Alice M. Batzel
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BLOG POST - JUNE 3, 2020
From My Writer's Desk: "THE VAULT - MY IDEA FILE"
For many years, I was unable to do the writing that I wanted to do. My artistic expression was suppressed by many things. Employment demands, raising a family, attending college, and living life received primary attention. It was survival mode. Also, supporting my husband's time-consuming work and his many artistic pursuits was a considerable time commitment and a commitment of the heart. I sometimes felt like I disappeared, that I became invisible. All the while, I was invested in keeping our family nurtured and directed, and for my husband's professional/artistic dreams to be achieved. In my exhaustion, I wondered if there would ever come a time when I would be able to do the writing that I longed to do.
During that time, I developed an IDEA FILE, which became a repository for my artistic hope. This file contained story outlines, character profiles, brief notations of character dialogue, observations of life, poems, essays, newspaper articles inspiring a story idea, drafts for magazine articles, unfinished stage scripts, and novel manuscripts, etc. Sadly, only snippets were what I had time to write. But at least I was writing…a little. It made me feel like my desire for writing was not doomed to forever be unfulfilled; it was kept alive in my idea file.
In time, when life's demands permitted a slice of time "for me," I would retrieve one of the items from my idea file and further develop it. If I didn't finish it, it would wait again in my writing vault until another day. Occasionally during those years, I was able to complete a few pieces and get them published. How encouraging! What a good feeling! As a writer, those publications proved to me that my life was not void of opportunity for my own artistic expression. Even if those earlier writing opportunities were just moments, those moments were savored, stored, developed, and then shared with readers.
Today, at age 67, my idea file continues to grow, though I now dip into it with more frequency. I've enjoyed my limited growing publication thus far, and I continue to learn more about the craft of writing. I learned much about life during the many years when my writing desire was suppressed. Those life lessons are often what fuels my writing today. I'm grateful that my idea file kept the hope alive that one day I would be able to write the stories that I longed to tell and write the poems that often reflect the footsteps of my life's path.
Sometimes I'm asked if I have any advice for someone who would like to be a writer. My answer is always the same: Learn about the craft of writing. Study the work of the authors that you most enjoy reading. Be honest in what you write. Do your best work whenever you have the opportunity to write. Be thankful for your desire to write, your writing talent, your appreciation for words, language, expression, and your voice as a writer. Always, always, always, keep an idea file, and feed it regularly.
Author Alice M. Batzel
BLOG POST – May 20, 2020
“LEAGUE OF UTAH WRITERS 2020 WRITING CONTEST”
Last week I completed the process of submitting a few entries in the League Of Utah Writer's 2020 Writing Contest. Wahoo! It felt good to finish all the editing, proof-reading, and push that "submit button" for each entry. With each year's contest, cash prizes for winning are always welcomed and eagerly anticipated. But one of the best features of the LUW's annual writing contest is that all entries receive feedback from a judge. That feedback consists of (1) a numerical scoring ballot on various technical aspects of writing composition, and (2) written comments stating what works well in your entry and what needs improvement. That dialogue can be of great value as the author reworks, revises, and polishes their piece before entering it in another writing contest or pursuing publication.
In the past, I've reworked some pieces several times from the judge's guidance, and it resulted in a better-written article, poem, story, or essay. There's always the chance that the writer may strongly disagree with the judge's perspective/opinion, and the writer's disagreement could be valid. Judging writing can be complex and complicated. Still, writers hope that a judge of poetry is well-versed in poetry and poetic composition. Similarly, writers hope that the judge of a romance novel is not a science fiction author, and vice versa. That's pretty basic, but I say it because sometimes weird things happen, and it can affect the outcome of a writing contest.
When you get your scoring ballot and the judge's comments, the writer also needs to remember that it's just one person's opinion. Yes, winning or losing a contest can be based on one person's scoring, one person's opinion. That's why it's essential to put your best effort into your work before you submit it. Putting the winner's pride and cash prizes aside, a writer must always own their work and maintain the vision of what they want their work to be.
So here's a shout-out to all my writing colleagues, first-time writers, friends, writing enthusiasts, GOOD LUCK with whatever writing contests you may enter! May your writing experience a favorable reception worthy of your hard work! Keep writing, keep reading, and I'll see you around the bookshelf!
Author Alice M. Batzel
BLOG POST - APRIL 5, 2020
UPDATE: FROM MY WRITER'S DESK
After a long, very long, cold winter, my brain cells are beginning to thaw and I'm delighted with the sensation. Long-awaited, and at long last, it has arrived. Plasma and blood flow are once again circulating in my head; I do love a good Spring thaw! Plotting, drafting, writing, and revisions are underway in my home office. I'm grateful that two anthologies that I've hoped to publish with during this year have recently extended their submission deadlines a little bit. With all the muck we citizens are dealing with concerning COVID-19 the gracious extension of the deadlines was a welcomed gift. I'm currently in the final revision stage for each of my entries and plan to hit the "Send" button this week. Stay safe and stay well as we all continue to carefully navigate through the remainder of our nation's journey with the Coronavirus.
Author Alice M. Batzel
BLOG POST - JANUARY 2020
I was honored to be invited to be a featured writer on the LDSPMA BLOG. My article, "From The Writer's Toolbox: Thematic Purpose," was published on January 27, 2020, and can be read at this link: https://www.ldspma.org/from-the-writers-toolbox-thematic-purpose/
BLOG POST - DECEMBER 2019
I hope you'll enjoy reading the short story that I've written for Christmas 2019.
"ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS TIME"
BLOG POST - OCTOBER 2019
My GIVEAWAY for FALL/WINTER 2019, "CELEBRATING STORY AND VOICE," is officially launching on Oct. 15!
Check it out and participate to win FREE PRIZES: books, audio books, writing tools for young writers, and a Barnes and Noble gift card! You can participate in two ways: (1) on my Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100034795072248 where you will enter your answers to the questions posted on random days during the contest period, or (2) you can participate through the GIVEAWAY PAGE on my website at https://www.alicembatzel.com/giveaway-fall-winter-2019 where your answers would be entered through the CONTACT PAGE of my website.
Join the fun as we promote literacy by "CELEBRATING STORY AND VOICE!"
UPDATE: THIS LITERACY PROMOTIONAL HAS NOW ENDED, eff. Oct. 31. 2019
A list of all the winners and their prize selection(s) has been posted to the event page.
Full details of event here: https://www.alicembatzel.com/giveaway-fall-winter-2019
BLOG POST - OCTOBER 2019
I'll be speaking at this free literary event at the Brigham City Library in Brigham City, Utah, on October 15, 2019. If you're in the area, I'd love to see you that evening!
Come and meet the 11 authors of SPIRALS, an anthology of prose and poetry from Utah's northern edge!
Hear about the inspiration behind each of their pieces in this publication.
Books will be sold and book-signing will be conducted at the end of the presentation.