Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Mine Your Voice

Free Writing Class Begins in Two Weeks

On October 1, 2016, the free Jacki Kellum Writing Class Blog to Memoir will begin.

By writing about the houses where we have lived, the towns where we have lived, etc., we’ll begin to rediscover the memories that have shaped us into the people that we have become. We’ll write about our favorite songs, our favorite books, our favorite movies–even about our favorite colors; and we’ll begin to ask ourselves why these are our favorites. In that way, we’ll begin to reclaim the things that we are passionate about, and therein will lie the difference between the Blog to Memoir Class and most Memoir Writing Classes.

In the Jacki Kellum Blog to Memoir Class, we’ll be celebrating the highs in our lives and not drowning in our lows. blog-to-book

The Jacki Kellum Memoir Writing Course Will Not Be A Pity Party

Yesterday, I was at a writing conference and a sweet lady said that she had taken a memoir writing class and that it had become so depressing that she was forced to quit. Apparently, that class had diminished into a state of memory bashing, and the writers were using writing to exact revenge on the people in their pasts. That memoir writing class had become a pity party. There may be some value in that kind of writing, but I have not discovered it. In my experience, that kind of writing is like quicksand, and the more that you do of it, the deeper you begin to sink.

Most of us have bad memories, but we all have some good memories, too. Because certain songs remind us of a time in our pasts, we love them. We love some smells because they remind us of a time when we have smelled them before. For instance, think about the times that you have smelled apple pies or pumpkin pies baking or think about the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven or the smell of a fresh Christmas tree. In my opinion, true healing occurs when we are able to move beyond the pain in our pasts and when we realize that we have memories worth celebrating. That is the focus of the Jacki Kellum Memoir Writing Course.

It Is Not Necessary for You to Publicly Share Any of Your Writing

Although I call the course Blog to Memoir, it is not necessary for you to blog your responses for this course. In fact, you will not be required to share anything that you have written, and your writings can be completely personal. You may want to begin a blog, however, and to join the throngs of people who are blogging regularly and who, in doing so, are beginning to collect material for a future book. This is called blogging to book.

The Jacki Kellum Blog to Memoir Class Will Be Good for All Writers and Not Memoir Writers Only

Because we will be harnessing our interests from the past to enrich our current writings, I am calling this class Blog to Memoir, but my writing exercises are designed to help and to inspire every kind of writer. Along the way, I’ll share stories about various novelists who have allowed their personal reservoir of memories to bubble up in their fiction writing. All of us write better when our writings are about personal experiences and face it, all of our experiences are in our pasts. They may not be part of our childhoods but the essence of an experience is that it is something that has already occurred. When we write about what we know–about what has occurred to us–about our memories–our writing is fresher and more alive.

The Jacki Kellum Memoir Writing Class is Designed to Help You Recall Your Experiences and to Celebrate Them Again and Again.

©Jacki Kellum September 18, 2016

How to End Your Writer’s Block & Stare Down Your White Pages

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford

Do your efforts to create, end with a screeching halt? Does the empty, white page try to stare you down? Don’t allow that to happen! Stand firm and simply begin to write.

First, You Need to Prime Your Writing Pump

1. Ask yourself what you are passionate about. Start there!

Initially, you might not be able to recall any of your passions. Initially, yYou might think that life has sucked all of the passion out of you,  but you are wrong. If that were true, you wouldn’t be here, sitting in front of the computer, trying to decide what to write. You would still be vegetating in front of the television, but you are here.

You are still alive. Dig deeper.

2. Overcome Lethargy

Perhaps you feel that you are sinking in the quicksand of your own lethargy. An anecdote for that problem is to keep a canister of writing prompts handy, and when you are experiencing writer’s block, pull out one of those prompts and write about that.

The New York Times published a list of 500 great writing prompts Here.

Grab hold of one of those prompts and allow it to be your rope. Allow that to pull you out of your pit of lethargy.

WordPress Publishes A Daily WordPress Prompt Every Morning


I begin almost every day by writing something, and my earliest morning pages are usually my response to the WordPress Daily Prompt. Read how you can also do that Here.

3. Begin with a Quote

Often, when I see the WordPress Daily Prompt, I am stumped for a moment and cannot think of anything to write. When a prompt does not motivate me, I turn to Google, and I do a Google search for quotes that might correlate with a word that I associate with the prompt. For instance, one morning’s WordPress Prompt was “Admire,” and I was not readily drawn to that topic. I performed two Google searches. One time I searched exactly the following words: “Quotes Admire.” The second time, I searched exactly the following words, “Quotes Admiration,” and after my searches, it was not long before I had written my own opinions about the prompt “Admire.” You can see what I wrote Here 

4. Write First – Title Later

I do not title anything until I finish writing the piece entirely. Titling is a Writing-Stopper. A title is like a straight jacket. If you try to title first, you limit yourself because you write trying to confine yourself to the topic of the title. Just write, let the title spring from the writing. Begin to say what you want to say and allow your writing to evolve. Then title.

