The Eloquent Author

May 26, 2008

Is Your Writing “Sense-able”?

Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 8:08 pm
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I know I have written about using all five senses when you write before, but I recently realized I am not REALLY doing that myself.  Yes I write describing things that can be heard, seen and smelled, but as I spent time outside today, it occurred to me that the common, obvious, and nearest things should not be the sense descriptions that I fall back upon. 

For example, as I listen to my surroundings, everyone notices the traffic noise, the birds, or a dog barking in the distance.  It is the things not often heard, or taken for granted that can add depth to a story or character. Even a light breeze has a sound, the swish of a jacket sleeve as you move your arms to walk; the click of a dog’s nails on the pavement, or the light rustle of the tall grass as you pass through.  

I also noted I was thinking of the sense of touch only in regards to my hands.  Touch can be felt through my feet; hot and tired in the same shoes I have had on for hours, or the way I feel inside as I think of the love I have for someone.  There are many ways one can feel the sense of touch.  

The sense of smell and taste are also thought of as limited.  Yes, if you had onions on your sandwich, you might still taste them long after lunch, but what about the air?  Does it have a taste or smell also?  

Are you truly seeing all that surrounds you?  Look beyond the obvious.  If you are not sure, ask someone near to describe what he or she sees and make sure you see at least five other things than were mentioned.  I challenge the writer in you to come up with a list of five different labels for each of our senses the next time you are out and write them down.  Do they appear common, or have you struck upon some new terms that could liven up your descriptions?      

Wake up your sense and your brain and see how detailed you can be.  You never know, it may not only improve your observational skills, but also your writing- maybe even your life.  There is much to be happy and look forward to when you open up all your senses and really pay attention to what’s around us.  


© May 26, 2008 Marie Boyum


April 2, 2008


Have you ever have a book you read that afterwards you said, “I wish I wrote that!”? 

Well, since my heart is deeply in children’s books, I came across a great one, where I did say that.  I feel I must give the author just due and mention this highly creative book that speaks to my soul in the fact it encourages children to write; You Can Write a Story!  By: Lisa Bullard and illustrated by Deborah Haley Melmon (2007) is an awesome book for children.  (Check out the link to Shelfari on the right of this site so you can see a few of my other favorite books.)

If you have, or know of children who express a desire to write, or even just show creativity and an interest in books, steer them to this book.   The world needs more writers and who would be better to groom than our next generation?  When you find yourself saying, “I wish I wrote that!” no matter what the book’s genre- then get writing!  You will continue to say that until you put your thoughts, words, and ideas on paper.  It does not have to be perfect to start, but you must start to ever have your book be the one where people say, “I wish I wrote that!”    


© April 2, 2008 Marie Boyum  

March 27, 2008

Bits & Pieces

Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 4:26 pm
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My fellow writer Brian and I were talking the other day, and got on a discussion about writing down thoughts and pieces of ideas on scraps of paper.  If you are a writer, I’m sure you also have many of them scattered around in files, drawers, journals, pockets, bags, etc.   

He told me a story about a man that finally decided to go through those scraps and old files and came upon a story he had written long ago.  As he began to read the story he decided it was absolutely terrible and threw it away.  His wife happened to see it and pulled it out of the trash to read.  She came to him saying how good she thought it was and that he should try to get it published.  At first this high school history teacher balked, but then chose to trust his wife’s instinct and submitted the story.     

The rest they say is history, as this high school history teacher, Stephen King, was able to get the manuscript he threw away, Carrie, published.   

We continued to talk about the times we too have thought things not worthy of keeping, and also of the times we grabbed the paper, scribbled down bits of thoughts and swore it was the best thing yet, only to re-read it later and ask, “What was I thinking?”  We both agree however, that no matter how bad it may have turned out, there was a deep core passion that shone through for a moment and needs to be nurtured.  Maybe not that exact message or wording, but it should be saved – there may be a bit or piece that is the basis for something great!   

