Guiding you along the writer’s path

Editing

A developmental editor helps writers hone their work-in-progress. For voice, heart, vision, yes!—and for style, organization, and clarity, too. Have a draft of a memoir or novel? Establishing your on-line presence? My feedback can pave the way toward your publishing and solopreneurial goals.

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Coaching

A writing coach is a literary fairy godmother. She can charm your plot or transform your writing practice! I’ve earned my wand helping castles-full of writers abracadabra great ideas into golden sheaves of pages. Whether you’re creating book pages or web pages, I can help you, too.

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I’m Jamie

From the moment I facilitated my first writer’s group, I’ve been on a mission: to help other writers make their mark. Now, in addition to my work with fiction writers and memoirists, I also provide editing services and support to entrepreneurs. Because your success is my success.

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News, Notes & Quotes

  • THE HEART WANTS WHAT THE HEART WANTS. It’s true. And the heart is so strong willed (remember, it’s a muscle!) that, even when the mind votes otherwise, the heart often gets its unruly way.

    In Patti Smith’s new book, M TRAIN, a collection of dreamy, journal-like essays (which I bought to inspire my own writing practice—and look! it did!), she talks about renting a space in New York City in which to open a cafe, a long-held dream of hers. She was preparing for the necessary renovations, but, Smith writes,

    In the end I was obliged to abandon my cafe. Two years before, I had met the musician Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit. It was an unexpected encounter that slowly altered the course of my life. My yearning for him permeated everything…. We endured a parallel existence, shuttling back and forth between New York and Detroit, brief rendezvous that always ended in wrenching separation. Just as I was mapping out where to install a sink and coffee machine, Fred implored me to come and live with him in Detroit. Nothing seemed more vital than to join my love…. Saying good-bye to New York City and the aspirations it contained, I packed what was most precious and left all else behind….

    We’ve all done it. Abandoned something that held great value for us “just” to satisfy the demands of our heart. Sometimes painful, sometimes wildly fulfilling, these experiences can provide potent creative fuel.

    WRITING PROMPT
    Remember such a situation from your past (or imagine one for a character) and write about someone reneging on a well-laid plan to follow the call of their heart. Make it a fair fight. Let us know how important the plan was—and how compelling the call. And don’t forget to include the consequences. Because there are always consequences.

    This post was inspired by The Lovers card of the tarot deck, which can refer to the need to make a choice between two desirable options. Typically, a Lovers-like decision will be life-changing. Therefore, in such a circumstance, we do well to listen closely to what our heart has to say about the matter—and also to consider the cost of following its lead.

    In this version of The Lovers, from The Cat’s Eye Tarot, the big tabby is glancing out the window at a lone, black cat, who is making his nonchalant way across a stone wall. This suggests that the tabby has made a choice between the safety of his domestic life, which he lovingly shares with the other tabby, and the more risky life of freedom the black cat is enjoying. (Image used by kind permission of U.S. Games Systems.)

  • Congratulations to LORI NORMAN on the publication of BEYOND THE DRAWBRIDGE, winner of a Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association.

    Norman had always believed it was her calling to become a nun, but bound by rules, expectations of church and family, and her vows, she felt trapped and unable to escape. This inspirational memoir traces Norman’s journey from her entry into the novitiate at the age of eighteen to the eventual reexamination of all she knew and trusted.

  • BETTER THAN A THOUSAND DAYS OF DILIGENT STUDY is one day with a great teacher. So says an old Japanese proverb. But you won’t even need a whole day for this exercise! You might, however, want to set aside an hour or two … perhaps with a cup of tea at your side. You’ll also want to gather some supplies: paper, a pen, and something to bookmark passages—highlighter? sticky notes? We’re going old-school, here!

    WRITING PROMPT
    First, choose your “teacher.” This would be a writer whose style you really admire. Grab several examples of her work—articles, books, essays, stories, poems, depending on her genre—to have at hand. Next, take your time browsing through the pieces you’ve chosen. Be on the lookout for passages (lines? paragraphs? scenes?) that are particularly pleasing to you, and bookmark them in some way.

    After you’ve made it through your stack, revisit the passages you’ve marked. Now, grab that pen and a piece of paper and, simply, but with Zen-like attention, copy one (or more) of the passages exactly. This will give you almost a literal feel for the way the author puts together a paragraph (or composes a stanza or delivers a punchline). As you write, notice which parts of the passage give you particular pleasure to copy.

