Deb Lund Ad Lib

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NaNoWriMo & PiBoIdMo

Posted by on Oct 17, 2015 in ALL, The Write Stuff | Comments Off on NaNoWriMo & PiBoIdMo

What a month for writers! And while I can’t do all the incredible writing activities that take place every November, they always motivate me to inspire others.


NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month

Let’s start with the longest running. NaNoWriMo began in 1999. That first NaNo binge, as you’ll learn more about HERE, “had little to do with any ambitions we might have harbored on the literary front. Nor did it reflect any hopes we had about tapping more fully into our creative selves. No, we wanted to write novels for the same dumb reasons twenty-somethings start bands. Because we wanted to make noise. Because we didn’t have anything better to do. And because we thought that, as novelists, we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as non-novelists.”

Isn’t that why all NaNoWriMo 20-some-year-olds write? And all this time I thought my inner critic is what held me back between my first rejected submission at age 25 and the next at 40. Ha! It was moving away from the dating scene that did it. I’ve been a NaNoWriMo winner, and the best gift in it for me was finding out I could do it. I could write a novel.

Ever since then, I’ve been a cheerleader for anyone considering that crazy, month-consuming activity. It started with the cards I used in my writing teaching for decades. Cards that evolved over the years since my master’s project on teaching writing back in the 80’s. I wanted something to propel my students into fiction that kept readers turning pages. Tension. Conflict. Suspense. All that goof stuff that’s easy to leave out. And that’s where Fiction Magic began, but I’m ahead of myself.

Years ago, I did posts during NaNoWriMo, with a “NaNo Nuj” in each post. Each nudge was a phrase from my card set (my one, funky handmade set). No one has time to read a lot if they’re doing a novel in a month, but a few words now and then? Perfect! What I heard back from participants was encouraging.  Comments like, “When I didn’t know what to do next, I used a NaNo Nuj ” and “Where can I get these cards?”

But I still didn’t get it.

It took me years and lots more requests (thank you NILA MFA, Western WA SCBWI, & Oregon SCBWI) before I got up the courage to get the cards out where they could do any good. Kickstarter helped collect most of the expenses, and Ad Magic helped me put it all together.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year (or if you just enjoy writing at your own leisurely pace), check out or grab a half-price Fiction Magic deck and guidebook! And be sure to follow Janet Lee Carey’s blog, Dreamwalks, where she’ll feature Fiction Magic cards all month. (Janet is a smart writer and wise person with a library of fantasy books all with her name on them.) That way you’ll get to try up to a dozen of the prompts before realizing you want all 54 cards and the guidebook with a page of craft information and writing life encouragement for each of the 54 prompts.


PiBoIdMo is Picture Book Idea Month

Picture book creators have all the fun, at least when they hang out with Tara Lazar, the zany, smart, lovable creator of PiBoIdMo and author of amazing picture books herself. Her books are popping out like bunnies! And she has a bevy of followers with their own books published from PiBo ideas. Obviously, she’s on to something here. Do you need more convincing? Meet Tara! I never miss PiBoIdMo.

Picture book writer Jan O’Neil and I got together November 1st last year with a bunch of writer friends and zipped through half of our 30 picture book ideas for the month. One sitting! We both finished the rest in one sitting, too. Our trick? We used Fiction Magic cards. I was feeling smug about it until Tara asked me to write a PiBoIdMo final day follow-up blog post on using Fiction Magic cards to flesh out and revise story ideas created during PiBoIdMo. Gulp. Being a person who believes in jumping and waiting for the net to appear (who first said that?), I said yes, and then panicked. I took my idea list and pulled cards. Oh, my. It worked! Here’s that post. Read the other posts while you’re there, too. You’ll see how and why everyone gets inspired.

And along with Picture Book Idea Month is an activity for all picture book lovers…


Picture Book Month

What’s important about picture books? So much. You probably have lots of answers for that yourself, and if you want to read more reasons from the creators of piles of picture books, check out the daily posts in Picture Book Month. You’ll rekindle your love affair with picture books. It’s an honor to be included on this year’s picture book champion list, which reminds me… I have a post to write for them!

But first, if you’re in the Seattle area, join me for our second annual NaNoWriMo & PiBoIdMo Kickoff. Or say hi to me at the “Author Next Door” event at Oak Harbor Sno-Isle Library on November 16.

