Introducing Courses & Book Bundles

Thinking
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

I have been sitting on a couple ideas for quite a while and I think it’s beyond time to get going with them.

What is it?

Courses!

I have two in mind.

40 Days of Creativity Challenge
This one will start the day after Thanksgiving and go for 40 days. That will take us into January. If you look at the calendar, that’s going to be more than 40 days because we will skip Christmas and New Year’s Day. Anyone who enrolls will receive a Kindle copy of 80 Creativity Tips as part of the cost of the course. I’ll let you know more details very soon.

Journal Your Way to Creativity
This course will be more involved. The book, Journal Your Way to Creativity, is a 90-day self-guided journal to help people tap into their creativity. That’s three months. This would have weekly videos where I would talk about the prompts and some of the reasoning behind them. A Kindle copy of this will also be included in the cost. Once again, I’ll let you know more details very soon. This one would not start until sometime in January.

Book Bundles
Not exactly a course, but still a source of (possible) education/information. I will offer bundles of books, a box set, if you will, at a special price for a limited time. I will have these ready to go by the day after Thanksgiving.

This is all going with the plan to be more intentional in what I offer to you and why. It will come together in a cohesive program I call Living Your Creative Life.

Look for more details soon! Don’t want to miss anything? Consider signing up for my email list so you’ll be among the first to hear about new books, courses, and videos.

My Credentials

jen1It has been implied recently that I am not a “real” writer because I am not “serious” about my career. I’m not naming names or anything like it. That is counterproductive to what I am doing here.

It is true that I don’t brag and send out press releases every time I have something going on. That’s my fault. And that will change. But for now, here is a list of–well–a lot.

I have over 20 years of experience in writing for publication. My work has appeared in WritingforDollars.com (unfortunately now out of publication), Writers JOURNAL, Ada Evening News in the main paper (series on meth in Ada) and in the annual Progress Edition, Ada Hub Magazine, Ada Magazine, 4HEALTH Magazine, World Of Myth Magazine, and the OWFI Report (a column of website reviews and Internet-based tools for writers that ran for five years). Articles have also appeared on eHow.com and Demand Studios.

I am a hybrid author, meaning I have been traditionally and independently published. I have two novels and three short stories out under the pen name Kat O’Reilly. I have a series of short ebooks (currently three titles have been released with more to come), a book of devotions, a book about Twitter, books about creativity, and books about planning. Currently, I am working with The Wild Rose Press toward the publication of a paranormal/mystery novel, which is the first in a trilogy.

The complete list of my titles is:

Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone (currently out of print)
Get “Twitter”pated: A Writer’s Handbook to Twitter
Windsong & Other Poems
80 Creativity Tips
Create Your Own DIY Planner
Project Planner for Creatives
8 Patterns to Crochet
Journal Your Way to Creativity

JEN Enterprises Presents:
Why You Need a Writing Practice
BOP Your Way Through Writer’s Block
3 Keys to the Kingdom

Written as Kat O’Reilly:
Navajo Rose
Kiernan’s Curse
“They Call Me Malak”
“This Is Your Karma”
“Sex, Politics, & Vampires”

My articles, novels, and poems have won various awards. I have been a writer-in-residence on several occasions at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs. I have presented at conferences, civic organizations, and even this group. I have served as a contest judge for OKRWA (the Oklahoma chapter of RWA – Romance Writers of America) and OWFI. I have served in numerous volunteer positions within OWFI, including as 1st and 2nd Vice-President. If you are unfamiliar with the OWFI organization, the 1st VP is the person in charge of the contest.

I do not present any of this to put-down or disparage anyone. I mention it only to correct the implication that I am not “serious” about my career.

Introducing Book Spotlights

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

In a recent post (A Few Items of Interest), I mentioned that Amazon was merging CreateSpace and KDP. I didn’t know a time frame, but I knew it was happening soon.

It’s happened.

I talked about having re-release/launch dates and events as I converted my books from CreateSpace to KDP. Let’s just say that the process of moving them over went quite a bit smoother than I expected. They’re all moved.

I’m not going to do re-releases. I am, however, going to spotlight them here and do some promos on all of my books between now and Christmas.

You heard right.

Christmas.

It’s surprising to me that it’s already time to be thinking about Christmas.

The first book I’ll be spotlighting will be a Kat O’Reilly release. It will be up next Tuesday.

In the meantime, I have more writing to do, so I’ll see you back here with another post on Friday.

Boredom vs. Quiet

Let’s revisit the poll I posted a few days ago. I asked if boredom was necessary for creatives. I didn’t get a lot of response, but that’s OK. I got a couple comments — here and on other social media platforms — that helped me formulate what I want to say.

On my Facebook page, Terri M. said:

I’m not a writer or whatever, BUT I have come up with some of my greatest garden or craft ideas while sitting here doing nothing 

On the poll post, Janet said:

I think a quiet mind is needful to be creative with words. A frantic life seldom produces much. I don’t call it boredom though. Just quiet.

