“You like me. You REALLY like me.”

It’s a major award!

~ Mr. Parker from A Christmas Story

I have been presented with my first blogger award EV-er! And I love the title of award: The Circle of Friends. That’s one thing I truly enjoy about blogging – the creation of a circle of friends, most of whom we meet in the blog-o-sphere. And these friends are often very different from our “reality” buddies – our neighbors, our colleagues, etc. This circle of friends like to reflect, write, and comment about lots ‘o stuff that is ofttimes of little interest to your face-2-face friends. My family, including my husband, rarely reads my blogs – any of them. Sometimes I “force-read” a post to the big guy, but most of the time I don’t. Sniff, sniff.

My colleague/friend/blogger buddy Amy Jo Lavin at Ramblings of a Novice Writer presented me with the much appreciated award. She is seriously amazing. She has written 1 1/2 novels; she hosts a blog that is fun to read, and she even issues challenges and hosts contests; plus she teaches school and mothers little boys – her own! Now my job is to present this award to 5 more bloggers, and so here are the recipients I have chosen:

I visit these blogs often, and all the creators have either responded on my blog or replied to my comments on their blogs. These women are talented. They represent a range of ages from youngsters to oldsters. But they all love writing, and I love what they bring to my life. Visit their sites and see for yourself!

“One is the loneliest number you’ll ever do.”

“The writing profession is reeking with this loneliness. All our lives we spend in discoursing with ourselves. . . .”

~ quoted by Fred Hobson in Mencken: A Life, Random House, 1994

Today was the second day of WIFYR workshop. Other than missing my exit because I was thinking of a better lead for a new story thus making me late, the day has been an improvement over the first one. Okay, I knew this going in, but writing is NO LONGER a lonely affair. I kinda wish it was because I could live in a world where I don’t know there are SO MANY aspiring authors! Nor would I know how GOOD those writers are. Nevertheless, what I am gaining from all the experts and NON-experts, I could NOT teach myself.  

Let me tell you that this workshop is organized-PLUS; thus maximizing opportunities to learn.  The day is set up like this:

  • Mornings: Work with Cheri Pray Earl and Rick Walton, two published authors and writing instructors at Brigham Young University and 20 peers who crack me up! (That’s because Cheri and Rick introduced us to SASS that first day!)
  • Afternoons:
    • Plenary Presenters – Authors, editors, agents share tips and ideas. SO helpful! (By the way, PLENARY was a new word to me. I think it is a very cool word. It means, “fully attended or constituted by all entitled to be present.”)
    • Break-out sessions – Participants choose an author, editor, or agents or a panel of these folks who address various topics, concerns, and questions. Very informative.


While I knew this workshop provided support for writers, I am still amazed at the amount of sharing, consulting, suggesting, listening, encouraging, inspiring, informing that takes place. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I know authors buddied up in days gone by, but I think that was AFTER writers published. I picture Hemingway partying in Paris with Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald or Carl Sandburg talking shop with Theodore Dreiser and Sherwood Anderson. But who did they brainstorm ideas with BEFORE their break? Who did they chat with when their plot lines flat-lined or their characters refused to develop? Maybe there were friends who provided what Hemingway or Fitzgerald needed over drinks, but I’m not sure that turned out in the long run.

Water was the only beverage we received at this confab. That only happened on the first day, and it was a mistake. So no potential authors need worry about ruining their lives because of booze provided by Writers and Illustrators for Young Readers Workshop. I know some were concerned when the conference moved from Brigham Young University to Salt Lake County, but don’t stress;  it’s still a dry environment.

Putting my drinking concerns aside, I found that one of the most helpful AND  scary activities is “work-shopping” participants’ writing. We read our papers while peers followed along. Next, writers listened to praise AND suggestions. It was all professional – civil even, and yet, my stomach clinched tighter and tighter as I watched my golden rod paper work its way to the top. Nervous as I was, I appreciated the feedback and think the suggestions strengthened my paper.

I was also inspired by reading the works of my fellow writers. WoW! What fine writing! Compelling and creative ideas that were fun to read. I also gleaned ideas from my colleagues’ comments to all the writers in the group. Sometimes a suggestion given to Amy or Jared applied to my work as well. I can’t tell you how beneficial this has been for me, and I want to soak up EVERY hint, idea, tip, suggestion,and critique I can. I really want to do this thing!

Wanted: ElderWriters/Bloggers

“I think it’s the kind of book most people are not interested in. Part of the interest is because I’m an old lady.”        

~ Helen H. Santmyer, author of … And the Ladies of the Club        

I need a writing support group, and so I went in search of some writers who blog. I know young colleagues and friends who want to write professionally just as I do. But the operative word here is YOUNG. While I very much enjoy reading their writing, and I can learn a lot from their experiences, I also want to find some people like me. Old.er.        

To find an “online” support group similar to the ones enjoyed by my young writer friends, I googled “older writers.” Maybe I didn’t search out enough pages because I only found topics ABOUT older writers: Who are better writers? Oldsters or Youngsters; growing discrimination against older writers because they aren’t attractive enough (I’m serious); contests for writers age 50+; how writing keeps the aged busy and staves off Alzheimer’s; etc. Kind of discouraging search results.       

Is this attractive enough for my book jacket?


That isn’t to say I haven’t found a little encouragement. Efrem Sigel – author, journalist, and editor – shares advice for older writers, including this tidbit:  “Older writers have less time in terms of years left, but they have a precious advantage: life experience.” Heartening? Well, sort of.        

I’ll keep looking. I know that people my age write because I’ve found their blogs. But there doesn’t seem to be MANY or ANY older aspiring writers who blog about writing. And who can blame them? I mean we only have so much energy, and if we expend it on posting blog entries versus writing pages for novels (like I am doing), we may meet the reaper before we ever publish!        

I am, however,  inspired by Helen Hooven Santmyer who published her best seller in 1982 at age 87. She was 69-years-old when she started … And the Ladies of the Club; and her second novel Farewell Summer was published 2 years after her death.        

I also realize many older writers do NOT embrace the Internet world like younger writers. Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winner and one of my favorite adolescent lit authors, still writes his novels in long hand. On her website, Maeve Binchy, an Irish writer I adore, writes, “I’m always happy to hear from you, but I’m not altogether confident with technology. If you’d like to write to me, you can send letters to me.”  (Is there anyone who still writes letter?)        

Nevertheless, I continue to search because I’d want to hear what my Baby Boomer generation has to say about their writing experiences, especially those who are neophytes in the write-to-publish world.         

If you have stumbled onto this blog and know of some writer/bloggers who are a little long in the tooth, could you please point me in the write right direction? (That error was purely Freudian!)