Growth and Discernment

Volume II / Issue 19 — 14 September 2021

Almost every time I’ve heard the phrase “growing pains,” the focus has been on “pains” instead of “growing.” All too often, we choose to focus on the “bad” in any situation instead of deliberately focusing on the good that is often also present. This shift in focus changes things, usually for the better.

As a writer, I have had to hone my focus—or skills of discernment—in order to arrive at the freedom I now experience. One of the most important things I have learned throughout my writing career is just how important it is to have a plan for requesting and receiving feedback.

Feedback is not the same across the board. This is true of every aspect of life, but it’s especially true of writing. Being deliberate—or discerning—about who, what, and when you ask for feedback can make all the difference in how you feel about your own work, which often results in more confidence and growth as a writer, as well as greater ease in sharing your craft. How freeing is that!

To read more about the different types of feedback—and why knowing them matters—check out my recent blog, below.

All my best,

We have a lot of great books and products coming this fall. Sign up today to be the first to hear about our upcoming offerings!

“The more validation I need, the less discernment I have.”
– Kurt Hanks –


Meet our New Staff

Winter Murray joined IOM as an intern in January 2021. Since then, she has become an integral part of the team and has honed her skills as an editor. Winter brings with her years of experience working in the Center for Writing-based Learning at her university. Additionally, she is a Psychology major with minors in English Literature and Educational Studies. As of September, Winter has joined IOM as an Editorial Assistant, and we couldn’t be happier.

Isabelle Paquette also started her relationship with IOM as an intern in March of this year. Over the past six months she has learned more about the publishing industry than she possibly expected and through the course of her internship discovered a passion for social media and marketing. Her double majors of English and Media Studies, with a minor in French, have served her well throughout her internship. As of September, Isabelle has joined IOM as a Social Media and Marketing Assistant, and we are thrilled to continue working with her.


New Partnership! This fall, IOM is partnering with Unsecured Clothing to bring you special limited edition tee shirts and other products that support wildlife conservation.

This young company is based in the UK and ships internationally. All of their products are certified sustainable, and they are an absolute pleasure to work with. The founders, Aleksandra and Pawel, are passionate about helping our planet and raising awareness through their uniquely designed products. Check them out!

New Designs! Next month we are releasing new ‘Four Seasons’ artwork based on Taylor Wray’s haiku and illustrated by Frances Vail. Each season is beautifully represented by one of Taylor’s poems, which served as the inspiration for Fran’s captivating art.

This new collection is just one of the new designs we have been working on for the past few months. There’s much more on the way, and we can’t wait for you to see everything. From mugs, to bags, to stickers, hats, tees, and more—there’s sure to be something perfect for you or a loved one. The holidays, after all, are just around the corner!


Writer vs. Editor Feedback

by Martina E. Faulkner

Over the years, one of the most fascinating things I’ve learned is the importance of being discerning in asking for feedback. Each time I have completed a manuscript, I have sent it to a select group of people to serve as beta readers. I always handpick the group according to the subject matter in order to get as broad a perspective as possible. This exercise has taught me a lot about the importance of feedback. Even more so, it’s taught me that there are three distinct categories of feedback. Knowing which to use is key to getting the information you want.

The first group is the simplest: readers. Reader feedback is important to find out if your work has legs. Did the person reading your work want to keep reading it? Can they relate to the work in some way? Did they learn something? There are a million questions you could ask your group of readers in order to… [Read More]

Upcoming Events

Kate BrentonStep into the Spiral
Energetic Practices for Living in Courageous Times
A 4-Week Online Journey Moving from Doubt to Clarity
Begins September 21st

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Martina E. FaulknerCrafting the Perfect College Essay
1.5-Hour Online Webinar in partnership with FBISD
September 22, 2021; 5:00-6:30pm

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Jill KempnerBook Talk & Lunch at The Center
The Center
12700 Southwest Highway
Palos Park, IL
Tuesday 9/28/21; 12-2pm CT 

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Martina E. FaulknerCrafting the Perfect College Essay WORKSHOP
5-Week Online Workshop in partnership with FBISD
Wednesdays; September 29 through October 27, 2021; 5:00-6:30pm

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Jill KempnerArchangel Michael Activation
Online Workshop via ZOOM
Wednesday 9/29/21; 7-8:30pm CT

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Awakening Healing Axis Sacred Sense of Self: Finding the Joy in Your Journey​
“Being a Beacon of Light” Enhanced Healing Workshop and Spiritual Retreat
Colorado Springs, Colorado
October 14-18, 2021

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