February Writing Events In Vancouver

National Unpublished Writer’s Day 

When: Sunday 27 January 2013
Where: Clark County Historical Museum
1511 Main Street
Vancouver, WA
Cost: Free and open to the public

1:00-5:00 PM (PST)- Always held the last Sunday in January to mark Richard Brautigan’s birthday, this is the signature event for The Brautigan Library, a very public library dedicated to archiving and sharing unpublished works from writers around the world, regardless of content or quality of writing. Begun in 2011, this year’s event features an international component with the participation of The Brautigan Book Club from London, England. Representatives will be present and promise many wonderful surprises.

“Creation Stations” and workshops highlight a broad approach to writing and offer a wide array of information, theory, and practice for participants. All participants are encouraged to participate by providing a “Creative Station” where they discuss/demonstrate some aspect of writing (broadly defined as a medium for the communication of personal/creative thoughts, feeling, ideas). Writing artifacts are collected with the intention of producing a legacy publication of each year’s event.


Writing Pearls Workshop -

Organized by Jan Ice

Guest Facilitator Rhonda Grace

Writing Work Shop

Vancouver Community Library
901 C St. Vancouver, Wa. 98660

February 7
From 6:00pm to 7:45pm
Skamania Room, Level 4

Writing Pearls Open Mic Featuring Jim Martin

Hosts Jessica Samuelsen and Rhonda Grace

February 21st 7pm

Pop Culture 1929 main St

The Eating an Elephant Effect.

My greatest struggle in my writer’s life at the moment is balance. I am building a platform, marketing, writing short stories,connecting, and then on occasion actually writing. Only to start the process all over again. Then there is the little pesky details like doing the dishes, spending time with family, hygiene, and religious practices if applicable. The list could go on and on. Lately I have been feeling like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Each respective personality starting to lose control of when they appear. It can make for some embarrassing moments, and for some funny ones too. Yet, overall this dichotomous feeling comes down to one thing I am in great need of balance. I have to live and I have to write. Somehow the two are going to have to be at peace with the other.

I am a goal oriented person. A trick I play on myself is setting rotating goals. I either set the goal by project or by time, examples: I will reply to all these posts on my website, then I will eat breakfast, then get 15 minutes of cleaning the kitchen. To set another set of goals so that each task gets done. I like to call it the Eating Elephant approach. When I was younger and feeling overwhelmed with copious amounts of tasks and situations, my mom would gently “Ask how do you eat an elephant?” To which the right reply was always one bite at a time.

Life and family paired with the consumption of being a successful writer, provides a myriad of tasks. When looked at, in the chaos of the massive to-do list naturally becomes evasive and prone to be antagonistic in it’s overwhelming mass. It needs to be broken down into little bites. Whether you assign the goals by projects or time, you need to break your schedule down into bite size pieces. Eventually the elephant of a chaotic writers life will be consumed. You and others around you will be much happier. You have a greater chance of achieving the success you want in your writing or life in general. 

Share with the World part III

Share with the world part III -


At long last the conclusion of this small series of sharing your work with the world. In this series I have covered publishing on the cheap, writer’s conduct, and now finishing with sharing your work on social media. I will cover writing websites, blogs, and Facebook. You probably thinking what about twitter? Though I think twitter holds awesome capacity of free publicity for writers. It is a beast that I personally have not attempted to tame. I have my hands full with other social media I attempt to tame. If I find a good article on how to use Twitter to share your writing I will update this post with a link to it.


Writing websites for me has been an invaluable tool to get over the dreaded chasm of hiding my work in a myriad of dog eared journals. Journals that shifted from moving box to moving box never to see the light of day. A good writer’s site offers a safe and regulated environment in which to share your work and get valuable feedback from other writer’s in their tender development. One caveat of publishing on this sight is it will render it useless if you where to go to try to publish it somewhere else. Most publishers and magazines are particular about having fresh unpublished pieces and they would consider posting on these sites published. So be mindful of that.


Some sites that I suggest:





Blogs. I had a teacher once say that it blogging is a beast that consistently needs fed. I am hear to testify that it is truly a beast with an insatiable appetite. Unfortunately, a necessary and useful beast that provides practice for writing for an audience at little to no cost. I would say that the benefits of that out way the cost. Blogs provide ample opportunity for you to connect with your audience in the off hours of your writing. It’s a place for you to showcase who you are as a writer. A place where you can let your guard down a little to make yourself more relatable to your readers.


