The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life by Stephanie Vanderslice

Stephanie Vanderslice has always been spectacular, but this time she’s really outdone herself. If you like books about the writing life (and honestly, who doesn’t?) get ready to fall in love with this book. Stephanie gives us insider tips, treats us like friends, explains the mysterious process of submission (that amorphous time after they said yes but before your book hits the shelves). She talks about literary citizenship and platform and tribe, and how our mindset really ought to be “us,” not “me vs you” or “me vs them.” Reading these pages you feel the growing certainty that what you’re doing matters, intrinsically, and this author is absolutely cheering you on in your successes and, in spirit, ready to hand you the kleenex and ice cream through the tears. Stephanie is one of those rare writers (teachers, mothers, humans) who is truly good to the core! She genuinely cares, and that’s what makes her words so special to hear.


Can you guess what I’m writing about?

Here are some of my recent Google searches.

Q: what kind of trees grow at the lake of the ozarks
A: Native Trees for Missouri, Missouri Botanical Garden

Q: what kind of snakes swim in the water
A: Facts About Water Snakes, Live Science

Q: how many kinds of squirrels are there
A: Different Species of Squirrel Living in the US, Pets on

Q: age, car seat or booster
A: When is my child ready, Safe Seats 4 Kids

Q: rolly pollies, synonyms and spellings
A: Armadillidium vulgare, roly poly, pill-bug, potato bug, woodlouse, doodle bug, carpenter

Q: black, dense caterpillar, california
A: 13 matches, Discover Life dot org
A: Black, Bristly Caterpillar, Hilton Pond dot org

Q: Google image search: caterpillar of Giant Leopard Moth

Q: do giant leopard moth caterpillars sting
A: no

Q: little ears, meaning
A: “Small ears may be an attractive feature, but they could make you prone to eczema and kidney disease”

Q: short lifespan
A: Top 10 Shortest Living Animals in the World, The Mysterious World dot com

Q: are there dragonflies in california
A: California Dragonflies and Damselflies, Insect Identification

Q: what does a cottage look like
A: cottage.png

Q: stages of flower growth
A: The Stages of a Flower From Seed to Bloom, Hunker

Q: parts of a flower
A: Plant Parts – Flower, The Great Plant Escape

Q: prologue or prelude?
A: “They’re the same thing, but Prelude deals with music and Prologue deals with literature.”
A: Self-Publishing Basics: An Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book, The Book Designer

Q: what are all the eye colors
A: What color are your eyes exactly?, Eye Doctors of Washington

Flower Glossary

Q: what flowers grow in missouri? plants native to missouri?
A: 12 Top Midwest Perennial Flowers, Midwest Living
A: Perennials for Season-long Bloom, Missouri Botanical Garden
A: List of Missouri native plants, Wikipedia

Q: what flowers grow in california? plants native to southern california?
A: California Native Flowering Plants and Wildflowers, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
A: Coastal California Wildflower Seed Mix, Eden Brothers

Q: what flowers grow in hawaii? plants native to hawaii?
A: Hawaiian Plants and Tropical Flowers, Wildlife of Hawaii

Q: does honeysuckle grow in hawaii?
A: Japanese honeysuckle is an invasive plant in Hawaii

Q: do pastels melt?
A: videos: oil pastel melt, best way to melt oil pastels, how to melt oil pastels

Q: major airports in california
A: Search Results for “Airports, CA”

  • Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) …
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) …
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF) …
  • Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK) …
  • John Wayne Airport-Orange County (SNA) …
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Q: san francisco california to lake of the ozarks missouri
A: map.png

Q: christ sake synonym
A: Prepositional phrase

  • for cripes’ sake.
  • for fuck’s sake.
  • for God’s sake.
  • for Pete’s sake.
  • for pity’s sake.
  • for goodness’ sake.
  • for heaven’s sake.
  • for crying out loud.

Q: emojis for plants
A: emojipedia
A: How to Type Emojis on Your Keyboard, HuffPo

Q: sheep in kansas?
A: sheep

Q: old black and pink candy
A: Bulk Licorice Allsorts, Old Time Candy dot com

the exciting momentum of good writing days


(It’s like they know me. Jetpens)

I have recently happened to have several good writing days back-to-back. A good day for me looks like: spending quality time (ie a lot) doing the work (butt in the chair) and coming away with a positive feeling, that the work in progress has been improved. My boyfriend gave me a new notebook (The Crossfield from Nanami Paper) which prompted me to dig back into my fountain pens. (I’m using my big fat Jinhao 159s from Jet Pens with my rainbow of Diamine inks from Vanness.) Handwriting is just one more way I can change the pace and see things anew. The goal should always be to distance enough from the work that we can cut mercilessly! In order to get it in the best shape we can.

