The Ericksons

simple ideas

Thinking of A to Z posts for both of my blogs is always hard for me to do. This year, I really wanted to keep my posts somewhat shorter than usual and have them require less research to write. I did some brainstorming and came up with several simple ideas for each blog.Theme Ideas for Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker:Heroes and Zeros: Writing Great CharactersNovel Ideas: How to Write a Great NovelNo Nonsense Nonfiction: How to Write a Great Nonfiction BookYour Personal Narrative: Memoir in MotionCool titles, huh? I saved them for next year. Instead, I decided to use the simple ideas Read more…


Reframe the problem

I recently decided to reframe the problem of explaining what it’s like to live with cancer, by creating a complicated graph. In January, we had a crazy week, down at the Mayo Clinic. We had gone thinking my husband would be in a new trial. Then, the doctors discovered what they thought were more brain metastases. These would disqualify him from the trial. So, they cancelled his biopsy and other testing appointments.Meanwhile, the polar vortex hit Minnesota plunging temperatures to record lows. It was so cold that a man died in the very town where we were staying because he Read more…


Question Everything

Many years ago I ended up being the president of the homeschool support group at our church. I say, “ended up,” because after attending only 1 meeting, I agreed to become the vice president and then the president resigned 2 weeks later. So my unexpected rise to power left me feeling pretty overwhelmed. I had to question everything in order to come up with a plan to improve the way we dd things.There were some problemsAs we began to question everything, we started with the attendance. It was really low. There were only about 5 of us. Yet, we had Read more…


Prototypes

For this post about making prototypes, I decided to interview my 16-year-old daughter, Samantha. Whenever anything breaks or needs assembly, I call on her. She thinks like an engineer, which is good because she is going to school to become a biomedical engineer. Last year she made a lightsaber like they use in the Star Wars films.How prototypes can benefit any projectMe: You made a lot of drawings and prototypes prior to actually assembling your lightsaber. In what ways did that help you?Samantha: There is a reason that engineers and researchers make blueprints and prototypes before building whatever device they Read more…


Opposing Viewpoints

Anyone raising teenagers knows the challenge of overcoming opposing viewpoints. They want things one way, but you have rules which say they have to be another. Sometimes it can feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall. Why does she insist on wearing shoes without socks in the winter? Why does he consistently come home 10 minutes later than he was supposed to? What is behind her failing grades or his bad attitude? Likewise, they probably view your rules as restrictive and think you just don’t understand what it’s like to be in their shoes (even if Read more…


Whats not needed

Today we took one of our frequent trips to the Mayo Clinic. We sit in waiting rooms for long stretches of time each day. And each trip can take 2-3 (sometimes 4) days. So, I filled a bag with my kindle, my phone, charging cords, my purse, a sleep mask (in case I was able to catch some zzzzs in the quiet lounge), some snacks, a book to read to Dan on the drive down, another book that I’m preparing to review, and even more things that I later learned were not needed.I often overpack, as if I’m afraid I’ll Read more…


Making a Mistake

Throughout my childhood, and even in my teenage years, I was brave. I lettered in drama by the end of my sophomore year in high school. I was in every play, on the speech team, the debate team, and even the captain of our mock trial team. Then, I went on to art school where I focused on literary art. I was never afraid of failure or making a mistake.Now, I often play it safe, because I’m afraid of making a mistake. I’m not sure why I get so hung up on it, because I’m not the kind of person Read more…


Feedback

I love getting feedback on my projects, whether they are blog posts or books I’m writing. The first people I turn to are my family members. Countless times, their feedback has saved me public embarrassment and ridicule (primarily from them).Another valuable source of feedback is my group of beta readers. As I was writing Facing Cancer as a Parent: How to Help Your Children Cope with Your Cancer, my beta readers gave me feedback that made a big difference in the quality of the book.Trends in FeedbackThe benefit of getting feedback from several people is that you can see trends Read more…


3D Printing

I love to learn. I think that’s an inherent trait in writers. We learn and then we write to sort through that knowledge. So this was a fun exercise for me. I decided to learn a bit more about something that has always intrigued and perplexed me: 3D printing.To learn about what 3D printing is, and how it works, check out this video by Mashable Explains.3D Printing and GunsThe first time I heard about 3D printing, it was in a news report about the potential for 3D printing to be used to make parts of a gun, which could easily Read more…


Problem-Solving

History is full of innovative concepts that were the result of combining existing ideas in new and novel ways. James Dyson did exactly this when he combined a vacuum cleaner with a sawdust cyclone to invent the first bagless vacuum cleaner. You could say he cleaned up at problem-solving.Think about a problem you’re trying to solve. Grab some Post-it notes and write down one problem-solving idea on each one. Mix and match the Post-it notes together. How many new and interesting problem-solving combinations can you discover?The image of James Dyson combining a vacuum cleaner to a sawdust cyclone reminds me Read more…

Dear A to Z Challenge Bloggers,

A week ago, my husband was put on in-home hospice. While I had my posts written and scheduled to post, in advance, I have fallen behind on returning comments. When I am able, I will certainly so so. I value your comments and your blogs. Thank you for understanding if I am delayed. The hardest thing I have ever done is helping my husband prepare to die.

Sign up for my FREE Newsletter!

Check out Past Blog Posts HERE

Professional ReaderReviews Published10 Book Reviews