    Once you’ve completed your copy-catting, take a few moments to name (in writing—bullet list, anybody?) what you think the writer is doing particularly well in that passage. Then, imagine how you might benefit from (further) developing the skill(s) the author demonstrates there.

    FOR EXAMPLE
    I picked a passage from the first chapter of Julie Compton’s Rescuing Olivia (used with permission) which I particularly admire.

    “Mr. Mayfield?”

    [Olivia’s] father looked up over the top of the reading glasses as if he was surprised to see Anders still in the room.

    “Did I do something to offend you, sir? Is there a reason you don’t want me to see her?”

    The man leaned back into his chair and sighed. “Olivia’s mother and I think that you have done quite enough for her, Andy. I’m sure the two of you have had a hell of a time together—God knows I cringe to think of the details—but it’s time for her to come home and be with family. If she’s lucky, that is.”

    For a moment, Anders stood speechless, staring at him and trying to process the meaning of what he’d just said. What he’d just accused him of. If Anders had been a different sort of man, more like Lenny, he would have considered taking a swing at the guy. But if he’d been more like Lenny, he would never have been standing there discussing Olivia with her father. Olivia would never have been in his life.

    “Are you saying you think I caused the accident? That it was my fault?”

    Her father had turned his attention back to his damn papers, and he answered this time without even looking up. “You were driving the motorcycle, weren’t you?”

    As I was copying out this passage (long hand!), I noticed how much I enjoyed the “For a moment …” paragraph. As internal narration, it both adds depth and meaning to the immediacy of the back-and-forth of the dialogue and balances it well. Also, I love the way it takes me winging out of the present of the scene with Olivia’s father into consideration of Lenny, a character I’ve yet to meet, but now am eager to—implying backstory, as it does so.

    Not only does Compton’s use of internal narration and back story not slow the forward motion of the scene, but, somehow, she uses them in a way that creates suspense and builds tension. I’d like learn from this piece how to make internal narration do triple-duty in my own work—and tuck it in as seamlessly as Compton does!

    UM … AND THEN?
    Once I’ve completed this exercise, I trust my inner writer to take what it likes and leave the rest. At times, I find that I assimilate something of an author’s technique into my own work with little further attention. Evidently, in the words of my pal Kathleen (quoting a Zen master!), “The work will teach you how to do it.”

    This post was inspired by the Hierophant, the teacher of the tarot deck. The Hierophant, who knows what’s worked in the past, suggests you learn from those who have been successful. In this way, you stand on a sturdy foundation as you prepare to make your own creative mark. Or, as my friend Daily Tarot Girl Kate said about the Hierophant, recently, “There’s something to be said for learning from people who have walked the path before you and using their way of doing things to save yourself time and energy.”

    Here, the Hierophant is represented by Hermione, as “The Scholar,” from nasubionna’s Harry Potter Tarot (used with permission). Hermione is a character who studies conventional ways and wisdom—before putting her own brilliant spin on what she’s learned.

  • ELIZABETH SIMS’ recently published CRIMES IN A SECOND LANGUAGE starts when protagonist Elnice Coker and her husband Arthur, retired schoolteachers, move from Indiana to the Hollywood Hills in a last-ditch attempt at novelty and happiness … and then the (fabulous!) wild ride begins! Mystery readers, get on board. You’ll be glad you did!

    * * *

    KRISTEN SCHEIDER, founder of Wellblends, has a new book out. YOUR LIFE IS MEDICINE: AYURVEDA FOR YOGIS, for which the late Dr. Wayne Dyer was consultant editor, is for anyone seeking a more balanced, healthful life. Check it out!

    * * *

    SHERRY TURNER’S long-awaited memoir about her time spent care-giving for her beloved mother-in-law, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, titled, LIFE WITH MOLLIE, BUT REALLY IT’S ALL ABOUT ME, is now available.

    * * *

    LAURA BOLDIN FOURNIER’S first picture book was published late last year. Big congrats, Laura, on AN ORANGUTAN’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and on your profile on Inky Girl!

    * * *

    Congratulations to DR. KATHLEEN RUDDY, founder and president of the Breast Health and Healing Foundation, on her new, fabulous YouTube channel. Dr. Ruddy is a renowned breast-cancer specialist as well as a budding novelist. (FYI, her channel concerns the former, not the latter!)

    * * *

    My good pal (and brilliant writer) MARY K SWANSON (nope, no period after the “K”) is in mid-portfolio-site creation. But OMG, even as a WIP, it’s GORGEOUS. Take a look at her Writing Dreamer site.

» News Archive

Jamie Morris is an outstanding resource for writers who want to reach the pinnacle of success. She’s a warm, encouraging angel on your shoulder, but she’s also got the skills, experience, and good judgment to help you vanquish your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. If you’re a writer with serious ambitions, work with Jamie. Elizabeth SimsYOU’VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams (Writers Digest)


Hey, J. Just wanted to say “THANKS!” for the coaching session today. It was amazingly productive. I now have actionable clarity for revising one novel that’s been giving me grief, and finishing another that had stalled in the middle. Pretty good work for one hour, no? Ryan G. Van Cleave, Creative Writing BFA Coordinator, Ringling College of Art and Design; author of THE WEEKEND BOOK PROPOSAL (Writers Digest); MEMOIR WRITING FOR DUMMIES (John Wiley & Sons); BEHIND THE SHORT STORY, with Todd James Pierce (Longman)

Jamie: I am so freaking in love with you, this process, and my book! People dread asking me how I am because I tell them in nauseating detail how much I love my book and my writing coach and what we are up to! I feel like I won the lottery! Cara Gubbins, PhD, THE DOLPHINS OF HILTON HEAD (University of South Carolina Press); EVERYDAY WOMEN CREATING EXTRAORDINARY LIVES (JADA Press)


Jamie! You’re so wonderful! Our time together is so magical. Thank you for reigniting my passion and gifting me focus and insights. I’m thrilled about the new direction for my book. You’re all things goodness. So profoundly grateful for you and the forces that guided us together for this. Kristen Schneider, founder, Wellblends; author, YOUR LIFE IS MEDICINE: Ayurveda for Yogis

Jamie, you are so special to me and the most amazing person to come across my path at this particular time. It feels like a spiritual connection, and I do believe you are this story’s fairy godmother, as you are not only making sense of what’s already been done, but giving a new perspective on what is yet to be. Big Shared World is already better thanks to your involvement. I am better because of you. Wow! Colleen Waterston, BigSharedWorld.com


Jamie, I owe you ten bucks, but I really owe you so much more! You’ve pushed me to uncover truth in my writing. I’ve learned so much about writing, so much about myself. Thanks for the opportunity. I look forward to more. —Liz Rash, memoirist


Get your happy dance on, Jamie! I got an agent!!! I’m so excited. Get ready to grace my acknowledgement page!!! You were so integral in helping me with my character arcs in FORETOLD—and with the underlying theme! Remember when we met in downtown Mount Dora? That session was so good. Our ideas totally merged, and magic happened! —Melissa Abrehamsen, FORETOLD (represented by Siobhan McBride of Serendipity Literary Agency)


Working with Jamie Morris is a writer’s wet dream. She is incredibly professional, with a strict adherence to deadlines—and she’s got a keen eye and is full of tremendous big-picture insight and ideas. She sees the opportunities in brainstorming and works in a direction that truly meets project goals. At the end of it all, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy after getting your authentic voice and vision in the world. Did I mention she is tons of fun, too? She brings her personality and spirit to the work, and infuses the process with joy. If you want to take your work to the next level, then call Jamie immediately. And it will be our little secret if you feel all flush with the warm glow of big dreams realized, afterward. Because, you know, you will. —Theresa Pridemore, creator, THE PORTLAND TAROT


Running a soul-centered business doesn’t come easy. Unless you have Jamie Morris at your side. Her coaching is soul-to-soul. She offers resources and stories to help navigate one’s journey. Jamie’s enthusiasm and spot-on intuition enhance her talents as a writer and editor. She’s a natural cheerleader of bloggers and businesses, and a magician who performs stellar work on any written endeavor. Tabitha Dial, MFA, author, poet; Tarot and Tea Leaf Readings by Tabitha


I must report on the truly remarkable day that Jamie Morris created for LifeArt Studio, called “Your Creativity is in the Cards.” I’m tellin’ you, it was A-MAZING. Guided by Tarot expert and workshop leader, the inimitable Jamie, we each created something new, a result of the encouraging and provocative prompts she gave us. If you missed the experience with Jamie Morris, I’m really sorry. I so wish I could give that experience to all LifeArt followers. —Lezlie Laws, LifeArt Studio

 
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