So, writers—how are you spending your month? Writing, I hope!


Home-Grown Summer Reading

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in ALL, Writing with Kids | Comments Off on Home-Grown Summer Reading

If you want your kids to be writers, read to them. Read with them. Summer is the perfect time to read, and if you live here in the Seattle area, you don’t have to go far from home to find authors with great stories to share. A big chunk of my reading time is dedicated to their words. As a children’s author, teacher, and school librarian, I know how lucky I am to live here in “Kidlit” Land. Here’s an assortment of titles—just a sampling—that would be on my summer reading list if I hadn’t already read them…

Local author Laurie Ann Thompson’s new book Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters (12 and up) is an inspiring read for parents and children. Teens will enjoy reading and sharing the stories of other young people who have made a difference in the world and learning how they can make a difference, too.

Award-winning authors Bonny Becker and Kirby Larson are well-known in the world-wide children’s literature community. Young children and those who read to them will be captured by the language in Bonny’s exquisite bear books, and dog-lovers will enjoy Kirby’s picture books of true dog tales. Don’t miss their titles for tweens (Becker’s The Magical Miss Plum) and teens (Larson’s Hattie Big Sky) among their many other offerings.

Thinking about Kirby’s books reminds me of other books. Young dog lovers will learn how to be around those four-footed friends as you share the appealing artwork and fun text in Don’t Lick the Dog with them. And if the Hattie books (yes, Larson’s Newbery Honor book has a sequel) appeal to your older historical fiction reader, take a look at Carole Estby Dagg’s The Year We Were Famous. Others have written about this amazing “walk across the country” true story, but like Kirby and her first Hattie installment, Carole is a descendent of the adventurous heroine in her story. As with Karen Cushman’s historical fiction, it’s always a joy to find compelling, sophisticated stories like Carole’s to share with advanced readers who may not be ready for the explicit content found in other books at their reading level.

Since we’re jumping a bit among various reading levels, let’s move to a few for younger kids. Love folk tales? Try Meg (Margaret H.) Lippert’s picture books, told with simplicity and reverence for the lands where the stories originate. What a great way to integrate cultural awareness and enjoyment! And for cultural awareness right here around us, Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt gets children thinking about others less fortunate than themselves.

If your story lovers enjoy dinosaurs, methods of transportation, and rowdy, rollicking, rhyming tales of adventure and silliness, introduce them to my gargantuan goofballs in Dinosailors, All Aboard the Dinotrain, and Dinosoaring as they take to the skies, the rails and the high seas in this bestselling dinoTHRILLogy.

Oh, and if you’re looking for sweetness, sink into Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden. Delight? Carole Lexa Schaefer and Pierr Morgan’s The Squiggle. Gleeful playfulness? None other than Kevan Atteberry’s Bunnies!!! 

Super fun artist Dana Sullivan really makes the Digger and Daisy reader series come alive with his loose, kid-appealing artwork. Those beginning to read on their own will enjoy these adventures and may even catch Dana around town (or on YouTube) to see how he draws his characters.

Family summer reading will feel more complete if your list includes a summertime story, and though Sara Nickerson’sThe Secrets of Blueberries, Brothers, Moose & Me won’t be out until later in July, it will be here in time for picking your own blueberries. Other books for that in-between age are titles by Patrick Jennings and the prolific Suzanne Williams. And don’t let your summer go by without laughing along with the award-winning Pickle by Kim Baker.

Novels in verse have become more and more popular in recent years, and Stasia Ward Kehoe’s The Sound of Letting Go is truly a family story of trial, growth, and redemption. It’s a winner. Fantasy for older readers? No debate there. Janet Lee Carey’s books are time and teen tested. Martha Brockenbrough’s smart use of language and ideas will capture the most creative imaginations, you’ll fall in love with Justina Chen’s collection, and you’ll heighten your senses with Holly Cupala’s list.

I could go on and on—these are just a sampling. Western Washington’s rich array of children’s book creators keep spinning out the best of the best. For more information on what’s happening in your “kidlit” community, check out the Chinook blog by the Western Washington chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators at

And while you’re reading local, shop local at one of our many amazing independent bookstores. They’ll get you these titles and recommend many more. Happy summer reading!



