Scrivener Giveaway


Christine Royce Niles is giving away a copy of Scrivener writing software.

It’s the best software for writing and organizing your writing. Christine says if enough people enter, she may also offer a free Scrivener training.

As a new “professional” writer, I have much to learn and much to learn about this software. I know it’s capabilities and my potential for using it correctly.

If you write and have difficulty staying organized, I wholeheartedly endorse the software and encourage you to enter.

This is also an unpaid endorsement.

Who the Heck Says YOU Are a Writer?


I love hockey. Fanatic. Maniacal fanatic.

I played as a kid. Skokie Park District team and my high school club team, the Niles West Indians.

I stunk.


… maybe that’s a bit harsh. But I wasn’t very good.

Was I a hockey player?

Sure I was! I wasn’t a National Hockey League superstar. But I was a hockey player.

It’s okay to call myself a hockey player. It’s not okay to say I was a star in the NHL.

Jeff Goins is a writer, and although I have never met him in person, someone I consider a friend. He wrote a brief post on why you aren’t really a writer until you decide to call yourself a writer.

I agree.

Do you write? No? Well, then you’re not a writer. But if you write, then you’re a writer.

It’s that simple.

Was I a hockey player?

So who are you trying to convince? Somebody else?

Or you?

Listen and watch what happens when you confidently tell a person that you are (or introduce yourself as) a writer.

Try it. Observe.

Two takeaways:

(1) They believe you.
(2) You start to believe it, too.

Over time, you replace your internal dialogue. A person who doesn’t know you immediately identifies you a certain way. You, however, know you. If you haven’t already identified yourself as a writer, how can you convince yourself?

Unless you convince yourself.

Tell yourself you are a writer.

How You can Write Your Way out of Writer’s Doubt


I’m stepping aside today to introduce you to a friend and fellow writer, Lorna Faith. Lorna has words of encouragement for you when seeds of doubt begin to take root.

Lorna loves to write romance, mixed with adventure and suspense. She teaches music during the day and listens to other people’s stories for her podcasts and blogging, yet she still finds time to, as she says “scribble on my next fiction book.”

Lorna is passionate about helping writers step past resistance to get their stories into the world! She says she gets her inspiration to keep writing every day from her husband, who loves all forms of art, and their fun-loving, encouraging teenagers.

How You can Write Your Way out of Writer’s Doubt

by Lorna Faith

Doubt is normal part of every writer’s life.

The simple truth is: None of us can ever get totally away from it.

Even the best writers battle self doubt.

First, you need to know there’s nothing wrong with you for doubting yourself. It’s perfectly normal.

As I’ve talked with many writers I’ve had the privilege to know, this is perfectly normal.

Because all writers doubt themselves.

The problem comes when doubt overwhelms us so much that it holds us back from creating the work we are meant to create.

If doubt isn’t faced square on and tossed out on its ear, it won’t allow you to say what you really wanted to say.

You might have written something really good, but if the words don’t resonate with you as much as they would have if you’d said what you really wanted to say, then you’re a victim of Writer’s Doubt.

We’ve all struggled with doubt

Doubt is something that won’t quit. Doubt is a formidable opponent. It can hold us back from being true to ourselves and keep the real words we need to say locked up inside of us.

But here’s the good news. You can overcome doubt.

It is true, that doubt will always be part of your creative life, just like any resistance. But, it doesn’t have to cause you to stop creating.

You can choose to create anyway. You can overcome doubt. You can write your way out of writer’s doubt.

Here’s the awful truth of what Doubt can cause us to do:
• Stops us from uncovering our authentic voice.
• Holds us back from reaching our true potential.
• Prompts us to question whether we should be writing at all.
• Compels us to seek other people’s approval over and over again.
• Makes us wait for someone to pick us.

My Struggle with Writer’s Doubt

I’ve experienced this firsthand.

It wasn’t until I was 41 years old that I started writing my first book. When I was little I wrote stories, but only in secret. I hid them because I doubted my stories would be good enough for anyone else to read them.

I think serious doubts crept in when I was told my handwriting was awful when I was in grade 4. My teacher forced me to write by hand an hour everyday after school. Although my handwriting really improved a ton, I didn’t like to be kept away from playing with my animal friends at home.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties, when I was homeschooling our four munchkins, that the dream of writing began to come back again.

I still remember the questions that ran through my mind. ‘Is it possible that I could actually become a writer – am I good enough? So many amazing writers are out there, why would any reader bother to read what I have to say? I’ve never had any training, or even been encouraged to write, am I just being silly thinking I could do this?’

