Creativity, writing

Helping Other Writers

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou

by Catherine Evans


Helping others seems like a strange way to work on your writing but please stick with me and let me explain.

Something happens in my brain when I work on someone else’s writing. I’m objective because it’s not my work so I know nothing about it. I’m reading like a reader would, but I’m also reading as a writer looking for flaws. I think about point of view, tense, punctuation, grammar, dialogue, character, story line. I’m conscious of arcs, inconsistencies, structure. I read for so many things and not always consciously, sometimes things just pop out at me. I become conscious of aspects that I may have learned about but previously overlooked.

Often times I’ll be annoyed by something in someone else’s manuscript and then, when I go back to my work, there it is! The exact same damn thing I had been noticing in the other person’s work. By critiquing another writer’s work, I’ve directly helped my own.

You wouldn’t think editing/critiquing someone else’s work would have such an impact, would you?


Ideas for helping other writers

If you wanted to do this, how could you go about helping? There are quite a few ways.

If you know other writers, it’s as easy as offering to beta read for a friend (be one of their first readers, after themselves), or helping a newer author by reading and commenting, often with small changes to help them learn. If you’re in a more formal writing group, you could organize chapter swaps, or judge a contest(s). You could attend a workshop (you never know who you might meet, or what you’ll learn). If you’ve been in the business for a while, you could run a workshop (gathering your ideas together, and trying to present them logically, can be eye-opening!).

Helping other writers doesn’t need such a formal setting either. Over a cup of coffee/tea you can brainstorm plot or character issues, discuss story ideas, talk at length about the industry or your fears or goals or plans.

When you sit and chat, you can go down conversation paths that shine new light on something that opens doors or activities you may never have thought of doing.

Sometimes meeting up for a cuppa can have you writing an article like this — which isn’t something I’d ever dreamed I’d do.

I’ve run workshops other than for writing, and no matter the topic I’m presenting, I learn things from the participants or other presenters. When I attend workshops, I’m there to learn whatever topic is presented, but I also pick up tips from the presenter(s) on presentation skills.

Recently I attended a workshop and the presenter had a marvelous skill at encouraging participants to share their work, something which I had been unable to achieve in workshops I’d run. Right at the start of the workshop, she shared her work by reading it aloud and talked about her experiences writing that piece. She then shared other people’s writing, and quotes from them. All of this was spoken. I had presented similar things, but in a written form. I wasn’t setting the example of speaking my truths, so I could hardly expect anyone else to do the same.

For many years I worked in agricultural research. When I moved into a more senior role where I had to present information to other scientists, I was quite terrified and intimidated. Fortunately, I had mentors who had vast experience.

One looked at me and asked, “Who did this research you’re presenting?” Well, that was easy, he and I had done it. “And who will know any more than you or I?” No one. Since it was the work we’d done and no one else had participated. I presented that talk with much more confidence — until he stood up and asked a question, then I almost turned into a puddle on the floor! Fortunately, it was something I could answer.

That same lesson applies to writing. If you’re speaking about your writing, your book, your process, does anyone know it any better than you do?


What if you’re new to writing?

What if you’re a new author? It’s not so easy to help others when you’re the one needing help. But if you’re in a writing group, there are roles you could volunteer to take on. There may be roles on a committee, administrative roles for contests, meeting organization, tea and coffee making.

When you get in and help, you never know who you may be helping, working alongside, or meeting along the way.

I managed in a contest for a few years. I began in my first year of joining Romance Writers of Australia because my first contest entry came way down the end of the field. The comments I received back weren’t so terrible, and I wanted to know how good the winning entries were. There was no way of knowing that other than volunteering to manage a contest.

I discovered that the entries that were finalists, as well as some further down the scorecard, were at a publishable standard. In fact, some entrants were offered publishing contracts during or soon after contests. I had a lot to learn and a long way to go. I read so many entries and so many of the judges’ comments as a contest manager that it was a brilliant, but steep, learning curve.

Another thing that happened when I was a new author, was that I was paired up with another new author in Romance Writers of Australia — we were called critique partners. In the beginning, neither of us had any idea what we were doing when we exchanged our manuscripts to critique and help each other. We could spot spelling mistakes, we helped each other with things like characters’ names and places, but that was about it. We had completely different writing styles and were writing different types of romance.

It was an absolute struggle.

Then we both began to learn things by attending different workshops or courses, and by going to the annual conference. We learned different things and taught each other by highlighting what we’d discovered in each other’s manuscripts. She learnt about using contractions in dialogue and highlighted all my stilted conversations. Wow! What an obvious thing I’d never noticed.

In the start, our pairing seemed like the craziest thing, yet it turned out to be a fabulous learning experience because by working together, we learned at twice the speed. If you’re in that situation and feeling frustrated, I promise as you each start learning different skills, you’ll end up moving ahead more quickly than if you worked alone.


Writing can be a terribly solitary occupation. Joining with others can give you such a buzz, helping others can make that buzz into real writing energy that can propel your writing career along.

Offer to help, smile, be positive, and watch the energy, and your writing skills, build.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium.


About Catherine Evans

From Medium:

Australian, writer and creator. Inspired by nature and living. Weird thoughts are entirely my own, and I know they’re often not like other people’s!

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Creativity, mindset, writing

News Break Ghost-Rejected Me

Not every Medium writer is permitted to board this gravy-train.


Sometimes the writing life can feel like one big hustle. I’ve got the tattoo on my left leg and the garter on my right. I’m wheelin’, dealin’, writing. I’m holding a wild deuce one day and the next, I’m folding, ready to walk away.

The Jack is my all-time favorite AC/DC track but I don’t always know how to play them fast, I’ve never actually contracted the Clap and I’m definitely not always holding a Royal Flush.

But that’s life. You get to play the full house. Count your money. Then, life plays a card that’ll bring you down. A lot like writing, really.

I’ve played cards on Medium that have earned 37k+ reads and over $2,800 per/article. These pieces continue to create revenue in the long-tail. But they’re the wild cards, and frankly, like many writers here on Medium, I’m feeling the pinch since the platform implemented those changes back in late 2020.

