31 December 2011

Happy New Year (And Welcome Back Everyone!)


Writing, blogs, writers
Photo Copyright by Tim Green
 Wow, it's amazing...I think blog time is a LOT slower than real time, because even though I've been gone a week, it feels like I've been gone a MONTH.


Every now and then, I like to write a post that sort of centers me, my readers, and my goals for my blog (and even my writing!), and this is a post to bring us all back together and remind us, "Why are we here?" (Okay, not that big cosmic question we all want to know the answer too...but the much smaller question of why, you (and me), are here...on this blog.)

First, I have a huge, kind of cool announcement...I have recently rekindled a relationship with someone...we've been sort of on again, off again for a long time (ten years in fact). And we finally decided to try to make it work.

I've rekindled a relationship with my fantasy novel, "A Light Burns At Midnight" (what were you thinking I was talking about? Hee-hee-hee). Don't know what fantasy novel I'm talking about? Read this post...

I'm actually doing really well with it...I'm already working from Chapter 9, so I don't have to much more to do. But I'm handwriting the book (yes, it's a handwritten novel...don't ask, it's what I like to do with my first drafts), and that makes the writing is a little slow. But, my goal is that by the end of February, my book will be done. And then, by June, I want it edited. It's time I finish it. Even if it's just for me. I don't think I can grow as a writer without finishing it. It's a part of my writing history and I need to finish it.
My second goal? (And that's where you come in, my dear reader)

I want to completely recharge my blog. It's really easy for me to get bored with certain writing topics and then I just end up repeat myself a lot (I do love repeating stories though). And to fix that, here's what I plan on doing...

Monday Posts

I will be asking a question within several writing communities and social networking sites I'm on (my first one will be coming up this Monday, January 2nd) and it will be questions on our habits, behaviors, and lessons we have learned as writers. And you know what? I need your help! Like my Facebook page, follow me on Google Plus or my Twitter account, and keep your eye out for one of my blogging questions. If you answer, not only will I will quote you, but I will provide a link back to your blog (site or book) within my post. Isn't that great?

I'm doing this, because I know that even though writing is an isolated task, learning about writing doesn't have to be...and that's what I hope this new feature to my blog post will do. It's way for us all to learn together (not alone).

Wednesday Posts

As always, I will continue Writer Wednesday Blog Hop! And I really encourage you to do this, the more people who do, the better. We all gain new followers, meet new writers, and you get to promote your writing site. Want to know what a blog hop is? Read about it from my last hop!

Friday Posts

I will now be introducing a "Writer's Toolbox" feature on my Friday posts! There are a ton of resources online for us - some that we need (like resource to help us as we write) and some we don't necessarily need, but they are so much fun to have (like some adorable notebooks and other writing materials I have come across recently).
Basically, I want my blog to be fun and informative for writers everywhere, at all stages in their writing. I will, of course, throw in other posts to inspire and to also talk about what is going on in the writing world (like this one....and this one), but I really want this site to be a place you can find what you are looking for.
And I promise not to get overly obsessed with changing my blog design. I'm dying too. I just haven't settled with a new one yet (and if you know of any really good blog design sites, let me know.)

What are your writing (or blogging!) goals for next year?

20 December 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

(This is being reposted from last week! The link is still live, though! Link up!)
I'm back again! And I hope everyone is ready for an awesome blog hop!

I feel hopeful that everyone will get new followers...today's the day!

As usual, I have our dancing Santa - whoo! Go Santa!



And make sure you grab a button made by Lacey D. Ferris (check out her blog here)





And here's the rules!

1) Follow your blog host (Me) (if you want to co-host, let me know if the comments! Or remind me that you want to!)
2) Follow at least three other blogs (if you post your link early, make sure you come back and check out the other blogs)
3) Let the person you followed know that you are following their blog

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! (Use hashtag #WWBH and #WW when you do!) - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

And all you do is link up below! You can link up your writing site, your blog, your twitter account, or your facebook page. I'm flexible, and I know my other awesome hoppers are too. We're a cool bunch.

