Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guest Post: Listen to Begin Writing

Brenda Ueland, author of If You Want to Write, said, "Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When people really listen to each other in a quiet, fascinated attention, the creative fountain inside each of us begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected wisdom."

The most meaningful works -- books, paintings, sculptures, songs, crafts, a garden, anything -- are created by those who have learned the art of listening: listening to their hearts and to the hearts of others.

It is when we listen that the most extraordinary seeds grow and become tangible. They become a motivating book, an awe-inspiring painting, a formidable sculpture, a most melodious song, a bouquet of breathtaking blooms.

It is when we listen that we create tangible expressions of our compassion, understanding, love. It is when we listen that stories, poems or books begin percolating inside us.

And it is when we listen that the unexpected wisdom and insights joyously leap in front of us, giving meaning in all that we do, spotlighting on what we do and can do for others.

Below are 5 sparks inviting you to *listen* closely within yourself:

1. Think of a song that holds great meaning to you. Who or what makes that song meaningful?

2. Describe the sound that dominates your surrounding at the moment.

3. Recall one of your conversations with a close friend and write about one of the things he/she said that made you sit up, take notice and become enlightened.

4. When was the last time you listened to someone with your heart?

5. Who is that person you can always rely on to listen to you? Write about how important it is that you have him/her ready to listen to you at all times.

Copyright 2004 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

Shery created WriteSparks! - a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks! Lite for fr*e -

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Will You Host an Exchange Student?

I know it's been a whole month since my last post. Sorry about that everyone. I'm still working on my novel and also still need to complete my workshop with James Patterson. I plan on doing that very soon and will share what I've learned about my writing during those sessions and just on my own.

I also will share about some of the books I've been reading. I've finished a few more over the past month; I just need to see if they fall under my 2016 reading challenge.

But on a whole different note, I'm on a mission. Yes, a mission to help bring exchange students to my area in Southern Utah...namely Washington County, Utah. This past school year I signed up to be a local coordinator, and I have enjoyed. My two students have taught me a lot, and I hope they have learned from me, their host families and new American friends. (I think they have.)

As this school year comes to an end, I find myself looking forward to the new school year (2016/17). I'm going to miss my students I currently have now when the school year ends. I, of course, also need to find new host families for my future students. March is one of those crazy months for me, but one I enjoy as I get to meet so many people, families, and students.

This upcoming year, I have three students coming who are from the following countries: Germany, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.

If you, or someone you know, would like to be one of the wonderful host families to take one of my students in, or if you would like to host a student and live somewhere else, please contact me through my email

You can learn more about being a host family at