So, what does a writer do?

Flip it or double down?

Flip It

I read about the News Break hype back when the news began to spread across the Medium community like a wildfire. Who could miss that? I checked it out but the idea fell to the wayside until one of my more successful Medium writer friends emailed me. He was heading over to News Break and thought I should too.

Hustle.

So, I applied to be a part of their Creator Program, but it turned out that I couldn’t even get formally rejected by News Break. They ghosted me. Twice.

That was a wild deuce without the wild part.

I don’t know if it is because they think that my writing is crappy, my topics off-beat, or if it’s that I’m too Australian for an American based platform. Not to offend, but the rest of the world is starkly aware that a good portion of America believes that the sun rises and sets just for them. And I don’t possess the Medium Star power the likes of fellow talented Aussie writer, Tim Denning.

Ghosting is a real thing in the writing world as much as it exists within our interpersonal relations. It’s so real that it’s almost tangible. I have encountered phantoms, ghouls, and doppelganger spooks in this word-slinging landscape. I’ve even bumped into the Ghost-of-Rejection-Past revisited.

Whatever that means.

Whether you’re dealing with other writers, submitting to an agent, a magazine, or a publisher, or even writing platforms like News Break, you have got to be prepared for the ghost-rejection.

It happens to the best of us.

So, how do you handle the ghost-rejection?

Double Down

We can either let the ghost-rejections haunt us or we can grab a stick of Palo Santo and ghost-bust them the fuck out. Life isn’t just a one-round Poker game, it’s a continual shuffle at Earth Casino. The decks, dealers and your hand may vary, but the table is always in front of you.

You can either play your cards or you can let them play you (and oh, haven’t we all been played at some point).

In a recent blog post written by Seth Godin titled, I’m Just Doing My Job, he asks the question: What if you replaced “doing” with “improving” or “reinventing” or “transforming”?

Repeat: Improving. Reinventing. Transforming.

Three of a Kind in my face.



Right away, it connected. I knew he was right. Godin strikes me as a man with much wisdom and life experience. And even though there has been an occasional instance where I might question his generously imparted life-lesson titbits, I knew that he was onto something here.

Thinking about how to apply those qualities offer us the double-down key. Especially when we’re looking Down the Barrel of a ghost-rejection, or feel as if we’re about ready to give up.

Those three characteristics make for a shift in mindset that is both positive and affirmative in reconnecting with your creative fire, remembering in your heart why you chose the writing life in the first place — your Kicker cards.

The game is endless. You’re not always going to be on an Upswing, but you can think about getting All-in with the above-mentioned Three of a Kind.

A while back, I asked another wise man to take a look at an article I had written about the link between creativity and sexuality titled, The Truth About Love, Sexuality & Creativity. It was around the same time that I first started out writing posts and I had been worried about offending readers.

A wise man told me:

“As far as offending and unsettling, you should be trying to do that. People you “offend” are not your readers anyway. Write from your heart and don’t worry about being polite.”

So, I did.

Eventually, that advice paid off and continues to do so. This, despite almost drowning in the wake of the Medium changes and News Break ghost-rejecting me.

Doubling down looks different to everyone but for me, it means playing the Card of Hearts. Ideally, our heart should be evolving — improving, reinventing, and transforming each time we are called to throw the cards down. So when we get up and dust off our pants, our words remember why we started writing back when.

Get back in the game and do your part in making a difference somehow. That’s what a writer does.

We keep writing with heart and taking risks in pursuit of our dreams.

I’ve got the tattoo on my left leg and the garter on my right. I’m wheelin’, dealin’, writing


This post first appeared on Synergy, Medium

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Kickstart Your Writer’s Ear

Don’t you just love overhearing snippets of conversations?


I do.

I’m not a snoop but some types of random communication between strangers help to kickstart my writer’s ear — I like to tune into the way people talk, their quirky wisecracks and tone of voice.

It can be interesting research for any writer.

Why?

Because its real life now, that’s why. Every writer knows how important it is to capture authentic dialogue in their work. It’s the unique flavor of people and their conversations that we want convey in our creations. Even nonfiction writers who pen their wonderful articles here on Medium can learn so much from the art of listening, right?

Sometimes, its enough just to listen to the earth.

There are a few young men working outside in my neighbor’s backyard right now. I can’t see them. Too many trees in the way. But I can hear their laughter and quick witted banter over Sydney’s coolest radio station — their blue colored choice of music, tuned into Triple J.

J for …. Jives? Jockey? Jam?

I actually don’t know. Let the “J” remain as mysterious as the lady-jesting blokes out back. Yes. They have been chatting about females. Or rather, teasing each other about the opposite sex.

I’m not eavesdropping. Promise. But it’s a bit a hard not to hear them when volume control is nil. Anyway, they got me laughing. Here’s a little preview:

“You can’t tell me that’s she’s this and that. She can’t be all that good if you’re her only option.”

and…

“Maaate… does she even know your name?”

Heh.

Real life. Real love. Real conversations.

Now.


More Real Life & Love

This month, I have had the greatest pleasure in working with my LOL writers to bring their real life & love conversations to the page. We’ve had a little taste of just about everything — from wild African ventures to Holi Indian celebrations to soulful poetics to falling in love to the odd controversial piece.

I love being a part of the diversity that we are creating together for our readers, and honestly, I think that I am in love with all of you — gratitude, that you choose to house your good work here at LOL with me and Miss Sassy Lexi.

