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Writing Habits from the Best of Us

By Jenny Kate

As we embark on a new year, tons of folks are thinking about how to develop new habits.

  • Go to the gym.
  • Eat better.
  • Write more.

Habits and goals are important. They give us purpose. And purpose gives us longevity. I’ve been thinking a lot about Blue Zones. These are the locations in the world with the most people aged 100 or more. One is a place close to my heart. The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. We go for Christmas every few years. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. Surfing. Jungle. Sun. I’m off the grid for two weeks. I read paper books. And I just get to be. As I was there this past year, I was thinking, why do these people live so long?

Writing Habits from Centenarians

Their longevity seems to boil down to four things: diet, exercise, community, and purpose.

Diet & Exercise – duh

We’ve all heard it a million times. Eat healthier and move. Honestly, I can’t help you with your diet. Although I can tell you most of the folks in Nicoya eat a crap ton of fruits and veggies and some fish. Lots of rice and beans and plantains too.

They also live in a place where being outside is part of the culture. Beach every morning to surf or swim or walk. Beach at sunset for obvious reasons. Walk everywhere.

During the pandemic, I got in the habit of a daily walk. Kurt Vonnegut did pushups and sit ups all the time. Nora Roberts works out every day. What can you do to get yourself moving? Feeling better keeps you motivated to keep writing.


The importance of community can’t be overstated. Writing is a solitary business. But producing books is all about community. Beta readers, street teams, agents, editors, proofreaders, critique partners.

Whether it’s in person or virtual, you are not alone in this writing endeavor. And community can keep you motivated to stick to your daily writing habits. Your community can be whoever supports your writing: immediate family, friends, colleagues at work, or writing buds. It just has to be a group of people that provide a positive environment for you.


Purpose is the one aspect of this I think we control the most and might be the hardest. What is our writing purpose? To create wonderful worlds for our readers? To entertain, excite, scare?

How do you maintain that purpose when things like imposter syndrome sneak in?

This is where daily writing habits can be helpful.

  • Specific amount of writing time
  • Specific number of words written
  • Specific chapters finished in a certain time period
  • Specific timeframe work is due to the editor

Daily writing habits can be helpful if you have your community to hold you accountable. Whether it’s pages to your critique partners or chapters to your proofreader, a deadline to a human being can be motivating.

If this doesn’t motivate you enough to create your writing habits, then maybe some of the famous among us can.

Writing Habits from Famous Authors

Several bestsellers repeat the same mantra: “It’s our job.” If a doctor said he didn’t feel like it today, a life could be lost. A bit dramatic, but the point is, it’s our job. We sit down and we write. We produce stories. No one’s habit or process will be the same. But having that habit or process is what puts books on the shelves.

Ernest Hemingway: “I write every morning.”

Jodi Picoult: “I don’t believe in writer’s block. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page.”

Khaled Hosseini: “You have to write whether you feel like it or not.”

Toni Morrison: “I am able to write regularly. I have a nine-to-five job. I write either in between those hours or spend a lot of the weekend and predawn time writing.”

Henry Miller: “Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema – all these come after.”

Nora Roberts: “I write every day. It’s my job. Routine is my life.” and “Stop whining and write.”

Joe Lansdale: “I write every morning at 9, and I’m done by noon.”

Maya Angelou: “I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.”  

Whether you take it from the Centenarians or the Famous Writers, find the writing habit that works for you. Stick with it for a month and see what happens.

Happy writing!

Jenny Kate

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

Sweet Success for PPW Authors!

Congratulations to the 27 authors who were chosen for this year’s anthology, Dream. These worldwide authors were chosen from a field of nearly 200 submissions consisting of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry each following the theme of a dream. To read more about each author please visit PPW’s anthology page on their website.

