01-19-19 – Judith Ashley – My Sanctuaries and Safe Havens: Writing and Spiritual Practices

Thursday, July 6, 2017


When do you know enough to speak with confidence and authority?
Interesting question, right?
As a writer, my journey has been a rolling one – hills, dales, tributaries . . .

Large gaping canyons . . .
You know, the usual ups and downs. I’ve done everything possible to learn and develop my craft – bought and borrowed books, attended writing workshops and conferences, entered competitions, had my work appraised and critiqued. And I’ve had some amazing authors guide and mentor me along the way. I feel as if I’ve got this writing gig down pat.
But when do we know enough to be able to give back to the community who have given us so much?
There are so many variables here, but I don’t think any one of them change my view on this . . .
When can we begin to give back?
From Day 1.
I see your eyebrows raise. Your lips twist. Your jaw drop.
How can we help others learn when we are still learning ourselves?
One fact I’ve discovered on this wondrous journey is that no matter where I am on that road to authordom, there will always be someone behind. Someone who knows less or who needs more. And another fact I’ve discovered? Helping others doesn’t infringe on my success, and more, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling with the realization of how much I’ve learned and how I’ve managed to help someone in the way I was once helped.
If that’s not a warm fuzzy hug, I don’t know what is.

I guess that’s what I love about romance writers. Maybe it’s because our stories are filled with so much love and giving that some of that goodness oozes out and escapes into the real world. Or maybe it’s because we realize more quality books on the shelves provides a more solid platform for our own book babies.
Or maybe it’s because we’re a pretty awesome bunch of writers 😊
Whatever the case, I’ve found that people at every stage of the writing journey all have something to offer. And most give of their knowledge both freely and generously.
And that was my thought as I began to outline an idea for a non-fiction book on writing.
I’m one of those crazy people who love writing synopses. Yet there are so many writers who struggle with the idea. Maybe it’s my highly scientific mind. My love for logic. For structure. Or maybe it’s some deviant form of DNA in my genetic makeup.
Either way, I seem to have – somewhat unconsciously – formulated a strategy to build the synopsis from a story’s key elements. And using that strategy transforms synopsis creation into a simple, non-teeth-pulling process.
Having created this strategy, why wouldn’t I want to share it with others? Easy to do with writers in my immediate circle, but how to share it with writers further afield?
Hence, the first in my non-fiction Simply Writing SeriesSimply Synopsis.

This book is my way of giving back to writers, and the romance writing industry as a whole. After all, if I can help take the stress out of synopsis writing, why wouldn’t I?
That’s also the reason I signed up with Romance Writers of Australia to hold a four week online workshop on synopsis creation in September this year. If you’ve ever struggled over the wily synopsis, if you’ve never quite got the gist of how to structure one of these head bangers, then click here and scroll down to find out more about my Simply Synopsis OWL.

Isn’t it funny, but even while writing this book I experienced the generosity and support of authors around me. And their generosity made Simply Synopsis all-the-more richer. Now I have a book brimming with examples and words of experience from authors 'in the know.'
I consider myself lucky to know each and every one of them.
Simply Synopsis has been a while in the making – because I was waiting until I had knowledge enough to share with others. If only I’d known – I’d have shared this with you all Day 1 😊

Where are you in your journey – whether it be writing or otherwise? Is there something, no matter how small, that you are able to share with others? Have you considered it? Even begun to share and enrich the lives around you?
If not, today is a good day to start. Do it and make a difference, to not only the lives of others, but your own life. In giving we get so much more in return.
Thanks so much to each and every one of you for visiting, reading, commenting, and making a difference. I hope you enjoyed my post this month.
If you’d like to know more about me, my writing life or even my books, please pop along to my very new, very shiny website at http://www.michelle-somers.com/
Michelle Somers is a bookworm from way back. An ex-Kiwi who now calls Australia home, she's a professional killer and matchmaker, a storyteller and a romantic. Words are her power and her passion. Her heroes and heroines always get their happy ever after, but she'll put them through one hell of a journey to get there.
Michelle lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her real life hero and three little heroes in the making. And Emmie, a furry black feline who thinks she’s a dog. Her debut novel, Lethal in Love won the Romance Writers of Australia's 2016 Romantic Book of the Year (RuBY) and the 2013 Valerie Parv Award.


Judith Ashley said...

Michelle, I totally agree with you about the generosity of romance authors! I too have been mentored and supported (still am actually) and I do my best to pass it on...not only what I know about writing but what I know about how to balance life events while writing. I've not done a book or online class but I do workshops. And I actually have the outline for an online workshop - just haven't taken the time to finish the process.

One of the best things about Romancing The Genres is having authors from outside North America as Genre-istas. That lets us all see that generosity of spirit is a world-wide romance author trait! and not an anomaly.

Sarah Raplee said...

Everything you said about giving back resonates with me. That's one of the main reasons Judith Ashley and I decided to begin Romancing the Genres. We are able to learn from each other and our readers, share what we know, support each other's careers - the list goes on.

I love that you chose Synopsis writing as the first book in your series. I'm testing out a theory that writing the synopsis before the first draft will be a better process for me because I'm a detail oriented person.

Your book is on my 'next craft book' shelf!

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Judith
I love that so many authors feel the way you and I do - that they are willing, and more, enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge.
Good luck with your online workshop - it's such a great way of helping people who are further afield.
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Michelle xxx

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Sarah
I think Romancing the Genres is a great way of giving back. And the variety of authors and genres in the genre-istas is incredible.
I like your theory about synopses helping with first drafts - would love to know how you go. I hope Simply Synopsis helps you with your experiment :)
Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.
Michelle xxx

Maggie Lynch said...

Love people who share their knowledge and talents. I bow to anyone who finds writing a synopsis easy. This is something that can help both indie writers get a great sense of their story, as well as those who are pursuing traditional publishing as a synopsis is almost always required in the requested packet to agents and editors.

Great topic. Excited to take a look at it.

Michelle Somers said...

Hi Maggie
I have to admit, I do love writing synopses - but then again, I tend to write them when I've finished my story, so I have all the elements at my fingertips and it's just a matter of putting them together in a way that's interesting and engaging.
What I love about this skill, is being able to share it with others, and seeing their change in perspective when they realize the synopsis isn't really as scary as they once thought.
I hope you find Simply Synopsis helpful.
Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
Michelle xxx