WMBTSD Giveaway Day Nine: September 9, 2007

Here’s today’s great giveaways…

September 9th: Foolscap and Quill Writer’s Pocket Tax Guide (online version) by Darlene Cypser and The Write-Brain Workbook, 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer (Writer’s Digest Books 2005).

wptg07.jpgI always get the update online version of Foolscap and Quill’s Writer’s Pocket Tax Guide, which is why I wanted to include it in the giveaway. What a great tool to make sure you don’t miss a single deduction. Here’s the official description:

The Writer’s Pocket Tax Guide helps freelance writers with line-by-line instructions, examples, and information on the U.S. income tax rules that apply to them written in clear, concise language. With the WPTG writers can learn how to apply the rules for depreciation, car expenses, home office deductions and much more. In the online version you receive access the Writer’s Pocket Tax Guide for a full year which will include any revisions during that year. The WPTG is written in HTML so you can read it right in your browser, no special software is required. It also links to PDF version of the official IRS tax forms, instructions and publications which can be read online or downloaded and printed. Requirements: PC or Mac with a web browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer) Adobe Reader (available free from Adobe.com) is required to read the PDF forms.

The creator of the Writer’s Pocket Tax Guide is Darlene Cysper, Esq., who is an attorney with 20 years experience in business and tax law, including the entertainment businesses of writing, publishing, filmmaking, and movie distribution. She has written articles that have appeared in such diverse publications as Advertising & Marketing Review, The Colorado Lawyer, Jurimetrics, Tectonophysics, Indie Slate Magazine, Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Oklahoma Law Review, Boulder Daily Camera, The Boulder Parent, and The Baker Street Journal. She has been publishing the Writer’s Pocket Tax Guide since 1987 and now offers six other pocket tax guides from www.foolscap-quill.com. Darlene is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in American Law, Marquis Who’s Who of American Women, Marquis Who’s Who in America, and Marquis Who’s Who in the World.

10986.jpgToday, we are also giving away The Write-Brain Workbook.

With The Write-Brain Workbook, you’ll never have to face a blank page again. This one-of-a-kind guide provides a full year of writing excercises and games designed to get thoughts brewing and the pen moving across the page. It:

  • Provides 366 10-minute excercises to build momentum and turn on the right side of the brain
  • Helps you generate work by painlessly leading you into new writing every day
  • Stimulates creativity with a stunning 4-color package and easy-to-approach prompt
  • Bonnie Neubauer is the author of The Write-Brain Workbook, 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing, and the forthcoming follow-up, Take Ten. She is also the creator of Story Spinner, a handheld wheel that generates millions of creative writing exercises. Visit her website, www.BonnieNeubauer.com, and click on Story Spinner Online and you will have at your fingertips, gazillions of free writing exercises whenever you want (or need) one.

    All you have to do to enter the drawing for these giveaways is answer the following question in your comment to this post in 50-300 words:

    When you are writing, where do your ideas come from? Do you credit your right brain, your left brain, both “brains” or neither for your inspirations? (Feel free to use your right brain in answering this question.) 😉

    If you are new, you are welcome to participate. Jump on in. But read “Station Identification” first, please.

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    25 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day Nine: September 9, 2007”


    1. 1 Beth Browne September 9, 2007 at 4:13 am

      Brain, What Brain?

      Is there a brain in there? I started losing brain cells when my first child was in utero. Two kids and an ectopic pregnancy later, my addled brain is still catching up. But here’s the thing: My brain works differently now. I am tuned to my babies, able to sense and respond to their needs even when I am desperately sleep-deprived. And oddly enough, this benefits my writing. When I was writing my third novel (www.nanowrimo.org), I discovered that the story was not coming from me. It was coming from somewhere else, as if I were just a channel, a conduit for it. I had no idea where the story was going. It was a delightful surprise! All I had to do was turn my brain off. Of course, trying to use my brain for revisions can prove to be challenging, especially with my little distractions (one of whom is whining for breakfast right now!) but the muse is always with me. Brain or no brain.

    2. 2 Meryl K. Evans September 9, 2007 at 6:02 am

      I’m a proud southpaw, but it doesn’t seem to help me be more creative than the average person. 😦 I’m logical-minded and I don’t write fiction, so guess that means I’m more right-brained when I write.

      I tools to help me with creative brainstorming. For example, when I try to come up with names for companies and products, I use a lot of language brainstorming tools such as a thesaurus, rhyming dictionary and so on. I also tell it like it is and have a hard time understanding something when someone doesn’t do that.

    3. 3 Mary Ellen September 9, 2007 at 6:20 am

      My right brain left, and now what remains has to generate ideas.

      Truly, I have no specific source to credit for ideas. I stock them daily. When I’m not writing, my brain is storing writing background from every face I see. Each question the neighbor’s new hairdo or the mailman’s torn shirt prompts, causes story ideas to buzz around my brain.