Check out the March story pages below. There is something there for everyone. ❤

Enjoy and Happy Easter to you 🐣

Kim & Lexi

#RealLoveNow


Julia E Hubbel ♥ Gerthy Bingoly ♥ Catherine Evans ♥ Jennifer M. Wilson
Wistful writer ♥ Genius Turner ♥ Kate Mackay ♥ David Gerken ♥ Kevin Horton ♥ Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA ♥ Kate Conradie ♥ Cynthia Webb ♥ Elna Cain ♥ Deeksha Agrawal ♥ Rosie Wylor-Owen ♥ Christopher Wills ♥ Clarrisa Lee ♥ George Frey ♥ Beth Prentice ♥ Kaia Maeve Tingley ♥ Em Hoccane ♥ Ana RyanKara Summers ♥ Michael Grimes ♥ Anna Foga ♥ Albert Heemeijer — Author at Balboa / HayHouse ♥ Surbhi Tak ♥ Ellen McRae ♥ Anna & Ryan ♥ HKB ♥ Amanda Clark-Rudolph ♥ John Gruber ♥ Lisa Richards ♥ Margaret Pan ♥ Sujona Chatterjee ♥ Taryn Watson♥ Kamay Williams ♥ LSK Ann♥ Francesco RizzutoGranPa-Festus♥ Khadejah Jones♥ Anand Choudhury ♥ Danielle Urciullo♥ Floyd Mori♥ Trudy Horsting ♥ Hugo Bertrand ♥ Emma London ♥ Lucas R. Marmor ♥ Akarsh ♥ Yangxier Sui ♥ Nicole Maharaj ♥ B Shantae ♥ Ashley Nicole ♥ Kendra D ♥ Spirit♥ Katy Garner ♥ Natasha Marie ♥ Harley Christensen


Click on the LOL page link to discover our latest stories

Gerthy Bingoly: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/gerthy-bingoly/home

Kim Petersen: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/kim-petersen/home

Loving Out Loud: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/loving-out-loud/home

Real Life Now: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/real-life-now/home

Creative Locomotion: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/creative-locomotion/home

Curation Magic: https://medium.com/living-out-loud/curated-stories/home


Also published by Living Out Loud on Medium



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A Writer’s Wine

Is the echo of their soul.

Just as I sit down to write this message for you, Never Tear Us Apart by INXS starts drifting through my opened office window. The neighbours are using their outdoor sound system. At least they have the fortitude to play decent music.

Kirk Pengilly owns the saxophone that carries along the summer breeze. I begin to smile but it hardly forms as the music transports me elsewhere. Now, the half-buried awaken within me and I’m trying to catch the breath of eternal soul, making wine from love and pain.

“We could live for a thousand years, but if I hurt you, I’d make wine from your tears.”

It’s got to be one of my favourite song lyrics of all time.

Then, I’m back at my desk and entangled with a ghost, and somewhat grateful that I have cried tears enough to make wine.

Words are a Writer’s Wine

And some of our most powerful stories are born from the pain of heartache, loss and love. At Living Out Loud, our writers are making wine and sharing those unique perspectives with those who are intended to read and learn from their great work, and we couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of it.

February has been our busiest month ever, and we are so excited to welcome and publish the work of our new writers as much as our regulars who continue to support our cozy little corner of Medium with their beautiful “wine” — every piece is helping to give life and shape the fabric of Living Out Loud, and it’s our pleasure to serve our writers and readers in synergetic, intoxicating connection.


Latest News

Miss Harley and I have recently created a Slack group for our writers so that we can keep in touch outside of Medium. Our Slack group is a great tool for writers to use in case they wish to express any concerns or questions that they may have about a piece, or even to just pop in to say “Hey” once in a while.

Spotify

We’ve also created a LOL Writer’s Collection Playlist on Spotify just for fun, and would love to hear about your favourite tunes so that we can make this playlist something really unique.

Slack

Join us! 👋 Let’s move this to Slack! You can sign up here: https://join.slack.com/t/livingoutloudpub/shared_invite/zt-lp6a7510-YpkWK6tUT0cpFxWMtdGCjw

Email

Or email us at Livingoutloud@gmail.com and we’ll send you an invitation.

LOL Writers Collection on Spotify:

  • Hit “like” so that you can access and listen to the playlist anytime on your own Spotify account.

Keep sharing the “wine”.

With love,

Kim, Harley & Lexi

#Love #wine #life #music


What are you listening to lately?

Many thanks to our writers…

Julia E Hubbel ♥ Gerthy Bingoly ♥ Catherine Evans ♥ Jennifer M. Wilson
Wistful writer ♥ Genius Turner ♥ Kate Mackay ♥ Harley Christensen
David Gerken ♥ Kevin Horton ♥ Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA ♥ Kate Conradie
Cynthia Webb ♥ Elna Cain ♥ Deeksha Agrawal ♥ Rosie Wylor-Owen
Christopher Wills ♥ Clarrisa Lee ♥ George Frey ♥ Matt Lillywhite
Beth Prentice ♥ Kaia Maeve Tingley ♥ Em Hoccane ♥ Ana Ryan
Kara Summers ♥ Michael Grimes ♥ Anna Foga
Albert Heemeijer — Author at Balboa / HayHouse ♥ Surbhi Tak
Ellen McRae ♥ Anna & Ryan ♥ HKB ♥ Amanda Clark-Rudolph
John Gruber ♥ Lisa Richards ♥ Margaret Pan ♥ Sujona Chatterjee
Taryn Watson♥ Kamay Williams ♥ LSK Ann♥ JT♥ Francesco Rizzuto
Khadejah Jones♥ Anand Choudhury ♥ Danielle Urciullo♥ Floyd Mori
Natasha Marie


Latest Stories…

Love and Relationships

#LovingOutLoud #passion #love

How to Increase Your Chances of Finding Love by Lisa Richards

Is a Woman’s Intuition Really a Man’s Worst Enemy? by Kim Petersen

What if You Hate Your Child’s Partner? by Kim Petersen

Take Love To The Next Level by Kamay Williams

The Revolution Will Not Be Sexualized by LS

Have You Encountered Someone from A Past Life? by Kim Petersen

Healing Is More Like A Rollercoaster Ride Than A Journey by Kara Summers

The Wound by LS

She Gets Hers, He Gets His, They Get Theirs by Francesco Rizzuto

Signs It’s Time to Let Go of Your Unhealthy Relationship by Lisa Richards

Were We Conditioned To Cheat? by LS

Rocco’s Last Request by Francesco Rizzuto

Modern Dating by Danielle Urciullo

The Parallels Between Love and Loss by LS

Your Relationship is Ending by LS

Dirty-Love Dozen by Kim Petersen

How To Have An Amazing Valentine’s Day by Kamay Williams

Read This Before You Propose Today by LS

Does Your Partner Inspire You? by Kim Petersen

Do You Scream Desperate to a Potential Partner? by Lisa Richards

‘I Needed to Lose You to Love Me’ — My Shero, Selena Gomez by Sujona Chatterjee

When Abuse Looks Like Home by LS

Why a Man Really Needs to Connect with the Orgasmic Feminine by Kim Petersen

The Story of Silent Acceptance by LS

Real Life Now

#LivingOutLoud #life #mindfulness

Perception: The Power to Reframe Things by Gerthy Bingoly

New Year, New Me by Catherine Evans

Why ‘Think Like a Monk’ Should be the First Book You Read in 2021 by Sujona Chatterjee

