Friday, July 17, 2009

Feature Friday: Milli Thornton

I recently discovered Inkwell Alley and I'm excited to be a Follower on this blog. I get a burst of joy as soon as I get here and look at the artistic header. I also love the feeling of the creative collaboration that goes on here.Thank you to Monica and Sbass for inviting me to write for Feature Friday.

Here are five things that a few people know about me but it’s not mainstream news. One of the topics, #4, is something I haven’t spoken about much on the Web at all, except to make a few stray references to it.

So, there you go. An exclusive for Inkwell Alley! LOL..
#1 – I wrote my book, Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers, back in 1999 because I had severe writer's block.

It all started when a friend used the term “fear of writing” to refer to my condition. This triggered something in my subconscious and the material for a book—including 112 fun and therapeutic writing prompts—started pouring out of me.

Luckily, at the time I was working from home and could determine my own schedule. My boss was in another city. As long as I got my work done he didn’t check up on my schedule. I’d put the “office” on voicemail and go to my favorite coffeehouse to write.

I was so on fire, I wrote the book in only four months. And then I self-published it. Then panic set in! After that phase, I set about overcoming my intense shyness by learning how to promote my book and build an audience.

That was back in the ancient days—no Twitter, Facebook or blogging—and I had to start my online book promotion with an old-fashioned Website and email newsletter. LOL!

Ten years later, I’ve made many friends, helped many writers, cured my own fear of writing and learned tons about writing, livin’ and lovin’ life, book promotion and the Internet.

If you've got a specific fear that dominates your life, I highly recommend writing a book about it as a way to turn that fear to your advantage.

#2 – I often use Dragon dictation software when I'm writing something of any length. I'm using it right now to write this Feature Friday for Inkwell Alley.

Some purists may call this cheating, since it doesn't involve typing or handwriting. But I've come to believe this: anything that helps you get more writing done is fair.

I still have to edit everything I've dictated (and not only for my own mistakes: for example, Dragon typed the word “purist” as “jurist”). So I never lose touch with that hands-on involvement with what I've written.

Dragon can type as fast as you can talk. It's fantastic for those times when you're so inspired you can’t type fast enough to keep up with your own brain.

#3 – I hate the taste of brewed coffee. I stopped drinking it many years ago because

a) spots would appear before my eyes after just one cup


b) I discovered cappuccinos.

I now refuse to drink anything but espresso drinks (my favorite is the breve—a latté made with half-and-half). This has also helped me cut down on the amount of coffee I drink, because I find espresso drinks so much more satisfying than the thin, yukky brewed stuff.

#4 – I’ve long had an interest in alternative healing. I used herbs and diet changes to help my daughter avoid surgery for glue ear. That happened when she was little; she's now 25 with a baby of her own.

I've also almost completely eradicated my severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by using natural means, such as acupuncture and CranioSacral Therapy, as well as energy healing methods for the aura, chakras and meridians.

I used myself as a guinea pig and tried probably hundreds of different things until I found what worked for me. Eventually, I’d like to start a blog to recommend various healing products and services.

#5 – I'm writing this while taking part in a 10K Day for Writers that I've started hosting at my blog every month. This is an event where a bunch of writers get together and challenge ourselves to try to write 10,000 words in a day.

We communicate by posting two-hourly check-ins on my blog. The idea is to encourage and support one another's creativity.

It's an incredible feeling to be in a group of writers who have agreed to mutually support one another. I’ve fostered many such groups over the past ten years, but the 10K Day event has a special energy of its own. It combines the power of the Internet to bring people together, no matter where they are in the world, with the best side of our writing spirits. In my opinion, that’s when we glory in the creativity of others as well as our own, instead of focusing on critiquing one another (or, as happens in some writing forums, conflict and harassment among writers).

I'm using this Feature Friday as a warm-up for my 10K Day because I knew it would be fun to write. And already it’s given me a word count of 1,232 (before editing) in less than an hour.

Plus, good ol’ Dragon’s helping me do it faster than I could type myself!


MILLI THORNTON is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers and still misses Australia, where she lived for 25 years. A bit of a gypsy, she currently lives in Ohio with her husband. Milli blogs at the Fear of Writing Blog, Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels.

>>This weeks' Feature Friday written by Milli Thornton
Thank you Milli! --Monica & sbass, Inkwell Alley

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


"I'm sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place." From the song Piano Man, by Billy Joel

Call me sensitive, particular, needy and just plain hard to please, but when it comes to my writing environment, it’s crucial that several elements be in place. In other words, I’ve found that some of my most outstanding prose takes to actual ink on paper when the air temperature is between 45 and 50 degree Fahrenheit, the air quality is green (or good) on the weather charts and the sky is overcast; when I’m wearing indigo jeans that make me feel skinny and a sweater that makes me feel as if snuggled up somewhere in a ski lodge.

I write well when no one is around—not talking upstairs or breathing next to me—and I love when thunder rumbles in the distance, not clangs over my head, when dogs bark in the distance, but not next door. My ability to draft a masterpiece is directly related, I think, to my basal body temperature, my hunger level—I can’t be starving and I can’t be bloated—the clarity of my skin and my mood:  depression breeds too much angst, anger, insanity; sadness, extreme pathos; happiness, shallowness. Jaded, bitter, aloof, independent, defiant, determined, hopeful, energized, focused, level-headed: If I don’t feel any of these productive characteristics, I might as well pretend I don’t know what a pen is.

I’m inspired by mountains (no where near where I live in rural South Carolina, the antithesis of creative energy), shop-lined, oil-stained city streets  (also non-existent in my current environs) bustling with women in business suits and tennis shoes, hot dog and funnel cake vendors, ticket scalpers, guitar players, street painters, international characters and culture. Culture—oh how I do miss the laidback, Polish-Catholic culture of Baltimore, the origins of my entire immediate family.  There’s this one street near the harbor and not far from Sip n’ Bite (a hole in the wall that serves the best breakfast and Baltimore special, scrapple) that is full of Polish shops: bakeries, imported crafts, religious article shops. It’s not a flashy street; on the surface it looks like any old street. No neon signs, not a lot of traffic or people. But when you’re strolling the sidewalk you can actually see the displays in the window and the battered signs over the doors. And the smells are wonderful: pierogis, kielbasa, babkas, breads, the aromas of which just waft warm and fresh right out the doors.

I need to transcend my current setting—hot, subtropical climate, retirement community, artistically infertile—to subconsciously and emotionally get where I need to be in order to write.

Given all that needs to be in alignment for me to create, it’s a wonder I get anything done.  
image courtesy

About Us

Two cubicle neighbors with pizzazz and their own personal, but highly similar, set of of innate complexities find refuge in this alley of creative musings. So pull up a chair, join in, as we--artist and writer--share our spin on the world, art, literary pursuits and the seemingly miniscule, daily occurrences that become larger than life.

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Feature Friday--Each Friday! Inkwell Alley is a growing neighborhood and every Friday, one of our followers will be featured with a short bio about their work. We love to make our avid readers feel at home, so relax and enjoy reading about who's springin' up on Inkwell Alley. Don't miss as we continue to update our blog with many new features. Monica and Sbass hope you enjoy your walk down Inkwell Alley! >>Last Week: karilynnlove >>Previous Weeks: June, also known as Isewcute


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