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The Scribe--January 2016



Copyright January 2016 St. Louis Writers Guild -- All rights reserved


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Cover photo is of Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO

Photo and cover designed by Brad R. Cook

In this issue


Workshops for Writers: The Empowered Writer with Bob Baker

By Jennifer Stolzer

How to Write an Awesome Story

By Ryan P. Freeman

From the President’s Desk: The Most Precious Commodity

By David Alan Lucas

Poetry Calendar

A Quick Guide to St. Louis Writers Guild Events



Workshops for Writers:

The Empowered Writer with Bob Baker

By Jennifer Stolzer


Photo by Steven Langhorst


“I’m very blessed that my life is full of creativity,” entrepreneur and marketing mogul Bob Baker told the St. Louis Writer’s Guild on Jan. 9. In addition to music, art, and improv comedy, Baker is a lifetime writer. He used to publish Spotlight magazine and ran his own newspaper until 1997, when he published his first book on music marketing. Since then, he’s had success as an author and by helping other writers with marketing and publishing. He has interviewed other artists for their best practices, and gleaned some rock-bottom principles to help creatives succeed, including three common mistakes artists make.


Mistake 1 – Not realizing the value you bring to the world.

Have you ever doubted your value or self worth? Such feelings can manifest as fear of rejection or as a need for validation. Does it make you feel uncomfortable asking for a sale, naming your price, or raising your price? Perhaps promoting your work or talking about your craft feels selfish or bothersome.

Devaluing your work has many negative effects. People you speak to will be able to sense your uncertainty and lose confidence in you. You’re more hesitant to seek new opportunities, which limits the growth of your business and reputation. No one else will ever see your value if you don’t believe it yourself.

“You’re never going to be void of fear,” Baker said. “No one ever quietens the inner critic, they just get on friendly terms with it.” Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says her inner critic is named Nigel and speaks with a funny voice she can’t take seriously. Imagine the negative voice in your head the same way, and stop believing what it says. “People don’t come out of the womb good at things,” Baker said. “You gotta keep moving forward despite the critic’s voice.”

Baker provided a simple equation for overcoming devaluation: E+R=0. E is the Events in your life, things that happen that are beyond your control. R is your Response to the events, and O equals Outcome. You can’t change the events, but you can change your response or reaction to them, which then affects the outcome. Perhaps you think it is selfish to spend time on your writing because of other jobs, chores, or social and family responsibilities. You can respond with guilt and put your writing off, or you can choose to react with value. Practicing your craft is important. You become better equipped to succeed not only in your writing career, but in all the events of your life because you are fulfilled and productive. As the old adage says, “You can’t pour from an empty bowl.”

When confronted with situations that tempt you devalue your work, first ask yourself how you have been affected by other people’s work. Creative people have a long-lasting benefit on society. Think of ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the industrial revolution—where would the present be if creatives hadn’t shared their craft? “This doesn’t mean the world owes you a living, but it does mean that having interest or desire to do something is all the permission you need to do it,” Baker said. “If you knew the value your work might bring to someone else, it’s more selfish NOT to share it.”


Photo by Steven Langhorst



[* Mistake number 2 -- the reasons we create. *]

Artists create for four reasons:

1. For self-satisfaction

2. For recognition

3. For the benefit of others

4. For money

The first two reasons are what Bob Baker calls “hobby mode.” If the only reason to write is to scratch an itch, with no intention of reaching a large audience or entering business, then your craft can be considered a hobby. Hobbies are relaxing and fulfilling to both body and spirit. An artist doesn't need to be on the bestseller's list to be worthy of making art -- the desire to create is enough.

If you are motivated by the second two reasons, however – for the benefit of others and/or to make money – you are in what Baker calls “career mode.” Focus on how your work affects other people and how much it is worth. What is your big “Why?” Carve time out of your calendar to work on your craft and endeavor to create habits more than setting goals. Visualize yourself doing the work to move you forward; this will make you more successful.

Which brings us back to valuing your work. If, as an artist, you have fully entered career mode, you cannot think marketing is a sleazy, or a necessary evil. It’s all right if you don’t like to brag about yourself. Marketing is not about telling people how valuable you are, it’s about an equal value to value transaction.

“The best form of marketing is to talk about how much value your audience is going to get out of your work,” Baker said. Tell people how your product will help them succeed in THEIR endeavors, and trade a monetary amount equal to that benefit. If you really value the worth of your work, you’ll feel like they get more out of your work than the investment they put in.


[* Mistake number 3 -- Not getting support or asking for help. *]

A support structure is very important in any business, but it is especially important for the artist. “The key to success is ask, ask, ask, ask!” Baker said. Art is a business of risk and heart. We need critique and encouragement to be the best at our job. Ask for help when you are unsure, and give assistance to those who need it. Together you will build each other up, creating a community of successes, not failures.

