Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Let’s Be Bored!

Just to clarify, today’s re-blog is not a “message” to any of my friends who might have gotten a new phone—honestly, it was just the next one in my bookmarks :-)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

The first screens that bothered me were in minivans. Back around 1998 when an in-car VCR first was a thing I asked my mother, “But when will the kids be bored?” I remembered long family car rides from Florida to Canada and back every summer, staring out the window, making up games in my head about the dividing line, learning to read the map, playing Alphabet or Punchbuggy, counting cows. I remembered the year I decided–decided!–I would no longer get carsick from reading.

I’m sure big chunks of those rides were boring. And don’t get me started on my Dad smoking with the window cracked. But they were also where I developed some of the life of the mind. The ability to think and dream and plan and guess for hours at a time, unbounded by schedules or plans or classes or teams or “having something to do.”

As an…

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Writing ~ in Spite of Everything . . .

We live in “Interesting Times“… Writing ~ in Spite of Everything . . .

Humanity is going through trials and tribulations never before imagined by the human race…

Personally, I think all these disorders are becoming fearfully dangerous because humanity is purging itself of the ideas and systems that aren’t worthy of our new role as a Global Family—the ideas and systems that run on greed or privilege or pure egotism—things that favor a few and punish many…

I think it’s the last thrashings of systems and movements and entrenched beliefs that are “…lamentably defective…”.

Some writers are thriving in this atmosphere—using the chaos to fuel their stories…

Some writers are wilting on their literary vines…

Some are trying to write; but, so much negative is happening that they’re honestly swamped by feelings and thoughts that render them wordless…

Some are paralysed by doubt and fear…

Some, shamefully, are trying to make a buck off the backs of others’ sufferings…


The purpose of this post is to help you write ~ in spite of everything—even if your everything is just a constant rush of common mundane emergencies.

There was an article on Writer UnBoxed a few months ago that spelled-out methods to arm yourself against having your writing hijacked by “life”…

The article’s called, Survival Pack or How to Keep Writing No Matter What; and, I’ll now do my normal excerpting to encourage you to read the whole thing :-)

The article begins with:

“What if life never got in the way of writing? What if I told you there was a way to guarantee you’d always be able to write? (Even if you have ‘writer’s block’. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even on those days you can’t get out of your own way.)”

And, just before sharing a personal case study, the author says:

“…maybe you’re so far out of the writing life, so off your writing game you can’t imagine finding a way back to your work in progress.

“Or even to writing—at all.”

Then, a list of Survival Pack ideas is given (there are example life problems along with how the survival pack idea was applied…):

1. Plan Ahead. Look at your calendar a day or week in advance.

2. Create an optimal work environment—physical, emotional, and mental.

3. Predictable Problem—make a plan.

4. Disaster Planning—plan for the truly unexpected.

Don’t let the brevity of that list of Survival Pack ideas make you think there aren’t any powerfully effective techniques in this article…

The author continues with:

“Sometimes small fixes aren’t enough….Things are really tough—really tough—and the pressure is on. Writing is truly last on your mind (or maybe not on your mind at all).”

That’s followed by the author’s personal example of a time when her husband’s depression was affecting her writing.

This is not a light-weight article…

However, here’s the author’s deceptively simple summation:

“It’s all about choice. I can choose and you can choose, too. We can do this.”

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Finding Inspiration by Mike Lowery

Sure, today’s re-blog is from a guy who draws his stories; but, you can translate “draw” into “write” and, if nothing else, enjoy the illustrated guidelines :-)

Nerdy Book Club

Hello!  I’m Mike Lowery an illustrator and author who spends most of the day drawing bananas with faces on them, space stuff, robotic cats and a grumpy duck named Carl from my series of books, Doodle Adventures.

I’d like to talk to you a little bit about a little thing called “Inspiration.” People ask me all the time how I come up with my ideas for my books and comics, and I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  Inspiration doesn’t all of a sudden appear out of nowhere!  It’s not a magical thing that comes in through a window while you’re just sitting there sipping tea that plants an idea and makes you yell “aha!” at the top of your lungs.  I mean maybe that’s the way it for some folks, but not for me.

For me, ideas don’t just appear like that.  They’re a combination of…

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“Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”

I’m back from my psychospiritual sabbatical—got my ducks in a row and ready to start quacking… Actions Speak Louder Than Words


pondering on the title of this post, all I can do right now is give you words; though, as I write these words I’m performing an action…

Shall I change the title to Action Speaks Just as Loud as Words?


Leaving that psychological perplexity for possible future contemplation, I’ll forge ahead with a few links of posts I’ve done featuring Nilofer Merchant; then, look at a particular piece by her…

Writers Finding the Best Advice, Wherever It Might Be…

Do You Have To Give Something Up To Collaborate?

Revisiting The #SocialEra

All of those are full of inspiring ideas…

The particular article by Nilofer I want to feature today is, It’s What You Do That Defines You.

An excerpt that should get everyone thinking:

“How often I think of thanking the people who have been helpful. But then, I don’t act on it. Sometimes it’s because I feel like that might make that person uncomfortable (what if they think I’m asking them for something and the gratitude is just a setup?). Or, I worry I won’t find the right words, so then I’ll ‘do it wrong’ so better not to do it at all. Or, since I don’t know that person in real life, why does it actually matter that they know if little-old-me got value from their work?”

Perhaps you’re the kind of writer (or reader, or publisher) who notes and responds appropriately to every single person who helps you (whether they know they are or not), or shares with you, or comes to your rescue (whether they know they’re rescuing you or not…)…

Not many of us are that sort of person………

Nilofer’s example:

…there’s a writer I’ve never met. Yet this stranger had a huge impact on my work. By her putting her work out there for me to find, it really helped me to finish The Power of Onlyness.

“I found Theo Nester when surfing the web in December 2015…”

Nilofer goes on to describe how she surfed further and…

“…found a blog post and interview of Theo talking with author Cheryl Strayed. And from that interview and post, I wrote down what I learned in my journal: “writing requires trust; trust the words will find you, and you the words.”

As ever, I urge you to go read the full article; but, for the purpose of this post, I’ll end with these words from Nilofer:

“I share this publicly not knowing how to reach Theo, but also as a reminder to close that gap between intent and action because that’s how we manifest ourselves into being. Or, in the words of Batman, what matters is not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.”

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

When Words Fail to Come

A summer-time re-blog to keep you warm (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) that’s very well-written…

Live to Write - Write to Live

When words fail to comeLeo’s his usual, joyful, self – and very helpful when words fail to come.

What to do when words fail to come?

It happens sometimes. Yesterday morning, in fact.

I had a post due on Living In Place, and I didn’t have anything to say.

Worse, my brain was foggy, possibly due to the antihistamine I succumbed to the night before. Or maybe it’s my broken sleep cycle. I’ve been waking at 3:30 am and reading until daybreak, then getting on with my regular day. But I’m dragging.

I  lubricate my brain with coffee and head out with the dog for a walk, though I hardly have any forward momentum. Leo’s his usual, joyful self. I’m dull and cold, huddled in a hoodie and worried about how I’ll meet my deadline if I have nothing to say.

That this deadline is self-imposed makes no difference. When I started my…

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