Writing Teacher “Has it Her Way”

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 in ALL, Writing with Kids | Comments Off on Writing Teacher “Has it Her Way”

It can’t be easy to teach writing to a group of primary special education students, but Lynn Madore is committed to her students’ success. If you’re a teacher, try using a bit of your summer to engage your inner rebel—Madore style. Lynn was a student in my online “Writing with Kids: Real Writing with Real Results” continuing education course—one of the ones who taught me why I may not stop teaching this class.


Having it My Way

by Lynn Madore

Perhaps the best way for me to begin is to acknowledge my own block; my own stuck-in-the-mud-needing to write-a-certain-way-that-impedes-the-flow, my perfectionist tendencies and propensity to procrastinate. I can write. But don’t. My students can’t write. And don’t. Where do I begin? I’m spinning wheels in mud with my Fiat when what I need is a Jeep 4 x 4. My own impediments to production, though endowing me with a certain measure of empathy for my students, define my ignorance. Where do I begin?

I know there is a “better” way, but what direction do I head? I truly do not know what to do to support my struggling students. I feel hampered by general educators and parent expectations and the command to provide supports through curriculum when the curriculum is already so far above their heads. (Even more so at my school where educators brag about being a grade level or more beyond the “norm” and where “average” kids are referred to me for special education testing because average looks disabled.)

Is the mire my students find themselves in, similar to my own? Is it their ability or the constraints placed on them? Choose what they write? When? Where? It’s always assigned—right down to the specific graphic organizer they have to use to accomplish the task. Phooey.

What would I do if I were the captain of the ship instead of a deck hand?

First of the new school year:

I meet with all general educators and parents whose students I serve to share my new philosophy: I’ll no longer be doing “get it done” assignments, but rather students will be coming to me to find the freedom to write and be supported in their writing “right where they are at” without deadlines, without restrictions, but not without expectations—the expectations that will develop in them the love of writing for writing’s sake.

First assignment of the new year:

  • Windows are flung open; the breeze streams through ruffling…
  • Colored papers strewn across desks littered with old wallpaper books, magazines, glue, glitter, markers, leather laces, buttons, and beads
  • Students arrive in small groups, not 1:1
  • They arm themselves with artist materials to create a personalized writer’s journal

—a free expression of self in which to express oneself in words and drawings

  • The Beatles (perhaps) are blaring in the background (Why be conventional?)
  • Task complete: budding authors trounce back to classrooms, journals in hand
  • Ongoing assignment: a daily journal log

Let the writing begin:

  • Budding authors arrive in small groups, equipped with their journals (and hopefully an entry or two)
  • The hunt ensues for a nook, or cranny in which to collude with the inner author
  • They will know when they visit “Ms M,” it’s writing time—every time
  • I will serve as their guide, their observer, their deep listener, their mirror—to know and to be known
  • They will learn ideas come first
  • In my classroom, because I have already set the “curriculum boundary” they will always be free to write about whatever most moves them (even if it’s 20 essays on soccer)
  • When they are “done’ (because it’s their mantra after all), it will signal me that I do not yet know my little author well; I shall become an “inquiring mind”

Mini lessons

  • I will meet them where they are at, not where the curriculum dictates they should be
  • They will learn conventions—spelling, grammar, punctuation within the context of their ideas
  • I will teach by example, modeling my thoughts
  • They will be on writer’s retreat, and I shall be circling and tailoring lessons 1:1
  • We will come together as a group to record our mini-lessons on poster board to hang around the room for future reference
  • They will learn the art of the self-conference “asking myself the questions other students might ask of me”
  • Will we take “idea walks” around the school, outside, with our pencils and journals; we will sweeten the “pot of our writer’s mind”

How will I use literature to teach writing?

With the crush of curriculum, and my extraordinary frustration this year, I’d already given consideration to this idea, and have purchased two series which are at “grade level” and used in the grade 3 curriculum for “response to reading.” This summer, I’ll create chapter summaries and have a plan for read-aloud with students who are not yet at grade level. (Let’s be realistic: this means all of them.) I will tailor their writing, and provide choices for organizing their writing that extend what is being offered in the classroom. And I, not the gen. ed. teacher will control the pacing, which means I’m going for quality, not quantity. It’s going to be a battle—a world war, perhaps.

