Valentine's Day Giveaway for Writers WINNER ANNOUNCED

AND THE WINNER IS....KATE ARMS-ROBERTS! Yay, Kate.  Please email me with your address and so we can discuss mechanics of sending me pages.

Okay, here's what you've been waiting for: the next writerly giveaway.  After the success of my Christmas giveways, I've been chomping at the bit to offer another one.  Enter Valentine's Day. (Which is a week and a day away, by the way.  Just reminding you.)

This writerly holiday prize is two part.  Ready?  Here you go:



1.  A Smash journal to keep your ideas in.  I have a blue one of these and it is fabulous, even though I think it is designed for teenagers.  (We're all young at heart here.)  Why is it so fabulous?  Because its got a perfect bound cover, but is spiral-bound inside.  And all the pages are different, so you don't get bored.  But here's the number one reason why it is so flippin' fabulous: because the pen that is attached to it is also a glue stick.  So you can paste things in as easily as you can write in the journal.  As I mentioned, I use it for my idea journal.  (The cool thing about idea journals is that if you gather ideas in them and then close the cover, they mate while you're not looking.)  Check out this link to the Smash journal page of Amazon to read more.


2.  A 25-page manuscript critique from me.  Doesn't matter what you're writing--a novel, a memoir, an article, a creative non-fiction piece or something else, I'll read it and critique it for  you. 

Good deal, huh?

So, by now you are wondering how to get yourself entered in this contest, no doubt.  Here's the skinny:  all you have to do is leave a comment below answering the question, what are you doing to celebrate Valentine's Day? 

Easy, huh?  You don't even have to confess anything about your writing.  Just tell us what your Valentine's Day plans are, (and if you don't have any that's okay, too, just write about that) and you'll be entered into the contest for the journal and the critique. 

Oh--by the way, check back here on the 15th, when I announce the winner, who I select at random by a random name generator site.   And, for the record, the folks who make Smash journals do not sponsor this contest.  It's just little ole me, cuz I love you guys soooooooo much.

Writing Contest Week Four

Calling this series of contests I'm running in December a writing contest is a bit like calling an ant a giant.  Or a common housecat a tiger.  Because, all you have to to win is write a comment.  One tiny little comment.  You don't have to write a story, or an essay, or an article, or a novel.  Just one wee comment!

Easy enough. Books

So are you ready for the announcement of this week's prize? 

It's a copy of the seminal book on creativity, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  I believe that everyone should have a copy of this book on their reference shelf and read it often.  In the book, first written in the 90s, Julia exploded many myths about creativity, offered a road map for uncovering your own, and in the process wrote the bible on the subject.  All these years later, it holds up.

Why the focus on creativity on a blog about writing?  Because, here's the deal: you can be the best flippin' writer in the world, but if you don't figure out techniques to sit your butt down in the chair and write, your words will never see the light of day.  For many writers, getting to the page is far and away the biggest battle they face. 

Which is why I write so often about motivation and inspiration on this blog.  And why I press The Artist's Way on anybody who has not read it.

On the off chance that you have a copy of the book on your shelf (good for you) I'll send you a gift certificate from Amazon for the amount of the book.

So, if you would like to win the book (or its equivalent gift certificate) answer this question in the comments:  what is your favorite writing or creativity book?

PS: The winner of last week's contest was Sandra Pawula, of the blog Always Well Within.  Sandra, contact me for info about the teleclass.


Writing Contest Week Three Winner Announced

Santa_noel_pere_269264_mIt is Friday, and time to announce the winner of the week three contest, which just so happens to be a spot in my Make Money Writing class which begins in January.

I've been trying to think of some brilliant ideas on winning to include in this post, but I fear that that word is now permanently linked to Charlie Sheen, and though he's dropped out of his news since his meltdown earlier this year, he really doesn't need more publicity.

My only thought on this contest is that I wish every single one of you who entered could win!  I do so appreciate each and every one of my readers.  But I ran the names of everyone who entered in the handy dandy random name selector and it came up with....

Are you ready?

Sandra Pawula from Always Well Within.

This makes me happy because Sandra said she really, really wanted to win!

Sandra, email me and I'll send you info about the class.

