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How Meditation Affected my Writing  | Guest Post


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Here we have Audrey Snyder, an indie who’s from my home state’s backyard, Pittsburgh.We are celebrating the release of her memoir, Worth the Climb. Today she tells us how meditating helps her writing and then she gives you an opportunity to win her book.Let’s get started.


For forty years I was a technical writer.  It took me ten years to complete my first non-fiction book, a memoir.  But when I decided to write my second book as fiction and in less time, I was unable to even begin writing.  Desperate to find some way that would help me write again, I frantically researched.  It was there that I discovered the Mindful Writers Group.  I did not know what to expect from the group but had a strong inclination that if I joined, I would overcome my writing block.

For me, reading is a great stimulant for ideas.  I read voraciously to decide on a subject to write about.  Once I decided on the topic, I read as many books that were similar to my topic as I could.

Equipped with a topic, I went to my first meeting of the Mindful Writers Group.  Today, as I reflect on my first session of following the Writing Meditation Method, I wish I had learned it sooner.  That first morning as I meditated and wrote in my journal, I examined my thoughts and feelings.  This was followed by several hours of writing my first draft.

Each week at our meetings, I wrote with such passion that I didn’t even know I had.  The Meditation Method allowed me to clear away any negative energy that had a deeper effect on me than I had realized.  Fifteen minutes of Mindful Meditation and journaling helped me to reflect and write freely.  The practices seemed to give me permission to honestly write what was on my heart and mind.   It unlocked a door of pent up feelings of joy, sorrow, happiness, fear, doubt and guilt.

At one of the sessions, during the fifteen minutes of journaling , I was able to put my feelings in a letter to a friend who had been estranged from me for years.  Here is an excerpt:

“When I awake from my dreams I almost feel guilty that I am so happy.

I wonder why I deserve this happiness.  What did I do to deserve it?

We travelled the same path, the two of us.  How could our lives be so

far apart now?  What or who decided which path we should choose?

Why do you blame me for my happiness?  Why the anger?  Why the

Jealously?  I want you to be as happy as I am.  You deserve to know you

have made a difference in my life.  You are part of the reason I choose

the path I did.  Now  you have chosen to run away from here, from this

city, from this path.  Will it be any better for you elsewhere?   I hope so,

but I have my reservations.  I have learned that the change

you seek has to come from within you.  All this stuff you hold onto only

holds you back and blocks you.”

I was amazed at the sincerity of my emotions and the depth of my writing.  I wondered how much of myself should I reveal?  Should I hold back some for later?  But, I kept writing until the bell sounded for us to stop.  I had written with such intensity that my fingers felt cramped.  I was so elated to complete the letter that I wanted to frame in and hang it in my office.

The practice of Writing Meditation Method has given me freedom to explore my innermost feelings and thoughts.  Such feelings are authentic which makes them original.  This method is a writer’s tool that is helping me understand myself.  It teaches discipline to set short-term goals with realistic expectations.

I know my current writing is the result of the beginning of knowing myself.   It is awareness about who I am.  This awareness is leading me closer to my real self.  It is the result of examining my thoughts and feelings that the Mindful Writers Group practices.  The Method has shown me that there is a relationship between writing and meditation.  It has shown me how I can fearlessly express my passion.   It has shown me how to experience who I truly am.  And most importantly, it has empowered me so that I can overcome obstacles placed ion my writing path.

About her memoir:

Raised by a grandmother who believed the only available professional jobs for a Black American women in the 1960’s were nursing and teaching.  Audrey Snyder grew up feeling restricted in her own home.  Audrey, however, had inherited the grit and determination of her great Cherokee grandmother, who had accomplished the impossible by traveling, unescorted over 1300 miles in a covered wagon filled with orphaned Cherokee children.

Worth the Climb tells Audrey’s remarkable story of struggle and success in corporate America.  Leaving home at a young age, Audrey moved from secretary to prominent business success in the face of racism and discrimination.  Throughout her 40- year struggle, Audrey pushed away anger, bitterness, and despair, clinging instead to excellence, perseverance, and the need to open doors for Black Americans who would follow.

Worth the Climb is a must read for anyone looking to move forward in spite of pitfalls and disappointments.




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Audrey Jane Snyder is retired after working in the corporate environment for 40+ years in the fields of human resource management and customer service.  She has also been an independent consultant specializing in on-line web based training of interpersonal skills for first line managers.  Audrey holds a BA in Business Communications and a Masters in Training and Development.  Audrey is a member of Western Pennsylvania Initiative, Greater Pittsburgh Area Communications and National Black Public Relations Society, Inc. and PennWriters Inc., The Pittsburgh East Writer’s Group.   Audrey has also served on the board of Family Resources, Inc.  Audrey has spoken as an expert at Budget Financial Seminars and recently was Keynote Speaker on Courageous Leadership- Owning your Own Success at the National Black MBA Gala.   Audrey is currently an Adjunct Professor at DeVry University.

Audrey was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area lives with her husband of 44 years.  She has two adult children and two grandchildren.    This is her first book which one finalist position at the Pittsburgh Author Zone Awards.




If you would be interested in joining Audrey’s tour, click here and learn more. Support Indie Authors!

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Taking the Stage and not angry about it

Things are ramping up around here for the event on Friday! I’m going to a few blogs this week to talk about all of the things and I wanted to share them with you. I’m doing  it through Starry Knight Word Slayers, which has made this process incredibly easy.

One of the questions that comes up often is asking about me being angry, and about my anger issues. *spoiler alert: I’m not angry* On Stephanie’s blog, Life Unexpectedly, she asked me 10 questions and I gave her 10 answers. A few of them were about my anger. If you’d like to check them out and see what I had to say, that post is right here.

