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My mind became a state of turmoil when I heard the term writer’s brand. When you are raised in ranch country, the word ‘brand’ is common. It’s the mark put on livestock to identify who they belong to, and now I was being asked to come up with a ‘mark’ to put on me as a writer.
I wondered if our family’s brand, Bar K Reverse K, could be used, or if I would have to invent another branding iron that would be mine and mine alone. You should see the file filled with scrap papers, covered with all the brand drawings I concocted to represent what I assumed this new brand should be.
During my time of no-brand limbo, it was decided a logo, a picture, or something, needed to appear on my work to identify it as mine. This would not be my decision alone, as my husband was also my business partner. Whatever we were going to use was not only expected to be my identifier, it also needed to be incorporated as our company’s logo.
I would be several years into what I call the ‘serious writing thing’ before I fully understood what having a writer’s brand meant. It fell into my lap one day while I was explaining why I write what I do and why I take the pictures that I do. Diversity and growth often lead to a need to make other changes. These might be a major overhaul of everything involved or baby steps to make sure the new landscape feels right under your feet.
For years, the picture of the full moon rising over the ridge has been synonymous with everything we did from my writing, photography, and our company. However, it was evident that the talks of rebranding should become more than dinner table discussions. With the addition of books in various genres, taking on the role of book publisher, and incorporating other projects, this growth to our corporate interests resonated with the need to have an updated look: a look that was a recognizable presence representing the company as a whole. It was time for a transformation, but here again, it had to fit with what I had discovered was my writing brand.
Like rewriting a chapter in a book, change starts with an idea. It can be one thought or the vision of an end result. Either way, it took quite some time to find the right look for the new branding iron. Thinking it would happen in a short time frame proved to be a mistake on our part; however, listening to the people we contacted was found to be invaluable. They may not have provided all the answers or the direction we were looking for, but their artistic concepts added depth to the final result, providing food for what we thought we wanted. Simultaneously, it was a stark reminder that wants and need is two totally different things.
And now I return to the original dilemma of going on the hunt for a writer’s brand. Through my search to locate what I thought was needed as a writing branding iron, I discovered I had been writing under our home brand all along. It is the passion for what I believe in. It is from where I come that guides me to where I go.
Quietly, a cowboy would make a statement, “I ride for the brand.” These five words speak volumes to the dedication and respect we follow in creating our own brands. The values we place on the top rail keeps us true to what we believe in. True to our brand.
Oh! And the company…In the spring of 2020, we were presented with a rough concept that encompassed our vision. It did not compromise the want to include the trees silhouetted against the full moon or the important need of adding a feather. In the end, we got what we were looking for. It’s obvious there, too; we are still riding and writing for the same brand.
How did you discover the brand you ride for, I mean write for?
I rely on my heritage to keep me grounded. Reminders of where I come from, mentoring me to where I need to go. Gifting me excerpts of a lifestyle I see slipping away. Snippets shyly materializing in my writing and photography. I am a lover of life and all things that make us smile. Sharing moments others may never get to experience at HorsesWest, DAKATAMA™ Country, and Ann Edall-Robson where you can also contact me.
Creative writing is defined as writing fiction or poetry with imagination and contrasts academic writing. As a creative writer, we imagine our character to gallop over the green pastures or drag his feet in the dry brown desert. To be able to take long firm strides over the mountainous terrains, or glide over the waters like a speed boat.
But that requires an uncluttered mind where we have neatly piled all our emotions just as we stack clean clothes versus the scattered dirty laundry.
That allows a single-pointed mind, and a writer can be in her character’s shoes and capture just the right kind of emotions.
Writing is like housework. For that, the mind should be tidied up just like our bed every morning before we sit down to write. It should be crystal clear for those cells in that organ to create something extraordinary for our character. If we cannot differentiate between fiction and our real-life, we will end up writing a memoir unknowingly, of course.
If our mind is hungover from yesterday’s dialog between a friend or a relative, our plot would unknowingly revolve around that scenario. We have limited ourselves to our environment and missed out on a classic scene, which our mind dared to explore. Due to the circumstances, it wandered around our troubled spots and penned those down instead.
Mind and Intellect can go hand in hand, but the mind ought to first spruce up to listen to the Intellect.
A mind without thoughts is no mind, but to tidy up our thoughts is the key.
But how do we unclutter that damn mind to begin exploring the unexplored?
Unclutter Mentally and Physically
The learned suggest we meditate. Continue to breathe with closed eyes while keeping your mind over your breath. This activity is like rinsing your mind with fresh Oxygen as you continue to breathe, which helps curb the erratic thoughts. Can you imagine how soothing it would be?
