Monday Motivations

Before I miss Monday altogether, here is Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations. Write on!!
Thank you, Esther, for another wonderful motivation!


Doesn’t Monday come round quickly?! Here’s a new writing challenge for you:

Write a story or poem on any of the following themes:

  • Misery
  • Sleep
  • Gold

Last week’s themes were as follows:

  • Disaster
  • Love
  • Silence

Here are your stories and poems:

Robert Griffiths has a great tale to tell:

Silence 1973

“Are you English?”

A crackled, Scottish-Swedish accented voice was asking me. I answered with my usual politeness.

“What’s that got to do with you?”

The man asking me was of medium height with blond scraggy beard and even blonder and scraggier hair.

“My name is Rolf,” he said.

“What’s yours?” his throaty voice enquired.

We were standing in the middle of a bright, white and sparkling snow-covered square. I had just completed my first year living in Stockholm. He reminded me of “the Slipper of the yard”.

I answered, “Mind your own business.”

He looked at me…

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Writing Tip: Begin with the Inciting Incident

Author Libby Sommer presents a short and sweet tip for writers.
Thank you for sharing this, Libby!

Libby Sommer, Author

The Inciting Incident is the event or decision that begins a story’s problem.

quote from Evan Marshall

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What is Zentangle?

Lately, as I view Zentangle tiles and artwork shared on the Zentangle Mosaic app, I find myself once again asking, What is Zentangle? 

Is Zentangle an art form? Is it a meditative process? Is it a creative process? Is it a method of relaxation? Does it help me feel better about myself? Does it calm me when I am tense or anxious? Does it teach me? Does it help me in my quest to learn to express myself through art? Does it reflect who I am or who I am becoming? Does it help me see the world more clearly? Does it build my confidence? 

The answer to these and many more questions is, Yes! 

Zentangle is and does all these things and more, all through very simple strokes of a pen. The simple strokes, when put together, result in a product that is creative in its essence. But the process of creation–especially for those of us who are convinced we are artistically challenged–awakens a sense of self and a sense of accomplishment that brings contentment, inner peace, self pride, and other positive feelings while one is actively paying attention to the strokes of the pen. Since the process is not intended to result in a picture that represents anything in particular, the work can be appreciated for what it is–a reflection of one’s own being during the work’s creation. Certainly, as one learns new patterns and creates more complex spaces to fill with patterns, the process may more clearly reflect what we sense about the world around us. But it is not the intent of the Zentangle method that any picture–scene, bird, state of mind–should be planned. The process is meant to be spontaneous in its creation and output, reflecting nothing more than an arrangement of patterns that feel right at the time.

Here are some examples of “first” tiles from created by using three different books.

Using Zentangle 1: Basics

Using One Zentangle a Day

Using the Zentangle Primer, vol. 1

These tiles, or Zentangles produced on 3.5″ x 3.5″ artist paper tiles, are just to give you an idea of what can be done on your first day of tangling. The top one was created using the first 4 patterns presented in Suzanne McNeill’s workbook called Zentangle 1: Basics. The center tile used Day 1 patterns in Beckah Krahula’s One Zentangle a Day. For the bottom tile, I used Lesson 1 in the Zentangle Primer, by Zentangle founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. I will talk about the three books another time, mostly because which book I would recommend depends on how you plan to use your tangling and what you choose to do with your tiles and skills. Here, I am merely pointing out that something unique and lovely comes out of first attempts. Even if some of the patterns look difficult, they are not. 

When I learned to Zentangle, I had to do it pretty much on my own. On the island of St. Martin, where there are two tiny countries and on which I live, there were no Certified Zentangle Teachers to guide my work or answer questions. No one I knew had even heard of Zentangle. That is one of the reasons I will be bringing Zentangle to the countries of Saint Martin and Sint Maarten in May of 2017–only a few months away. I hope to first offer free workshops to troubled school children and bored senior citizens. Later, I hope to expand to offer workshops to people on the island who, like me, are looking for a meditative method that involves doing while relaxing, and that can be done anywhere. 

More about what Zentangle is, and maybe what it is not, next time! 

Until then, happy tangling! 


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The US Government and Plain Language

Government communications and understandable language rarely go together. So, imagine my surprise when I saw a newsletter item from the CDC stressing the use of the active voice! Curiosity led me to the following web site, which might be of interest to writers.