The authors are:
Jean Alfieri – “She Told you in a Dream”
Steven Anderson – “House of Dreams”
C.E Barnes – “The Jungian Offensive”
Lou Berger – “The Last Ember Fades”
John M. Campbell – “Living the Dream (Except for One Thing)”
John Christenson – “Der Traumlicht”
DJ Davis – “Dream Quota”
Rick Duffy – “The Boundless Dream”
Marlene Fabian-Stiles – “Computer Genie“
Karen Fox – “Seedlings of Reality”
Lawrence Good – “Black Man Running, 1969“
Ronnie Graham – “I Always Wake Up”
Matthew Heneghan – “A Boy Named Ryan”
Scott Kerby – “The Bunker”
T.R. Kerby – “Dream Harvest”
Lauren Lang – “Dream On”
John Lewis – “Sleepstone”
Gregory Mattix – “Dream Eater”
Peter McQuade – “Dreamwater”
Tracy Mitchell – “False Fate“
P. James Norris – “Wind”
Barbara Preslier – “Augmented Dreams”
Uchechi Princewill – “Blanket of Joy”
Sandy Reay – “Damn The Dream”
Susan Schoolman – “Dream Crush”
CS Simpson – “Other Lives”
Benjamin X. Wretlind – “Over There”


About the book:

Dream is an anthology published by Pikes Peak Writers following a theme. This year that theme is:

They are manifold – resolving subliminal mysteries and creating chaos.
Our dreams are delightful and bold.
Some are lucid, cyclical, and idealistic.
They spawn yearning for our past – and foretell our futures.
Do you crave answers or adventure?
Join us.
Step through the veil.
Discover the primordial wisdom of the universe, and the shadows of our dreams.

Introducing the Authors!

Pikes Peak Writers and the editors of, Dream, are proud to introduce the twenty-seven authors selected for this second anthology. Congratulations to everyone! Click here to learn more about each author.

Jean Alfieri She Told You in a Dream
Steve J Anderson House of Dreams
Craig E Barnes The Jungian Offensive
Lou J Berger The Last Ember Fades
John Campbell Living the Dream (Except for One Thing)
John Christenson Der Traumlicht
Debbie Davis Dream Quota
Rick Duffy The Boundless Dream
Marlene Fabian Stiles Computer Genie
Karen Fox Seedlings of Reality
Lawrence Good Black Man Running, 1969
Ronnie Lee Graham I Always Wake Up
Matthew Heneghan A Boy Named Ryan
Tracy Kerby Dream Harvest
Kelly Kerby The Bunker
Lauren Lang Dream On
John Lewis Sleepstone
Gregory Mattix Dream Eater
Peter McQuade Dreamwater
Tracy Mitchell False Fate
P James Norris Wind
Barbara Preslier Augmented Dreams
Sandy Reay Damn The Dream
Susan Schooleman Dream Crush
Christina Simpson Other Lives
Uchechi Princewill Blanket of Joy
Benjamin X. Wretlind Over There

Sweet Success for Shannon Lawrence

By: Darby Karchut

Congratulations to Shannon Lawrence on the upcoming release of her non-fiction book, THE BUSINESS OF SHORT STORIES: Writing, Submitting, Publishing and Marketing (February 1, 2022 from Warrior Muse Press). After years of teaching workshops on the topic, Shannon Lawrence has compiled useful tips, instructions, and resources to help others write, edit, submit, publish, and market their short stories. From the dynamics of short stories to how to find publishers, options for traditional publication and self-publishing to building websites and social media presence, THE BUSINESS OF SHORT STORIES is an important resource for all writers.


Whether you’re looking to add short stories to your repertoire as a solo pursuit or in addition to novel writing, The Business of Short Stories covers every aspect from writing to marketing. Learn the dynamics of short story writing, where to focus your editing efforts, how and where to submit, how to handle acceptances and rejections, what to do with reprints, and how to market yourself and your stories online and in person. The information in The Business of Short Stories has been distilled from over a decade of short story publishing experience so you don’t have to learn the hard way. You’ll find information on submission formatting, cover letters, querying a collection, sending proposals to writing events, how to create a website, SEO, social media, and so much more. There’s never been a better time to get into short stories! Purchase a copy through Amazon.

Shannon Lawrence


Shannon Lawrence is a fan of all things fantastical and frightening, she writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over forty anthologies and magazines, and her three solo horror short story collections and her nonfiction title. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Visit Shannon at, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, BookBub, and Goodreads

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.
Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Hello Fellow Writers!

Hello Fellow Writers!

I’m Jenny Kate, this year’s PPW Conference Director, and have I got a conference update for you! 

Our planning team is busy, busy, busy. 

We are in person, April 29 – May 1, and we are providing a virtual option.


