Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweet Inspiration

I just returned home from the annual summer Retreat of the American Night Writers Association. I've been a member of this excellent writing group for about 3 years now, and joining has been the best decision of my writing career. My publisher, Chad Daybell suggested I join, and it took me a month or so to decide to do so.

He was so right.

The group is fantastic. I have learned more about writing from these women (and it is women only in the group) than I did in my entire college career, or in my years as a writer for the U.S. Congress, or in my years as an aspiring author. It's just a great, motivational, educational group.

During the Retreat in the high country of Arizona this year, I met several women who really helped me figure out how to make strides in my writing, and I appreciate them very much. For a long time I have resisted starting a writing blog, believing there are enough of them out there. (And there probably are.) I am quite averse to self-promotion, and I saw a presence on the web as annoying to myself and others. However, one of the women in my "suite" helped me see otherwise.

When I told her the catchphrase I've always used for my writing, "Cotton Candy for the Soul," she laughed and told me that needed to be my personal trademark, my logo. She said I should name my blog this. I laughed, thinking, no way. Then I came home, and it sank in. Voila, this blog. Then, as the "Crazy Coincidence" above states, the evening after I created the original page, a neighbor stopped by with six bags of cotton candy in hand. He'd just bought a machine and thought he would drop some by for us. I couldn't believe it.

It made me think, wow, the whole universe is reaffirming this decision.

I know. Now I'm sounding like candy corn for your soul.

But I believe there is a need for entertaining writing. We have a lot of people out there aspiring to write that "Great American Novel," one that will both wrench and open the eyes of each reader. There are others who are out to write something to educate the reader about a social issue, or to do all manner of shocking writing.

However, not I. For some of us, the great gift of reading is escape. I aspire not to write chicken soup or meat and potatoes or spicy salsa.

My stuff isn't deep. It's just light, sweet, gone.

And can't we just enjoy some cotton candy now and then?


  1. I was there during that conversation. I'm glad you started this blog. It's a wonderfully light idea.

  2. Thanks, Rachel. I'm looking forward to joining your blogs! You have some excellent ideas and goals with your writing!

  3. Love your title Jennifer! Keep on blogin'.

  4. Love your new blog, Jennifer! I just finished writing a little essay for my publisher about "why I write". As I said in that essay, I don't aspire to change anyone's life with my writing. If all I can do is leave someone with a smile when they close my book, that's good enough for me. :-)

  5. So true, Joyce. I really believe that. There was one time after Choosing Mr. Right came out that one of my girls from church had read it. She came up and said, "I'm so glad I read that. I've decided not to freak out that I don't have a boyfriend now. I can wait!" Whew! Sometimes cotton candy (even with the world's cheesiest title) can be just what we women need. I was floored. It made all the hours toiling over the editing slavery worth it.

  6. Jennifer, you are amazing! Thanks for the wonderful class you taught at the ANWA Retreat!

  7. Thanks, Cindy. The retreat (I keep telling people) was the best non-family weekend ever. (It might have trumped quite a few family weekends, come to think of it.) Thank YOU so much for making it happen. Just the thought of you and Tiffany and Krista bailing that water...brings a lump to my throat. You rock!


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