A Fiercely Kind Word

OK, y’all, here’s the dealio. I’ve got a lovely new website, put together by the terrific folks at Tracking Wonder. It’s for writers who want to improve their writing craft with fiercely kind support, customized for their project, their writing challenges–because the writing process is messy, ambiguous, difficult, frustrating, exhilarating, elastic, forgiving and forbidding.

I’m a writer, so my engagement with writers through A Fiercely Kind Word will reflect my writer’s life. At this point (one more semester to complete my MFA), I’m not going to promise a koan of writerly wisdom every Wednesday. There’s no way I can guarantee a brilliant insight first thing Monday morning. Because: writing is messy, ambiguous, difficult, frustrating, exhilarating, forgiving and forbidding.

_C8A6964-Edit - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Lesley Howard - Blacksburg, VA - June 11, 2017

Richard Mallory Allnutt made me look good for A Fiercely Kind Word. Thank you, Richard!

When you hear from me, it will be the real dealio: my craft essays. My reflections on stories and novels. My practices. My stage of the journey, in all its messy, ambiguous, difficult, frustrating, exhilarating, forgiving and forbidding glory (or misery, depending). Sometimes, but not always, there will be a “craft frolic” at the end of my posts, giving you suggestions for how to play with whatever writerly craft element I’ve mused upon.

I’ve got a nifty manifesto you can download from A Fiercely Kind Word here; if you sign up for my Fiercely Kind Word prompts (at the bottom of this page), you’ll get five days of free writing prompts. And of course if you want to work with me, you can contact me through my . . . (drum roll!) contact page.

And I’ll still blog, occasionally, here, about the less-chronic chaos of having an half-empty nest and parenting the “baby adults” my sons have grown into since I started this blog five years ago.


p.s. I’m still fine-tuning the behind-the-scenes components of A Fiercely Kind Word, so if you encounter any hiccups, please contact me at lesley@afiercelykindword.com and let me know.






Writing from an image . . .

. . . is an excellent way to jump-start a free-write, or explore a character, or launch a new piece. The estimable Janet St. John has used one my my images to do so as part of her intriguing series of “Art and Soul Shorts.” You can see it here.

May your weekend grant you some hours to linger in the late-spring blooming of your own writing–here are two very different images to get you going if you need inspiration.

Blog party: Mariela

17888076_1145165478961159_1779597627_nHere we are. It’s the end of the month. The final installment of our Blog Party has arrived already if you can believe it. We’ve so enjoyed working together and getting to know our respective audiences as a result. Hope you have too. Closing down our party is Mariela. Here’s how Mariela introduces herself at a [blog] party…

12819474_10110279046440424_7143565581058908509_oMariela: I have a passion for linguistics, culture and travel. Back in 2013, I started a blog to share my personal journey’s experiences with my family and friends, called El periplo de Mariela (or Mariela’s Journey). Although the blog’s name was in Spanish, posts were 99% in English. For the first couple of  years I wrote with certain frequency but then life took over and I eventually stopped. Fast forward to April 2017 and, after a 1-year hiatus from writing, I’m launching MarExplora. For now, its main feature is still the blog but this site will be an ever-evolving project..I’m excited to see what path it’ll take me!


One year and some change in transition mode: the company I work for will soon be centralizing all corporate functions related to the operations of its properties in the Americas in Miami and, therefore, they’ll be closing the Atlanta office.

Call it intuition or experience, this corporate decision didn’t take me by surprise. I had considered it might eventually happen, that it was just a matter of time. The majority of my co-workers did not see it coming, though. Confusion and sadness describe the very first days following the announcement last May. Although we were all given the option to continue with the company if we relocated to Miami, most of us decided not to, for different reasons.

In my case, as much as I’m always open to challenges, moving my residence to South Florida was not the direction I wanted my life to go. Being clear on what I didn’t want was a good first step, but what was next for me?

When something of this nature happens you have a great opportunity to take a step back and think what you want to do, where you want to be, what your purpose in life is, etc. I decided I’d take full advantage of being in that position and focus my energy on assessing all options. I’ve spent the last months doing exactly that.

I’ve explored and revisited plans I had earlier in my life that never materialized. I’ve returned to projects I had abandoned, including my blog site. I’ve even gone back to school to work on certain skills I wasn’t confident about. Along the way, I’m learning about many possibilities I hadn’t given a thought to before…and it’s exciting!

I’m still not sure what future lies ahead for me, but I know the changes in my life will all be for the better.