Tag Archives: moo of writing

challenge met!

Front CoverThe Moo of Writing process worked for me. I wrote 30 poems in 30 days for a challenge thrown down by Local Gems Press. Those of us who participated in the chapbook contest have until May 5 to email the ms. to Local Gems. I sat each day with my Moo Stone for a short time, did deep breathing and meditation. Once I had the first line of the poem, I was off and running. I didn’t know whether I could produce a poem every day, and was thrilled to discover I could! Those who didn’t participate in the Local Gems contest, but would like to see their poems published here, please send them to me. Writers, we can accomplish more than we think we can! Happy writing and good luck with the contest.

Nan

 

nearing the end of a poem per day

Nesting Canada goose. Photo by Ron DeKett.
Nesting Canada goose. Photo by Ron DeKett.

Poets, how are you faring? We are on day 26 of writing a poem per day for national poetry month. So far, I’m 26 for 26, some of which I’m happy with, and some of which need tweaking. Moo of Writing has been working for me. When I relax and don’t try hard, the words flow. Some days I feel like this nesting mother goose waiting for eggs to hatch. How about you?

Happy writing!

Nan

a challenge

This cow has graduated her Moo of Writing course.
This cow has graduated her Moo of Writing course.

Will you join me in a challenge? In my handbook, Moo of Writing, I advocate a belief in abundance. We can all be like Linus in the pumpkin patch, believing with all our heart that a great pumpkin bursting with the seeds of prolific writing will descend upon us, indeed lives within us every day! I am now throwing down a challenge to myself—and I invite you to join me—to enter a contest. We will pick a theme and write one poem a day every day for the month of April for a total of 30 poems in honor of National Poetry Month. The contest is sponsored by localgemspoetrypress.com, and they want $25 from you by March 25 to enter. If you choose not to enter the contest, but want to participate, send me your poems through this website by May 1, and we’ll choose some to publish here. Usually, I spend weeks if not months on a poem, keeping several in the hopper at once, returning to them to reconsider, putting them through critiquing workshops, mulling them over, sleeping on them. In April, I will allow myself no such luxury of time. Winner of the contest receives $300 and Local Gems Press publishes the winner’s chapbook. I’m excited about the challenge. Time to see how well Moo of Writing really works! Moo/Mu!

writers benefit from belly wisdom

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How many tentative, weak personalities do you know who write beautifully? Don’t confuse shy or introverted with “tentative and weak.” I’m talking about the type of person who is muddled about who he or she is. I’m sitting here in my writing room on a country road in Michigan about one-half mile from a pickle factory, and the sound of a laboring truck engine fills the room. He’s pulling two huge loads of cucumbers. I’m wondering if he’s going to make it up the slight incline in front of our house. He powers on. Struggles, maybe, but pulls up the incline and motors on down to the factory where he’ll dump his load into vats full of pungent brine. Sometimes, writing is like that. It takes a bit of extra work—a struggle to maintain equilibrium, to believe you can do it like the truck pulling two loads of cucumbers or the little engine that could. Fortunately, we’re not engines. We can give ourselves a good talking-to, read self-help books, seek support from writers’ groups, and listen to our belly wisdom.

In chapter 5 of Moo of Writing: How to Milk Your Potential, I advise, “The belly is a wise old soul. Some say it has a mind of its own. While intuition resides in a ‘sixth sense’ or as some believe, on a spiritual plane, it also houses itself in ample amounts in the gut.”

Write from your center—your place of power—and hidden fears cannot drive you.

How do you tap into gut power?

 Cultivate your third chakra.

The word “chakra” comes from the Sanskrit language of India and means “wheel.” The tradition teaches that the seven major chakras are spinning vortexes of energy or wheels of light arranged vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head, governing physical, earthy energies at the base and progressing to spiritual energies at the top, or seventh chakra.

The energy of the core self spins in the third chakra located at the solar plexus (between the belly button and the bottom of the rib cage). It involves the digestion of life experiences and the application of personal power. Each chakra is associated with a color. The third chakra’s color is yellow.

To harness the energies life dishes up for us—to put them to use and be active, not passive, requires a strong sense of self and more than a dollop of ambition. Self-esteem and strength of character revolve around the third chakra.

What is your vision of a writer with healthy self-esteem? I see a person who has fun writing, rather than feeling driven to prove herself, someone with the discipline to keep to a writing schedule and submit work often, and who remains calm and focused even if she receives harsh criticism. A person with healthy self-esteem respects other writers, letting envy and jealousy find a home elsewhere rather than in her own heart. She stays the course because she feels confident.

