Thursday, January 11, 2018

What Do You Want to Read About in a Blog Post?

Dear Readers, 

As I was blogging yesterday I realized that I would LOVE to know what topics you'd like me to blog about 


if you have any questions about poetry, creativity, rejections, acceptances, creative process (mine or in general), inspiration, etc. that you would like me to answer.

If so, leave them in the comment section below and the "anonymous" post is open if you are feeling shy (or don't want your name associated with a question).

Or if you'd prefer, email me through January 13th at kelli (at)

~ Kells 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Strange Inspirations: Past Resolutions & Tools to Help You Stay Focused Today

I just went back and read some of my past New Year's Resolutions posts and I realize, I really do not change much. My goals are still my goals. They are boring, they usually have something to do with less time online and returning to the simpler things. 

Here are my Resolutions (or "Suggestions," as I called them, for 2014). These could easily be my resolutions for this year, which the exception of #6 as "Buddy Holly" was my old golden retriever who is no longer on this planet. Of course, more walks with Buddy Holly could be a metaphor into going back into the past or listening to music.

2014 Guidelines  (aka "Resolutions") 

1)  Read more longer content, less shorter content 

     (Basically less Facebook, more book-books).

2)  Consider the opposite.  Question more.  

     Be wary of what the media and people are trying to sell me.

3)  Read email less. Write more paper letters.

4)  Always discover the beauty.

5)  Find myself on more balconies.

6)  More walks with Buddy Holly.

7)  Less work, more play, less work.

8)  ___________________________ (always include space for spontaneity)

9)  Say yes to experiences I feel would add to my life as an writer and artist.  

     Say no to things and people that don't.

I think for me the most important of these as a poet/writer/artist is #9.

Each day we have the opportunity to say yes to things that will bring good creative energy into our lives--what are those things?
We also have the ability to say no to things, yet, because of what I call "decision fatigue" or just pure exhaustion from the amount of info we get daily in our lives, we come home, flip on a switch to a laptop or the TV or an iPad and let the screens entertain us. Sometimes we end up saying "yes" to things that aren't probably the best for our creative lives, or mental health. 

When people ask me what they can do best for their creative life, I say, "Choose your one news source. Don't get sucked into other people's dramas or headlines. Guard your time with your life."

Make no doubt about it, headlines and news are here to manipulate us, sell us something, shock, steal our time. Their goal is to get you to click on a link. Each click is money in their pocket. 

If we're going to speak in the language of money, on this planet, our most important commodity is time. Like we tell our kids when they go into a store with their $10 of birthday money, "Use it wisely."

You have 15 minutes before you need to get ready to go to work, how do you want to spend your time. Yes, it's only 15 minutes, but what can you do in 15 to support your writing life, your art: 

1) Start a new poem
2) Read a poem from a book 
3) Meditate
4) Have a cup of coffee and write ideas in your journal
5) Read an interesting article about art

I am working on being mindful in my actions and making better choices with my time, and it's not always easy. I am trying to bring back my deep focus in life. I can be so distracted, so drawn into the shiny object, the quick fix, the impulse purchase, reaching for my phone when I should be reaching for a pen.

The internet is a lot like healthy eating. We can reach for the sweet quick reward (like Facebook: post a status, get a response! ZING! Dopamine hit!) or we can be more mindful of how many mini cupcakes we are shoving into our mouths. 

Because I don't trust my own willpower, I use tools  like Self-Control & Simple Blocker for Chrome, two apps that let you completely shut down websites that steal your focus. 

Because I can use lose track of the time I spend on Facebook, I have this extension "Stop Scrolling" on my Facebook page because it only lets you scroll for 5 minutes or less. AND it keeps track of how much time you use on FB. Seriously, it adds up.

Another one to hide trending stories on Facebook is Blacklist for FB. It will also hide stories on your newsfeed and posts by other that have specific words you are trying to avoid (politics, president, etc.) --You choose your words. The posts are still accessible, but they are condensed so you don't have to see them.

For my phone I use Forest App, where you can grow virtual trees (and they actually partner with Trees for the Future and plant trees in the real world based on the amount of time their app users use to focus). The negative of this is you have the app going and you get a text that doesn't come through on your laptop, you can't open the text otherwise your tree will die.

The positive of this is that I think sometimes we are too quick to grab our phones and respond to texts or the world calling us. Is it really that bad to wait 30 minutes until your tree grows to text back? I'm learning this.

The other app I love is Pocket-- which is an app for when you see an interesting article you don't have to ruin your flow or focus by reading it, you can simply save it until a time when you want to sit down and read all your saved articles. 

Technology is wonderful when it's not zapping our time. I try to use it to my advantage when I can. I know I'll still get sucked in to some sort of time waster (did you know my high-score on Tetris is 98,000?) but I find the more I care for my artistic pursuits, the less I want to eat the junk food of the internet, the more I reach for the healthy book option and the exercise of writing.

Thanks for reading. Cheers to an inspired year! 

~ Kells ________________

Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Year's Resolutions For Poets, Writers, & Artist: How To Start & Keep a Habit:

As a Capricorn, I love to make lists. I also love to set goals or make resolutions or find ways to exist in the world better. I am nowhere perfect at it, but I see every day as a new beginning and I forget to do something 5 days in a row, I realize picking it back up on the 6th day is better than letting whatever habit or goal I was trying to achieve slip off into the universe to burn out behind some forgotten constellation called New Year's Resolutions.

For me, if I'm serious about a new habit (or resolution), I track it.

How I Start a Habit or Keep a Resolution. There are two ways I do this:

1) Literally mark it down in my journal (I'm starting a bullet journal this year, so more on that if it works out). But basically January 1: Monday ✓, January 2: Tuesday ✓, January 3: Wednesday ✓,....

While I am comfortable in a techy world, I love low-tech. Index cards, journals, post-it notes, let me live in a world of paper. You may want to keep your habit online, maybe through a habit-tracking/goal setting app. For me, a nice chart works perfectly, it's like I'm 5 years old and getting gold stars for picking up my toys. I have the personality where seeing a long row of checked boxes gives me more satisfaction than it should. 

2) Have a group of people or one person I check in with on a certain day of a week.

Such as my Friday Submission Club. Every Friday I have to email a group of poets one place I submitted to during the week. While I wrote a viral post about submitting (Submit Like a Man: How Women Writers Can Be More Successful about the trends I noticed with women when I was the editor of a literary journal), I tend not to submit much. 

Have a group I need to check in with and state where I've submitted, has helped. Plus I get inspiration from them as well as learn new places to submit.


So what are my New Year's Resolutions this year?

1) Read first thing in the morning (before checking email or going online)

2) Realize that when I post on Facebook, I am giving myself a small project-- decide if that is how I am going to use my time

3) Keep more lists 

4) Focus on creative work first 

5) Blog once a week

6) Write daily

7) Find new ways to be generous in the world

8) Share a poem a day (in person or online)

9) Take a daily walk (even if short)

10) Start a journal

****I think the key to all these resolutions is I control them.

I did not write, "Get published in 5 journals this year!" -- because I can't control that. 

If I wanted to get published in 5 journals I'd first write, "Submit to 20 journals." 
Then I'd revise that (because seeing the number "20" feels overwhelming to me) to: "Submit to 1 journal every 2 weeks." Now that seems doable. 

While it make look as if I have a lot of resolutions, they all can actually be done in a short amount of time. If I sit down and write for 10 minutes, that counts as writing. Even 5 minutes.

I am a big believer in small actions add up over time. So while you may not be writing every day, writing once a week for 20 minutes gives you 1040 minutes of writing over the year. Now divide that by 60 minutes, that's 17.33 hours of writing you would have done in a year. That's quite a bit of time. If you stretch yourself and write 30 minutes a week, you'll have 26 hours of dedicated writing in a year, that's over a full-day.

So don't discount the small stuff, whether in kind acts, in writing, in health, it all adds up.

