Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Honoring Marcel Marceau, PBS ran an interview with him this week.

Now there is silence. The mime passed away. The only time he spoke in his role as a mime was in a silent Mel Brooks film "Silent Movie" in 1976. How wonderfully ironic.

In the PBS interview, Marcaeu spoke of his desire to convey a message without speech, saying,

...because we all are silent in certain moments: writers before writing, singers before singing, athletes before sports. Concentration is the most important medium."

Yet, sometimes a writer is reluctant to commit to the act of writing for fear they won't have anything to say. But our silence is also needed. We need it to get away from busyness, noise, technology, and chatter. We need, instead, to get quiet enough to hear what we want to say. Treat yourself to a quiet writing hour. You might be surprised by the results.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


If you're an author, you may already know about booktour.com. There you can create an information page and post the dates of your upcoming speaking events, whether they're in your local library, corner cafe, or on blogs hosting authors. I keep my events updated there, because it is so much easier than keeping a web page fresh. It's as easy as sending an email.

Visitors to booktour.com can search for events by city or zip code, and can receive a weekly email listing all authors coming to their town.

The site is not gimmicky - it's free to authors as well as viewers. I think it has potential to help us stay plugged in and to support local authors, and local booksellers.

I just learned the site was started by Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of "The Long Tail." That book is a 21st century primer on marketing in the chaos of the technology-driven world today. I guess he's proving it. His book ranks near #500 on the online bestseller lists.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Punctuation matters

Gosh, this was a shock to read in today's Chicago Tribune.

The president of Southern Illinois University (SIU), Glenn Poshard, is accused of numerous counts of plagiarism in both his SIU doctoral dissertation and his SIU master's thesis.

To make matters worse, Poshard is is quoted as having publicly stated that he was, and I quote:

"too busy with other things to type quotation marks."

One of the first things writers learn is to get attribution absolutely correct. At a writer's workshop this weekend, I reminded the audience of this, when a panel was discussing research. Today, especially with the wealth of resources online, it is critical not just to double-check facts and sources, but to make absolutely certain you are quoting original material from an original or highly reputable source. New social web sites, such as Wikipedia, that allow contributions from the public are fraught with errors and deliberate mis-statements about politics, religion and more. So today and always "Check your research," and you may quote me on that.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

From blog to web site

Now that Release Your Writing is launched, this little bloggie is getting tired of handling the full load. If you look at www.releaseyourwriting.com, you'll now see a full web site, with a link to this blog, an event list, and loads of other material about the book.

Thanks for supporting this effort, and ... keep writing!

Helen Gallagher

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Book Launch: "Release Your Writing"

Yes, Release Your Writing: Book Publishing Your Way is out. Six months from concept to publication. That's the benefit of self-publishing. While I was formulating ideas for a sequel to Computer Ease, as a book tentatively titled Computer Ease for Writers, I collected material, and wrote an outline, but knew something was lacking.

In March of this year, I gave a presentation to Off-Campus Writers Workshop, (OCWW.bizland.com) and I titled my talk "Release Your Writing." As soon as I entered the room, connected my laptop to the projector, and saw that title on the screen, I knew I had the book's focus. A few weeks later, at the American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA) conference in New York, there was a palpable excitement over self-publishing: with packed sessions on the topic, self-pub firms present, and self-published authors on panels.

So, I went up to my hotel room during lunch and bought the domain name www.releaseyourwriting.com. Now I'm pleased the book is available for all. This is it: One book that explains options in publishing, technical aspects of coping with technology, dozens of shortcuts to write better and faster with your computer, and an entire section on book marketing, targeted specifically to those of us who do not have agents, marketers, and publicists steering out books toward an audience.

Keeping a book alive is very much an author's responsibility these days. Release Your Writing shows you how to do it, and how to have fun along the way. Enjoy your journey!

You can purchase Release Your Writing here

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Inspiring quotes

In this age of text messages and cell phone chatter, who will be quoted 100 years from now for their wise and thoughtful statements?

I doubt there is a sound bite today that can match this quote from Samuel Johnson, an 18th century essayist"

"What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure."

Another of my favorites, attributed to Henry Ford is:

"Think you can or think you can't. Either way, you're right."

So, don't let the pace of today's multimedia lifestyle keep you from quiet time with pen and paper, or with your computer. Capture your thoughts. There are always new markets for our writing. Let's not waste any opportunities.