Archive for October, 2008

The Get Known Book Tour Begins in November!

Come hear me talk about Get Known!

If you are in the area, I’d love to meet you in person. I’ll be speaking at:

Wordstock, Portland’s Book and Literary Festival
Nonfiction Writing Rhythms
Saturday, Nov. 8th from 12:45-1:45 p.m.

Willamette Writers Monthly Meeting, Salem Chapter
A Platform Development Checklist
Thursday, November 13, 2008 from

Willamette Writers Monthly Meeting, Portland, Oregon Chapter
A Platform Development Checklist
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Northwest Author Series, Wilsonville, Oregon
A Platform Primer
Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meeting Schedulers/Event Planners:
If you would like to invite me to your conference or event, please email me at

Ask Wendy: Your Writing & Publishing Questions Answered

October 2007 Family Fun MagazineBy Wendy Burt Thomas

Q: Some argue that there’s no such thing as “writer’s block.” But procrastination is certainly real. How do you avoid it?

A: There are a few tips you can use to help fight procrastination on almost any project.

1) Always get plenty of information on the direction of your assignment. Beyond word count and deadline, this means asking specific questions about content. I’ve found that in nearly 100 percent of the cases, the projects that keep getting bumped off my daily to-do list are the ones that I feel somewhat confused about. Then, because I’ve waited too long, I’m embarrassed to call my client to ask for clarification. I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions up front and no one has ever complained!

2) Break your project down into specific and small tasks. Instead of “write 3,000-word feature article on public policy,” try:
· Make phone call to set up interview with lobbyist.
· Create list of questions for lobbyist.
· Find paragraph that explains what bill H-2356 is.
· Email chamber to see if they have any info on their public policy stance.

3) Make your first step the one that will likely garner you the most information: a phone interview, a visit to a website, or an email to a company’s media relations department. Oftentimes, just a short summary of the topic will create a snowball of momentum to help you (at least) write an outline.

Wendy Burt is a successful full-time freelance writer and editor who has more than doubled her income since leaving her job as a newspaper editor just four years ago. With two women’s humor books for McGraw-Hill and more than 1,000 published pieces, Wendy’s work has appeared in such varied publications as Family Circle, The Writer,,, Home Cooking Magazine and American Fitness. Wendy teaches “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” and still finds ample time to spend with her beautiful children, Gracie and Ben. Visit to see books by Wendy and her award-winning dad.

October is Publication Month for Get Known Before the Book Deal!

It’s Not Too Late…
Pre-Order Get Known Before the Book Deal!

Lots of books talk about what to do once you become an author. No other books go into as much depth about how to position yourself to become an author before you have a book and even before you have a book deal! Order Get Known Before the Book Deal from Amazon between now and November 17th will receive a platform-development checklist! Everyone who orders Get Known from and e-mails me their receipt will receive a checklist, which serves as the perfect companion to kick-off the book, within 48 hours. Here’s an ordering link, if you need one.

Will I accept pre-orders from other vendors?

Of course.

Beyond “What You Know”: On Poetry & Prosperity

October 2007 Family Fun MagazineBy Sage Cohen

When I majored in comparative literature as an undergraduate, my friend Jayne’s father, an accountant, asked me what kind of job I intended to land with such an ambiguous degree. “It will teach me how to think, and I’ll be good at any number of jobs if I’m a capable thinker,” I countered. His sons and daughter were getting practical degrees: accounting, journalism, medicine. Each knew what he or she would be doing with their education. Jayne’s father shrugged his shoulders and wished me luck.

Five years later when I was a year into a master’s degree in creative writing, Jayne’s father asked me why in the world I would get such a useless degree and how I intended to make a living when I graduated. The smart aleck in me responded, “I’m going to marry your son Abe, and he’s going to support me.” Jayne’s father never inquired into my career path again.

I think this conversation reflects a typical cultural fear: if you pursue the arts, you will starve. You will become ill suited for the workplace. No one will hire you. End of story. This is why many a parent has discouraged many a poet over the years from embracing such impractical passions.

I never bought into the starving artist archetype. For me, starving is no fun. Being penniless is a grind. Just as you can’t plant potatoes on a bridge, it’s hard to build a creative practice on a life that has no foundation on solid ground. A roof over my head and the certainty of being able to pay my monthly expenses have always been the foundation of my creativity.

When writing poetry, there’s a very simple way to sidestep the starving artist archetype: don’t expect to make a living writing poetry. Jayne’s father was right: poets don’t make a living writing poetry. A creative writing class may refine your use of metaphor to a surgeon’s precision, but that won’t buy you a cup of coffee. There is a very important distinction between money and prosperity. It’s easy to lump these together, but I propose that you don’t. Instead, I’d like you to consider how you define prosperity. For me, a leisurely afternoon in a coffee shop with a pile of poetry books, a notebook and a pen, and a regular refill of tea is prosperity. A good conversation with a friend is prosperity. My dog licking my face is prosperity.

This is not to say that we who write poetry are somehow above earning a good income. I’m just pointing out that income is one thing, and prosperity is frequently something else. Wallace Stevens, one of the most wildly imaginative poets on record, was an insurance adjustor by day. William Carlos Williams was a pediatrician. Mari L’Esperance is a therapist. The great blessing of poetry is that a “day job” can’t take poetry away from you.

Nor do you need poverty to write poetry. You simply need to know what prosperity means to you, and create a balance of what you do for money and what you do for poetry.

Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic, forthcoming from Writer’s Digest Books, and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. Her poetry and essays appear in journals and anthologies including Cup of Comfort for Writers, Oregon Literary Review, Greater Good and VoiceCatcher. In 2006, she won first prize in the Ghost Road Press annual poetry contest. Sage holds an MA in creative writing from New York University where she was awarded a New York Times Foundation fellowship. Sage teaches Poetry for the People and Personal Essays That Get Published.

Dear Fellow Writers (October 2008)

I’m sniffling.  I’ve heard from lots of folks this fall who have had it much worse. Luckily I roasted a chicken on Sunday, so I’m simmering chicken broth as I type this.

Mmmm. Smells good.

And now I have a sweet little kitten on my lap. Her name is Eva. She’s the one I wish I could keep (this week). But we’re a little heavy on pets right now, so in all likelihood Eva and her sister, Sadie, and her brothers, Sampson and Sterling, will go to the pet store in two weeks, as planned.

No doubt I won’t be the only one sniffling about that. But we’ll keep the mama cat, after all. (Did you hear that sound? It sounded like “Ka-ching!” coming from a mile away at our vet’s office. Yes, I’m sure I heard it.)

While our home becomes a little less full, two Writers on the Rise editor-columnists are welcoming babies into their lives.

Sage Cohen gave birth to Theodore (Theo) Robertson Luchs-Cohen. He was born Wednesday, September 17 at 11:40 a.m. weighing 8 lbs, 14 oz and measuring 20.5 inches long.

And Kristin Bair O’Keeffee and her husband Andrew traveled from Shanghai to Vietnam (actually from Maine to Shanghai to Vietnam but that’s another story) to pick up their long-awaited daughter, Tulliver (Tully) Quinn Loan O’Keeffe. She is beautiful.

You can read up on both moms’ adventures (and misadventures) on their respective blogs:

Meet Theo


Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse

Please join me in congratulating both families!

In the writing-for-publication spirit,

Christina Katz
Editor and Publisher

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  • This Blog Moving to as of December 30, 2009… December 27, 2009
    We’re moving! Writers on the Rise archives have been here for years. I hope that WordPress will let the archive live on for a good long time. However, it’s time to move on, bittersweet as change may be. Please come and find me at my new digs: And while we’re both thinking of it, […]
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October 2008

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