Category Archives: Writing

I took a free online class… here’s how it went

I’m looking at free online courses today.

I participated in a course last year. It was formatted much like social media with elements of video as well as articles. Two professors from fancy pants universities oversaw the course. There was no formal grade, but you do receive a certificate of completion. Unless you are me.

Straight up, I did not do well, lol.

It was an Introduction to Fiction Writing course, which I thought I would do ok at (cocky much?), but it required more writing than I could personally muster, and I just couldn’t keep up. Partly because my brain is so sluggish, but in large part, because I realized, I was not in a class of my “peers”.

I assumed most of the students would be at an INTRODUCTION to fiction stage– hahahaha! no. In fact, most were just tidying up their novels before publishing, and every fiction writing assignment was an excerpt from their well-developed books. Bitter? Do I sound bitter? I’m not bitter, I’m getting even. I’m going to show that free, not-for-college-credit, online university who they’re messing with.

Seriously though, it was a good experience, and I did enjoy myself. This ol’ brain needs some regular upkeep before it completely turns to jello pudding. (And I’m not kidding.)

So I’m looking into trying another course. Brave, I know…I am so brave.
There are several starting in the next 2 weeks from Future Learn. Since I can’t go on a sexy vacation to Cancun, I’m doing the next best thing– Summer School! Woop woopūüéČ

Nerd Alert.

For my fellow nerds, I’m including links to a few interesting classes; mind you, there are many more to browse.

P.S., this is not an advertisement. (I suppose the spoiler was me complaining over the last course I took ūü§Ē)

Mindfulness for Wellbeing

Radical Spirituality: The Quakers

Exploring the Oceans

Reducing Child Poverty and Inequality around the World

Assisting Disabled Individuals

Researching: How to Write Literature Reviews

The Science of Nutrition

Good Brain, Bad Brain

Nearly 200+ more options here

They’re usually around 3 hours per week, but that depends on how much time you want spend chit chatting in the class forums. Each class overview lists the weekly time estimation. You can also upgrade and pay for the class, which gives you fabulous added features…like being forced to take pop quizzes and writing book reports. (Just kidding, I don’t actually know.)

In college, I took several online classes which I loved. They tend to have so many added elements which traditional courses don’t offer, and as a human being, I prefer setting my own schedule. These free courses are similar, but without the extensive assignments or exams.

I figure, you can just read a book on the subject. Orrrrr… you can instead do a course for a few weeks and learn from several books as well as hear expert opinions, watch video footage, and discuss the topic with other thoughtful adults. Door number 2 please!

Plus- I’ll never read the book, so there’s that…

A Voice Unheard: Author Interview with Chronic Pain advocate, Jane Gonzales

I am so happy to welcome, author, poet, blogger, and advocate for the chronic pain community, Mary Jane Gonzales!

I was given the great honor of being asked to contribute a piece for her book, A Voice Unheard. After reading it in its entirety, I immediately asked Ms. Gonzales for an interview! I know it will impact every reader, disabled and abled alike.

Congratulations on publishing your 10th book, A Voice Unheard.   

You have very generously allowed your powerful poetry to be shared here on a Body of Hope in the past, but this is your first interview here. I’m excited! Shall we begin?¬†

 

1. Did you do anything special to celebrate your 10th book release? or Do you have a traditional book completion ritual?

Well, it’s funny you would ask, because you had asked me that previously and¬†my answer was no (I wasn’t planning anything special). But it started me thinking that this is a special time¬†that will never come again. So, with your inspiration, I decided to have an¬†event on Facebook. As to a “traditional book completion ritual”, my response would be “breathe”!¬†

2. How long have you been living with chronic illness? Would you mind sharing a little about your diagnosis?

This summer will be thirty-one years that I’ve had RSD, but it was undiagnosed¬†for eighteen years.

 

 

 

3. Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My pastimes would be reading, writing and crafting (especially, card making and scrap booking).

 

4. It’s clear you have a talent for soul stirring, magnetic writing, but why are you passionate to write for the chronic illness audience?

Because that’s where I live; in a community with others like me, who understand me and don’t see me as “different” or “weird”. Plus, I want them/ others to know they are not alone¬†and they are not crazy, which is how this syndrome can make you feel.

