Thursday, November 29, 2012

Feeling Rejected? Don't Be Dejected!

Remembering author Madeleine L'Engle, born this day in 1918... 

Through both her fiction (ie, A Wrinkle in Time) and non-fiction (memoirs and books about spirituality/writing) author Madeleine L'Engle has long been a major influence in my life. I didn't discover A Wrinkle in Time until I was an adult in the early years of my spiritual awakening. But when I did, I found it to be a gem of a book, filled -- as is all L'Engle's writing -- with spiritual truths for young adults and adults alike. Today, two decades after that first reading, the profound wisdom of this prolific author and devout Episcopalian continues to inspire me.

One of my favorite L'Engle stories, apart from the one that follows, comes from one of her nonfiction books -- I don't now remember which. In it she describes legions of white-bearded Old Testament prophets, their faces raised to the sky, shouting up at God, incredulously: "You want me to do what!?" There are still days when I know just how they felt!

It would have been a supreme privilege to have able to meet Madeleine L'Engle, but she died in 2007, before I had the opportunity. To mark her birth and celebrate her life, I am reprinting this, one of my most popular blog posts.

Feeling rejected? When you read L'Engle's story, I guarantee you won't be dejected!

Author Madeleine L'Engle received two years' worth of rejections from 26 publishers for her novel A Wrinkle in Time, which, once it was finally published in 1962, went on to win major awards and be translated into more than a dozen languages.

Toward the end of that two-year period, L'Engle covered up her typewriter and decided to give up -- on A Wrinkle in Time and on writing. Then on her way downstairs to the kitchen, a revelation: an idea for a novel about failure. In a flash, she was back at the typewriter.

"That night," as she explained in April 1993 on the PBS documentary Madeleine L'Engle: Stargazer, "I wrote in my journal, 'I'm a writer. That's who I am. That's what I am. That's what I have to do -- even if I'm never, ever published again.' And I had to take seriously the fact that I might never, ever be published again. ... It's easy to say I'm a writer now, but I said it when it was hard to say. And I meant it."

Today, the bibliography on L'Engle's web site lists 62 works spanning the period from 1944 through 2005, plus a 63rd, published posthumously in 2008. Sadly, Madeleine L'Engle died in September 2007.

"I cannot possibly tell you how I came to write A Wrinkle in Time," her New York Times obituary quotes her as having said. "It was simply a book I had to write. I had no choice."

Whether you're published or not, if you're writing, you are a writer.

Need some help believing that? watch the video meditation, "You Are A Writer." The audio was drawn from The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Email Address Changes...

I'm in the midst of rationalizing and reconfiguring my email addresses, both business and personal, and some existing addresses for me will soon disappear. If you're getting this post in your email, then you're on my mailing list and, if I did it right, you'll see my new contact address on the "from" line of this mailing. 

If you're not yet on my list, head over to; there's a subscription blank at the bottom of every page. There's also one in the sidebar of this blog.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Snap a Pic for Me and Promote Yourself ~ #7

Welcome to the latest installment of my online Readers' Gallery, featuring photos and videos of people from all over the U.S. and beyond reading my books and ebooks and listening to my CD. (You'll find previous posts and pics hereherehereherehere and here.)

To get your photo (along with links to your books, website and/or other projects) included in a future installment, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Here's what writer Lynn C. Hudson of Albuquerque (above) says about The MoonQuest, which he read twice rapid succession!
Of the hundreds of books I own, and the hundreds more I've read, The MoonQuest is the only book I've ever finished and immediately picked pack up and read a second time. It's one of the very best books I've ever read and an amazing masterpiece of literature!
Here are words and pictures from three other readers...

For Craig Karls (above) of Portland, Oregon, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write is "the book to make me a writer!"

At the same time, being a published author doesn't mean you don't need booster shots of inspiration, as River Jordan knows! Above, she takes a break from story-making with her copy of The Voice of the Muse.

Writer/editor Kathy Anne Barney says she was "moved to laughter, tears and fears" as she devoured The MoonQuest. In the above photo, she sneaks in a few pages during a break from a Civil War reenactment.

To read more about any of these readers and their projects, and to see them in my Facebook gallery, click on their names, below:

Why not join the online fun 
and get your book, business, event, blog, website
or other success promoted here, on Facebook and on Google+
Interested? Read on...

