Linda Studley

Can't Put the Pen Down…

Archive for the category “Commentary”

New Year – New Challenge

LindaIt’s been a few years since I did the ‘poem a day for a year’ challenge and I’ve been thinking about picking up the glove and seeing if I can do it again.  It’s quite shameful how I’ve neglected my writing blog, and I apologise to anyone who came looking for new poems and had to go away empty handed.

Here’s to a year full of creativity.

Happy New Year.


Why Do I Do This? (not a poem)

Well, a couple of months in to this personal challenge and I thought I should take a moment to connect with all the lovely readers who hit the like button and leave encouraging comments.
A couple of years ago I decided to write a poem a day for a year – it was a challenge that would make a lasting and positive difference on me and my attitude towards creativity. My goal was to ‘short circuit’ the inner critic – get used to writing without constantly second guessing or judging my words.
Well, after that first year, I took about another year to edit, refine, format, and create the book “Falling Awake” – with what I hoped were the best of the year’s poems.

“Falling Awake” has been very well received – certainly not on the best seller list, but then, when was the last time a book of poetry hit the best seller list?

Looking back, I realized I missed that spark of creativity in the morning, that gentle goad to ‘write it down’, and I missed the people who visited the blog, the kind words, the funny banter, the actual connection with people from all over the world.

I think that might have been the greatest gift I received from that year of writing; the very real and heartening fact that, deep down, we all have similar fears and joys, memories and emotions.

So a couple of month ago I started again, maybe to prove to myself that it wasn’t just an anomaly and that I could do it again. Maybe just because I missed all of you and thought that if I left a trail of poems, I could coax you out to play again.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I appreciate every word and promise to reply.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.


Back from Cuba

I feel bad for not posting anything for so long, but I no sooner got back from two weeks in Cuba (where internet connections are not even worth bothering with) than I contracted a really nasty cold and only lately have I felt that I could write without sounding whiny, lol!

I managed to store up a huge amount of inspiration during my trip. This was my first time in a tropical clime, and I have to admit, it made me wonder what the heck I was doing going home to minus 20 c. sigh…

Cuba was amazing, the setting, the people, everything… I’ll probably be posting a lot of Cuba writing for a while!



Publishing – Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

I promised to talk a bit about the publishing process – so here goes.

Publishing a book of poetry will cost you money up front. You will not be able to find a publishing house that will pay you to publish a book of poetry. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong and if anyone out there has had a publisher hand you a cheque for the privilege of publishing your poetry book please send me their email address immediately, okay? How hard you work at promoting your book will determine whether you earn back your investment or just have a lot of great Christmas presents for family and friends.

Don’t be fooled by online services that will ‘proof’ your book. I proofed a friend’s manuscript once, then it was sent to the ‘publishers’ who ‘proofed’ a bunch of mistakes into it, (sigh). Do your very best to proof (fix the grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors) and edit (polish the poems, look at line breaks, make sure each poem is the best it can be) yourself first, then find someone you trust (who knows shit from chocolate pudding about poetry) to go through and make suggestions. Caveat! Choose someone who is honest, respectful, and doesn’t have a vested interest in undermining your self esteem. I know the last one seems fairly obvious but it’s truly amazing how often we offer up our art to the most undeserving and then expect a fair response.

You will need to check out printing options. This includes local printing companies, online ‘print on demand’ businesses, or just hitting print on your personal printer. Figure out your page count (don’t forget the table of contents), the size you want the book to be, the type of binding, black and white or colour? softcover/hardcover, will it have an ISBN or a UPC? Who will do the cover design/art?… Then ask for printing quotes. Ask for quotes for different amounts of books too, usually there is a discount if you order more copies. I ended up printing my book “Falling Awake and other poems” through They did a good job at a price that was low enough that I could build a reasonable profit into the price. They also offer an online outlet, so people can purchase my book online. (For Goodness Sake print a single copy first – then if there’s a mistake you’ve only wasted the cost of one book and you can fix it before they hit print on a full run!)

Computer literacy is vital. If you don’t have it, the cost of publishing your own book is going to increase. Whatever outlet you use to print your book, you’ll need to understand how to format, save, and upload your manuscript EXACTLY the way they ask you to. Screw this up and you’ll have a book that looks so unprofessional it might as well be written in crayon. Understand Microsoft Word – take a course if you need to. You may think you’re perfectly adequate in Word, but if you can’t format your document to include page numbers and a table of contents you need to learn more.

Sales do not happen unless you promote your book. Do the launch, do signings and readings, give away a few complementary copies, get interviewed, write a blog, have a website, create a Facebook Page… promotional possibilities are endless, you just have to be open to them. Also, what works for my book may not work for yours. You may have a totally different target audience – so figure out who they are and play to them.  If you’re a normally modest person, promotion can be very difficult. My only advice is – Get over it – if you want to sell your book you need to show people you’re proud of it, that it’s important to you and that it could be important to them. That’s not bragging, that’s being honest. If you don’t believe in your book why would anyone else believe in it (or buy it). Yep, that was my version of a pep talk 😉

Good luck. I’ll post more learned lessons as I remember or experience them!








OMG! They’re Here! The books are here!

The books arrive Just tore into the first boxes…

“Falling Awake and other Poems” is now available for purchase. I published through and the link on the right will take you to the page where you can order your copy of the book.