But I am resolved:

Beginning my 9th year of teaching, I will do what I believe to be best for my students. I pledge to ignore (and work to overcome the uproar), the complete cacophony from gen. ed. teachers and parents, that is likely to ensue.

Engage my inner rebel.


Lynn Madore is primary special education teacher at the Marion Cross School in Norwich, VT. A former professional diaper changer, boo-boo kisser, snot wiper, dish-doer, and clutter picker-upper of five, she is still discerning which of the two jobs provides the greater challenge. In her spare time (all five minutes a day), Lynn enjoys knitting, sewing, cycling, hiking, camping and kissing her grandson’s boo-boos. She leaves the snot-wiping to daughter/mother, Lauren.



Reluctant Writers

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in ALL, Writing with Kids | Comments Off on Reluctant Writers

This morning I saw a post on a writing-teacher group that read, “How do you help reluctant writers?” As my heartbeat raised and I sat up straighter in my chair, I knew I had to respond. I didn’t stop writing the response until I was forced to stop because of reaching the maximum word count, but I still have much more to say. I could write a book on this topic, and yes, I’ve started one. But for now, let me just share what I wrote (with a couple of tweaks) in response to the question on helping reluctant writers…

I’m going to respond before reading the post linked to your question.

I loved it when parents would walk into my classroom at the beginning of a school year and say their child was a reluctant writer. I knew I would get that child writing. After I moved across the country, a former teacher friend sent me a newspaper article called “Who’s Your Hero?” In it, the author, a past student of mine, talked about how her whole class knew they were writers. Also in that class was a writer who is now a national NBC news reporter.If you read his bio, you’ll see that it was in my classroom that he decided to be a writer. As an author, I know I’m easier to locate, so I get to hear more of these comments than other writers, and I accept the praise on behalf of all writing teachers who care enough about their students to do the hard work of nurturing lifelong writers.

Helping your students become lifelong writers means focusing on a lot more than writing conventions and formulas such as 5-paragraph essays. Best practices in teaching writing include student topic choice, choice of formats, critique opportunities, and realistic deadlines that incorporate opportunities for revision support. It means giving students a purpose for their writing, to make it meaningful for them. Meaningful enough that it will become a natural means of communication for them.

To help kids trigger their own passions for writing, they need models. Not just mentor texts, but live writing models. Writing can be such a scary, personally revealing activity, that it’s not only the students who are hesitant to reveal themselves on paper that have issues with writing, even in younger grades. They go for teacher recognition and approval over risk-taking and voice. Even the best writers in the class—no, especially the best writers in the class—can be guilty of this. Why take chances? They just follow the rules for the A and no more. When all that matters is teacher approval and grades, turning in a finished piece that is technically perfect and boring read won’t help students see their own potential as writers.

Imagine the difference experienced by students who have teachers who share their writing with them. Not just the finished paper, but the process. Use that smart board. Haul out the old overhead projector and write in front of students as they write. It’s motivating for them to see their teachers cross out lines, write in margins, question what to do next, make mistakes, add arrows to rearrange sections.

Can you tell I’m passionate about this topic?

I understand that to create writing standards and curriculum, we must break down what happens in the writing process and in our language itself. But that is not real writing, and to never give kids a chance to experience the magic in a successful free-write, based on their own passions, is to discourage them from learning to love writing. Trigger their emotions and beliefs, as you’ve triggered mine in your question, and let them fully express themselves. Without that component, it’s like teaching phonics and never applying the learning to the process of reading. You can’t become a writer in isolation of the real writing process.

Assigning meaningless writing and then pointing out errors makes no sense to me. If you’re still using a red pen and thinking you’re “teaching” on the paper, there’s a good chance your students see it only as criticism, as proof that they’re not and never will be good writers. Make sure they understand your motives. And make sure they know that even published authors go through the same steps they do, the same wondering, the same not-knowing what the piece will be when they begin it.

No one expects students to learn math by teachers redoing the math problems for them, but that’s the strategy used by many writing teachers. Take the time to talk with them, to ask questions, to be their writing coach. It’s not as hard as you might think.

It takes time to counteract what our students have learned about writing and to trust that we can help them take ownership and pride in their work. At the beginning of each new school year, it would take at least a few weeks for my new classrooms of students to get used to my philosophy and ways of teaching writing, but oh, my, what writers I would have by the end of the school year. If you aren’t feeling the same way with your teaching, take the risks you need to take to make it happen. You and your students will both benefit.