The scenario is like the ocean waves crashing on the shore, washing off any footprints left behind by humanity.
Attached is a guided meditation.
Writing down thoughts can help your mind stop churning and begin to release them. An individual can choose to write what pains her since most of the time, people are aware of their foul mood, but don’t know its reason. Journaling helps to work through current challenges, helping one get rid of mental blocks. As a doctor drains a wound, write out all those toxins on paper, and those words will glow in gold once your heart is lighter. So, find a comfortable spot, grab your pen and paper, and get going. Journaling is meant to be a stream of consciousness activity, so you can choose to set a timer or just free flow.
Some prompts that an individual can choose to write is:
“What makes you feel happy?”
“What is hurting, and why?”
“What do you believe in most?”
“Write a letter to your future self?”
“What is your past that still hurts you?”
“List the things you are grateful for?”
Walks amidst nature can help turn your mind outside and help calm the chaos in mind. It’s just like distracting a child who is throwing tantrums. This activity enables an individual to relax as she continues to take deep breaths while she is striding through the open space. Such walks not only help clear the mind but also help burn some calories. On a side note, it gives many ideas even if you choose to call yourself a plotter or a pantser.
Uncluttering is simple; the only thing needed is having the awareness to do so. Once that is in check, one can shape the character or the plot as your creative bugs allow you to do so without anybody’s interference. You are at liberty to either project your characters’ mental growth or take them to a dark place.
I’ve tried all the three methods above and can vouch for it.
As a writer, I write about issues that stalk the human’s mind via tales of fiction, making my readers tag my work as, “Books that make you ponder.”
My contemporary romance novels and short stories have allowed my readers to go to a beautiful place and take home a message. That has helped them ponder their true nature and enjoy my characters’ growth as they endure through the journey that I have created.
My work can be found at www.ruchirakhanna.com
This post comes from Rough Writer Ruchira Khanna
A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where I write about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction.
I blog at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for four years. Many of my write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.
I can be found at:
Man is a social animal, and we need each other for emotional support. The pandemic is the classic example when the world is in lockdown. Many are feeling the brunt of not being able to communicate, hug, and interact with their extended families.
Now, although the immediate family is in the same four walls, emotions are running high as mostly our thoughts and ideas don’t agree.
As a writer, I have observed that my creativity is the lowest at that point. My ego-filled mind and intellect run parallel, just like two railway tracks, and I can’t pen a single word without frowns and disappointment.
I can feel the train of thoughts chug by in my mind with no interaction from the intellect since the track is parallel. As a writer, I see the sunrise and sunset without getting any inspiration to pen since I choose to brood over an argument that happened within my four walls or choose to lament over what my teen did or could have done in his spare time.
But as the weeks ticked by and spending family time amidst board games and movie nights, I realized there is no such thing as winning an argument amidst family.
When you win, you usually don’t win. And when they win, they don’t win. The best outcome is a tie. If you both can walk away equally satisfied—or even similarly dissatisfied—that’s the real challenge. And the real win.
Easier said than to be doing in practical life. I made a few pointers that I eventually embraced to find that inner peace to start my penning.
Be in the moment
That requires the art of being aware of an argument in the first place. I had to be mindful of my surroundings—my thoughts, feelings, and body. And also be conscious of the people around me. Most of our communication is felt or seen before it reaches the verbal realm. Being fully present…is the key.
I realized I’ve been eluding my teen’s presence. I would do this in subtle and subconscious ways.
Most of the time, we are in a constant state of avoidance. By avoiding, you are telling people in your life that something is more important than them. Going back to the first point…become mindful of their presence will help solve this issue.
Too much to do in the lockdown, but less time. Are you also multi-tasking, like me? Then, how would you become fully present in any conversation?
As Malcolm Forbes said, “Presence is more than just being there.” Being fully present focuses all of your senses on the task or person at hand. Being mindful for a couple of minutes a day and see what you notice.
Since I work from home, multi-tasking was a band-aid solution to fill my void, which became a habit even during the lockdown with family around. I could feel myself becoming overwhelmed. How could I dismantle myself from this over-scheduled and over-committed life for my search for Balance?
Can’t say No to family requests that usually involve cooking their favorite foods could lead to overwhelming emotions that could, after a few weeks, lead to spew of venom. Creating a boundary where each respects their space gives all the privacy and yet the privilege to enjoy each other’s company, is the key.
Energize the Mind-Body
Taking time to exercise is very important. The mind also needs our love and undivided attention every day for a few minutes.