Is Your Greatest Flaw Your Biggest Asset? by Jennifer M. Wilson

Get a LIFE Already: Stop Letting People Manipulate Your Outrage by Julia E Hubbel

Rage Against The Time Machine by LS

Julia E Hubbel is so FULL of BS, and Jessica Wildfire is TOO. by GranPa-Festus

The Rejections That Don’t Kill You, Make You Stronger by Sujona Chatterjee

A Woman’s Intuition is Really a Man’s Best Friend by GranPa-Festus

How to Master the Art of Public Speaking — Wear a Mask by Sujona Chatterjee

“I See You,” The Meaning Behind Those 3 Little Words is Deeply Rooted in Our Past by Gerthy Bingoly

Coming Down From The High by LS

My Mother’s Shell by LS

Who on Earth Comes Up with These Questions? by Julia E Hubbel

3 Things Death Taught Me About Life by LS

Square Peg, Round Hole by Catherine Evans

Let’s Be Afraid Together by LS

You Know What Takes Guts? Asking for Help. by Sujona Chatterjee

You’re Born With Your Purpose And You Find It Over Time by Khadejah Jones

We Need To Break Up With Our Parents by LS

Exciting Fashion Trends for 2021 by Julia E Hubbel

10 Destructive Habits I Stopped Doing to Live a More Content Life by Khadejah Jones

Winter Weather Can Be Very Beautiful by Floyd Mori

3 Ways You Can Deal With Your Insecurities And Stand in Your Truth by Khadejah Jones

How I Overcame My Fear of “Unhealthy” People by Khadejah Jones

Don’t Sit Inside And Stew During The Pandemic by Floyd Mori

The Model Citizen by LS

The Negative Side Effects of Beautiful Women by Kim Petersen

Hello, It Is Me — Your Body by Sujona Chatterjee

Creativity

#CreativeLocomotion #poetry #fiction

Confession by Kamay Williams

Do You Remember Our Last Conversation? by Gerthy Bingoly

Let Me Out by A.j Thomas

The Light Switch by A.j Thomas


First published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Creativity, life, mindset, Newsletter, writing

New Year Energy Revolution

Who and how do you want to be in the world now?


You’ve felt the universal lull lately. The void. In past months, you’ve succumbed to a sense of nothingness. Captured in a loop of indecisiveness. Loneliness or abandonment.

It is as if we’ve all been suspended in vain, waiting for the slightest sign… a shift…. an omen. Waiting to realize the healing secrets of the moon, illuminating a new path.

Haven’t we all been waiting for change?

Transformation is now

Planetary trends and universal energy point towards a new landscape for 2021 and beyond, suggesting new vibrations and energetic frequencies. Meaning great potential and opportunity for a whole new life experience.

“Riding on the crest of a grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, the atmosphere is high minded, hopeful and inspired.”

 Astrologist Belinda Dunn

The 2021 energy-revolution is an artisan time of huge creativity, harmonious collaborations and deep inner-trust, as we die to old ways of being, shed our stale skins and societal imprints to embrace the new and improved.

It is now time to stretch our wings in freedom to make choices from within about who we are, what we want, and whom we want to be with.

Saint Germain said:

“There is nothing that comes into the physical form which is not first perfected on the invisible or higher planes.”

In other words, how you perceive the world needs to be seeded from the inside. That’s what gives rise to a new sense of self and manifestation.

The January 2021 Revolution is about releasing old structures and mindsets that no longer serve us and allowing ourselves to go to the next level; thinking of what and who is most important to us and bringing in something new, better…. evolved.

Let’s celebrate harmonious collaborations, energetic revolutions and co-creation together.

This month, Living Out Loud invites writers to share our deepest dreams and strangest musings. Let us create, see, trust and support each other, and let us get a little wild.


Dear Writer,

Who do you want to be now? How do you want to affect the world? And who do you most want to share your life with during these transformative times?

Julia E Hubbel ♥ Gerthy Bingoly ♥ Catherine Evans ♥ Jennifer M. Wilson
Wistful writer ♥ Genius Turner ♥ Kate Mackay ♥ Harley Christensen
David Gerken ♥ Kevin Horton ♥ Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA ♥ Kate Conradie
Cynthia Webb ♥ Elna Cain ♥ Deeksha Agrawal ♥ Rosie Wylor-Owen
Christopher Wills ♥ Clarrisa Lee ♥ George Frey ♥ Matt Lillywhite
Beth Prentice ♥ Kaia Maeve Tingley ♥ Em Hoccane ♥ Ana Ryan
Kara Summers ♥ Michael Grimes ♥ Anna Foga
Albert Heemeijer — Author at Balboa / HayHouse ♥ Surbhi Tak
Ellen McRae ♥ Anna & Ryan ♥ HKB ♥ Amanda Clark-Rudolph

Love & 2021 Revolution,

Kim, Harley & Lexi

#RealLifeNow

P.S. A HUGE shout out to our wonderful writers who have contributed their stories to our little publication this past month. It’s an honor to share your work with the world.