That is, in a nutshell, where I stand. Or sit.

As for the poll, it is still open, but results so far are evenly split between yes and no about boredom being necessary for creatives.

I have never liked being bored. It’s just not me, if that makes sense. I have always, as long as I can remember, had something with me to ensure I am never bored. That may be a pen and paper (even scrap paper in the bottom of my purse or other bag), a book to read, a sketchbook, or something to knit or crochet. I have a cousin who has commented that she has never seen me when I don’t have something to do.

That is intentional.

That is not to say I don’t have quiet time or downtime. I do. I just structure it differently. My quiet time comes in the short meditations I have started doing. It comes in the times when I am knitting or crocheting and the pattern doesn’t require a lot of attention. It comes in doodling in a sketchbook or writing practice/Morning Pages (refer to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron if this is a new concept to you – I highly recommend that book/study).

Everyone is different. Don’t let anyone tell you that the way you do something or what you call something is wrong. It might be different, but it’s not wrong. Especially if it works for you.

What I call downtime or quiet time may indeed be boredom to someone else. Whatever you call it, it boils down to this: We need to give ourselves time for ideas to form and incubate so we can continue our creative work.  Whatever name you give to that incubation time doesn’t really matter. It’s what you do with the results of it that count.

And who decides if it counts?

You.

What Is Life About?

(c) 2013 Jen Nipps Photo courtesy of Jen Nipps Photos
(c) 2013 Jen Nipps
Photo courtesy of Jen Nipps Photos

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

This is my favorite quote of all time.

To me, it embodies the essence of creativity. If we don’t have a hand in creating ourselves, by our likes and interests and people we spend our time with, what would we be capable of creating?

Yes, we are made by a Great Creator and he created us. But we also have free will and minds of our own that we are capable of using. We can decide our own likes and dislikes. We shape ourselves, we create ourselves, based on these.

If we are made by a Creator, if we create ourselves, why, then, would we not be creative?

This supports my theory that everyone is creative but some of us just don’t know how to tap into that innate creativity. Often, some of us regularly use our creativity and don’t ever realize that’s what we are doing! Many of us continue to claim we are not creative when that is exactly what we are doing!

How many times have you heard a master cook say they’re not creative even while in the middle of cooking (creating!) some wonderful dishes? Or a teacher claim they are not creative when in the middle of coming up with (again, creating!) lesson plans? Or even a parent in the middle of making up (yes, again, creating!) games to play with their children?!

We create every day, often many times throughout the day. We might not call it that, but that is what it is.

Putting It in Writing

I know and understand the need to put things in writing. So why don’t I do it more often?

For me, writing things out serves a variety of purposes.

1. It helps me to plan.

When I need to think things through and make a plan, it helps me to write it all out. I don’t mean type it on a computer. I mean get a notebook and pen and physically write it out longhand. Handwriting. Cursive.

There is something about the flow of the pen on the paper, the scratching of the nib, the feel of the pen in my hand and the paper under my hand, that ties me to the moment. It’s very tactile. And that becomes very important in the planning process. I can touch something and feel connected, down-to-earth instead of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.

2. It helps me to remember.

Up until about a year ago, I didn’t have any trouble with my memory. But the last six months at one particular job changed that. It was high stress. OK. It was always high stress, but the last six months were more high stress than usual. I started forgetting things. Simple things. And, honestly, that scared me. So I started writing things down that I absolutely had to remember.

I’m out of that job and no longer have such high stress levels, so my memory has been improving, but I guess writing things down became a habit, so I still do it.

3. It helps with my writing.

That sounds silly. Writing helps with writing? Of course it does! But let me explain.

There are some things that I cannot just type on the computer as I think them up. Poems are in this list. I have to write poems out longhand first. Then I revise them. Then I type them in the computer and revise as I type. And they will probably go through another revision after that.

There are also some story segments that are sticky, meaning they don[t really want to be written the way I’m writing them, so they go into a notebook first, too. If I’m writing nonfiction (like I’ve been doing a lot lately), sometimes I have to write around the subject before I can get straight to the point. It helps to write that out longhand, too, instead of dumping it all into a manuscript and then having to edit it out later.

These are my main reasons for putting things in writing. Do you have any to add to it?

Welcome to My World

n110046421290_9910My newsletter is ready to go!I I’m not going to send it until tomorrow evening, though. I have included an introduction section, networking & self-promotion tips, a calendar of events, links to my books, and how to find me online.

It’s longer than it sounds. And because of that, I feel like it’s ready to go. I’ve proofed it several times over and had a couple friends proof it as well.

I found the code for the signup form, so you could fill that out. Or, if you prefer, you can send me an email and I will add you to the list.

I’m not going to spam you or send you a lot of newsletters. We would both get tired of that. Instead, this is meant to be a monthly newsletter. In the next one, I’ll include highlights from this month, including speaking at the Ozark Creative Writers’ conference next weekend.

What do you think? Want to at least get the first newsletter? Here’s the signup form:

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