On and on the thoughts twisted around in my head like a funnel cloud tossing me back and forth. This continued for weeks until I came to the end of it.

Finally, I just said ‘enough. I’m at least going to try to write.’ I pulled out some lined paper and a pencil and wrote one page of a story.

With that one little action, I felt like I had turned a corner. Something inside me had shifted. I had stepped through the invisible barrier that had held me back for so long. I felt like the warrior inside of me – that had been in hiding until that day – had slayed the dragon of resistance.

Since that time, almost everyday has brought doubts about my ability to string words together.

However, I learned something important. You can write your way out of writer’s doubt. Movement does bring clarity.

The more you write, the more you’ll believe you can.

I know I’m not going to be the next Suzanne Collins and I’m never going to write like James Joyce. But I do want to be the best writer that I can be. With my authentic voice. I am committed to continue to:

Write words that matter and share them with the world.

Despite the doubts and the very real possibility that the odds are against me.

Even as I write this, self doubt is questioning me. Who do I think I am to be able to write this to you, considering all my struggles and doubts I’ve had.

I’ve had no formal training, only time invested in learning from other writers, bloggers, podcasters and listening to Webinars. But I’m convinced that if I can overcome doubt and resistance – and battle it everyday – to write and publish books, you can too.

So, If you’ve struggled with doubts or fears that you can write or that you could possibly publish your words for the world to read, I want to help you.

I know much of the doubt and insecurity you’re feeling. I’ve been there. And i would love to show you how you can unlock your authentic writing voice, write and publish your book in my upcoming Webinar on Saturday, June 13. If you can’t make it to the Webinar, you could always add your name to the group of people who want to be notified when the online course on how to Write and Publish Your First Book is ready to go.

Don’t let doubt or fear hold you back from taking the risks that you know need to be taken. Don’t wait for someone to pick you. And most of all don’t let doubt steal your writing dreams.

Make the choice today to take that first step. To believe you are a writer. Lean in, and write your way out of writer’s doubt.


I hope Lorna’s words helped you. I didn’t know the exact topic Lorna was going to write about, but was eager for her to guest post on my blog. Reading her words helped me sort out a few “issues” that crept into my writing time lately.

Here’s how you can connect with Lorna:

Or sign up for her June 13 Webinar at
Or sign up for her upcoming writing course at

A (Very) Short Play – Part II


Scene: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Concourse A, Caribou Coffee, across from Gate A3

Delta Flight 879 has recently arrived at Gate A3 and there’s still a bustle of arriving passengers around the gate. Across from the gate, the Caribou Coffee barista hands Patricia the cup of coffee she ordered. It appears that she is looking for someone. She glances around the terminal as she walks to the other side of the store-front concession, where she doctors up the coffee with cream and sugar. And Splenda.

Patricia gets lost in thought as she stirs the cup of coffee.

Mark, a conservatively dressed man in his early 50s, graying brown hair and blue eyes, wearing dark blue dress pants and sport coat, dress casual shoes, and open collar light blue dress shirt, approaches from Patricia’s right. She is completely unaware of his presence. Mark senses it and is careful not to startle her.

Mark: Madam, your chauffeur has arrived.

Patricia (with a jerk and with surprise): Oh, hi Mark! I was looking for you. (Then with a wry smile and a giggle) I guess I got too engrossed in my coffee.

Mark: Yeah, I noticed! Our flight was delayed for a few minutes at take off. No idea why. I thought I’d be waiting for you when your flight arrived.

Patricia: No problem. We just taxied in a few minutes ago.

Mark: Hectic day? You look… preoccupied.

Patricia: No, I was just… it’s nothing. Everything is good. I guess I’m just not looking forward to this presentation tomorrow.

Mark: Aw, you’ll be all right. Phelps is a hard ass on the phone…

Patricia: But he melts in the presence of a pretty lady, right?

Mark: By the end of the day, he’ll be a teddy bear. Hell, by the time we break for lunch, he’ll be yours.

Patricia (with that now familiar wry smile): Oh my God! You’re pretty confident. Is it my marketing savvy or my drop-dead good looks?

Mark (smiling): You know me well enough to know my answer. You are savvy. You know your client and you know their business. I’ve read your proposal. They are going to make a ton of money because of this campaign.

Patricia (wry smile and dripping with sarcasm): So it’s not just my sweet, smiling face?