Visit my website at www.nanlundeen.com, click on “Moo Meditations” and then “Belly Meditation” to learn how to hear what your wise belly is saying.

Happy writing!

book reviewer praises moo of writing!

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I am happy and so grateful to Book Editor Lucy Walton-Lange of femalefirst.co.uk for this review:

“I am ashamed to say it but Moo of Writing is the first self-help writing book I have read and I wish that I had had a copy when I was studying my masters.

It is tempting to think of writing as a single activity; however Nan Lundeen shows you that there are so many things to channel into good writing from exercise, to mediation and science.

Each chapter addresses each one of these areas in bite-sized chunks so you can learn and then apply your new knowledge in a practical way.

The book is a great investment; you can finish the chapters in one sitting but it allows you to make notes and gives you exercises throughout to break away and try new things to give yourself and inevitably your writing a chance to evolve. Some of which you might want to revisit and try again at some point, so it’s not a book you read and then pop back on your shelf- it’s an ongoing process.

The book talks about everything a writer is concerned with- most importantly self-confidence and how to overcome our inner demons who prevent us from moving forward and encourage us to hang onto negativity. As we all know, this can make or break a writer- so having new ways to tackle this is vital.

The thing I liked most about the book was its flexibility. Lundeen offers many different suggestions and scenarios that will cater for a wide readership and she doesn’t assume anything. In reading it, it didn’t make me feel abnormal for having a new approach to something or a different point of view. It’s welcoming and chatty and certainly doesn’t exclude any writer whatever their genre of choice. Lundeen has a background in journalism, story writing and poetry so her own experiences are varied and this shines through in the book.

There are no right or wrong answers here. Lundeen is a woman whose passion to help others with their writing emanates from the page- and that is all we can ask for from a book of this nature.”

Visit the review online here:

http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/moo-of-writing-how-to-milk-your-potential-nan-lundeen-776489.html

(reprinted by permission of the reviewer)

i write because . . .

cow3

Why do you write? Moo of Writing: how to milk your potential, recommends a writing exercise—”I write because . . .” So, I sat myself down on this cool, sunny, green morning early in May and assigned myself this exercise. When I’ve thought about it, my conclusion was: because it’s what I do. As my four-year-old grandson Elijah would say, “But WHY?” Here goes stream of consciousness—I write because I always have. Because the world is indecipherable and I feel a compelling need to make sense of it. No, not so much to make sense of it but to report what I’m experiencing, as if someone needed to know this information. Here I am a 71-year-old woman living in South Carolina, USA, in 2015, and I’m reporting bird song. Repetitive bird song. And sun-washed leaves, freshly green on sweet gum and poplar trees lining the creek outside our back door that sings its own song over rocks day after day and through the night when the window to my bedroom stands open and the world presents itself as indecipherable again—even more of a mystery—in dreams.

Comment below if you’d like to share why you write. You needn’t register with this site to comment.

 

to market! to market!

to market! to market! drawn by Cynthia Morgan
to market! to market!
drawn by Cynthia Morgan

Hey, writers, do you hate to market? I’ve heard the old saying that writers hate to market and aren’t very good at it. That’s kind of off-putting. Actually, I’m discovering it can be fun. The reason? There are lots of nice people out there eager to help. Marketing is about building relationships. For instance, I made a cold call at Joe’s Place, an intimate used and new bookstore downtown Greenville, SC, and instantly made new friends after I read them “The Redemptive Red Bra” from The Pantyhose Declarations. Since then, they invited me to read there with two other poets and will host the launch of Moo of Writing 2-4 p.m. Sunday, May 3. Penny Padgett at The Book Shelf in Tryon, NC, is offering Moo of Writing at the Lanier Poetry Festival this weekend and will stock the book, along with my poetry books, on her shelves. As the Page Turns in Greenville carries my poetry. Lucy Walton-Lange, book editor, at femalefirst.co.uk is considering a Moo book review. She said I’d been her first blogger. Visit the site, put my name in the search column, and you’ll find a bunch of Moo columns. Another UK editor, Jonathan Telfer of Writers’ News and Writing Magazine, graciously wrote a blurb for the book cover after he ran my “Find Your Moos” article in the magazine. Many wonderful friends and former Moo of Writing workshop participants plan to come to Moo’s book launch May 3. The next step is to expand the circle online. The book is available through Amazon and Ingram, and this weekend I’m submitting it to Publisher’s Weekly. They’ve started doing book reviews by self-published authors. Yay! They may or may not accept it. They may or may not like it. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, Twitter, here I come!!

Happy writing!