The last and most slippery slope out of the three Facebook. It is a slippery slope because it is a social media that provides the most distractions. In fact tonight was dedicated to beefing up my internet presence which I will touch on more shortly, and a part of that was Facebook. The unfortunate thing about social media is everybody has access to you and you have access to them and the other bells and whistles Facebook offers. So tonight it has taken me hours to produce these humble blog posts because I keep falling in the vortex that is Facebook.


Though I am reaching out to my faithful readers and supporters, what would only take a quick second turns into minutes and hours. Again, the easy access that Facebook provides again make you available to your readers and building your author platform. With self publishing on the rise, and traditional publishing in the decline this access is crucial to any writers vitality. Again Facebook should come with a warning when using it as platform, be disciplined in the time you spend there and make sure you accomplished the tasked you logged on to do. I don’t know how many times I’ve logged on to Facebook with a militant marketing purpose and forget why I was there with all the games and clever posts of my friends.


In conclusion it is worth your time as a writer to take advantage of the amenities that the world of technology offers us. Though it takes time and dedication to do so. I personally have to make a pointed effort to set aside time to feed my internet venues. So I would strongly suggest that you do the same. Though it can be tedious at times, it fulfills your role as a writer to get your work out there. Which really truly what writing is all about is cutting yourself open (strictly metaphorical) and let the world see how you bleed. Which in turns help them to deal with their own bleeding. Vulnerability is a lost art and writers are exclusively responsible to carry this torch for the world


In conclusion of this series. There is no good excuse to not share your writing with the world. There are so many cheap and easy way to get yourself out there. So go do it. Do it cheaply, do it with respectful conduct, and splash yourself all over the internet!

Share with the World Part II -

Last week I talked about success of writing and my conclusion that success is getting your work out into the world. In my last article I promised that I would talk about free web publishing on websites. I decided to take a little rabbit trail to first emphasis the importance of taking the upmost care in presenting your work in a refined polished manner. There are three points I would like to cover, proofreading, spare vulgarity, and writer’s conduct.


I would like to clarify that when I say get your work out in the world it doesn’t mean put anything out there. If you are a writer, then it is your duty to yourself and to other writers to always put your best foot forward. People. I cannot emphasis this enough: be a good steward of your craft. Please, at the very least use spell check. For more of a bonus: read your work, have your mom read it, a neighbor, the mail man before you post it in public domains, or put it in print.


If you need to be offensive to make a point do not do it arbitrarily. Do so in a controlled manner with the intent of making a point. Provocative writing is a vice any writer should keep in their toolbox. The other end of the spectrum is being a prude. If you need to make a point in vulgarity, do so sparingly. This Vice should come with a writers surgeon generals warning: colorful writing will lose its power in repetition and redundancy.


Conduct yourselves in a manner that is respectful to yourself, other writers, and your audience. I have this guy in a community I am a part of that uses his writing as a platform to slander innocent people that happen to not fall into his limited understanding of what a writer could be. He moves on to say things that alienate the common people from writing, proving the point that writers are vulgar disrespectful people that derives a second rate from the general public. Don’t do this. Being a writer is already an advantageous road. Do not make it worse with writers mis-conduct. Show the world that writing is a field that is worthy of respect more than a doctor, engineer or any field that the world would value over the field of writing.


In your part of sharing your writing with the world you are, for better or worse, painting a picture of what or who a writer is. As writers we are already fighting an uphill battle with ourselves and the world establishing some pride and validity to our field of writing. Do not aggravate the issue with the irresponsibility of not proofreading your work, being an ass with useless offensive vices, or unprofessional conduct. Together as writers we can obtain our rightful position as hardworking contributing respectful members of societies. With making this point I can in good conscience encourage to get your writing out in any and every venue possible. The next article being the promised article of using social media to get your work out in the world.

Writer’s Success Share with the world Part I-

I encountered a writer today who was musing about the fact that she wished she could publish, but she felt she could not due to financial issues. It struck a cord with me because I have been wrestling with the amount of time and money I have been putting into my own writing lately, wondering what will come of it. With publishing these writings being the next step on my horizon, I have doubts. One of the most prominent being; What if people don’t read or like my stuff.? I have put so much time into writing and with other writers that can empathize there is no guarantee what your return will be on the work you put into your writing. Though there is the obvious concern of the financial return, but that personally is not my main concern. My dream since I was a little girl was to be a successful writer. Lately I’ve been really trying to nail down what exactly success for me as a writer would be. My conclusion of what success for a writer is:

1) Showing up to the page and getting your writing on it.