Yes, I know. It’s all about tests, all about measuring up. Who are you teaching for? You or your students? Do the work, provide the structure, the foundation that will allow your students to stand on their own, to take leaps, to soar.

Now I’m off to read your thoughts!

I still haven’t read the blog post for the link the author provided. I will. I’m guessing at least some of it includes part of what I replied to her question, but it doesn’t matter. Writing this validated for me the idea that good writing teaching works for all students, not just gifted or reluctant. This also validated how strongly I feel about this topic, and that I’m on the right track in sharing my writing teaching experiences with people in today’s classrooms. And in case you think I’m not aware of the great writing programs that are in place around our country, I am. There’s a lot of magical writing happening, and countless classes of students are becoming life-long writers. And there’s room for a lot more.

If you’re a teacher, thank you. If you had a teacher who inspired you, thank them.

Beck & Call: The Epitome of Creativity Coaching

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 in ALL, The Creativity Cafe | Comments Off on Beck & Call: The Epitome of Creativity Coaching


The Beck & Call Coaching Packages:


What if you could have support when you need it? Someone to encourage you on, address your concerns and insecurities about your creative project? Help you determine your next best steps?


Too good to be true?

Kid Paint


Beck & Call is what I wanted and needed years ago, but it didn’t exist. I felt lost, like everyone else had the answers, knew the secret handshake, and no one was sharing what they knew with me. I stumbled a lot—that’s a necessary part of the creative process, but I didn’t know that then. I still don’t know the secret handshake, but I can help you stumble less, and when you do stumble, I’ll give you a hand to help you get back up.


I’ve taught, consulted with, critiqued, and coached countless writers, musicians, and artists. I’ve helped them get started, get unstuck, manage their time, set priorities, complete projects, and make life changes that have helped them achieve their dreams.


But that wasn’t enough for me.


Through the years, I’ve wanted to do more than my clients and I could accomplish in limited and set weekly or monthly meetings. I wanted to be there through every part of their process or projects. To be there when they needed to be heard, refocused, or reminded of the joy, meaning, and messiness that comes with creativity.


Painted Hands


I wanted them to see quicker, bigger, and longer-reaching results.


Is that what you want for yourself?


Sounds like a huge commitment for both of us, doesn’t it?


It is.


Beck & Call clients can talk to me as much as they need. In fact, I insist on at least three calls per month. I will answer emails, daily if necessary, and will strive to provide superior support. I want what my clients want.


Why should I care if you achieve your dreams?


Because that’s my dream!


My mission is to get everyone to claim their creative birthright.

If I can get a group of people well on their way to doing just that, they’ll spread the word about creativity. It’s what I want, what I’m passionate about, and I’ve thought a lot about how to best make this happen for me and those who choose to work with me.


We don’t all need the same thing.


We have different gifts, dreams, and needs. My coaching is not a system. It’s individualized, based on deep listening, questioning, honest conversation, and service. I don’t hold your hands—I help you free them so you can create.


You make the rules.


I work for you. You don’t answer to me. I’ll ask you to evaluate the process that evolves as we work together. You will be asked to take care of yourself by speaking up, asking for what you want, and letting me know what is working and what is not working for you. This is a specialized type of coaching that requires your participation in the coaching process.


I can partner with you, help you identify the misbeliefs or triggers that keep you from moving forward, demystify the creative process, and suggest resources and new ways of seeing. I will nudge you when needed, remind you of what you have told me, cheer you on and celebrate with you.


Sounds intensive, doesn’t it? Are you ready to commit to yourself in this way?


I’m ready and willing to commit to you.


I can take only a very limited number of Beck & Call clients. If part of you is interested in pursuing creativity coaching with me but part of you is unsure if it’s right for you, that’s the part I want to talk with.

Email me at to set up a free introductory coaching call.