With more than 90 workshops planned and ready to go, we have something for everyone no matter where you are in your writing career.  You can check those out here. 

We have three wonderful keynote speakers:

  • Romance Author Naima Simone 
  • Thriller/Noir Mystery Author and PPWC Alum Robert Crais
  • Publishing Expert Jane Friedman

And two amazing Featured Authors:

  • Author of the ‘Dear Writer’ Series Becca Syme
  • TV Writer turned Romance Novelist, Dr. Ines Johnson 

New Venue

We are super excited to be in a brand-new venue for this year’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference. 

The staff at Colorado Springs Doubletree Hilton Hotel has been a great partner.

We spent an entire morning food tasting with Chef Steve so you’ll have the best meals ever. We can’t wait for you to try the beer-cheese soup and the braised short ribs!

The rooms are larger. The area for BarCon is amazing. 

We think you’re going to love this new conference center.

Registration is open

We have a lot of options available this year.  

1.  If you’re just up for one day: our one-day PreGame programming on Thursday has master’s classes for all levels. 

2.  If you’re up for the whole conference, our 2.5 days of programming is a wealth of information on craft, business, marketing, the writing life and more. 

    • These 2.5 days also offers the opportunity to pitch your work to an agent or editor. 
    • Or you can have your work read aloud in one of our Read and Critique Sessions.

3.  Write Drunk, Edit Sober is back for another year with our President Deb Courtney!

4.  Call all Students! This year, we are also offering a student discount for high school and college students. $40 off regular Friday-Sunday registration, or $51 off Thursday’s PreGame programming. As always, if the student is under 18, they’ll need a permission slip from a parent. And all students using the discount will be required to upload proof of student status. 

5.  Finally, our virtual option. 

    • We have 24 workshops and our keynotes available for live streaming
    • That option also allows access for up to 45 days after conference
    • In-person attendees have the option of adding on the virtual option as well

We know COVID is on your mind, so here’s what we’re doing:

  • To pick up your registration materials, you’ll need to provide a vaccine card OR a negative test within 48 hours. 
  • We’re spacing seating in all workshops and at all meals
  • In your grab bag, you’ll find a mask and hand sanitizer
  • We are encouraging attendees to wear masks

We are very aware that some people will be happy with these measures and some people won’t. All COVID mitigation could change as we get closer and things develop over time. 

The bottom line for us is we haven’t been in person in two years, and we would like to be. 

We are doing everything we can to make sure this is a safe event. So please give a little grace as we are not health care professionals. We are writers. We will follow what the CDC and the Health Department for the State of Colorado advises us to do. 

Because we miss our writer buddies and want to see as many of you as possible at conference. 


If you haven’t registered yet, you can click here and register.

If you’d like to volunteer, you can email our volunteer coordinator Jessica Starkey at

If you have any questions about conference, check out our website here or feel free to email me anytime at 


We can’t wait to see you in April!

Sweet Success for Catherine Dilts

By: Darby Karchut

Congratulations to Catherine Dilts! Her short story, “HazMat Holiday,” will be featured in the January/February 2022 Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. The magazine is one of the oldest and most influential magazines of short mystery and crime fiction in the world.


The story features Dilts’ recurring short story characters: Charles, a dignified gentleman who loves his career as a chemist, and Tony, a college student / laboratory intern. Charles insists on completing a vitally important lab test and report, causing him and Tony to be stranded at the factory during a blizzard. Employees quickly become dangerously competitive for the leftover holiday meal. Pick up a copy of the magazine at

Catherine Dilts


Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She writes for Annie’s Publishing, which include installments in the multi-author cozy mystery series Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library, a Mistletoe Mystery, and the upcoming Museum Mysteries. Working in the world of hazardous substances regulation, Catherine’s stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Others reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. Visit the author at and follow her on Instagram.

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.
Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Sweet Success for Hillary Dodge

By: Darby Karchut

Congratulations to Hillary Dodge on the recent release of the anthology, SHADOW ATLAS: DARK LANDSCAPES OF THE AMERICAS, edited by Carina Bissett, Hillary Dodge, and Joshua Viola.

Shadow Atlas, cover


Ancient peoples knew there were lands given over to shadow and spirit. The world is full of haunted places that exact a terrible toll on trespassers. Our forebears paid a heavy price to earn the wisdom and the warning they bequeathed to future generations.

