Category Archives: exercise

Writers’ Mill Minutes 201609

Minutes from Portland writers mill, Sunday September 18th

Nearly 20 members, plus a few guests, were at the Cedar Mill library on Sunday September 18th to listen to Brian Doyle’s presentation on writing. We had an amazing, wonderful time, and I shall do my best to make sense of my notes at the end of these minutes. Continue reading Writers’ Mill Minutes 201609

That Strange Thing Called Writing, from Brian Doyle’s Talk in September

Notes From Brian Doyle’s Talk On Writing

Brian Doyle has pages and pages of books listed on Amazon, including Martin Marten, Mink River, Chicago, The Plover and more, and he needs no introduction from me. He introduces himself, educates, entertains, has us in stitches, has us almost in tears, reveals his feelings, his history and his stories, and then says he’s not a teacher and he doesn’t do seminars and workshops. If you missed this one, you missed a very special treat. Continue reading That Strange Thing Called Writing, from Brian Doyle’s Talk in September

Notes from Christi Krug’s talk, July 2016

Notes from Christi Krug’s talk, July 2016

(with thanks to Karin)

Christi gave us a handout, ‘Following the Thread’ and read a poem by William Stafford about Following the Thread.

–       We learn from the challenges we have.

–       You can still consider yourself a successful writer if you have challenges.

–       One obstacle is finding your way when you are lost. Continue reading Notes from Christi Krug’s talk, July 2016

Minutes 201607

With thanks to Karin and Judy…


13 writers attended the Writers’ Mill meeting with Wildfire Writer Christi Krug.  As Sheila was vacationing in England, Norm had the honor of chairing the meeting.  The inspirational talk and writing exercises provided by Christi were followed by Robin’s delicious snacks. After the break Judy handed out the writing awards on behalf of Jean for the July contest. Thereafter Lavonna led the critique of the second part of Matthew’s story as well as Robin’s story. Continue reading Minutes 201607

Looking for Inspiration?

Define your workplace:

MFAs and more:

How to write and make it work:

How to make yourself write:

Looking for Inspiration?

Need a challenge to inspire you?


Minutes 201508

Writers’ Mill Minutes, 16th August 2015

Twenty people attended August’s Writers’ Mill Meeting and enjoyed a wonderful presentation from former Oregon poet laureate, Paulann Petersen.  Paulann, who has written many books and run many workshops, promised to coax, cajole and nudge us into writing, using a Springboard writing activity, as detailed below. She certainly kept that promise and we had a fantastic meeting.

In other events… after wonderful gluten free foods, drinks and home-grown tomatoes from Jean… Continue reading Minutes 201508

What to do when the deadline looms

What to do if the deadline looms and you haven’t finished your writing… (This could apply to contest entries of any kind, submission deadlines, query letters for conference critiques, etc.)

  1. If you’ve already started, but the piece isn’t ready to submit (to Writers’ Mill, or to any other contest):
    1. Turn short into long: Pick your favorite scene. Expand on it. Polish it. Make sure it has a beginning, middle and end (as all scenes should) and then submit it.
    2. Turn long into short:
      1. Pick a suitable chapter break and submit a single chapter. Leave your readers begging for more, or
      2. Cut, cut, cut, until your start and your finish, both beautifully polished, matched up in the middle perfectly.
    3. Edit the life into it: Take your perfect beginning – perhaps it’s the only bit you’ve written – and expand on it, edit it, polish it, until it’s so perfect everyone will demand to know what happens next.
  2. If you haven’t started yet but had an idea:
    1. Write the beginning and submit that
    2. Write the synopsis and submit that
    3. Just get one scene written – anything’s better than nothing.
  3. If you haven’t started yet and didn’t have an idea: Let’s assume you have a prompt, say, a message in a bottle…
    1. Find a bottle lying around your abode
    2. Think of a message you’d like to receive
    3. Write short – a poem, a one-line zinger, a two-paragraph essay, whatever….

Just write, and enjoy!