Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Are You Good Enough to Be a Writer?

To write or not to write? That is the question. One of a writer’s biggest fears or roadblocks is wondering if they are good enough to be a writer. While some people may try to discourage you, I say, “Go for it!” There’s only three things you need to be a writer.

You LIKE to Write

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been writing since you were a child. Writing makes you feel good. There are things we do because we have to. And then there are things we do because we want to. Writing, I hope, is the latter for you. 

If you like to write, whether or not you actually do any writing, makes you good enough to be a writer. Or at least in the very beginning. Because wanting to write is half the battle. But you won’t get any better at writing if you never do it.

If you go to a writing conference, workshop, or retreat, you will definitely be inspired to keep writing. So if you like to write, do it! And remember, you are good enough.


You DO Write

Writing, like anything else, takes practice. It takes a lifetime to master your craft. If you take the time to write, even if it’s sporadic, or only once a month, then you’re good enough to be a writer. Because you’re actually doing it!

Doing something you love, like writing, makes it easier to take the criticism. Critiques are pretty much necessary as a writer to become better. You might have a good cry after your first one, but it will make you a better writer.

You’re Willing to Learn and Put in the Work

So you call yourself a writer? If you like to write and you take the time to write, then you can call yourself a writer. And the best part? You don’t even have to be good at it!

Yes, taking the time to put words on paper will make you a better writer. But eventually you’ll want to take your writing to the next level. Aside from merely writing a lot.

Ever heard of continuing education classes or being a lifelong learner? Yep, writers do it too! Read books, buy craft books, take writing classes, join a critique group. Do “all the things” to take yourself seriously as a writer and to learn from everyone you meet in the industry. 

If you ever get to the point where you think you know it all, you don’t. Nobody does. Keep writing. Remind yourself why you love it. And always continue to learn and grow. Because you are good enough to be a writer.

QUESTION: What’s one of your favorite craft books? Not one that’s popular that you only know of because everybody talks about it, but one you’ve actually read and used. Share your comment here.

Keep on keepin' on... 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Staying Afloat With Walking and Writing

This week’s blog post comes to us from guest blogger, Lacey ‘Crazdwriter’ Gordon. Thanks so much for sharing your story about how walking and writing kept you sane during great difficulties in your life. Take it away, Lacey!

I began writing short stories and poems back in high school, but back then I never knew how my writing would save me from heartache and loss in the future. I was just a teenager trying to find a new outlet for this sudden onslaught of new ideas and characters who seem to pop up out of nowhere thanks to my love of reading and thanks to one of my teachers who taught a writing seminar. 

Yes, there were other English classes that I enjoyed, but this class was strictly about writing and I loved it. I continued to write through the years, nothing too serious until my husband and I married in 2007. My dreams of becoming published and seeing my books on bookshelves in bookstores or being sold online was a dream I wanted to pursue, and while being stationed in Hawaii with my husband, I had plenty of time to write while working as a Preschool teacher.

My Husband Was Deployed

My husband, Ryan, is in the Navy and was deployed most of our first year married and my first year living away from home. I did go hiking and did a few things alone, but having no family or friends on the island and my husband gone on a ship for months on end, my only companion was a kitten my husband adopted for me on my birthday and the characters I created inside my head. I ended up adopting another kitten before my husband came back from deployment, so I had two sweet kittens who loved to “help” me write, meaning they would sit on my notebooks or hide my pens, or even lay down on the computer’s keyboard. 
After Hawaii, we were stationed in California, my home state, and once again I dabbled in writing but things picked up a bit more since we had friends and my family here, plus working, plus going out and doing things with my husband. My writing just sort of fell on the back burner and even though I still wrote, I wasn’t giving it my full attention like I should have been. I regret not having been more into my writing back then, but I’m truly grateful to have it still as a constant in my life.


Walking Through Miscarriages

I didn’t get into walking until later on when we moved from the Anaheim area down to the Oceanside area. I felt so alive when walking around, especially when I walked from our condo down to the ocean, which was a good 3 miles round trip. Ryan and I would walk along the beach, hand in hand, watching the waves, and enjoying the cool ocean breeze. Or I would walk to the library down there and just sit and be around the books, still wishing that my books were on those shelves, being picked by curious readers. 

During some of these walks, we would talk about having our own family, and we decided that it was time to start trying for our first child. Unfortunately, we had issues the first year, and we suffered with two miscarriages in the year of 2012. My heart sank every month and then broke when we were struck by the miscarriages. My husband was hurting too, but he did everything he could to be the strong one for me. They sent me to an infertility doctor in the military to see if he could find out what was wrong with me. My husband’s tests and my tests both came back normal, so why was I suffering from miscarriages?

Looking for a Life Buoy

When I felt like I couldn’t take anymore, I turned back to my writing, grasping onto it as if it were a life buoy that will help keep me afloat. I dove into my Fantasy, my Horror, my Mystery, even my Young Adult, causing mayhem and havoc for my characters and bringing magic and love into their lives depending on the genre I wrote, writing anything to keep my mind from swirling with sadness. My heart felt heavy, and I knew that if I didn’t pull myself out, I would enter a dark place that I did not want to go, so my writing, my walking, and my husband became my closest life buoys. Sure, I had family and friends, but I felt that they didn’t fully understand the pain I was going through. I hated going to baby showers, but my mom said I had to go, not truly understanding how much my heart ached. 