      Questions are the prompt for an imaginative mind. A constant nagging “why?” left unanswered tugs at me until I write to find out. Fortunately for me, there are always unanswered questions and unknown people. My writing font continues to safely flow.

      Do you generate your ideas another way? Why? I’ll either have to read the book or write to find out.

    4. 4 Kris September 9, 2007 at 6:26 am

      My ideas come from my family, the news, reading (online and magazines and books), and from talking with other parents. I have to give credit both sides of my brain for inspirations. The left side brings the information in, holds it up for the right side to see, and sometimes the right side will say, “Hey, that looks like something you could write about!” If I’m lucky (and disciplined), the two sides work together to bring the idea to fruition.

    5. 5 beediva September 9, 2007 at 6:36 am

      Unfortunately, I haven’t become disciplined enough to write consistently. I am VERY right-brained and most often I wait until the idea is spilling over the edges and seeping out the crevices before I sit down and put it on paper. I get frustrated when I try to coax ideas from the recesses of my right-brian. They don’t seem to want to be birthed until fully gestated.

    6. 6 Claire Muzal September 9, 2007 at 7:00 am

      Ideas come from my friends’ brains, comments, stories, wistful reflections and gripes. Writing grist emerges from the soup that is today’s newscast. Inspiration grabs my delighted brain from the pages of the Popular Science magazine in the bathroom. Like a new dress delivered and perfectly fitted, sometimes my children surprise me with a thesis, perfectly formed and laden with wisdom. A drive on my country road presents me with metaphors and illustrations for universal themes. I am analytical and observant, particular and global. I think I need today’s prize, because I have no clue which part of my brain is doing the work, and a little insight may be helpful! I’m also a tax klutz, so the pocket tax guide sounds like a gem of a gift!

    7. 7 Andrea McMann September 9, 2007 at 7:40 am

      In my opinion, to be a good writer, you really have to use both sides of your brain. You need to be organized enough to get your work done, and set goals to stay on track, but you also need creativity. I’ve found with writing, much the same as any other task in life, it helps to have a good balance. I’ve taken a few right brain/left brain tests, and I always seem to come out about equal, so maybe for me, a balance between both hemispheres works out best.

    8. 8 Kelli September 9, 2007 at 7:41 am

      When you are writing, where do your ideas come from? Do you credit your right brain, your left brain, both “brains” or neither for your inspirations?

      ***I tend to credit my quick typing fingers that can move faster than the internal editors of both brains can think “no, you don’t want to write that…”

      I think some of my best ideas come during walks and in the shower. I would think that is my right brain, the imaginative part that clicks in when my left brain stops trying to organize the world in file folders.

      In writing, my right brain writes and my left brain edits later on.

    9. 9 Mary Jo C September 9, 2007 at 8:39 am

      A clear, child-like, dreamy mind. The best muses have sprung from daydreaming and people watching; also from free writing or journaling. I hit on a topic or scene that is unusual, or a character that is a little absurd, and then I follow it/them. I guess I write more from the heart, not the brain (too many critics living in there!)

      But how, with all the day’s spilled milk, traffic jams, toddler tantrums, missed buses, do we achieve that clear, child-like dreamy mind? That is something I struggle with. Quieting the chaos so the muse can peek its little head out. Writing exercises do help warm up the creative muscles. I’ve used “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg and “What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers” by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. I also keep a notebook of first sentences and story titles. Everyday (or close to it) I create just one line or one title, and then I have a pool to dip into when the brain is stumped.

    10. 10 Shirley JonesLuke September 9, 2007 at 8:55 am

      My right and left brains are locked in constant battle. My right brain wants to create and use that creativity to follow my writing dreams. My left brain wants me to be practical, keep writintg as a hobby or use in it my job as a teacher, forget about a writing career. My right brain is always pushing me to write something while my left brain wants me to focus on making money. I thought combining the two would end the battle, but it only started a new one. The right brain is excited about a freelance writing career, but the left side is worried about to make money from a freelance career. The right side just wants me to keep writing and the left side wants me to focus on writing that will generate a profit. Meanwhile, I’m stuck in the middle. To write or not to write – that is the question.

    11. 11 Wendy September 9, 2007 at 9:07 am

      Ideas come to me more often when I am both writing daily and walking almost daily. I seem to need the brain work and the body movement and the deeper sleep that comes from using brain and body regularly, but gently. If I keep to that structure the flow is beautiful. Unfortunately, I have two kids, a life, a husband and livestock, so hitting that sweeet spot of creativity doesn’t happen often or happens in spurts. But without all the family, animal, schooling(home and public), I wouldn’t be out in the world open to ideas, people and places. It’s a trade off and its life as a mother. I am also a better mom and human being if I try to maintain the daily habits of movement and writing. When the energy and ideas get backed up, Mom is cranky. So it’s a public service really to keep myself sane, healthy and productive.

