Monday, May 18, 2015

Goals for the week of May 18

So, I'm trying to stay focused by posting my goals and trying to stay on top of my writing this week.

It helps that I finally go through all the seasons of Park and Rec. Now I don't have Lesley Knope to distract me. However, I found Alias on Hulu+, now I've got that to distract me. Dang

1. Finish editing the next five chapters.
2. Out of Genre Reading: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
3. In Genre Reading: continue reading The Dangerous Edge of Things by Tina Whittle
4. Blog: Just try to blog at least two more times this week.

Thanks for holding me accountable

Friday, May 15, 2015

Yeah, About That Optimism

Optimism sucks.

Fear is so much easier to embrace! Thanks to fear I'm now Level 83 in Hay Day! And Level 24 in the Sims! Yay Fear!

Go Fear, Go!

Fear of success has enabled me to binge watch Parks and Recs! I love Lesley Knope! And I realize that I'm married to a real life Ron Swanson. Thanks Fear for that epiphany!

With Optimism as a friend, I would need to run three times a week and lose 2 pounds a week. With Optimism I'll feel compelled to finish editing the last four chapters of my book. And, HORRORS!, with Optimism by my side, I'll want - want! people! - WANT to clean house.


So, I'm going to bed with Fear: failure means I can stay in my jammies until noon. That rocks! Failure means I have an awesome excuse for not learning to make bread or how to do podcasts.

Optimism equates to actual production! Boo on productive lifestyle! Booooo

Yay for Fear! Go Fear!

I think I'll go crawl back into bed...

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Joy of Pity Parties

Yesterday, I held myself a pity party and enjoyed every minute of it. I even whipped out an incredibly bad blog piece full of misspellings, grammatical errors, and creative dog poo (don't ask me why).

The problem lay in my inability to make any progress on any of my current projects. Even editing, which normally bores me to the point of starting up writing on another project, didn't crash through my blockage. I felt stupid, ignorant, and annoyed with everyone and everything.

So, I held a Pity Party for myself: I snacked on the very last Cadbury Cream Egg that I found at the bottom of purse (nice and squishy with a hint of lint), I put extra sugar in my lemon water, I fired up a new time-wasting game on my iPad, and I bribed my tortoise-shell cat with treatsies so she would snuggle with me.

I watched Youtube videos, snarked a bit on Twitter, played Hay Day on my iPad for over an hour (don't tell hubby), and watched Parks and Recreation for over two hours -- all at the same time!

And then, this morning, a miracle occurred: a story idea that's been stuck in my head, suddenly unstuck itself and I have a solution to unsticking two characters stuck in a muddy plot with zero direction. This morning, I felt better. Not necessarily rejuvenated, but not quite so....defeated? Disheartened? Frustrated? Useless.

I didn't feel so useless as I did yesterday.

So, what I learned in the last 24-hours: Pity Parties can lead to a stronger sense of purpose and self.

Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm Doomed.....

What the heck stands between me and my keyboard? I mean, what the hey!?!

When I was driving home from Bible study all these great ideas floated through my head. The minute I get home? Gone. Gone. Gone.

I folded clothes: this awesomely funny idea flitted around my head until a snazzy punchline made me snort and giggle. Sometime between blowing my nose and sitting at my keyboard? Gone. Idea is gone.

I know this comes as no surprise to other writers: writer's block sucks. I don't feel prepared to handle this. All the websites and blog posts I've read so far give writing exercises to break through.

Well, that's fine and dandy, but what do I do about the depression? The feeling of failure? Defeat? Or how about the stupidity that keeps flipping through my head?

I mean, I feel as creative as dog poo - and I'm pretty sure my dog can sculpt human faces as he dances around letting the poo drop. That means my dog possesses more creativity than I do. His poo appears far more artistic than my writing.  Especially this blog piece.

The only thing that makes me feel better is that after I post this on Twitter, no one will bother to click on the link except bots.

22 bots, exactly. Every day my blog records 22 hits. 22 bots scan my blog for no reason whatsoever.

I rock.

Well, I found one last Cadbury Creme Easter Egg at the bottom of my backpack. I'm going to eat it, enjoy it, and forget about writing.

Until I need to feel bad about myself again. Then I'll try to write again. And try to remember those kick-ass ideas that only seem to come when I'm up to my elbows scrubbing the shower.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Writing Priorities - where writing isn't the priority

I love sitting down with a cup of awesome tea, my puppah laying down next to me, and some good music tinkling in my ears. I love the process of writing. However, I love my family more.

