6 Practical Ways to Inspire Creativity | J.J. Johnson

6 Practical Ways to Inspire Creativity  |  J.J. Johnson

I have been staring at a blinking cursor for fifteen minutes, working on a blog post that I waited until the last second to write.  And the truth is… I’m drained. Whether I’m wrestling with two crazy boys, or conquering mountains of laundry, sweeping up the crumbs that magically appear on a hardwood floor, emptying

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My Word for 2017

My Word for 2017

There is so much buzz going around about the year 2016, how terrible/surprising/tragic/ridiculous it was. While I felt a few personal blows last year, something more overshadowed my experience in the past ~365 days. A foul cloud of discouragement and cynicism hovered over 2016. And yet I’m not sure that this year was really worse than any other. I joined

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5 Autumn Staples for the Weary Writer

5 Autumn Staples for the Weary Writer

It’s that time of year again, the season of colorful leaves and walks in crisp fall air and bleary-eyed writers stabbing wearily at keyboards in a mad attempt to pound out a novel in a month. The struggle is real, my friends. The struggle is real. If you’re the unfortunate friend or family member of

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Why people are worth your time

Why people are worth your time

This blog post is late. Here’s why: I’m writing to you from a messy place in my life. The dishes aren’t done, the floor could use a vacuum, and there’s an ever-present email list I need to tackle. Today — read, this week — didn’t go as planned. I had goals to divide and conquer.

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What to do with a rejection letter

What to do with a rejection letter

We’re coming up to the end of August, which for lots of people means the start of a new school year – and for everyone, it’s the beginning of autumn (bring on the pumpkin-spiced everything!). But for us at Crosshair Press, it’s the end. The end of novel edits (this is where those of you

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Sharing what you love – A Ren Faire experience

Sharing what you love – A Ren Faire experience

We went to the local Renaissance Faire this weekend. It wasn’t the biggest one I’ve attended, but it was a really enjoyable event. The day was gorgeous, sunny with a cool breeze. Perfect for wandering amongst costumed anachronistic characters welcoming us as, “milord, milady,” declaring our toddler’s stroller her “royal carriage,” and gasping at our

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Writing from Real Life

Writing from Real Life

If you’re a writer, and even if you’re not, odds are you’ve heard the adage, “Write what you know.” And if you’re a writer, it’s probable you’ve sat and thought, “I know about grocery shopping, my work, and living in the suburbs. There’s nothing exciting about what I know.” And so we sit and we

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When good people make bad decisions

When good people make bad decisions

We’ve seen it happen over and over, and each time we just shake our heads. Good people make a bad decision or series of decisions and their lives (and usually those they love) change forever. How do you respond when you’re negatively affected by someone else’s bad decision? What if that person is you? Life

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When you have no words

When you have no words

“Do you ever feel that way?” I ask my friend in the Dillons parking lot, shoppers passing by with carts full of riches untold for most of the people in this world. “Like you don’t have any words left, or maybe that there’s too much to say for words?” Like you just need to be with the

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Four-Legged Wisdom

Four-Legged Wisdom

This last week, I had the opportunity to dogsit for a friend. She (the animal) has lovely ruddy locks, a deep husky voice, and soulful brown eyes that will convince you without a doubt, that she has not eaten for the past two weeks, and therefore is starving, feed her now. She was a fun

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When Life’s Up in the Air

When Life’s Up in the Air

Have you ever just felt like your life’s completely up in the air? This decision depends on this outcome which is dependent on this other unknown factor. So many uncertainties and unknowns and factors far outside of your control that you feel like you’re treading air and getting nowhere and yet falling at a tremendous

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When your story hurts

When your story hurts

On Friday morning, four days ago,  my beloved aunt tried to take her own life. She shot herself in the stomach after a months-long struggle with anxiety and depression. At 11:00 a.m. my phone rang and Lauren, at 22 the oldest of their seven children and more my little sister than cousin, came on the

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