 

5. How was compiling A Voice Unheard different from writing a book like In the Blink of an Eye?

Well In the Blink of An Eye was a personal memoir written about me, and A Voice Unheard was written about  a community/ involving members of  the community. I found that to be a bit scary, actually.

Another difference between the two is that, when I wrote In the Blink of An Eye, I had already dealt with the issues and was reconciled to the situation. But that was not the case for where I was at when I wrote A Voice Unheard. And, for that reason, I couldn’t do it justice. I had the inspiration but I couldn’t write it in a way that would honor God. Therefore, it took me a year to write it, which is ironic because it’s one of my shortest books. Compiling the stories was easy and exciting because every story fit perfectly with what I myself had written. When that happens, you know it was meant to be!

Another difference would be that every book I had written prior had the stories first; then, the chapter titles later. With A Voice Unheard, all the chapter titles were inspired first and the stories came later.

  

6. How would you describe your personal writing process?

(For example, are you research driven, logistic, intuitive, spiritually moved, or other. Please explain.)

I think I’m all of these things to a degree, but, above all, spiritually moved.¬†I can’t just pick a topic to write about. I have to be inspired, in order to write.


7. What is your favorite part of being an author?

My favorite part of being an author is the feeling I get when the inspiration is flowing. I also enjoy editing, which is probably an understatement, since I’m drawn/gravitate to it.

What is your least favorite part of being an author? 

My least favorite part is marketing i.e. self promotion.

8. In your new book, you described the world we live in today as “a microwave society.” This is a great terminology! For those who haven’t yet read your book, can you explain your meaning, and how this current mentality effects chronic illness survivors and our loved ones?

What I meant was, in our society,¬†we want everything quick. We don’t want to wait for anything. So if someone gets sick or injured, and it continues, there’s no¬†patience or tolerance for¬†a lack of healing.

9. In A Voice Unheard, you share very personal accounts from fellow chronic illness sufferers. Why did you go out of your way to bring these stories into the light?

Because they need to be told!

 

10. In your new book, you cover practical but serious topics such as the importance of quality care giving, which you are always a strong advocate for, and you discuss hot-button subjects like pain management. Why did you feel this book was important to write now?

Because I feel the issues are critical and what’s happening is wrong. It’s one thing to have a problem, it’s another thing to have no voice, no say in the situation.

I wrote it now because I couldn’t be silent anymore.

11. Other than those who live with chronic pain and chronic illness, who else do you hope reads A Voice Unheard, and why?

I hope it is read by all. The disabled, to feel supported. The abled, to be made aware. Ultimately, to make a difference.

A Voice Unheard is available for your Nook, tablet, or download as PDF ebook at Smashwords.  



Interview was first published April, 2016

Interview with author Mary Jane Gonzales and book give away!

I am so happy to welcome, author, poet, blogger, and advocate for chronic illness awareness, Mary Jane Gonzales! Congratulations on publishing your 10th book, A Voice Unheard. 
Because you are doing give-aways on your book event page all week, I thought we would join in on the fun here as well! The first person who comments below on this interview will receive your newly released book! (If you are the first to comment, I will message you to make arrangements).
 
(I had the great privilege of reading A Voice Unheard recently, and I immediately asked Ms. Gonzales for an exclusive interview. I know this book will impact every single reader, both the disabled, and abled alike.) 
 
You have very generously allowed your powerful poetry to be shared here on aBodyofHope in the past, but this is your first interview here (and mine as well). I’m excited! Shall we begin?¬†
 
 
1. Did you do anything special to celebrate your 10th book release? or Do you have a traditional book completion ritual?
Well, it’s funny you would ask, because you had asked me that previously and¬†my answer was no (I wasn’t planning anything special). But it started me thinking that this is a special time¬†that will never come again. So, with your inspiration, I decided to have an event on Facebook. As to a “traditional book completion ritual”, my response would be “breathe”!¬†
2. How long have you been living with chronic illness? Would you mind sharing a little about your diagnosis?
This summer will be thirty-one years that I’ve had RSD, but it was undiagnosed¬†for eighteen years.
 
3. Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
My pastimes would be reading, writing and crafting (especially, card making and scrap booking).
 
