Welcome!

Cheryl Reif headshotI'm a fantasy writer, daydreamer, and science geek currently based in sunny Boulder, Colorado. I have my PhD in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology (MCDB, if you want less of a mouthful). I put that degree to use creating detailed explanations for magic systems and mythological creatures; and, of course, the science background let me write about cool science and nature discoveries!

Join me Mondays and Thursdays to explore storytelling and the creative life—and how the old "rules" no longer apply.

It's time to rewrite the rules that hold us back. Don't you agree?

Transmedia Storytelling Blog Series

Transmedia StorytellingThis May and June, we’re taking a look at this “new” buzzword in the writing industry, transmedia storytelling–what it is, how it works, and how you can use  transmedia storytelling techniques to reach more readers and provide readers with a deeper, richer story experience. Posts will share plenty of examples, as well as ideas for ways to incorporate a bit of transmedia storytelling into your next writing project. As each post goes live, I’ll share the link here to help you navigate the entire series.

Please check out the articles in this blog series, share your thoughts, and join the conversation on how writers can leverage “transmedia” techniques to broaden our audiences and give our readers an unforgettable story experience!

Contents: Transmedia Storytelling Blog Series

10 Ways to Spark Creative Connections

This post was originally published more than 2 years ago, but I still go back to it. It reminds me how important it is to use the intuitive side of my brain in ALL parts of my life, but ESPECIALLY when writing. Since I just finished working with my writing coach–more on that soon–I thought it would appropriate to revisit this, which was inspired by my coach’s early encouragement for me to embrace intuition!

The Intuition Challenge

I shared yesterday that my writing coach challenged me to use the intuitive side of my mind for my first approach to problem-solving during the month of March, and how doing so has been challenging, educational, and surprisingly beneficial.

h.koppdelaney-3 Photo Credit

One unexpected benefit came by what I like to call the “red car” effect—the tendency to notice red cars (or anything else) the second you start thinking about them. By keeping the idea of intuition/right brain thinking top of my mind for the past month, I began to notice it more often. By noticing when my intuition was engaged, I was better able to take advantage of the insights it offered.

I also started to notice some of the approaches that helped me to engage the more intuitive side of my mind when writing, and thought I’d share them with you. Hope these are helpful!
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Beating the Avoidance Trap

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What’s your avoidance strategy?

Last week I wrote about my tendency to stay “busy” in order to avoid writing (and other potentially uncomfortable tasks!) Staying busy certainly isn’t the only writing avoidance strategy out there. It’s probably not even the most common. Others that come to mind include:

  • Chasing after shiny new ideas
  • Reworking the same page ad infinitum
  • Facebook, Twitter, and other social media
  • Web surfing

…and there are many more!

If you’re a writer who’s not writing, why not? Tweet-Button

Do you have reasons or excuses?

Beating Avoidance

So how do you tackle avoidance in your writing life? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some starting ideas.

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The Avoidance Trap

Sisters_SelfieI just returned home after spending almost a week in upstate New York, seeing family. It was a strange sort of visit because 1) it was just me visiting, and 2) I visited just one household. I left my husband, kids, and dogs behind, rather than packing up the whole gang for our usual cross-country expedition; and although I got to see lots of different family members, I didn’t try to see everyone, the way I usually would.

I also didn’t try to keep up with work, write a daily word or page count, or even pop into social media (except the occasional Facebook “like” when my sister posted about what we were doing!) I was there to see people–to talk to them, hang out with them, be part of their lives for a while, and generally get to know them and find out what’s going on in their lives.

Workaholic, Much?

This type of visit might not sound that earth-shattering to some of you, but the truth is that I might be just a teensy bit of a workaholic. (I’m not admitting that I am a workaholic, mind you–just admitting that it’s a distinct possibility….) Setting aside work for almost a week–not just “work” work, but also child-wrangling, laundry, scheduling, emails, and all the other day-to-day minutia of modern life–was a new concept for me. It felt kinda weird.

And uncomfortable.

There’s something safe and familiar about staying busy, ya know? It gives me an easy exit if conversations get too intense (“I really have to spend some time working…”). It makes me feel valuable, maybe ever-so-slightly self-important (Look, mom, the world can’t really keep on ticking if I don’t check my emails and get back to my Important Clients and do my Important Work and other Important Stuff…) Staying busy makes it easier to stay a safe distance from worries because you can just straight to solutions, bypassing those pesky emotions altogether. (Yes, yes, stop talking about feelings, let’s FIX THINGS, okay? That makes me feel in control again….)

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Six Ways to Recharge Your Creative Mojo

2014CalendarImage2I just returned from the Rocky Mountain Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2014 fall conference – and it may have been my best conference experience yet.

I know, I know: I think I say that every year! But this particular year seemed to deliver exactly what I needed, leaving me recharged, filled with ideas to explore, and excited to dive back into creative work.

If you’re in need of a creative recharge, a conference is a fabulous remedy – but not one that’s always available. Fortunately, you can gain many of the same benefits even if you’re too late for this year’s RMC-SCBWI conference :). Read on for a few ideas gleaned from my recent conference experience…

1. Step away from the desk!

A change of scenery jars your brain out of its routine and forces you to turn off your autopilot. Just as important, stepping outside your ordinary environment removes the distractions of everyday responsibilities and worries — allowing your imagination room to play!

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