The official book launch will be in Dawson Creek, BC, Canada at the Dawson Creek Library.   November 16th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. My longsuffering and patient partner Bill, will be there doing all the things that I forgot about (love that man!), our friend Ian Smith (who did all the guitar work on my 2 CDs – and composed the music for one of the songs) will be providing what he calls “Acoustic Wallpaper” (actually it’s very lovely guitar instrumental background music during the schmoozing and book signing, lol). My dear friends from our writing group will be on hand for some impromptu poetic fun, Rebekah, Jeannie, Shannon (and I know Sabrina will be there in spirit, maybe we can Skype you in!)

And thank you Jenny and the DC Library for offering the venue – trust a librarian to understand how important your book launch is to you!

Yes, okay, I’m excited – it shows doesn’t it? I don’t usually use so many exclamation marks!

Thank you, all my blog commenting friends, for sticking with me as I took   this from an idea to reality. It’s been a fabulous experience.

Now I’m back in the studio, recording tracks for my next CD, working on some new paintings, and still posting poems (not one a day, but I’ve got some ideas for the next book).

I love a creative life and I wish you all happy, creative lives. Seize the day!



ISBNs and humility (not a poem)

The book is finished. The last changes were made and uploaded. Now all I need is an ISBN. As soon as it comes, I’ll add it to the book and Ta-Freakin’-Da, my first book of poetry will be available.

Of course now comes the promotional phase! Pass me that horn will you? Time to toot it! It’s one of the hardest things for most creative people to do – self promotion.  If you’ve been raised to have even the remotest shred of modesty and/or humility, self-promotion feels pushy. But I’m gonna do it anyway!

The fact is, looking for a ‘publishing company’ who will publish the first book of poems from a (sigh) unknown poet is a bit like the proverbial search for the needle in the haystack. Let’s just say I’m not in any great danger of signing a publishing deal anytime soon!

If you’re incredibly famous already you’ll have a publicist (and a publishing deal complete with advances), but us newbies gotta work for it! And that’s okay, if we have the gumption to write we should also have the gumption to learn the self-promotion ropes and  publicize our wares.

To that end I’ve created a Facebook writing page (if I hit all the right keys, there should be a way to get there from here… what can I say – it’s a work in progress!) and I’m planning a local book launch and perhaps I’ll launch in a couple of cities in my immediate geographic sphere (of course if anyone’s interested in providing the plane fare I’ll put on a book launch pretty much anywhere!).

I’ll be carrying my books with me, talking to any media types I can track down, and I’m open to suggestions – all of you have been so helpful and supportive – if you know of anywhere else I can promote this book I’d be tickled pink to hear from you!

Soon, soon, the book will be ready soon….  😉


Next Step in the Publishing Process…

I received a copy of my book in the mail – last chance to proof! And yes, there are STILL some goofs in it! I am going to be so sick of reading my own poems soon!!

I’ve set my deadline to have the final proofing done by the end of the week, then we’ll hit ‘print’ and be one step closer.

I’ve begun to plan a book launch and I find I’m not comfortable with a conventional launch. I keep coming back to the reason I committed myself to do the “poem a day for a year” series – the exploration of ‘spur of the moment’ creativity – the short circuiting of the internal critic – and I feel that I need to place more emphasis on that aspect. I need to encourage others to find their creative spark and nurture it.

So I’m currently working on some ideas to turn a launch into an audience participation event – maybe we’ll create a poem and post it here. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Anyway – I just wanted everyone to know that things ARE progressing and we should have the book ready to go very soon!

Thank you all for visiting, reading, commenting and sharing – it really helped get me through the ‘year’ and beyond.



Proofing on Paper

Good Grief! I thought I’d proofed my book “Falling Awake” very thoroughly before I printed out a copy!

To make a long story short – I’m on the third go ’round and still finding dumb typos! Anyone who thinks they can do all their proofing on screen is sorely mistaken. It’s as though I had never heard of punctuation!  I, the ‘grammar hall monitor’ of Facebook, making bonehead mistakes all through the book!

This will, hopefully, be the last go through – then I’ll send it to the ultimate proof reader (my hubby, Bill) who will, indubitably, find the last of my sins against the English language, and finally we will publish. Sigh…

For all those out there who wanted a copy of the book, hang on, it’s comin’!

The Paper Edit

So I finally had the book printed out. It weighs in at 184 pages but I imagine that might shrink a bit. It’s amazing how many errors you can miss when editing on a computer screen, mostly periods vs. commas so far, but nearly every poem has a little oops that needed fixing!

Anyone who knows me can attest that I’m nowhere near being a Luddite when it comes to computers, but I have to confess to a serious feeling of well-being when holding my book (even though it’s just a mark-up copy) in my hands. There is a committment to a book that just isn’t there in an e-book. Someone said “Yes, this is worth the time, effort, energy, and resources that go into printing a book.”  It also says “Yes, I’m satisfied that it is finished.” That’s the hard part. I know it will never truly be finished – I only hope I can abandon it in an interesting place.

This morning I’m doing a TV interview and I’ll be reading a poem from the book – I’m still not sure which one it will be – and the reality of saying “Here is the mock-up of my book, I hope to have it in print by…..(place date here)…” is both exhilarating and frightening!

Wish me luck… but if experience is any indication I know my hair will be doing something weird and although th camera may add ten pounds it also, in my case, seems to remove an undisclosed number of IQ points as well! 🙂

Here goes…


Cover Art

falling Awake midsized

Well, I’ve edited the book, proofed the book, formatted the book, named the book (“Falling Awake and other poems” in case you missed that post), now the cover design…

I’m leaning towards one of my own paintings as a cover. I created/designed my CD covers for my first two CDs so it’s not unprecedented.  I’ve uploaded a copy of the proposed cover art and would appreciate any input, just as I have appreciated the input you’ve given me on the poems.

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey!



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