps, picnic tables, and overgrown paths. And then… this little guy. He was so calm and docile that I thought he was dead. A gentle nudge proved otherwise. I got right up in his face and he didn’t even mind–it seemed he was about to shed his skin. After over 2 hours of journeying in this area, it was time to go back and have some supper. I built a fire and relaxed for a bit… after writing a few pages worth of notes, of course.   The next morning was pretty rainy, as late May tends to be, but I still had gotten a great experience out of it all. It gave me the opportunity to stay in and work on a couple of projects I’d been neglecting… some art projects, most namely. I’ve heard from a good friend of mine who’s doing her own Unicorn Cave-style retreat, and I sincerely am looking forward to the early fall, when I’ll embark on my next one. My husband believes these are so beneficial to me that I should be going on one a month–I’m hoping to get to that point, one day! Maybe quarterly will be a good bridge goal. Have you done any retreats like this, yourself? Are...

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The case for self-publishing

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

  Self-publishing is a bit of a polarizing topic. It does certainly have some shortcomings, but I feel that a lot of good writing gets overlooked due to its perceived stigma. I self-published my novella Hub City Survival six years ago. Would I have done things a little differently today? Absolutely–I don’t think anyone can say they didn’t make mistakes in their time, especially with a six-year gap in between. There are scenes I would have re-written altogether, there’s dialogue I would have scrapped and I certainly would hired someone to smash it down with a hammer. But I didn’t, and I’m okay with that. Here’s why: Hub City Survival wasn’t even supposed to get published. In fact, it just kind of popped out one day. I started writing it on DeviantArt and quickly gained a small following. It was a short project. As it gained popularity and reached its conclusion, I decided I wasn’t done with it, so I decided to compile it and sell it. Self-publishing Hub City Survival was never intended to be anything but a limited print run. But, luckily for me, it turned out to be a bit more than that. And, in fact, I keep telling myself I’ll do “one final order” of a batch of books… but every so often there’s a demand, and I end up ordering more! In the wake of the surprising amount of attention the novella got, I decided to try and gently nudge it in the direction of a few media outlets. One of these outlets was a small newspaper with a focus on independent music, local events, and some literature, so I figured I’d be a shoe-in–but I was surprised when I was met with “we don’t really do self-published books”. Of course, this is fine–they can write about whatever they please, and my book didn’t fit their criteria. But I found the focus on independent music and local arts contrasted with their rejection. Independent creators in other media were fine, but apparently writing can only be good if it’s pre-approved by an industry professional. If you post your stories online, nobody thinks twice. If you write a blog post, nobody thinks less of you. But when you decide to put them into print of your own volition? The conversation changes. For those of us whose ideas don’t direct toward a conventional reading audience, self-publishing is a viable option. For those of us who are niche writers, self-publishing is an excellent option. For those of us who don’t want their ideas to direct toward a specific audience, self-publishing is, arguably, the best option. And some people just like the freedom they’re allowed through self-publishing. Why is there such a difference between self-marketing written work versus other forms of craft or art? Please don’t get me wrong! I am extremely appreciative of all the reception Hub City Survival has gotten over the years, and I wouldn’t change anything–rejections included. These are merely questions I ask when I see the reactions when self-publishing is mentioned. I understand minor skepticism that surrounds self-publishing, especially when it comes to editing and re-writing. But, I also feel the self-publishing market has gotten a bad reputation, needlessly. My next book, Mushroom and Anchovy, is being crowdfunded through Inkshares which, essentially, is a self-publishing platform. If it reaches a certain amount of pre-orders, the book will be published through a professional publishing house, but I’m still the one directing the progress. I have developed an audience through Hub City Survival, which will help me with my campaign, and, in my opinion, can be a useful way for other writers to gauge interest in their projects. It is my hope that one day I will be able to professionally publish one of my books through a well-known house, but I don’t want to treat my little “misfit” projects like they’re inferior. They’re still projects I worked hard on and poured a lot of myself into. They still mean a lot to me. That’s Mushroom and Anchovy, that’s Hub City Survival. And that’s why they get self-published...

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Unicorn Cave Writer’s Retreat

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Components of other posts | 0 comments

When: Early autumn/spring, bi-annually Purpose: to re-center and re-ground, focus inward and gather energy and inspiration from nature for the year ahead. Where: anywhere hidden from public view. A cabin or tent in the woods is preferred. Schedule: there should be none. Here is a list of suggested activities: meditation, outdoors or in candle-burning or campfire building photography reading of inspirational materials, such as poetry or novels listening to music hiking or exploring writing, of course! Rules: there aren’t really any, but staying away from the internet and social media is highly recommended. Having a 24-hour phone ban (excluding emergencies) is also recommended. Why “Unicorn Cave”?: Unicorns are solitary creatures. Caves are for hiding away out of sight. The Unicorn Cave Writer’s Retreat is your own solitary oasis carved out of your daily life, to spend alone and in reflection, working on whatever you wish. It’s a gift to yourself. The nice thing about doing a solitary retreat is that you don’t have to limit what kind of writing you do. Work on whatever you want, be it one project or three. Start a new one, or contemplate a forgotten one. You can choose to work on nothing at all and simply gather inspiration. There’s no wrong way to do it. Time is not the focus. For this brief period, you are a unicorn: you are outside of time. Obligations do not exist outside of yourself. Make yourself your only obligation and revel in...

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