Beck & Call coaching comes in three sizes:

3 months for $2400

6 months for $4200

12 monts for $7200

Payment options available




“Ten Reasons to Make Deb Lund Your Writing Coach” by Mary Lindberg

  1. She writes! So she understands this wonderful, weird process.
  2. She does lots of other things in addition to writing, like teaching and parenting, which give her a much broader perspective.
  3. She feels passionate about helping you deliver what’s waiting inside you to be expressed.
  4. She sends you very supportive emails.
  5. She listens extremely well, and reminds you of what you said.
  6. She is a great networker, and knows the publishing world.
  7. She’s committed her life to the world of words and writers.
  8. She’s a published author with wonderful books.
  9. She’s a natural, accomplished teacher.
  10. She will definitely help you meet your goals as a writer.

Whether we work together or not, you can still support my mission—just keep on claiming your creativity!



Write in the Park

Posted by on Aug 30, 2014 in ALL, What's up with Deb?, Writing with Kids | Comments Off on Write in the Park

DebSWSP        For writers ages 7-107

Could there be any better writing inspiration than the natural beauty of South Whidbey State Park? It’s one of my favorite places, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you as Calyx School {the ranger’s house) hosts us on select Fridays this fall. South Whidbey State Park is located on Smuggler’s Cove Road, and Whidbey’s free bus service (Island Transit Route #1) can take you there and back from points north or south on the island, including the Mukiteo-Clinton ferry.

Eight Friday Sessions: Sept. 19, 26, Oct. 10, 17, 31, Nov. 7, 14, & Dec.5



Story Stream Grades 2-6, 5-12 students 9:00—9:45 $75

Whether the stories we’ll write are from memory or imagination, they never appear on paper the way they are in our minds. We’ll explore ideas, structure, word choice, dialog, story arc, and ways to keep the flow going as we write, revise, critique, and share our stories.


Poetry Magic Grades 3-8, 5-12 students 9:45—10:30 $75

In poetry, every word counts, and the skills acquired from writing poetry apply to all writing. We’ll explore imagery, form, style, and word choice. Transforming inspiration into poetry to publish and perform is like making magic.


Real Writing with Real Results Grades 4-10, 6-10 students, 10:30—12:00 $105

You’ll design your own assignments in this class with support. Real writers choose their topics and find the right voice and format for what they want to say. We’ll explore multiple writing genres and methods in a setting that is as real as it gets. This workshop will help provide you with the modeling, guidance, and confidence you need to call yourself a writer.    


Park & Write Adults, 5-8 participants, 12:30—3:00 $245

Wouldn’t you love a weekly designated writing time inspired and supported by others writing alongside you? After a round of “check ins” and discussing topics such as generating ideas, revising, publishing, or others brought up by the group, that longed-for writing time is yours. We’ll close with goal sharing to help keep you motivated, confident, and accountable. Don’t you deserve that?


Writing & Creativity Coaching

I also offer private and group coaching, consultations, and critiques.

For more information or to register, please contact me at


Here’s a little more about me…

Deb Lund is an author, certificated teacher, and creativity coach who partners with writers and other artists who want to pursue their creative dreams. Deb’s process-oriented, developmental, and nonjudgmental teaching methods are effective with both reluctant and passionate writers. Her master’s project 25 years ago was on teaching writing, and she’s taught writing to students of all ages—and continuing education courses for writing teachers—ever since then. She’s a popular presenter at schools, libraries, and writing conferences. To learn more about Deb, visit

Hope to see you at the park this fall!

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Kicking the Kickstarter

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in ALL, The Write Stuff | Comments Off on Kicking the Kickstarter

A few weeks ago I launched a Kickstarter project, and it’s now fully funded and climbing with three days to go. If you haven’t seen it, click below. You don’t have to be a writer to appreciate some of the rewards.


Screenshot 2014-04-02 11.36.04


I got a question this morning from a young woman who had an unsuccessful attempt at a Kickstarter project. She asked me for tips.

That would be my first suggestion. Ask for tips. I wish I had told her she already did my number one tip. Here’s what I did say to her:

I believe my success was because I’ve used my card deck in my conference presentations, classes, and workshops. I’m connected in my writing community here in Washington. Most of the people who supported me know and believe in what I offer them. I haven’t done anything special except let them know that I was doing this. It helps that the participants in my presentations wanted the deck of cards and were ready to sign up as soon as the project started. I’ve been blown away by all the well-known, big-publisher authors who pledged to get the cards. In this Kickstarter project, it was mostly just that people knew what they were getting and knew they wanted it.

But my tips? This is my first project. I did what felt natural to me—along with ASKING (which doesn’t feel natural to me).

I couldn’t have done this without my community of friends and followers all over the world…

Friends like Anne Belov, who has had many successful Kickstarter projects, and who kickedstarted me whenever I needed it.

Friends like Tara Lazar, who wrote this amazing post about my project. Tara is the creator of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).

And Darcy Pattison, who asked me to write a guest blog post about my experience with Kickstarter. Darcy generously shares her knowledge with other writers in her blog and workshops.

It helps to live on Whidbey Island, where we can walk among the most creative, supportive people in the world. And I recently got to talk to them at Whidbey Life Magazine about the common characteristics of whitewater kayaking and Kickstarter. Whidbey people live and breathe the arts and though many are struggling artists themselves, they reach out and pull each other up. Perhaps this type of community isn’t as unique as I think it is, but I wouldn’t exchange my life here for anything in the world. If you can get a copy of the first print edition of Whidbey Life Magazine, you’ll have a better understanding of what I’m talking about.

And to those of you who contributed without asking for anything in return… It’s humbling. And it’s probably good for me to practice accepting. Thank you.

Your support made this project possible, and I hope the cards give you more support than you hoped to receive. And to the young woman who stepped out and tried a Kickstarter project, congratulations. Don’t assign judgement on your “failure.” You tried. Not everyone gets that far. You can try again.

And to others who have wanted to step into something like this (or anything outside your comfort level)—Jump! But first, look around you. Who are your friends? Who do you support and who supports you?  Reach out and pull someone up. Give. Then Ask.


It’s not too late to get in the fun…


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Card Deck for Writers

Posted by on Dec 14, 2013 in ALL, The Write Stuff | 18 comments

If you’ve known me awhile, you already know I consider myself more of a teacher than a writer. My masters degree project 25 years ago was on teaching writing, and I’ve taught teachers and writers of all ages ever since. And when I discovered I could teach adults the same way I taught kids, we all learned more and had a much better time!

Face-the-FearFor years, one of my teaching tools has been a deck of cards. It was a homemade, laminated deck with prompts that worked for any part of a manuscript from beginning to end, and any process from idea generation to revision. I wore out that set with writers of all ages at conferences, classes, retreats, and workshops. After hearing “Where can I get these cards?” over and over, they’re finally available.

FICTION MAGIC: Card Tricks and Tips for Writers

Fiction writers are troublemakers. We create characters and get them in trouble. We’re also magicians. We pull rabbits out of hats, heroes from certain death, and stories out of thin air. We make magic by making trouble. Fiction Magic.

Fiction Magic is all about keeping the tension and conflict present in your stories. Fiction Magic cards have prompts like “Alienate an Ally” and “Disguise the Bad Guy.” The guidebook has an entry for each prompt that contains “tricks” and “tips.”

Fiction Magic tricks may inspire new ideas, provide insights into revisions, or move you through blocks. The tips are a bit of creativity coaching which help apply the card’s message to your writing life.

It’s like having two decks in one!

The wonderful artwork on the cards is by the amazing Denice Lewis.


Loved these tweets following a presentation I did at the Oregon SCBWI conference from Regional Advisor Judi Gardiner and Agent Jen Rofe’…

@SCBWIOregon Because of Deb Lund @deblund wonderful workshop I found a “Unspoken Truth” that had to be spoken, Now the story is flowing!!!
11/25/13 3:17 PM
Writers — I *highly* recommend you get to know author and teacher Deb Lund. She offers excellent advice on writing. @deblund @scbwioregon
11/24/13 9:55 AM

And a few other comments…

“When I read a book on writing, it takes about 200 pages before I learn anything I can apply to my writing. I can use your cards instantly.”  Carole Estby Dagg, Award-winning YA author

“These cards are a creative way for Deb Lund to extend her gentle genius for helping fellow writers develop our own magic with fiction. I can hardly wait to get my hands on them, as both a writing teacher and a writer myself.”  Christina Baldwin, author of Life’s Companion and Storycatcher

“These cards are thought-provoking and inspiring. As an author and literary agent, I plan to use them myself and with my students and clients.”   Andrea Hurst, President Andrea Hurst Literary Management

Want an example of what you get in this boxed set?

