Tag Archives: writers

book reviewer praises moo of writing!

Front Cover

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:


(reprinted by permission of the reviewer)

magical prose

Josette Williams Davison
Josette Williams Davison

“Some of the words covered dancing sheets of music, and could barely stay on the pages they were so full of life and longing.” –  Josette Williams Davison.

Josette writes of words and writers, of angels and people, of books and a great man in her essay, “In the Beginning.” She shares her reflections with readers in magical, thought-provoking prose. Click to read “In the Beginning.”

Happy 2014!

Nan Lundeen – www.nanlundeen.com

an impractical writing companion

Jack in Wildflowers by Ron DeKett
Jack in Wildflowers by Ron DeKett

This morning as I was making toast I noticed a tiny, tiny, pale spider crawling across the kitchen counter. I was going to capture her and put her outside, which is what I usually do with spiders, but I realized she would quickly die in winter weather. So, I lured her into an empty toilet paper tube and wedged her new house between a table leg and the wall.

Animals make perfect companions for writers. A dog will get you outdoors for a walk and offers unconditional love. A cat brings her own capriciousness into your writing day, often with delight as part of the bargain. If nothing else, animal companions add a dimension to a writer’s life that is outside the human experience and thus, valuable.

Not all animals make perfect companions, however. Being hidden away in her toilet paper tube, the little spider is unavailable to provide an ear when I’m reading a new poem aloud. Jack, our yellow Lab who passed away this year, used to listen intently. He was wonderfully cuddly. I imagine if I try to snuggle with the little spider on the couch, I’ll quickly lose her in sofa cushions if I can find her to begin with. As far as a leash goes—probably not practical, and if my neighbors saw me walking down the street gently carrying and conversing with a toilet paper tube, well . . .

For now, Bailey, the fuzzy white dog across the street, lets me rub her and gives me kisses. Oliver, a neighbor’s black cat comes to meow and be petted when I step outside mornings. He and Jack used to rub noses, but he seems quite content with human greetings. A silky border collie named Shadow often greets me at the track where I walk. She makes my day.

When you’re a writer, solitude is a splendid gift and often a rare one. Solitude gives a writer time to think, to ruminate, to contemplate, to observe, to study, and to write. Now that I’m retired from the world of journalism, it’s an enormous blessing to be writing away and not be interrupted. You can hear your own writing. For many writers, interruptions can’t be avoided, especially when they involve young children, a spouse, a partner or another family member or good friend. Unfortunately if you believe you shouldn’t feel frustrated, you heap more frustration upon your keyboard which sits abandoned.

An animal friend or two, however, is the perfect companion—I’ll let you know if a whole family of tiny spiders comes marching out from behind our table next spring.

Thank you to all mooingaround.com readers and contributors, and to Adamy Damaris Diaz of Artistik Dreamlife LLC (and a cat lover) for administering the site. We had a great start-up year, and I appreciate all of you. Please contact us with your thoughts and inform us if you have writing to share. Let us continue to build a creative community.

May 2014 bring you solitude and companionship.

Nan Lundeen – www.nanlundeen.com

let’s celebrate this writer’s win!

Mary Ellen Lives
Mary Ellen Lives

MooingAround.com contributor Mary Ellen Lives won the Penn Cove Literary Arts Award for her humorous short story, “A Damn Good Funeral.” Here’s an interview she gave us:

What were your feelings when you learned you won?

“I was and am ecstatic! Even though this is not a highfalutin contest it pays, and this is the first time anyone has given me any money. I have to say, though, that I get excited even if they don’t pay. Just publish me!!”

How do you choose what contests to enter?

“I generally don’t enter them if they charge. Some of these contests are way out of line and I can get rejected for free all day long.”

How many things do you send out per month?

“I try to get a couple out a month. Right now for instance I have four out for review. Two of those have to be exclusive so that takes those stories off the market. (These are short stories only. I also have the novel out to one contest and one publisher.) I just had two stories rejected so I will be sending those back out when I figure out where I want them to go. That takes a lot of time.”

What advice do you have for writers submitting to contests and/or to publications?

“Do your research. I know, everyone says that but it’s really true. Spend the time to read what the mags are looking for. And expect a lot of rejections. Even if it is what they are looking for. Get down about it for a day, then get over it and move on.

“Don’t just send to paying magazines or print magazines. Send work to university presses and others who don’t pay in anything and don’t look down at online only sites. They all give encouragement and exposure. The two things every writer needs.”

