Circling around to important questions

At today’s Tuesdays with Deborah session, we engaged topics that are asked by reticent bloggers and often revisited by experienced bloggers.

What is a blog? What is a blog post?

A blog is a collection of web content, usually writing. A readable blog post is about 200 to 600 words long. A good blog post is something that will be found and read by someone who is interested in a topic. What topics do reticent bloggers have in mind?

Where are blogs?

The best place for a blog is high on the list of search results returned to a search engine user. Readers find bloggers who effectively refine their understanding of relevant search terms.

Who blogs?

Writers blog!  Businesses develop, grow, and maintain customer bases through relevant and timely blog posts.  People with common knowledge and information needs find each other through the authoring of, and reading of, blogs.

When is a blog post visible?

A blog post is visible as soon as the author decides to publish a piece.  Writers with experience in printed materials can be assured that a “published” blog post can be changed after it is published.  Each blogger develops an sense of when a piece is ready for publishing. Each blogger develops an individual sense of how often to publish new content.

How are blog posts created?

Blog posts are created using a software tool such as WordPress, the software used for the Tuesdays with Deborah blog.  Blogging tools have features that feel like word processing: writing, formatting, and saving. A key difference between word processing and blogging is a “publish” mechanism for making content visible to readers.

The content of blog posts is developed through each writer’s unique writing practice. When is a good time of day for writing? Where is a good location for the writing process? What gets in the way of writing – distractions? Multi-tasking? The internal editor who gets in the way of first drafts being created? Some writers identify clothing that makes writing easier or harder.

Bloggers discover that developing the content is more challenging than learning software features for creating posts.

Answers to the previous questions of who-what-when-where-and-how all come from the question:

Why create a blog? What causes a reticent blogger to enter the world of blogging?

There are many right answers to the questions of what to write, how often to post, etc. Good approaches for any one blog come from on-going refinement of a blog’s purpose.

Understanding a blog’s purpose is not a pre-requisite for beginning a writing/blogging practice.  Discovering a blog’s purpose begins with an idea, leading to some drafts, leading to some publishing, leading to some feedback, leading to a refined understanding of purpose and how to fulfill the purpose.

The current writing challenge is “Passionate Observations.” Here are examples about New YorkDenver, and our own area.

Reticent bloggers are invited to register for the site, read and comment on posts, try out what feels like a word processing tool for adding a new post, and then take a deep breath and press the “publish” button.

Right now, the editor in my head wants a few things different about this post. But the writer will press the “publish” button, in this safe space, and the editor can have a turn on another day.









Be an author in Google

Last week, at the Tuesday’s with Deborah meeting, I brought up the new ability to be listed in Google as an author. Several people asked me how to do that. If you go to the following link on Google information about how to create authorship is available for your use:

The nice thing about this is it when somebody Googles you or an article you wrote your picture will come up it will save by your name and it’ll have an additional link that says more by your name. It keys off your Google plus profile.

Hopefully this is helpful.

TEAM of One

TEAM of OneI was having lunch with a colleague of mine the other day and he asked me how my latest project was going.  After lamenting about how much I have left to accomplish.  I felt compelled to add something that made me feel really strong.  I said, “Never underestimate the power of a great team behind, beside and in front of you.”

As “Father’s Day” has come and gone and I am knee deep into the process of publishing a book based on some of my father’s infinite wisdom he imparted on me when I was young.  I can’t help but think about the day he retired for the last time (and yes, he has retired twice).  I was asked to speak and before I uttered a single word I looked out over the audience and saw the faces of the people my father had touched and those who were with him along the way during this part of his journey.  I’m not sure what possessed me to say this, but as I  thought about him and where I was in life, I said.  “Each of us walks a path that at times that was paved by those who come before us.”

