#MotownWriters Article Too Much To Do? How To Re-Focus Your Writing Priorities

Today I’m talking about something close to my heart – how to re-focus your priorities when you have too much to do!
 I wrote about this on my author earnings breakdown for the last year, so this is more a reflection on re-focusing and how you might do it too.

Do you feel like you have too much to do?

Writing, publishing, book marketing, as well as the day job, family, fitness – real life!!??
Do you have way too much on your writing To Do list and are you feeling overwhelmed and a little crazy?
My own situation of overwhelm: Writing under three author names, screenwriting, speaking, podcast, YouTube, courses, blogging, social media, publishing tasks etc.
Steven Pressfield in his book, Turning Pro, says “When we turn pro, everything becomes simple.”
What he means by that is we know what our focus should be and we do that and cut everything else out.
There will always be extra tasks. For example, marketing has to happen whatever route we choose for publication – but when it comes to the main bulk of time assigned to writing, we need to make some choices. And I do, too!
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#MichiganWriters September 2018 Newsletter

September 2018 Newsletter 

(The better late than never edition)

Michigan Writers News & Events

Dunes Review Reading & Release Party

The new issue of Dunes Review is almost ready. Join us at Brilliant Books in Traverse City on October at 12pm for the launch of the new issue.

Michigan Writers Cooperative Press

Chapbook Contest Submissions Open Soon!

Submissions for the new chapbook contest will open in October, so get to work on polishing up your manuscripts for a chance to win our annual contest. This contest is for Michigan Writers members only.

And don’t forget to check out the books from last year’s contest winners. Follow the links below to purchase Margaret Fedder and Kathleen Pfeiffer’s books from Brilliant Books.

Margaret’s book is available for purchase here.

Kathleen’s book is available for purchase here.

Enjoy our newsletter? Not a member? 
Join Michigan Writers and support our community!
Visit Our Website

September Reading List

Stop what you are doing. Click through and read. 

Poetry: Eric Smith, “The Shed” & “Sky Valley Rider”

Essay on Craft–Poetics: Carolyn Forche, “The Lost & Unlost”

Fiction: J.M. Coetzee, “As a Woman Grows Older”


John Hartig at the Glen Arbor Arts Center 
Thursday, September 13 @ 7:30 PM 

After a year’s hiatus for construction, the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s Artist-in-Residence [AIR] program resumed in May 2018. This program of working residencies was established in the 1990s, and now attracts applicants from throughout the United States.

John Hartig, a resident of Trenton, Michigan, is one of seven artists selected to participate in the 2018 program. He plans to work on his book-in-progress, Great Lakes Champions: Stories of People Who Have Championed Cleanup of the Great Lakes during his residency.

Hartig will offer a conversational review of his residency on Thursday, September 13, 7:30 pm at the GAAC gallery. The GAAC is located at 6031 S. Lake St., Glen Arbor. The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, please go to:


Poets Meet Musicians 
Monday, September 24 @ 7-9 PM

Poets Meet Musicians is a free, monthly event where the public is invited to share both poetry and music. Bring some poetry or some songs to perform. Mingle with other poets, musicians, and local performers. Everyone is welcome! 

Join us for poetry, music, and good company.

Acoustic Mead Tap Room
119 N. Maple, TC 49684
Details? Tom 231-392-6121

Melissa Grunow
Detroit Area Book Launch:
I Don’t Belong Here: Essays 

September 29 at 7 PM 

Join Michigan Writers member and this year’s MW Coop Press chapbook contest judge, Melissa Grunow to celebrate the release of her 2nd book, I Don’t Belong Here.

This Detroit area book launch will feature a reading, celebration, and book signing. Appetizers and beverages will be provided.

Melissa Grunow is the award-winning author of Realizing River City

The Grey Wolfe Scriptorium 
145 E. 14 Mile Road 
​Clawson, MI 48107

Member News

Congratulations to David & Robin

David Stendel has published a new book, Just Call Me Spaz: Growing Up and Living with Epilepsy, with the Mission Point Press. Stendels’ book recounts his challenges and triumphs in living with epilepsy. You can purchase the book from Brilliant Books.

Robin Gaines’s novel, “Invincible Summers” was awarded a Shelf Unbound 2018 Best Indie Notable 100 distinction and was a Runner Up in the Florida Book Festival General Fiction category. Purchase the book from Brilliant Books.

Holding Court at the Michigan Writers Table at the National Writers Series Event on August 29.

