Will you make this the year you…

finish that manuscript?

The last name and the website address may have changed, but the foundation of how to go about writing your first manuscript has not.

Mark your calendars to join me, Dana Ellington at my 7th Annual Writer’s Workshop held at the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library, 2401 Welton Street, Denver, CO.

This year, I’m presenting an updated version of last year’s popular: How to Write and Publish a Novel in 6 Months!

I’ll share the tips, tricks, and tools you’ll need to write, edit, and publish a full length novel by the end of this year. You’ll also hear from a past attendee who successfully followed the program and published her first novel!

This 90-minute session is great for writers 16 years old and up and can be applied to any genre, of writing, fiction or non.

So, if you want to finally get that novel from blank page to published, join me and my guest author, Monday, May 1, 2017 – 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

It’s Not That I Don’t Care…

Or that I’m not interested. It’s that it’s all still too much to take in. The never ending hate; the underlying fear that his shenanigans will trigger a nuclear World War III that will surely be the end of us all.

I continue to BE the love, respect, acceptance, and common sense I seek in what laughingly passes as our nation’s leadership at this point.

I speak up, speak out, and stand firm in my belief that there is some amazing good that will come from all of this.

And from my mom…

Subject: Fwd: here’s a promising way to help the activist fight

Since Paul Ryan has blocked his office phones and fax numbers, and is turning away people who show up to deliver petitions, it’s time to change tactics.
Please mail post cards to his home address saying NO to defunding Planned Parenthood, NO to repealing the ACA, NO to privatizing Medicare

and NO to preventing Muslims from entering our country

! (I’m sending one card for each.)Please copy and paste this info and share. Let’s see what 67 million cards in the driveway looks like!

Paul Ryan
700 St. Lawrence Ave.
Janesville, WI  53545
So yeah, it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care too much and am stuck in the suffering part which for me, has me withdrawing as a means of protecting my psyche. I’m working now to overcome that part so I can function and keep moving forward; so I can apply my creativity to solutions.

Why Empathy is a Bad Thing

I care. I care deeply for ALL of us who are affected by the bullshit decisions our so called leaders (and this is across the board – look at the number of governments that promote greed, subjugation, segregation, slavery, hate, fear, and war as a means of “governing”) make on a daily basis. Make no bones about it – they won’t be the ones going to war, dying for a (pardon the pun here) trumped up cause (I’m finding it funny that trump in this case means FAKE), or being blown-up by terrorist bombs at innocent sporting events.
So yeah, I fucking care. I’m just not one to cry in public so excuse me if I come across as naive, or as if I’m burying my head in the sand in hopes of avoiding the ugliness. Believe me, I am far from being oblivious.
Stand strong loves. We are in for one hell of a dark ride.
I. LOVE. YOU.
Dana

Dear Me,

(I’m on week five of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This is what came from yesterday’s Morning Pages.)

Epiphany – the sudden clarity of thought that exposes the deeper truth. I have epiphanies as I’m sure you do as well. You may have been wrestling with a problem, a decision that had to be made but each solution or choice didn’t FEEL like the truth until one moment, a light bulb came on and suddenly, your path was clearly lit.

Why did I stop publishing my work? Why did I stop working on my existing manuscripts? Why wasn’t I excited to look for opportunities to do readings, to schedule workshops? Why had my annual sojourn to the MileHi stopped inducing that giddy feeling of anticipation or excitement? Why was I feeling blocked, cut off from my passion? Why was I procrastinating on or avoiding altogether the few activities I knew would move me toward some long standing, positive, goals?

Epiphany – because my efforts to that point hadn’t resulted in what I deemed to be other’s show of acceptance, love, or admiration that ultimately was what I was seeking. I wanted my books to garner lots of fans to the point where they’d help me market my work, they’d talk about and share my books to the point where word of mouth would sell my books (allowing me to hide); I would be invited to speak to groups, asked to conduct workshops (allowing me to hide). I’d be featured here and there, gaining some level of notoriety which would then “prove” to my dad that he was wrong for not spending more time with me, for not telling me he loved me, or thought I was beautiful. I would prove to the bullies and ex-boyfriends that they were wrong for calling me ugly names, teasing me, excluding me, using me, molesting or hitting me. I would show them all that I am worthy!

I mean, look at all the people who buy my books, and listen to me when I do readings, or attend my workshops.  If all of that outside attention didn’t prove it then what would?

Well, that’s not how things work out. My workshops where hit and miss with attendance, so I lost my enthusiasm for them. My first book sold relatively well despite its issues, my next two books did okay, but I was losing my motivation to keep marketing the way I had been. I didn’t realize it at the time but hindsight, I wasn’t getting the response I wanted / craved, so I’d begun to retreat. The fourth book didn’t do as well as I’d hoped but by then, I’d stopped actively marketing my work. It felt too much like begging by then. My unrealistic expectation that  other’s reactions to my books / workshops / coaching  would “make” me worthy, wore me down. Each failure to sell, to raise the money, to save the money, to meet the deadline, to have people show up, highlighted (the lie) that I wasn’t worthy after all. I rushed into this or that scheme, plan, idea, in hopes that it would be The ONE.  Each time I fell short, not taking the time to realize the level of fantasy my expectation had reached was never going to be met by reality.

So, what did I do. I blocked. I stopped writing; stopped going out; stopped taking my walking breaks; I stopped doing anything that would allow the voice of my Muse and my Divinity to be heard. They told the truth, They exposed the fantasy.  They put the responsibility for my life back where it belonged (in my hands) and I didn’t want the responsibility. I wanted to blame my dad, the bullies, the folks who didn’t think my writing was the bomb. I filled up my time with activities that didn’t do squat to move me toward my desired feelings (that ultimately are my responsibility to generate). I spent hours watching YouTube videos, hours doing spreads in my BuJo that ultimately I ignored no sooner than they were done. I kept up the schemes and plans – throwing parties I knew wouldn’t be well attended; fitness challenges, the wedding, my Count Down to 50 and its accompanying group-site and list of activities NO ONE kept up with, including myself. I did any and everything to maintain that damn lie. To be unreliable, unworthy.

Epiphany – “Healing is as ugly as Healed is beautiful”, Danielle LaPorte.  I began the healing process four years ago now. I’m feeling just about as ugly as I can. Scattered. Untethered. Unsure of what to do next. Emotionally all over the place but where I “should” be.  But I am healing. So there’s that.

Please, bear with me a little longer. Please forgive me. Please breathe. We’re going to get through this and we will be better for it. Thank you, I love you.

Dana

This Morning’s Prayer

So the hate train has pulled into the station and its occupants are poised to be in power for a minute. Those of us being hated feel some modicum of fear. I get that. I also get that in order to become really good at something, “you have to get terrible out of the way.” In other words, you have to do something badly often enough that you get to a point where you’re not so bad. “Practice makes perfect” provided you’re paying attention and learning from your mistakes. Eventually, you’re going to get good.

Our country (well, let’s be honest, humanity as a whole), isn’t so good at inclusion, acceptance, managing fear, or governing its self. Each go round, as in each generation, we have our moments of suckage. Of truly terrible. But with each generation, we managed to learn a little something and suck a little less. The changes in the right direction aren’t obvious or very noticeable in the moment, but hindsight (history) shows the baby steps.

In light of that point of view, I’m choosing to believe this latest happening is the catalyst for the next forward step toward sucking just a little less. Another baby-step forward if you will that we’ll learn from and do better at next time.

I pray the suck doesn’t come with a massive loss of life but let’s face it, human nature.  There will be bloodshed.

I continue to BE the peace, tolerance, acceptance, love, courage, and faith I want to see in the world. Amen.

be-the-change

(from top to bottom, left to right:  Ghandi, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Li Yinhe, Malcom X, Malala Yousafzai, MLK Jr., Gloria Steinem)

Love,

Dana

And yeah, because…well, reasons.

It’s been a LONG time since I leapt without looking. So of course, what did I do?  I registered for a workshop happening in New York City in January.

WTF?  How am I going to get there? Where am I going to stay? How am I going to afford it? You have got to be kidding me, life. Seriously? But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited in that, goofy, giddy, way I tend to feel when I’ve set my sights on something amazing.

Wanna join me? Click

Wow.  I am. Just. Wow.  Remember when I said I was feeling oddly hope-ful? Then Trump and the Hate Train pulled in and I died, sort of. But then The Artist’s Way was found on a bookshelf and purchased. Since then, that sneaking feeling of hope (LIFE) is returning. The cynic in me is afraid this is false and that untold darkness is about to overtake the land.  This back and forth between the consuming fear and blinding faith in the positive is going to wear me out.

Still, recovery is at hand and I will take my joy as often as I can in any way that I can.