And, guys?  I've got a Merry Christmas email planned for tomorrow, so come on back by if you get a chance.  And don't forget that on Monday you'll have one last chance to win a December prize!


December Writing Contest Week Three

Everystockphoto_176620_mI like to call my little December promotion a writing contest, because, after all, you do have to write a comment to win.  But even if you wrote the crappiest comment in the world and the random selector chose you, I would give you the present.  So don't worry about composing the Great American Novel or anything.

Since this is week three, let's do a little recap.

The prize for week one was a Moleskine journal, and the winner was Nicole Wolverton.  (Nicole, I'm still waiting for your mailing address.)

The prize for week two was a set of disposable fountain pens, and the winner was Zan Marie Steadman (who should win prizes all the time simply on the basis of her name). CORRECTION: I have just been informed (see first comment) that it is Zan Marie Steadham, not Steadman.  Sorry, Zan Marie!  I still love your name!

There are two weeks left, but since this week is the week before Christmas (just a little reminder for you, in case you had forgotten), I'm giving away the big one, the Grand Kahuna, the mother of all prizes.


It is a free pass to my Make Money Writing class.  I'm not going to spend a lot of time hyping the class here, because this is about you guys, my wonderful readers, not me.  But you can read more about it on the class page, and let me just say this: people ask me all the time how to make money writing and this is my answer.

And by the way, should you be a non-writing civilian who has chanced upon this page, I'm feeling generous and gracious today, so if you leave a comment you can enter on behalf of a loved one.  Okay? Okay. 

Here's the question you need to answer in order to win (and remember, you're not being judged): If you could be guaranteed that anything you wrote made money, what would you choose to write?

I'll post the winner on Friday, Dec. 23rd, two days before Christmas, according to my calendar.  Don't thank me for the reminder, I like to be helpful.

***Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, and get your free copy of my ebook on creating a vision board for your book.  The form is to the right of this post.

The photo is of you writing and making money at it, and its by Zion, from Everystockphoto.

Writing Contest Winner Announced!

Okay, it wasn't exactly a writing contest, though you did have to write a comment.  But, somehow that headline sounded better than anything else I could come up with.  So, are you ready to know the winner?

Drum roll, please.....

Every time I hear that phrase I think of the scene in the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase has spent the whole day and half the night covering every inch of his house with Christmas lights.  The moment for the big reveal has come.  It is time to plug in the lights.  He gathers his entire family, parents, and in-laws, and kids included, and asks for a drum roll, with which his wife, Beverly D'Angelo (whatever happened to her?  I like her*) obliges him, rolling her tongue against her teeth.

And then nothing happens.  The lights don't work.

But don't worry, I'm not going to do that to you here.  And I've kept you waiting long enough.  So, once again, the winner of the contest for the Pilot fountain pens is.....

Zan Marie!


Just so you know I did this randomly and fairly and squarely, I used the random name generator at a site that, as far as I can tell, teachers use to choose their students.  Whatever it is used for, it is simple and it works great.

Zan Marie, email me with your home address so I can get you those pens.  And, by the way, Nicole Wolverton, you're my winner from last week.  I need  you to contact me so that I can send you the Moleskine journal.

And stay tuned!  Next Monday I'll be announcing another contest with a special gift for writers.  In the meantime, if you feel like chatting, how's your Christmas shopping going?  Are you done or just starting?

*According to YouTube, there's a new short film in the Vacation series coming out in February, with Chevy and Beverly.

**Don't forget to sign up for my free newsletter by filling in the form to the right.  You'll also receive a free ebook about creating a vision board for your book.


Writerly Gifts, Week Two

Last week, I gave away a journal in which to write your brilliant ideas, plots, character arcs and stories.  Now you need something with which to write those wonderful bits.  And so, behold: a set of disposable fountain pens.

51f+OBb5nmL._SL500_AA300_I love these pens.  They have the feel of a fine fountain pen, yet you don't have to keep stopping to refill them.  They don't blot as regular fountain pens sometimes do.  They make a grand subtle scratching noise as you write, reminding you that you are, indeed, writing.  Since they are disposable, you don't have to worry about misplacing them, as I always do when using one of my good fountain pens. And, perhaps best of all, they come in colors.  There's nothing I love better in the world than pens in different colors (except maybe my new grandson.)