Nan Lundeen

www.nanlundeen.com

the end is in sight!

art copyright Cynthia Morgan
art copyright Cynthia Morgan

 

Hi! I’m Nan Lundeen’s Moos. We have been very busy, she and I, rewriting and editing our handbook, Moo of Writing: How to Milk Your Potential. She asked me if I’m familiar with the concept of eternity. I was not until she explained that’s how long this end process is taking. We started the final rewrite/edit in August of 2013. The Spartanburg Chapter of the SC Writers Workshop critiqued it chapter by chapter. Whew! Then, the Moo critique group in Greer critiqued the rewrite chapter by chapter. Then her friend, Mary Ellen Lives, critiqued the whole book again. In between, Nan published her book, Black Dirt Days: Poems as Memoir (after tons and tons of proofing and correcting). Nan’s husband, Ron DeKett, read Moo rewrites until the cows came home! We were getting mighty tired of the process. Good thing I’m a laid-back cow and able to nap while Nan works. She woke me yesterday to tell me she’s sent the final-final-final-revised-revised-revised ms. to John Adam Wickliffe, our computer guru, who designs, paginates, and does all sorts of useful stuff to get it off to CreateSpace, our print-on-demand publisher. Goodness only knows how many proofs from CreateSpace Nan will read before she finally launches this handbook at Joe’s Place in Greenville. I’ll keep you posted. Oh, and she says thanks very, very, very much to all the critiquers! Please leave us a comment. Adamy Damaris Diaz of Artistik Dreamlife, our talented administrator of this site, has changed the rules so folks can comment without registering. We’d all like to know if that works. Moo.

work in progress blog tour

cow3

What are friends for? Well, apparently one wonderful perk is being invited on a Work in Progress Blog Tour. What is it? Heather G. Marshall invited me to participate in a tour. Her superbly written novel, The Thorn Tree, delivers to the reader an intimate feel for the Scottish landscape while telling the story of three women for whom family comes to mean everything Read her blog post here.

As part of the tour, I invite four other writers to post information on their Works in Progress on their blogs and link back to the person who invited them. Meanwhile, I am to write a blurb about my Work in Progress & post the first sentences of my first three chapters. Here goes:

Moo of Writing: How to Milk Your Potential

Moo of Writing is a succinct how-to-write handbook offering fledgling and practiced writers a process to beckon more creativity into their lives. Moo writers will become productive ruminants like laid-back dairy cows who produce five gallons of milk every day.

Moo is:

1. Short and whimsical.

2. Backed up by cutting-edge scientific research. Combines practical techniques with spiritually-inclusive inspiration.

3. A threefold process: exercise, relaxation, and meditation. At each chapter’s end, you’ll find writing tips, writing exercises, and a meditation.

Chapter 1 – Get Your Moodle On

“Cows are Zen masters, writers benefit when they behave like them, and science concurs.”

Chapter 2 – Moo with the Habit Loop

“Cows must be milked every day.”

Chapter 3 – The Moo of Me

“Memorable writing engages emotion.”

I nominate the following writers to share their Works in Progress. Check them out!

Cynthia DeKett – http://reademrysia.blogspot.com

Jenny Munro – http://jennymunrowritingphotos.wordpress.com/

Julie Jordan Avritt – http://wildtobewreckage.wordpress.com/

my pail runneth over

cowGraduate

My family will print my chapbook, Black Dirt Days: Poems as Memoir, in honor of my 70th birthday. Awesome! I empathize with Cynthia Morgan’s drawing of this “Mu Cow” who has graduated from a Moo of Writing class and whose milk pail runneth over. My daughter Jenny, her husband Jim, my son Jeff, and my husband Ron, told me the news and revealed the book cover when we were all together at my daughter’s house in Michigan this month. What a gift! To see the cover visit www.nanlundeen.com.

And more awesome news–the pending publication of my handbook, Moo of Writing: how to milk your potential, received a boost from Writing Magazine in the UK who published my article, “Find Your Moos,” in its December issue. The editor has written me a lovely blurb for the cover of my handbook which will come out early 2014.

What a Thanksgiving for me this year. I am grateful.

 

honoring our mentors

Eternity by Nan Lundeen
Eternity by Nan Lundeen

Who is your mentor? Message me on Facebook or contact us through the “contact us” link on this site to let me know if you’d like to share thoughts about your mentor on MooingAround.

Jenny Munro honors her mother in her poem, “the typist.” I love how Jenny uses sound—the tap, tap, tap of her mother’s typewriter. Jenny draws a word portrait of her—”Concentrating, with her tongue caught between her teeth,” and shares a few things she learned from observing her role model.

