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#IWSG Meeting Donna Latham, Playwright & Kindred Spirit

A pleasant side effect to writing

Back in November, the IWSG writing question of the month was “What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?” I didn’t see the question until after I’d written my post, but it really got me thinking… So here’s my answer:

*drum roll, please* After much thought, I’d have to say my favorite thing about writing is the wonderful friendships it has brought me – first through Twitter, and later through this blog and the various books I’ve published. While making friends was not my main goal for writing, it has come as a very pleasant side effect to all the solitary hours spent researching and writing that we authors know all too well.

Last week, for instance, a Houston playwright named Donna Latham contacted me. Donna came across me while researching the 1897 UFO Crash in Aurora, Texas. Since I live close to the historic graveyard where this alleged space alien is buried, Donna invited me to meet up during her writing research trip in this area.

Donna Latham & me at the Aurora, Texas space alien gravesite (photo by Larry Snider)
Donna Latham & me at the Aurora, Texas space alien gravesite (photo by Larry Snider)

She even likes hats!

However, if I hadn’t started publishing books about the strange things I’ve found here in Texas, we never would have met! I can hardly wait to see what her play about the Aurora UFO incident is like. (For more about her check out Donna Latham.)

Donna and her husband, Nick, dropped by our house for espresso and pastries before heading to the historic graveyard in Aurora. It was so much fun hanging out with another writer, especially one who gets just as excited I do about quirky, offbeat and overlooked legends and lore. Not to mention that Donna’s a great conversationalist and, like me, she loves hats.

January’s Question: A Writing Rule Worth Breaking

Donna also loves to research and writes a lot of non-fiction. Another thing we agree on is how the old saying, “write what you know” often doesn’t apply to our non-fiction projects. We both derive so much pleasure from learning from our research that we think that (when it comes to non-fiction, at least) the saying should be, “write what you want to learn about.” I only wished she lived closer!

Speaking of graveyards…

Do you enjoy exploring historic graveyards? Join my weekly newsletter for a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism by clicking the image below:

This month’s writing insecurity

As far as my writing insecurity this month, it’s a variation on my usual worry that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. In particular, I really feel like I need to get my field guide to cemetery symbols published this year. At the very latest, I want copies in hand when I speak at the Southern Monument Builders Association conference in June. It’s a little intimidating! That said, cemetery symbolism is a huge subject and I just keep learning new things about it. I’d rather put out the best book that I can than something hasty. (Of course, I’ve been working on this book for over two years now.) Sure, I can revise it over the years, but I want it to be a really helpful reference from the get go…

Carefully setting goals this time

Obviously I need to make some clear goals for 2017, but I find myself hesitating… Why? I think it’s because I tend to treat goals like an all-you-can-eat buffet and just heap them on my plate in January. This year, however, I want to be a little more restrained, like someone with a healthy food plan. I want to have fewer goals, so that I can really, really hone in on them. Is there a name for this approach? It’s a new thing for me! How do you go about goal setting? (I actually had a bit of a goal setting epiphany yesterday, if you’re interested!)

How’s your writing going?

So, that’s my IWSG post for January.  In the meantime, how’s your writing going?

What is IWSG?

IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this:

“Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh

1-Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Tui Snider
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Tui Snider

Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in North Texas travel, cemetery symbols, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!”

Snider’s best-selling books include Paranormal Texas , Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and 100 Things to Do in Dallas - Fort Worth Before You Die.

Snider has several more books in progress, and enjoys connecting with writers and readers all over the globe through social media, her newsletter and her website:

Tui Snider
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  1. It’s always fun to meet up with other writers and realise how much you have in common. Thanks for sharing. Tui :-)

  2. It’s always fun to meet up with other writers and realise how much you have in common. Thanks for sharing. Tui :-)

  3. There’s been lots of people I’ve met as a result of writing and a few in real life too. That’s always cool, especially for me since I’m super shy in real life.

  4. Good luck with your speaking engagement. Talking in front of people always leaves me nervous.

    • I was pretty scared the first few times. For one thing, I blush quite easily. Fortunately, they usually dim the lights and I use LOTS of slides, so it doesn’t feel like anyone’s just staring at me. Thanks for dropping by! :D

  5. I think it’s great when we meet writers in person. Last year, I had the opportunity to meet a few writers from Georgia. It was an exhilarating experience. Connecting with writers on social media is one thing, but it’s something else altogether when you meet one in person.

    As far as my writing goes, I’ve been journaling mostly. I’haven’t written much stories, but I’m looking to change that this week. I have a few ideas for short stories, so I need to start writing them before I lose interest.

    I have a few writing goals this year. I didn’t have many last year, but I failed in meeting some of them because I was too ambitious and overvalued my skill set. And it also didn’t help that some of those goals were based on others’ accomplishments. I’m more selective this year and I have developed plans for meeting those goals. If you’re interested, I can share one or two.

    Good luck with your goals this year.

    • Hi, George!

      It really is a thrill to meet up with other writers. I’m used to most people in my daily life being a bit puzzled by my writing, so to meet someone in person who “gets” me is a real treat.

      I’ve started journaling more regularly, too. Seeing you tweet about it so often has been a good reminder to me. Thanks for the inspiration!

      I’m still tweaking my own goals, but I am quite excited about this upcoming year. Like you, I’m being more selective with my goals and doing my best not to compare myself with others – although it’s a challenge!

      Good luck to you, too, and thanks for dropping by! :D

      p.s. And, yeah, I’m curious what your plans are for meeting your goals – share away!

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