Second up, Lisa at The Meaning of Me had me over for a quick chat. We did a Q&A over there as well. Funnily enough, the questions didn’t really overlap. She was trying to find a bit more about me as a poet and what my future plans are for writing.

If you could take a moment and swing by their places and give them a visit,  I would appreciate it so much. There’s two more stops left on my blog tour this week. And don’t forget, you’re invited to a party!


Filed under writing

Growing a Garden for Your Novel | Guest Post

If you’ve been here for a while, then you’ve met Starr Bryson, head insomniac in charge at The Insomniacs Dream, freelance writer extraordinaire and my bloggy best friend. Today she’s going to tell you about a workshop she attended about self-publishing, the new project that she needs YOUR help to launch and there’s a video where I interview her at the bottom. But why am I telling you? Let’s get into it.



Long ago I had decided that if I ever (finally) finish one of the one hundred or so half-written manuscripts lying around my house I would self-publish.  Perhaps because I have no love lost for literary agents, or perhaps because I fear being lost in a slush pile, but most likely because I have an irrational fear of rejection.  I can handle critiques and an editor ripping my stories to shreds, but what I can not handle is a firm no.  Even if an editor tears my story apart, there’s still a chance that it could be re-written into something wonderful.

It is easier now than ever before to venture into the world of being an author, anyone can write a thing and self-publish, and that, to me, is a beautiful thing.  No longer does some nameless editor get to sit at a desk of judgment as the end all decision maker, choosing which books are released and those that are not.  We now have publishing freedom.  This can be can certainly be a draw back though, as more and more books are being self-published and it’s a competitive world out there, with thousands of books all vying for attention.

Because I promote indie authors, and I plan to self-publish myself, I am always looking for workshops and seminars on the topic.  Thankfully, Pittsburgh is literally teeming with writers and indie authors, and I have the privilege of being a member of several writing groups with access to many workshops.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to ride along with a friend and attend a class on self-publishing, taught by the successful local author, Kathie Shoop.   Kathie is a best- selling author and has made quite the career for herself, and she has never been published the “traditional route”.  You can read more about her and check out her books on her website.

In her workshop, Kathie focused on the steps a writer would need to take to not only finish a novel and self-publish, but how to promote the book and continue to be successful after the initial launch. She focused on what she referred to as “evergreening” – a process that most bloggers are already familiar with.  Kathie says to think of your book as an oak tree.  In order for you to be successful as an author, you must plant a garden around the tree.  Your tree needs a lush and full garden around it so that it can flourish.

Kathie shared a checklist of things that a writer needs to do to get their book the best advertising and exposure.  While all of the things work together to help promote and boost sales, Kathie admits that she can’t tell you which of these things works better than others.  In fact, she told us she is only sure that any of it works if you do all of it.

Here is the list of things Kathie recommends you do to promote your book.  Again, don’t pick and choose, it’s important to do all of these things.

  • Online advertising
  • Blog Tours
  • Social Media
  • Local Press
  • Local Signings
  • Press Releases
  • Enter book award contests
  • Magazine ads
  • Book clubs
  • Libraries
  • Public speaking at workshops and seminars

I did learn some things from Kathie about the traditional publishing route that were pretty shocking, which only served to cement my decision to never go down that road.  If a publishing house picks up your book they, obviously, own the rights to it but it’s years and years before the rights are reverted back to you, the author.  And, you have only a few months on the shelf to prove that your book is going to sell, if you don’t hit whatever lofty goal they set, they will pull your book off the shelf and stop printing it.  So let’s say your book doesn’t do too well in the first two months, not only does it get pulled by the publisher who stops printing it, you can not sell the book yourself or try the self-publishing route because they still own the rights.  So you wait years to own your own work again while it’s sitting in their publishing house collecting dust.  In most cases, this carries over to e-books and audio books, too.

Generally, you’re expected to do all of the marketing and promotion for your book, as well. If you’re going to do all the work anyways, you’re better off self-publishing and retaining the rights to your work.

What are you waiting for?  Go write your book and grow that garden around your tree.

Campaign LogoI’m currently running a crowdfunding to raise funds to launch Starry Knight Word Slayers, a new business that focuses on providing affordable book promotion for indie authors.  Stop by, read our story, donate if you can, and share with your friends.

PenPaperPad note: Check out the interview we did together where Starr tells you more about her passion to help other authors achieve their dreams.

Starr works from her home in Pittsburgh as a freelance writer.  Her professional work includes editing, Social Media marketing and management, ghost writing, content management and SEO for websites, entertainment journalism, and book promotion for self-published authors.  In the past, she has taught classes at writers’ conferences in Pittsburgh about freelancing as a career and the best practices for blogging and social media.

http://penpaperpad.comStarr’s creative writing ranges from humor laced snarkfests, gritty and painfully raw non-fiction all the way to the dark world of Erotica. The author behind The Insomniac’s Dream, she claims blogging was only the beginning of an amazing freelancing career.

In her spare time, Starr writes fiction and is working on a paranormal novel and companion serial.  In addition, she writes short stories and manages a local writing group.  When she’s not writing, Starr is kept busy by her two hilarious and fantastically disgusting boys.

 Starr enjoys adult grape juice, reading in her non-existent spare time, the occasional Netflix binge, and connecting with other writers and her readers.  She loves Halloween, Zombies, and all things horror. She aspires to be a Vampire someday. 

Her claim to fame is her caustic wit, copious swears, and an ongoing battle with insomnia.  You can catch up with Starr on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.  You can see what Starr has published by visiting her Amazon Author Page.

Important links for her campaign:

Indiegogo Campaign :  http://igg.me/at/starryknight

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WordSlayers

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/starryknightwordslayers

Website:  http://starryknightwordslayers.com


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