2) Making your work accessible, share it with the world.

3) Take confidence that you have done all you can do as a writer following the first two statement.

Any return in the form of positive feedback and or financial gain is a bonus. This is the belief I hold personally for me as a writer. I respect and appreciate others would have a different idea of success based on money and readership. Am I against making money on writing no. The rub is I realized that regardless of the money I make or not the readership I get or not, I will still write. Lacking these things will not detour me as a writer. Thus consecrating my conclusion of what I see as a successful writer. Following these simple demands of success as a writer can be very difficult in application. In this world riddled with writers like the one I talked to today. People who mourn of a dream they see as impossible to achieve, when there are practical ways to achieve it. Starting with letting go of things like financial gain or loss, readership gain. Accepting that the value of what you have to say as a writer is enough to get it down and out into the world anyway you can. Whether it be formal publishing, or self publishing done either through a print-on-demand service, or printed right off your home computer. (Just a note: I am focusing more on printed matters this post, but there are very practical ways to publish digitally for free Digital publishing will be discussed in my next post) Today I am including links to instructions for DIY publishing that you can run off of your home printer for dollars and pennies. If you are a person who knows you would write regardless of what the benefit or consequences will be, then you more then deserved to be publish, it is your responsibility to put it out in the world, because it will be better for it.


http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/21249 http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Mini-8-Page-Pocket-Zine!/step1/Download-the-Word-Template/


Encouragement and Friendly Competition.

So today is day 5 of Nanowrimo and the first week has come to an end. It’s been a good stretch so far, though the first couple days the back of my brain was numb. I guess that’s my brains way of being sore after an intense workout. So looking forward to a new week, with new challenges set before me and new friends to guide me. Speaking of new friends please check out http://www.facebook.com/AuburnSeal?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite My friend Auburn Seals author page. She’s a huge encouragment to me and I hope you will do the same for her. As far as friendly competition goes there are a few who seem to riding high with me in my intensive word count yet only one has declared bring it verbally. May I caution you first that NaNowrimo is only about competing with yourself and your negative editor to move from inaction to action on your novel. Yet, with my personality if people one in particular at the moment would like to increase the fun with a little competition, I would be okay with that. Who may you ask, well that would be my sweet cousin Dave Grimes. Who is doing really well with is 8092 word count but it’s a bit shy from my 13,397. Best of luck to you cousin. Your going to need it!

The Best Day ever -

I have to take a moment and be thankful for the greatness yesterday was.

I started my dream of writing a novel. I met some really cool friends that will be writing along side with me this month, and I got a friend request from my long lost best friend from high school.


I have been looking for her for years. It’s so ironic because earlier yesterday as I anticipated my dive into the novel writing frenzy I was reminded of when Katie (long lost friend) and I would try to write songs together wanting to be the next girl band or something. I am sure our motivation was to meet are boy band flavor of the week. I thought the correlation was a bit odd until I really thought about it.


First of all, I was attempting my dream long ago the fact that I was awaiting to start my new novel in a fantastic way was nothing new. Second of all I realized that when are dreams are in our sites. It reminds us of who are hearts belong to family, close friends. Those in particular who are not there to share that moment and you wish they were. I missed her deeply, but I had done everything to try to find her, so I just sent good thoughts upwards and smiled at her memory. Went on with my day.


So I went met my new writing buddies, came home kicked but on my first days word count. I was going through my facebook account to update my fans (family counts), and stumbled upon an old friend request from her. With a message that it took her a really long time to find me. So the conclusion of this best day story ever is this my friend Katie is back in my life and I count that as she was here with me to face the coming of one of my greatest dreams. I love you Katie welcome back! The subtext of this conclusion is that Katie wins the long lost friend contest, because I tried to find her and she found me first. That whole name change marriage thing can really make those google searches a bit difficult. My Word Count for Today is 6134 I have 43,866 words left.