Latest Stories…

Love and Relationships

#LovingOutLoud #Passion #love

Overcoming a Relationship with a Narcissist by Kara Summers

Loose Boundaries and Parking Problems by Melissa Rhoads

If We Meet and You Don’t Look Like Your Pics, You’re Buying the Drinks Until You Do by Julia E Hubbel

Why Couldn’t He Be Real? by Kara Summers

Narcissists Don’t Have Kids — They “Make Babies” by Kara Summers

The Narcissist’s Cat by Kara Summers

“Can You Talk?” by Melissa Rhoades


Real Life Now

#LivingOutLoud

The Promise of Powerful Money Charms by Kim Petersen

How Have You Changed in 2020? by Jennifer M. Wilson

Walking Away From Negative Relationships by Michael Grimes

I’m Going BALD! by Julia E Hubbel

The Top Movie I Watched All Through 2020 by Julia E Hubbel

Wearing Make-Up: An Ongoing Battle With Society by Rosie Wylor-Owen

Humans and Humanity by Catherine Evans

Humans and Animals by Catherine Evans

The 8 Natural Qualities of Exceptionally Cool People by Kim Petersen

How The Four Happy Hormones Can Help Replenish Your Vitality by Gerthy Bingoly

Unearned Cheap Thrills are for Amateurs. by Julia E Hubbel


Creativity

#CreativeLocomotion #Poetry #fiction

My Guiding Light by Gerthy Bingoly

Where The Green Grass Grows by A.j Thomas

Helping Other Writers by Catherine Evans

Not Just a Writer by Catherine Evans

My Words Dried Up by Catherine Evans

The Perfection of Breathing by Catherine Evans

Writing Events and Conferences by Catherine Evans


Published at Living Out Loud on Medium

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Is The Current e-Book Era a Second Pulp Fiction Era?

By Christopher Wills

Image from Pulp Covers

In this post I will briefly examine the similarities between the current e-book era and the early twentieth century Pulp fiction era.

Note I am not suggesting e-books are pulp fiction; I am suggesting the current e-book era has similarities with the Pulp fiction era.

What is Pulp fiction?

Pulp paper was made from cheap wood pulp which was widely available in the 19th century. Pulp paper is still used today in newspapers, magazines and yes… toilet paper.

In 1896 the fiction magazine, The Argosy, was published on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no images inside or on the cover. It was eight pages of serialized fiction. Within ten years it was a weekly magazine selling 500,000 copies every issue.

The Pulp fiction era is considered to have been between 1896 and 1939, although if one includes cheap paperback books printed after the war, one could suggest the era continued until the 1950s. Paper shortages during the Second World War brought a decline in magazine sales and after 1945 new paperback publishers, comic books and television helped the decline in pulp magazines.

In 2004 Sony released the Librie in Japan which is acknowledged to be the first e-book reader with an electronic ink display.

However the e-book era probably started in 2007 with Amazon’s issue of their first e-book reader, the Kindle. The name came from the idea of kindle as fuel to start a fire, so the Kindle was a metaphor for fuelling the love of reading. Wood kindle is like wood pulp – spooky. The first Kindle sold out in 5 hours.

The e-book was possibly invented in 1949 although that was a mechanical device so maybe it should be called an m-book. Another version of an e-book was invented in the 1960s but that was based on an IBM mainframe computer so it wasn’t very portable.

So what are the comparisons between the Pulp fiction era and the current e-book era?

Pulp fiction made it cheaper to publish and sell short stories and serialized fiction which created a boom in magazine publishing, meaning many more people were able to write for a living and many more people were able to access their writing by buying the cheap pulp magazines.

E-books have made it much cheaper to be able to publish short stories and novels which has led to a boom in publishing, meaning many more people are able to write for a living and many more people are able to buy fiction to read.

The staples of early Pulp fiction were the many short story magazines like Argosy, Black Mask and Amazing Stories where writers were paid by the word. Longer story meant more income for writers.

Kindle Unlimited pays writers by page reads which is effectively paying writers by the word. More pages more income for writers.

Pulp magazines and books developed amazing colourful book covers which clearly defined the genre of the stories inside.

To sell e-books one is encouraged to get amazing colourful book covers that clearly define the genre of the stories one is writing.

But one might ask, hasn’t this always been true of books?

No. Go to your bookshelf, or your parents’ bookshelf or a library bookshelf and look at the covers of some older paperback books in some genres. Some are amazing and well designed, but many are not. I looked up James Bond book cover art and discovered a variety of styles. Some paperback James Bond books had no images on the cover at all; they only had text stating the title and writer.

Book covers have always been designed but only in the last thirty years or so have some traditional book covers started to conform to genre styles. Think Chicklit or Mislit. Some genres like Science Fiction and Westerns have always had a genre style image on the cover.

During the Pulp fiction era new genres were created and these genres became established as part of the fiction canon. A couple of examples are Science Fiction and Hard Boiled Detective stories.

Today in the e-book era many new genres and sub-genres have been created and have become established such as Paranormal Romance and Military Science Fiction.

Some Pulp fiction writers were writing huge numbers of words per day; some wrote up to 8,000 words. Imagine writing 8,000 words on a typewriter every day. That must have been before RSI was invented 😊.

Today many e-book writers write a few thousand words every day and some “write” even more using voice to text technology.

This is a bit more productive than the famous quote attributed to traditional authors such as Flaubert, Wilde and Conrad:

“I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.”


Some Pulp fiction writers had more than one pen name as they wrote in more than one genre.

Some e-book writers today use more than one pen name for the same reason.

During the Pulp fiction era writers were paid on acceptance for magazine stories and the rates of payment were agreed in advance. This transparency and speed of payment helped with the payment of bills.

Today one advantage e-book authors have over traditional writers is the quick payment of money for sales and the transparency of the amount of money earned.

So there are similarities between the Pulp fiction era and the current e-book era. Some may have concerns that comparisons between the two eras could introduce the idea of e-books being labelled as Pulp fiction.

Let’s examine this briefly. Many great writers wrote stories for Pulp fiction magazines to supplement their incomes and as part of learning their craft. These include:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Louis L’Amour
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Arthur C Clarke
  • Joseph Conrad
  • Raymond Chandler
  • Philip K Dick
  • F Scott Fitzgerald
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • Robert A Heinlein
  • Frank Herbert
  • Rudyard Kipling – Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Sinclair Lewis – Nobel Prize for Literature + offered but declined the Pulitzer Prize for Literature
  • H P Lovecraft
  • Upton Sinclair – Pulitzer Prize for Literature
  • Micky Spillane
  • Mark Twain
  • H G Wells
  • Tennessee Williams.

