The Ericksons

Judgments we Make

This month I’ve been looking at authenticity and what makes being authentic so scary for most people. Last week we talked about why the fear of rejection can make authenticity so elusive. This week we will focus on the judgments we make and those that are made about us. Once we have a deeper understanding of the judgments we make, every day, we can take control over that part of our psyche and overcome it, leading to a more authentic life and more authentic writing.We all do itEven though it’s not politically correct to make snap judgments about people based on very little information, we do it every day—in fact, multiple times a day. In many ways, it is a survival instinct of sorts. We have to be able to quickly sort through people and situations that are “safe” and those that aren’t.Imagine you get into an elevator at 10 PM after a long day of (shopping, work, hanging out with friends, you name it). There is a guy who has a really angry look on his face, like he’s on his way to confront the guy who knocked over his Harley. There’s also a 5-foot tall woman in a Read more…


Fear of Rejection

As Halloween approaches, thoughts turn to the frightening things in life (and death). So this month we’ll be taking a look at one of the scariest things for many new (and some seasoned) writers: Authenticity. One of the reasons it can be difficult to be authentic in your writing is fear of rejection.Fear of Rejection and JudgementThe fear of rejection in person, on social media, and in writing, is something nearly everyone has experienced (to some extent). Cyberbullying is on the rise. “In fact, according to the anti-bullying website NoBullying.com, 52 percent of young people report being cyberbullied and over half of them don’t report it to their parents.” [1] If you want to learn more, check out my friend, Jacqui Murray’s recent post.Fear of Rejection and the Family PortraitBecause of this fear of rejection, we show the world only what we want them to see. We have become so adept at this that often we don’t even realize what we’re doing.Recently we had some family pictures taken and I posted one of them (my very favorite) on Facebook.Beautiful, isn’t it? But I wasn’t in it. I was uncomfortable with the world seeing how much weight I have gained in Read more…


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I’m going to explore self-publishing with print-on-demand, as I answer the #IWSG question for October –How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?Anything you have ever gone through will affect who you are personally, and as a writer. It will certainly color your writing in subject and tone. When life isn’t going well, it can be tempting to go negative in your writing. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be very helpful if the genre you write requires this dark tone. You can channel your writing in this way. It can be a bad thing. Instead of working through your issues, you can end up drowning in them. So have a sense of self-awareness and know when to turn off the faucet. I would like to talk about two positive ways to use writing during trials.A great way to do this is to keep a gratitude journalA little more than a decade ago, my Read more…


Creating a realistic setting

Creating a realistic setting doesn’t happen automatically when you write a story. Yet it’s one of the essential components to draw readers into your story so they can walk among the characters. Today I’ll share some ways you can simplify building this imaginary world and make it more real for your readers.Composite Method of Creating a Realistic SettingSometimes to get the perfect setting you need to combine aspects from different places you know or imagine. For example in a fictional town I created, I based the one in Litchfield, Minnesota, the town where my mom’s side of the family lives. I visited Litchfield frequently growing up. Each summer I looked forward to tromping through the town with my little sister, sitting in the band shell and even going to the town’s small history museum. However, that museum wasn’t the one on which I based the museum in my fictional town. That museum was the Homesteader Museum in Powell, Wyoming. And while different, I got the idea for the diner in my story, from Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul, Minnesota.Creating a composite isn’t only done in literary art. Any creative endeavor can utilize composites. A couple of years ago I was Read more…


character's appearance

Think about the last book you read that had great characters. How were the characters described? Did the author go into great detail about each character’s appearance, or did they write more of a character sketch, allowing the reader to fill in the details?The best characters are usually approached the second way. It seems contrary to our instinct as writers, to be vague in describing things like a character’s appearance, but it’s actually the better approach. There are a few reasons for this.Describing a character’s appearance stops the story.Rather than moving the story forward, everything comes to a screeching halt as you describe the color of your character’s hair and eyes, their height and build and even the clothing they are wearing. Often, a character’s appearance has little or nothing to do with the outcome of a story. It’s fluff.Describing a character’s appearance inhibits the reader’s imagination.The natural product of reading is imagination. Your reader’s mind will begin to construct images of your story’s setting and characters as soon as they have the tiniest bit material.  Unfortunately, as writers, we have the ability to shatter those images if rather than allowing our characters to come to life within our readers’ Read more…


Using Character Templates

I recently began reading a book that I put down after 3 short chapters. I wanted to read it. The premise was good, but some of the basic elements that make a story good were all wrong. Those elements all had to do with characterization. Writing characters well is essential to making a fiction book work. Characters are who we relate to in a story, who we love, and who we despise. There are right ways and wrong ways to write characters. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share how to get characters right—or at least, how to not get them wrong. I will begin with the use of character templates.Character TemplatesWhen people create their character, they often begin with forms known as character templates. If you’re a writer interested in craft, you have likely seen these online. You’ve probably downloaded them, and maybe you’ve even used them. There is nothing inherently wrong with these templates. In fact, they can be quite helpful as you explore who your character is. Unfortunately, too many authors use them incorrectly. They end up sounding more like an application for an online dating service, than aspects of a deep character.“Blond hair, blue Read more…

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