(Seriously, it’s like they know me. Vanness)

I decided to incorporate a previously separate piece (3rd person fictionalized memoir set during junior high) into the larger manuscript I’m crafting (1st person memoir set during high school, college, etc.), which has been an exciting breath of life into the whole project. Writing new connective tissue, dropping into scenes with dialogue instead of breezing past with narration, changing perspectives from third to first! And you’d best believe I’m droppin’ bombs on Google Search like a mumma frumma. (I’ll include some of the fun ones in a separate post.)

Significantly, I was also able to pick back up the commentary from A Famous Author I received a couple of years ago, and receive the positive and negative notations without the emotional smack I experienced when I first reviewed them. That’s a great sign, because it’s another indicator that I’ve gotten farther from the material emotionally and will be able to chop it up till only the good bits are left! Welp, that’s the goal.
On my drives to work I’m listening to the audiobook Killing Commendatore, the latest from Murakami Haruki (one of my all-time favorite writers), and the synchronicity (or utter chaos) of the Universe just so happened to lead me to this timely point in the book where two main characters are discussing creativity:

“Menshiki said, ‘It’s like an earthquake deep under the sea, in an unseen world, a place where light doesn’t reach, in the realm of the unconscious. In other words, a major transformation is taking place.  It reaches the surface, where it sets off a series of reactions and eventually takes form where we can see it with our own eyes… The best ideas are thoughts that appear unbidden from out of the dark.’ ” —Murakami Haruki, Killing Commendatore


Meanwhile, I’ve had that itchy thought in the back of my head for a while now reminding myself to find “that beads quote,” because I couldn’t remember exactly how it went or who said it but I remembered thinking when I read it that it was really good, and that I should hold onto it. So I finally remembered while at a computer instead of, say, behind the wheel, to do just that.

“I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten—happy, absorbed, quietly putting one bead on after another.” —Brenda Ueland, If You Want To Write


Isn’t that just too good!? I love it. Not surprisingly, it’s everywhere all over the internet, but now it’s here too, so there. I hope your writing is going well. I hope you’ve found your flow and you have happy, easy days where the words just pour from your fingertips. But if that’s not the case right now, that’s okay too. Just don’t give up. Bad days don’t last forever, and the act of always coming back is so much more important than the results of a single session. “The master has failed more times than the beginner has tried.” Let’s always keep trying.

If you need encouragement, read Dr. Mrs. Stephanie Vanderslice‘s new book, The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life. I absolutely adored it and it may just contain the exact words you needed to hear.



December 2018

December has arrived. How did your Nanowrimo go? How many books did you read this year? How did your word of the year go? Have you thought about what to select for your next one? The last month of the year is all about reflection, summary, arranging the narrative in a way that makes sense. And thinking about goals for the year to come. What do you want to accomplish in 2019? How did your goals for 2018 go, what were your roadblocks, what were things that worked well?

I didn’t win Nano this year, and I have mixed feelings about it. I’m glad for the writing I accomplished and disappointed in myself that I didn’t work harder to meet my goal. I’ve completed 25 books as of now and may finish a few more because I can sometimes listen to audiobooks at work. I think despite all the ups and downs inherent in a year, my word (phrase) of the year “get up and go” went pretty well. I’ve been thinking about selections for the upcoming but I’m not quite ready to share.

My writing has been through good and bad patches. Journalling seems to be what I’m drawn to most naturally so I’ve tried to accomodate that natural instinct. I’ve met with my awesome writing group countless times to great effect, and attended several write-ins that were great for productivity as well as morale. I kept teaching writing classes and feel good about that. My reading has been slow this year, as intended, to give myself a break from the previous year’s supersonic speeds.

Exercise comes and goes. I get into a great groove and then it falls apart, and I don’t realize until long after I’ve stopped. Then at some point I start again. I’m not sure how to fix this. My cleaning is at an all-time high for the year, following my family’s visit for Thanksgiving, and my laundry is at an all-time low. I’m certain I’ve increased the number of rainbows in The House of Rainbows. I hope your year has treated you kindly, and you have accomplishments you can feel good about.

Much Love,

books read

Thursday Writers w Jobe

Source Title Wave


In case you need to know the names for countless groups of animals, Grammarly has got you covered.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Their slogan is “We match writers to the publishers looking for stories just like theirs.” I found them on facebook.


Source The Writer’s Circle