5. Allow Your Intuition to Do the Heavy Lifting of Your Writing


Michelangelo alluded to the artist’s intuition in saying that his sculptures lay within the stone and in sculpting, he merely followed the path that he sensed within the rock. Michelangelo was talking about the process of allowing his intuition to speak to him and to coach him as he created, thus creating his art for him.

Because I am both a painter and a writer, I understand what Michelangelo was saying. When I am truly painting, something within me grabs my hand and almost literally makes my marks for me. At various times, I have written all of the following about allowing one’s intuition to create:

“Creating any type of art requires that a series of decisions be made by the artist: red here? more grass? less water?, etc. When the intuition is fully functioning, the artist is hardly even aware of the questions–the intuition handles the question and answer dialog. Before this can happen, however, the artist must first allow Intuition to get his foot into the door; and then, the artist must learn to trust the decisions that Intuition makes for him.” – Jacki Kellum

“I cannot overemphasize the importance of the intuition. Countless painters speak of an intuitive force that operates within them when they paint. Everyone is born with intuition, but socializing and educating a child have a way of squeezing the intuition out of him. Although it would be better if none of us ever lost our inner radar, intuitiveness can be reawakened.” – Jacki Kellum

In creating art, something speaks to the artist and that something should be allowed to lead the way. By listening to that something–that inner voice–one is able to distil one’s own vision. – Jacki Kellum

“Intense listening with one’s inner ear–the intuitive ear– is a vital part of sharpening one’s inner eye—and thus, of extracting a piece’s inward significance.” – Jacki Kellum

“Intuition and the Inner Artist are linked. Intuition is the instinctive way that one’s inner artist views and responds to life. When a painter allows intuition to guide him, the painter himself becomes a vessel and the art flows through the vessel.” – Jacki Kellum

Knowing why one does this or that while creating is not important–just doing is the key to becoming. Making art is an intuitive response. – Jacki Kellum

When writers can access the words that lie within themselves, they begin to write more authentically. In fact, I could return to my own words that I quoted above, and I could exchange the word “writer” for the times that I said “artist,” and I would be equally correct. When writers create from within their intuitions, they often call that writing from “The Zone,” but it is actually writing from the intuition, a reservoir of thoughts and emotions that run deeply within each person. The secret is tapping into that reservoir.


Beginning October 1, I am launching the Free Jacki Kellum 36-Day Writing Event that is designed to help writers recharge themselves and to begin writing intuitively again. The Entire Blog to Memoir Program has four segments which will span the next year, but the first segment is devoted to helping writers find what they are passionate about. You can read about that Event Here.

6. Don’t Worry About What Everyone Else Is Thinking about Your Writing

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Other people aren’t focusing on you or on your writing. Quite worrying about what they think of your work.  Just focus on yourself and your own goals and begin to write. Remember that you are writing to express yourself and not to express everyone else. Just talk–in plain language [Shakespearean English is out]–and say why these words are meaningful to you. People are more alike than you might think. Others will identify. Write it, they will read.

7. Write Naturally – Give Up the Idea that You Should Write Like Shakespeare

Please Don’t Thee and Thou Me
by Jacki Kellum

Please don’t Thee and Thou me.
That’s such a stuffy start.
That’s not the way to wow me,
Just say it from your heart.
©Jacki Kellum February 3, 2016

Jacki Kellum Rules for Writing Poetry – Rule Number 1

  1. Don’t try to use stilted, pretentious, poetry-sounding words. Just talk.

©Jacki Kellum February 3, 2016

Just talk–in plain language [Shakespearean English is out]–and say why these words are meaningful to you. People are more alike than you might think. Others will identify. Write it, they will read it.

8. Write first. Let it flow. Just talk. Spell later.

As you begin to write, don’t worry about spell check at first. Getting stumped by spelling is another Writing-Stopper. Write first–then spell check; then correct the spelling. It might even help to do the writing and editing in a Word Document and then paste it into WordPress. Whatever it takes, do it, but don’t let you editing strangle your writing.

9. Consider Recording Yourself Saying What You Want to Write and Then Transcribing It

If you cannot keep your self-editor in check, allow your cell phone‘s voice recorder to help you.  Just pick up your cell phone and download a voice recorder app and talk to the recorder. You can even send yourself lengthy voice messages and transcribe those. A friend of mine had a great idea for this. She said to send your message to yourself via email, and it will already be typed for you. How easy is that?

Do you see how easy it would be for you to stare down your white pages and to end your writer’s block?  Just do it!

©Jacki Kellum September 18, 2016



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