Embrace an unprecedented time
Lately, the news of COVID is that it’s airborne. Now, to embrace the new change of not stepping out without a mask and maintaining that social distance should be the mantra. Again that allows us to be mindful of our actions when in public and be in gratitude to be in good health to venture out in the first place.
All the above steps are tedious, and honestly, there are days when my mind gets exhausted before the physical body. But, aren’t we the intelligent souls here, we can fight out any times. Let’s continue to find that inner peace and be able to continue with our passion…writing.
It’s amazing to consider how prolific Geoff Le Pard is as an author. He turned on the fiction faucet in 2006, and it’s been blasting ever since as fast as icebergs melt. I read his first novel, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, several years ago, snort-laughing and waiting for the next installment of Harry Spittle’s life. Well, I’m pleased to say, it has arrived with the third installment quick on its heels.
Without further ado, I’ll turn the Ranch over to Geoff to tell you all about his latest book:
The Last Will of Sven Andersen
By Geoff Le Pard
The first book I ever finished was Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, a comedic coming of age tale of the hapless Harry Spittle, then aged 19 as he struggled with the three challenges facing a teenage boy in the deepest countryside: how to earn money, how to spend as little time as possible with his irritating family; and how to someone willing to have sex with h,im. When I wrote it as part of a Masters in Creative Writing I envisaged it as a stand-alone novel that would be driven by the characters and their dilemm,as and decisions. But as the book writing process progressed I became sucked into the plot and the weird and wonderful adventures Harry took me on. Wind the clock on five years and I’ve now committed to paper both a second and third book in the series. And guess what? It’s the characters that dominate. Without their personalities shining through who’d want to carry on? It’s because the characters were the reason, front, and centre for writing the first book that book two crept up on me and kept saying ‘write me’. They tapped on their toy-box demanding an outlet and here we go, a full-fledged series. Characters, huh? Who knew they’d take over your life quite so much?
It has led to a change in approach to things such as editing too. I am now more confident in my characters that I want the Beta ,reading to come later in the process.
All of which of course doesn’t mitigate the fact that there are many times when I misunderstand them and they tell me in no uncertain terms to, change tack because they just wouldn’t, do/say X. Now though I’m less likely to make those mistakes and I’m certainly less likely to argue if I do. I think we, my characters and I, know who’s right.
BIO: Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels, he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction, and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.
The Last Will Of Sven Andersen
When Harry Spittle, nearly qualified as a solicitor, is approached to write a Will for old acquaintance Sven Andersen, he is somewhat surprised but rather pleased. That pleasure sours after he finds that the Will Sven actually signs is very different to the one he has drawn up, with Harry as the executor. Disappointment turns to horror when he discovers that Sven has been winding up his late father’s criminal empire and a number of not very nice people are interested in the Will’s contents.
If he is to remain in one piece, able to continue his career in the law and save his on-off relationship with his girlfriend Penny, who is unfortunately under suspicion of murder, he needs to find out what’s happened to the money and distribute it according to Sven’s wishes. The trouble is Sven has not only hidden the assets but also the identities of those who benefit. Harry will have to solve a fiendish puzzle Sven has left behind with the help of his sister Dina before his world comes crashing down. With so many people depending on him, Harry knows it’s time for him to grow up – it’s just that he really, really doesn’t want to.
Set in 1981 to the backdrop of punk, Thatcherite politics and an upcoming Royal wedding, this is a book for those who like their nostalgia served with a side of humour and a dash of optimism all wrapped up in a compelling mystery.
Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle
It’s summer 1976 and hotter than Hades. Harry Spittle, nineteen, is home from university, aiming to earn some money to go on holiday and maybe get laid. He expects he will be bored rigid, but the appearance of an old family friend, Charlie Jepson, his psychopathic son, Claude, and predatory wife Monica changes that. As his parents’ marriage implodes, Harry’s problems mount; before he knows it he’s in debt up to his ears and dealing in drugs. Things go from bad to worse when he is stabbed. He needs money fast, but now his job is at risk, his sister is in trouble and he has discovered a family secret that could destroy all he holds dear. Will Harry have to join forces with the local criminal mastermind to survive the summer and save his family? Can he regain some credibility and self-respect? Most importantly will he finally get laid?
Dead Flies will be free from 30th October 2019 to 3rd November 2019
My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.
Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015
Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.
This is available here
Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?
Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages
Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.
Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.
When I was younger, I feared I’d run out of ideas to write. Now that I’m older, I know I’ll run out of days before the well of story ideas runs dry. Each week, I continue to marvel at the creative responses to a single prompt framed within 99 words, no more, no less. And each of those stories become beginnings.
