Noodles, Winners, & Workshops

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

From the Joy desk


Congratulations to Christy E of Ohio who won the newsletter subscriber’s September drawing for a signed copy of Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020.) Watch for an announcement about the October contest in a couple of weeks.

If you’d like a chance to win the next drawing, please sign up for my newsletter here:

On to the news…

Online workshops I’m leading that anyone can sign up for include:


50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks

Sponsor: Northeast Ohio Romance Writers

Link to register


Mindset, Motivation, and Wellbeing A to Z for Writers

Sponsor: Aged to Perfection Romance Writers

Link to register


50 Ways to Leave Your Muse: Creativity Hacks

Sponsor: Romance Writers of America Online

Link to register

Reflective Writing: A Journal Workshop for Writers

Sponsor: Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance Writers

Link to register

The workshop descriptions and registration links to the sponsors are also on my updated website

Nutrition note

You may already know that am a fan of the blood type diet as explained by homeopathic physician Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type. My blood type is O negative, and wheat products are hard for me to digest. D’Adamo suggests trying the ancient grain granddaddy of wheat called spelt. Less processing and high in B vitamins.

It was tough to find spelt bread and pasta when I first looked for it. It’s more available today thanks to my absolute favorite bakery located in Amish country in Berlin, Ohio. Give them a try. They are a small, family owned, multi-generational company that makes great products, and the customer service is awesome. Tell Nicole that Joy sent you!

All good things,


Women with clean houses do not have finished books.

Questions? Love ‘em!

Let’s connect!

Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020)

Who is your writing champion?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

From the Joy desk

Hi, sweet reader!

This is our moment. Yours and mine. And as my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Mary Young, was very fond of repeating, “You can’t get this moment back, so don’t waste it.”

Many years later, I think about Mrs. Young using this call-to-action to teach eleven-year-olds the value of time. I believed and followed everything Mrs. Young said. She was the first teacher to encourage my writing and tell me that I could and should follow the path of a writer. Even though she knew that I was the heir apparent to my mother’s thriving ballet school, (Mrs. Young’s granddaughter took ballet from my mother,) Mrs. Young let me know that I was a writer. She was also the first person to impress the importance and meaning of a deadline. She is why I became a writer, got a journalism degree, and have pursued the craft and publishing for fifty (yep) years.

The point of this vignette is that everyone must have a champion, someone who sees their potential and supports them in every way, even when the going is tough, and the champion falls off the horse. Who is that person for you? Who first voiced, “You can do this” convincingly enough to motivate you to pursue it? This person is due your thanks.

I often thank Mrs. Young in my journal and sometimes I complain to her that being an author isn’t a piece of cake. Those are the moments when I’ve fallen off the horse and am looking up from the dirt searching for someone to blame. That’s when the query letter doesn’t hit the mark. When a reviewer says something less than adoring (they’re allowed, but it still stings.) Simply dumping my frustrations into the journal helps clear away the doubt, and I’m able to remind myself that writing and teaching it is what I do. I get up, dust off my cheeks, get back into the office chair, and start typing or researching or whatever again. It’s what I do.

I write, publish, and teach to reach out, to connect with other people. Thanks to Mrs. Young, I have the belief (not always the confidence because I’m just human) that my words and ideas may help someone else.

This support notion applies to everything, every field, and every person. Who first pointed out that you make a fabulous fill-in-the-blank and drove you to be better at it? Send this wonderful soul an unsent letter of thanks by writing to them in your journal. Unsend the letter. Keep it in your journal, unless you want to send it in some way-message in a bottle, email, snail mail. It’s all good.

All good things,


Women with clean houses do not have finished books.

If you’d like to receive a free download YOGA FOR WRITERS exercise routine click the link below to sign-up for my newsletter.

Online Workshop: Writer Wellness

“Be well, write well.”


STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts





*Creative play

Taught in private forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com


By Joy E. Held

The idea for my book and workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020) came to me when some of my critique partners asked how they could be my clones. They wanted to shadow me for a week to see what I did every day that led to my prolific publishing (over 500 articles and counting,) life as a homeschooling mom, and part-time hatha yoga teacher. Up to that point, I hadn’t done any self-examination of my processes, but when they asked, I stepped back and watched myself for a month while documenting my doings and beings in a journal. This article is a peek into what I learned.