    12. 12 Cath September 9, 2007 at 9:11 am

      I can never remember the whole right brain/left brain deal, so whether one side or the other dominates my thinking process is still a mystery to me.

      I do, however, know where my ideas come from: everything I see or hear or feel becomes fodder for my next story. My husband asks me how a dinner conversation about Cheez-its can become a humorous column and I have to admit that I don’t know how a little snippet of dinner table talk grows into a 600 word essay. I just take a thought and it seems to take off on its own.

      I don’t like to overthink it. My brain (right or left side) can only handle so much.

    13. 13 LauraE September 9, 2007 at 10:59 am

      I am in a war with different sides of my brain. Every day I fight this battle. In my fiction writing my characters just start talking to me. I don’t know what side of my brain they live in but I’m guessing it must be the right part, the creative part. We have such fun together. I like to meditate on a story when I’m just getting into it and I’m sure that’s a right brain activity. I do have vivid dreams and think that they must be right-brained. But my left brain gets in the way. I think its my editor or real world part that tries to convince me that what I’m writing doesn’t make sense or that people won’t be interested or that I could be weeding, grocery shopping, making beds, or just about anything else and be a more productive member of society. Good thing my right brain seems to soldier on.

    14. 14 Marcia September 9, 2007 at 11:16 am

      To be truthful, and I will be, this is a question I usually hesitate to answer since I have always believed my writing comes from a “higher being”. I see the stories in my mind. Then, I write what I see and hear. I don’t always have control over how it turns out but that’s the mystical part that I love the most. I credit my ancestors who passed down this gift to my heart, which is the muscle that pumps the energy in every story I write. My brain just does the typing.

    15. 15 Beth K. Vogt September 9, 2007 at 11:37 am

      I write from my mommy-brain–and I have the article to prove it!

      http://www.christianitytoday.com/momsense/2005/006/10.14.html

      It’s titled “Get Smart: The Mental Advantage of Motherhood” and it torpedoes the idea that a mom’s brain is the equivalent of overcooked pasta. According to the book The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes You Smarter, motherhood is a brain boost, not a brain drain. Motherood makes us more creative, efficient and compassionate.
      The reason why we forget things–like where we put our car keys or our cars? We’re focused on more important things: our kids.

      So, really, truly, like all you other writing mamas out there, I write from my mama brain. Mine just happens to be a bit more centered to the right than to the left.

    16. 16 Rhianna Finnegan September 9, 2007 at 12:20 pm

      I’d like to think that it’s all me, both my brains congealing into one fabulous writing genius mass and spewing forth through the pen (or keys as it were) but alot of my ideas come from not only dreams, but little tidbits of eavesdropping that lead me to think ‘wow, that would make a great story…’
      I’m not sure which part of my brain runs with the idea, but I do know I tax both my right and left brains when researching and then reaching for details that I know little or nothing about. I suppose, after three kids in five years, I should be glad I have a few brain cells to rub together and create a spark, right?

    17. 17 Tammy September 9, 2007 at 12:23 pm

      I put both of these books on my Amazon list. If I don’t win, I’m buying them. 🙂

      I get my ideas from many places. From dreams, experiences, things people say and do, stuff I see on TV, stuff I read in books, my fears, my hopes, eavesdropping on conversation, imagining “what if”…

      For most of my fiction writing, I don’t know what I’m going to write about until I sit down and write. I’ve tried outlines, and drafting ideas before I write, but I have yet to finish a story starting that way.

      Since I don’t know what I’m going to write until I write it, my ideas come from somewhere in the millions of shelves in my brain, as if I were blindfolded and drawing at random.

      I don’t mind. It makes for really fun writing experience. And makes me want to finish my story. If I don’t finish writing it, I won’t know how it’s going to end.

    18. 18 Lisa B September 9, 2007 at 1:26 pm

      I’m not sure which side of my brain to credit with for my writing. So often my head is filled with ideas, but both sides of my brain have tremendous leaks — by the time I sit down to write, I can’t remember all the good stuff I came up with 😀

      Seriously though, I credit God with much of what I’ve written (which isn’t a lot — yet). He has given me a wonderful gift of discernment which often leads me to have different views of different issues. I focus on Him and move myself out of the way as much as possible 🙂

    19. 19 Meema September 9, 2007 at 1:43 pm

      My ideas and words come from my soul. There is something deep inside of me that allows the words to come pouring out, and if I just get out of the way, and don’t sensor them my thougths — out it comes. After the initial burst of thoughts, words and ideas comes the brain.

      This is where I get into trouble second guessing myself. Rewriting and “fixing” until at times it in no longer what my soul has intended.