Congratulations, Mary Ellen. Your win is our encouragement.


powerful details

Mindfulness is a big buzz word these days. Used to be called awareness. No matter what you call it, both or either come in handy for writers. We need to pay close attention to detail. That means walking around in our lives with eyes and ears open, noses and taste buds alive. In a writing class, someone read a description of an explosion. The teacher asked, “Did it really boom? If it was in a ditch as you described, would it sound muffled?” That kind of explicit detail brings writing alive. I offer you examples I’m fond of in “the power’s in the details.” Please register on our site if you haven’t already and share details that have come to your attention lately.

hot first lines

Contemplating great first lines of literature
Contemplating great first lines of literature.
Photo by Nan Lundeen

Hey! Grab me by the throat and throw me down. Is that an irresistible first line? Again and again we have read writing advice that the first line must grab the reader. But how? Click “what makes a grabby first line?” to gather a few tips. You make us happy when you register and comment on our site because we’re all about building a creative community. Please join us. Welcome!

counting meditation

An easy way to rest your mind and prepare yourself for Moo of Writing is to meditate on your breaths. Lie down or sit with your spine straight and your feet flat on the floor. Focus on your breath. When thoughts intrude, let them drift by like fluffy clouds on a warm summer day. One, inhale, two exhale, three, inhale, four, exhale, five, inhale, six, exhale, seven, inhale, eight, exhale, nine, inhale, 10 exhale. One, inhale, two exhale, continue counting your breaths, beginning over when you reach 10. Enjoy your meditation as long as you like. When you are ready, come back to the here and now.

would you write even if it were illegal? enjoy pat jobe’s guest blog

by: Pat Jobe

The critical blessing to my writing life came at 10 years old. In fourth grade we had a special teacher for writing. Her name was Mrs. Burwell. She stood in front of the whole class and pointed a bony finger and said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but Pat Jobe’s gonna be a writer.” My parents got me a typewriter for Christmas that year and I started my first novel in the sixth grade.

Thomas Merton once admitted being afraid of writing, that sometimes he would force himself to work in the garden or go for walks, anything, to keep himself from writing. He considered it an addiction.

John Gardner once quoted Wilt Chamberlain as saying he would play basketball even if it were illegal. Gardner added, “Novelists are worse than that.”

Alistair Cooke died the week his last newspaper column ran.

Kurt Vonnegut said he wrote because, “I can do nothing about the chaos in the world around me, but I can reduce to perfect order this eight and a half by eleven sheet of paper.”

By the next click on the calendar, I will have been writing for 50 years. I published my own newspaper in high school, wrote for the local paper, and continued the trek in college. I’ve written two published novels, although I had to publish the second myself and it still needs typos corrected at the cost of another 200 bucks. I’m writing at this moment in the middle of the afternoon after eating ice cream and fighting the opportunity to take a nap. Any 60-year-old man who would rather write than take a nap is addicted to writing.

Books, one or two unperformed plays, hundreds of newspaper columns and sermons, and this morning I put a letter to a dear auntie in the mail with a stamp on it. Yes! People still do that.

I write primarily on a keyboard looking at a computer screen. God bless spell-check. My used iMac even knew when I spelled Alistair Cooke’s name wrong. But I also keep a minimum of two pens in one pocket and now have two notebooks, small of course, in the other. I scratch haikus on napkins and paper place mats. I copy down quotes obsessively. I love a good quote.

Emerson said, “I hate quotes. Tell me what you know.” I even love that one. I have a love-hate relationship with other writers. Some are so cussed good that I could just kill them. Tom Robbins is an obvious example. Here’s a taste of his chops, “The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.”

Shirley Rawley taught writing at High Point College. I adored every step she placed upon the earth. She encouraged me with raw, melted love poured over like a chocolate sundae. But Elizabeth Harris was also a charm. My junior year in high school she stopped by my desk and groused, “You’re probably gonna make some money off your writing. You might wanna learn to spell.”

I nevah did.



the value of the herd

At an Authors & Artisans Fair yesterday at the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the value of community came home to me in a forceful way. Oh, yes, it was fun to read my poems to an audience–eight folks, some of whom were good friends who ran a half marathon the day before & yet struggled out of bed to come hear me read–and some folks I didn’t know. It was fun to sell a few books, but the true value of the afternoon for me was hanging out with colleagues, friends and new friends who write & who make cool stuff such as jewelry & cards & paintings. There was even a guy who hand crafts ukuleles! I value the writer within, and sometimes she needs to come out & kick up her heels with other creative folk.

green pastures for artists and writers

We are building a community of artists and writers who practice a creative process based on relaxation. We find that deep breathing, relaxing exercise, such as yoga or walking outdoors, free writing, and meditation beckon artistic expressions in words and images from our unconscious minds onto the page. We welcome your ideas and your creative pursuits. This is a place of sharing, a place to honor ourselves and each other with offerings of the heart.

Photo by: Ron DeKett
Nan Lundeen
Photo by: Ron DeKett


“Cows are Zen masters. They’ve been known to utter the sound that is spelled mu rather than moo. Mu is a Zen koan, a phrase or a question that leads to contemplation. In writing, you relax and you work hard.  Mu invites you to step aside and get out of your own way. When you stay out of your way, you find your way.”
— Nan Lundeen, Moo of Writing: How to Milk Your Potential, www.nanlundeen.com


share, explore, hang out, be inspired, come on in and Moo around…