Bob Baker’s book The Empowered Artist, was published in paperback and ebook in 2015, the most recent in a long line of strategic and motivational workbooks available on Amazon and his website at www.bob-baker.com. The book partners with an online community—The Empowered Artist Mastermind Facebook group—a subscription service that features exclusive interviews and brings artists of all kinds together to post challenges and celebrate victories.

How to Write an Awesome Story

By Ryan P. Freeman


The blinking cursor of death is the bane of my existence. Seriously.

How do you start writing when all you see around you are the Greats? All those professionally polished products of the masters can really get you pumped… and then get you down. You’re just one person after all… you probably don’t have a killer editing team. You’re probably not lounging around in your PJ’s sipping Starbucks in some otherworldly location waited on by well-to-do interns and the like (ok, maybe I’m fantasizing here a bit – but hey, as a fantasy writer, it’s what I do, right?).

What about the regular people, like you and me? How do we start writing our story?

Here’s a secret I figured out. (Ready?)

You’re already in a story. Bam. There, I said it. You’re already in a tale. You’re a part of it. – But what do I mean, you ask? You are already a character (probably in more ways than one). You are living in a story, and you are a part of it: what you do and say every day matters. You save lives by what you do and say. You make or break your world by who you are, what you mean, and how you act. You are the hero, or the villain. You are the wise old sage or the wicked stepparent. You are the manliest legend or the most spellbinding beauty or the coward, and you probably just blazed through that last paragraph. I know I did. But it’s super-important. Right now you’re not reading a magazine article. You’re actually reading an old tome from a grizzled adventurer. You’re here, presently reading this, because we’re both on common purpose. We’re searching – hunting – exploring through the perilous realm of Life itself.

Take time to breathe in this new world you are a part of. Feel your place in it. Understand who you are and what you really, truly mean to yourself, others, and the world at large as a character in it.

Then… when you’re feeling particularly whimsical and painfully honest… find yourself an excellent imagining/creating spot (mine was a quiet dorm room in Missouri), and start drawing – writing – playing music… from your creative world. The one you always go to when you close your eyes and dream. It was there in that lonely dorm room when I realized how all the places I go to in my mind are really one vast, continuous extension of the same fictive world born from my own real-life loves and experiences.

Start your journey and see where your path leads you. Don’t fret about being perfect – just take a single step out of your proverbial front door, feel your feet hit the road, and keep journeying. Take with you only what is mindful. If you’re in a weird mood, use it. Write weird scenes or moments in your story where your characters are probably feeling similarly. Use who you are – your own strength of character and personal powers of being.

I’m excited to see where your own story takes you…



Ryan P. Freeman is a fellow adventurer. After miraculously surviving childhood cancer and several near-death experiences, he launched into the world of AM talk radio, hosting his own live program out of Albuquerque. Ryan is a former International Red Cross guest speaker, Pastor, and medieval-enthusiast who loves sampling craft-beers and is an unapologetically proud kilt-wearer. In his down time, his interests range from exploring real-world pan-mythology, survivalist camping, and copious video gaming. His debut high fantasy epic, The Phoenix of Redd, Volume I: Rienspel, will be published late 2016.


For more on Ryan and Rienspel, visit

www.facebook.com/rienspel or www.rienspel.blogspot.com

From the President’s Desk: The Most Precious Commodity

By David Alan Lucas



While there may be expert commodity traders who would disagree, all writers have an extremely precious commodity they often squander away. It is not our creativity, our advice for each other, or the money we spend on workshops and conferences learning our craft. The most precious commodity is something that is given to us, regardless of whether we write or not. It is time.

Everyone has something that burns our time like oil on a wick, and for the modern author there is so much we must do now, more than ever in the past. It is not enough to just sit and write. Even if we find people to do some of the heavy lifting, there will always be aspects of the business that will burn away our time—social media, promotions, acquiring agents, editing, reviewing and trying to get our work in front of the eyes that will read it. And things outside this profession take our time. It can be the job we have to keep while we write. It can be the family who doesn’t see what we are doing as worth anything and would rather we spend time doing something “constructive.” It can be the friends or relatives who complain we haven’t spent enough time with them.

This list can go on and on, and I am certain you can fill in the blanks I have left open.

Yet, we are all given time in our lives and have been given a talent, an urge, or perhaps an obsession with this black ink on white paper (or to be more modern, black pixels on a white background). It is ours to spend as we see fit and to be spent wisely. Often it is a balancing act, juggling priorities in the air like a circus juggler. We have to treat our time as more precious than gold or silver or anything else you name. Once it is spent, it is gone and can never be reclaimed.

