Crime Baked

Julie Hennrikus, Lisa Haselton, Diane McKinnon at Crime Bake

Me, Lisa, Diane

The New England Crime Bake is a conference that is very near and dear to my heart. I missed the first, but have been to the other 13. This year I was co-chair, and I was also honored as a debut novelist. What a journey!

As I write this, I am still exhausted from the weekend. I don’t know where Lisa found the energy to post on Monday–as registrar for the conference, she was as busy as I was. It was a terrific weekend, for so many reasons:

I learned. I had the great good fortune of interviewing Elizabeth George on Saturday. I was very nervous about it for a couple of reasons. First, everyone was watching–it was during lunch. Second, I am a fan of Elizabeth George. The interview went well–I’m a bigger fan now. More than that, I learned so much by listening to her. Since it was a writer’s conference, I focused on her process. Setting is important to her–helps inspire her plots. She sets out to top herself in every book. She believes in reading up, for encouragement. And “they are only words, and I won’t let words defeat me” was her remark at another panel. I feel like that should be on a coffee mug I use every day.

Wicked Cozy Authors and accomplices.

Wicked Cozy Authors

I met new people. My co-chair and I set out to make the weekend welcoming. We held a Crime Bake 101 meeting on Friday afternoon, and encouraged people to come up and ask questions all weekend, which they did. It was so gratifying to meet so many folks who were coming to Crime Bake for the first time.

I met people in person. I am a member of the Guppies, of Sisters in Crime, and of MWA. I am also active in social media. I know a lot of people from on-line, but now I got to meet them in 3-D. Social media cuts out a lot of small talk–it was like meeting old friends.

Books bought at Crime BakeI spent time with friends. I saw Lisa and Diane, which was terrific. I also spent time with my friends from the Wicked Cozy Authors blog. We don’t get to be all together too often, so we appreciate the time to be together tremendously.

I signed books. It’s been a month, and it isn’t getting old. I sat down at one point this weekend and saw this pile of books. Level Best Books’ Red Dawn, my book, Elizabeth George’s latest. How thrilling is that, especially since I didn’t even know her!

I’ve said it before, and will say it again. Find a writer’s conference, and go. Don’t wait until blah blah blah (book finished, you have an agent, you have a contract). Go when the dream is just a glimmer in your eye. Crime Bake is one of my favorite weekends in the year, and I am already looking forward to next year!


Julianne Holmes is the author of Just Killing Time.

Short and Sweet Advice for Writers: Take 10

stopwatachFinding time to write is always a challenge.

You dream of long, uninterrupted stretches of time in which you can unfurl your creativity and let your muse be your guide. You assume that in order to accomplish your Big Writing Dreams you must have Big Blocks of Writing Time. You’re partly right.

Yes – writing takes time and big projects take a lot of time. Writing a book is not a quest for the faint hearted. However (though I still long for full days of writing) I have been discovering the value of “micro” writing sessions. These mini, 10-minute sessions may not be moving me forward on any long-form projects, but they are helping me tackle other writing goals like increasing the frequency of my fiction writing practice, stretching my creative muscles, and learning to let myself play in my writing.

Even on a really busy day, I can usually find ten minutes to write. Knowing that I only have to write for ten minutes and – just as importantly – that what I’m writing doesn’t need to serve any specific purpose really helps to take the pressure off.

Here are a few examples of my 10-minute writing practice:


I wrote this one on the Werdsmith app on my phone while sitting at the town wharf watching the moon rise. I had been putting the trash out (just before running to the market) when the rising moon caught my eye. I left the trash at the curb, walked two minutes down to the edge of the river, and tapped this out on my phone:

The moon had always felt like an invitation to her, a bright, intoxicating promise of something mysterious and possibly magical. The way it hung there in the evening sky, balanced and luminescent, with the reflected light of the day caught on its cold surface.

The night, too, seemed to beckon. The shadows softening and deepening the contours of the world. An owl hooted low like a lover calling her back to bed, sweet with a touch of sharpness.

And there, dancing through the back rooms of her mind, a memory. The spell of moon and dark and the owl’s sultry call converged to draw out some ancient inner story that had always been there, but which she’d never dared to call her own.

This was what was happening to Jordan the night she disappeared, but no one else would know that for a very, very long time. No one would have any explanation for the way she vanished, seemingly like a ghost, right out from under the watchful eyes of a half dozen nosy neighbors.



