Tag Archives: writing

Writing is the Way I Think And Remember

Dora Dueck ended a recent post on her delightful blog Chronicles of Aging with the statement “writing is the way I think and the way I remember.”  I could resonate with that completely!  Writing about an event, a book, a movie or a trip helps me to process it and to remember it.  During a recent clean up of his home my father found two small daily diaries that belonged to my maternal grandmother. Grandma’s journals made me suspect that the need to write about life experiences is something I may have inherited.  

Writing in a house we rented in Iceland

Someone I know who is trying to help a partner struggling with memory loss is encouraging them to keep a journal.  There is evidence that journaling not only improves memory but also helps your emotional and mental health.

I often consider whether it may be time to stop writing this blog, to end a nearly 35 year assignment as a newspaper columnist or to take a hiatus from other long standing writing gigs. But I think even if I did give up those public forms of recording and reflecting I would need to journal privately in order to keep on living in a meaningful way.  I know many people who have other ways of thinking through things and remembering them- whether it is through photos they take, sketches they do, discussions they have, songs they compose, collections of memorabilia they treasure, time spent in meditation, scrap booking or prayer.  But for me writing is the way I think and remember. 

Other posts……

A Honeymoon Adventure

Writing Dividends

Mailboxes of Distinction


Filed under Writing

Thing 1- Wired For Story- Portugal Style

My friend Rudy who is staying here in Portugal with us for three weeks likes to tease me about my ‘eight things.’  Everyday I try to do eight things to explore and hone and cultivate my craft as a writer.  Thing One is to read a chapter in a book about writing or listen to a video from a course about writing.  I just finished the book Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. It was recommended by Gabriele, a member of my writer’s group.  Here are my top take aways!

 1. Story telling trumps beautiful writing every time! It is important to write well but you must also spin a story that  hooks your readers. 

Our tour guide in Lisbon was a fantastic storyteller

2. Your story needs to tell us something about what it means to be human and how humans react to circumstances beyond their control. 

The beggars in Lisbon deal with their difficult circumstances in different ways

3. You should be able to sum up your story in one short sentence. 

Cramped by Hunger– the short description of this painting by Portuguese artist Marcelino Vespeira tells such a sad story.  

4. Your story should change the way your reader sees the world. 

Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator changed the way the people of Europe saw the world.

5. Every detail in your story should be specific, tangible and visceral. 

Smelling the pine on a hike in Portugal. Your story must have sensory details

6. There must be CONFLICT and it should begin to sprout on the first page of your story. 

There has been plenty of conflict in Portugal’s history

7. Everything that could go wrong for your protagonist should go wrong. 

As we made the trek to our apartment in Lisbon we faced many obstacles

8. There has to be a kind of ticking clock built into your story that make the dangers your protagonist is facing clear and present and intimate. 

I felt a clear sense of danger when this eagle flew right by my ear

9.  The response and advice of others is important and helpful as you rewrite and rewrite and rewrite your story.

Many of the people we have been getting together with here in Portugal read my blog and I love hearing their responses.

10. You will need INCREDIBLE determination and patience to get your story published. 

The cobble stone artists of Portugal require tremendous determination and patience to complete their work

Other posts…………

So Much Hard Work

A Glamourous Night for Manitoba Writing

 Quick Five



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A Quick Five

My friend Kelly who lives in Chicago has taken a block of time off from her regular job to focus on writing and publishing a novel.  I am so excited for her!  It was something I always dreamed of doing when I was younger but I’ve waited till now to actually get serious about writing fiction. Kelly has started a blog to chronicle the experience of writing her novel.  One section of that blog is called Writers Quick Five and in it Kelly asks writers five questions about their writing experience. I was so pleased that Kelly invited me to answer her quick five questions about writing and featured me on her blog.  You can read what Kelly wrote about me here.  It is often good to stop and reflect on what is important when you are a writer and Kelly’s questions helped me do that, so I am grateful to her. 

Here are Dave and me sitting across from Kelly and her husband Aaron at a Quiz Night we used to go to together in Hong Kong.

Here are Dave and me sitting across from Kelly and her husband Aaron at a Quiz Night we used to go to together in Hong Kong.

I got to know Kelly in Hong Kong when we were both working at the same school.

Enjoying Chicago style pizza at Kelly's home

Enjoying Chicago style pizza at Kelly’s home

Five years ago we went to visit Kelly and her family in Chicago.  We hope they will make a visit to Winnipeg someday. 

Other posts………..

Chicago Hong Kong 

The Writing Life

What Makes A Best Seller? 

Back in Chicken Soup

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Autumn is the Perfect Time for Writing

Autumn is the perfect season for writers because………..


Photo taken in Cox’s Cove Newfoundland

Nature is putting on an inspirational show that prompts us to color our writing with vibrant images

The chill in the air drives us inside to our writing desks


Photo taken in Steve Juba Park Winnipeg

Trees are transforming. We can transform our writing habits from the lazy patterns of summer to the disciplined practice of fall

Autumn is the season of thanksgiving. We can be thankful for writing friends and mentors, writing successes and writing lessons learned

Version 2

Photo taken in Quebec City

Autumn is a time of harvest. We can take the storehouse of ideas we’ve harvested and begin turning them into stories and poems and memoirs

Leaves die and trees rest in autumn. Perhaps it is time to let a part of a manuscript we are working on die too, or put a particular project to rest and start another one


Photo taken in Leamington Ontario

Autumn is a time for hot cider, roasted potatoes, tangy apples and spice cookies. It can also be a time to nourish our writing selves with a book about writing, a writing class or a podcast from our favorite author.

Autumn is a time for Halloween, a scary night. Can we conquer our fears and send a manuscript off to a publisher, share our writing with others and open ourselves to criticism and suggestion?


Photo taken in Gros Morne National Park Newfoundland

We can look at the way some great writers have described autumn and be inspired by their skill and talent.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.- William Bryant

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns. George Eliot

Autumn is the perfect time for writing.

Other posts………


Writer or Palaeontologist ?

Why Do You Keep on Doing This?


Jane Heinrichs is a writer and illustrator from London who penned a beautiful reflection about why autumn is a great time for writers on her blog. My post was inspired by her thoughts.

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I’ve Joined A New Club!

I’ve joined a new club. Find out about it on my Destination Winnipeg blog.

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