Time for Self-Care

The Anita Factor has been meeting for about five years now. And a cohesive family of friends we have become. Connections extend far beyond our circle of chairs at McNally Robinson booksellers, where we meet. We not only discuss writing, but often know what’s happening in each other’s personal lives as well. We are all a support system for each other in all ways. I don’t know what I would do without the connections of my fine Anitas, and Larry – our Anito! 🙂

Spinning Inward cover

At our last meeting, I was really struggling with finding something original to bring to the group for our teachable. And I personally, am having a fairly rough start to 2016, so was also having a bit of trouble getting my head in the right place to share any articles of sound writerly advice.

I considered what  to do and realized I need to breathe. And then it struck me. At this meeting I wasn’t going to focus on writing. I would focus on self-care and we’d take some time to breathe.

I have a wonderful book of meditations that are written for children to adults — Spinning Inward by Maureen Murdock.

Everyone enjoyed the first one, “Waterfall of White Light,” so much that we actually did a second. I have used these meditations with children and adults alike. They are beautiful and I highly recommend checking out this book if you are in need of some self-care time. Get your circle of friends together and take turns reading to each other in an inspiring quiet space.

Suzanne’s first novel, Empty Cup, is an edgy contemporary young adult story about a seventeen year old girl who lives through life’s ultimate betrayal. Suzanne lives in Winnipeg, MB.

Colour—it’s all in how we write it

YeriLee / Pixabay
We discussed colour at our last in-person meeting—our bi-monthly opportunity to connect, critique and share. More specifically, we talked about using colour to edit—to highlight dialogue, description, themes, etc. (It’s an idea we first read in an article by Danyelle Leafty) It sounds like a useful and fun way to discover patterns in our work. Who doesn’t love an excuse to use a highlighter?


I’ve been mulling over the concept of colour ever since last Thursday. Here are ten colourful facts.

1. Blue is the favorite colour amongst adults.
2. Red is, overall, a child’s favorite color. (But it’s been noted that most children’s favorite colours are in a constant state of flux.)
3. Colours match with a range of emotions that are mostly consistent in adults
(for example, black equals anger, yellow equals happy).
4. Colours represent inconsistent emotions in young children.
5. Our taste in colours can be manipulated by society. (Trendy colour right now is greige. Young children love pink—even the boys—until they learn it’s a girl colour.)
6. Colour choice needs to be seen in context. (Just because I prefer red apples to green ones doesn’t necessarily mean I like red better.)
7. Colour needs to be specific to be powerful. Why else are there fifty shades of…blue, or purple or yellow at the local paint store? People spend a lot of time determining the exact shade of a colour.
8. Colour works on a symbolic level. I use red in my book, Red Stone, as a metaphor for communism and for death.
9. Colour becomes invisible when used to draw stereotypes. How about a more laid back red headed child to stir up the plot?
10. Colour is ubiquitous. Let’s put more of it into our books—unless we prefer greige characters inhabiting a greige world.

AJEL / Pixabay

Here’s a question to writers: When you choose a dab of colour at the paint store, how much are you influenced by its name? Here’s another one: When we describe a sunset, how do we colour our scene? Will it be puke pink, mellow melon, or passion peach?

Colour—it’s all in how we write it.

Gabe writes the books she wished she could have read while growing up as an awkward immigrant in Winnipeg. Her Katya stories are set in pre-war Soviet Union and East Prussia.
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