Writing Contests: the Key to My Creativity?

I was just perusing Facebook this morning when I came upon a share from another writer friend about a contest to win a mentor. The thought of having a mentor–someone who will read my work, tell me what to change and what is strong–sounds wonderful. I want to enter this contest. I just have to get my current work in progress up to snuff by finishing my edits. I know I can crack out the work. I have until April 27 at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard time to get my entry into the contest. I think it will be worth it to see how far I can progress in edits and the contest.

I need to look for more opportunities like this one because they ignite my desire to write again–to edit again and to sit at the keyboard and just breath again.


Writing Very Little

So I’m more focused on creating art than I am at writing (and editing my work) right now. Maybe I need to focus on short stories in order to attempt to sell something, but then what if that goes south too? Will I give up on that? No. I may take a long break from writing right now, but I’ll get back with it eventually. The thing is I don’t want to take a break from writing. I am editing a novel in hopes of getting it published. The editing is going slow. I don’t know what the problem is. I should have been through these edits quickly. I think I’m afraid of making mistakes and missing something thus my turtle’s pace. My writing, like my art, isn’t perfect. It’s the best that I can do and that is scary. The best that I can do is sub-par? Really? Yes, really. I’m trying though and that is what matters. I just need to keep on trying with the writing and not give up.

Oil Pastel Painting

It is 2:03 a.m. I am up early. Went to bed around 6:45 p.m. and now am wide awake. I lie in bed thinking about oil pastel painting until the desire rose so much in me that I needed to get up, retrieve my oil pastels from the front room downstairs and paint.

I decided on a single pear on 5.5″x 8″ size watercolor paper. It was what I had close by. Using a plastic pear, I drew the outline with a cheap colored pencil. It was cheap because it didn’t lay down a lot of color. The pencil etched the outline of the pear. Either way, I had an outline and chose progressively darker colors as I brought the image of a pear to life. I think I should have done the opposite. Working from dark to light in order to bring out more contrast in the painting.

I’m not sure how long it took me to build up the colors of the pear. I was lost in the moment. It felt really good to focus all my energy on producing as accurate an image of the plastic pear. Well, as accurate as my skill level allowed.

It is a hard thing getting my artistic muscles working again. And I thought writing was hard. It is, but it is worth it. How many times can I say it in a sentence. Uh, three. Okay, so I’m getting slap happy and need to go back to bed. Good night all. Thank you for reading.


I have a stirring in my soul to paint again. As I lie in bed, waiting for sleep to overtake me, vivid colors danced through my head. I thought of seascapes and paintings seen recently. I know I can create. I have the desire. I just need to begin again.

What stopped me from visual creativity years ago was the desire was there, but the market was not. I sold very few of my pieces. I wanted to sell more, but there just was not the opportunity. So how will this time be different? I plan to rejoin The Jackson Civic Art Association and attend their meetings twice a month on the first and third Tuesdays. Being with a group of like minded people should help prompt me to get my visual, creative juices flowing again. Probably, and while I’m at it, I should rejoin the Ann Arbor Women Artists. My goodness! One thing at a time please!

In the meantime, as I decide what to do next (find that blasted travel watercolor set), I need to take it one step at a time. What this means is I need to go back to the basics; paint a few apples, a pomegranate or two. I need to get painting again.

Does this mean I’m leaving off my creative writing? No, not at all. I’ll paint and write at the same time. Well, not exactly at the same time. You know what I mean…I hope. Now to find that travel watercolor set, buy an apple and see what I can do.

At Sharon Griffes Tarr’s Studio

Yesterday, Sunday, March 24, 2019, I journeyed to Williamston Michigan to Sharon Griffes Tarr’s studio in her home to buy a painting. I was amazed at all the lovely paintings on the walls and in a drawer. She is a prolific plein air painter of landscapes. There were several paintings that I wanted, but price was an issue and I’d only brought so much cash with me. As it was, I chose a lovely small painting of a winter scene by a small creek. The moment I saw it I knew I wanted it. So I bought it.

As I dug through a drawer filled with paintings on board, I found other smaller paintings that I wanted, but here again price was an issue. There were even some portraits in a basket. If you follow this link:¬†Sharon Griffes Tarr’s Paintings¬†

You can see some of the work I saw on the walls, in the drawer and in the basket.

We had a wonderful visit. I asked her when she started painting. She said when she was eleven. She told me the story about a couple who rented the upstairs in her parent’s home. The wife was an avid painter and spent time out in the garden painting her mother’s flowers. One day, the woman gave her a set of paints and a small canvas and told her it was time for her to start learning to paint. So, Sharon did.

I was hoping that Sharon had not learned to paint until she was older because I learned to paint when I was older. I wanted to relate to her story more. As she spoke, I thought back to my life at age eleven. It was at that age that I was writing some very short plays as in two to four pages long. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was nine because my eldest sister, Sandra Picklesimer Aldrich , had published her first article in a magazine. I wanted to follow in her footsteps. The desire to paint and create with color on paper came much later.

As our visit drew to a close, I asked about taking classes from her. She said I could sign up with the City of East Lansing and take a class in the fall. Her classes run from 3-5PM. I told her I work until 4PM. If I were to take her class, I would need to leave work at 2 p.m. every Thursday during the class sessions, which isn’t feasible. I don’t like missing work. She mentioned that she might have a two day workshop on plein air painting in the summer. I perked up at this. I could miss two days of work to take a class.

I left shortly after we talked about classes. Sharon told me to take a certain road, which I did. I cannot remember the name of the road, but it was a lovely drive taking the back roads home.



Sharon Griffes Tarr Michigan Artist

Sharon Griffes Tarr is a friend on Facebook. I’ve been following her for a while. Recently, she has been posting pictures of an oil painting she is working on for a competition. The painting is lovely. It has bunny tracks in white-blue snow along a frozen creek with trees and long, brown grass stems. You might be able to see her paintings by following this link to Facebook¬† https://www.facebook.com/sharon.g.tarr

Sharon Griffes Tarr Michigan Artist


Email to John Morra American Realism Painter

Good morning John! I had a wonderful night waking, thinking about your art, falling back asleep and dreaming of it. Your art makes me happy waking or sleeping.

This painting (a group of books in disarray) stands out to me as well as the “Tomato Ensemble”. I am a writer. Books, pens and paper are subjects that I like too. I especially like the three red books tied together on the right side of the painting. I’m wondering if you could paint something with them in it, an old fashioned dipper pen and a small empty ink bottle for me? Again it would be around the $900 price point. I have a small bottle (not an ink bottle) and dipping pen I could send you as props. Could you send me photos of the set up and let me choose which one I like before you paint? Would that be agreeable to you? Please let me know your thoughts on this and the size you would be willing to paint for $900. Thank you. Warmest wishes, Greta Picklesimer

John Morra, Contemporary American Realism Artist

Yesterday evening, I called the realism artist, John Morra, to talk about his work and see if I could buy something for less than was listed on his website. I was especially taken with the “Tomato Ensemble” painting I told him. He thanked me. I asked if he could do any better on the price of $1,900. He said it was already 1/2 off what he normally charges for work through a gallery. He asked what my budget was. I told him $900, which for me is steep. He said he could create something for me in my price range. I was elated. He is an excellent artist. The thought of owning something by John Morra, out of New York, is thrilling.

I told him I’d like him to paint tomatoes. He said the tomatoes he painted for “Tomato Ensemble” were from his garden. It being March, there isn’t anything growing outside right now. He mentioned painting hothouse tomatoes. I told him to go ahead and do it. He asked if I wanted a bottle included in the painting. I said, “sure” if he wanted to include one.

John Morra said he would be in contact with me via email about the tomato painting. So now I wait.
Check out his website and see his work for yourself. It is incredible.

John Morra

Writing life

So I’ve been struggling with writer’s block for months. March 22, 2018, I lost my muse, my mother. It was for her that I wrote. Now I’ve been sucked into the void that is writer’s block and am wallowing in its darkened passageways. I need to find another reason to write. I just feel so overwhelmed by the thought that mom is gone and with it so is my desire to write. Well, okay, there is a flicker of hope buried deep inside. Every so often I feel its pulse, but not today.

Don’t pity me. Maybe breaking through writers block is like a chick trying to free itself from a shell. I need to peck tiny holes in order to be free. This being interpreted means that I need to deal with the shell surrounding me–acknowledge it and start pecking by writing. Oh the weight of writing and not being perfect.

NEORWA Conference

I’m here in Ohio for the North East Ohio Romance Writers of America conference where I will pitch two books to an editor and an agent. I’m excited by the prospect of telling them what I have and seeing if they would like to take a look. I am also working on two works in progress–an inspirational contemporary and an inspirational historical that I may just put out there if they ask what else I am working on.

Conference sign in starts in about a half hour. I need to pack up the rest of my room, load it in the car and get ready to be one of the first in line. Okay, I don’t need to be the first in line but be one of the close seconds. Now I’m just killing time waiting. This is the second RWA conference I’ve been to in the last couple of years. The first was the Detroit regional Word Nerd Conference in October of 2017. That was an incredible conference where I received two requests for work.

Even though I am physically not feeling my best, I’ll give it my best shot when it comes to pitching. I’m getting over a cold.

Wishing everyone peace, happiness and lots of writing time. Thank you for reading.