Imagine taking all that creativity and harnessing it to one wagon. Now that’s a trail drive, and that’s the power of The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1. Thirty-three writers banded together and created a compelling work of literary art.
The anthology extends far beyond that of a collection. It’s several side-shows and behind the scenes action. It’s not homogenized, but rather a mixture of different perspectives, experiences, and imagination. It’s the creation of a community.
Every writer contributes to the whole. It’s like a meadow full of wildflowers. It’s not one flower that creates the stunning visage — it’s the combination of all parts. To work with the creative expressions of thirty-three writers has been a thrilling experience.
The Rough Writer Tour Around the World has offered a glimpse at how far ranging the literary trail at Carrot Ranch has become. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to meet different Rough Writers on their own turf. Here’s a recap in case you’ve missed any trail stops:
Geoff Le Pard (UK) Anne Goodwin (UK) Ann Edall-Robson (CA) Sacha Black (UK) Luccia Gray (SP) Sherri Matthews (UK) Norah Colvin (AU) Irene Waters (AU) Susan Zutautas (CA) JulesPaige (US) Lisa Reiter (UK) Urszula Humienik (PO) Ruchira Khanna (US)
I’d like to thank all the writers of Vol. 1 for contributing to a community effort that provides a platform and growth opportunity for all involved. As a first work, several professional book reviewers have given the book high praise. It’s earned a 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite and a silver award for Literary Titans.
Vol. 2 follows and is currently in the works. It’s going to blast a new trail, going beyond where Vol. 1 left off and includes more writers. And readers can expect more unicorns. I got to speak about both Vol. 1 and 2 in a recent interview with Literary Titans which you can catch here.
Never doubt that literary art matters.
American author, Susan Vreeland wrote,
“Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence. Art and literature are antidotes to that.”
Through writing together on projects of creative expression, we are on the trail to happiness. We ride the trail of peace.
Happy Trails, Writers!
Ruchira Khanna’s writing bridges two worlds (India and America) just as her latest book tackles what the immigrant experience is like, coming to the US for school, jobs, new friends and love interests, but yearning for parents and home-connections, as well. Her book, Breathing Two Worlds portrays the experience through language and story-telling.
Voyagers into the Unknown, Ruchira’s earlier fiction novel released January 2016 hit # 1 as Hot New Release in Amazon India and #8 as a Best Seller. Again, she melds a multitude of cultural experiences into an enjoyable, world-perspective read.
It’s been a joy to watch her author career unfold. Today, Ruchira hosts at her blog Abracabadra, sharing the anthology she contributes to as a Rough Writer.
Next week, our tour wraps up at the Ranch.
Lisa Reiter is one of the Rough Writers whose calling is not fiction. She writes about her experience writing flash fiction as a memorist. More than that, she explores the topic of perfectionism, giving sage advice to all writers who might struggle with perfecting drafts. She frames her story with a memory of worming cats. For a few laughs and a delightful and informative read, visit Lisa at her blog as we return to England on our Rough Writer Tour Around the World.
Join us next week as we go to Poland to visit Urszula Humienik.
Rough Writer and memoirist, Irene Waters, flashes Noosa skies and fiction based on trure stories. Learn how a memoirist came to write fiction of many genres. Irene supports Carrot Ranch in many ways, extending the community’s outreach to make literary art more accessible. In the beginning, she was part of building that community.
Norah Colvin wandered onto a Ranch four years ago and discovered the joys of flash fiction. She brought with her a unique perspective, writing flash fiction with children in mind. Although some of her stories express the carefree spirit of children, often she tackles heavy issues, including bullying. With years of education knowledge and classroom experiene, Norah has become the Teacher at Carrot Ranch — a Rough Writer who remains curious to look up the meanings behind prompts and to share thought-provoking posts on topics that demonstrate what it is to cultivate a growth mindset.
We join Norah this week in Australia, and her fellow Aussie, Irene Waters next week on the Rough Writers Tour Around the World.
One virtual literary space is neighborly with another: from the wild west of Carrot Ranch to the lush pastorial countryside of England, the Summerhouse is the latest stop on the Rough Writer Tour Around the World. Sherri Matthews is more than a literary friend and original Rough Writer — she’s also my trusted writing partner and one of the advisors to Carrot Ranch Literary Community.
Sherri and I share much in common in our approaches to writing craft and processes, and yet we both take one different genres. We’ve learned much from each other by sharing our processses. I’m delighted to share the Summerhouse stop with all of you. Continue over to Sherri’s virtual and eternal summer place: Real Memoir, Imaginary Flash Fiction and Not Your Typical Anthology.
Join us as we continue the tour: