Tag Archives: Jeff Goins

Farewell, Dolly, My Love

This is Day 3 of the 15 Habits of Great Writers workshop.  We were to get up two hours earlier than usual and write non-stop–no reading email or scanning news, just write.  It’s a lucky thing my dogs woke me at 6:15 am because my husband forgot.  I dragged myself out of bed, then remembered why I was getting up and got all happy.  I couldn’t wait to get to my computer because, for once, what I was writing was just for me. 

We could write anything we wanted, and I decided it would take too long to sort out my long-neglected WIP, so I wrote a flash fiction story instead.  It took me 1.5 hours to write it and proof it.  It is just under 1,000 words, and I thought you would like to see it.


Farewell, Dolly, My Love

by Sandra Bell Kirchman 

Sighing, Benny walked up the steps of his front porch and sat down at the top.  She’d said no.  How could she have turned him down?  After all the practising he had done, the right way to court a lady, the affection he had showered her with.  Surely, she had known his intentions.  How unkind of her to keep on receiving his suit and his little presents, then rejecting him.  Anger stirred briefly.  She’d said she was considering her options but had decided to eliminate Benny as a prospect.  He was too short, she’d said.

Anger dissolved as fast as it had come.  No use getting mad.  She was right; he was short…she was taller at the shoulders than he by a couple of inches.  Height or lack of it never mattered to him, but he guessed females were different.  He stared across the park to her house, wondering what she was doing now.  The sun shone like a beacon of hope, ignoring his broken heart.  She was probably sunning herself in her backyard.  She loved finding a good sunspot to lie down in and let the heat bake her bones.

The favored suitor was likely that Frenchie down the street, what was his name?  Monsoor Pee-air?  Some silly thing like that.  Benny had seen him running in the park, quite the athletic jerk, always running and jumping and showing off.  But he was taller than Dolly.  Such a shallow thing to break his heart over.

Used under CC license from Roland’s Photostream – Roland Tanglao

He got up, shook himself to clear his mind, deciding against going into the house just yet.  He didn’t want to face anyone, least of all his family.  If they sensed he was going through some kind of crisis, they would turn themselves inside out trying to help.  He couldn’t face that sort of sympathy right now.

Trotting around to the backyard, he found his quiet spot under the burr oak tree right at the end of the yard.  The property backed onto a golf course, separated only by a chain fence.  Fortunately, no one was playing.  Too early on a Monday morning probably.  He was surrounded by quiet green, which soothed his spirit.

He sat and tried not to think of Dolly, the way her eyes shone when she was happy, the blonde sleekness of her, the cute uptilt of her nose.  He shook his head.  This was not what he wanted to be contemplating.  People who noticed said it was puppy love and how cute was that?  Benny knew differently.  Puppy love, be darned.

And now his heart was in two pieces, still beating in his chest but leaving him less than fully alive.

Mom appeared on the back step and called, “Benny, come here.  Mom has breakfast for you.”

The last thing in the world Benny wanted was food.  He considered not going in.  Without her glasses, Mom was nearsighted as three blind mice and wouldn’t see him if he stayed still.

“Benny, where are you?” Mom called again.  Benny heard the irritation in her voice and remembered she had an early doctor’s appointment that morning.  He didn’t want to upset her.  Even if he had said goodbye to Dolly’s feeble “I hope we can still be friends” speech, he still had Mom and Jeff and Chris and his friend Angus a few doors down.  Well, Angus was just Angus, and Jeff and Chris were still kids, but Mom was the best person in the whole world.

Slowly, he got to his feet and shook himself, then ambled up the path to the back door.

“There you are!” Mom exclaimed.  “You haven’t been out all night, have you?  You look bedraggled.”

Benny didn’t say anything.  He walked past Mom into the house.  He walked passed his breakfast and into the living room, reached the couch and lay down.  Mom followed him and stood in the doorway for a few moments watching him with a worried look.

Then, grabbing her purse, she hurried to the back part of the house.  Benny lay still.  He could hear her talking to Jeff, the oldest boy.

“You’re in charge for a couple of hours, honey,” she said.  “Make sure Chris eats his breakfast.  And keep an eye on Benny, will you?  He seems out of sorts…hope he’s not coming down with something.”

“Sure, Mom,” Jeff replied.

Jeff was a good kid.  Benny had helped raise him the last few years.  Mom needed lots of help, because Dad had been really sick at the time.  He knew they all sort of depended on him.

As if he knew Benny had been thinking about him, which was a relief from not thinking about Dolly, Jeff came into the living room.  He patted him on the back and murmured, “What’s the problem, old fella?  Got spring fever?”

Old?  Him, old?  It hadn’t occurred to him that people might view him as old.  Maybe that’s why Dolly had spurned him…but no, she had said he was too short, not too old.

Jeff scratched behind his ear and Benny couldn’t help wriggling with pleasure.  His ears were nearly always itchy because of the hair that grew inside them.  He loved having them scratched.

“You’ll be all right, Benny,” Jeff assured him.  “Just relax and have a nap.  Your breakfast will still be there when you get up.”

Benny sighed, sat up and scratched a rib itch, then stood and circled for a moment, looking for the perfect spot.  He found it and lay down, nose tucked neatly under his tail.  He could not think of Dolly later.

Copyright © 2012 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
All rights reserved.