So, get a'hoppin!






12 December 2011

How to Avoid Just Basing Characters Off Yourself

So, I actually have something to confess.

I have the tendency to base characters off myself.

I really don't like it. And it isn't like they are entirely based off of me, but really the voice of the character (whether first or third person)...I know who the real voice is...it's mine.

And here's the interesting solution to all of this. Something a bit more...obvious than I care to admit. It came to me after reading over a writing project I had put aside for a very long time. And after reading I read over the last entry I had done, and I realized something about the main character.

My main character, I will admit, was partially based off of my own personality. And maybe in the first chapter or so, this was the case for the most part. Well, the chapter I had stopped at (and I am now continuing on) is now at Chapter 9. Things happen. People change.

Characters change.

Can you believe how long it took me to realize that?

As a writer, I should know that the whole purpose of a book is for something to happen to the character. Right? I mean, something needs to happen to the character...that's what a book is. Stuff happens.

Like my own experiences, after that "stuff" happens, I change. How can you not go through something and not be changed in some way?

When I read this latest chapter, I realized the character had changed. She wasn't me anymore. I wasn't the one telling the story. She was. It was her journey. Not mine. And I couldn't believe it. Because it all comes down to one simple solution. If you base your character off of yourself and you feel like it inhibits you somehow...just remember one thing:

Make something happen to them.

It may be you telling the story for the first few chapters before that something actually happens, but when that something happens? It won't be you telling the story. You're character will change. They have to, because that's life.

Because in reality, change can suck. Change can hurt. Change doesn't always feel good. Change can make wish things were "like they used to be."

Change...



can make you look weird.

Change...



can make you cynical.

Change...



can force you to realize home isn't what it used to be.

Change...



I Have Such Doubts




Doubt

— MOVIECLIPS.com


can cause doubts.

Change...



can cause relationships to fall apart.

Yet, despite all of this, change makes stories great. If it weren't for the painful changes we all face and overcome in life, there wouldn't be any great stories to tell. And if you make your character go through the same amount of change you had to deal with to become who you are, then your character will no longer be a version of you, but an entirely different, individual self.

And like Mark Twain said, "20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Just make sure your characters remember that after you put them through the wringer.

09 December 2011

Happy (Many, Many) Birthdays To You!

This post is sponsored by American Cancer Society
 



I so rarely ever do sponsored posts, but when I believe in the cause, I'm all for it. As writers, we can't help but use the experiences, personalities, people, relationship of the ones around us. I remember I got inspired to write a short story because of a train trip my family and I took from the Bay Area (when we were living there at the time) to Houston, Texas. It was my first three day train ride........ever. Lots of time to think when you're on the train that long.

Anyways...

We were going to Houston to see my mom's best friend from childhood who had cancer for the second time and she was going to be going to the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Although prior to this, I have not had the opportunity to meet my mom's best friend, I felt like I already knew her so much. My mom has told me so many funny stories about their experiences together.

The trip, for many reasons, was eye-opening. You learn so quickly how precious life is when you see the people around you face things like this. Today my mom's best friend's cancer is in remission. And for that I am so thankful. But I can't help but realize how much cancer affects the lives around all of us. Not only my mom's best friend has been impacted by cancer, and so has my mom's own father. And so, today, I'm dedicating my posts to the people in my life that have been impacted by cancer. To everyone out there who has been impacted by cancer. To the doctors, nurses, family members, friends, support systems...everyone out there who has been there for someone and has helped them through this awful disease.

So Happy Birthday to all of you. Happy many, many birthdays.

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
~Albert Camus

06 December 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I don't know about you, but this week has felt really slow. Maybe it's the cold. Right now it's gray, cloudy, and freezing here in Oregon (literally freezing...it's 32 degrees outside). I know some of you are probably in colder temps...and if you are let me know in the comments to make me feel better! Ha ha...

Anyways...it's that time again.

Time for Writer Wednesday Blog Hop! Yay!! I'm so excited.