I preach that this philosophy - family comes before writing - needs to belong in every writer's psyche.   Long before your writing ever sees income, your family will support you (or not) and long after your writing fades away, your family remains.

After returning to writing after a long break, my family moved forward with a foster-to-adopt situation. I felt very little dismay as, once again, I set aside my writing to take care of my family. As I write this today, I can see where the items from the spare bedroom sit in the front room. Tomorrow, I'll keep working in the spare bedroom and write, alternately.

When our new family members arrive, summer will arrive, as well. This means even less time or perhaps actually packing up and leaving the house. I mean, as it stands, my teenage son cannot leave me alone for more than 15 minutes (no exaggeration) when I write, how do I expect two little girls to leave me alone?

However, as my children age, I don't want to miss important events, cues of problems brewing, shopping trips, special times of treats, etc.

Yes, I dream of publishing, of representation, of seeing my  work in a bookstore or on the page of bloggers. However, long after I'm dead, my writing will fade away whereas my descendants remain. So where should my priorities lay, really?

As long as publisher or editor aren't waiting on me, I put my family first.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Authors: Can We Talk?

Someone, somewhere told you of the importance of an online social media presence. Like a dutiful and conscientious writer, you immediately set up your Facebook account, your Twitter account, your Blog, maybe a Vlog, maybe an Instagram, maybe a couple of other accounts. Now, you thought, all you have to do is sit back and wait for the sales numbers to rise.

They won't. Sorry. They won't.

Let's examine the phrase "social media". Media, means collectively, the means of electronic communication. (Remember that word "communication"). Social, in a nutshell, centers on communication...the word relates to interaction with one another. (Remember: "interaction").

So, let's interactively communicate. 

When that advisor, or friend, or webinar on book promotion told you to go forth and Tweet, Facebook, post blogs, etc., they meant for you to interact with those communities. Interact: behave with reciprocation.

Some of you "fail" to understand social media or interactive communication. You simply post links to your book or to your book's positive reviews over, and over, and over again. You do not interact. You do not communicate you do not reciprocate in communicating with the Twitter, Facebook, etc. communities. 

I've purchased many books as a result from Twitter because authors interacted with me. I own all of Tasha Alexander's books because she and I communicated with one another. I started reading James Rollins for the same reason - even though I never would normally read his writings (and I love him). Cyndi Tefft convinced me to try her books because I find her interesting. I admire Courtney Milan on Twitter and applaud her fight for the rights of writers, so I own a vast majority of her books. 

If all you do is tweet links about your books, how will I know you're interesting? How will I invest in you?

So. From this point forward, please, I implore you: practice interactive communication.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Looking for Inspiration

I'm pooped.

The crap with my son just sucks all of the energy out of me. The energy, the joy, the "yay" all get sucked out by the drama swirling through our house.

Life sucks the weenie. Big time.

So, I'm sitting in a freezing Starbucks, hungry because I skipped lunch, and am desperately trying to find some sort of inspiration for my blog. I just know that if I don't come up with an entry, that guy who reads me in Poland will feel disappointed in me.

Where do we find inspiration? I'm actually not sure.

For years, the line: "He stood in the middle of the room and faced his three ex-fiances" has whirled through my mind. It's visited me in the shower, it's followed me during lull times at work, and lately, the line helped me fall asleep.

I cannot tell you how many ways I've fleshed that puppy out: I've imagined it as a contemporary romance, as a murder mystery, as a revenge novel, and lately as a Victorian era historical romance.

Ask me where the line comes from and I cannot answer. I don't know how long the line floated in my head, either, until I finally started a notebook to put my ideas for fleshing it out.

But where will the inspiration for the flesh come from?

Since I see the line opening up a Victorian-era romance, I've started listening to music from that time period (yes, you can download some from iTunes). I've also started a habit of reading books from that era: a few pages before each writing session. I try to think through what breakfast was like during that time and eat a bit like that (lots of eggs and toast). I drink tea while I write, while sitting most properly. In other words, I try to immerse myself in the time period as much as I can.

When life sucks one dry, look for inspiration through immersion. It'll assist you in finding an escape from this world and enable you to expand creatively.

Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Death of a Dream

My Lovely Boy faces a really harsh legal sentence thanks to a bad decision he'd made as well decisions that came before and came after. You can talk and talk and talk to a teenager, but they always think they know more. My son believed he knew way more than my husband and I because he'd spent 14 years in the Foster System. He didn't know more and now faces the end of his dreams and hopes.

All parents possess their own dreams and hopes. I don't care if the child is biological or adopted. We all hold that child in our hearts and our dreams for that child begins.

