Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Fortune for All of Us

I had delicious Chinese food for dinner last night, and one of my favorite things about ordering Chinese food is cracking open the fortune cookies at the end of the meal. Last night, my fortune read: "Daydreams may be pleasant, but accomplishments are more satisfying."

I think this fortune can be applicable to everyone. Dreaming about the future is important, as is setting aside some time every day to daydream and let your mind wander freely. But, on their own, dreams are not enough. True satisfaction is focusing on a dream and setting forth with bravery, determination and hard work to turn that dream into a reality.

It doesn't have to be a huge leap. It doesn't have to happen all at once. In fact, I've discovered that pursuing your dreams is a lot like a climbing mountain, or taking a road trip somewhere new -- the best part actually isn't the moment you reach the peak of the mountain, or pull into the driveway of your final destination. The best part is the journey you take to get there -- all the surprises, detours, U-turns, and even roadblocks that happen along the way -- because overcoming those hardships and learning those lessons make you a better, stronger, wiser, more compassionate and giving person. As Coach John Wooden likes to say, "The journey is better than the inn."

I get the most joy and satisfaction out of actively pursuing my dreams, little by little, every day. I feel purposeful. Every day, I learn something new. Every day, I am humbled. Every day, I feel blessed.

What steps are you taking TODAY to actively pursue your dreams?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Networking, networking, networking!

Last night I went to a mixer event put on by the Young Leaders Society of Ventura County (and organized by my amazing friend Erica Roundy!) -- you can find out more information about this group at their website.

Networking is a great skill to practice. As a kid I was very shy, and growing up I have had to actively work at being outgoing and meeting people. Putting yourself in new situations is a great way to grow, learn new skills, and possibly conquer some fears! Writers, for example, can no longer afford to hide away and simply write -- we also need to be actively spreading the word about ourselves and our work. Building up your networking confidence helps in virtually any profession -- not to mention social situations that aren't job-related, like cocktail parties, birthday parties, conferences, or just meeting new friends! I met some wonderful people last night and had a fabulous time.

Here are some tips that helped me at the event:

1. Bring along your business cards and make sure they are easily accessible. When you meet someone, they will likely ask for your card as a way of getting in contact with you after the event. If you are carrying them in your purse or pocket, it is a good idea to get a business card holder so you can easily find them. Or just slip a few into your wallet. On the flip side, don't be afraid to ask for someone else's business card -- it's a compliment to them and they will be happy to give you one! The day after the event, it can also be nice to send a brief e-mail to everyone you met saying you hope to keep in touch.

2. Grab a drink. At the event I attended last night, they served alcohol, but I don't really drink. Instead, I got a Diet Coke, and it was nice to have something to hold as I mingled around the room. (I sometimes feel awkward and don't know what to do with my hands!) I learned to carry my drink in my left hand, though, because when shaking hands it can be clumsy to switch your drink to the other hand -- not to mention your handshake will likely be cold and damp due to the condensation on your drinking glass!

3. Quality vs. Quantity. Some people at networking events buzz around the room, meeting as many people as possible for brief, two or three minute conversations. Others talk to only a couple people the entire evening. I think a happy medium is best, but also consider what you hope to get out of the event. What are your networking goals? What are the reasons you chose to attend the event? Personally, I would much rather have a good conversation with a couple people but really get to know them and stay in touch with them after the event, than talk to fifty people but never really get to know any of them, much less remember all their names at the end of the night!

Hope these thoughts were a bit of help. Happy networking!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Author Websites with Advice for Young Writers

I came across this wonderful list of author advice for young writers in the latest newsletter from the California Learning Strategies Center, a terrific resource for gifted students and their parents. Visit their website at, where you can sign up for their free newsletter too! Many thanks for Susan Goodkin for reprint permission.

T.A. Barron

Judy Blume

Bruce Coville

Jean Craighead George

Ursula LaGuin

R.L. Lafevers

Amelia Atwater Rhodes

Rick Riordan

Emily Rodda

Friday, July 17, 2009

Writing Contest for Young Writers!

Thanks to my writing buddy D.B. Pacini ( for sending notice of this contest along to me!

The rules for the Will Albrecht Young Adult Writing Contest are as follows: Writers between 15 and 20 years of age may submit a short story or up to three poems on any subject at a max. of 10 pages double spaced and typed.