So as I am knee deep into publishing this book I wanted to say “thank you” to everyone who has helped make this dream possible.  Continue reading “TEAM of One” »

Writing session after TwD – Part 1

At every TwD session, I make notes for writing I would like to do Right Away. I know I am not alone. Another group member and I have decided to plan on staying at the gracious space of Friends Philosophy and Tea after the TwD session to do some writing….. sometimes in silence…. right after the session.

Here is the emerging idea, and you are invited:

TwD proceeds from 1 until 2:30. We “break” from 2:30 to 2:45 or so to finish conversations, stretch, refill our tea, etc.

At 2:45 we gather near the fire, perhaps, or at the tables set up for teahouse guests, for an hour. We encourage each other by simply being together in that gracious space.

When I depart TwD and I get involved in “other projects,” I experience a delay before writing a draft of the “great idea” inspired by the TwD session. I want to capture the inspirations. I can see that my writing practice could include reserving Tuesday afternoon from 1 until 4 for the double benefit of the Tuesdays with Deborah session, followed immediately by an hour of writing.

Last Tuesday, my friend Sharon who was at TwD for the first time began to say, “I need to write about the day that…..” I said: “Simply tell me the story. I will capture it, and you will have a first draft to work with.”

Sharon and I enjoyed a chuckle, later, about the results, and we will reverse the process the next time that we are both at TwD – perhaps Tuesday May 29.

If you feel inspired by the TwD process and want to stay with other writers for one more cup of tea, please join us.  It will be a challenge to not chat the hour away, but we are Writers developing Writing Practices.  Wonderful things that we cannot even imagine will emerge from writing for an hour after TwD.

On June 4, I added a post called “Writing session after TwD Part 2”

Scary…out of comfort zone…

My philosophy as an educator and parent has always been this: “Don’t be a sage on the stage. Be a guide on the side.”

So now as a writer, author, and educator with my own business, I am in a quandary. My book “The Red Glass Ball” is published and ready to be out there. The hardest part is getting it out there – marketing. How do I get it out there without being full of myself or seeming like I am full of myself? I am a person who does not like to be on the stage. I hang back and think that if someone needs/wants me, they will find me. I can put myself out there in small doses. But with a book published, the knowledge that what I do can help others, and the need to manifest, I have to put myself out there. Eeeewwwwwww! Scary! Totally out of my comfort zone.

Is it possible to be a guide on the stage and a sage on the side? Stay tuned…

The actual hand-held book The Red Glass Ball: Touching Lives Through History is available now in select book stores in the Seattle area and on Amazon. It will be available elsewhere and in other formats soon.


What Is Your Ideal Day in Retirement?

Ideal Day in Retirement

Journaling can be a powerful method for uncovering what you truly want for your ideal retirement lifestyle. When you allow yourself to write freely from your own inner wisdom, you can learn new secrets about what you desire.

Exercise for journaling your ideal day in retirement

  1. Set aside one hour of uninterrupted time during which you can write freely without distraction.
  2. Find a comfortable place in which to write that will inspire your creativity to flow, such as out in nature or in a favorite chair.
  3. You may want to use a special journal just for this exercise, and any additional journaling that will follow.
  4. Imagine your ideal day five years from now. Pick a month of the year and a day within that month for your ideal day. Write them in your journal.
  5. Reflect on the following topics and write down what is revealed to you. Fully describe where you are on your ideal day – what does it look like, what are you doing, what are you feeling, who are you with? Make sure you use the most vivid and descriptive words possible to make your experience juicy.
  6. Then write a letter to someone – not to send, but to keep for yourself – telling them about your ideal retirement day as if it has already become a reality.

My experience

When I followed this exercise, my inner wisdom revealed an ideal day quite different from my current lifestyle. My ideal day was the first Wednesday in October, the day my husband and I take care of our 3-year old granddaughter for the entire day. Because I am currently single and have no indication of a granddaughter on the way, I was surprised what my journaling about my ideal retirement day revealed. I am most curious what will happen in the years to come that could make this ideal day my reality.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


How to flunk perfectionism

I love to write!  I truly do.  So how come I can’t seem to write on a regular basis?