Personally I would not consider it an insult if my name was associated with some of those writers. What do you think?


About Christopher

Christopher has been a soldier, sailor, teacher, trainer and is now a storyteller. He has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and has recently qualified as a Tony Buzan Licensed Instructor in Mind Mapping.

In 2019 Christopher published a 3 book Military SciFi series and will publish a non-fiction book to help writers.

He has a website in development titled Soldier Sailor Teacher Trainer Storyteller at http://www.crwills.com

Social Media: Twitter | Facebook | Amazon


This post first appeared on the ALLI blog on September 23rd 2019

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Creativity, life, mindset, writing

Seasons of Life


Hello friends,

Welcome to the very first Living Out Loud newsletter!

Super exciting.

So, the world is still spinning on crazy as we continue to move through transitional times, but the warmer days here on the Australian eastern seaboard are beginning to renew my sense of hope for the future — how are you doing?

We are moving into Spring on this side of the globe, and the new season brings cool themes like love, joy, hope and rebirth, which fits nicely with the recent launch of Living Out Loud (LOL).

New Beginnings

I’m a huge fan of Jim Rohn and his masterful lessons using the seasons of life.

Rohn:

“Life is like the changing seasons — you cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself. So, the first major lesson in life to learn is how to handle the winters …. There are all kinds of winters: the “winter” when you can’t figure it out, the “winter” when everything seems to go awry. There are economic winters, social winters and personal winters.”

Pandemic winters…

I don’t think anyone would debate how 2020 has brought along with it a long, cold winter. Rohn was right when he said that we cannot change experiencing the winters, though we change how we deal with them.

“But here is what you can do: You can get stronger; you can get wiser; you can get better. Remember that trio of words: stronger, wiser, better.”

The new decade has forced us to practice more humility than ever before — it’s forced change and transformation on both a global and personal scale.

This year has grounded us so much that many of us are reassessing our lives and really honing in on what’s important.

Love. Connectedness. Authenticity. Heart. Soul. Living Out Loud. Finding You.

With all of this in mind, it’s natural that change will always seem a little daunting as it eventually leads us toward a new beginning.

We want to know how you feel about change and new beginnings, because even though we cannot get in touch in real life, we are still connected here — through sharing our stories that will uplift one another as we embrace change together.

Lexi’s New Beginning Prompts

  • What do new beginnings mean to you?
  • How do you feel about new beginnings — embrace or resist?
  • Opportunity? Change? Trepidation?
  • In thinking about new beginnings, what’s one word that resonates?
  • Send us your article about new beginnings, or pop a reply below.

Now, in case you missed the latest LOL stories, here is some of what went down:

Creativity, Relationships & Real Life Now

Fiction

Poetry


That’s all from us for now — until next time, #BeLove & #RealLifeNow

– The LOL Editorial Team

Lexi, Kim and Harley

Originally published on LOL on Medium.

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Author, Creative Writing Energy Podcast, Creativity, writing

Bringing Yourself to the Page


Life is a series of thought-provoking moments, eliciting our emotions and imprinting our psyche. Life is creation in-action. No one gets a free ride. We all love like crazy; maybe feel pangs of hate; take a deep breath before a leap of faith, and sometimes we get hurt — we learn and grow through pain. We sing with angels and rejoice with heart — we bleed, break and scar. Whoever ever said that life was easy, huh? It’s not. And neither is sitting with your emotions to confront your deepest truths.

Consider what Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung had to say about the meaning of life:

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls. We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life. Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full.”

Hmm… that explains a lot. I may have just had an epiphany.

Moving on.

If, as Jung suggests, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being, then the expressive use of a pen may surely help pave the way toward enlightenment.

Yes?

How about using your writing in a more meaningful way — as an outlet to document and sift through your human experience — and then bring what’s on the inside to the page?

“Who looks outside, dreams’ who looks inside, awakes.”

  • Carl Jung

I’m talking about the deep, convoluted feelings that make you tick and drive purpose in your life — there’s a wealth of experience and lessons learned buried in your past. Use those little wisdom-nuggets.

Writing emotional responses evoked from our experiences is a great asset to writers. It’s the perfect outlet to work through your emotions, drive home your beliefs about the world, and then incorporate them as an important theme in your stories.

Right? Every great book brings an authentic message delivered with its underlying story theme. The way I see it, story theme gives us the opportunity to spread change to the world in our own small way.

Like layering up the good stuff.

It’s the reason you probably started writing in the first place.

The fact is that you are a complex creative-creature with many layers and depth. No one sees the world in quite the same way as you.

You view life through the fluidity of your unique perspective as you evolve, change and reach for new experiences.

Don’t be afraid of what’s deep inside.

More from Jung:

“Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable just to be able to go on living. We only gain merit and psychological development by accepting ourselves as we are and by being serious enough to live the lives we are entrusted with. Our sins and errors and mistakes are necessary to us, otherwise we are deprived of the most precious incentives to development.”

Sounds delicious, does it not?

Making mistakes and doing something that may be considered unforgivable might sound absurd to some, but I think it sounds more like living your truths.

I also feel as if more of us need to embrace the flaws that make us who we are instead of feeling ashamed about them  Imagine if we could drive home that message in our stories? Or something similar?

Sweet glory.

Bringing your flaws and unique worldview to the page by exploring your inner-most emotions, perspectives and feelings is a gift not only to yourself but to others.

Think of it like this: You are the flesh and blood; the tangible and malleable. Yet, you are also a part of the mysterious — the light and the dark. Which ultimately means you have so much of the rich stuff to offer through your words.

Your emotions are your greatest muse.

“Everything begins with words — our stories, thoughts, messages. Each word has its own vibration, too. It is these vibrations that create the reality that surrounds us. Words create more than just stories; they inform our universe, our lives and our reality — and they teach us. Through creating words, I have managed to reacquaint myself more fully with my soul and to live a more authentic, love-driven and passionate life.”

