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Pen IN Hand
January, 2008

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Caught In The Web
Stuck in the middle with you
By  Peggy Bechko

ink hole of time or nirvana?

Good question. Simple answer: Neither! Both! The internet can literally catapult your dreams of writing, publishing and selling your writing forward, or it can suck you into a murderous pit of wasted time that will annihilate every dream you've ever had of making it in the writing world.

Pretty dramatic, huh?

Elaborate, drama queen.

Writers are the world's best procrastinators. I know. I am one. I've been there. Bet you have too. How can you tell if you're afflicted with the procrastinator gene? If you'll seize upon any excuse to avoid writing -- if a smudge on the window fascinates you, if you'll even rearrange the books on your shelves to avoid putting words to paper or fingertips to keyboard -- then you're a real, get-down-and-dirty writer. Procrastination. It's the plague of our profession.

Why? Well, you see, we're all alone. We face the blank page or the computer screen unsupervised, all by our lonesome. It's all on us. So, we look for distractions. Oh, we don't mean to. We mean to write. We mean to set the world on fire with our prose, our advertising copy, our journalistic thrusts and parries. By golly we're good!

But there's this little voice inside saying, "Hmm, there must be something else I could be doing right now besides cogitating in front of my computer." In fact, there are lots of things, but we think and come up with an idea: I know, there's this project I need to research.

Good enough. Onto the web we go. Now I'm not saying research is bad, in fact it's very good. Every writer will tell you how wonderful the web is for research, saving all those trips to the library, so much information at our fingertips, etc. etc. etc. Then there are the sites so helpful to writers and their careers: this one for example! All of this is good.

But remember the force and don't be drawn to the "dark side." For most of us it's a discipline we must master. A definite amount of time must be blocked out for that research and no more. Or, we must stick resolutely and determinedly to the subject we pursue. Bookmark other items of interest along the way and go back to them later. Make good and wise use of the fabulous resource the web is.

Spend time on sites which actually help your career. Ones that offer research material, markets, informative articles. I actually have a folder marked "weird sites." These are sites I've bumped into along the way, ones that might spark an idea later, when I'm not in the middle of a project.

The web, for all its good points, provides many distractions. Many alternate paths. Like the gaping maw of an alternative universe it beckons, drawing the unwary onward, ever onward, a little astray of the subject, then more and more until -- the very lifeblood of your writing endeavors, the precious hours set aside, are diminished and gone (whew!, got a little carried away there -- ah, the drama).

There you sit, deflated and defeated. The hours available to write have been frittered away but you've had a helluva time on the web!

Don't let this be you. Set yourself boundaries.

Recognize the web for the goldmine of information, help and support that it is, and the blood-sucking monster it can become, then do yourself a favour -- apply the seat of your pants to your chair and write!IN Icon 

Author of Doubleday western novels, Harlequin romances, Fictionworks' fantasies (Ebook format), Peggy Bechko has also optioned screenplays domestically and abroad, written for an animated series and for variety of other venues. She's working on a new novel and collaborating with a producer on a animated series.

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Pen IN Hand
IN This Issue
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Writers Write
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Bald Ego
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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