I’m convinced that my perfectionism keeps me from writing. In fact, I think I have received an A+ in my life’s course on perfectionism.  I see now that I need to learn how to flunk this course, because succeeding in it makes me stressed and miserable!

Here are the four steps I have achieved in my quest for perfectionism, as well as my intentions for flunking, or what I like to call becoming “perfectly imperfect”.

Step 1:  Set your expectations so high that you can never achieve them. 

Decide to write for 3 hours a day, then when you fail to write for that long, convince yourself it’s a sign that you are really not a writer.  In fact, you are a horrendous failure, a big time loser, who hasn’t learned self-control.  (Ouch — that hurts to even write!)

Step 2: Create rigid, high standards for yourself that keep you frozen.

Don’t even start writing anything! If you risk writing an article or book, people may not understand it or like it.  They may not be inspired or find any value at all in your writing; so just don’t write anything. That way you won’t have to worry.

Step 3:  Believe that you can operate without any flaws, defects or shortcomings.

Make certain that you have no tolerance for any of your flaws, defects, and shortcomings. If you don’t finish an article in the expected 30 minutes, give yourself a nasty reprimand.

If you can’t finish and post at least one blog article a week, look harshly at all of the reasons you failed. Make sure you use derogatory language like “lazy” or “pathetic”.

Look over what you’ve written so you can perfect it.  Be incredibly critical about your word choice, your phrasing, and your flow. Spend time agonizing over whether it’s just right. It must be perfect!

Step 4: Constantly compare yourself to others and measure your perfection against their success.

As you read other blogger’s work, constantly compare your work to theirs.  Notice how perfect their writing is and how prolific they are. Compare the number of subscribers they have to the number you have.

Notice how many books your favorite authors have written.  You haven’t even finished one?!! You must not be cut out to be a writer. You should just give up now.

As you read these four steps, do you feel what I feel? Reading them (and living them) make me feel depressed, hopeless, stuck, and frustrated.  I realize that these steps to perfectionism just aren’t serving me any more.

So… here is how to flunk perfectionism!

What really works is to be perfectly imperfect.

Being perfectly imperfect means:

… discovering after 2 days (or maybe 2 weeks) that writing for 3 hours a day is just not working for you, so you set a new schedule.  You decide to write for 10 minutes a day and see how that goes.

…understanding that you have to write to please yourself.  If you choose to write from your own heart, your unique experiences and perspective, some people may find inspiration and value.  Others may not.  But, that’s okay!  You will reach the people you are supposed to reach.

… realizing that your so called flaws, defects and shortcomings are really just differences in how you operate and how things work for you.

…not comparing yourself to other writers.  You are a writer because you write, not because you are better or worse than anyone else. Keep writing from that authentic, alive place inside of you. No other writer has the same perspective, life experience, gifts and values that you have.

Flunking perfectionism brings more ease, productivity, passion and fun.   I hope you will join me on my quest to live as a perfectly imperfect writer!

Our weekly TwD Writers’ Conference

Yesterday’s session opened with the ritual passing of Deborah’s Chinese porcelain mirror into which we looked and said, “Mirror mirror in my hand, who was the leader of The Band?”

No wait. That wasn’t the question. That was my timid humorist identity making an appearance alongside the usually-out-front sincere-ist identity. Our actual ritual was to look ourselves in the eye and say, “My name is Liz and I am a writer.” (Sometimes I write new words, such as “sincere-ist;” I’ll bet other readers of this blog also have fun inventing words.)

I once posted that claiming my identity as writer has helped to unblock and animate some of my other identities that need to work together toward the common good of various projects and responsibilities.

Deborah, as a writer, writing coach, teacher, leader, guide, and generous-hearted person offers at our Tuesdays with Deborah sessions a seemingly limitless supply of techniques, such as the suggestion that we free-write. Every weekly session results in practical, useful, do-able writing inspiration. As Deborah says, “Authentic writing provokes.” It certainly does.