4. It’s clear you have a talent for soul stirring, magnetic writing, but why are you passionate to write for the chronic illness audience?
Because that’s where I live; in a community with others like me, who understand me and don’t see me as “different” or “weird”. Plus, I want them/ others to know they are not alone¬†and they are not crazy, which is how this syndrome can make you feel.
 
5. How was compiling A Voice Unheard different from writing a book like In the Blink of an Eye?
Well In the Blink of An Eye was a personal memoir written about me, and A Voice Unheard was written about  a community/ involving members of  the community. I found that to be a bit scary, actually.
Another difference between the two is that, when I wrote In the Blink of An Eye, I had already dealt with the issues and was reconciled to the situation. But that was not the case for where I was at when I wrote A Voice Unheard. And, for that reason, I couldn’t do it justice. I had the inspiration but I couldn’t write it in a way that would honor God. Therefore, it took me a year to write it, which is ironic because it’s one of my shortest books. Compiling the stories was easy and exciting because every story fit perfectly with what I myself had written. When that happens, you know it was meant to be!
Another difference would be that every book I had written prior had the stories first; then, the chapter titles later. With A Voice Unheard, all the chapter titles were inspired first and the stories came later.
  
6. How would you describe your personal writing process?
(For example, are you research driven, logistic, intuitive, spiritually moved, or other. Please explain.)
I think I’m all of these things to a degree, but, above all, spiritually moved.¬†I can’t just pick a topic to write about. I have to be inspired, in order to write.
7. What is your favorite part of being an author?
My favorite part of being an author is the feeling I get when the inspiration is flowing. I also enjoy editing, which is probably an understatement, since I’m drawn/gravitate to it.
What is your least favorite part of being an author? 
My least favorite part is marketing i.e. self promotion.
8. In your new book, you described the world we live in today as “a microwave society.” This is a great terminology! For those who haven’t yet read your book, can you explain your meaning, and how this current mentality effects chronic illness survivors and our loved ones?
What I meant was, in our society,¬†we want everything quick. We don’t want to wait for anything. So if someone gets sick or injured, and it continues, there’s no¬†patience or tolerance for¬†a lack of healing.
9. In A Voice Unheard, you share very personal accounts from fellow chronic illness sufferers. Why did you go out of your way to bring these stories into the light?
Because they need to be told!
 
10. In your new book, you cover practical but serious topics such as the importance of quality care giving, which you are always a strong advocate for, and you discuss hot-button subjects like pain management. Why did you feel this book was important to write now?
Because I feel the issues are critical and what’s happening is wrong. It’s one thing to have a problem, it’s another thing to have no voice, no say in the situation.
I wrote it now because I couldn’t be silent anymore.
11. Other than those who live with chronic pain and chronic illness, who else do you hope reads A Voice Unheard, and why?
I hope it is read by all. The disabled, to feel supported. The abled, to be made aware. Ultimately, to make a difference.

A Voice Unheard is available for your Nook at Barnes and Noble. It is also available for ebook download for your tablet, or cellphone and on PDF for your computer: Smashwords. 

How to Write a Letter to the CDC

PAIN PATIENTS, WE HAVE ONLY 10 MORE DAYS!
Letter to the CDC
Through January 13th, the CDC will be accepting comments from pain patients, caregivers, and family members regarding opioid pain management of adults before issuing the proposed prescribing restrictions.
If you are a chronic pain patient:
!!!YOU ARE THE BEST PERSON FOR THIS JOB!!!
I understand how intimidating this letter feels, and you might think there are better writers than you out there. But please remember, no one has YOUR STORY! Or your voice! Or your experience! We need as many people as possible to help the people at the CDC understand the necessity of pain medication (and good pain management physicians) for our quality of life and functioning.
Personally, I have learned that invasive procedures have proved to make my condition worse, and pain medication management along with what people consider “alternative medicine” or low impact treatment, have been my best options for living. What is your story? How do pain medications play a role in your life? How do they keep you functioning…or living?
I am including a packet below that should help you compose and send your letter, with the info you need to know.
***After you send your letter to the CDC, we would love to share it at Living with RSD on Facebook also. Please send it in a private message and we will repost it, with your name or anonymously.***
Thank you so much for being an advocate for all of us and working together with the pain community! This a historic. We have a chance to make a huge impact! Thank you so much!