If you have a copy of any of my books/ebooks or of my CD, I'll post a pic of you to my Readers' Gallery Photo Album on Facebook and on Google+. Just make sure that your face is clearly visible in the photo and that the book/ebook cover and/or CD cover are visible as well.

And to help you promote your book, event, business, success, blog and/or website, I'll include in the photo caption not only your name but your promotional info/link. I'll also post the next batch of reader pics here in a future blog item.

Simply email me your pic and caption information, or contact me via FacebookTwitter or my website.

Feel free to send one pic or several and to include one book, all books, the CD or any combination. Just send separate photos for each item (unless you really are reading both books at the same time!).

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Discipline of Your Heart

Mind discipline is rule-bound. It says: You will write for 62.5 minutes every day and produce 1,488 words at each sitting, each sitting commencing at precisely eight minutes past nine o’clock in the morning.

I exaggerate, of course. Yet much discipline is forced, rule-bound, punishing, joyless.

Heart discipline is different. It says that there is no optimal amount of time to spend at this or any writing session.

Heart discipline says, “Trust.”

Trust that when you sit down, whenever you sit down, your Muse will answer your invitation (for your Muse is always with you). Trust that all you hear, including that it is either time to write or time to stop, is true. Trust that all the words that flow through you, be they five or five thousand, are the correct and appropriate ones for the moments in which you hear and record them.

Listen with your heart and discern. Listen with your heart and you will know, through practice, when it is time to start and when it is time to stop. You will know which words will ultimately go and which will stay. Listen to your vision for your work and hew to that. That is your discipline. That is your calling.

Let discipline be your discipleship to that vision, to that calling. That is what it means to be a writer from the heart, a writer of truth. That is what it means to be authentic — as a human being and as a writer. That is what it means to answer the call of your heart, to open to the voice of your Muse.

• excerpted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write by Mark David Gerson (c) 2008. For more excerpts go to

The Voice of the Muse book and companion CD have earned 30-plus five-star reviews on Amazon and 2 literary awards. Get your copy of the book and CD on Alternatively, download it for Kindle, Nook, Kobo or iBook and get your MP3 the CD at Amazon, iTunes or CD Baby.

Photo: by Mark David Gerson: Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Coast, CA

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mark David Gerson: A Writer's Life III

This is a slightly edited version of an interview that Branli Caidryn conducted with me in September. Read the full, original post on his blog

Phoenix Splinter is Branli's debut novel and the first installment in his Project Horizon science fiction series. It was released in August and is available via Amazon and other online booksellers.

Branli Caidryn: What do you think makes a good story?

Mark David Gerson: There may be as many opinions on this one as there are readers and writers! But for me, a good story must engage me, touch me emotionally and be populated by multidimensional characters I care about. Once upon a time, I would read a book through to the end unless it was atrocious. Now, If I don’t develop some degree of emotional investment in the main characters, I’ll put it down. The same applies to movies. It also applies to my own writing. I fully subscribe to director Rob Reiner's statement: "I like telling stories that celebrate life."

BC: How old were you when you wrote your first story? And, what was it about?

MDG: The first — and only — childhood story I remember writing was titled "The Monster Snowplow." (I grew up in Montreal where snowy winters and massive snowblowers were very much part of my kidscape!) Although the story won kudos from my grade school teacher, I was largely shut down as a kid — both creatively and emotionally. I tried another story in my late 20s — a fictionalized version of the peculiar story surrounding my birth (which I detail in my Acts of Surrender memoir). But even then, I wasn’t able to tap into the heart of the story because I wasn’t able to tap into my own heart. That story earned me no gold stars…because I was never able to finish it! It wasn’t until my early 30s that I began to break through my creative blocks and was able to write from an authentic place of feeling. It wasn’t long after that that my first novel, The MoonQuest, was born.

BC: What’s it like to see your work, your novels, being turned into motion picture? What goes through your mind?

MDG: Even when I was writing that tortured first draft of The MoonQuest back in 1994, I saw the story visually and always believed that it would be a movie one day. I expected that some hotshot actor, director or producer would snap up the film rights to my book, hire a screenwriter and produce a blockbuster film. In that fantasy, my only job would be to deposit the producer’s check and then turn up, appropriately tuxedoed, at the star-studded Hollywood premiere, thrilled to see my words and worlds translated into images on a giant screen. I certainly never expected to write the screenplay. But I did — as a sort of spec exercise. Even then, I assumed that my participation in the film version would end once the screenplay was sold. Little did I know that I would end up directing — not just The MoonQuest, but its two Q’ntana Trilogy sequels (The StarQuest and The SunQuest) as well.

