Friday, March 27, 2009


Once again it's Friday evening and I'm thinking about what to post. Since I usually write about what's on my mind, I might as well not hold back.

So many people out there don't understand blogging or networking. They are quick to tell me how useless and unsafe it is to blog. I was asked again today why I spend time posting writing exercises when I could be doing "something more constructive."

Sometimes I ask myself the same question. I could spend more time submitting manuscripts or cleaning my house. I will.

This blog isn't very old...less than two months or so. I started my blog to network with people like you, not to get rich. I confess (and I've told a few of you already) that in a couple years I plan to try to turn the activities that I post here into a book.

These little seemingly nothing activities inspire me to paint pictures with my words. They make me happy when they snap you out of your writer's block or when they unleash creativity in kids who think they can't write.

I used to make lots of money writing. I was blessed with lots of work and a creative mind. Now work is slow, but I'm as excited as ever when ideas tumble in my mind. I'm still filled with joy (that I hope all of you know) when I sit down to write. Making lots of money is not what dictates success.

Here's what I have decided. I'm sure it's been said before, but it's worth repeating... Success is a journey, not a destination. Words lead us on incredible journeys. It's the journeys that take my breath away.

Jason Burke has been taking a wonderful journey of his own. He has self-published two books. The first, "Recycled Again," is a light-hearted story with a subtle message or two. Written in a style like Shel Silverstein, "Recycled Again" is a green book about changing friendships and recycling. You can purchase Jason's book at

Jason's second book is titled "Birthdays at Christmas." It combines a classic Christmas story with with wit and wonder. "Birthdays at Christmas" can be found at too.

Another journey worth taking can be found at .
Amber's blog offers a contest that's being judged by none other than her twelve-year-old son. Give it a try! Send your students and kids there too. We can all have some creative frolicking! When kids and adults participate in the same activity it sends a message. The message is that writing is important and fun.

I'm curious. What is success to you as a writer? What is success to you as a teacher or homeschooler? Can you enjoy the journey or do you feel pressured by what other people think, say and expect? Please share.


Latte Lady said...

Jan, I appreciate the fact that you are writing this blog! :) Actually, thank you for the great ideas. They are going to help us!

As far as making one just for homeschoolers: I think if you start to include ideas for hsers on this blog that would be good. You'll need to break into the homeschool world.

Have a great night!

Amber~ Care and Feeding of Wild Things said...

Thank you Jan for mentioning my contest! I really appreciate it. Your blog is only a couple of months old? Wow! I love what you offer here, you are giving people something of substance. I hope that by continuing to read this blog I will become a better writer. Regarding my contest, I would like to warmly extend the invitation to everyone to participate- children and adults alike. My son is anxiously awaiting reading material! Thanks again Jan!

Jan Mader said...

Jason left this comment on my email. I think he speaks for many people....

Before the intenet we all did it by "word of mouth", flyers, commericals, etc. So, is the internet just a more convenient means of posting "internet flyers" in hopes of being seen? I have no idea. I'm currently, undecided about how "succesful" networking and advertising of my art, books, and music has been for me. I think it has been extremly helpful with getting information available, and meeting people you would have otherwise never met. It has not necessarily helped boost "sales" by a large amount.
It seems my "sales" are usually the most well received by being face-to-face, booths, etc.

And as far as "success" with the writer/artist etc:

I get just as frustrated with supporting local art, when it is overpriced. I love to support local artists and writers and musicians. When I like something, I support them and purchase their stuff.

I have struggled with deeming what is my own "personal" success for over a decade now, and my current stance (subject to change) is that I've had ideals come and go, with what I deemed "success" ..... (based on number of sales, finacial gain, financial loss, getting gigs, backing of big companies, no backing of companies, etc) and I still don't have a solid answer. It all seems like a grey area, based on individual preference and how comfortable the artist is, with what they are trying to accomplish. And it seems like I always set my goals way high. And I of course am biased of my own work. I don't know if I will ever be content with my "success", because the levels change. Technically, on one level or another, I have been a successful musician, a successful writer, and a successful artist. But not in my eyes, hence maybe its an internal journey? Don't know.

The music that I have created .... I have been pasionate about. The writting I have done, has been incredible work (in my eyes), and I am in love with my designs! I think every person that creates should be passionate about what they are doing! It is infectious!

And I think that has a lot to do with the human experience. There is something about words, and visual and auditory simulation, that MOVES us.

I have treated my books as a piece of actual artwork! (Some images look like Colorforms static clings and I am conducting my 3rd book, "Movies In Your Dreams" to visually look like the experience of going to a movie, and including a backround music that I'm writing, to play) I had a vision and chased it. And it makes sense to me to feel somewhat frustrated if your vision doesn't reach its potential. This also forces me to search out writers, artists, and musicians that are undiscovered. There are a lot of them out there!

I think the "starving artist" nickname is there for a reason. Sometimes people can stand to go without the luxury of enjoying art, books and music. Some consumers just arn't as fanatic about creativity.

Whn going from point A to point B, theres never the opportunity of retrospect. Retrospect and wise words always come AFTER the journey.

And when one person is on a journey, questioning it, someone else gets to give them comfort. Then when that person is on a journey, the other person gets to give them comfort. Its what we do as humans.

IN A SENTENCE, It seems like ... when something you put your heart into doesn't get the nurturing you feel it deserves ... could be disheartening .... And what we create ..... we love ..... so we try and keep it alive and help promote it, etc so it can be loved by more people.

Seems like you hit a cord in me, sorry for the rant. I obviously feel strongly about this topic cuz it hits close to home.

Anonymous said...

If we only place value on what makes money we are destined to live a very shallow existence, Art, music, writing...most of us won't be fortunate enough to actually make a living at this pursuits but the enrichment they add to our lives makes their pursuit worthwhile in and of themselves.

You're work to create a site that provides encouragement and inspiration to others is a fabulous thing. It may go against the grain to step away from the competitive, money driven culture we live in and offer anything for free, but I believe you reap what you sow. I imagine as your site helps others to express themselves you will reap in unexpected and wonderful ways...and maybe make some money while you are at it. :)

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

I think the bottom line for success as a writer is if someone benefits from my writing in some way, whether it's education, help or entertainment. The financial part is not so much a consideration although I'd never complain about being published for money!

Tara said...

I'm still learning about blogging - and working on being an active blogger and commenter - but I think the sharing of ideas is one of the best parts of blogging. Success can't be measured by money or fame, but in discovering new ideas and broadening horizons.

The W.O.W. factor! said...

Success is in the eye of the beholder...
...and in MY creativity, that beholder would be ME.
Whether it's in my home, my gardens, my artwork or my writings on my blog...if I've achieved what I, myself, want to achieve, then I succeeded.
I truly only create when and what I want...not with others in mind.
(except the other day when I was requested to write a poem for a friend..)