Check it out for yourself! 


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Markets For Writers

How’s your humor? Why not enter the completion Esther Newton highlights in her Markets for Writers post?
As always, thank you, Esther!


Everyone likes a good laugh so why not enter Writing Magazine‘s ‘Humour short story Competition’? You have until 15th March 2017 to craft your story. Here’s some more information for you:


1st place:      £200 plus publication in the magazine

Runner-up: £50 plus publication on the website

Entry fee:     £5 but only £3 to subscribers

Word limit: 1500 – 1700 words

To enter and to read through the rules, visit the competition page



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Writing Tip

A wring tip from author Libby Sommer…
Thank you, Libby!

Libby Sommer, Author

quote on grey board

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Monday Motivations

Here is this week’s Monday Motivations from Esther Newton. Enjoy!
Thank you, Esther!


I hope you’ve settled down into 2017 well. If you’re looking for a fresh challenge, here’s one for you:

Write a story or poem on any of the following themes:

  • Disaster
  • Love
  • Silence

Your themes from last week were:

  • A fresh start
  • The dark place
  • Monsters

Robert Griffiths has sent in a super true-life story on the theme ‘a fresh start’:

It’s a new year but I, an old handicapped man, must still go to have my therapy. With only one leg and one arm working and both rigid and spastic, I waited in the hallway for my taxi.

This morning, as my always chatty and happy Algerian driver arrived, we walked outside together on the pavement facing the unforgiving freezing misty air, towards the taxi she had parked several hundred yards away. Opposite the taxi are steps up to a pathway leading into a green floral park. A well-fed…

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Markets For Writers

Esther Newton links you to another writing competition. Read her newest Markets for Writers post!
As always, Esther, thank you for providing us with new writing markets!


This week’s market is an ongoing one. The 1000 Word Challenge sets a new competition every three months. There’s usually a theme. The current competition is as follows:

Your story must start
with the following direct speech:
Entries up to 1000 words are accepted. The closing date is 28th February 2017. There’s an entry fee of £5 and the prizes are as follows:
1st: £100
2nd: £50
3rd: £25
To find out more about this competition and others, visit the website

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Monday Motivations

Today’s Monday Motivations from Esther Newton is here! Also included are samples of last week’s stories and poems. Read on!
Esther, thank you once again! Happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to you!


I hope you’ve all recovered from your New Year celebrations. If you’re looking to get back into the writing groove, here are a few prompts for you:

  • A fresh start
  • The dark place
  • Monsters

I’d love to see your writing on any of these themes. Anything goes!

Now, last week, your theme was New Year. Here are your fantastic interpretations on this theme:

EDC Writing:

The week that stands for nothing
Christmas Day to New Year
The one you get closest
To losing everything
So much proximity
Too much time to think
Roll on … back to work next week.

Sarah Evans:

The new year comes in with a cheer,
Until we realise that the sheer,
Weight we must lose,
No more chocolate, cakes, or booze,
As exercise and weight loss are clear.

The new year comes in with a cheer,
Until we realise that the sheer,

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Monday Motivations…On Tuesday

This week’s Monday Motivations from Esther Newton are a bit delayed because of Christmas and Boxing Day. But she offers a Tuesday Monday Motivations with a New Year theme. Read on for a taste of what last week’s Motivations yielded.
Thank you, Esther! Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!


This week’s writing challenge is a day late thanks to entertaining and cooking for a houseful yesterday. It was a wonderful, noisy, fun day! I hope you all had a special Christmas with your loved ones.

This week’s theme is, of course, New Year. You can write a story, poem, limerick…the choice is yours.

Last week’s challenge involved three options:

  • The Gift
  • Magic
  • Snow

Here are your festive offerings:

Sarah sent in a super poem called ‘The Gift’:

Granny sat in the huge rocking chair,
Sitting by the fire all cosy and bare.

Rocking gently, eyes vacant, the warmth on her face,
Great memories replaying taking her to another place.

She remembered a Christmas day as a child,
Her eyes full of wonder, excitement and wild.

Where thick snow covered the ground outside,
She saw children skating on the pond, they did glide.

She pulled on her scarf, coat…

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