What goes through my mind through all this? A roller-coaster ride of excitement, exhilaration, terror, overwhelm, panic, gratitude and humility. I’ve come to realize that my path with The MoonQuest and its sequels was never strictly about being a novel-writer. It was about being storyteller…which is ironic, given that in Q’ntana, The MoonQuest’s mythical setting, stories have been banned and storytellers have been put to death. As this story’s teller, my commitment, as I now see it, is not to any particular form (ie novel v. screenplay). It’s to the story itself, in all its forms. And what is a film director, if not a visual storyteller?

BC: I see you’ve written the script for the film. How much has changed from the book?

MDG: Each of the three Q’ntana screenplays is largely true to its respective book, and I wrote them as I wrote the books: trusting that the greater wisdom of the stories themselves would guide me through the change in form. I’m doing my best to carry that same level of trust and surrender into my role as film director, as well. Back to the screenplays, though… Because the books are written in the first person (a different protagonist for each book), I had some point-of-view challenges that forced me to shuffle a few StarQuest book scenes into The SunQuest screenplay. Or was it the other way around? With each story having two versions — novel and screenplay — even I get confused sometimes about which scene is in which version of which story!

BC: What’s the collaborative effort for the film like? What feelings go through your head as you see others run with your work?

MDG: That’s a really great question and one for which I don’t yet have a real answer. The Q’ntana Trilogy’s film production team has not yet been assembled, so I don’t know how that’s going to work. What I do know is that that transition from flying solo (as writer) to traveling with a team (as director) will require a major adjustment — both creatively and organizationally…not to mention all the control issues I’m sure it will force me to deal with! At the same time, my deepest commitment is not to Mark David the author, Mark David the screenwriter or, even, Mark David the director. It’s to the story. And I’ll do my best to let that commitment be my guiding light in all my dealing with the actors and production teams.

BC: Writer’s block. Believer or denier? As a writing coach what’s your stance and how do you overcome?

MDG: I could write a whole book on this one. Oh, wait. I have, sort of — The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write. While not strictly about writer’s block, it does address many of the issues that can cause it. It even has a section titled (with tongue somewhat in cheek) “The Myth of Writer’s Block.” I also have a blog post and video on the subject, where I go into much more detail than I can cover here. In short, though, we all have moments when we feel “blocked,” or unable to write. Yet, if you trust in your story, in its inherent wisdom, the words always come. They may not be the words you thought you wanted, they may not show up in the form you expected and they may not manifest according to your preferred timeline. But if you get out of your own way, they will find their way onto the page.

There are lots of ways we can get in our own way and stifle the free creative flow that is as natural as breathing. In my blog post and video, I have broken them down into seven broad categories: Fear, Control, Rhythms & Routines, Perfectionism, Timing, Passion and Self-Respect. But the bottom line is that if you trust that your stories (and the characters that populate them) are smarter than you are, if you cultivate your intuitive listening powers, if you give up your need to be perfect and perfectly in control, and if you write from your passion, you’re much less likely to get stuck. As I write on the blackboard in every classroom I’ve ever taught in: Write. Don’t think!

BC: The Q’ntana Trilogy: I see the first book is available on Amazon. Any hints as to when we can see the next novel?

MDG: Yes, The MoonQuest (Book I) is already out and, I’m pleased to say, an award-winner. And, yes, the paperback edition is on Amazon (with 30 five-star reviews!); ebook versions are also available — for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBook. As for The StarQuest (Book II) and The SunQuest (Book III), they are, miraculously, finished. While I don’t have firm publication dates, I expect that they’ll both be available in 2013 — The StarQuest by midyear and The SunQuest by year’s end.

BC: Coffee? Tea? Or both? What fuels you? I notice you’re at Starbucks often. Would it be fair to say they might be listed in the credits of some future work?