First prize is $100; Second Prize is $50; Third Prize is $25.

Submissions are due by August 1st for the Fall-Winter issue, but later entries will be considered for the next round.

Send your work via email to or via regular mail to Scott Evans, Editor, Blue Moon Literary & Art Review, 327 Twelfth St., Davis, CA 95616.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Be The Star You Are! Books & Bands Bash

Here's an exciting upcoming event from a longtime Write On! supporter, Cynthia Brian. Her literacy charity, Be the Star You Are!®, is celebrating its 10th anniversary of service on September 13 with a Books and Bands Bash Benefit. Cynthia's new book, Be the Star You Are! for TEENS will be launched at the event with thirteen contributors on hand to autograph copies.

There will be dancing under the stars, food, vendors, raffles, and even a bone marrow registry. For information and tickets go to

All proceeds benefit charity and are tax deductible. Even if you can't make it to the Bash, check out Cynthia's website for wonderful resources, information and inspiration!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Guest Post by Rajiv Khanna

Here are some a great tips sent in from my dear friend Rajiv, who has always been a huge supporter of Write On! Thanks, Rajiv!

One cannot overstate the importance of spending some quality alone time with yourself each day. Here are some things you may want to include in your routine:

1. Deep breathing: Take at least ten deep breaths. With each breath, fill in your lungs as completely as possible; then hold the breath as long as comfortably possible. Deep breathing helps to boost your energy level.

2. Affirmation of goals: Remind yourself of your writing, career, health, and life goals.

3. Visualization: Visualize yourself confidently working through your tasks/goals for the day.

4. Self affirmation: Remind yourself that:
* you have already achieved a lot in your life: you are, in fact, far ahead of the curve;
* you have the energy, the talent, and the drive to go after your goals;
* you are truly special and unique at the core of your being; and that core self is what truly defines you, not the specific outcomes of your life. Thus, a specific outcome may be failure at a given task; but that does not make you a failure: all that happened was that an action of yours failed. Never confuse you (your core self) with your specific thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

More information and insights can be found in the many books of Paul Hauck, specifically Overcoming the Rating Game:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Great Website for Young Writers!

I just came across this wonderful website:

I often receive e-mails and letters from young writers asking where they can publish their work. The Blue Pencil is a great resource! They are actively looking for submissions from young people. Plus, the website is a treasure trove of inspiration -- you can read fiction, poetry, even plays written by kids and teens. They also hold a writing contest called The Bishop Prizes.

Good luck and have fun submitting!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Want Some Great Summer Reading? Check Out This Book!

What is your favorite place on Earth? This is the question that award-winning travel writer Jerry Camarillo Dunn, Jr. asked the most celebrated people of our time, ranging from the Dalai Lama to Robin Williams.

The result: A completely original portrait of our astonishing world, as seen through their eyes. The worldwide “who’s who” includes actors Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, and Natalie Portman • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor • singer James Taylor • astronaut Buzz Aldrin • filmmaker George Lucas • humorist Dave Barry • ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau • sitar master Ravi Shankar • basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar • fashion designer Calvin Klein • mind/body medicine pioneer Deepak Chopra • musicians Loretta Lynn and Josh Groban • The Simpsons creator Matt Groening • chefs Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters • Jeopardy host Alex Trebek • authors Ray Bradbury and T.C. Boyle • comics Jerry Seinfeld and Jeff Foxworthy • entrepreneurs Donald Trump and Richard Branson • film critic Leonard Maltin • Craig “craigslist” Newmark • skateboarder Tony Hawk • and many others.

Their travel discoveries are fascinating and quirky: A lost city in Sri Lanka. The Pasadena Rose Parade. A private island in the Caribbean. A wild dog research camp in Botswana. The Moscow Country Club. A surfing paradise in Fiji. The Left Bank in Paris. A softball field in New York’s Central Park. A winding road on Maui. Some places are beautiful, others surprising – but all hold special appeal and reveal famous personalities as never before.

The book includes intriguing information about each place and even tells how to visit them. But the real allure is the entertaining narrative, inviting readers to experience the excitement of traveling with these celebrated personalities to their favorite places on Earth.

For more information, visit Jerry's website: