Tag Archives: Writers Resources

The Voice is All


The Voice is All by Joyce Johnson is an in depth exploration of not only Jack Kerouac’s writing, but his life as well. I’m not sure how many of this generation knows Jack. I had never heard  of him, and after reading this, not sure I wanted to know so much of him. It touches a lot on his sexuality, his tendency to be attached to his mother, and his writing. The author writes with great love, awe, and candor on Jack Kerouac, a Franco-American. The endorsements say Jack Kerouac was a legend in the 50s, but the subject wasn’t nearly as interesting as the writing itself.

The way Joyce Johnson writes is a good lesson for writers. Color has so many symbolic meanings and she uses color adeptly to describe Jack Kerouac’s moods. It’s been on my mind for a week as I experiment in my own writing in describing emotion using color. The subject, Jack Kerouac, is strange, disturbing, and it seemed as if his writings were merely thin memoirs of his life experiences disguised in fake identities. In some ways, writers will always have pieces of their lives mixed within their novels, books, and stories. Another author once wrote on her blog how an author’s first novel is usually autobiographical.  Jack Kerouac might be a good cautionary tale about how we write our stories.

I read The Voice is All because another author spoke about reading as many biographies as possible and to learn from them. The risk of picking a biography of a man you’ve never heard of is finding a dark subject. This book is perfect for the person with a literary degree, but for the everyday reader, I’m afraid that, unless you are a fan of Jack Kerouac, you’ll find it interesting only for a little while as it’s a study of human nature. I gave this book four stars purely for the writing. Joyce Johnson does a wonderful job in bringing a man to life with mere words.

*book given by publisher to review.


For Hire…

It’s dizzying to look at elance.com and see the millions who are also looking for work. I am a freelance writer and social networker. Or at least, I’d like to be paid to do that one day.

So I am putting it out there that I am for hire to ghostwrite, to social network, write blogs, but not to splog. Whatever I do I want to feel confident that it is good work.

You can email me here: nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com


Dear Friends,

Someone reported that this site’s organization can be fuzzy. I’m not sure how to fix that and so on my main website you’ll find featured posts, old posts, and my writing news blog at www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com.

It’s a bit more organized and I also showcase latest publications and new and upcoming book reviews.

If you have other suggestions for the website or here, feel free to share them in the comments.

Love, Nikki

Like Relatives at a Family Reunion…

Why do we always begin our posts talking about the weather?

It goes something like this, “Today the monsoonal clouds began to gather like relatives at a family reunion, all stormy and grim…”

Okay, maybe that wasn’t quite right.

It’s what we do when we start a post reflecting upon our day. We begin with the weather, touching upon the blueness of the sky or how the golden rose droops on her stem as if bearing the weight of a friend’s prayer. We hope to inspire, move a person to emotion, but one of the things they teach us about writing is never to start with the weather. Talking about the weather reminds me of too many conversations where we’re grasping for something in common and the only thing we have in common is the weather.

I’ve had too many conversations like that in the past. It’s uncomfortable. I want to reach out, find the thread that connects like the fabric of blue sky that wraps us together—same world, different people. It’s the weather we come back to and bores us at the same time. The writer needs to start her blog post with a hook.

I like how Ann Voskamp begins her blogs. It’s as if I jumped into the middle of a conversation. Right away, I want to know what’s going to happen. I feel like I belong. No more am I discussing the weather, but now I am talking about farming or her kids or what verse of scripture she’s thinking about. It’s conversational, almost poetic.

I like to read that in blogs.

Then, we can discuss the weather, because then the weather is poetic or symbolic; not just someplace to begin because we lack the important stuff in common.

So what’s the weather like in your area spiritually speaking?

Life With Words: Michelle Gregory

Name of blog: beautiful chaos

Michelle Gregory

Your Twitter: trying to stay away from Twitter

Your Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Michelle-D-Gregory/240386576394

Why did you pick that name?

I felt like it described my life at the time I started this particular blog. I still do. Life can be beautiful and chaotic all at once.

What prompted you to begin blogging?

Back in 2005, my first blog was Life in the Midst of Writing. It began as a way to express myself and share part of my life. It turned into a way to share the progress on my novel as I participated in NanoWrimo that year.

What kind of blogs did you first write?

I just had the one blog and it was mostly random.

What mistakes did you make when you first blogged?

I thought I had to blog every day and keep readers happy.

What was your worst blog post in the beginning?

I tend to delete the bad posts. Why keep them around?

Your best?

By far my favorite is Dancing with God (http://michellegregory.blogspot.com/2008/11/dancing-with-god.html ) I posted it back in January 2007 on the old blog and have re-posted it several times on my current blog.

What are your top 5 favorite blogs to read?

That’s hard because I read so many, and I have an eclectic list – from writing encouragement to writers’ blogs to paper arts. When I have a limited time for blog reading, the five of the blogs I make sure to visit are:

Kelly Kilmer Artist — http://kellykilmer.blogspot.com/

Inky Girl: Daily Diversions for Writers — http://inkygirl.com/

Pitch Slapped — http://februarywriter.blogspot.com/

Write First, Blog Later — http://thewritershole.blogspot.com/

The Brooklyn Scribbler — http://thebrooklynscribbler.blogspot.com/

What inspires you to blog?

My main intent is to encourage. I’m not trying to build a platform or get more readers.

When do you write your posts and how long do they take?

Unless I’m writing a post for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group (started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and which I absolutely love participating in), I usually write them on the spur of the moment, or when I have some spare time. The length of time I spend on one depends on how long the post is and how much I want to tweak it.

What is your brand?

I don’t have a brand, but my tagline on the blog header is: a place for this writing mom to rant, write, and encourage.

What was your worst comment?

I try to not dredge up the worst comments, but I count any comment where the reader misunderstands my intent as a worst comment. Sometimes I even delete those.

Your best?

Any comment that encourages me, or lets me know that a reader connected with something I said is a best comment.

When your first comments came and they weren’t family or friends, describe that feeling.

It was nice to know someone other than friends were reading my blog. It made me feel like my influence was expanding.

Why do you blog now and how has that changed from your very beginnings?

I continue blogging to encourage, or share random stuff about myself, or to mention books or bloggers that I think are worthy of my readers’ time. I’m learning that I don’t have to suffer from “blog guilt” (not blogging every day), or that I have to conform to some “blogging formula” to get more readers, or that I have to promote my book on a regular basis. I try to be myself, and let my blog be what it is.

Do you have any comments to add for people who want to start blogs? Any advice?

— Let your blog be what it is. That will probably change over time.

— If your only blogging intent is to promote yourself, don’t blog. There are too many people out there saying, “Look at me. Buy my book or my product.” After awhile, your readers will get tired of it.

— Don’t feel like you have to blog every day.

— Be yourself.

How many times a week do you post?

I can post as often as two to three times a week, or as little as once a month. It depends on what’s going on in life.

Are you a believer? If not, what religion do you believe in? If a believer, what denomination do you attend?

Yes, I’m a believer, and I don’t belong to a particular denomination.

Do people at your church or work know about your blog? What is their reaction?

Not many of them know.

What was your family’s reaction when you wanted to begin blogging?

I’ve never asked, and they’ve never said anything.

Did you ever write a blog that made someone feel hurt? How did you reconcile that or resolve that?

I do my best to not hurt anyone or be pushy. I’m never snarky. But I’m also not shying away from posts that could be considered controversial.

What can we pray about for you?

That the ideas for my story will continue coming, and that I will find time to write amidst the craziness of moving again so I can finish the book this year.

How many hours do you social network and/or blog per week?

Too many.

How many readers do you get a month?

I average about 2000. I’m always amazed at where they come from, or how they find me.

Anything else you’d like to share about your blog?

I try to be real and honest and kind. I hope that comes across.

Note from Nikki: The purpose of this series is to show the heart behind some of the many blogs I read. Most of them might be Christian, but some of them aren’t believers. On July 5, we featured Kristine McGuire. With all the great articles out there about social networking, building your brand, and marketing ones self in the world, I wanted to put a different spin on things. This series will make an attempt to get at the heart of the blogger. I’m not asking for submissions. So please keep your comments to prayers for Michelle, questions for her, or encouragement for her as she fulfills this calling. As Bonnie Gray once said, your comments are a gift.

