The Ericksons

Tag Archives: #IWSG


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, for the first time, I won’t be answering the optional #IWSG question of the month (How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?). I just couldn’t come up with an answer. And, after all, it is “optional.” But I encourage you to check out some of the answers the other fabulous insecure writers have written. I will be writing about empathy.One of the best things you can do to help your reader feel invested in your writing is to elicit feelings of empathy in them. How do you do this? And, what is empathy, anyway?A recent surge of empathyAs our Minnesota summer began drawing to a close, our family filled as many open calendar squares as possible before the kids returned to school. Due to uncertainties about my husband’s health, we chose to stay home this summer rather than take our annual family road trip. I had some regrets about this. The summer felt a little less like it usually does. 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…


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 September –What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?When I first decided to write my book, Facing Cancer as a Friend, I felt as though I was looking at a timer, counting down the amount of time I had to get a platform set up and some words on the page. It was a midlife realignment of my goals. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I let life get in the way and stopped writing for a long time.Print-on-Demand Services changed all thatSelf-publishing prior to print-on-demand was often called vanity publishing, and with good reason. Prior to this evolution in the publishing industry, writers would pay publishers to print a certain number of books. Most often the author was stuck with hundreds of unsold copies by the end of their lifetime.  It was an unappealing notion. Print-on-demand potentially meant that the only thing you risked 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 how to approach your writing like an Olympian in training, as I answer the #IWSG question for August.What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?I am not athletic by any stretch of the imagination. Believe it or not, I’ve never even watched the Olympic Games. But I do find the accomplishments of Olympians inspiring. We can certainly learn from them, what it means to try to be the best in their field. Since I’m not well-versed in Olympic culture, I did a lot of reading about how an Olympian trains. The advice can help us as writers.[1] I will take the highlights of how to train like an Olympian and share how to apply them to your writing.The first thing we need to establish is that this is a hard journey. Just as an athlete doesn’t decide a month before the games that they are going to compete as an Olympian, a writer can’t say 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 my writing goals, past, present, and future as I answer the #IWSG question for July.What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?When I was youngI wrote a lot of poetry.My writing goals were very romantic.I can’t imagine writing a poem now.Perhaps I’ve grown too jaded, too defensive;Throwing up walls to protect my heart.I may still be a poet on the inside,But, on the outside, it’s, “Just the facts ma’am. It was 1993I graduated from the Minnesota Center for Arts Education. I knew that I wanted to write, and journalism seemed like the practical route to take. I had no idea of the politics I would encounter in that area of study. And, like most journalists, I couldn’t keep what I thought to myself. That alienated me from the people I needed to know to get ahead and achieve my writing goals.  I was young, foolish. I gave birth to my first daughter. Two 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 character names as I answer the #IWSG question for June:Which is harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?I have a much harder time coming up with a book title than I do good character names. While a book title needs to be catchy and clever, there are some good guidelines and tools available to help name characters. What are some of them?The root of character namesMany names have an underlying meaning. “Delilah” means desired or seductive. A character with this name will surely evoke thoughts of Samson’s downfall. Maybe you want this. If not, consider something else; perhaps “Deborah,” the mighty warrior and prophetess, judge of Israel, in the Bible.Consider EthnicityHow you use ethnicity in naming your character can go a long way toward helping you with characterization. An Asian American could just as easily have the given name “David,” as he would, “Yuan.” But the former will signal to the reader that he is Read more…


How the spring season inspires me to write

It’s spring! 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. Even though it seemed like it would never arrive, spring is here! Today I will explore whether the season inspires me to write, or not, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than other seasons, or not?The Short AnswerNo.  I always want to write.But…But each season inspires me to write in a different way.I believe strongly that there is a natural rhythm throughout the calendar year, which can help us in everything we do, whether it’s celebrating seasons and holidays with family and friends, worshiping God, learning or working. Marketing gurus figured this out, long ago. Why not allow our creative endeavors to be assisted by the calendar?How each season inspires me to writeLet’s start with how the spring season inspires me to writeBeginning in 2017, I started participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It’s a wonderful way to start out the year because if for some reason, I don’t get 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 will reminisce about the day I published my first book and what I do after accomplishing a writing goal, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:March 7 question – How do you celebrate after accomplishing a writing goal?My entire life I dreamed of being a writer. Unfortunately, when it came time to decide what I would do with my life, I foolishly listened to the people who said it was an unrealistic goal.  I shouldn’t expect to make a living as a writer. Instead, I took less fulfilling, minimum wage jobs in restaurants, nursing homes, and then later as a seamstress. I did find fulfillment later, as a wife and a mother.Fast forward twenty-five years… I had things to say to the world; things that mattered. My husband discovered hard swollen lymph nodes above his left collarbone and our family’s life was turned upside down.  He had cancer. I began to write privately about life with cancer, how it affected our children, 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 will explore putting a schedule in place for writing. I’ll focus on the genre of self-help as it relates to writing about cancer, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:February 7 question – What do you love about the genre you write in most often?If you want to have some fun, take a look at the Wikipedia page for the list of writing genres. You may be surprised at how many there are. So, it’s difficult for me, as a writer to choose just one. My favorite thing to write is fiction, especially mysteries. But at this point in time, I write more non-fiction. If I had to narrow it down to a specific genre, it would be self-help. Until I got this question, I never would have categorized writing about cancer that way. It’s interesting to note my reason for writing about cancer is to help people.My first book, Facing Cancer as a Friend, How to Support Someone who has Cancer, 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 will explore putting a schedule in place for writing. I’ll focus especially on blog writing/publishing, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?Success in a blog schedule starts with making a plan.A plan for your blog schedule starts with inspiration. Last fall, I read Meera Kothand’s book, The One Hour Content Plan. I’ve read a lot of books on planning your blog content, but this one actually inspired me to do it. She recently published the Create Blog and Editorial Planner. I used the planner as part of my end of the year planning to put together a rough schedule for 2018. BrainstormBrainstorm Big Projects- Come up with a couple of big projects you’d like to complete and launch in the next 6 months to a year. A project might be a book, a webinar or a product. What problems does your project solve? Prepare your audience to be Read more…

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