Letter to the CDC
    Due January 13th
-IMPORTANT: you MUST list the Docket Number at the top of your document:
               РDocket ID: CDC-2015-0112
-Compose your letter in Word so you can see how many characters you are using
-click ‚ÄúReview‚ÄĚ at the top of the screen in Word, and select ‚ÄúWord Count.‚ÄĚ It will track your Characters. Stay within 5,000 Characters per CDC guidelines for comments.
-Using Word allows you to use Spellcheck before sending.
-Save your document regularly to avoid losing all of your great work.
-List your job, former job, current organizations you are involved with, and volunteer work you do (in person or online)
-If you list your conditions, remember that the CDC does not recognize all conditions and diseases (such as CRPS/RSD) so include the McGill Pain Index and/or NIH definition for your condition.
-When you are pleased with your letter, copy your document and paste in the comment section here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=CDC-2015-0112-0001
-Or Print and mail your letter to:
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
DOCKET #CDC-2015-0112
4770 Buford Highway N.E., Mailstop F-63,
Atlanta, GA, 30341
-Here, you can read other patient letters to the CDC before submitting:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=CDC-2015-0112
-To get ideas about what you might want to say in your letter:  http://nationalpainreport.com/response-on-cdc-opioid-prescribing-guidelines-pain-patients-need-to-be-heard-8828943.html
-Excellent Facebook event forum for pain patients, answering questions in real time and giving advice regarding the CDC letters: https://www.facebook.com/events/1099948746690760/

 

You are the perfect person for this job! You CAN do this! Let’s all do it together!

Writing Projects for November

writing projects for November

November is buzzing with creativity among writers, bloggers, and in social media sharing as well; I want to take a beat to discuss a few of the exciting projects I know to be converging this month.

‚ÄúNaNoWriMo‚ÄĚ or National Novel Writing Month¬†just kicked off! Writers have been preparing, and now the task is at hand to compile a 50,000 page book in 30 days! Can you imagine the focus, commitment and creativity that requires? For anyone who is in the midst of writing a novel this month, I wish you the very best experience! If you are participating in NaNoWriMo or have done it in years past, please comment and let us know what it was like for you.

In the blogosphere, November is known as NaBloPoMo. Every day of the month, many bloggers will update their blogs daily instead of weekly or even monthly. Keeping up daily interesting content with images, links, and maintaining visitor interaction is quite a challenge! Please support your favorite blogs during the month of November.

Gratitude writing challenges are popular with writers as well as on social media to celebrate Thanksgiving #NaNoPoblano. Whether it’s November or any day of the year, I think any project that encourages one to practice thankfulness is positive. Do you believe gratitude challenges create more overall gratitude year ‚Äėround? Are you participating in a grateful challenge this month?

In my social networking community and blogroll, November is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/RSD Awareness Month. Many of my Chronic Pain friends are taking part in daily photo challenges, sharing daily facts and writing about their personal journeys with CRPS. Today, November 2nd is Color the World Orange day where we are wearing orange in support of the estimated 5 million suffering in debilitating daily pain.

I am inviting anyone with CRPS/RSD to email me at abodyofhope@inbox.com to share an aspect of your personal story. All of the CRPS stories shared during this month will be linked under the category RSD/CRPS in my categories dropdown section. Even though I am raising awareness for one illness in particular this month, I hope you will find the overall messages will be encouraging and inspiring.

There are other important events in November like: Cancer Awareness Month (MoVember), Epilepsy Awareness, Alzheimer’s Awareness, and National Caregiver’s Awareness Month; November 13th is Caregiver Appreciation Day.

Whether you are a writer, a patient advocate, showing your gratitude this month, or trying to educate others on something you care about, I wish you: Passion, Growth, Gratitude, and Perseverance.

**********

If you are participating in a writing challenge or an artistic group project this month that I did not mention, please do share in the comments section! 

Do you have a story to tell? Submit yours for a book

My friend, poet, writer/author Mary Jane Gonzales is collecting submissions for a new book, and you are invited! If you aren’t familiar with her work, Mary Jane Gonzales is well-known in the chronic pain community for her books like In the Blink of an Eye, Trial and Triumph, and Poetic Devotions for Those in Pain, among her other books which you can view here at Barnes and Noble. I love to share her poetry here on my blog as her work is always genuine and powerful. I hope you will consider submitting a chapter of your own life for her upcoming book.