Here’s a card “trick” and “tip” for this card from the guidebook:

Your characters’ dreams or longings mean everything in the world to them. What would shake them up enough to risk their dreams? For whom or what would your characters take big risks? This is where ethics, values, pride, or safety could come into play. Game-changers come along, and characters have to think twice, or maybe several times, before continuing on their journeys. Or maybe risking it all is what initially sets their journeys in motion. At some point, an all-or-nothing risk is taken.

           How long have you waited to realize your dreams? What would you risk to make them come true? Risk even more. List all the reasons to not try, and then determine how many are based on fear. Take the risk. To not try is to fail. Try.


Risk it All

I just took a risk. What will you risk?

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Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in ALL, What's up with Deb? | Comments Off on Thankful


That’s the name of the song I sang at a Thanksgiving service last night with my husband. I have a music degree, but he’s the accomplished musician with the creamy full baritone voice that makes people swoon (he hates it when I say things like that, especially in print).

And I’m thankful.

Thankful that I get to sing with him. Thankful to have him in my life.

And after this year, thankful that we’re able to weather storms, and not only weather them, but turn them into something new. New life. New love.


That’s what I am when I think of my family.

One almost 17-year-old birth son who is so much like those parents that we feel sorry for him and beam with pride at the same time. He, fortunately is now finding his tribe, at an earlier age than his parents did.


Thankful for our Haitian-born younger kiddos. Our daughter Sandra (15) and son Jean (almost 12) bring us joy, strengthen our character, and teach us so much about life that they have changed who we are. And we thought it was about us helping to mold their lives. Any parent knows what I’m saying here, and those of you with older adopted children understand this on another level as well.

Jean is our joy boy.

Sandra is our drama diva.

Kaj is our musician.

Karl and I hold each other tightly, practice being open and honest, and apologize a lot.

We wish you all a Thanksgiving of giving thanks. A year and a life of giving thanks.

Of saying it out loud. Of shouting it if you feel like it, or even if you don’t.

Do it now.

Say thanks. Tell them. Call them. Hold them tight.

Share it here.

With gratitude for all I have…


Making Your Creative Mark

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in ALL, The Creativity Cafe | Comments Off on Making Your Creative Mark

If you’re a client of mine, or a creative friend, you’ve heard me talk about Eric Maisel. He’s the guy who started this whole crazy amazing creativity coaching gig. I’ve read and recommended books of his in the past, and this is another one you might want to see…

coaching-artist-within-advice-for-writers-actors-visual-eric-maisel-paperback-cover-artIn this book, Maisel turns his decades of coaching, teaching, and creating into nine keys to help people come up with solutions to their creative challenges.

Eric, would you be willing to highlight one or two of these keys for us?

I start with the “mind” key because I believe that getting a grip on our thoughts and doing a better job of thinking thoughts that actually serve us are supremely important skills to master. Most people do a poor job of “minding their mind” and choosing to think in ways that serve them… If people did a better job of “minding their mind” by noticing what they were thinking and by making an effort to replace defensive and unproductive thoughts with less defensive and more productive thoughts, they would live in less pain and they would give themselves a much better chance of living the life they dream of living… There’s really nothing more important than getting a grip on your own thoughts!

Boy is that true! I think most of us in the arts struggle with that on a regular basis. I wouldn’t have become a creativity coach if I hadn’t. My clients know that I understand what’s going on with them!

Another key that interests me is the “stress key.” What are some of your tips for reducing stress in an artist’s life?

Life produces stress, the artistic personality produces additional stress, creating produces even more stress, and living the artist’s life is the topper! An artist must learn how to deal with all of these stressors—and how to deal with them effectively. You might try “writing your stress away.” …You can reframe a given demand as an opportunity… You can have a fruitful conversation with yourself and answer the following four questions:

1. What are my current stressors?

2. What unhealthy strategies am I currently employing to deal with these stressors?

3. What healthy strategies am I currently employing to deal with these stressors?

4. What new stress management strategies would I like to learn? An artist needs to honor the reality of stress and make plans for dealing with it!

 Thank you, Eric. Probably the best advice I got from you was to consider letting go of my idea to start my novel over from the beginning. I still may need to start over, but at that point in time, that idea was totally stopping me from even opening up the document. Thanks for being a great teacher and coach. My own clients thank you, too.

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