As you can see, a few adjustments have been made. I added a new way to add comments (although if it doesn't work, and you can't add comments, if someone could contact me in some way, that would be all kinds of awesome). Also, I have added some new and easy ways to share my blog with your friends! Yay!

And we have Santa back...this time he's waving our Blog Hop in (ha ha...) *waves* Hi Santa!

And also make sure to grab the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop button, too made by Lacey D. Ferris -check out her blog)




And now, let the hopping begin! Here's the rules in case you are new to the hop:

And now for the rules!


1) Follow your blog host (Me) (if you want to co-host, let me know if the comments! Or remind me that you want to!)

2) Follow at least three other blogs (if you post your link early, make sure you come back and check out the other blogs)

3) Let the person you followed know that you are following their blog!

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! (Use hashtag #WWBH and #WW when you do!) - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

[Guest Post] Fiction Fears

This guest post has been written by Lara Schiffbauer, who writes contemporary fantasy and general fiction. She has garnered some publishing success, strangely enough, in the genre of horror. By day she works as a school social worker in an elementary school, and at night juggles writing, playing with her two adorable little boys, and doing everything else that has to get done in a day. She'd love to have you visit her blog at motivationforcreation.blogspot.com or to get to know her twitter style at @LASbauer.

The human imagination is amazing. Nigel Thomas, PhD, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and historian of science and psychology wrote a fabulous definition of imagination. It’s a tad medical, but I particularly like the last line. “Imagination is what makes our sensory experience meaningful… It also produces mental imagery, visual and otherwise, which is what makes it possible for us to think outside the confines of our present perceptual reality, to consider memories of the past and possibilities for the future, and to weigh alternatives against one another. Thus, imagination makes possible all our thinking about what is, what has been, and, perhaps most important, what might be.”


Can Berkol @ http://photographyforsoul.com/


It is our imagination that gives meaning to our experience. We need our imagination to re-experience our past, and to decide our personal future. Not only that, but our imagination works the same way when we write. It allows us to call upon our past experiences and weave them into alternate realities also known as stories.

I have a great story idea involving aliens. I don’t really have a specific type of alien in mind, but since the aliens are the bad guys, they probably resemble the “Greys” from Whitley Strieber’s Communion.

I think it’s safe to say I have a phobia of those little guys. I don’t know why, other than when I was six-ish years old, I watched alien shows on the television, and they definitely scared me. For a really long time, I wasn’t able to watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind without having an anxiety attack, especially at the scene when the aliens take the little boy. When I was a teenager, an uncle hinted that I may have been abducted some time in my past. I think he was trying to scare me. He succeeded, and I think made my phobia worse.

When I started writing several years ago, I hadn’t seen a whole bunch of stories about aliens in the contemporary world, so I thought I’d give writing an alien short story a try. I figured that since I can now watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind without needing a paper bag to breath into, and even like the aliens at the end of the movie, I’d be fine.

Nope.

I tried twice to write two different short stories. I started with one where the aliens come for a visit, and ended up freaking myself out enough that when my husband went out of town, I pushed a chair against the door so that if anyone (thing!) came in, I could at least hear it coming. I also let the dog sleep in the bedroom with me.

Feeling extremely foolish, I thought that maybe my absurd reaction was because I wrote about the actual aliens. Determined to not give in to fear, I decided to attempt another story about a man who had been abducted, but wouldn’t necessarily write about the aliens. I ended up with nightmares where I was being abducted. Thus ended my attempts at writing about aliens.

The nice thing is that I know I’m not alone. Just last night on twitter, I read a tweet from a woman who was writing on her work in progress that has a demon in it, and when she heard a noise in the dark, got scared and had to check it out.

Most writers have super-active imaginations, which is what makes us great story tellers. It is an amazing gift, but also a potential curse when we delve into those darker emotions and memories. In order to be the best story teller I can be, I will take the bad with the good. And in the interest of my personal mental health, I’ll stay away from writing stories about aliens.

How about you? Have you ever scared yourself with your writing, or drudged up emotions you preferred to leave locked away?