I dreamt of seeing my son graduate high school. A poor choice involving sex, drugs, Facebook, and a minor girl took care of that. He spent his graduation staying with my dad, while my husband and I researched ways to help him emotionally and psychologically. Not to mention that my son's behavior during his senior year actually might have kept him out of the ceremony, anyway. Regardless, while my brother has a beautiful picture of my nephew on his graduation day, my husband and I only know memories of putting Lovely Boy on a plane to Michigan.

When Lovely Boy returned, he seemed better, healthier and more open to his therapy. Against all odds, he started community college in the fall. He loved attending. He seemed to enjoy the atmosphere and liked the fact that he did well. He passed with his first attempt at each class and wanted to take on more. He joined the college group at church and loved attending a kayaking trip and a week in the snow. On the surface, he seemed so well. So much better.

We began to dream again: hoping of his actually making real his dream of graduating college, going into the military, beating the odds. The odds beat him with this latest round of mistakes and he's going to need to redefine his goals.

And so will we.

Our dreams died when he came under legal investigation. If convicted, he'll need to move from where we live and, more than likely, he might find himself unable to attend college for awhile as he fulfilled the other penalties.

The pain of knowing that we may never see him graduate college or even know an emotionally healthy relationship makes my chest hurt. His hope for the military is over, as well. I mourn the loss of his dreams and the death of my own dreams for him.

I've gone through anger and I struggle with tears. I'm trying to remember the rest of the stages of grief, but since this is the second time I've experienced this with him, the pain seems worst. The anger seems to almost consume me and I struggle with sleep. My chest hurts like a hammer trying to pry itself out of my rib cage. I cannot seem to cry this time. I just feel....resigned...defeated...exhausted.

People tell me that our dreams and hopes for him are not important: after all, we can't live his life for him. That doesn't mean we can't possess dreams. He's only lived with us for five years (one as a foster child and four as an adopted one), but we still knew dreams and tried desperately to help steer his life into a place where he could see the fruition of his own dreams and hopes.

We don't know what will come of the legal issues, we're still waiting for a letter from the police department (he'll be charged with a really serious misdemeanor). While we wait, we mourn.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Does One Need to Blog Daily?


I returned to my "muse": John Saddington and his blog post "How I'd Start (Restart) A Blog If I Were to Begin Today".

My question centered on why I choose to blog. I found myself, once again, wanting to define why I'm here or why I choose to write here nearly every day.

He said something that caught my eye:

"There is room enough for you to have your voice heard. You simply may not have given it the time and attention that it needs and deserves. That’s on you (but you knew that already)."

That's why I blog: often time during a day I need to speak out. I do not design my blog posts for any ulterior motive. They come from whatever thought came into my head when I sat down to write. The blog pieces I've done so far this year stem from my own thoughts and needing to see them in writing so I can better understand where I'm coming from with this new direction in my life. I'm using these pieces to sort out my life as it stands now, though I've not written about some of the darker turns my life's taken in the past week.

So the question I'm asking myself starts with commitment to writing: do I need to sit down and write something every day? Do I need to make sure I'm writing daily?

The answer I came to today? No. No, I do not.

What I do need to keep moving forward though. So, on days when I don't blog, I find other ways to keep moving on a writer's journey.

This last weekend, I spent time on the patio with the pups and I read a book out of my wiring genre (not mystery or romance) and I did do one writing exercise just because the prompt caught my imagination.

So, I know this will break the heart of those who read my blog, but I won't write here daily. And that's ok.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, February 13, 2015

No blog today

And I know you're all crushed and disappointed in me.

You'll get over it.

Until then, here's a picture for you:

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Editing Meh

Writers complain incessantly about Editing Hell. A real place, you'll find such a reference in the Bible...I'm sure.

I'm currently in Editing Denial (that's the place you go just before entering E.H.) where I pretend that I make daily progress in my final draft of my first book. A book that took only 17 days to write and three years to find the courage to edit.

So, I'm asking myself how editing looks like in an effort to "find" my muse, my inspiration, my energy...and I'd rather clean my son's bathroom floor with my tongue than edit. I really don't give a rats poop what editing looks like, I just don't want to do the work. There's no muse, no inspiration, there's just no real desire. Period.

I want, like most writers, for my first draft to stand as fiction extraordinaire. I sit here delusional, I know. A delusion that wastes my time and makes me feel stupid, in the long run.