Now we may not all end up as well known as Stephen King, but you can never truly know how your writing may affect others.  It may just be bits and pieces of what we write that touch’s another person; sometimes it is the small things that matter most.  Think of those scraps of ideas as puzzle pieces yet to be connected- save them, relish them, but keep them far from the trash.  And if you do have the urge to throw something away, at least let someone else read it first, you never know, you may have a piece of history there.  

P.S  Are you a fellow writer?  (Remember, even if you only have bits & pieces, you are still a writer!)  I invite you to join me as a “friend” on Facebook!  Just log on to and type in Marie Boyum- click to be my friend (:


 © March 27,2008 Marie Boyum


March 18, 2008


Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 7:01 pm
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How many times have you been asked what you do and have had the courage to say “writer?”

I say courage because there are times I have seen the eyes roll, and the judgment hang in the air like the smell of a rotten egg on a hot sidewalk.  “So you don’t really work,” I once had someone say.  “No, I don’t consider it work,” I said, although I knew it was meant to be a put-down, I meant it to be a great thing.  Then there are those that fane happiness for you; all the while they secretly hate you for doing what you love, because maybe they wish they also had the courage to follow their dream.  

Polls have shown that 81% of Americans say they’d like to write a book.  Unfortunately, the polls don’t list the percentage that only got that far and then spew the litany of excuses to prevent themselves from doing it.  Beginning is often the hardest part- staring at the blank page and forming it into words that flow from your gut.   

Everyone can easily make the excuses of no time, I have bills to pay; the odds are against me, and on, and on.  I believe everything boils down to two things in life, love and fear.  If we create from a loving space within, it can only be good and do well.  It is when we allow fear to freeze us up like a dish of water left outside in a Wisconsin winter that stops our creativity (and us in general) cold.   

What is your reaction when you hear someone say they are a writer?  Do feel envious?  Do you think, ‘must be nice!’ or do you find the time to go to your keyboard and start writing, because if they can do it, so can you?  Although you may not think of it as work, any writer will tell you it is, but it is the reaction you have to what you know you want to do that makes it hard or a joy, a dream, or a reality.   

What are your reactions to these thoughts?  I’d love to hear from you!

 ©  March 18, 2008 Marie Boyum 

March 10, 2008

On Being Idle

Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 8:13 pm
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I just got through reading a very interesting book from a British writer Tom Hodgkinson, entitled, How To Be Idle.  Although he made some wonderful points, it might be a book only a writer can truly relate to.  With chapters such as, Waking Up is Hard to Do, The Death of Lunch, The Nap, and On Being Ill, just to name a few, he speaks of the importance of doing nothing, laying in bed until late in the day, and how busy people miss so much.   

As I say, he makes many good points, although I cannot say I agree with all of his commentaries; I can see how someone who is not a writer would have quite the ambivalent reaction to being so sloth.  Who wouldn’t want to spend most of the day observing, resting, thinking, and taking long lunches?  In today’s (and according to the author, especially American) society, most people feel the need to be busy or they feel they may lose.  Lose that big break, lose time, lose the opportunity, and lose the job…  

As a writer, there is great merit in losing.  Losing the busy schedule so we can observe, contemplate our thoughts, and create.  For those choosing to not use the creative side of their brain, it may appear as if we are too freely lounging, sipping tea (or coffee), and making up stories to fill our day.  Anyone who does write for a living, or even for their own enjoyment knows, there is much labor to those well thought out words placed in just the right order to best convey our thoughts – and that takes some contemplation.   

Those of you that know me, know I love quotes and here is one I think sums it all up. 

“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought.  There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.” – Victor Hugo  

Go be invisible…  

 © March 10, 2008 Marie Boyum

March 3, 2008

A Day In the Life of One Writer

Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 7:27 pm
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There has been more than one time when I have been asked what my typical writing day consists of.  I have read of famous authors who talk of their strict regimen while I have also heard of other authors who only write when the mood strikes.  There are many other authors that fall in between and I can say that would best describe me.   