MDG: Maybe I should re-title The StarQuest as The StarbucksQuest! I do spend a lot of writing time at Starbucks, less for the coffee than because I like working surrounding by an anonymous cafe-buzz. It’s probably because a writer’s life is largely a solitary one — at least mine has been — and working in cafes gets me out into the world. If you look at the acknowledgments of The MoonQuest, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write and my newest book, Acts of Surrender: A Writer’s Memoir, you’ll notice that particular cafes (not always Starbucks!) are always credited as having supported my creative process. I have yet to write acknowledgments for The StarQuest and The SunQuest. But I’m sure Starbucks will get a mention! 

Coffee v. tea? Although I’m largely a coffee drinker these days, certain drafts of certain books have certain demands. For example, when I was writing the last half of the first draft of Acts of Surrender, as well as its second draft, I had no interest in coffee; all I could drink was tea -- Tazo's Awake tea, to be precise!

BC: Ten years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?

MDG: Ten years from now? I can barely project ahead to ten minutes from now!! I never expected to be a writer — never thought I wanted to be a writer. I never expected or thought I wanted to be a film director. In so many ways, my life has rarely gone as I have planned or expected. So, truly, it’s hard to say. Will I still be writing? Almost certainly. Will I still be directing? Ask me that in about two years, when The MoonQuest movie will be nearly ready for theaters! Beyond that, I do my best to surrender to the story I’m living in much the same way I surrender to the one I’m writing. All I can say is that whatever I’m doing a decade from now, as a writer or otherwise, is probably something I can’t even begin to imagine in this moment!

BC: Alright, legendary coach, any tips for writers out there?

MDG: I have 13 “rules” for writers, which I explain in detail in my book The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write and outline on the home page of my website. The most important, however, is the first...which applies as fully to living a creative life as it does to creating stories on the page:

“There are no rules: How can there be when creativity is all about breaking new ground and breaking old rules?”

BC: Where can readers find your books and learn more about you and your work?

MDG: Hard-copy editions of The MoonQuest, The Voice of the Muse and The Voice of the Muse Companion CD are available at Both books, as well as Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir and The Book of Messages: Writings Inspired by Melchizedek, are also sold as ebooks for Kindle, Nook, iBook and Kobo. A downloadable version of the The Voice of the Muse Companion recording is available at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes. You'll find direct links to all of these on my website's bookstore. For more about the full Q’ntana Trilogy, books and movies, click here.

You can also find me on my website and blog, as well as on YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Of Rings and Things...

I have to admit that I approached the start of my Lord of the Rings movie marathon yesterday morning with some trepidation. This was not to be an ordinary screening, like the first time I watched the Tolkien trilogy. Rather, I was to watch it as the author of The Q'ntana Trilogy books and writer-director of its films.

I had often compared The MoonQuest and its StarQuest and SunQuest sequels to The Lord of the Rings. How would they measure up with this new viewing? And how would my director-self feel next to Peter Jackson and his masterpiece?

About halfway through The Fellowship of the Ring, the first in the trilogy, I began to panic. Not, as I expected, because of the daunting directorial task I perceived to be ahead for me on my trilogy. I panicked because of scene fragments that reminded me disturbingly of The MoonQuest. "Oh, God," I groaned. "I've ripped off The Lord of the Rings."

As the film progressed, I grew more and more depressed...and then I remembered: I didn't read The Fellowship of the Ring until nearly a year after I began writing The MoonQuest and never read its sequels. How could Tolkien's work have influenced mine? As for Jackson's films, I had already completed most of my trilogy before seeing them.

Suddenly, I felt better. I had stolen nothing. What I had done was tap into that same universal well of story that Tolkien had...that C.S. Lewis had...that J.K. Rowling had...that same ocean of story we can all access when we choose to go deep, to write authentically from our passion and to surrender to the greater wisdom of our muse.

To be clear, my stories are markedly different from Tolkien's, even as they call on the same tradition of fantasy adventure that he and his successors did. Unlike The Lord of the Rings, my Q'ntana Trilogy comprises three distinct, though interlocking stories, each of which features a largely unique set of protagonists. For the most part, the resemblance between the two trilogies has more to do with feel and style than it does with plot, characters and narrative.

My director's vision, too, is not the same as Peter Jackson's. Jackson did a stellar job with The Lord of the Rings, and I worried, when I launched my movie marathon, that I would feel overwhelmed by his brilliance, by my lack of experience and by the demands of the epic trio of visual effects-heavy films that is The Q'ntana Trilogy Movies.

To my amazement, I wasn't. To my amazement, The Lord of the Rings did not stoke my anxiety. It staunched it. It did not intimidate me. It strengthened my resolve to move forward and get my stories up onto the screen in my own way.

In this moment, I don't know how I will do it. All I know is that I can, I must and I will. I know, too, that when I step onto the set on the first day of principal photography some time next year, I will know what to do to bring these stories -- my stories -- to life in a way that electrifies, engages and entertains and with a vision that is uniquely my own. I can't wait to see what that looks like!

• For more about The Q'ntana Trilogy of books and movies, including excerpts from The MoonQuest (Book I), visit

• If you haven't already, please take this quick survey about The MoonQuest book and The Q'ntana Trilogy Movies.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Press Release: Writer Mark David Gerson to Direct The Q'ntana Trilogy Movies

The award-winning Q’ntana creator “the only credible choice” 
to catapult The MoonQuest, The StarQuest and The SunQuest 
to screen success, says producer

Anvil Springs Entertainment has announced that Mark David Gerson, author of The Q’ntana Trilogy books and writer of its screenplays, will direct the Q’ntana trio of adventure-fantasy films.

“As creator of The Q’ntana Trilogy, Mark David is ideally placed to bring its three epic tales to the screen,” Anvil Springs CEO and Q’ntana producer Kathleen Messer said today. “His intimate connection with stories he has lived with for nearly two decades, his innate filmic style and a vision that has already garnered him national and international awards for The MoonQuest, the Trilogy’s first book, make him the only credible choice to take creative charge of this project. We are grateful to have him aboard.”

The Q’ntana Trilogy’s time-twisting, interlocking tales span hundreds of years as three generations of rebel bards battle a cruel king, a corrupt sorceress and the nightmare villain who rules over them. Although offering a unique and compelling spin on the fantasy genre, The Q’ntana Trilogy is also part of a fantasy pantheon that includes The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter films and The Chronicles of Narnia.

The MoonQuest book, critically acclaimed and popular with readers of all ages, has won multiple awards in various categories, including Fantasy and Young Adult Fiction. Its StarQuest and SunQuest sequels will be published in 2013.

In addition to his Q’ntana books and screenplays, Mark David Gerson has written the popular and award-winning The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write based on his two decades of creativity/storytelling workshops and mentoring. His memoir, Acts of Surrender, was released earlier this year.

In agreeing to direct The Q’ntana Trilogy, Gerson joins a distinguished roster of filmmakers whose first feature film as writer was also their first as director, among them Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) and Zack Snyder (300).

“The opportunity to give these stories and characters a new life on the screen was one I couldn’t refuse,” Gerson said of his new role. “At the same time, I’m not sure I had a choice. It feels, some days, as though the Q’ntana stories created me, not the other way around!”

The Q’ntana Trilogy is slated to go into production in 2013. Its first installment, The MoonQuest, will be in theaters in 2014.

Mark David’s books are available in paperback on Amazon and as ebooks for Kobo, iBookKindle and Nook.

*** Please respond to this quick survey about The MoonQuest book and The Q'ntana Trilogy movies, and ask your friends to do likewise. The results will be invaluable when we meet with potential investors and distributors. Thanks!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

All That Matters Is That I'm Telling This Story

"Every choice you have ever made, Toshar, has led to this moment. Your moment."
~ The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy (The Q'ntana Trilogy, Book I)

There's a chapter in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir that chronicles a bleak period in my life. It was late 2008. My finances had crashed and I had taken a physically demanding, poorly paying job that would be unlikely to save me from losing both home and car. Then one day, in the midst of my panic and despair, I had an aha. I realized that none of those external circumstances mattered. All that mattered was The StarQuest, the MoonQuest sequel that I had launched and aborted twice during the previous decade. All that mattered was that I set my situation aside and recommit to the novel, which I did. I titled the memoir chapter "All That Matters Is That I’m Writing."

I thought about that chapter a few mornings ago during a meditative stroll through the Rio Grande bosque. I had felt the need to escape the relentlessly scrubby desert near my home and to surround myself instead with the leafy cottonwoods and willow thickets that fill out the riverbank. Perhaps the rustling trees would speak over my anxieties. Perhaps the rippling water would calm my fears.

God knows, I needed some fresh voices. Since agreeing to direct The Q'ntana Trilogy Movies last month, I had teetered between excitement and angst, exhilaration and terror. Part of me acknowledged the perfection in this new role -- both for the stories and for me. Another part, its buttons pushed multiple times a day, was shrouded in doubt and overwhelm. The emotional teeter-totter was dizzying!

As I ambled through the woods, those fresh voices spoke to me with the same unequivocal clarity they had done four years earlier. It wasn't about writing this time. I had written what needed writing: novel and screenplay versions of all three Q'ntana tales (The MoonQuest, The StarQuest and The SunQuest). In fact, I had completed all drafts of both versions of The StarQuest and The SunQuest in a frenzy of unprecedented -- for me -- creative output: through an 18-month period during which I also finished and e-published Acts of Surrender.

No. Writing wasn't the issue. But the story was. The Q'ntana story. "All that matters," I heard from a deep inner place, "is that you are telling this story."

A film director, I realized when I first contemplated taking on this new role, is also a storyteller. And as I wrote a few weeks ago in "Taking Storytelling to its Next Level," the Q'ntana story is a story that not only wants to be told by me in this as in its previous forms, but that is insisting it be told by me.

As has happened so often in my life, and as I relate repeatedly in Acts of Surrender, that Infinite Mind within me that is wiser than my conscious mind ever could be has made my next steps clear to me, and I have no choice but to surrender if I am to live from my heart...if I am to step up into my potential...if I am to be true to everything I write and teach.

"This is your story to tell," that inner voice continued, in an echo of the opening scene of The MoonQuest book and film. "Only yours to tell."

Arguing was futile.

"No one else has lived these stories as you have. No one else carries the vision for these stories that you do. No one else can bring these stories to life the way you can. No one else."

It didn't matter that I had never directed a film before. I had also never written a novel before tackling The MoonQuest. I would learn what I needed to learn. Others would help and support me. And everything I had ever done -- writing, teaching, coaching, inspirational speaking, art and photography -- had already prepared me for this moment, this opportunity.

"You already carry much of what you need within you. Can you trust that?"

Could I? Could I trust the intuitive knowingness that had always guided me so powerfully and rightly in the past?

"This is different," I said, knowing it wasn't.

"You either trust or you do not. There is no halfway in between." Those words had followed me relentlessly since I first penned them in The MoonQuest. They were still true.

As I continued on my walk, I wondered what the Q'ntana stories' theme was. Of course, I had written the stories, but I don't write to a theme. I allow a theme, as I do the story itself, to emerge organically through the writing. I had never contemplated an overarching theme for the trilogy. Now, though, as its director, it would be useful to be aware of one. A moment later, my inner voice spoke again: "When you acknowledge and move through your fear, you can accomplish great things -- for yourself and for others."

This was not only The Q'ntana Trilogy's theme, it was mine -- has been mine since a spiritual awakening two decades ago made me aware of the fears that, until then, had paralyzed me. Of course, this was my story, and not only because I had written it. And, of course, it was mine to tell...and would be until all the ways of telling it had been exhausted.

As I left river and bosque behind, I knew that, once again, nothing else mattered. In 2008, I had been called to surrender to my writerly self through The StarQuest. Now, only the Q'ntana story mattered. Only the Q'ntana film mattered.

Today, as I pen these words, I know that it cannot matter that, in some ways, my life is even more on the edge that it was four years ago. What matters is that I surrender to the story -- my story -- and that I free myself to grow into all that I can become through this new Q'ntana journey.

All that matters is that I am telling this story.

Photos by Mark David Gerson: Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, Albuquerque, NM. Q'ntana film posters by Richard Crookes.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

New Directions

I doubt that I could ever stop being a writer, even if I wanted to. Words flow through my veins as freely and naturally as does blood. But today I'm letting go of the direct book-selling that has been integral to my writerly self since 2007 -- by removing direct sales of my books and CD from my website (and, with it, the availability of author-signed copies). Why? To make space and energy for new directions...most significantly, for my new role as director of The Q'ntana Trilogy Movies: The MoonQuest, The StarQuest and The SunQuest.

In practical terms, the demands of the director's job will make it increasingly difficult for me to fulfill individual and personalized website orders. More important, though, is the symbolism of the act: I'm letting go one aspect of my storyteller persona to make room for another, one that's more expanded and that invites in new levels of success and achievement, along with new risks, new fears, new challenges and new opportunities.

Quite possibly, other outmoded pieces of me will also fall away in the months ahead. That's a good thing. I can't add new clothes to the closet of my beingness unless I get rid of some of the old ones. Or, as I put it in Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir...

"In a coaching session with a client, I had likened the stripping-away process she was experiencing to a demolition that removes everything of a building but its skeletal structure. She was finding the process unnerving, and I assured her that new walls, floors, ceilings, fittings and furnishings could only be installed once the old ones had been shed. I found myself in that same place in the days after my birthday..."

I wrote that about an experience I had in 2010. Today, a month before another birthday, I find myself in a similar place. Once again, it's unnerving. This time, though, I welcome the unsettledness, am excited by the certainty of r-evolutionary change and look forward to growing into my expanded self.

In this moment, we project that production on The Q'ntana Trilogy films will begin in 2013, with the first movie, The MoonQuest, slated for a 2014 release. What a ride it's going to be! I hope you'll stay with me on the journey as I chronicle about it here and on Facebook.

In the meantime, if you want a signed copy of The MoonQuest, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write or both, act now! This is your last chance!

For right now, you can still opt for a copy signed to you (or, as a gift, to a friend) from my website through this direct link: But I will be shutting down my site's online bookstore some time tomorrow morning (Sept. 1), along with the option for signed copies.

Once I make the switch, paperback editions of both books (along with the CD version of The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers) will be sold only on Amazon (with ebooks/MP3 downloads still be available in all the usual places).

Photo: Wilson State Park, Plymouth Township, Kansas (c) Mark David Gerson

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

What's Your Vision?

Do you know who you are as a writer?
Do you have a vision for your writing?
Do you have a vision for the project you’re working on? For the project you have barely begun to conceive?

Connecting with and holding a vision for yourself as a writer and for your work can help you more easily move into writing and hold the energy of your creation through the entire process of conception, creation, revision and release.

One way to hold that vision is by creating a writing invocation or vision statement that propels you into the energy of your day’s writing. It can be as brief as a sentence or as long as a page. It can speak in general terms about your role as a writer or in specific terms about a particular book, poem, article, song or story — whether you already know what it is or just that you’re called to write it.

I used a vision statement for Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir (too long to reproduce here), which helped me continue to write through and past my initial resistance to the project. My Director's Statement for The Q'ntana Trilogy Movies (The MoonQuest/The StarQuest/The SunQuest) is also a form of vision statement for my visual-storytelling work on the films:
"This story has always been bigger than me — from the moment it insisted itself onto the page as first a series of novels, then as a series of screenplays and now as its director. It’s a story that has so long been such a part of my life that it’s as though it lives deep within my cells. I am every one of its characters, villain and hero, and have lived each of their joys, triumphs, disappointments and disasters. For decades, I have watched its themes play out in the world around me...just as I have experienced them play out in my own life. In the end, I am as much the story as its storyteller, as directed by it as I am its director."
For The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, I crafted both an invocation and a vision statement; together they formed part of the ritual that awakened me to my Muse, activated my inner writing space and ensured that all I wrote hewed as closely as possible to the book’s true essence.

Invocations and vision statements are not fixed in stone. As The Voice of the Muse progressed, as I matured through the writing of it, I continued to refine both my invocation and vision statement.

Here's my vision statement for The Voice of the Muse:
The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write is about freedom — freedom to grow, freedom to create, freedom to write. Through a dynamic blend of motivational essays, inspiring meditations and practical exercises, it nourishes, nurtures and reassures its readers, inspiring them to open their hearts, expand their minds and experience, with ease, a full, creative life.
To read my writing invocation, turn to page 172 of The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.

To help you create your own vision statement and/or writing invocation, follow the Vision Quest meditation that starts on page 174 of the book, or listen to track 9 of The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers.

Regardless, awaken your passion, energize your vision...and write!!

You'll find additional tips and inspiration on my website, where you can read my "Rules for Writing," sign up for my mailing list and read/hear free excerpts from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.

• Do you have a vision for your writing? Feel free to share it here.

Photos: Avenue of the Giants, Garberville and Fortuna, California; Sunset, Albuquerque, New Mexico (c) Mark David Gerson

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