– From Creative Writing Energy

Other benefits of exploring your feelings through writing:

Clarity

By expressing yourself and communicating complex ideas in a much more effective way, you will discover more about yourself and learn how to honor it by bringing your deepest truths and beliefs into your work.

Eliminates stress

Emptying your mind through writing helps to eliminate stress. Capturing those moments, developing and working through your ideas produces a ripple effect; since not only do you declutter your mind, but it is also a process of rationalization — story themes right there.

Productivity

Writing activates neurons in your brain and gets you set to face the day. Serious writers have demonstrated that setting goals or systems in their daily writing habits significantly increases the possibilities of achieving them.


Some fellow writers swear by starting their day with a little self-reflective journaling. Journal writing your feelings teaches you about you and helps to strengthen your writing skills and find your voice.

It also encourages greater self-awareness.

“The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization — absolute and unconditional — of its own particular law.” — Jung

Writing down what you have in mind regularly — your dreams, worries, fears, deepest desires, is a viable path toward self-realization.

Writers often use snippets of their self-reflections in their work because it’s important to create characters that feel real to our readers. Well, I know that I tend to lean on my past experiences and feelings when tapping into the essence of my characters.

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your writing.”

– Gustave Flaubert

So, if I’m feeling a little like:

Frustration

I might use the edge to help drive story conflict. You know, inject some attitude into my words. Helps to release the tension too, by the way.

Then I take it deeper, spinning my characters with sass and diving into the gritty, dark, even profane.

Heartache

Even better. Well, maybe not so much for me, but my character’s benefit from my soul-crushing pain. Lucky them. The fact is that words created from an aching heart have a way of bringing depth and authenticity to the page.

Real feelings mean readers will relate to, care about and resonate with your character and their world because everyone has been hurt in some way.

Love

Need I say more?

We can’t get enough of the love-stuff. It’s where alchemy and magic abounds.

Personally, I spend more time than I probably should contemplating the concept of love and exploring its meaning, and I’m not even a romance writer, per se. Regardless, love always winds its way into my writing. Every time.

Love affects us all. It’s the universal language we all know and understand, and bringing it to your story creates real-world feelings and connection.


Go on, give it a try — dig deep, unravel yourself from the inside out and let your emotions be your greatest muse.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

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Creative Writing Energy Podcast, Uncategorized

Creative Writing Energy: Understanding the Mind for Creativity

The mind has many layers.


Creativity is one of the most fascinating challenges in contemporary neuroscience. In fact, very little about the nature of creativity is known. I like to think of it as a mystifying and wonderful complex side of our minds awaiting exploration.

Our capacity to create, produce new concepts and ideas is one of the most vital attributes of the human brain, and yet its neural basis largely remains a mystery – creativity and imagination cannot necessarily be defined or measured. 

I am not a neuroscientist, but I am a creative who often ponders the gift of imagination and creativity. It’s sure to be one of our most valued human traits, and has given us the tools to change the world through innovative ingenuity and insightful visualization. Creativity is also responsible for our ability to adapt to changes beyond our control.

But is creativity a conscious or unconscious process?  

In their attempts to understand creativity in the human brain, cognitive neuroscientists are led to the conclusion that the creative process arises from the unconsciousness rather than occurring as a conscious process, claiming that only 5 percent of our brain is conscious while the rest lies beyond our awareness.

The human mind has many layers.

Sigmund Freud believed that behavior and personality were driven by the constant and unique interaction of conflicting psychological forces that operate at three different levels of awareness: the preconscious, conscious, and unconscious or subconscious.

Here’s a quick overview:

The conscious mind

Rules thoughts, memories and feelings of which we are aware at any given moment. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally.

The preconscious mind

Consists of anything that could potentially be brought into the conscious mind. It exists just below the level of consciousness.

The unconscious or subconscious mind

A reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that are outside of our conscious awareness. The unconscious mind thinks in the expression of form such as images, memories, underlying desires and creativity.

It is our subconscious minds that influences our actions to fit a pattern consistent with our self-concept. It’s like an inbuilt master program. This is why our thoughts are so critical – we can actually reprogram our lives and self-concepts through the thoughts we create and believe.

Positive affirmations are a wonderful way to kick-start change through kind, motivational and prosperous-oriented bites of sound. That’s why we at Creative Writing Energy created a series of positive creativity prompts – to help instil positive thoughts and encourage writers to believe in themselves and their creativity.

The unconscious or subconscious mind is a fascinating part of the human brain because it holds much of the mysterious aspects about humans, our perceptions and our experiences. It also holds the key to our creativity and shines a light over the path leading toward higher states of consciousness; the Higher-Self.

Your Higher-Self is where dwells your higher-creative mind.

From Wikipedia:

“Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a god or “the part of the human mind that is capable of transcending animal instincts”.

Concepts of higher conscious has ancient roots dating back to the Bhagavad Gita and Indian Vedas. It is a belief held by Hindus and New Age thought alike.

In his Theory of Consciousness, Gerald Edelman makes the distinction:

“The higher consciousness or secondary consciousness from primary consciousness, defined as simple awareness that includes perception and emotion. Higher consciousness in contrast “involves the ability to be conscious of being conscious” and allows the recognition by a thinking subject of his or her own acts and affections.”

Basically, our higher consciousness is the eternal essence in each of us that is everything divine, perfect and love – It is our bond connecting us to the higher-universal intelligence.

The source of all light and life within you.

Becoming aware of and building a relationship with your higher-self is like opening a door to parts of yourself that you always sensed was there but you couldn’t quite grasp it.

Yes, it might sound a little on the abstract side, and that’s because it is. There is a reason why neuroscience and quantum physics cannot solve the mystery of life, creativity and imagination.

Analytics, scientific data and a logical brain can only take you so far. The rest has to be learned through intuition, faith and connection.

Connecting with your higher-creative mind takes deliberate practice and intention through creating the space within yourself and your life to get there. You must possess the desire to reach for more if you are reap the divine rewards.

Creativity and imagination abound within these higher spaces, as does a sense of tranquillity, profound connection, wondrous revelations and well-being.

