Thursday, July 30, 2009

Read Two Books and Call Me in the Morning

Reading is the best way relax and lower stress levels, more effective than listening to music, drinking tea or coffee, taking a walk or playing video games.

According to researchers at Britain's University of Sussex, even six minutes of silent reading can cut your stress by 68 percent, slowing the heart rate and easing heart and muscle tension.

"Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation," said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the study for the university's Mindlab International. "This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination."

The words on the printed page, he said, stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.

This is good news for readers and bookstores. But it's also great news for writers. We're the ones whose creative imaginations get those words onto the page and whose literary worlds can be so therapeutic -- for ourselves and for others.

By the way, the study found that music reduced stress levels by 61 percent, a cup of tea of coffee dropped them by 54 percent, walking lowered them by 42 per cent and playing video games brought them down by 21 percent.

The research was commissioned by Britain's Galaxy chocolate in support of a campaign to give away a million books over the next six months. The study was reported today in the online edition Marie Claire magazine.

The report failed to note whether chocolate consumption (Galaxy's or otherwise) was an effective stress-reducer!

Other Voice of Your Muse posts about reading:
Read to Write
The Life Affirming Experience of Reading

Image: "Old Woman Reading" by Rembrandt

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Write Time

"When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. I think it's a wonderful way to spend one's life."
Erica Jong

When we answer the call of our muse, the cry of our heart, the yearning of our soul, we dwell in that place where joy reigns and time has no meaning.

When we set aside the time to create, we are not only in write time, but right time.

Isn't it time you picked up your pen and answered your call to write?

Photo of Erica Jong from

The Call to Write: An Albuquerque Workshop

If you missed my June Albuquerque writing workshop, The Call to Write: Answering the Voice of Your Muse, I hope you can join me on August 8 when I offer it again.

The workshop is a blend of tools, tips and inspiration, guaranteed to get you writing and keep you writing -- naturally, eloquently and without struggle. It takes place from 1-5pm in the Tramway/Candelaria area of Albuquerque's Northeast Heights.

If you feel any pull toward joining us, I encourage you to honor it. So often, the call to participate only makes logical sense once you're in the midst of the experience.

Please note that there are only a few spaces left. So register today. (Sign up by Aug 4 and pay only $55, instead of $75.) I promise that you'll never feel the same about writing again!

A complete calendar of my upcoming book-signings, classes, workshops and other events is always posted on my page at

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Muse & You: Radio for Writers and Readers...with Mark David Gerson

Episode One: Thursday, June 17, 1pm ET

(click here to listen live or to listen to or download the archived version any time after the show airs)

After having appeared more than two dozen times as a guest on a wide range of radio programs, I've finally got a show of my own!

The Muse & You, a production of Red River Writers, is all about writing and creativity, and it's for writers and readers alike -- an opportunity to listen to writers and creators of all sorts talk about how and why they create and, of course, about what they create. It's also an opportunity for you to call in with your questions for me and my guests

The hour-long show debuts Wed., July 29 at 1pm ET, and then moves to a monthly schedule -- the third Thursday of each month, also at 1pm ET.

For this month's inaugural show, I'm privileged to have as my guests Julie Isaac, a contributor to Conscious Entrepreneursand founder of Twitter's #writechat, and Malcolm R. Campbell, author of The Sun Singer and the upcoming Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire

I hope you'll tune in, and bring your questions -- for me and my guests!

(If you miss the live broadcast, you can listen to the archived episode, which will be available approximately one hour after the end of the show.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Snap a Pic for Me and Promote Yourself!

See more reader pics on my New Earth Chronicles blog.

Do you have a copy of either of my books? If so, I'd love to include a pic of you reading either The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, The MoonQuest, or both in my Readers Photo Album on Facebook.

And to help you promote your book and/or web site, I'll include in the photo caption not only your name but your promotional info/link. I'll also post a selection of reader pics here in a future blog post.

If you have my email address, simply email me your pic and caption information. If you don't have my email address, contact me via Facebook, Twitter or my web site once you have the photo, and I'll tell you where to send it.

Thanks to Wendell Goff (top pic, above), Robert Adams, Edward David Jennings, Josh Reid-Davis, Karen Walker and Karen Vaughan for their reader pics. I'm looking forward to getting yours!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dare to Feel. Dare to Connect

"Go to the emotional epicenter, where it hurts most, and write on. If you dare."
~ Bill Donovan, editor/publisher, Creative Screenwriting

"Only connect."
~ E.M. Forster

The call to write is a call to share our emotional depth with others. It's a call to be vulnerable. It's a call to connect.

Thing is, we don’t touch others at a deep level when we connect mind-to-mind, though that connection is a powerful and important one. We touch others at a deep level when we connect heart-to-heart.

Unless we write from our deepest heart, unless we tell the stories that move us, we will never move our readers.

I spent the first chunk of my writing career avoiding writing from what Bill Donovan calls the "emotional eipcenter." I observed and reported, intellectually and dispassionately. I told stories, but without heart.

In not revealing my feelings (at times, not even to myself), I failed to engage my readers in any but superficial ways. I failed them and I failed myself.

I didn't connect.

Do you want to write truth, the truth from which both powerful fiction and nonfiction arise? If you want to write truth, if you want to write words that will touch the deepest emotions and connections and truths of your reader, then you must write what your heart calls on you to write. You must go where you've never dared go before -- in your writing, certainly; in your life, perhaps.

You must, as I write in The Voice of the Muse's "Thirteen Rules for Writing," go for the jugular, for your jugular: "Go for the demon you would run from. Go for the feeling you would flee from. Go for that emotion you would deny. Once you put it on paper, you strip it of its power over you. Once you put it on paper, you free it to empower your work."

You free it, as well, to empower your readers. You empower them to feel their emotions, to be vulnerable and to share their stories.

"We tell our stories in order to live," Joan Didion writes in The White Album

We tell our stories, too, to connect.

There is neither life nor connection outside the heart.

• Where are you refusing to be vulnerable in your writing?

• Where are you afraid to reveal your feelings, perhaps even to yourself?

• In what ways are you reluctant to connect, heart-to-heart, with your readers?

• Where, right now, can you go for the jugular -- your jugular -- and dare to write from your emotional epicenter?

Part of answering the call to write and birthing the book that's inside you involves tapping into that emotional epicenter. I'll be encouraging you to do that in both my upcoming workshops in Albuquerque. See this blog post for more details. (My calendar of upcoming book-signings, classes, workshops and other events is always posted on my page at

Adapted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, winner of a 2009 IPPY Silver Medal as one of the top writings books of the year

Photo by Mark David Gerson: Cholla cactus flower, Sandia foothills, Albuquerque, NM

Upcoming Writing Workshops in Albuquerque

Dear Friends,

I'd forgotten how much I loved sharing my passion for writing with other writers until last month's workshop here in Albuquerque. You see, it had been a couple of years since I'd offered a full-fledged writing class or workshop -- partly because of my travels and partly because I'd been so focused on getting my own books out that there'd been little time to teach.

But June's event was so fulfilling, for myself and the participants, that I've decided to do it again.

More to the point, I've decided to make Albuquerque --and New Mexico -- the hub of a new series of classes, workshop and, ultimately, retreats.

It wasn't easy to declare any place as "home" after my 30 months of full-time travel. But two years after having landed here at the end of those travels, Albuquerque has finally come to occupy that place in my heart. I'm home. And I want to do as much of my work here as possible.

For now, I have two Albuquerque workshops coming up:

Birthing Your Book...Even If You Don't Know What It's About ~ July 18
So many of us know we have a book inside us but either aren't clear what it is or don't know how to start. Through a series of powerful exercises, I'll help connect you with the book that's been inside you all along and show you how to use that connection to get your book written.As well I'll offer you practical tools to get going and keep going...through to completion.

The Call to Write: Answering the Voice of Your Muse ~ August 8
Bbring your questions, issues and concerns about writing. And prepare to write -- naturally, spontaneously and from that deep place within you where your muse resides, waiting for her call to be answered. (By popular demand, this offering of The Call to Write will involve more hands-on writing than any previous version.) I've offered versions of this workshop over the years and it's always more about the people who turn up than any fixed curriculum -- which means that every Call to Write is different from its predecessors.

It doesn't matter what your genre or experience level is, these workshops will transform your creative process and revolutionize your creative life. You'll never feel the same about writing again!

Both Saturday workshops take place from 1-5pm in the Tramway/Candelaria area of Albuquerque's Northeast Heights.

And if you sign up for both by July 14, you'll pay only $99, a savings of up to 34%! July 14 is also your deadline to get into the Birthing Your Book workshop for $55, instead of the regular $75. (PayPal and all credit cards accepted.)

But call soon: Space is very limited and my June 20 Call to Write was sold out!

If you feel any pull toward joining us, I encourage you to honor it. So often, the call to participate only makes logical sense once you're in the midst of the experience. And each workshop will be a powerful, supportive, nurturing and accelerating experience. I hope to see you there.

Remember, space is limited. So register today.

Warm regards,
Mark David

P.S. My calendar of upcoming book-signings, classes, workshops and other events is always posted on my page at