My name is Lana Castle and I’m a Writer, Zentanglist & Workshop Facilitator. Probably because I’ve published several books, I’m best known as a writer. My most successful book, Bipolar Disorder Demystified, was published in 2003 (though that’s ancient history in the publishing world).
My guess is that the term "Zentanglist" might be a bit fuzzy. Zentangle is a meditative “Zenlike” art form. Most anyone can complete a simple Zentangle like the one below in about 15 minutes. Really! No artistic talent required. I find it incredibly relaxing.
Lana Castle, M.A.
Back to Bipolar Disorder Demystified. Part of the reason for its success was timing, given it was one of the first books about bipolar disorder written by a layperson – rather than by a psychiatrist or a celebrity – for a lay audience. And another part was that I followed the standard advice given to writers to “write what you know.” Having lived with bipolar disorder for around six decades now, I know a fair amount about it.
I care deeply about achieving optimal mental health and expressing creativity. Unless I'm enjoying time with friends and family or out appreciating the wonders of nature, I'm happiest when deeply immersed in a creative project of any sort – especially writing or Zentangling.
To learn about my credentials, click here.
To read some of my articles, click here.
To learn about my books, click here.
To learn about my history, click here.
I earned my Master of Arts in Instructional Design from the University of Texas at Austin and my Bachelor of Science in Speech & Theatre from Kansas State University.
I also earned a PhD in publishing from the "University of Hard Knocks," picking up knowledge by attending a record number of workshops and classes, reading most every book on writing and editing in the Austin Public Library and self-publishing my first book (Style Meister). I did it the expensive, old-fashioned way, well before print-on-demand and ebooks existed!
My forty year career in communications includes being a tech writer, a desktop publisher, a freelance magazine writer and columnist, and an editor before becoming an internationally published author.
As an editor and publishing consultant, I helped produce printed books, ebooks and media for over 100 writers.
As a volunteer for Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic), I happily narrated and edited many, many audio textbooks over the course of seven years.
To download my resume, click here.
I was born with a passion for the creative arts, starting with dance, piano and art. Then – despite being extremely shy – I got hooked on performing and became quite a ham. Eventually, Speech & Theatre became my college major. Always resistant to being typecast, I played a dwarf, a Cuban dancer, a saintly old evangelical, a potential murderer and a Salvation Army musician, among other characters.
My single starring role in college was in a traveling children’s play as “a princess with a face so plain that it stopped clocks.” I knew the role was mine as soon as they described it!
I did most everything in theater: set design, costumes, makeup, sound, props, publicity – but writing my first one-act play, "The Guest," and having it produced was simply magical! It even got nominated for an award. For the very first time I felt validated as a serious writer.
And the extraordinary power of the word scared me to death!
A few years after earning my Bachelor’s degree, I took a job for the Reading and Study Skills Lab at The University of Texas-Austin as “a secretary who could draw.”
I designed displays and handouts and spent a lot of time cartooning for slide shows, which was great fun. This is one of my favorite pieces from that era.
Then my supervisor told me about a graduate program in Instructional Design at U.T.’s College of Education (which happened to be just across the street) and encouraged me to apply. Neither of us knew how much her advice would change my life.
In grad school, I studied simulation game design, photography, video and filmmaking while earning my Masters and, in the process, I met my husband Ralph. (Actually, he was one of my former professors.)
After working briefly at the Learning Resource Center for U.T.'s College of Education, I moved somewhat reluctantly into the world of high tech. I had almost no interest in computers, but the bump in pay was great, and I'm really glad I was forced to learn so much about computers over the years. They don't appear to be going away anytime soon!
That move also called for me to learn about page layout and graphic arts – subjects I taught in workshops later on. After a brief stint as a graphics coordinator for a computer software firm, I became a tech writer. I oscillated between writing and editing for many years. But my deepest interest and talent was in writing. One favorite gig was writing scripts and manuals and serving as the "talent" for training videos – for which I had to learn how to disassemble and reassemble laptops – and then still have them work!
As a freelancer I worked with educational and business publishers, nonprofits, consultants and individual authors while balancing my own writing. I wrote articles and columns (mostly under my pseudonym the Style Meister) before moving on to books. To read a few of my favorite pieces, click here.
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