I am not a morning person, so those that get up early before anyone else, many times before the sun, are not writers I can relate to. I do my best work between 10 PM and 2AM.  When I do get up in the morning does depend on the previous night’s productivity level (how intense and engrossed I got into writing).  No matter when I get up, I do not even bother trying to be productive in the writing department until 10 AM.  Prior to that, I do household and puppy duties as my beloved “moose” Maynard demands my attention after a night of rest.  I take care of my “girls” (our chickens) and spend time walking outside on our property- yes, even on the nasty winter weather days we have had!  In the morning, I try to work on writing school things, leaving time for my other writing in the afternoon.  Now this is all in theory, mind you.   

One thing I know about working from home is, distractions can throw a huge monkey wrench into ones plans.  How many of you have the best intentions of writing and then notice that the pencils need sharpening, the shelf is dusty, or have a sudden need for that special type of cookie that only you can bake?  Laundry, neighbors, phone calls, children, pets, the list of distractions is endless.  Many can be very easily justified that they require our time right this minute.   

I have to say I fall victim to these (and other) distractions much easier during the day then late into the night.  By the time night comes, my husband and I have had our time together, my puppy finally crashes, the phone does not ring, no neighbors will come by, and I do not even think of rattling dishes, or starting laundry at that hour.  For me, my mind is free to release myself from my worldly duties and just dream; I am just not ready to do it while sleeping quite yet.  It is nice also because if I do not have a productive writing day, I don’t have to feel guilty, I know that there is always late at night when I can relax, sip tea, pull up a pillow behind my back, and write away.  Of course, you can flip that if you are one of those morning people, but that is my secret.    

Here are other tips that can help, if you don’t think that will work for you.  Try turning off the volume on your phone; post a sign on the door that says “at work, call after 5 PM;” give yourself a deadline and tell yourself if you had a 9-5 job in an office, you would not be able to do the laundry so it does not matter that you cannot now; and while you are envisioning that you are at the 9-5 job, remember what that was like and how much better your life is now as a writer – then write! (Or you may have to be back at that 9-5-office job!)  One of the great things about being a writer at home is you don’t have to waste precious time getting dressed; the creativity flows just as well in our “jimmies” as it does in a dress or suit and they are far less distracting!  (There aren’t many careers that can say they get to “dress for success” in that way!)  And so it goes, in this writer’s daily life…

© March 3, 2008 Marie Boyum

February 25, 2008

How Bad Do You Want It?

Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 4:01 pm
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“How bad do you want it?”  Tim McGraw rocks out on one of my husband’s favorite CD’s.  As I listen while we drive I realize, I can relate just about everything to writing.  Maybe that’s the sign of a writer, always watching, thinking and observing for that next character, plot or subject matter.   

It reminds me of when I was a child, really believing and becoming the stories I read, thinking about them unceasingly until I could open the cover once again.  Somehow, I was there, even if only an observer.  I was right in on the action; feeling the same things as the characters I read, trying to decide how I could keep the story real even after the pages had all been turned.  I usually took it one step further, begging for a tree house after reading Swiss Family Robinson, getting a pet rabbit after reading The Velveteen Rabbit, and buying those “feels like real fur” mice at the dime store and learning origami so I could make boats that float after reading Stuart Little.  

I think those connections are what every author dreams their readers feel after reading their books.  Those are the connections that make me so passionate about getting books into the hands of children.  Encouraging dreams and fantasy, allowing children to find their own connections with the story world and their current physical existence.  That’s what great authors do as they write.  JK Rowling created “The Dementors” as part of her Harry Potter series out of the frustration and depression she was feeling behind writing her first novel.   

So, you could ask yourself, ‘how bad do you want it?”  But better yet, maybe we should ask how we could write so our readers will feel they want it so bad they can’t wait to get back to reading our work; that they feel so connected they want to make boats, build tree houses, or cuddle with rabbits.  I believe anything that is written from the passionate depths of our writing souls, can only bring those kind of responses, (even though we may never know the connections we make with our readers) and that is something I do truly want.   