Workshops / Conferences

3rd Annual Lost Lake Writers Retreat

October 4-7, 2018

Springfed Arts and Inspiration Alcona are proud to announce the teacher lineup for the 2018 event, to be held Oct. 4-7 at Lost Lake Woods Club in northeast Michigan’s Alcona County. The location is a hotel overlooking a small lake on the edge of the forest.

Novelists Jacquelyn Mitchard and Michael Zadoorian will lead prose writers. Mitchard’s “The Deep End of the Ocean” was made into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer in 1999. In March, Zadoorian’s “The Leisure Seeker” debuted as a film starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

Poets Cecilia Woloch, Jack Ridl and Kathleen McGookey will lead poets, along with songwriter Emily Rose. Woloch’s “Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem” is a book-length work that has been developed into a stage performance. Ridl has a new book, “St. Peter and the Goldfinch,” coming in 2019. McGookey is a specialist in prose poetry with three books, two chapbooks and a translation of French poetry to her credit. Rose is a Detroit songwriter who has won Best Acoustic Songwriter at the Detroit Music Awards four times since 2009.

Information about the retreat is available at and

Katey Schultz hosts Airstream Dispatches

“I had serious fun with this prompt! I haven’t felt that in a while. I was drawn to keep at my draft and would not have written it if not for the habits of mind you are trying to encourage in addition to actual writing.” ~ Airstream Dispatches participant

Airstream Dispatches is a worldwide book club for writers hosted by author Katey Schultz. This innovative approach to accountability provides prompts, instruction, and community support for 6 months, at an affordable price. From September through March, we read 6 books, meet for 6 live webinars (recorded for those with schedule conflicts), and write from 6 prompts. Participants also have access to interviews with the authors of the books we study (including the chance to ask them questions), and an optional online forum where drafts can be posted.

The end result? New writing, deeper craft knowledge, and gentle accountability with a community of like minded creatives. Join this fast-growing community that posits writing as something that is both serious and playful. Early bird pricing ($247) ENDS Sept. 9th Bird Pricing $275 until Sept 17th – Only 5 spaces left!

Kick Out the Cobwebs & Write More Poems!
w/ Holly Wren Spaulding

The 21 Day Poetry Challenge provides a supportive structure and gentle accountability to foster a daily practice of reading and writing poetry. Receive 21 hand-selected poems by some of our best contemporary poets; 21 original writing provocations; two live webinars; daily guidance on the process; audio inspiration; and feedback on work in progress. Our fall theme: Return.
September 1-21, 2018 or December 1-21, 2018, $315
*This is an email-based course with a webinar component.
“Thanks, Holly, for your wonderful and kind guidance last month. You helped me produce 20+ poems that I would not have produced otherwise.”  Floyd C.,
New Writing, Improved Craft, Steadier Practice
Join award-winning writer and acclaimed teacher, Holly Wren Spaulding, for the Fall 2018 session of Poetry Immersion, an online writing intensive for committed and emerging poets who want to write more, learn in community, and receive feedback on their work in progress. Our fall theme: Deeper Practice.
Oct.1—Nov. 19, 2018, Online, $400. Space is limited.
“Immersion is certainly what I needed. I thank you for all of your work. You are a skilled, considerate, positive, and inspiring teacher. This has been an infusion, a blast, and a boost.” Michael H., Spring 2018
Members of Michigan Writers receive $10 off either offering with discount code: MICHWRITERS when they register.

Glen Arbor Arts Center Writing Workshops 

Northern Michigan author and poet Anne-Marie Oomen leads two exploratory writing workshops at the Glen Arbor Arts Center, 6031 S. Lake St., Glen Arbor.

Oomen is the author of Love, Sex and 4-H (Next Generation Indie Award for Memoir), Pulling Down the Barn and House of Fields (both Michigan Notable Books), and An American Map: Essays (Wayne State University Press); and a collection of poetry, Uncoded Woman (Milkweed Editions).  She has written seven plays, including “Secrets of Luuce Talk Tavern,” winner of the 2012 CTAM playwriting contest.  She is an instructor at Solstice MFA at Pine Manor College (MA), and Interlochen College.