This one I wrote while sitting in my car, waiting for my daughter to put her lesson pony to bed for the night. I scribbled it into a Moleskine notebook while still wearing my gloves. (It was chilly.)

It seemed like a perfectly ordinary Thursday, but as it turned out, it would be the day that changed everything. Of course, Arnold didn’t realize this at the time. He just pulled on his trench coat against the London drizzle and descended into the steaming underground to catch the 8:05 uptown to the offices of Shane, Mack & Oliver.

Arnold wasn’t looking forward to the meeting. He knew it wasn’t going to go well. Shane, Mack & Oliver had a reputation for ruthless behavior. Arnold’s company didn’t even have a very good case against the agency they were representing. He had resigned himself to a morning of abuse and cruel punishment. He hadn’t even put on his good suit.

Arnold emerged into the damp sunlight a long, city block from the shining offices where he expected to have his hat handed to him. He shuffled along the sidewalk, his steps recalcitrant and slow. He barely raised his eyes, even to cross the street. That was why he didn’t see the ghost until he’d walked right through it.

The ghost didn’t seem surprised. Exasperated, maybe, but not surprised. He harumphed indignantly and gave his head a superior little toss that ended with an eye roll for punctuation. Arnold might not have even stopped except for the fact that walking through the ghost had been something like walking through several sheets of ice – a succession of sharp shivers that ran through his body like a rapid fire spray of machine-gun fire, causing him to convulse somewhat violently.

Arnold stopped and leant over to catch his breath. He clutched at his heart, thinking maybe this was what a heart attack felt like. But then he saw the transparent visage of Mr. Edward Hottentot, Esq. and knew his current state of frigid incapacity was not due to any failure of his heart.



This one I wrote in bed on Werdsmith at 6AM in the morning … with a cat sleeping on my chest.

The weight of the cat on her chest was reassuring. It was like a small, warm anchor that tethered her physically and spiritually to the world. It’s purr was an ancient mantra that soothed and protected her, keeping the bad dreams and anxiety at bay.

But, as the sun crept higher and the sounds of traffic increased, the cat realized it was hungry. It leapt lightly from its perch on her sternum, leaving her at risk of floating away. The cat was not concerned. It sat in a far corner of the small room, grooming its face assiduously, not even bothering to see if the girl was still safely tucked in under the covers and not drifting down the hall.

As for the girl, she came to terms with the cat’s sudden abandonment slowly. She held herself still and breathed as quietly and evenly as she could. Nothing happened. After a few minutes she dared to turn and look out the window. The world was still there, more or less as she’d left it the night before. The girl let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding and began to plan her day. The first order of business would be finding out her name.


See? It’s some silly play and some free-form meandering. You don’t have to outline anything. You don’t have to worry about achieving any particular goal. You just find ten minutes, and you start writing. As a die-hard planner (vs. pantster), I’m really enjoying being completely random and just seeing what happens. In each of these cases, I had NO idea what I was going to write (or even that I was going to write at all!), and I just kind of started with a sentence and then waited to see where it would take me.

Do you do any kind of free-writing practice? What do you like best about it? What works well for you in terms o f process, frequency, length, etc? Care to share the fruits of your labors?  

Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

I Know Mystery Writers Are Regular People, too, but this still happens

Today is the day after my favorite 3-day conference for mystery writers, New England Crime Bake. It’s the day after I reconnected with far-away friends, and made new friends.

Like past years, and attending any writing workshops or conferences, my brain is bursting with new tips, tricks, and inspiration for getting words onto the page.

But my big takeaway is thoughts of the people and conversations.

So many of my friends are now published authors. On Friday night, we got to celebrate the ‘debut’ mystery novelists. It’s such a thrill and honor to be able to congratulate others on their accomplishments. (If they can do it, so can I, right?)

The celebration was called “Death, Desserts, and Debutants.” The only thing that died was our will power to resist chocolate – the desserts buffet was simply decadent.

I ended up at a table with a debut mystery novelist I hadn’t met before. She was a so funny. I recognized her name and thought she was a panelist or presenter. She wasn’t. I knew I’d never met her before, but there was something so familiar that I had to keep staring at her and talking to her. I couldn’t write it off as simply recognizing her name from the attendees roster.