I found a group of women at a Preschool I worked for in 2012 at Coast Kids Preschool in Carlsbad. I felt so at home. Their faith and their love pushed me forward, helping put a smile back on my face, and they pushed me, like my husband does, to continue my writing and not giving up on having a family. When I had break times, I would find a quiet place and just write. The other teachers I worked with would ask me how it was going, how I was doing, and how my writing was going too. While working there, we suffered from a third miscarriage and my hopes of having children fell even further; the darkness threatening to overwhelm me. I clung to my husband; I clung to my walking; I clung to the women at Coast Kids, and mostly I clung to my writing.

Rainbows on the Horizon

I still write to this day, still working on becoming a published author, whether traditionally or through self-publishing. I walk mostly every day when I can, completing virtual races through a great website,, but my walking has turned into riding a stationary bike right now because of Covid. I still have the best husband at my side who pushes me to write and exercise as I push him to better himself and to help him through his dark times right now of his own onslaught of health issues. I do not work with the ladies at Coast Kids anymore, but I still chat with them from time to time and they are still telling me to keep writing. And my cheering section has grown a bit more with not just one rainbow baby, but two. We suffered from a fourth miscarriage back in 2017, but the following year we welcomed our second rainbow daughter, our first rainbow daughter gracing us with her presence in 2013.

If it wasn’t for my husband, friends, family, walking, and most importantly my writing, I don’t know where I would be at this moment. Depressed, alone, stuck in a dark hole most likely, but thankfully I am not. I still mourn for my four angel babies, but I am stronger because of other aspects in my life, though I never go a day without thinking about them. And now my views of becoming published have changed as well. Yes, I still want to see my books on those shelves in bookstores or being sold online, but now I want to show my two girls that their dreams can come true with hard work and perseverance. Walking isn’t just for exercising, it can also help your ideas flow more freely. Keep walking when you can. And don’t give up on your writing dreams.

Thanks again, Lacey, for sharing your story. I experienced one miscarriage myself and I can attest to how difficult they are. I can’t imagine going through four. I’m glad you had friends and family to help you through it, and like you said, your buoys of walking and writing.

Lacey Gordon, aka Crazdwriter, is a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful daughters, a proud Navy wife, and a writer striving to become published. You can find her online at Blogging With Crazdwriter, on Twitter @crazdwriter1, and on Instagram @crazdwriter. 

Have you experienced a time when your run or walk unlocked your creativity? Share your comment here.

Keep on keepin' on... 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

READ-4-LUCK: Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh

This book review comes to us from children’s author, Lois Wickstrom. Thanks for introducing us to a cross-cultural beach experience!

READ-4-LUCK includes a book recommendation, book review, teaching tip, and writing lesson for children, parents, teachers, and writers.

  1 Clover: Not bad. Might read twice.

  2 Clovers: Fun read first few times. Would get from library again.

  3 Clovers: Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.

  4 Clovers: Multiple readings please! May just have to buy it.

Summary of Saffron’s Ice Cream

Author/Illustrator: Rashin Kheiriyeh

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Year: 2018

Age: 4-8

Topic: beach, ice cream, music, friends

Theme: social situations, cross-cultural experiences Summary:
“Rashin is excited about her first visit to the beach in her family's new home. On the way there, she remembers what beach trips were like in Iran, the beautiful Caspian Sea, the Persian music, and most of all, the saffron ice cream she shared with her best friend, Azadeh. But there are wonderful things in this new place as well -- a subway train, exciting music... and maybe even a new friend!”

Rating for Children

3 CLOVERS: Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.

Saffron Ice Cream is the story of a girl named Rashin, just like the author of this book. Rashin has just moved to Brooklyn from Iran. This book is about the differences a child would notice between her new life and her old one.

Rating for Parents

2 CLOVERS: Fun read the first few times. Would get from the library again.

She used to have to ride in the family car for five hours to get to the beach. Now, she can just hop on the subway with her family, and arrive in less than an hour. She used to have to go to the women’s side of the curtain at the beach, while her father and brother stayed on the men’s side. Now, there is no curtain. She used to have lots of rules about how to behave at the beach. Now the rules are simple. 1) Stay in sight of your parents and the lifeguard. 2) Have fun. 

The most important difference: She used to eat saffron flavored ice cream at the beach. Now she doesn’t recognize any of the flavors. An American girl recommends Chocolate Crunch.  Rashin discovers she likes the new flavor. The new ice cream is symbolic of her new life – different – but she likes it.

Rating for Teachers

3 CLOVERS: Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.

The illustrations are colorful folk-art. This is a gentle introduction to the immigrant experience. The book is totally appropriate for libraries and classrooms. The events will lead to useful discussions if presented at story time.

Rating for Writers

2 CLOVERS: Fun read the first few times. Would get from the library again.

Some people complain that this book is political. Immigration is a political act. Much of what we take for granted as American culture is political, like men and women swimming together at the beach. 

As a child, I moved from Iowa to California. I experienced culture shock. Different fashions. Different foods at the grocery stores. Rashin’s culture shock is more jarring than I experienced. Children will benefit from learning that the world is not the same everywhere.

Thank you, Lois, for this book review!

Lois Wickstrom is a retired science teacher. She has self-published over three dozen children’s picture books. You can find them on Amazon or on her website, Look Under Rocks.

Got a book you'd like to recommend? Or one you want me to review? Share in the comments!

You might also like: Preschool, Passion, and Prickly Porcupines, an Interview with Picture Book Author, Laura Renauld

How to Analyze a Picture Book with a Story Board

Keep on keepin' on...



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