29 November 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

So, how was everyone's Thanksgiving?? Mine was great - I love having that time with family.

Now that we are all out of our holiday fog, (anyone do Black Friday? I wouldn't dare!), I figured it was a great time to get back together and do our usual blog hop! The link stays active until the next hop, so if you happen to stumble upon this post after Wednesday, still link up!

And since we are out of our turkey season, today we have a dancin' Santa!

Shake it Santa!

Okay, also, please grab a button for the blog hop too, if you please. It was created by the awesome Lacey D. Ferris -check out her blog)


And now for the rules!

1) Follow your blog host (Me) (if you want to co-host, let me know if the comments! Or remind me that you want to!)
2) Follow at least three other blogs (if you post your link early, make sure you come back and check out the other blogs)
3) Let the person you followed know that you are following their blog!
4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! (Use hashtag #WWBH and #WW when you do!) - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

28 November 2011

I Give You Permission To Quit

Today, I give you permission to give up.

I give you permission to throw in the towel.

To jog off the path, instead of towards the finish line.

To do what is expected. To do the bare minimum.

To not reach any higher.

To aim for the cellar door.

I give you permission to tell yourself that you're no good.

That you would probably not succeed anyway.



That it isn't worth trying.

That you really shouldn't bother at all.

That no one really likes what you have to say.

That you're a fraud. How dare you call yourself a writer?

I give you permission to not try anymore.

To make a dramatic exit. And not come back. Who needs us?

To get up and walk out.

I give you permission to blame. Point fingers. Throw a fit. Give up. Kick the dirt. Scream. Cry.

Say never again to this dumb dream of yours. Burn up the pages you have bled your heart and soul on.

I give you permission to give up your dream.

To pretend it doesn't even exist. To play the silent treatment. To break up with your dream. To divorce your dream. It's too much work anyways. Why would you even want to be a writer? There's too many out there anyways. Just give it up.

And then....

When it's all said and done.

After you have tired yourself out. And you're all done quitting.

Stand up...brush yourself off...dust off the grime, the negativity, the anger, the sadness, and wipe away that feeling of defeat. Wash away the awfulness and the horridness of giving up.

Begin to pick up the bits and pieces of hope. Finish that story. Pursue a new writing opportunity. Submit that novel once again. Start outlining a new idea.

And try again.

Do it anyway.

Go back and fight the good fight.

Do it for yourself. For your family. For that weird writer that you are reading the blog of right now. Yah, do it for her.

Do it for the stories you grew up reading as a child. Do it for your inner child.

Do it with tears of frustration streaming down your face. Do it with all the other needs and wants in your life. Do it even though it isn't happening fast enough. Do it even though it hurts more than it helps. Do it anyway.

I give you permission to quit today.

Just not tomorrow.

23 November 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it's time for that special Wednesday tradition!

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!

I'm so excited...and our awesome Thanksgiving turkey running in fear is back with us...

And make sure you grab a button made by the oh-so-awesome Lacey Ferris (and make sure you check out her blog, too!)



Okay, everyone...let's get a'linkin!

Just a reminder about the rules:

1) Follow your blog host (Me)

2) Follow at least three other blogs

3) Leave a (good) comment on their blog (not just "Hi I'm From Writer Wednesday Blog Hop"...leave them something good! Or just do the best you can.)*Editor's Note -- Really, just do the best you can. If you can't today, try commenting another time! Really, it's just a way to let them know you are following them and that they can experience the blog love. :)

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! (Use hashtag #WWBH and #WW when you do!) - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

(Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!)






21 November 2011

WARNING: This post will NOT inspire you.

Okay.

Now don't freak out.

But, yes. I decided to bow out of National Novel Writing Month.

Why? Well, I have my set of "excuses" (if you want to call them that). But, in reality, I just wasn't attached to my idea enough to continue with it. It wasn't me.

And to be honest, I don't think I'm ready to dive into a novel. And plus, I want to have a lot of faith in the book before I jump into it. I know that NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a time where you don't think about those things. Where you dive in without thought and just get that book done. But, that wasn't quite something I wanted to do.