Mark: I’m not falling for it! You know you’re pretty. But that’s not what makes this work. Look, why do you downplay your talent? You’ve learned so frickin’ much about social media in the last three years. You stay on the cutting edge of the latest trends. You know what works for every industry. That’s what makes you special. Seems like the last six months or so, you’re cutting yourself down all the time. ‘It can’t be because I know what I’m talking about. They just want a piece of ass.’ Patricia, you’re talented. You’re going to blow that promotion if you keep selling yourself short. It doesn’t come across to the client. But Anderson notices it.

Patricia (staring down at her cup of coffee): I’m sorry. I know you’re right.

Mark: Hey, are you sure you’re okay?

Patricia: I am. That’s the strange thing. I actually am.

Mark: Is everything okay at home?

There’s an uneasy silence. Finally…

Patricia (looking directly at Mark for the first time): You know… it is. Everything is okay. Surprisingly.

Mark (unsure how to interpret her answer): Okay. I’ll take your word for it.

Patricia: No. I’m serious. It is.

Mark (emphatically): You know I usually don’t pry.

Patricia (almost interrupting): I know you don’t. And I appreciate that. But I know you’re concerned. Professionally. I’m… it’s… no… everything really is okay.

Mark: We need to get out of here. We still have a long drive ahead of us.

Patricia: Buy you a cup of coffee?

Mark: Sure. Thanks. Big one.

Patricia: Mark, you say Anderson notices. Did she tell you that?

Mark slowly nods in agreement.

Patricia steps back over to the register and talks to the barista. Mark reaches into his breast pocket, takes out his cell phone, and checks his messages.

– End, Part II –

500 Words a Day


So I’ve committed to writing 500 words every single day this month.  Help me, won’t you?  Any words of encouragement, helpful hints, kicks to the hind side… all appreciated.

This commitment is really a last minute resolution.  My one resolution for the year is to be as transparent as humanly possible.  To live life REAL-ly.  Honestly.  Humbly.

That’s my one resolution for 2014.  To be as real as I know how.

To make my intentions known.

And to live them.

So let me know how I’m doing.

Back to this secondary, let’s call it a side resolution.  500 words a day.

My intention will be to write more.

Because I have a lot to say.

Because I have a TON of catching up to do, seeing as how this is what I intended to do with my life when I left high school.  And somehow I got sidetracked for the last 37 years.

So I have a lot to say.

Expect a heavy dose of words on fitness and nutrition, since that is my current full-time avocation.  ‘Tis the season for resolution (where have I heard that before?), and I intend to incite a 2014 health, fitness, and nutrition New Year’s Revolution.  (See what I did there?  I could have said “inspire new year’s fitness resolutions,” but no!  I went straight for inciting a new year’s fitness revolution!  How clever!  Perhaps a harbinger of a future 500 words??  Hmm… we’ll all have to wait and see…)

Expect some random stuff on tax and financial matters, as I am still sentenced to preparing tax returns; this has been my primary avocation for the better part of the 33 years of professional life since graduating college.  It was my early experience as a small business owner, specifically a professional service provider as a Certified Public Accountant, tax consultant, and financial planner, that shaped and determined my sharply conservative political views.  And made me a black sheep in the family, just by mentioning my affinity for Rush Limbaugh (heavens!!) and other conservative commentators.


Expect some flame-throwing.  In the spirit of honesty and humility.

Expect to read about parenting and step-parenting, child-rearing and being a father.  Since meeting Kathy March 31, 1984, I’ve had a child in my life every day since.  No “honeymoon period.”  No real time to ourselves.  It’s been a crazy ride and there’s much to say.

I’ve also experienced the pain of divorce.  Will I have anything to say about that?  Probably.

Expect a fair amount of hockey talk.  My passion since I was very young, thanks to my dad.  We have enjoyed the Blackhawks’ recent success as season ticket holders, thanks to my generous family.  I would rather watch any kind of hockey game than just about any other sporting event.  The Winter Classic today was, well, classic!  Watching Detroit and Toronto play in the snow, the puck barely cutting through the snow, transported me directly back to Boltwood Park in Evanston, Illinois (remember Boltwood?  Before the name change to Robert Crown Park?  Before the indoor ice rink?).  My friends and I would meet at the hockey rink in the center of the park as soon after school as our moms would allow.

I’m sure there will be other topics, but let’s just let this evolve and see what happens.

I invite you to enjoy this ride with me.  Your feedback will help me make this journey meaningful for you, so let me know what you think.

Good or bad.  Positive or negative.

Thanks for joining me.


If you have any inclination to write, any aspiration to become a writer (or as I’m doing, free your inner writer), I also encourage you to accept this challenge.  My fellow Illinois College alumnus and mentor, Jeff Goins, is leading the challenge.  You can find more information here:

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