Please take out a pen and paper (or your phone or computer) and list five things you’ve done in the last thirty days to promote/support your writing.

Now list five challenges or obstacles that you believe are standing in the way of accomplishing your writing goals.

Next, list five writing wishes or desires you want to come true.

Following the Writer Wellness plan will help you to always have five things on those lists.  It will also allow you to maintain a level of health and creativity that some writers are missing.

Are you happy with your writing in general?

Are you happy with your health?

Do you ever notice a direct relationship to the productivity and quality of your writing and quality of your life?

A physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy individual is by far a more productive, creative, and pleasant person.  This is evidenced by the fact that many corporations have implemented programs to keep employees happy and healthy.  Programs range from day care centers in the workplace to personal trainers for every ten employees.  A healthy, happy employee is more productive, misses less work, and is a more cost-effective employee.

As a writer, you are the employer and the employed.  Happiness, productivity, and health are definite factors in the quality of work you produce.  It is therefore in your best interest as a writer to do everything you can to stay healthy and be the best writer you can be.

But where are you supposed to get the time?  Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves to the time factor.  Hopefully, you will instinctively see that working these ideas into your life will make positive use of your time while adding to the quality of your life and the productivity of your work.

The whole premise of Writer Wellness is that creativity and productivity are crucially dependent upon an overall quality of life.  This includes the physical, mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual aspects of life.

To serve the purposes of Writer Wellness, I’ve broken down a writer’s quality of life into five interdependent components necessary to sustain a healthful, creative life. 

The five key concepts of Writer Wellness are JOURNALING, EXERCISE, RELAXATION, PROPER NUTRITION, AND CREATIVE PLAY.  These areas contribute to an overall wellness way of living and working.

I was raised in my mother’s dancing school.  Before she retired after 52 years, she kept the books, wrote the grants and publicity announcements, directed weekly rehearsals, and taught five ballet classes a week. Thanks to her excellent example, the principles of physical fitness and eating right were pounded into me from an early age.  At age fourteen, I began the Writer Wellness life (even though I hadn’t labeled it yet,) when a local newspaper carried a weekly column I wrote about my junior high school.  I saw my name in print.  I was hooked. From then on, I was a dancer and a writer. 

I discovered yoga, meditation, and modern dance in college, and everything fell into place for me.  Thirty plus years later, I still journal almost daily unless I’m working intensely on a writing project, exercise five to six times a week, follow a strict eating plan with supplements, practice daily meditation, and engage in creative play through art journaling, crafting, and scrapbooking.

When other writers in my critique group asked me how I published so much, I reviewed my life and named the process “Writer Wellness.”  Now I teach other writers the basic principles and encourage them to find their own versions of the five concepts.

Today I maintain myself as a writer by incorporating each of the five key concepts of Writer Wellness into my day. Depending on obligations and scheduling, I’m able to journal, exercise, follow a prescribed food program, and meditate seven days a week. The creative play happens more on the weekends when I’m not writing, editing, promoting, or teaching online. I have two new book releases in 2020,  a two-book contract with an independent publisher, teach college English composition online, teach hatha yoga three times a week, and run online workshops for various writing associations. I’m also on the board of directors for my RWA chapters.

You can do this as well.

Looking back to the lists of five things you made at the beginning of this article, make a pact with yourself to create a new way of life that will support your goals as a writer and a healthy, productive person. My book and workshop will show you the way so that you’ll always have five things done every month to help you live the writing dream.

The workshop I’m leading October 4-29, 2021 is a detailed look at the five key concepts of Writer Wellness and an exploration of how you can incorporate the practice into your life. With Writer Wellness as the foundation, you can achieve the writing dreams and personal goals you desire.

Be well, write well. See you in workshop!

All good things,



STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts





*Creative play

Taught in private forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com

Change your writing life for the better with this online workshop

Imagine being a creative, healthy, writing machine 365 days a year. Regardless of your genre, the tips in my online workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity will guide you to realizing your potential as a creative person.

I have been sustaining good health and mountains of creative energy for many years by following this program, and I can help you learn the tricks then customize the program to suit your needs.

Writer Wellness centers around five fundamental practices:

  • Journaling
  • Physical exercise
  • Relaxation/meditation
  • Sound nutritional choices
  • Creative play

These components are already helping hundreds of past students who learned the particulars then organized each one around their needs and lifestyles. You can do this as well!

For the first time ever, I’m leading small-group online workshops that include all of the following:

  • Private online forum in
  • Self-paced lessons (12)
  • Live chats (weekly)
  • Discussions (online)
  • 24/7 access to the course and
  • One-year access to the online content
  • Print copy of the book* (signed 😊)
  • Bookmark
  • Membership in a private “graduates” forum when you finish the program
  • AND
  • Personal one-on-one 30-minute coaching session via Zoom with me at the conclusion of the course!

There are strict start dates for the upcoming Fall 2021 sessions. The next workshop begins on

13 September 2021

When you sign up, you’ll receive full access on the start date to the course content to read at your convenience. The workshop runs for four weeks with new lessons and suggested activities posted three times a week in one of the main areas (journaling, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.)

This workshop has never been available to the public until now. Only private writing organizations and their members have experienced this course.

The special introductory price is $97.00 which covers the online course, a print copy of the companion book, everything listed above, and the private coaching session!

Registration is limited to 15 persons, and you can register by contacting me at writerwellness at gmail dot com. You will receive a response from me with instructions on how to pay for the course.

The price will go up after this session! Alert your creative friends.

It’s more important than ever to maintain sound physical, mental, and emotional health so that you can reap the rewards of good health and being able to write the stories you want to share with the world.

From the beginning of time, stories have served to bind us together. Your story matters. Tell it. But if you don’t feel good or your health isn’t what it should be, you don’t feel like putting words on the page. Writer Wellness is an individualized approach to keeping you happy, healthy, and creatively productive.

If you have any questions, send an email to writerwellness at gmail dot com, and I’ll respond as quickly as possible.

I look forward to opening the door to your better life and awesome writing.

Be well, write well,


P.S. This offer expires on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Please register before that date and feel free to share this offer with friends.

*Currently available to ship in the continental US only.

Friday Feast: ‘Shrooms Va-va-voom and Friends

Not everybody is a mushroom fan, but this baked stuffed portabella has been known to win over a few non-fungus eaters!

‘Shrooms Va-va-voom

Recipe by Joy Held

2 large portabella mushrooms, wiped clean with the stems cut out and the gills scraped out

¾ cup fresh spelt bread crumbs

½ cup low fat mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup minced onion

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp dried thyme

2 Tbls melted butter, salt free

1 Tbls olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, onion, parsley, butter, and spices together well in a bowl. Cave out the mushrooms a little if necessary to make room for the filling. Divide filling evenly between the caps  and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. In the last five minutes, turn off the oven and turn broiler on high. Sprinkle mushrooms with mozzarella and broil to desired melty deliciousness. Don’t take your eyes off! Burns quickly!

After this treat, take a walk around the block then settle down and visit these web friends of mine. Tell ‘em I said hello. And feel free to share this recipe and spread the fungus among us (couldn’t resist.)


Hot romance scribe MEREDITH ELLSWORTH

Fav social media chicka KRISTEN LAMB

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Cool Gus Publishing.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

Thursday Thot: My Idea Of Hell

DAY SEVEN WITHOUT POWER. THIRD NIGHT IN A HOTEL. I write this from a hotel room for the third night in a row after losing electricity like a million other people in last Friday night’s storm. Some of you have been waiting to hear from me for one reason or another (contracts, proposals, grades!) and I had every intention of getting it all to you until my 114 year-old house was slammed head-on by high winds and rain. I’m still waiting on the power company to restore my electricity, the insurance adjuster to come and tell me what I already know (You have a mess to clean up here,) and the tree removal fellow to spend about six hours to chop, drop, and chip ALOT of trees from my yard. We have fence, roof, gutter, trees, and power damage. A piece of slate roof was hurled downward so fast it’s impaled on the prongs of our antique iron fence. No one was hurt, but we are pretty bothered by it all. And apparently this many trees hitting the ground all at once has unleased a boat-load of pollen. I can hardly breathe or see through my red, itchy eyes.

But I found out in the last six days that what I thought was my idea of hell (no utilities, no cash, no gas in either car, one day of cat food, no ice, very little technology) was more empowering than over whelming. Yeah, I’m exhausted, and I’m pretty tired of playing “pioneer woman” with the candles and oil lamps, but I discovered a resourse I was unaware of. I’m coping and working with what I have instead of grabbing for what I don’t have. It took a couple of days but food, water, and ice trickled in, and while I waited I journaled and journarled and journaled. It obviously has kept me calm and rational and given me a record of what’s been going on.

Everybody is fine. It hasn’t been a picnic by any stretch of the imagination, and many people are dealing with worse than what my husband and I experienced. But I’ll be damned if I don’t own a gi-normous generator by this weekend. Keeping the wine cold was near impossible without any ice.

Be well, write well.


Monday Meditation: The Mindful Writer Is A Must Read

Summer is when I tackle the TBR (to be read) pile of books and magazines I’ve accumulated during the school year. My teaching schedule is lighter in the summer and like a lot of writers, I use the summer to catch up on my reading. And go to writing cons!


One book in particular has captivated my attention early, and even though I’ve read it twice already (it’s a small book,) I just keep coming back to it. The newest book from creative non-fiction writing professor Dinty W. Moore, THE MINDFUL WRITER, NOBLE TRUTHS OF THE WRITING LIFE, is a pocket-sized treasure full of good stuff I’ve found insightful, thought provoking, and entertaining. This is not a book review, by the way. It’s just a blog about what’s on my mind. And since books in many forms are usually always on my mind (a common writer’s affliction,) I’m tying Moore’s book in with today’s topic of meditation.


The Mindful WriterTHE MINDFUL WRITER is a clever weaving together of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths with the writing life. Moore’s inventive perspective has created “The Four Noble Truths For Writers.” But first the Buddha’s list:

1.Life is dukkha (suffering, dissatisfaction.)

2.The cause of dukkha is our desire.

3.It is possible, however, to end this desire.

4.The way to end it is through the Eightfold Path: right views, right aim, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.


Moore’s list (abbreviated because I highly recommend this book be read by all writers at any level):

1.The writing life is difficult,…

2.Much of this dissatisfaction comes from…

3.There is a way to lessen the disappointment…

4.The way to accomplish this is to make both the practice of writing and the work…


At first glance, many writers might pass over this small epistle in favor of something else more “relevant.” What is more relevant to a writer, or to anyone for that matter, than a manageable size helping of gentle guidance and goodwill written by a writer who knows what we all know. It’s a journey. Wear comfortable shoes and pause every once in a while to savor the moment.

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Cool Gus Publishing,

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

Copyright Joy Held 2012. All rights reserved.

Thursday Thot: Graduation Gifts

If you ask the graduate, the last thing they want is another book. After years of studying and taking tests, many graduates associate books with stress. But after the dust settles on the cap and gown and the tassel swings happily from the rear view mirror, the grad will appreciate having these books on the shelf when they look around for guidance and inspiration. Every graduate wants money, work, and fun while they follow their chosen path of endeavor. Here are three titles that would make great gifts for the new graduate.


Product DetailsThe Prosperous Heart by Julia Cameron is her latest book meant to emphasize and streamline our relationships with money. We learn our money matters from the modeling we witness in family settings as we grow up. How our parents and siblings handled money has a great impact on the decisions we make about making, spending, and saving money as adults. It isn’t as simple as seeing a parent save money and then we in turn save money the same way. A lot of the time we act in reverse of what we experienced with money and family. Cameron’s book details a twelve step process to help anyone grow a new relationship with money. Simple practices such as writing down every single penny spent every single waking day for the duration of the twelve weeks demands discipline and the willingness to look back on what we spend our money on. It’s a step that indelibly engraves on one’s psyche the words, “Do I want this, or do I need this?” Knowing the answer can save a lot of money.


The Mindful WriterThe Mindful Writer, Noble Truths of the Writing Life by Dinty W. Moore is a concise and wonderfully compact book that anybody can appreciate. Writers are everybody and everywhere. If the graduate is going into any professional setting for work they will eventually be asked to write something; a report, an email, a letter. This little book is inspiring and handy. It’s great for writers who will love the many quotes from other writers. Moore’s comments on each quote are centered around the sense that his study of Buddhism has influenced his writing more than his writing has influenced his study of Buddhism. The Noble Truths are a twist on Buddha’s principles aimed at the writing crowd. But who wouldn’t be better off taking the sound advice to avoid disappointment by grasping and being satisfied with what we have rather than what we don’t have? “Do I want this, or do I need this?” Knowing the answer can save a lot of stress.


Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity by yours truly has the disadvantage sometimes of having a title by my own design that makes the book appear limited in application. There is much in the book that anybody can enjoy and use to add creativity to life and work. Ideas about journaling, fitness, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play are good for the soul.  

Of course, it won’t hurt to slip a twenty dollar bill between the pages of the books before you gift the grad.

Did you get a book for graduation that has served you well? Please leave a comment and tell us about it.

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at

Cool Gus Publishing.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

Wednesday Workout: Walking Meditation to Achieve Balance

It’s National Meditation Month and it’s Wednesday Workout day here at Writer Wellness, and I’ve been able to combine the two ideas. Have you ever tried walking meditation? It can be simple and effective and a real test for the type A personality. That’s a good thing. The hyper person needs to work on achieving a balanced state of being by slowing down more often in a conscientious way. The laid back type B individual could do with a bit more pep in their step on a regular basis to work towards the same goal: balance. Both bodies can learn a new value from the practice of walking meditation.

Walking meditation is pretty agreeable to just about any way you want to go about it. Just walk and be aware of your surroundings and your breath. Go outside for the fifteen minute excursion where you notice everything in small detail and intentionally appreciate it in your mind and even in your journal pages later. For me, I have an issue with graffiti. Defacement of other people’s property doesn’t sit right with me. Since I live in the city, graffiti is everywhere. On walking meditation trips I take in the painted scrawl and intentionally identify it as art and writing with a spray can of paint. It truly is a bold statement of territorialism and sends a multi-faceted message. I think to myself, “A writer wrote that.” At least I’m trying.

Walking meditation can also be a slow, patient, meticulous walk around the room gingerly placing one foot in front of the other. Make an intentional effort to match your breath to each step. It’s amazing how intense walking meditation can become and how internal this practice can turn out to be just by focusing your attention on every step and the sensation of the soles of your feet gradually connecting to the floor in a slow, patterned manner. It provides a wake-up call for comprehending time because it’s amazing how little space you can cover in ten minutes of slow, detailed walking. And it’s a good exercise break although admittedly you’ll need to schedule the cardio session another time. Not much sweat builds up during walking meditation if done properly.

And then there is appreciation. Regardless of personality type, taking a few moments to intentionally appreciate what your mind and body have helped you achieved to date takes the edge off of what you still need to get done in life…one slow, meticulous, detailed step at a time.

Have you ever tried walking meditation? What did you notice?

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Cool Gus Publishing.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held


Tuesday Tickle: Summer Health and Safety Tips for Writers

Summer creates a host of diversions and dangers to writers. To prepare you to guard against the pitfalls, I’ve designed some summer health and safety tips for writers. Just because we are a solitary group (do oxymorons distract you like they do me?) nonetheless we have to be careful in the summer just like anyone else.




While it’s okay to get some vitamin D rays from the extra potent sun, don’t overdo it. Go ahead and take the lap top or the notepad and pen outside, but stay out of the sun. Writers in the zone always lose track of time and trying to keep on a deadline while your burned skin is flaking away painfully is not my idea of summer fun. Research sun screens (look at the Blue Lizard line of products) and enjoy the healthful benefits of the sun but don’t stay out too long.

Caffeine Overdose

While coffee is the writer’s drink of choice, the caffeine is extra problematic in the warm months. It acts as a diuretic, that is, it increases the body’s inclination to release fluids. In the summer this can inadvertently contribute to dehydration. Drink more alternative fluids in the summer such as those that replace electrolytes (think: what do they dump on the winning coach at football games?) Try iced coffee for the caffeine buzz but double up on the good, pure water for every glass of caffeinated beverage you inject just to be safe. Self-check your hydration level by pinching the skin on your forearm. If it snaps back into place quickly and does NOT remain pale, then you’re doing okay. If the whiteness where you pinched yourself remains white, get some more fluids quickly.

Eye Strain

With the extra daylight hours comes the desire to read more. That’s good! Read more in places where other people can see you read. It helps keep reading on people’s front burner to-do list. Summer reading lists are great but added to your regular writing workload could increase eye strain. Take regular breaks, meditate with an eye mask on (like the one you wear to sleep) or take a short power nap with a rice filled eye pillow over your eyes to relieve the tension in your eyes.

Writers need extra care and attention in the summer. Please leave a comment about what do you do to avoid summer troubles and keep safe as a writer.

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Cool Gus Publishing.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.


Joy E. Held