Today: Speaking at ACFW

Dear Friends,

Today I am speaking at ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I would appreciate your prayers as this is my first speaking gig.

ACFW Arizona Chapter

Tempe, Arizona

Topic: What You Can Learn Through Book Reviewing

In many ways, book reviewing is a lot like critiquing a manuscript. On Saturday, June 30 from 1 – 3 p.m. Nikole Hahn will teach her method for reviewing books and show you how book reviewing will teach you to be a better writer, a better critique partner, and how reviewing can build a broader reader base for your blog and website. She will share the risks of book reviewing and what you should beware of and why you should post a bad review.

Contact: Betty Springer


Book Review: On Writing Well

“This fixation on the finished article causes writers a lot of trouble, deflecting them from all the earlier decisions that have to be made to determine its shape and voice and content. It’s a very American kind of trouble. We are a culture that worships the winning result: the league championship, the high test score. Coaches are paid to win, teachers are valued for getting students into the best colleges. Less glamorous gains made along the way–learning, wisdom, growth, confidence, dealing with failure–aren’t given the same respect because they can’t be given a grade.” – Pg. 253, Chapter 22 “The Tyranny of the Final Product,” by William Zinsser

I won’t say anymore. On Writing Well by William Zinsser should be required reading for every writer. I disagreed with his interview techniques, but other than this, it helped tremendously. The above quote illustrates my opinion of some (not all) in this world of Indie Writers versus Traditional that too many of us are looking only at the finished product. We forget the lessons in failure.

An Overview of Writing For The Soul

Day 3-4

Writing For The Soul Conference

February 16-19, 2012

The way to be taken seriously as a writer is to attend a writer’s conference. Writing for The Soul was my first experience with meeting editors and agents and hearing from amazing speakers.

The meal times allowed you to sit with agents, mentors, editors, authors, and writers just like me trying to grow as a writer. It’s amazing what The Christian Writer’s Guild does for writers. There are so many programs available to better your writing.

From the Snowflake Method where my pitch and paragraph was taken a part to be re-tooled to the class on symbolism, I could not learn enough and by Saturday night felt overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

Between homesickness and emotional highs and lows, I excused myself to spend the rest of the evening after dinner thinking about it all. On Sunday, I left Denver early to wait at the airport. By then, the chaotic city made me long for my small town and dark sky; for the quiet of evening minus the noise of city.

But God has a sense of humor. At six o’clock that Sunday night when I was to board the plane, the plane was delayed an hour because a toilet overflowed. Immediately, I sent a text to my husband in Phoenix:

“The plane was delayed due to bathroom problems. The toilet overflowed. I didn’t do it.”

This Week…

The Writing For The Soul Conference was quite the experience. I will be blogging all this week about what I learned and my plan for going forward. If you haven’t all ready, subscribe to my newsletter. In it, I talk about the direction of my writing and latest accomplishments as well as telling you the special stuff that will happen in the proceeding month.

Also, I am still looking for guest posts for the Survivors and Faith column. Please read the requirements and don’t be shy about submitting, even anonymously.

Has Anyone Seen My Self-Confidence?

The intention was to re-examine how I ask for help and use my gifts to re-think volunteer strategy. I wrote a paragraph describing what it’s like to help in an area that needed more volunteers. The other day that paragraph of what I wrote was read back to me for grammar correction.

Complete strangers read my manuscripts. Their criticisms do not terrify me. However, people I respect who read my manuscripts make me tremble.

I tensed.

The person reading it back pointed out one word and I laughed at myself for getting so nervous. Most people can’t wrap their minds around how a gregarious person can be shy.  I find that trait in my personality annoying.

Why is it that I can submit the first 1500 words to a thick-skin critique without blinking an eye and yet when my friends read it I want to hide my head in the sand like an ostrich?

The first time I participated in my Word Weavers critique group my stomach felt as if someone had taken it in both hands and gave it a good twist. Surprisingly, it went well and has been going well ever since. My confidence is growing.

Lately, I trembled at the thought of friends reading my novel should it become published. That shyness again and fear of rejection returned and I know I must be as brave as I am in blogging. Not everyone will like it. I expect criticism and I expect some will love it. It’s the rocky path I chose to walk.

Can you relate?