I Believe in My Writer Self

Sandra Bell Kirchman’s office

I am a member of the Mastering the 15 Habits of Great Writers workshop.  Today is Day 2 and brings with it the word BELIEVE to meditate on.  This isn’t your ordinary BELIEVE but an opportunity to believe in myself as a writer, deep down in the very core of my being.  That, of course, is where I have the problem.

I can accept the concept that I am a writer (although it is still a little shaky).  This workshop has done wonders in encouraging and supporting me in that regard.  But the belief part is a little trickier, because it is a leap of faith and involves what defines me.  I have dozens of examples of my writing, so it isn’t that.

Here’s the kicker.  I have trouble believing in my core being that I am a writer, partly because it comes easily to me.  Don’t get me wrong…great writing doesn’t come easily, just writing.  I have this very bad habit of discounting anything that requires little effort on my part, and there are a few.

Because of the meditation I have done today, I have come to the conclusion that I am discarding belief in many important aspects of the definitive me:  writing, editing, English language, public speaking, being of service, enthusiasm, support, and so on.  The things that don’t come easily to me seem to rise to the top as the ones I prize:  knitting, cooking, singing, visual arts, dog training, and so on.  However, taking a look at the two lists, and pretending that I am not me for a moment, I see that the first list is the one that nurtures me; the second is merely a list of wants.

Tools of the writing trade

With that revelation, which just happened today, I believe I can move forward.  It’s no good discounting a trait because it comes easily.  I should welcome it joyfully because I don’t have to struggle so much to be me.

Fortunately, Jeff Goins, the writer who is facilitating the workshop, has also provided a way to help put my belief into practice.  Tomorrow morning, all of us in the workshop need to get up two hours earlier than our usual time and use that time to just write.  No checking emails, or wandering off to read blogs, or scanning the news.  Just write.

One of the members of the community shared that this reminds him very much of his baseball career, in that practice is what makes the difference between being okay and being great.  Out of that, I put together that committing myself to do is believing.  How about you?

E-Book Review: You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins, author of “You Are A Writer”

Jeff Goins is a writer who believes in writers.  He believes in them so much that he has shared a great deal of his wisdom gained through experience in the writing field.  No one ever said writing was easy, but Jeff explains some of the important ins and outs, like platforms and brands and networking.

 Jeff is also going to present a 15-day workshop, starting tomorrow (June 5) that he says will improved your writing drastically.

Jeff Goins wrote:  All great things come with practice, and writing is no different. If you want to move from mediocrity to mastery, you’re going to need to do what the masters do. You’re going to have to form new habits.

So, he will work with us in practicing what the masters practice.  I signed up.  See at the bottom of this review how to get more info on this workshop and how to get Jeff’s e-book that I have reviewed below.  You will need the e-book for the workshop.

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E-Book Review:  YOU ARE A WRITER (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

by Sandra Bell Kirchman
Copyright © 2012 by Sandra Bell Kirchman

Recently I attended a webinar that covered, amongst other things, allowing yourself to dream your dream, believing in yourself, encouraging yourself to dream bigger, and putting yourself in your dream, i.e., choose yourself.

The next thing I knew, Jeff Goins, respected author of such writer-friendly titles as The Writer’s Manifesto and Building an Empire With Words (as co-author), offered me a chance to review his latest e-book, You Are A Writer.

Guess what You Are A Writer is about?  Yup, allowing yourself to dream, believing in yourself, encouraging yourself to dream bigger, putting yourself in your dream…from a writer’s perspective.  Well, you could’a knocked me over with an elf’s wink, it being such a timely piece for me to read.

“You Are A Writer” by Jeff Goins

But wait, there’s more!  (sorry, couldn’t resist that).  Seriously this e-book is full of answers and explanations of things that likely puzzle all starting writers.  I know they had me scratching my head.  It begins with the premise:  You are already a writer.  You just need to write.  And then it goes from there with advice, explanations, examples and step-by-step how-to’s of how to establish yourself as a successful writer.

Every wonder what the heck an author’s platform was?  Or an author’s brand?  How does one get published by publishers?  This book has all that and more.  Jeff’s style is to state the question or problem, give an answer and description of it, lay out a step-by-step guide of how to accomplish it.  He finishes it off with his own personal experience in the topic at hand.  By the time you’ve finished reading the book, you will feel solid with: 

  • knowing and building your own author’s platform
  • understanding what an author’s brand is and how to develop your own brand
  • networking, how to build a community, building social relationships, and the relative importance of social communication

Jeff cares enough about writers and writing to tell you the bare truth about the job:

  • It’s harder than you think.
  • It’s not enough to be good.  You have to be great.
  • Nobody cares about you.  People care about themselves.
  • It’s more about who you know than what you know.
  • You’d better love it.  (Otherwise, quit now.)

Jeff leads you from quivering beginning writer who has a hard time believing she is really a writer, through steps that will help you gain that confidence and belief.  He helps you understand thoroughly the above three points and how to implement them in your writing and your life.

He finished up with an excellent description and how-to section of how to get published, advocating to start small and build relationships until you have the experience and expertise to accomplish the last step: get your book published (if that is your dream).

 You Are A Writer is wrapped up in humor, caring, and nuts-and-bolts facts.  In my opinion, it is a treasure for any writer who has had questions on where they are now, where they are going, and how to get there.

If you are interested in Mastering the Habits of Great Masters, go here.  You need to sign your blog up on that page.  Remember, it starts tomorrow, so don’t miss it.

You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins has just been released and is available in Amazon’s Kindle Store for $2.99.  Good news is that you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle stories.  You can download free Kindle software onto your computer, which will handle your e-book reading.