West Texas A&M Writing Academy with Alex Sokoloff.

Q for The Quiet Corner Every Writer needs

A Quiet Corner of Her Own

Q -Quiet Cornor to Write
Q -Quiet Corner to Write

In one of my literature classes in college I read A Room of Ones Own, by Virginia Woolf. I loved that short book, somehow it called to me, even before I thought I could be a professional writer. Before my brain could fathom making money as a writer. I mean come on those people were truly gifted, talented and mysterious and I bet they could spell. A shudder goes up my spine, they never failed a high school test because they spelled the answers wrong.
Anyway, I digress. Even back then, over twenty years ago, my heart loved the idea of being a writer. This little book touched that heart. Made me think of the women that were more servants than wives, women who never had the opportunity to read let alone write.
It a long essay that reads more like a letter to all women writers, well maybe society as a whole. Even thought by today standards I’m not sure I’m a feminist, but I believe every child has right to grow into the adult and fulfill a purpose only they can do.
A Room of One’s Own, covers her thoughts on society and art and sexism. Woolf, English writer and one of the foremost modernists and critics of the twentieth century, has an utterly entertaining conversational with us as she walks through the European history of women in writing. With humor and tongue in cheek she smoothly points out the success of the likes of William Shakespeare while lampooning the chauvinistic state of university education in the England of her day.
When she made the claim that to achieve their full greatness as writers women will need a solid income and  privacy, Woolf pretty much invented modern feminist criticism.

There are a few things I need in order to write:
At times my quiet corner has been in my car as I wait in the pick up line or for volleyball, football or basketball practice to finish. I’ll write as I wait for a track event or a meeting to start. During my thirty minute lunch break I write dialogue. I make notes on my smart phone as I shop or drive. I have learned to create my own room wherever I am.

At home I do have an office I could write in, but I prefer to be close to the family. So I have made a creative corner at the end of my dining table. With my Beats and storyboard I’m good to go. The view is nice too.

The view from the corner of my creative space
The view from the corner of my creative space
West Texas A&M Writing Academy with Alex Sokoloff.
West Texas A&M Writing Academy with Alex Sokoloff
San Antonio Romance Authors
San Antonio Romance Authors

I would also say that a writer needs a supportive community that understands the writing demons. I’ve been blessed to have a few of those too.

Do you have a corner or room that is just yours or a group that supports your dream?

Embrace the fear.

The writer Peter De Vries said, “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9:00 am every morning.”

Color Doodle
Color Doodle

We are all born with a creative brain. If you don’t believe that, hang out with some four or five year olds. The impulse control is underdeveloped. The filters of acceptable behavior and fears of rejection aren’t there yet in the young mind. This is why the creative genius, Picasso, said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

So how do we redevelop our creativity?

In the mid 1800s there was a movement that changed how the world would forever look at and judge art. Impressionism was incubated at Café Guebois. How did a small group of people accomplish this fete? By meeting together regularly, they challenged and debated the idea of art. They had heated disagreements over the “rules” of art. Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and Degas were a widely diverse group of artists, but their creative energy paved the way for generations of modern artists. Steve Jobs said collaboration works best when ideas are met with brutal honesty and are forced to explore a deeper purpose. Sound like good critique to me.

Four years ago, I found SARA (San Antonio Romance Authors), and my writing has greatly improved because of their questioning, pushing and tough critique. They introduced me to other writers that changed my life.
In June, for the last two years I have made my way to West Texas A&M to a writers week organized by the amazing Jodi Thomas and Tim Lewis.

Morgan Hysinger, Winona Cross, Matt Sherley, Linda Trout, Alexandra Sokoloff, Jolene Navarro, Storm Navarro, Deann Landers, Sheri Waide, MarilynTucker, Sherrill Nilson
Morgan Hysinger, Winona Cross, Matt Sherley, Linda Trout, Alexandra Sokoloff, Jolene Navarro, Storm Navarro, Deann Landers, Sheri Waide, MarilynTucker, Sherrill Nilson

The people above are superstars. For five days, we meet about five hours a day in a class led by Alexandra Sokoloff. This year bordered on magical. A full week of brainstorming, being pushed by this small group to find that twist in your story. The ideas are there, buried deep in your brain.
Side benefit? Lifelong friends that “get me” in a way no one else ever will.
Brainstorming in class.
Brainstorming in class.

If you want to be creative, you can’t let fear of rejection or ridicule hold you back.
Find people that help push past your first superficial idea and get to the imaginative workings of your brain. Whatever it is- art, writing, computer, finance, or building things- We are beings created to create, find that group of liked passions and discuss how to make your dreams come true.
Do you have a group that challenges your creative mind?

Are you living your life or a default script?


Watching this video reminded me of the words my father told me my senior year when I was trying to plan my future. My father was a professional airline pilot, he flew commercial planes, he flew small planes, at one time he and his best friend Ken Taylor built their own plane. My father loved flying. He lived in a place he loved, doing what he loved. My father, Roger Von Guinther, was 49 when he died as a passenger in a small plane. If he had known, would he had changed anything? His family and planes brought him many hours of joy.

Katrina, Storm and Jackson hanging out in one of Poppy's planes.
The grandkids, Katrina, Storm and Jackson hanging out in one of Poppy’s plane.

That night, twenty-eight years ago, my father sat at the foot of my bed and asked about my future plane is still clear in my mind.  What my father said that night. His advice: find what you love and do it the best you can. I have to admit it took me a bit to figure it out but I’m more happy with my life right now than ever before, art and writing fill my tank. I have a sister that teaches yoga. Our baby my  travels across Texas pulling a stock trailer from show to show. Daddy said many time he just wanted us to be happy…I think his wish for our lives have come true.

Roger Guinther with Tracye, Mandy and Jolene in front of his 57 T-Bird.

Life gets busy but I do believe with work, perseverance and being ready when the opportunity arrives you can live the life of your dreams. What path did you choose: safety or bliss?

Do you guide your children to a career promising security and wealth or one that fills their passion?