The weekly sessions remind me of writers’ workshops I have attended.

I have attended the four annual “Search for Meaning” Book Festivals at Seattle University. This year, I attended sessions by two poets, by a writer in the field of ethical leadership, and by a writer of many genres including humor. The festival takes place each March.

Recalling the surprising benefit obtained by this non-poet in a workshop led by poet Frances McCue, I wondered if she has scheduled any local workshops in the near future that I might recommend to TwD peeps.  I came upon a two-day writers’ conference offered by Whatcom Community College.

Weaving many threads together in this post, I am grateful for the weekly writers’ conference that TwD is for me (and I think for others). I value the experience, the relationships, and the writing encouragement. I note that my next opportunity to attend a McCue workshop would be at a $259 two-day workshop.  Wow!  That is a little “less” accessible in the commitments of time, driving, and money than the weekly TwD sessions that happen just up the street from my home, every week, accompanied by a reluctant but practical invitation to help cover the cost of the space by contributing something less than the cost of a movie ticket.

I am eager now to read everything that has transpired in this community space during the month of April.

Being Inspired

So, Deborah sends me an e-mail saying she can’t wait to see my fist post.  YIKES…you mean somebody might actually READ this?  What a concept.  Now I really have to come up with something good.  No pressure there, nope, none.

Deborah is just trying to be supportive and encourage me.  I know that.  She is not the one putting the pressure on me.  I am.

What is it, in us, that turns the kindest gesture from another into something that creates stress?   What purpose could this fulfill?

This is a major focus of my life’s work.  I sit across from people who have found themselves in more distress than they would like to be.  It’s my job to show them how they are doing it to themselves, then to help them do something that works better.  I love my work.

What I find over and over in my work is that what causes us the most pain is the judgment we place on ourselves.   We often don’t notice that the source of our judgment comes from within; we project it out onto others.  That’s what I did with Deborah’s e-mail.  I projected my own judgment onto her, onto anyone who might read what I write.  There isn’t anyone out there who will read what I write and judge it more harshly that I can.  Most people won’t even think to judge, they will just read and enjoy, or not.

If I censor what I write, to avoid another person’s judgment, I limit myself.  If I censor what I write to avoid my own judgment, I will completely stop myself.  How much of the time are you stopping yourself?  What is the self-judgment you are trying to avoid?  And, what would happen if you tried to see yourself from the perspective of the ones in your life that most support you?  How much of the judgment can you hold onto if you are seeing yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you?

I’ve just met Deborah.   From what I know so far, she loves to write and to share what others write.  I haven’t posted anything yet, so she has no idea what my writing “voice” sounds like, and she is curious.  In the way that I love to work with people to help them release the self-judgment, she loves to help inspire people to write.  So, when I took the first steps to be able to post something, she was pleased, and let me know.

Now, I have a choice.  I can succumb to my self-judgment and stop myself, or I can take a deep breath and face my self-judgment by posting something.  In facing it, I find the next best place to stretch myself to grow.  In this case, it is writing and posting.  What is it for you?

So, here you go Deborah.   Thanks for the inspiration.

Carla Camou, NLP Trainer and Personal Change work:

Developing the Intuitive You

If you are in the Seattle area, take a short beautiful drive in the country and join me for this workshop. It is always fun, inspirational and promotes wonderful writing and creativitiy.

A nurturing time for the Intuitive within us all

Insightful conversation, Meditation
Time for writing, creating, developing your intuition

When: The Second Sunday of the Month (April 15, 2012) 2-4 PM
Where: Center for Intuitive Arts, (located at the corner of Issaquah-Hobart
Road and Cedar Grove Road, Issaquah WA)
Cost $20
Facilitator: Linda Zeppa
For further information or to register: email
or go to