And here's a short list of Resolutions I wrote for poets and writers, but it also works for artists of all genres. Just change that first line to:

1. Make time for your art and your artistic/creative life.

Whatever you are working on, may you continue to stay on track and know that if you get off track, you do not need to wait until January 1 to begin again, you get 365 days of fresh pages every single year. Just wake up and begin again.

Wishing you a creative 2018! xo

~ Kells 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Welcome to Blogland for Poets:

It feels like the first time...

So here we are, 2018, and I'm blogging again, make that *we're* blogging again. There's a group of us who have committed to posting on our blogs once a week throughout 2018.
(The full list is to the left on the sidebar and ordered by newest posts first.)

My posts will focus on living and writing creatively, mostly on poetry, though with a mix of art, humor, inspiration, ideas, and things that come up while living the poet's life.

I am trying to remind myself that this is just one post out of many, so not to feel it must be perfect.

But isn't that the humanness in us? Sometimes we don't do something because we feel we won't be able to do it well enough. 

A long time ago, a friend said to me, "You know, it's okay if you're 'good enough.'" 

And I thought about that and realized all of this grading on "terrible, bad, okay, good, great, super, excellent" is all subjective. My excellent sundae could be your terrible meal. Or my okay day paddleboarding could be your excellent adventure.

I think as humans, we need to try not to be a little easier on ourselves. We should get a few points for trying, for showing up, for being kind, useful, and helpful. We are not perfect and would we even want to achieve perfection? 

Sometimes my best stories are because something went wrong. 

A few days ago I was sitting in a diner and an older gentleman at another table needed medics. Apparently, the look of anxiety on my face was enough that the owner of the diner walked over to me and asked if *I* was alright. Which lightened the situation for everyone. There is a man feeling dizzy and needing a 911 call, but they ask the poet if she needs help. (Spoiler alert: we all need a little help sometimes.)

And the older gentleman? He ended up just fine (it was an issue with blood pressure medicine), but on a perfect day, none of us would have met, and well, his smile, could melt a thousand sundaes. And it's nice to know that both of us were okay.


P.S.  If you want to subscribe to all the post and not think about it, you can sign up in the sidebar and have each post come directly to your email. 
I'll post my New Year's Resolutions later this week, I'm still thinking what they'll be...)

Thanks for coming along for the rides, dear readers. And thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy this year journey together, wishing you a glorious and inspired 2018! 

Cheers and Happy New Year! 

~ Kells 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The 2018 Poet Bloggers Revival Tour! Featuring...

Here's a list of poets who have committed to blogging at least once a week in 2018.

Kelli Russell Agodon-   
Donna Vorreyer –  
Carolee Bennett –
Mary Biddinger – 
Dave Bonta –
Heather Derr-Smith –   
Jeannine Hall Gailey  – 
Erin Hollowell – . T
Trish Hopkinson
Crystal Ignatowski –
Anita Olivia Koester –
Courtney LeBlanc –   
Lorena P Matejowsky   
James Moore –   
LouAnn Sheperd Muhm –
January Gill O’Neill  – .  
Sarah Russell –
Bonnie Staiger –
Hannah Stephenson –
Stephanie Lane Sutton
Christine Swint –   
Dylan Tweney –

Bookmark these bloggers! I'm going to be adding them to my sidebar shorly!

Blog posts topics you may see here and on other blogs:

  • craft discussions
  • reviews/sharing reading lists
  • poem drafts
  • process discussions
  • Successes and failures
  • interviews
  • prompts
  • market news/suggestions
  • news of the “writing world”
  • ANYTHING that could be interesting to a reader

My goal is to post at least ONCE a week, and more polished blog posts will end up on my Medium page (

NOTE: If you aren't listed and want to add your name, go to Donna's blog and leave a comment on this post:
Make sure to include YOUR NAME (as you would like it listed) and A LINK TO YOUR BLOG

-- she will be adding people next week and once a week from then on. (There seems to be a group forming!)

Looking forward to being back in the blogging world!
See you in 2018! 

~ Kells ________________
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