And So it Begins –

Last night was the Midnight kick of party for the National Writers Month Vancouver Region. Many things where going through my head last night as I made my arrangements for the writing madness that was to come at the stroke of midnight. My mind was filled at the craziness of it all. Not only am I committing the next 30 days of my life to writing a novel. (Let me clarify for you right now as I learned tonight, it is not a finished novel but a rough first draft.) The other thing I thought was crazy was I’m about to go to a group party where I know no one, (my husband graciously escorted me but for dramatic affects that doesn’t count) The next thought after that, I am pretty bad ass. How many people do something this crazy on top of that go to a party where they know absolutely no one. Not many people. I am the 1% when it comes to social courage at least. On attending this crazy party, I met some great people. I was christened with permission to write the crappiest rough draft I could write. Which at this point in time I have succeeded to start that. So hard for my writer perfectionist to handle but somehow we will survive. I also met some writing buddies who I will be muggling through this month with. Andy, Auburn, Curtis and Jamie, nice to meet you and it’ll be fun to ride this journey with you. To the rest all the best. I hope you enjoy the ride of me following my dreams of being a writer in this latest episode brought to us by NaNoWriMo. My word count for today was 1683. I only have 48317 more words to go.

7 Days till NaNoWriMo

Preparation -

Of mind and affairs.  I have declared war on distractions I know we be inevitable in my battle for thousands of words each day.  I started a major house cleaning/purging.  To hopefully have an easier time getting started in the beginning.  I know life will happen, ineveitibly there will be distractions no matter how much I prepare.  Yet, I owe it to myself to try to do everything in my power to help myself be succesuful in the writing extravaganza.

Along with mundane things such as house cleaning I am brushing up on some reading.  At the moment I am reading How to write a fiction novel in 30 days by Nicholas Black.  Cheesy, I know.  A girls got to do what a girls got to do.  So far his advice is fairly sound having you read through the beginnings of your favorite books.  The idea is to teach yourself to write by what you love to read.  Which confirms a desire that I have had for a while, if no one else reads my book at least I will write something I love to read.  So the days are counting down, with NaNo house cleaning wrapping up tomorrow I hope i can start nailing out a plot.

8 Days Till NaNoWriMo

Yesterday, I made a decision to join National Novel Writing Month. Starting on November first through the end of the month one commits to writing an average of 1667 words a day. The end goal is  to complete a rough draft manuscript of a 50,000 words.  I had heard about this last year, contemplated it for a second deemed it pure insanity and went on my merry way .

This year, starting a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in another place of insanity.  That place of feeling stuck as a writer and wondering if I would ever make it past the poetry genre I’ve been indulging in the last couple years.  I caught myself thinking maybe I was a poet and not a writer, though my dream truly  is to have a few novels under my belt.

On a side note – I will be quite honest n,ovel is a bit sophisticated for those parts of my mind that are still teenage.  When I say novel I mean chapter books.  I want to write a chapter book. – End of side note.

So in this plight of writers remorse I found myself pushed to the desperate measure of joining a website for writers more specifically for poets, called www.allpoetery.com. I found an amazing amount of resources and support to help my muse get her running legs back.

On this site I came across a group called I wanna be famous.  Subtle I know, just my style. They start talking about NaNoWriMo.  This time when I thought about it though that small voice of reason in my head, and yes that voice is always very small, still deemed the endeavor insanity.  The more desperate part of me that wants to see all I can do as a writer signed on the dotted line and here we are.

I am now registered on the official site of  Nanowrimo which I will provide a link for in the next post or two.  I started publicizing it  immediately because, if I have a big audience I am less likely to give up.  In fact I am not going to give up.  If I have to write the same sentence over and over again, I will succeed in the word count at least.  When you take on a big endeavor like this that you know will be a challenge, you have to decide before you start that you will finish no matter the cost.  All I can say is pray for my poor husband who will have to endure me for the month of November.

With that I start this blog as suggested to me by one of my fans on my newly published author facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Samuelsen/196792450363151?ref=hl. (Shameless Plug LIKE my page) I think it will be a great adventure and growing experience for me, and worth the  documentation.  My hope is that you will follow and support  me in the pursuit of one of the biggest dreams I have ever had: to be a published chapter writer.

Thank you ahead of time for your love and support. As you see the joy’s, the pains, and the ups and downs of pursuing something you love, I hope we all see that it is worth it all.  I hope this encourages you to pursue your life’s big dream too no matter the cost.  Honestly I think living with the knowledge you never attempted your dream is a hard thing to live with.  Unfortunately so many people do live this way.  I’m not planning on being one of them, and I hope you won’t be either.