Recent Posts

The book Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research by Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund, standing up on a bookshelf with a stack of more copies behind. The cover shows a piles of papers behind the title, with a small potted plant on top of one stack, and the bottom half of the page covered in blue as if underwater

PUBLICATION DAY: Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research

Publishing a book can be a long road—but here we are at the destination! Read about my book: How to thrive in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life!
a pile of five notebooks

Journaling to Set and Achieve Writing Goals

When I was a foil fencer, I kept a meticulous journal to track progress, practice, and goals. Now, here's how I'm applying what I learned to writing.
book cover for Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research by Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund. It shows a piles of papers behind the title, with a small potted plant on top of one stack, and the bottom half of the page covered in blue as if underwater

Book Update #5: Grad School Life: Publication Day is March 19, 2024 + Cover Reveal

Exciting news: I have a book cover and pub date! Plus, details on the rest of the book production process, receiving page proofs, and figuring out book promotion.
great horned owl in flight over a meadow of flowers

3 Years Blogging: Why Write a Blog? How Do You Balance Blogging with Life?

Time flies like an owl! Here's why I continue to write a blog, and why—even when scaling back to fit blogging better in my life—it's still worth it.
a snail crawling over a rock

Switching the Blog Schedule to Biweekly

With all the other projects I'm working on, this blog will be taking a backseat. I'll still be writing here, just a little less often!
tags: blog work writing
the little blue engine that could pulling the train of toys over the mountain

Book Update #4: Chugging Through Copyediting

How is a book edited and produced? Here what's happening with my book on the slow road to publication.
a book with its pages fanned out in the air reting atop three other thick volumes that are also open

Book Update #3: Revisions Complete, Entering Production!

I'm inching my book from idea to final product! Here's what the review and revision process was like, and my next steps as the book moves into production.
Cover of the book Smart Brevity by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz

Book Review: Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz

No one reads, but everyone skims. How do you write shorter and smarter to reach your audience? This book shares the secret.
colored pencils with nice sharp points, staggered in a line at an angle, pointing to the top right

How to Be More Creative

Being creative can give you an edge, help you solve problems, express yourselef, and accomplish more. Plus, it's fun. Here are three ways to be more creative, today.
closeup of a black-keyed macbook keyboard viewed at an angle

I wrote 200 words a day for two years. Here's what I learned.

I wanted to write regularly. I had writing goals! To meet them, I needed to make consistent progress... so I began writing daily. Here's how I did it, the methods that worked for me, and the best lessons learned.
a row of old leather books on a shelf

How Do You Write and Publish a Nonfiction Book?

Drawing from a recent panel discussion held by the Ronin Institute on book publishing, I answer questions about how to develop ideas, find an agent and publisher, and what the whole publishing process is like.
Jacqueline smiling, wearing glasses and a tshirt saying I <3 my, holding a blue dragonbot robot in front of a stripy background at the MIT Media Lab

How Do You Decide What Projects to Work On as a Scholar?

How do you know you're working on the right projects and not wasting your time? Here are ways to know whether you've taken on the right work, and ways to improve daily task management, too.
the cover of the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott featuring pictures of birds in the corners

Book Review: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Raw and honest, this book is packed with useful advice about writing and humorous commentary on the writer's life. Lamott understands the depths writers can get into; she has sympathy for imposter syndrome, hating and loving feedback, and more.
tags: books writing
a barn owl looking directly at you

What You Gain From 2 Years of Writing a Weekly Blog (5 Key Lessons)

What makes writing a blog worth it—especially when you're starting out and traffic is low? How do you analyze your content, build an audience, and keep up the motivation to write every week?
a fancy pen resting on a lined spiral bound notebook

Book Update #2 (A Complete Manuscript!)

I've finished the first draft of my book on thriving in grad school while staying healthy and happy! Read about my writing process and the next steps: Feedback, reviews, and revisions.
old and worn stone steps hidden in dense vegetation

The Incremental Method to Achieving Long-term Goals and Getting Things Done

There's always that one weird trick, right? Here's the method you need to write a novel, get in shape, and accomplish your long-term goals!
silver macbook rests on a wooden table beside a vase of bright summery roses

Deep Work for Parents: A Two-Step Strategy for More Effective, Efficient Work

Ever felt overwhelmed and frustrated when trying to work while caring for young children? Here are my top tips for making time, turning off distraction, and ramping up productivity!
dry stone wall along a grassy path in the countryside

The Farmer's Lament, a Poem

Tolkien recognized the importance of lay poets and musicians. His characters sing and compose verse about the great deeds and events of their age. What about in our world? Here's one attempt, inspired by Tolkien's Durin's Song.
notebook laying open in the grass with a pen above it

Why Write a Book? How Do You Meet Deadlines? And Other Answers

When is the right time to write a book? Why a book and not something else? How do you manage caregiving and writing? How do you stay motivated? And other answers!
a stack of books about graduate school

Book Update #1: Drafts, Notes, and Editing the Manuscript

I'm writing a book about thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Curious about my progress? Here's where I'm at this month.
the cover of Ray Bradbury's book Zen in the Art of Writing

Book review: Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury

This essay collection includes tips on generating ideas, composing stories, the nature of writing work, and the importance of practice. Do you know how many words a day Bradbury wrote?
silhouette of a person with arms outstretched on wintery day, in front of bare-limbed trees at sunset

Book Deal Announcement: #PhDone

I'm writing a book! Specifically, a pragmatic, up-to-date guide to thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Here's the scoop.
the cover of the book Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd featuring a stack of books

Book review: Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

The authors' fundamental assumption is that you can learn to write better. This book is their attempt to help you do that. Here's what I found helpful and inspiring in their work.
tags: books writing
the face of a eurasian eagle owl looking with big yellow-gold eyes at you with a surprised but friendly face

Ten Things We Learned From One Year Writing Our Blog

We've been writing a weekly blog for a year! Here's what we've learned about meeting our deadlines, writing and editing, building readership, running a blog, and appreciating life!

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Did you know a group of owls is called a parliament?

About

We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

Our goal is to encourage deliberate choices, individual responsibility, and lifelong curiosity by sharing stories about our adventures in living, loving, and learning.

Learn more about us.


Connect:

whoo@deliberateowl.com

Start here

Curious about our life and journey? Here are some good places to start reading:

Jacqueline and Randy leaning their heads together smiling at the camera

A Blog About Education, Lifestyles, and Community

A brief history of how the Deliberate Owl came to be and why we're writing a blog about us, our lives, and how we're living out our values.
Priests in red and gold celebrate a traditional Latin Mass

Discovering the Traditional Catholic Mass

How I discovered the traditional Latin Mass a few years ago, why that discovery changed everything for me, and what was wrong with the Novus Ordo Masses I'd attended.