Today I'm proud to present...cozy mystery author, Joanne Guidoccio and her take on Exploring Creativity. Welcome, Joanne!
On Exploring Creativity
At a recent workshop, one woman commented, “Everything you’ve suggested sounds great, but what if you’re not naturally creative. What happens then?” Several other participants nodded in agreement and looked to me for answers.
I didn’t want to get into a lengthy discussion about whether or not creativity was an innate trait. Instead, I suggested that it was never too late to explore creativity and launch second, third, and fourth acts in life. I then shared three strategies that have helped me on my writing journey.
Listen to the God (or Goddess) nudges in your life.
If we choose to stay open, we will receive messages from the universe. I’m not referring only to angels, butterflies, and other winged messengers. There are clues in our lives that point to what will bring us joy. My first nudge came from a friend, who suggested I send a travel essay to a local newspaper. I followed her advice and, to my delight, the newspaper featured my essay and pictures in a two-page spread. When I attended readings and workshops within a 60-mile radius, I learned about local and regional opportunities for budding writers.
I have also acquired the habit of reading notices on bulletin boards and the Events sections in newspapers. Anything that catches my interest is worth pursuing. I also find inspiration on social media, in particular, Twitter and Pinterest. In November of 2012, I noticed a tweet from a small publisher on my Twitter feed. I took action and sent a query letter. The editor responded, and I had a book contract by the end of January.
Listen to Your Inner Critic
I realize this is contrary to all the advice that’s out there. But there is something to be gained by analyzing the selected thoughts of our inner critic and taking action.
How can you distinguish those selected thoughts? Very simply, take note of all sentences that start with “Someone should...”
Here are some examples:
“Someone should write a letter to the editor about that issue. It’s bugging me.”
“Someone should organize an arts festival that showcases the talents of boomer artists, artisans, musicians, and writers in our county.”
“Someone should put her name forward for an executive position on that board. We need new blood.”
“Someone should design and create clothes that fit and flatter women over fifty.”
“Someone should offer decorating services for seniors, who are moving into assisted living, retirement and nursing homes, or downsizing to a condo.”
“Someone should run for mayor.”
Once you have identified your favorite “Someone should,” it’s time to...
Take action...any action
Entering the political arena, assuming an executive role in a non-profit organization, organizing an arts festival, writing a novel...these are all goals that can be accomplished but probably not within the immediate future. Why not set small, move-the-needle steps for the season in which you are in. These small steps will lead to larger ones, and subsequent steps will always be within your grasp.
You could start by attending an information meeting, offering to help with an established arts festival, signing up for an online or offline course, joining a local writing group, or listening to a webinar. Don’t worry if certain steps don’t work out. Keep moving forward and course-correct along the way.
Thanks, Joanne, for the great tips on stepping up creativity!
Take a look at Joanne's latest cozy mystery, A Different Kind of Reunion. I've read all three of Joanne's mysteries in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series and I highly recommend them!
While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.
Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.
Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?
“Gilda, could you drop by tomorrow?” Constable Mulligan said, his voice cracking. “I’d like to wrap up this investigation as soon as possible. Give her parents some closure.”
Did he think he could wrap it up in a day? And what on earth could I contribute to the investigation? It didn’t make any sense at all. “Uh…I’m sorry. I’m having trouble with all of this. I don’t know—”
He cleared his throat. “We could meet for lunch at Trapper’s Choice Restaurant. They have fresh pickerel on Fridays.”
“I have clients scheduled for appointments all afternoon.” Or most of the afternoon. I liked to close the ReCareering office early on Friday afternoons.
“You’re still working?” he asked, surprise overtaking his previous gruffness. “I didn’t think you’d need to…I mean, you should be okay…”
He knew about my lottery win. Not surprising, since the lottery people had plastered my name and face everywhere when I won nineteen million dollars in Lotto 649. A quick Google search would have revealed my four-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.
Tempted to end the conversation, I realized I couldn’t turn my back on Sarah or any of the others who might still be in danger. I mentally scanned my calendar. I had a two o’clock appointment and would be free to leave around three. I calculated the distance and figured I could drive to Parry Sound in ninety minutes or so. I added an extra hour and shared my plans.
“Great! You’ll have a couple of hours before the séance.”
“What séance?” Were Friday night séances a regular occurrence in Parry Sound? And why would someone like Constable Mulligan, who didn’t sound like a touchy-feely type of guy, attend one?
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In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne Guidoccio...
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