What I write with is as important as what I write on.  No garden variety ball point pens for me.  My pens have to feel right when I hold them, with a good heft in the hand (but not be too bulky, which makes them awkward to hold).  And the ink has to flow smoothly and well.  Which is why I tend to favor gel ink or fountain pens.

Eons ago, I read Natalie Goldberg's seminal book, Writing Down the Bones, and, at least in my memory, she mentioned disposable fountain pens.  Back in those days, you could buy them individually at the grocery store.  And I did, by the dozens.  But then my source disappeared and I was  bereft.  Suffering withdrawal symptoms, I was forced to put up with less elegant everyday pens. So I was  thrilled when I found this set of disposable fountain pens a couple of years ago at the University of Oregon bookstore, when visiting friends in Eugene.  (Another reason the memory of finding those pens is so dear to me is that the friend I visited took her own life a year later.  Such is the power of emotion in our lives.)

And so now I offer a set to you.  Well, to one of you.  All you have to do is answer one of these questions in the comments section: is what you write with important to you?  If so, what is your favorite pen? (I'm always in the market for more selections.)

PS:  Last week's winner was Nicole Wolverton.  Nicole, email me so I can get your address.

PPS: I announce good things like this contest as well as classes and so forth on my newsletter.  To sign up for it, just fill out the form on the right.  You'll also get a copy of my super-duper Ebook about creating a vision board for your book or writing project.

Oh, and a final note:  I'm not in any way affiliated with the Pilot Pen company, I just like their products.  Except if they wanted to sponsor me so I could give away tons of their pens, I would not complain at all.

And The Winner Is....

Drum roll, please....

The winner of the first December giveaway is....

Nicole Wolverton!

Congratulations, Nicole.

Email ( me an address to which I can mail the Moleskine (it will be coming directly from Amazon).

Thanks for all of you who participated and be sure to check in next Monday for the new contest.

***I chose the names via a random name selector at this site.


A Month of Giveaways for Writers!

It's December, I'm in a holiday mood (my Christmas tree is already up and I'm in the process of finishing the decorating) so I've decided to give things away.  Not just once, but four times.

Here's how its going to work: on Monday, I'll announce the prize and ask a question related to writing.  You answer in the comments, and on Friday I'll randomly pick one of you to win the prize.  Please note: I'm not choosing you on the basis of the brilliance of your answers, so don't worry about that.  Just comment and you get a chance to win. (Also, all my commenters are brilliant and I adore and appreciate every one of you.)

A different prize will be announced every Monday in December, so come on back and check it out!

Okay, ready to find out what the first prize is going to be?  Drum roll, please.... Moleshine_lrg_journal

A Moleskine journal.  A Moleskine Classic Ruled Large notebook, to be precise.

I love Moleskine journals.  The paper is smooth and easy to write on, the basic size is easy to transport and you can manipulate the spine in various ways so as to make it easy to balance on your knee and scrawl in, if need be.  (The drawback with many perfect-bound journals is that you can't turn the cover back on itself and sometimes writing in a book that only opens flat can be awkward.)

Also there's an iconic feeling to the Moleskine, perhaps because generations of authors and writers and artists have used them throughout the years.  Writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin.  Artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.

But, mostly I use Moleskines because I like them, plain and simple.  And when it comes to journals, you should use what you like, because if you do, you'll write in it more often. By the way, I've written a bit about journaling in this blog, and here are some of those posts:

The Writer's Notebook: Loving Moleskines

Journaling, One Path to Writing Abundance

Practical Considerations For Journal Writing

The Carry-Along Book

Okay, okay, here's the part you've been waiting for.  Just answer this question and you'll be entered into the contest to win a Moleskine:  Do you write in a journal regularly? Does it inspire your creative writing?  (Yeah, I know, two questions.  Consider it a Christmas bonus. Answer one or the other or both.)

Catch you back here Friday when I'll announce the winner!

(Also, please note, I have nothing to do with Moleskine, I just love their products.  They are not sponoring this giveaway, I'm doing it all by my little old self.)