Time transformed their precious knowledge into superstition, but there are those whose hearts beat in rhythm with the past and whose vision is not clouded by modernity. Seeking to reclaim humanity’s early secrets, the Umbra Arca Society was forged. For centuries, this private league of explorers dedicated their lives to uncovering the oldest mysteries of the Americas. Armed with boldness and guile, and equipped with only a compass, a journal, and devotion to truth, these adventurers braved cursed landscapes, dared unnatural adversaries, and exposed hidden civilizations. Many did not survive. None were forgotten.

“Dead serious in its horror, yet delightful and inviting in its design and conceit, Shadow Atlas is a rare, beguiling treat, a collective fantasy with teeth, vision, and grounded in urgent, ancient truths.”
– BookLife Reviews (BookLife section of Publishers Weekly)

“Think The DaVinci Code or Indiana Jones, but with more literary force…”
– Midwest Book Reviews

“A host of sublime writers and settings create an entertainingly macabre collection.”
– Kirkus Reviews

Purchase a copy through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


Hillary Dodge is an author, librarian, food literacy consultant, and educator. Her short fiction has been published in magazines, anthologies, and podcasts including Pseudopod, Space Squid, and Hellbound Books. She also writes nonfiction on a variety of topics, including technology, medical history, and food literacy. In 2016, she and her husband quit their jobs and relocated their family of three to South America where they spent two years overlanding in Chile and Argentina while researching and writing about food, culture, and the ghosts of South America. Visit her at and follow her on Instagram and Amazon.

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.
Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Sweet Success for Jasmine and Jim Tritten

Cheers for this dynamic duo. Jasmine and Jim Tritten are happy to share their most recent
success: the recent release of the second edition of KATO’S GRAND ADVENTURE. After
being published, the book won six awards, including winner in the 2019 New Mexico-Arizona
Book Awards-Young Readers Books. This new second edition includes additional original
drawings by Jasmine, a map to follow Kato’s journey, discussion questions and exercise topics
for young readers, and some revisions to the text.

Kato's Grand Adventure


An adventure story written from the perspective of a lost kitten. Kato is the cutest little gray/black striped young tabby with white paws and a rust-colored nose. He sets out to look for his missing sister. In the process, he gets lost in the woods near a rushing stream.
With the help of a rabbit, then an owl, and finally a coyote, he overcomes many obstacles on his journey. Kato learns to take chances and accept help from the most unlikely of characters. He reunites with his sister and arrives safely home. Perfect to be read aloud to children and grandchildren at an early age. It can then be an enjoyable chapter book for anyone with a 4th or 5th-grade reading level—original illustrations by the author. Pick up a copy through Amazon.

Jasmine and Jim Tritten


Jasmine and Jim Tritten are both multi-award-winning authors. Jasmine has also won awards for her book designs, covers, and illustrations. They live in New Mexico with four cats. Visit Jasmine on her Amazon author page and visit Jim on his Amazon author page.

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.
Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Sweet Success for John M. Campbell

By: Darby Karchut

A round of applause for John M. Campbell! His short story, “The Tiger and the Waif,” won first place in the Writers of the Future contest for the fourth quarter of 2020. It appeared in the annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future anthology (volume 37 released November 2021). He is honored to have his story appear first in the anthology, which features short stories for the first, second, and third place winners from each of the four quarters of 2020.


After a devastating earthquake, an android kitten crawls out of the rubble, free at last. Deep in its programming, an urge demands to be fulfilled . . .
Turn the page . . . from dark fantasy to dystopian nightmare, from magical realism to military science, from paranormal urban fantasy to post-apocalyptic power trips, and beyond. Discover the mesmerizing power of these new stories, thought-provoking new ideas, brilliant new horizons, and astounding new writers and illustrators—the chosen ones, selected by today’s best-selling science fiction and fantasy authors and artists. Pick up a copy from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and other booksellers.


John M. Campbell spent thirty-five years in the aerospace industry building computer systems for the government. Now, he speculates on the worlds currently unknown to us that modern science and engineering may unlock. He is compelled by the promise technology offers to address many of the issues facing human survival. He is intrigued by the likelihood that machine intelligence will likely surpass man’s ability to control it in this century. John lives with his wife in Denver, Colorado. Follow the author on Facebook and visit his website at

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.
Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Join PPW’s Writing Community!

Wow. Another year has gone by in a flash. So many things have happened this year here at PPW: our first anthology, Fresh Starts was published, Sweet Success recognized over 50 newly published authors, we had an incredible virtual conference, and so much more! Are you looking to be more involved with this amazing writing community? Well, there are some opportunities you won’t want to miss!

As you may already know, Pikes Peak Writers is an all-volunteer organization passionate about helping writers be all they can be. PPW depends on the amazing volunteers who are passionate about writing and the communities that support writers. You too can be a part of the exciting community here at PPW. Most volunteer positions do not require very much time or experience. Read on to learn about what is available.

We are looking for volunteers to fill the following positions:

Pikes Peak Writer Conference Volunteers Needed!

We need volunteers to fill the following conference positions:

  • Query Coordinator
  • Social Media Manager
  • Moderators
  • General volunteers.

Please contact for more information.


Non-Conference Events Needs You!

Do you like hosting and putting on events? Do you like schmoozing with other authors and helping them succeed? Are you unafraid to talk to anyone? Do you like sharing news about people and an organization you’re passionate about? We need you! We’re looking to fill these roles that will be under the supervision of the non-conference events director.

  • Write Brain Coordinator:
    The Write Brain coordinator is in charge of putting on one, free event per month. You will be responsible for each event from the very start to the very end including finding and working with speakers, getting all their info, forwarding advertising info to NCE Public Relations, the PPW newsletter, and the PPW blog, securing a location for the event (in the past we’ve used the event room at library 21c or a comparable library facility, but we’ve been online since the COVID pandemic began and remain so at the moment), and hosting the event. Time commitment 10-20 hours per month on average.
  • Special Events Coordinator:
    The special events coordinator will be responsible for putting on four, four-hour workshops or events per year. You will be responsible for each event from the very start to the very end including finding and working with speakers, getting all their info, and forwarding advertising info to NCE Public Relations, the PPW newsletter, and the PPW blog, securing a location for the event (in the past we’ve used the event room at library 21c or a comparable library facility, but we’ve been online since the COVID pandemic began and remain so at the moment), and hosting the event. time commitment 10-20 hours per month on average.
  • Non-Conference Public Relations (NCE PR) Coordinator:
    The NCE PR coordinator will be responsible for getting the word out about non-conference events via social media (possibly working with the social media coordinator), and local media outlets such as Peak Radar, the Gazette, and The Independent. Some experience with Canva is helpful. Time commitment 2-5 hours per month on average.
  • Writers’ Night Host:
    Writers’ Night is where aspiring writers can come to have their questions answered, and experienced authors can rub shoulders with their peers and lend their expertise. Join us for two hours of fun, camaraderie, and laughter, the one event where the attendees set the agenda, and the host is there simply to keep it organized. This event is currently being held in person. Time commitment is only a few hours a month.

Please contact Kim, at for more information on these NCE positions.


Here are a couple of other exciting reasons to volunteer with PPW!

  • Social Media Coordinator:
    Are you a social butterfly with a bunch of followers? Adept at all the platforms, Facebook, Twitter, IG, Pintrest? Can you make your own quality graphics using free versions of programs like Canva? Do you know how to set up events on social media? Can you run a compelling social media campaign? Can you be counted on to do all of the above under minimal supervision? We need you! 10-20 hours per month on average. Please contact for more information on this position.
  • Blog Post Writers:
    Do you want to write for Pikes Peak Writers? Writing from the Peak, PPW’s amazing blog, is looking for a few great writers. If you would like to write for this fantastic blog, please contact Kathie at:

2022 is going to be a great year here at Pikes Peak Writers and we would love for you to join us and make it even better!

KJ Scrim, Profile Image

Kathie Scrimgeour, writes under the pseudonym KJ Scrim. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors with PPW, she is also the Managing Editor of Writing from the Peak (PPW’s blog) and the Project Manager of PPW’s anthologies, Fresh Starts and Dream (coming Spring of 2022). Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. You can follow her on her website, and on Facebook. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Arizona biking, hiking, or finding Zen through Pilates.