    20. 20 Laura September 9, 2007 at 3:23 pm

      My ideas for writing come from without and within. I get ideas from things I see while driving, or walking. Ideas come from everyday situations. I carry a notebook with me at all times in order to jot ideas down. Ideas come from within, from internal musings, inspired by quotes, or from finally putting various random thoughts together.

      Learning to go from the basic ideas onto actual articles and stories is the real challange for me. I am trying to learn the discipline of a true writer. In order to do this, I find inspiration and self-motivation in various writing books. I am adding the Write-Brain Workbook to my wishlist.

    21. 21 Tammy E September 9, 2007 at 4:54 pm

      Well, hmm. I dunno. Let me ponder…………wait, I’m getting something……..almost, yep I almost have it……….crud, it’s gone.

      See, that’s the problem! I guess my ideas are trying to make a giant leap across the great divide between the two sides of my brain and so many of them aren’t strong enough to complete the journey. The majority of them slip and fall down, down, down, WAAAAAY DOWN never to be retrieved again.

      Sometimes of course I can go back and rewind myself to whatever was happening when the idea was forming, and I can possibly yank it up by the tiny thread from which it dangles precariously.

      Sometimes the thread just breaks.

      Know what I’m sayin’?

    22. 22 PrettySpecialGal September 9, 2007 at 5:35 pm

      Gramma told me that it was important to use both sides of my brain in art, but writing had always seemed like a different…well…story. I always “knew” the connection between the two types of writing—Fiction/Nonfiction—-and the two sides of brain. Ideas, however, come from everywhere; the type of writing birthed comes from the questions I ask about the idea at hand. From there, it was “goodnight, one side” and “get to work, the other side”.

      This summer, I took on a travel-guide project, inspired by a series of books with a specific focus. Traveling around, writing about interesting sites sounded lovely, but the “freeness” of the muse quickly came to a halt. I had to RESEARCH, ANALYZE then CREATE something NEW using all the OLD information—difficult stuff. The fresh ideas swimming in my head were deemed useless, and told to get out of the pool. The writing was HARD and my brain wasn’t working right. Hubby told me I was silly, “Just write the stories.” They weren’t MY stories from MY mind—they were someone else’s FACTS I had to recreate. My ideas and creativity were challenged as much as my logical-fact finding skills. The sides of my brain had never worked together.

      After much struggling, I realized that he was right. I had to use that analytical side to make sure all the facts (AND conventions) were correct, but the creative side of me enabled the words to come together in a fresh new way (back in the pool, boys! Break time is over!). I told the STORY, not just facts. I learned much from this summer of writing, but the big lesson comes from using both sides of my brain to develop ideas as if it were just one big piece. Gramma would be proud.

    23. 23 Heather Haapoja September 9, 2007 at 7:22 pm

      So sorry for the double posting yesterday! I’ve been having some ‘puter issues. ;o)

      The whole left brain/right brain thing always confuses me, and since I can’t keep track of either one, I’d have to say I depend on both brains for my writing inspiration. Seriously, it probably depends on the type of writing in question. I would guess the more fact-based, informational pieces, brainstorming article ideas, coming up with interview questions, etc., are probably left-brain inspired. (Have I got that right?) But when it comes to personal essays, fiction, children’s stories and the like, the more creative side takes over. Those are the ideas that tend to come from out of nowhere, while soaking in a hot bubble bath (love, love, love those!). Since the process can be a big challenge either way, I’m just happy to have both sides… on my side. Most of the time, anyway.

    24. 24 Cile September 9, 2007 at 8:12 pm

      For years my right brain ruled. Had to. Although there was definitely creativity in the work I did, I failed to recognize when the pressures of stressful work was squishing me like toddler fingers on an Oreo cookie.

      After the last child decided college wasn’t his thing, I continued to be ruled by my left brain as I paid off house and car debts. My body revolted and I became unable to work. “It isn’t fair,” screamed my left brain.

      My psyche sought a place of refuge, and I revisited a happy childhood and wrote stories about the lessons learned then.
      One such story was published this month in the Chicken Soup for the Soul – Celebrating Brothers and Sisters. I prefer the workings of the right brain. The thrill and recognition of having a story accepted is like a soothing balm to the fractured left brain.

      The two halves of gray matter work together as I heal. I chose to write or not to write, to submit work for others to read, or to keep it all to myself. Viva la brain!

    25. 25 Shonna September 9, 2007 at 10:09 pm

      I steal my ideas. Not “steal” as in plagiarize. No, no that would be bad and lead to a short writing career. But as the wise Solomon once said: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
      I find the best ideas while reading about history. Or little travel tidbits. Or family stories. From these seeds I can brainstorm and chart and plot and then write. But I find that I need a little seed—a spark to get going. That might mean I am more left-brain?


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