My mentor, Sylvia Barclay, whom I knew in the 1970s in Muskegon, Michigan, generously shared writing wisdom. Whenever I asked how I could repay her she would say, “Pass it on.” That’s what I aim to do with my handbook, Moo of Writing. I was in Muskegon’s library on a hot July day when the sky turned dark. Solar eclipse. I discovered, Sylvia had passed away about the time of the eclipse, which her students found appropriate. A day or two later, I took a yoga class and meditated for the first time. Sylvia stood in my mind’s eye, her mouth pursed in a familiar expression under one of her offbeat hats. Oh, an opportunity to learn what was on the other side. “What’s it like there?” I asked. “Love is all you need to know for now, Nan.” I thought she meant I’d learn more about the afterlife in this lifetime. Hasn’t happened yet. What a gift she gave me. Love really is all I need to know.

 

what makes a grabby first line?

by Nan Lundeen

Whether writers of poetry or prose, one challenge grins at us like the Cheshire Cat—now you see it now you don’t—the arresting first line.

What makes a line that’s memorable in the best of times and the worst of times?

Jane Austen launches Pride and Prejudice with a summary sort of line that also hints to the reader of her acerbic wit to come: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Sometimes the quirky suffices. For instance, “Bird-watching can be dog-eat-dog.” Who could resist reading that? The profile of a bird watcher extraordinaire by Karen Uhlenhuth was published in the Kansas City Star Magazine and compiled in an anthology of the best American sports writing of 1992.

I’m a huge fan of the late Robert B. Parker. Here’s his first line from Small Vices: “The last time I saw Rita Fiore she’d been an assistant DA with red hair, first-rate hips, and more attitude than an armadillo.”

A scene can entice you as in the first phrase of Maxine Kumin’s poem “Cross-Country Skiing.”

I love to be lured under the outstretched wings

of hemlocks heavily snowed upon, . . .

And what of a simple, rhythmic line demanding attention such as Longfellow’s, “Listen, my children, and you shall hear…”

On a dark and stormy night particularly, a spot of humor can reel a reader in, as in Amy Tan’s memoir that begins, “Soon after my first book was published, I found myself often confronted with the subject of my mortality.”

OK, I guess that qualifies toward a curiosity quotient, which I confess is my favorite lead into anything. Another example that rings my curiosity bell—George Orwell’s ” It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

In the Amy Tan example, humor enters with her next sentences: “I remember being asked by a young woman what I did for a living. ‘I’m an author,’ I said with proud new authority.

“‘A contemporary author?’ she wanted to know.”

Perusing first lines, I came upon one that tops my list. Holden Caulfield begins straight off with, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

It’s the voice. And that may be the bottom line for me in exploring what makes a great first line. Whether it’s exposition or first-person or whatever, it’s voice that hooks me. I realize that here’s a writer I’d like to sit with awhile.

What’s your favorite first line?

The author is grateful to the SCWW Quill that first published this column.

a sip from the milk jug

What is Moo of Writing? It’s a method of beckoning the muse that works. Best of all, new scientific research confirms connections between relaxation and creativity. Topics for a handbook, Moo of Writing: How to Milk your Potential, burst into my consciousness years ago on a road trip. I created a first draft, and my sister-in-law Cynthia Morgan DeKett drew delightful cartoon cows to illustrate the concept. Now that I’ve retired from a job as a newspaper reporter, I’ve completed the manuscript and am looking for an agent and publisher. Meanwhile, writers who’ve read the manuscript and thoughtfully advised me on improvements, also have been clamoring for it in their hands. I hope you find this article on a few of its concepts helpful to your writing practice. Please register on our site if you haven’t already and comment in the space at the end of the article. Please share how you use relaxation to tap into creativity. Would you like to see the 100-page handbook in print? Thank you and happy writing! Here it is: what is moo of writing?

a secret to good writing

four ducks in a row by Ron DeKett
four ducks in a row by Ron DeKett

If you want to be inspired on a daily basis, marry a photographer, or at least hang out with one. You’ll get lots of practice truly observing what’s in front of you (and behind you and all around you). Because that’s what photographers do. And hanging out with a photographer provides plenty of time for contemplation (while they are sliding down into a bog to shoot a lovely little green snake and you are sitting on a footbridge, or they are setting up a tripod to shoot Joe Pye Weed and then waiting, waiting, waiting for a lull in the breeze so the photo will be in focus, or they are standing by Lake Placid at Greenville’s beautiful Paris Mountain State Park while you count the ducks). I hope you enjoy Ron DeKett’s photo of a yellow swallowtail and my poem, born of contemplating time, “Dance of the Swallowtails.” Please register on our site if you haven’t already and comment—when do you find contemplation time? Happy writing!