Seeing Voices: A Workshop in Writing from Art

November 13, 2018

$25 GAAC members, $35 nonmembers

Through the ages, looking at art has been a unique and lively way of coming to writing.  Starting as far back as the Greeks, examples abound of writing inspired by art, called ekphrasis, which roughly translated means “to give voice to the mute.” In this two-hour class, we invite our beloved but silent paintings to speak to us through stories, dialogues, and poems! We will explore works of art, learning the art of “entering” a piece, investigating how paintings work in our imaginations.  We’ll read some striking models.  Then, using our own Glen Arbor Arts Center’s permanent collection as inspiration, we’ll practice ekphrasis, writing creative responses to these artists’ work. This important interaction partners visual arts with literary arts, creating a multi-arts conversation that extends and enriches the power of the collection.  Bring notebooks with a hard cover—you’ll be moving around the room—and your favorite writing implements.

Skill level: Beginning and experienced writers, poets and prose writers of all genres.

Five Rivers: A Life Writing Class

November 15, 2018

$25 GAAC members, $35 nonmembers

Use the Five Rivers of life—the five senses—to tell your life stories: those intense memories, that narrative of love or war or birth or death that you’ve always wanted to tell but never quite figured out how. Enjoy this clear and direct way to zero in on the essence of your memories, to bring to the surface meanings you didn’t know were there, and to enter the world of your past with grace as well as practical strategies. You will use the five senses to highlight and develop your life writing—and you will learn a base structure for developing your ideas. In addition, Anne-Marie will offer readings as models and advice for continuing your work.

Even one moment of life writing (memoir) is a rewarding project and a promising step toward legacy. Bring notebooks and pens, laptops if you have one (recommended but not required), and a brave and willing heart. Participants must be willing to write in class.

To learn more and to register, go to and click on “Classes.”

Contests / Publishing Opportunities

Tom Howard / Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

September 30 is the last day you can enter this year’s Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry ContestS. Mei Sheng Frazierwill judge, assisted by Jim DuBois. We will award $4,000 in prizes and publish the winners on our website. We’ll also announce the results in our newsletter (50,000+ subscribers) and Twitter feed (107,000+ followers).

$1,500 Tom Howard Prize for a poem in any style or genre
$1,500 Margaret Reid Prize for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style
10 Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each (any category)

New this year: Our co-sponsor Duotrope will award one-year gift certificates (value $50) to the top two winners.

• Entries may be published or unpublished
• You may submit any number of entries
• You may enter from any country (English language only)
• Fee: $12 per poem
• Each poem may have up to 250 lines
Click here for details or to Submit.

NMC Magazine Submissions 

The notion of raw, uncensored creativity compiled from diverse and versatile backgrounds and mediums is nothing new to the NMC Magazine. We invite students, faculty, staff, and alumni to exercise their creative freedom, to garner their visions, opinions, and words.

The deadline for submissions is October 19th.

Submit your fiction, poetry, nonfiction, essays, art, designs, illustrations, photographs, or whatever else deserves an audience to

Hard copies can be delivered to Fine Arts (attn: Caroline Schaefer-Hills) or Scholars Hall 214 (attn: Alissia Lingaur).

Visit to download and complete a submission form for each entry.

Celery City Poetry Chapbook Contest 

The Celery City Chapbook Contest is open!
Deadline: October 1, 2018

Two categories: Kalamazoo County, and State of Michigan

Please submit 16-20 pages of poems, a title page with name and contact info, and a title page with only the name of the manuscript. Only one poem per page.   Do not include artwork or photographs.

The fee is $10 for each entry. Please make check out to Friends of Poetry and mail to 2272 114th Avenue, Allegan, MI 49010.

Manuscripts may be mailed to the above address or emailed to We prefer email submissions.

Winners receive 50 copies of their book with input on cover design and a reading at a local venue. We have reprinted previous winners’ books for a modest fee.
Previous winners include Janeen Rastall, Joseph Gross, Nancy Nott, Polly Opsahl, Michelle Bonczek Evory, Julie Stotz-Ghosh, and Amber Pryor.

Further questions?  Email

Mission Point Press

Mission Point Press, a Traverse City partnership of professionals, provides inspired editing, design and marketing services to authors across the country. We also provide ghost writing services and help for those seeking an agent. Authors who use our editorial services can publish under the MPP imprint. For Michigan-based authors, MPP now offers state-wide distribution. For more information, visit

Wayne State University Press
Made in Michigan Writers Series

The Made in Michigan Writers Series is devoted to highlighting the works of distinguished statewide writers to showcase Michigan’s diverse voices. Since 2006, the series has published poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, and essays by Michigan writers with the aim of encouraging the recognition of the state’s artistic and cultural heritage throughout Michigan, the Midwest, and the nation.

Click here for more details on this series.

Writing Groups

Group Updates

If you are part of a public or open writers’ group, please contact us to share your meeting times or to update your group’s information!