Editing does not mean cutting or rewriting, rather I find myself constantly needing to clarify what I originally wrote. I know that a good writer finds lessons for improvement when they edit...but I just can't bring myself to care. Yet, I've read sooo many bad books in the past year that I know that editing stands between schlock and readable fiction.

So I'm sitting here with each passing hour pretending that I make progress towards something that will go to my beta readers. I know full well that if I don't get out of the denials or the meh, I'll never finish.

So, I surrender to the feeling of "meh" and I move forward. Slowly, slowly, slowly. However, I need to keep moving forward. Forward momentum will finish this race.


Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Finding Inspiration

I usually start my writing sessions with about a 10-minute tour of Twitterland. Don't ask my why, but such a tour usually stirs up my imagination and I'm off and running.

However, during my Twitterland twirl this morning, I found nothing that made me want to pick up my pen. 

So I began to question just how I found inspiration in such a vast wasteland of self-promotion and excessive links. For one thing, out of the first 20 tweets that came through my feed, over half were promoting books (most self-pubbed). One guy tweeted his own book cover twice. A few people tweeted cute animal pictures and one woman tweeted a link to a blog piece she found (I'm not sure if she tweeted the right link cuz it went to a pretty bizarre blog).

Needless to say, I'm beginning to think that I need to either new sources of inspiration or I need to follow new people.

I'm not going to get all philosophical about finding inspiration within myself because that's just bunk. Inspiration comes from all around - a source stimulates the imagination and makes me step outside of myself for a minute or two. 

I use Twitter because I like following successful writers: "seeing" how they spend their days often times helps me assess how I spend mine. From there, I often dive into my process and the juices start to flow. 

Something changed, though, during the time when I stopped writing two years ago and coming back this last week. Gone are the writers who use Twitter to take a break from their work and enter the writers who self-promote their work over and over again. 

Am I any different? After all, I seek validation be keeping a blog and then tweeting "Hey! Lookatmeandmyblog!" 

The lesson I need to take away from this: find inspiration away from the computer. Find it in the world. Take a walk, call someone. Twitterland will not work anymore...and I'm ok with that.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Validation in Writing

So, yesterday I posted my first blog piece in two years. I published the piece and announced my return to Twitterland.

Let the pigeons free! Let the accolades shower down. My minions, my peeps: I HAVE RETURNED! Validate me, people!

Only crickets came (and maybe my hubby). Dejected. Rejected. Invalidated.

So now I'm wondering "what does validation look like?" I started with the definition according to (cuz that site's free!). I discovered that a synonym for "validation" is authenticate.


What does that mean? "To establish as genuine."

That's what I needed to know.

What will make me genuine? What do I need in order to feel established as genuine?

Not all the moleskins and fountain pens in the world will make me feel genuine. Feelings come from within and that's where I must find this genuine feeling.

Do I need awards, contracts, peer approval? Do I need someone to read something I've written and say something positive?

No. No one can make me feel genuine or authentic. Only I can do that. So I need to establish what that looks like.

Authentic means that I'm working towards a specific goal: finishing my current project and getting it up on Amazon.

Genuine means that I'm doing this every business day with the weekends for family and friends.

Only when I stay true to my definitions of authentic and genuine will I ever discover myself at validation.

Thank you for listening.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Starting Another Chapter in my Life

So, I quit my job with hubby's encouragement and support.

Now, I actually need to follow through with my dream of writing. I've spent the last week or so trying to define what that actually looks like. Am I sitting at a desk, am I researching then writing, what does "unemployed writer" actually look to me?

I realize that the picture of an unemployed writer looks like someone who gets up in the morning, does at least one or two chores, and then must sit down and write. Something. Anything. During that writing time, the writer scratches a dog or two, pets a kitty, drinks several cups of tea, texts a tad with Lovely Boy, follows Twitter, and writes in between all of this.

So, this morning, I got my booty out of bed as soon as my bladder commanded it. Played an useless game for a good thirty minutes while I planned out my writing day, got myself a cup of spicy tea, let the dogs in and out, let the cat out, fed the other cat, drank my tea, and then sat down and tweeted for a few minutes.

Hubby recommended a blog piece entitled How I'd Start (Restart a Blog If I Were to Begin Today by John Saddington and found the inspiration I needed. If anyone reads this piece, you can read his entry here:

I'm following his directions. I'm writing for the sake of writing which is what I've wanted to do now for over a year.

So, now I've blogged for the day, let the cat in, texted my lunch date, and read my son's text explaining why he came home late last night.

Time to work on my WIP - a murder mystery. Today's goal: editing two chapters (up to chapter 7 of 15).

Thanks for listening.