Here’s a few methods and tools you can use to begin the journey toward the higher-creative mind:

  • Meditation
  • Reading Spiritual Text  
  • Earth-grounding
  • The Tarot
  • Oracle Cards
  • Yoga
  • Shamanic Medicine Drumming
  • Free-form Writing for Self-Exploration
  • Crystals
  • Yoga

Catherine Evans and I are going to discuss all of this and more during our Creative Writing Energy presentation in next month’s WriteHive 2020 convention, where we hope to help you pave a way to connect with and honor your higher-creative mind.

WriteHive 2020 is a free online writing convention featuring everyone from huge names in the literary industry to brand-new writers, and will be live across the world from April 18th - 19th.  

Check it out here: https://www.writehive.org/

We hope to see you there.


Creative Writing Energy will be presenting their panel on Saturday April 18th at 3pm EST!

We’ll be around to answer comments – come say hello!

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Creative Energy

Value Your Creative Energy: The Benefits of Connecting with Your Higher-Creative Mind


The higher-self is a term associated with a variety of belief systems, but its basic premise describes an eternal, conscious and intelligent being which represents our most authentic state.

The higher-self embodies our spirit which is expressed through our human vessels — the part of ourselves that exists beyond the conditioning learned throughout our life experiences. Conditions such as fear and ego fixations, limiting beliefs, negative thinking patterns and old wounds.

Our higher-selves are never lost to us — your soul or spirit is ever-present and flows with unhindered and effortless love from the higher-realms.

When we refer to the higher-creative mind, we are speaking in terms of the creative resources available to us from that sacred space within. The incredibly creative part of you that remains hidden and unexplored, and brimming with story concepts and fascinating characters you have yet to meet.

But sometimes, we can lose touch with this part of ourselves. Life happens and we easily become weighed down with everyday stresses and responsibilities which can lead to feelings of disconnection. With the Corona virus currently ripping through the world, this is apparent more than ever right now.

We can tell when we are disconnected to our higher-selves because this state breeds lower vibrational feelings such as anxiety and depression, as well as other negative ways of thinking about ourselves and the world.

This is when problems are likely to arise with your creative output.

We have all been there. Some days, it can feel as if your creative well has dried up — that there are no more interesting words and stories left in you to tell.

It’s normal to experience creative burn-out from time to time. I do. I know how it feels when creativity seems out of reach. When you believe there is nothing left inside of you to creative and bring to the world; at least, nothing worthwhile. We want to produce our best work, and yet, it’s impossible to always be on top of our game.

Sometimes, a small shift in our perspective is all it takes to kick-start the creative juices again, and taking the time to replenish our creative resources is important if we are to thrive as prolific artists and writers.

In fact, recharging the creative batteries is a vital component in the life of a creative. We need to refill our spirits with renewed energy, and we need to allow ourselves time to unwind in order to create a fresh space for revived and invigorated visions and the formation of new ideas.

Often, it is the simple activities that are most helpful in clearing our creative blocks and managing stress levels. The core notion lies in the necessity to separate yourself and your mind from your work and creative project for a block of time.

We may be facing uncertain times and even isolation, but that doesn’t mean we have to be totally limited in finding ways to refresh our creative palettes. Here are a few things you can do to help pull you out of a creative rut (current circumstances permitting):

· Take a walk outside — preferably someplace that encourages positive feelings. Sunshine, trees and air will do wonders to replenish your imagination, and besides, it just feels good to be out and away from the computer sometimes.

· Go veg out at the beach — dig in your toes and imprint your mark into the sand while soaking up the purifying salt air for a few hours (my favorite!).

· Spend time with your children/dog or cat. Laughter uplifts the spirit and children have a knack of bringing out your inner-child. Animal therapy is a proven mood-booster.

· Coffee with a treasured friend — great conversation and connecting with someone special can cure the most contrite of hearts.

· Catch a flick or binge a series on Netflix — movies and TV are modern-day oral storytelling. Inspiration right there.

· Cook up a storm — this can be an extremely pleasant activity in switching up your focus. When we take away the “chore” aspect of cooking and do it for the pleasure, cooking transcends into something utterly delightful.

· Take a drive to destination inspiring — the world is brimming with naturally rustic beauty. Whether it be inhaling the country air over rolling green pastures, breathtaking views from mountain peaks, or dreaming on the wings of an eagle over rugged ocean cliffs, there is sure to be a slice of the magic near you.

The above suggestions are great ways to help improve your mindset when you’re feeling flat on the creative front. It is likely you’re already practicing similar activities. I think we all know when we need to just close down for a while and think about anything other than our work-in-progress or all tasks that are piling up on our desks.

This is true for our higher-creative minds, too. The more time spent intentionally cultivating that inner-resource, the greater your access will be to those extraordinary invisible realms.

We do this through connecting to the higher-self.

Deliberately choosing to spend time on strengthening your relationship with your inner-spirit is an act that will help nurture the bonds with your creativity.

It’s not hocus-pocus. It’s not even “woo-woo”. Those labels are formed by those who don’t get it. Think of it like this; there is so much more to our world and existence than what we are able to acknowledge and perceive. Often, it is fear driving the ridicule behind those who negate alternative thinking and practices with their labels.

Being willing to open your mind to different ideas and ways of being will add richness to your life. It’s like traveling — the experiences will broaden your perspective and increase the good stuff like empathy, love and kindness.

Connecting to your higher-creative mind will help you achieve:

· A holistic sense of well-being

· Forms of awareness

· Trust in yourself

· Trust in the creative process

· Honor the incubation period — allowing the ideas and thoughts time to stew

· Build on your intuition

· Value vulnerability

· Push past fear

· Free expression

· Keep the creative channels flowing.

When it comes to the higher-creative mind, there are some simple methods we can practice to help get you there and keep you there during your creative output sessions.

Catherine Evans and I are going to discuss all of this and more during our Creative Writing Energy presentation in next month’s WriteHive 2020 convention, where we hope to help you pave a way to connect with and honor your higher-creative mind.

WriteHive 2020 is a free online writing convention featuring everyone from huge names in the literary industry to brand-new writers, and will be live across the world from April 18th — 19th.

Check it out here: https://www.writehive.org/

We hope to see you there.


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