© February 25, 2008 Marie Boyum





February 18, 2008


Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 8:25 pm
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Do you consider yourself a writer? I mean really consider yourself a writer?  Enough that if people ask you what you do, you would proudly say, “I am a writer.” 

Many people would say they would only say that if they write full-time.  Why?  Does writing consume your thoughts?  Does it tug at your heartstrings and cause butterflies to flitter in your stomach every time you put pen to paper, or your fingers to the keyboard?  If the passion burns within you to write, then it does not matter how you earn your paycheck- you are a writer. 

Some may say, they have not sold any works, or been paid to write, but I beg to differ.  If you have felt the joy of reading your words, relived events, or felt taken away as you wrote, never noticing the time fly as you sit absorbed in your thoughts and the wonderful process of creating, then you have been paid.  Money is not everything, and we all know it cannot buy happiness.  So if you feel a sense of bliss just thinking about being able to write, then say proudly, I am a writer!”

© February 18, 2008 Marie Boyum 


February 8, 2008


Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 12:36 am

Do you “jot?” 

I carry around a pen and paper, a mini-word processor, and a hand-held tape recorder at all times.  These are for my “jots”.  Those ideas I consider “starburst thoughts,” the ones that are more than a passing notion and warrant remembering.  With so much to do and remember in today’s world noting things in some form or another (paper, electronic, or voice) is so important.   

I have files with small slips of paper tucked in them (you need the pocket files to do this) of ideas for future characters, story ideas, books, articles, etc.  Once categorized and tucked away I can safely put the thought out of my mind until I am ready for that project or need to research the idea or concept.  (I need all the “ram” space in my head I can get!)  

Have you ever written something down, say right before you go to sleep, or after having awoke from a dream and were sure what you wrote down was the greatest thing ever?  Then when revisiting the “jottings” you realize it’s all a bunch of hooey?  One thing I have learned from that is there still is possibly something to be gleaned from the original idea (kind of like a first draft) and so I have a special file for those too.  You just never know what bit, part, or concept might have a glimmer of merit in there somewhere.   

So, do you “jot?”  I’d love to hear how others deal with those fleeting thoughts you are sure are part of the next bestseller.  Write back here and give me your thoughts.  Even if you think this is a bunch of “hooey”- who knows, maybe this will spark a “starburst thought” for you or, there might possibly be something you can glean from here; jot it down, and let me know.

© February 8, 2008 Marie Boyum 

January 31, 2008

Passionate Vision

Filed under: A Writer's Life — thriftynaturalist @ 9:41 pm
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There’s a lot of talk about seeing the end result; envisioning what you want and you will have it.  I believe that, but I also believe that can be a wall that writers can build for themselves that exhausts them so much they have no energy left to lift their eyes and see over it.  By constantly focusing on the end result (big publishing contract) the “wall” we have to overcome and climb is so daunting it’s easy to make excuses to never begin at all.

For myself, writing needs to speak from what I am passionate about at the time.  Does that mean all I have ever written about is what I feel passionately about?  Not really.  Sometimes, I have been “passionate” about making enough money to pay my bills; that means writing for what an editor needs, not what I want.  However, it did not lack passion, for anytime it has, it shows; the writing falls flat and sounds dull.  The key then is to find something within your writing to be passionate about, even if it’s only the writing process itself.  

Whether you are paid one dollar, hundreds or thousands of dollars, or only with a smile and a compliment, you have reached the “professional” status of writing.  Writing passionately shows respect for this valued profession and gives the readers the respect they deserve- all the passion you can muster. 

Although the below article link may not apply to everyone reading this, I do feel that the concept of, “following your dreams requires action,” applies to everything.  It also applies to the “passionate vision” I just wrote about.


What got me on a roll with the whole “passion” aspect is a friend gave me the book, Life, Passion, and Paint by: Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley.  For my review on Amazon go to:

(You have to scroll down to see my review.) 

 © January 31, 2008 Marie Boyum


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