Tag Archives: writing

WOW Blog Stop: “From Promising to Published” by Melanie Faith

I’ve read many writing craft books over the years. What I like about this writing craft book is that besides many helpful chapters on topics such as writing your biography and whether to simultaneously submit, there are also unique chapters on areas of my writing life that I would have never thought about. It’s like talking to your writing bestie who tells you the tiny details that other people forget or don’t think are important.

Three chapter examples to show you what I mean:

  1. A little bit about personal space

Readers now expect you to share personal details about your life (and one should be juicy or quirky). This chapter helps you to prepare what feels safe to share. What don’t you mind becoming public property?

  1. A Boomerang of Support

Support your friends’ art. Buy their books, go to their readings, give reviews. Your goodwill will pay itself forward and multiply. By nurturing others’ art, other people, although not necessarily the same person whose art you nurtured, will nurture yours.

  1. Celebration Station

Set up rewards for every milestone of your writing life. Too many times we just focus on kaboom moments when we should also be focusing on accomplishments like writing a sloppy first draft. Focus as well on accomplishments like how far your writing skills have come.

Chapters have writing exercises at the end of them, so you can practice what you’ve read about.

Visit the WOW blog to learn more about Melanie Faith and to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book (enter by December 18).

I highly recommend “From Promising to Published” by Melanie Faith.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Don’t forget to make stops at the other blogs on the tour.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2022 Linda Schueler


Spending Time in Nature Enhances my Writing

I recently listened to a webinar (available until the end of November) in which Julia Zarankin, who wrote the book “Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder”, talked about how one of the benefits of her hobby of birdwatching was that she paid more attention to detail, which then enhanced her writing.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in nature lately as I am learning how to be a horticultural therapist. One thing I’ve been doing—through the encouragement of Shelagh at “Thrive with Nature”—is paying more attention to nature through different senses. We often rely on our visual sense, so we’ve been focussing on other senses, such as hearing, a week at a time.

This week has been the sense of touch. It’s interesting that a lot of people don’t touch the nature around them—including me—and I wonder why. I’ve been having fun with it this week.

Mushrooms—soft and spongy with a bit of the “ew” factor
Some sticky gum on some craggy bark
Bark beetle tracks—Tracing them is similar to doing a finger labyrinth

In paying attention to these other senses in nature, I have realized that I would like to pay more attention to these other senses in my writing.

These days with the decline of hugging people, maybe we should be hugging trees instead. I’ve always found it to be beneficial. The term “tree hugger” can be viewed as a negative label, but perhaps we should be revisiting that notion.

What do you think?

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, 2019

I have never been to the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival before, despite the close proximity of the event. This year I won tickets though, so it was the perfect opportunity to check it out.

Opening Night

The opening night was fabulous! Both Marina Endicott and Guy Gavriel Kay read excerpts from their latest novels. After Endicott read the key scene in her novel, “The Difference”, I wanted to rush right home and devour it. Alas, although I won that novel and GGK’s, “A Brightness Long Ago”, I have yet to achieve that goal. But soon enough!

Marina Endicott

Both writers were witty and engaging. I particularly enjoyed GGK’s answer to a question about writing process. He said that he doesn’t like giving writing advice, because writers are looking for a key. There is no key: everyone has their own way. Do you know whether or not a person has outlined a novel or not when you are reading it, he asked. That gave me a lot to think about.

Saturday Workshop

Marie-Louise Gay reading her latest book “Fern & Horn”

I participated in a “Writing for Children” workshop on Saturday. The facilitator was Marie-Louise Gay, who is most famous for the “Stella” series. Gay’s goal in the workshop was to help us see how children see the world. Gay said that she never puts messages in the books that she writes. Instead, she wants to promote the pleasure of reading and the discovery of things. She pointed out that in fact it is only adults who are interested in what message a book has, never the children. More to think about!


Eden Mills is a beautiful little town, and most of the festival’s venues are outdoors. Some are even held in residents’ backyards!

We stuck mainly to “Jenny’s Place”, which is the children’s area.

The first speaker we saw was Mireille Messier, who talked about her books that aren’t even out yet (but will be soon), “Treasure” and “Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War”. I was surprised when Messier told the audience that “Treasure” is entirely in dialogue. When I first started studying picture book writing, we were told that this was a big no no! Hmmmm…Perhaps the trend is changing.

Mireille Messier reading “Treasure”

We also got to listen to Kevin Sylvester, Jess Keating, and Eden Mills writer Janet Wilson. Sylvester entertained with his three drawing tips. Keating, whom I saw last year at “Telling Tales”, which is next week, did a wonderful science based talk with lots of audience participation. Wilson tugged at our hearts with her presentation on her book “Our Future: How Kids are Taking Action”.

I bought Jess Keating’s latest book, “Elements of Genius: Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray” for my daughter. While writing my daughter’s name, she accidentally spelled it wrong, but without hesitation turned the mistake into a little rabbit drawing. A genius move!

I will definitely go again to this gem of a festival.

Have you ever been to the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival? What stories do you have to tell?

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2019 Linda Schueler

Three Books to Get your Creative Juices Flowing

  1. “How to Have Creative Ideas” by Edward de Bono

This has been a recent favourite. During these lazy summer days, my daughter and I have been working through at least one exercise per day. 

The results are often hilarious, but they also make you think. For example, one exercise we did had us try to come up with a new idea to make a bank more attractive to its customers. We chose a random word from one of the charts at the back of the book, and we had to come up with ideas based on that word. The word we chose just happened to be “crab”. Ideas ranged from serving crab to customers to painting the walls a crab colour to dressing up the tellers in crab costumes. What do you think? What idea would you suggest?

Another day we decided to write a short story. The word we chose as our setting was “croissant”. I actually thought that the story I ended up writing, with a bit of tweaking, would make a good picture book.

2. “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon

This book turns self promotion into a fun and doable activity. Ten principles include “share something small every day” and “teach what you know”.

I had several takeaways from this book. For example, Kleon dispels the “lone genius” myth, and instead talks about “scenius”, a term borrowed from Brian Eno, where great ideas are birthed from a group of people. Kleon notes: “Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute—the ideas you share, the quality of connections you make, and the conversations you start.” Furthermore, “The Internet is basically a bunch of sceniuses connected together…” So, go ahead, find your scenius today.

3. “The Art of Noticing” by Rob Walker

I have recently become interested in looking at the world from different points of view. This all started with the book “On Looking” by Alexandra Horowitz in which the author takes a walk with 10 different experts to see how they observe the world. Horowitz touches on the phenomenon of how once you become attuned to something you suddenly start seeing it everywhere. I can attest to this personally. I recently took a “wild edibles” course, and now I see them everywhere: in my own backyard (who knew?), on the side of the road…

There are several fantastic exercises in Walker’s book, and many are easy to do, such as “Change your route”. This means simply to change your route to a common destination. My husband is good at this. He loves to drive different ways, not like me who prefers to get to the destination via the same route, not being the fondest of long car rides. However, I appreciate when my husband does this. I actually get more excited about driving when he changes the route, as I discover new things around every corner.

Another exercise we did as a family was “Take a long walk through an unfamiliar part of town”. During our walk, we explored some new to us neighbourhoods, and then checked out a couple of schools. Behind one of the schools was a path we had never been on. Suddenly we discovered a bird viewing platform with some hawks nesting on it! How could I not know that there was a platform so close?

What creativity books have you discovered that you recommend?

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2019 Linda Schueler