And then it happened. She mentioned the name of her book. Idyll Threats. And I swear I became a teenager barely able to contain a Squee of excitement. Yes! Of course! Stephanie Gayle! I became all “OMG,” and “Stephanie, I loved your book,” and “Stephanie, when’s the next one coming out?” Such a star-struck fan. I laughed at my behavior, but couldn’t help myself.

My fan status started a few months back when Stephanie’s publicist contacted me about Stephanie and her novel. I ended up interviewing Stephanie and reviewing her novel on my blog, and then even interviewed her for a couple of hours at The Writer’s Chatroom one Sunday evening. I loved the book, loved the fresh writing, the protagonist, all of it. It was a treat to get to know more about the author behind the story.

On Friday night, it took a while for all the pieces to click into place. But then, there I was, with the author, and, wow, like everyone else I’ve met at this conference, she was a normal person. She even has a full-time day job and has to find/make time to write. (She’s 3rd from the left in the 2nd row in the pic).


2015 Debut Mystery Novelists at New England Crime Bake

Several ‘big names’ always attend the conference (this year’s guest of honor was Elizabeth George, others include Craig Johnson, Joe Finder, Lee Child, Charlaine Harris) and guess what? They are people too!

I love being part of the community of mystery writers. And I love this particular conference for the wonderful conversations and long-lasting friendships that develop.

Two of my fellow NHWN bloggers, Diane, and Julie (aka Julianne Holmes, debut mystery novelist – 3rd from left in last row in pic) were there, too, celebrating and meeting their fave authors, getting star-struck, and striking up conversations with new friends.

What author(s) turn you into a (giggly) star-struck fan?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with manufacturing, software, and technology businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Weekend Edition- Not What I Meant to Write Plus Memoir Musings

This isn’t the post I was planning to write.

Make yourself a cup of something hot and tasty and sit back and relax.

Make yourself a cup of something hot and tasty and sit back and relax.

You know that feeling when your life is humming along at a good clip with things falling into place almost as if by plan and then, out of nowhere, you find yourself bumped off the rails by something outside your control, and everything grinds to a halt?

A week ago I naively shared my excitement about a goal setting/productivity app called Balanced. I still love this app, but I should have listened to my superstitious self who told me not to get overly confident about how well I was doing at fitting all my want-to-do’s and should-do’s into my day. I really should have known better. No sooner were the words published than I began to feel a little under the weather. By the time Monday rolled around, I was questioning my ability to make a client meeting in Boston on Wednesday never mind do my “balanced” journaling, yoga, and juicing. I made the meeting, but only just barely. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday featured involuntary naps that sent project schedules spinning out of orbit, and Friday was mostly a wash as I stumbled through the day on fumes, having slept only four hours the night before.


Perhaps ironically (I’ll never feel confident using that word since the world skewered Alanis Morrissette for applying it incorrectly in a song), today’s post was going to be about the beauty and joy of a place for everything and everything in its place. Instead, as I sit here sipping chamomile tea and sucking on a Burt’s Bees cough drop, I’m thinking less about order and organization and more about learning how to cut myself some slack.

··• )o( •··

A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with a personal coach to explore the roadblocks that routinely keep me from moving toward my creative goals. As part of a barter arrangement, she and I met via phone bi-weekly to talk about the circumstances and fears that were holding me back. Again and again, I berated and belittled myself, saying things like, “I just need to get off my ass” and “I don’t know what’s the matter with me.”

The coach called me on this bullshit.

She reminded me that a) there was nothing wrong with me, and b) I was “getting off my ass” each and every day as I juggled parenting, freelancing, housekeeping, writing, and myriad other responsibilities and tasks. I was definitely not sitting around eating bon-bons and watching reality TV all day, so why was I beating myself up?

··• )o( •··

Earlier this week, I read a She Writes post by Emily Lackey who shared similar self-doubt and derision about her need to sign up for a writing class in order to ensure she’d get the writing done:

Is it weird that I feel a tinge of shame about this? About paying hard-earned money to have someone hold me accountable to something I claim to love?

There are other things that I love that don’t take external motivators to keep me dedicated—my dog, my boyfriend, every single iteration of The Real Housewives. Why can’t I—like the real writer I imagine—get my shit together once and for all and write this collection on my own?

I hear you,  Emily.

··• )o( •··

As my energy drained out of me, the  voices in my head took up the all-too-familiar refrain of accusatory disgust. It was as if a big, mean me was kicking a small, sick me while she was down. At one point in my illness-induced exhaustion, my brain trotted out the scene from Black Beauty when the cruel carriage driver repeatedly whips the poor horse, even as it collapses in the mud, pelted by cold rain.