While the time-wasters in our lives may not always be under control, after all someone needs to do the laundry or tell the world about some story we have written, there is at least one that is. Some may find it hard to remove from their lives and others have learned to move around it. What waster is that? That waster is yourself—standing in your own way and doubting what you do.

You know that waster who sits on your shoulder feeding you negativity like it was Twinkies and giving you more distractions or reasons to procrastinate and prevents you (or me) from achieving our goals and our potential. How do you overcome this?

I don’t have an answer. I love Bob Baker’s response of giving that inner critic a funny voice and eventually you will laugh at it and write. Personally, I believe that sometimes we have to just follow the motto of the Nike shoe company—“Just do it.” We have to learn to get out of our own way. Persistence is the most important hammer you have to break through the wall of getting started. As Octavia E. Butler once wrote, “At last I began to say that my most important talent—or habit—was persistence. Without it, I would have given up writing long before I finished my first novel. It’s amazing what we can do if we simply refuse to give up.”

Spend your time chasing your art, and never let anything waste it that couldn’t have been avoided or that prevents you from sitting in front of your muse.


Poetry Calendar


second friday notes, second Friday of each month, 7 p.m., at Whole Foods Town & Country, Clayton Road just west of Highway 141.


RIVER STYX. Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m., Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Ave. riverstyx.org/events.


POETRY AT THE POINT, 4th Tuesday of the month, at Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Ave


Sheila Nolan Whalen Reading Series at SLU, 221 N. Grand Ave., Dubourg 409. Tuesdays at 4 p.m.


CHANCE OPERATIONS on the last Monday of each month At Tavern of the Arts, 313 Belt Ave., just off Pershing, between Union and DeBaliviere. 7:30 p.m. Open mic follows featured poets.


EVERY WEDNESDAY open mic for poetry and music at Stone Spiral Coffee & Curios, 2500 Sutton in Maplewood (2 blocks N. of Manchester). Great food and beverages. Open mic, 8 until around 11 p.m.


GOODY HOUSE, 7 p.m., fourth Thursdays at Art Marketplace, 2028 S. 12th Street. Featured poets.


R-SPACE. Last Saturday of the month, Lenny Smith and friends at 2 p.m.


ST. LOUIS WRITERS GUILD open mic for prose and poetry, second Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m., Kirkwood Train Station, Argonne Drive, just west of Kirkwood Road. Allow time to find parking.


ADDITIONAL OPEN MICS at The Wolf, (every Tuesday), Legacy Books & Café (every Friday), The Historic Crossings (every other Tuesday), Shameless Grounds (Wednesdays at 7), Venice Café (Mondays at 9)

A Quick Guide to St. Louis Writers Guild Events


It’s as easy as





Workshops for Writers

First Saturday of every month (except holiday weekends)

10 a.m. to Noon at the Kirkwood Community Center


Station Open Mic

Second Tuesday of every month

7-9 p.m. at the Kirkwood Amtrak Station


SLWG Authors Series

Third Thursday of every month


Query for “SLWG Authors Series” on You Tube or check the Members’ Room on our website, www.stlwritersguild.org.


The Scribe Editorial Staff


T.W. Fendley



Brad R. Cook

Cover Designer


Jennifer Stolzer

Staff Writer


Lauren Miller

Staff Writer


Melanie Koleini

Staff Writer


Steven Langhorst



Special thanks to:

Ryan P. Freeman


NOTE: If you are a St. Louis Writers Guild member, please consider submitting a poem, short story or an article about writing (4,000 words or less) for publication in this newsletter. THE SCRIBE is now issued monthly and promoted to more than 1,000 people on our mailing list. Submissions should be sent by the first of each month to [email protected]—put SCRIBE in the subject line.


Also, if you are interested in joining the editorial staff as a writer, please contact [email protected] -- put SCRIBE in the subject line.

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The Scribe--January 2016

For more than a decade, The Scribe has been the mainstay for communicating with members of the St. Louis Writers Guild. It began as a way to showcase the organization and share insights into the publishing world. Back issues give a wonderful record of the Guild. The Scribe is now available to everyone, not just members. It features stories, poems, and essays from our members, as well as information about our events, most of which are open to the public. The January 2016 edition features "How to Write an Awesome Story" by Ryan P. Freeman and a report by Jennifer Stolzer on the Guild's Jan. 9 workshop by Bob Baker entitled "The Empowered Writer."

  • Author: St. Louis Writers Guild
  • Published: 2016-01-30 02:20:09
  • Words: 2837
The Scribe--January 2016 The Scribe--January 2016