Friday, April 18, 2014

Storyteller's Journey

Rejuvenation and Renewal

It always amazes me the way my path as a writer seems to mirror the seasons of the year. Since spring brings with it the Easter and Passover holidays, it's a good time to talk about ways to rejuvenate and renew not only our writing, but ways to maintain our level of inspiration in life.

Here are just a few creative ways that I've discovered to help me rejuvenate and renew my own storyteller's journey:

Write a short story or a poem - At the start of this year I vowed to write several short stories (in addition to working on my W.I.P.) as a way to keep me inspired. Although I'm behind on the number of short stories I've completed, the one I've finished did indeed add a sense of freshness to my journey as a writer.

Volunteer - As we all know, volunteering usually blesses the volunteer as much, if not more, than those receiving our help. Here I'm pictured with Sophie the reading river otter - the mascot for our local library. Sophie was a great ambassador for the library at a recent children's fair in our community. My job was to help her get around, take her head off during breaks, and to be her translator (she speaks otter!).

Sophie the River Otter and Victoria
Mix It Up - Recently I found myself in a sort of literary limbo. Right after I decided to independently publish my picture book, it took me several days to get back in the swing of my writing routine. While I was in this funk I began doodling with a cover design for another story I'd written. I showed my husband, and asked him if he thought he could paint it. It turned out so well, I might just use a revised form of it for the cover design if The Tale of Willaby Creek goes an independent path to publication. I found this activity extremely rejuvenating, and it even reignited my interest in this old animal fantasy manuscript. (Making a collage, a book cover, or a WANTED poster for your protagonist or antagonist, are all great ways to stir up the creative juices!)

Written by Victoria Lindstrom - Painting by Michael Lindstrom

Join a New Group - Last week I had the opportunity to meet up with a new writers' group called Northwest Writers Shoptalk. The meeting was held at McMenamins Back Stage Bar, behind the Bagdad Theatre in Portland, Oregon. It was the inaugural meeting for the group, and the featured guest speaker was Peter Fogtdal, a Danish novelist.
Peter Fogtdal - Novelist
Peter shared humorous anecdotes, as well as helpful information for aspiring authors and published authors alike. With twelve novels to his credit, his advice was invaluable.

At the end of the evening, there was a drawing for the one novel (so far) that Peter has had translated into English. Since my husband escorted me to the event, wouldn't you know, he was lucky enough to win the lovely book and have the author sign it! Peter had read an excerpt from his novel earlier in the evening, and it was fantastic. I can't wait to borrow The Tsar's Dwarf  from my husband, Michael.

What I found from interacting with this new group for writers, was that although I believe I was the only writer of children's stories, it was one of the most inspiring events I've ever attended. That experience was a great reminder to keep an open mind to new and unusual ways to network in the literary community. Thanks, Northwest Writers Shoptalk!

Get Culture - Since my husband is an oil painter, I have numerous opportunities to visit art galleries. However, attending a symphony, a play, or a poetry reading would all be great ways to get inspired too. (I need to schedule a date for a concert with the hubby!)

Walk with Nature - Most of you know I love being in the out of doors. A walk - in the woods, along a lake, or at the seashore - is a wonderful way for me to clear my mind while I appreciate the natural world. I almost always come away with new ideas for stories, too.

Watch a Movie - It may seem counter productive to watch a movie, but I've found it to be a great way to be inspired, and even uplifted. Whether it's watching Miss Potter (for the umpteenth time!), Finding Forrester, Midnight in Paris, or some other film, I love watching movies with a literary story or subplot.

Attend a Writers' Event - As I mentioned a week ago on Writ of Whimsy, I attended the WWA SCBWI Spring Conference in Redmond, WA. last weekend. Here is a photo of the illustrious agent/editor panel.
 Pictured here, seated, from left to right:
Justin Chandra, publisher/editor (Simon & Schuster imprints)
Claudia Gabel, editor (Katherine Tegen Books)
Susan Hawk, agent (Bent Agency)
Holly McGhee, agent (Pippin Properties)
Alexandra Penfold, agent (Upstart Crow Literary)
Lauren Rille, associate art director (Simon & Schuster)
Although the panel looks proper and professional in the photo, they had just danced and paraded their way into the ballroom to the tune, Happy, by Pharrel Williams. It was a definite sign of good things to come...I had a blast! During the panel's opening remarks they seemed to strongly agree on two suggestions for aspiring authors: 1- Polish, polish, polish your manuscript before submitting it. 2- Be patient; take the time required to make sure your manuscript is "fully baked."
The breakouts and keynote addresses during the conference were stellar. I came home with loads to think about, and lots of work to do.
Do you have a tip to add to this list of ways to rejuvenate your writing?


  1. What a great list of ways to be refreshed as a writer! Love these ideas, and they're all so true. And how cool you can brainstorm and do joint projects with Michael!

    1. Thanks, Carol. It's a busy time right now, and keeping my self centered becomes more challenging all the time. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!