But, perhaps I’m being overly dramatic.

The point is, we tend to be harder on ourselves than we deserve.

I’m all for pushing myself and setting stretch goals and working hard to get things done and make things happen. But, I need to do a better job of knowing when it’s time to take five and give myself a chance to recuperate. I need to learn to feel better about asking for help. And I really need to stop judging myself with the heart of a miser.

Even though I clearly needed to rest this week, I felt guilty and ashamed for “slacking off.” Note to self: it’s not slacking off if you’re sick. Sometimes, life is going to throw you a curve ball. It’s going to upset your precious balance, and you need to just roll with it. Sometimes that means continuing your work despite more difficult or uncomfortable circumstances, and sometimes that means sitting yourself the hell down and putting your feet up for a minute.

··• )o( •··

There are lots of things that went undone this week, but that’s okay. In real life, there are ups and downs; there are super productive times and there are hanging-on-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth times. You need to work with the situation at hand and stop constantly blaming yourself for things that you can’t control. And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t hold yourself up to the same standards even when everything around you (including your own health) falls to pieces. Taking it down a notch now and then doesn’t make you a lazy person or an impostor. And plowing ahead even when what you really need is some TLC does not make you a better writer. It makes you a sicker, more tired writer.

The cold & flu season is coming. The holidays are coming. There are bound to be plenty of days that aren’t going to afford you the time, energy, or head space to do what you hoped to accomplish. Do me a favor and give yourself a break. Instead of berating yourself for lacking the strength, discipline, or dedication to keep on keeping on, remind  yourself that everyone (and I mean everyone) needs a break sometimes. When the Universe sends you a curve ball, think of it as an invitation to step back and indulge in a little self care. Instead of whipping yourself through to the other side of whatever adversity you’re facing, try nursing yourself there. I guarantee the outcome will be better in every way.



I don’t usually read a lot of memoirs, but this week, I listened to two memoirs on Audible. Both authors are unique, quirky women who carry banners for freedom of self-expression in their own way.

book felicia dayFelicia Day is known as the “queen of the geeks.” Hers is a rags to riches story that begins with an unorthodox home-schooled childhood, includes her rise as a violin protege, and ends with her finding herself and success on the Internet.

Though I enjoyed learning more about Day, I felt that – compared to other memoirs I’ve read and loved (Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes, Please by Amy Poehler), Day’s book, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), was a little more self-focused. That may sound weird and obvious (it is a memoir, after all), but there was something more inclusive about the way Fey and Poehler wrote their stories.

Even so, I liked some of what Day wrote about the difficulty of the writing process,

I had no confidence in myself. I was a fraud. Who was I to pick up a pen and expect anything good to come out of it? I expected perfection as soon as the pencil hit the paper, and – since that’s impossible – I couldn’t get myself to start. Then, I felt guilty about not starting, which made me want to start even less.

And, then about the perspective that helped her to move forward with more consistency,

Something inside me snapped. I woke up at 3:54 AM with a full-on panic attack and a huge epiphany: I was going to die someday. I was going to end. And I know you can say that to yourself a million times … but you can’t understand something unless you feel it, deep in your bones. For some reason that night, I felt it. A vivid terror gripped me. I was mortal and I was going to die … if I didn’t do something with my life right now, the totality of Felicia Day would add up to nothing.

Nothing like a little mortality to light a fire under your butt, right?

book furiously happyFuriously Happy – A Funny Book About Horrible Things is Jenny Lawson’s second memoir. I thoroughly enjoyed her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, so picking this one up was a no brainer.

Lawson (aka The Bloggess) lives with depression, anxiety, and a host of other disorders. She has been blogging since before blogging was cool and, in addition to writing her books, she spends her time bantering with her 450,000 Twitter followers and starting movements like The Traveling Red Dress.

In short, she’s pretty damn awesome.

Furiously Happy is a brave book, a silly book, a laugh-out-loud book, an insightful and touching book, an irreverent book. Lawson jumps back and forth between Steven Wright-like observations about the world and deeply vulnerable and empathetic confessions about what it’s like to live with depression. Lawson manages this incredibly difficult balancing act with a grace that is both surprising and delightful.

There are plenty of passages in this book that I would not let my eleven year-old daughter listen to, but when she gets a little older, I will encourage her to read the entire book. Twice. Lawson gives readers a unique and unexpected perspective that is at once terrifying and comforting. And, perhaps most importantly, she does it in a way that lets you know you’re not alone – we’re all in this together. Highly recommended.


And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:


Finally, a quote for the week:

pin compassion buddha

Be well. Take care of yourself. 
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

Friday Fun: What Would Your Autobiography Be Called

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: If you wrote an autobiography, what would it be called?

Lee Laughlin CU 7-13Lee Laughlin: A variation of this question was the topic of discussion on a local, morning, radio show recently. I couldn’t come up with anything fast enough to call in and contribute to the discussion, but a title came to mind later in the day.

A book about me would be called Let’s Do This! I’m a very action oriented person. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to pause before I leap into a project, but that pause is still fairly brief. I really like to get my hands into things and adjust course as necessary.

There would definitely be a chapter titled Chasing Serenity.  As I’ve aged, I have come to appreciate the benefits of being still and present in the moment. Usually on my sun porch with a good cup of tea.

photo of Julianne HolmesJulie Hennrikus: What a great question! I’d love it to be something poignant, like Grace & Gratitude. Or Chasing Joy. But I suspect, when I finally get to it, it will be Happily Ever After? or That’s It?


JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: This is a tough question. First of all, the thought of writing an autobiography/memoir gives me hives. It’s not that I don’t admire the genre, but the thought of having to write about myself for that many pages – ugh.

As for a title … I think I’d like it to be something optimistic, a little humorous, and also – looked at from another angle – insightful/philosophical. But … no pressure. I love the titles of Tina Fey’s and Amy Poehler’s memoirs – Bossypants and Yes, Please, respectively.  (I enjoyed both, by the way.)

Seriously. I can’t come up with anything clever or fun. Instead, enjoy this list of 69 Awesome and Awful Autobiography Titles that I found via the magic of Google.  Enjoy!

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I have no idea what my autobiography would be called. Maybe You Went to Med School to Become a What?!  or how about The Serial Beginner. When I read this question I immediately thought of my mom. She always said the title of her autobiography would be Five Kids, Four Bananas.

My DIY Writing Retreat

Recently Deb talked about creating your own writing residency. *Sigh* a whole WEEK devoted to writing. Oh I get all a twitapated just thinking about it, but for now, with two active kids and a husband with an insane travel schedule, a week away devoted solely to my writing is just not feasible. For now, I squeeze my writing getaways in where I can.

Last spring, I attended the New England Romance Writer’s Conference and stayed an extra night to write. It was lovely. Last month, the only week my husband was home, I traveled to Detroit for work. I extended the trip by a day and a half and devoted that time to writing. I’m thrilled to say I added more than 8,000 words to my work in progress. There were a couple of key factors that make these little writing retreats work for me.

My writer's perch (a long couch in the hotel room, my "view" of the parking garage, an original Olga with fries and wine with cookies.

Location, location, location!

Both of these retreats took place in hotels that cater to business travelers. One was located in a business park, and most recently, I stayed at the Detroit airport.  There was no beautiful scenery to draw me away, no tourist attractions that I “really shouldn’t miss.” Basically, I had permission to just hang out in my room guilt-free.

The other side of the location coin, is picking a place that isn’t so isolated that you go stir crazy. Yes, I need to focus on my writing, but the four walls of a hotel room can start to close in after too much time and crush your creativity. The conference hotel was in an office park but it was near a mall so there were a number of dining options (and a Starbucks) within walking distance.  Detroit has a public transportation system that runs to and from the airport. With a few quick swipes, I was able to find a bus route that stopped at a nearby mall. Even better? I found a an location of a restaurant chain (Olga’s Kitchen) that I hadn’t eaten at since I was in high school. Triple play? There was a Target across from the mall that sold beer and wine this allowed me to stock up on motivation and rewards (I’ll explain that later).

Set Goals

For both of my getaways, I set goals that weren’t cakewalks, but weren’t so ridiculous I’d be stressed out or ignore them completely.   Last spring, I was plotting, This time, I was just flat out writing. I set my goal at 5,000 words on the day that I was supposed to have the full day to write (again more on that in a minute) and 3,000 for the half day.  I ended up writing until I was halfway through my flight home, BUT, I made my goal with a little padding.

Expect the unexpected (and roll with it)

I was supposed to have all day Friday and half the day Saturday just to write, heh, yeah, best laid plans and all that. I ended up having to attend to a few work details on Friday morning, so I didn’t start writing in earnest until after lunch. Saturday I also ended up working on tasks that needed to be completed on site. Since that’s why I was there in the first place, I couldn’t exactly say no. However, this is where creating goals that were a bit of a reach but not overwhelming worked well.

Plan ahead

As Deb mentioned in her post, plan a head and clear your desk before you leave, so when you come back you aren’t playing catch up.

I didn’t do as good a job at this as I could have. It would have been better if I could have cleared my inbox(es) before I left, but that just didn’t happen. Instead, I finished my original onsite commitments a little early, so I took the time to wipe out my emails before I sat down to write. When I did finally sit down to write, it was with a clear conscience.

I *could* conceivably have stayed until Sunday, but I knew that would throw off my weekly routine of meal planning and grocery shopping. So, coming home later Saturday afternoon made more sense for me.

Motivate and reward yourself

Plan a head and build in times to reward yourself for your efforts. Since I got such a late start on Friday, I set a goal of 2,000 words before I left for my dinner adventure. That way when I stopped, I felt like I’d achieved something.

While I was out, I stopped at Mrs. Fields Cookies and bought 5,000 word reward. When I was at Target I bought a bottle of wine as a little motivation (plus it was cheaper than going to the hotel bar).

All in all I was pleased by the outcome of my mini writer’s retreat and I can’t wait to do it again.

How do you fit in focused writing time?


Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. She blogs at She has been a member of the Concord Monitor Board of Contributors. Her words have also appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe. She is currently working on her first novel, a work of contemporary, romantic fiction.

Writing & Yoga Workshop

Deb Luskin & Jen Frey are offering a Writing & Yoga Workshop, Writing to the Light, on Friday, November 13, 2014, at Newfane Village Yoga, Newfane, VT

Deb Luskin & Jen Frey are offering a Writing & Yoga Workshop, Writing to the Light, on Friday, November 13, 2014, at Newfane Village Yoga, Newfane, VT

Over the past few years I’ve found a remedy for the writing hazards of poor posture, stiff joints and loneliness through the practice of yoga.

My yoga practice began as a strictly physical endeavor: a way to exercise with others and regain the flexibility that’s hard to maintain after spending most of a day in a chair. But I quickly learned that elements of yoga, like breathing and staying present, were good for opening my writer’s mind. Now, I combine yoga and writing all the time.

My yoga practice includes difficult stretches, challenging balances, and killer core strengtheners. These help me build the flexibility, grace and strength to write from my heart with a still mind.

I know a lot of people turn to journals to plumb their emotional and spiritual depths; journal writing is good for that. I also know people who say they’d like to write more, but don’t have the time; and others who say they’d like to exercise more, but don’t have the will-power. That used to be me – and it’s what lead me to practice yoga, which helps me find my breath, balance and words.

We'll be writing about finding ways to maintain our light through the dark of the year.

We’ll be writing about finding ways to maintain our light through the dark of the year. (Deborah Lee Luskin, photo)

So, I’m delighted to be teaming up with my yoga instructor, Jenny Frey, to lead Writing to the Light, a workshop designed to nurture our internal light as the earth tilts toward the dark.

We’ll use yoga and breath to ground ourselves, and writing to illuminate a path through the coming dark. Jen’s gentle yoga practice will prepare us for timed writing to inspiring prompts. Using our deepest breath, we will then make our words audible and find strength in our collective ideas.

No prior experience necessary, just comfortable clothes, pen, paper, and a willingness to be still and discover.

The workshop will take place at Newfane Village Yoga on Friday, November 13, from 6-9 PM. The cost is $30. Register here.

M. Shafer, Photo

M. Shafer, Photo

Deborah Lee Luskin is an author, blogger, and writing consultant with over thirty years experience teaching writing and literature to a wide variety of learners throughout Vermont. She’s been practicing yoga for a several years.


Jen’s core philosophy is that yoga should be available and accessible to all. She creates a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in which a challenging flow is punctuated with warmth and giggles. Her goal is always to get you to try something new with a sense of humor. She embraces a versatile Vinyasa flow and modifies to suit all levels. Mindfulness and breath work are fundamental ingredients in her approach.
Jen began practicing yoga in 1998. What started out as a purely physical endeavor evolved into a pathway for life. Jen is a 500 RYT, she studied Fluid Yoga with Kevan Gale at Stil Studio, Boston.