Brush Creek Writers

Brush Creek Writers meets the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 2:00pm at Brush Creek Mill, 121 South State Street, in Hillman, Michigan. The group’s founder and facilitator is Katherine Stevens, a retired English Teacher, MA English, Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College, Vermont.

Although Brush Creek Writers has been established for seven years, the group welcomes all writers, both beginning and accomplished.

The second Thursday of the month has a focus of prose and has a prompt for everyone to try. The fourth Thursday of the month has a focus of poetry.

For more information, please contact Kathy Stevens at 989-742-3469, or , or on facebook at brushcreekwriters.

Michigan Writers Newsletter Submissions

Next Deadline: September 27, 2018

Want something to be featured in the Michigan Writers Newsletter? Please submit your news submission to:

Please compile your information into a succinct email of 200 words or less. Be sure to include date, time, place, and how to get more information, if necessary. Please do not direct the editor to other websites to find information. If you would like the information featured in the newsletter, include it in your email. Are you a member of Michigan Writers? Be sure to let us know.

Email Newsletter Editor

Michigan Writers

Michigan Writers is a vibrant community of people who appreciate the written word. As a non-profit, we seek to actively foster a vital literary community by encouraging, supporting, and connecting writers of all ages with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, and publication.

Copyright © 2018 Michigan Writers, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you either joined Michigan Writers, or you opted in to our email list on our website or at an event.

Our mailing address is:

Michigan Writers

PO Box 2355

Traverse CityMi 49685

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#MotownWriters Article : This is Gonna Leave a Mark: What Makes a “Real” Writer?

Those who’ve followed my blog long enough know I’m no fan of the Schrodinger’s Writer Game. Is the writer real or unreal? What IS a real writer?

For ages, we quibbled that a real writer had an agent. A real writer scored a legacy publishing deal. One had to pass the NYC gatekeepers to be a real writer.

On and on and on.

Now that writers no longer regard self-pub and indie as publishing mutations that escaped an Amazon basement (mostly), the debate has lost heat.

Publishing existentialism is soooo 2013 *flips hair* .

Yet, I wonder if this new publishing paradigm is hurting more than helping. And that is a hard thing for me to say since three of the five books I’ve published never would have made it to print if legacy remained the only model.

Even though I signed with one of the most prestigious literary agencies in NYC (in 2012), the big publishers regarded a book on author branding and social media with as much enthusiasm as Ebola.

Maybe I was ahead of my time. Perhaps the stars were not in alignment. It doesn’t matter.

The only thing I know is that I would never have become a “real” writer without the other forms of publishing. Indie and self-pub are highly effective for “test marketing” new concepts, voices, and genres.

read more This is Gonna Leave a Mark: What Makes a “Real” Writer?

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#MotownWriters Article: Write What You Fear: Why, How, and a Lifesaving Bonus Tip

49 Writer Unboxed by Guest  /

Please welcome Shannon Baker and Jess Lourey back to WU today!

Shannon Baker is author of the Kate Fox mystery series set in rural Nebraska cattle country, and the Nora Abbott mystery series, fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. Now a resident of Tucson, Baker spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. She is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 and 2017 Writer of the Year.

A lover of the outdoors, she can be found backpacking in the Rockies, traipsing to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, skiing mountains and plains, kayaking lakes, hiking, cycling, and scuba diving whenever she gets the chance. Arizona sunsets notwithstanding, Baker is, and always will be, a Nebraska Husker. Go Big Red. Visit Shannon at www.Shannon-Baker.comBitter Rain is an August release.

Jess Lourey (rhymes with “dowry”) is an Amazon-bestselling Anthony, Lefty, and Agatha-nominated author known for her critically-acclaimed Mira James Mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing “a splendid mix of humor and suspense.” She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a regular Psychology Today blogger, and a sought-after workshop leader and keynote speaker who delivered the 2016 “Rewrite Your Life” TEDx TalkMercy’s Chase, the second in the feminist thriller series Lee Child calls “highly recommended,” releases September 8. You can find out more at

Write What You Fear: Why, How, and a Lifesaving Bonus Tip

READ MORE Write What You Fear: Why, How, and a Lifesaving Bonus Tip

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Am I Really a March is Reading Month Author? by Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw #mittenlit

You’ve only been on this writing journey for a little over a year.
You’re still tweaking your middle grade fiction book that has morphed into a nonfiction picture book.
You’re unpublished.

And speaking in front of a crowd is way out of your comfort zone.

But, the principal at the school you’ve just been transferred to, tells you there’s no money in the budget to hire an author to speak during March is Reading Month and asks, “Will you be the author for our assembly?”

You surreptitiously gulp.

read more
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More Free Tools for Authors: Grammar Checkers

Indies Unlimited has an entire resource section dedicated to free resources for authorsincluding pictures, music, sound effects, fonts, cover makers, and more.

Now I’m back with even more free resources for authors. Instead of free photos and music, these resources are designed to help with grammar and mechanics.

Grammarly is probably one of the most well-known grammar checkers, and it has both free and paid options. I attempted to install the free Microsoft Office ad-in to play around with for this post, but after having issues signing in, I uninstalled it to try again some other day. In the meantime, check out the ones below.

read more

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Book Marketing Tips: 12 Ways to Create a Book Sales Cash Cow

Book Marketing Tips: Here are 12 ways to create a book sales channel that really makes you money. Learn how to create a speaking career that helps you sell more and more books. Tips from Judith Briles.

read more Book Marketing Tips: 12 Ways to Create a Book Sales Cash Cow

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: How One Blogger Landed a Book Deal That Launched Her Career

download (size: 17 MB )

The post 256: How One Blogger Landed a Book Deal That Launched Her Career appeared first on ProBlogger.

How a Book Deal Launched the Career of a Blogger

We’re kicking off our Blogging Breakthroughs series, where a variety of bloggers share their stories of breakthroughs they’ve experienced over the years with their blogs.

We received submissions from numerous bloggers. And today I want to introduce you to Andrea Vahl.

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The Invention Process: Ten Strategies for Producing Writing

by Brenta Blevins

Getting Started

Invention is, simply, the process of identifying what to write. But, whether you’re new to writing or a prolific pro, invention doesn’t always feel simple when you’re stuck on a blank page or screen.

You may have learned in school a stage-oriented writing process that begins with invention (sometimes called “pre-writing”), moves to drafting, then feedback, revision, and editing, and ultimately publication. Researchers now acknowledge, much as practitioners have known, that the writing process isn’t a linear progression. In other words, we use invention not only to start a piece, but throughout the writing process.

This blog post lists ten invention strategies for “pre-writing” or getting un-stuck when the words won’t flow. Regardless of when the need occurs or whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, short stories or books, invention exercises can help.

read more

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CreateSpace to be Phased Out

createspace logoAs many of us have feared since the introduction of KDP Print, it was finally announced that CreateSpace would be merged into the newer entity.


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boEvery time I’m at a book festival, I learn something new. This summer I shared a table with author Sylvia Hubbard at Sterlingfest, and learned to give attendees permission to pick up your book and browse through it. “It’s okay to touch it!” Sylvia told a man who was intently studying the cover. When he started reading with evident concentration, she asked him what part he was looking at. He then read aloud to her as if auditioning for the starring role in the movie version of her book. He was quite the entertainer!

read more:

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#MotownWriters’ Article: Writing the First Draft


Writing the First Draft

The best manuscript is a finished manuscript. But to get there, you must start with a first draft. Whether you’ve written multiple books or are about to embark on your first one, sitting down to create where there is nothing is a daunting experience. Here’s how to tackle writing the first draft:


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#MotownWriters Article: The Key to Conquering Writer’s Block: Think Small


The Key to Conquering Writer’s Block: Think Small

The dreaded blinking cursor stares at you. The screen is white. You’ve typed and then erased your first sentence five times. You’re wasting precious writing time. Time you don’t have to waste. Not if you’re going to be a novelist. Not if you’re going to follow your dreams. Now do it! Write something!

Read Now

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#MotownWriters’ Article: 6 DIY Book Marketing Tips You Can Try Today


6 DIY Book Marketing Tips You Can Try Today

However you choose to publish, you’ll need to do some DIY book marketing. If you’re an introverted writer who only wants to write, this puts you far outside your comfort zone.Where should you even begin?

Like it or not, your book’s success may depend on your answer to that question — and your ability to start somewhere, even if you start small. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by the idea of putting yourself out there for book publicity, here are a few steps you can take today, from the comfort of your home office.

Read More:

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#MotownWriters Article: Active Reading Can Make You a Better Writer – Here’s How!

Active Reading Can Make You a Better Writer – Here’s How!

It’s a well-known fact that reading benefits writers. It enriches our vocabulary, gives us clues how to use stylistic devices and expressive means correctly, and shows us what good writing structure looks like.

Read Now

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