From the author: “This is a book I am working on, about situations in life where our voice is/was not heard. If you have a story to tell, that you would like included in the book, I am still accepting submissions and would love to hear from you. Stories can be 1-3 pages in length, on any subject that relates to this topic. Whether for awareness or encouragement, the goal is for the book to help others; as, often times, we feel alone in our struggle and hearing other people’s stories can help. Because I am bearing all the cost of publication and because my books are priced very affordably, there will be no monetary compensation for your story, just the satisfaction you receive. All stories and questions should be sent to mgonzales182@comcast.net . Thank you.”

You can also follow Mary Jane Gonzales on Facebook or on her blog

Writing Challenges in November

November is buzzing with creativity among writers, bloggers, and in social media sharing as well; I wanted to take a beat to discuss some of the exciting projects I know to be converging in the writing community this month.

‚ÄúNaNoWriMo‚ÄĚ or National Novel Writing Month is currently taking place. Creative individuals have been preparing ahead, and now the task is at hand to write an entire book in one month! Can you imagine the focus?! If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, or have done it in years past, please comment and let us know what it was like for you. I can’t even focus on this sentence right– wait what?

This November, many writers who blog are taking on the challenge to post an entry every single day of the month. To keep up daily interesting content with images, links, and maintain visitor interaction is quite a commitment for most bloggers. But it is a challenge meant to stretch and strengthen. Many bloggers are doing their best work right now, so please support your favorite bloggers this month (but seriously, don’t leave me… I have abandonment issues.)

Gratitude writing challenges are popular with writers as well as on social media to celebrate Thanksgiving. Throughout November, you will likely see more articles and posts from your friends about being thankful. I support anything that increases one’s ability to look more deeply at the good in others. Do you believe gratitude challenges create more overall gratitude year ‚Äėround? Are you participating in a grateful challenge this year?

In my social networking community and blogroll, November is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/RSD Awareness Month. Many of my Chronic Pain friends are taking part in daily photo challenges, sharing daily facts/infografics about CRPS on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, and sharing stories about their journeys.

On this page, for November I‚Äôll be sharing stories of survivors as always. This month there will be a focus on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as I‚Äôve been an advocate for this disease for about 10 years and awareness is important since it isn’t rare, yet there isn’t enough general knowledge or research being done for treatments.¬†All of the CRPS stories shared during this month will be linked under the new category RSD/CRPS in my categories dropdown section. Even though I am raising awareness for one illness in particular this month, I hope you will find the overall messages will be encouraging and inspiring. I know there are other important events in November like: Cancer Awareness Month (MoVember), Epilepsy Awareness, Alzheimer‚Äôs Awareness, and National Caregiver‚Äôs Awareness Month as well as others that writers will be educating us on this month.

(PS, MoVember is my favorite awareness month because I’m a big fan of facial hair– on men. Not lady facial hair. Not judging or anything…)

Sugar Stache MoVember 2014  Soda Bomb Apparel Cancer Awareness Shirt. "Writing Challenges in November" #blogging #writing #nanowrimo #CRPS #awareness

Sugar Stache MoVember T-Shirt | Proceeds to Cancer Research | Soda Bomb Apparel

Whether you are a writer, a patient advocate, showing your gratitude this month, or trying to educate others on something you care about, I wish you: Passion, Growth, Gratitude, and Perseverance.

**********

If you are participating in a writing challenge or an artistic group project this month that I did not mention, please do share in the comments section! 

A Complex Life

Living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Get More Resilient

Our resiliency has limits, but we can always become more resilient.

My Life: Beauty Love and Chaos

Blog, Poems and Short Stories by Becky Allen

DeltaLifes.com

HEALTHY LIFE & SUCCESS

Fightmsdaily

Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!

Miss Diagnoses

Life with assorted ailments

Pain Management Specialist in San Diego & La Jolla

Pain Specialist treating Intractable Pain & Treatment Resistant Depression

Twilight

( writer )

#OneGoodThing Daily

Surprising silver linings in caregiving, food, art, style, travel, and more!

Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

Doss Doc's

Father Figure for Hire

%d bloggers like this: