Flash Fiction Contest


Writing with Integrity

by Deborah Owen, CEO of Creative Writing Institute

Psalm 26:11 – But as for me, I will walk in my integrity…

I read that verse today and it touched my heart. I had to do some soul-searching.

There are all kinds of writers. I don’t mean good and bad ones. I mean honest and dishonest. Are you willing to take whatever comes your way?

Editing, for instance. If the book is full of filthy words, words that you wouldn’t dream of saying – will you edit it? Personally, I have enough trouble with my thoughts without feeding the beast – and the same goes for what I read, watch on TV, or write.

Did you know a lot of unethical work is floating around? The question is, are you willing to do it? If you’re just getting grounded in writing, I encourage you to define your ethics now and live by them.

In my last blog, I talked about a company who wanted me to advertise their illicit business of selling term papers to college students in a jam. It would have been so easy to look the other way, run the bloomin’ ad and sit back and collect the money – and for about one second, I was tempted, but I realized I would be a willing part of their dishonest endeavor.

Think about those who write that material – and the company selling it – and the dishonest students who buy it. Lies, lies, and more lies. Deceit that spins hundreds of thousands of greenbacks like Hurricane Florence. Beau-ti-ful green stuff to roll in. Or just pretend it’s salad and lace it with vinaigrette! But no. I couldn’t escape that little word – integrity. There are many kinds of writing deceit.

My inexperienced friend accepted a job that called for dozens of articles to be written as reviews, signed with various names and titled with various locations. She fell into the trap because the company was not upfront [but later, declined more assignments]. Question: have you ever read fantastic reviews, ordered the product, and it didn’t arrive or was pure junk? But what about those astounding reviews? Now you know where they originated.  (So, how can you know when reviews are genuine? They are probably genuine when mixed with others not so favorable.)

So here is the question: would you write false reviews? Would you write theses for cheating students? Would you accept dishonest work? Would you edit objectionable language you wouldn’t dream of speaking? Would you write porn, romance, or erotica that pulls ravenous minds and abusers of mankind into dark, secret places?

Where and how do you draw the line? Rate and comment below. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on the subject.

  • Free WRITING CONTEST starts tomorrow and ends October 31. Enter now!

Discrimination? Good or Bad?

by Deborah Owen

Do I discriminate? I sure do… and you should, too!

I’m sick of people’s attitude toward the word discrimination. It is not a vile word. It’s a good word, and if you don’t discriminate in most areas of your life, you haven’t taken much of a stand.

For example, I discriminate on business partners. Not long ago someone agreed to pay whatever my going rate of advertising was. I asked what content they wanted to advertise. They write theses for college students! In other words, they are not only selling a method of cheating, they are encouraging it. I told them I wasn’t interested.

I also discriminate in hiring tutors. If my tutors are not willing to give personal one-on-one tutoring to each of their students, they won’t find a home with my staff. If they aren’t willing to get personal and go the extra mile, they won’t work for me.

I also discriminate about where I live. My surroundings say a lot about who I am. No, I’m not content to live next door to someone who doesn’t cut their grass, pick up their trash, and keep their house in decent order.

I most certainly discriminate on those I select to be my friends, and I do so without apology. If you want to be my friend on Facebook, don’t smear four-letter words on my site. Don’t tout political arguments that do nothing but infuriate. Don’t post smutty pictures. Write decent content, offer love and a kind heart, be friendly, and I’ll welcome you with open arms.

I discriminate about the places I attend. We are known by the company we keep. Years ago, I learned one of my employees was a scam artist. After carefully investigating the facts for myself and personally discovering six people he had scammed out of life savings, I fired him and made a public announcement that blackballed me forever on the site where I made the announcement. That’s okay. No one has to wonder where I stand regarding his dishonest activities while under my employment.

Yes, I discriminate – about where I shop for groceries, what kind of vehicle I drive, where I go, who I associate with, how I dress and speak, and what I teach and advertise at Creative Writing Institute. I even discriminated when I chose my husband and set rules for our household. I discriminate every day of my life, and I’m proud of it.

Discrimination will cost you something, my friend. To put it another way… being WISE and concerned about your image will cost you something, but the reward of a clear conscience and good business ethics will go a long way to salve those wounds. Back in the day, we used to call them STANDARDS.

I also discriminate about what I write, the language I use, the point I make, and even who buys it. Everything I do says something about me.  I think that’s important.

Do you discriminate? Tell me how in the comment section and rate this article below.

(Sept. 28, 2018 update: I think I must have been grouchy when I wrote this. lol Sorry, but I’ll let it stand. It does make a point. Deb)

*Deborah Owen, CEO and Founder of Creative Writing Institute, the only school that gives every student a private tutor.

Reactivating this Blog

Like most people whose blog goes dormant, it happened one day at a time. Looking back, I see I haven’t run anything but contest ads since my son almost burned to death in a race car, my cousin who was once like a sister was found dead, and Mom died – all within six weeks of each other. To be honest, life has been little more than a blur since then. I wondered if my son would live. (He did, and is doing fine.) I wondered if my cousin laid there for days, crying and praying someone would come. (They didn’t.) I wondered how I would live without my dear mother. (I made it.) But I couldn’t cope under the triple tragedy. Two years of illness and doing what I absolutely must have brought me to this point.

It’s been 2 and 1/2 years. How can that be? It’s time to wake up and force myself into the living mode. Thanks for being with me as I start a new journey.

I just came across a letter I sent to a writing student who has had it tough for a long time and I want to share it because it tells who I am and what I am willing to do for you under the right set of circumstances. Here it is:

          I gave up my career to help new writers, thinking they would succeed if only they had the right kind of help. I was so wrong, but I had to learn that for myself. Most of them are darling people, but they are failures when it comes to writing because of one reason. They are quitters. You don’t have to be a good writer to make writing a full-time job. That isn’t the secret. The secret is that even a mediocre writer can succeed if they don’t give up. If they will just keep learning and be willing to do entry-level jobs, they will make it.
           Time is a precious commodity. When it’s gone, you can’t bring it back, so now I give most of my time to the few writers who are really trying or really having a tough time. It has become a ministry. So, when I come across someone like you, it’s like a breath of spring air and I don’t feel like I’m wasting my efforts. I will give you anything you need: prayer, love, encouragement, emails, texts, phone calls, Skype, information, my personal files, etc. I am very happy to be of assistance because YOU are my reward. As time passes, remember this and pass it forward.
          That’s the end of the letter, and I’ll have to keep indenting since the formatting won’t allow me to double space now.
          So, to bring you up-to-date, lots of things are popping right now. Creative Writing Institute has a free Flash Fiction contest coming up September 15 – October 31, and we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary by opening a brand new site at www.CreativeWritingInstitute.org. Very exciting!
          Thanks for taking your precious time to read my thoughts. If you enjoyed it at all, please like it. A comment would bring a delirious smile.  🙂
          Have a great evening, day, or whatever it is on your corner of the planet. See you next time.
Deborah Owen