I know I'll have next year. And maybe I'll do it. Maybe I won't.

Here's what bothers me about NaNoWriMo, though.

I have a comparison that came to me when I googled "is nanowrimo a good idea." And after reading a blog post from an editor who talked about the actual process of writing. And the time it takes. And the double amount of work that ends up happening as a result of NaNoWriMo (don't worry, I read this well AFTER I had made my decision). And I asked myself again, "Do I love this idea...do I love what I have written enough...to devote myself completely to?"

Again I thought....no.

So, I decided to not go with it this year. I do have other projects I want to focus on - several short stories I want to work on. I have articles I want to write and try and get published. No, it isn't as glamorous as a book, but I have more faith in the ideas I am working on than the idea I had before.

PLUS...

I have a new blogging opportunity that I am focusing on! YAY! My launch-post will be posted today, so please come by and say "Hi!" It will be great to see some familiar faces over there.

Go to: http://www.off-the-deep-end.net/.

So, good luck to my NaNo peeps...I'm trying not to feel too guilty, and maybe one day, I will regret it. Maybe I won't. Maybe I will look back on those 5,000 words I have written so far and wish I had continued with it. And maybe I will just know myself well enough to know that if I didn't stick with it, it isn't because I'm not a bad writer. It is just because I haven't found the one yet.

Like I said, I told you this post probably won't inspire you. 

Until next time, my writing friends. Make sure you come over to the blog "Off The Deep End" and check out my latest blog post. I will be writing book reviews with a different sort of twist. So, I hope you will enjoy.

Editor's Note: Oddly enough, the first draft of this post was a lot more cynical. A few days later I went back and deleted some content so I didn't come across as a total downer to people actually enjoying their time at NaNoWriMo. :) Happy Writing Everyone!

15 November 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

Can you believe it?  I almost forgot! I've added a bit more to my plate these days (no, not that novel...wait till November 21st to hear about it...) but a couple of other blogging opportunities, so Wednesday came upon me all of a sudden!

It's my favorite time and yours! Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!




Just a few rules:


1) Follow your blog host (Me) and our Guest Host Kat from Sleeping Fascinator! Make sure you check out her blog and follow! (If you want to co-host, let me know in the comments)







2) Follow at least three other blogs

3) Leave a (good) comment on their blog (not just "Hi I'm From Writer Wednesday Blog Hop"...leave them something good! Or just do the best you can.)*Editor's Note -- Really, just do the best you can. If you can't today, try commenting another time! Really, it's just a way to let them know you are following them and that they can experience the blog love. :)

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

Now let's get hoppin'!

14 November 2011

[Guest Post] Someone get the Pliers! I’m Stuck!

This blog post has been brought to you by, Cassie Mae. Thank you Cassie! Everyone go say "hi" at her blog by going to http://readingwritingandlovinit.blogspot.com/

Ooh, a new fancy blog to post my nonsensical ramblings on. *rubs hands together* This should be fun.


Um, not sure how to fit my bio in here nice and smoothly, but here it goes. Better get the niceties out of the way first. J

I’m a 24 year old stay at home momma of two boys…so yes, my house is loaded with testosterone and I have no idea what to do about it! Not to mention all the milk we go through in just two weeks. (8 gallons, BTW)

I’ve been writing in my head since I think I was born. My siblings thought there was something wrong with me whenever they caught me having conversations with myself. Thankfully, they didn’t disclose this to my hubby before we got married, so he’s stuck with my insanity.

That should be good right? I’m really not that interesting. So onto my post!

Ironically, when I received Nicole’s email about a guest post, I posted on my blog about Brain Farts, and that’s exactly what happened to me. She said I could post on whatever I wanted, and I thought, ‘Yes! I’m going to post the most inspiring and beautiful message ever! I’m going to encourage those writer’s out there to push through it all and they’re gonna want to click off their browser and write the best story ever!’ Then when I opened up Word, this is what happened.

Uh…

So inspiring right? Doesn’t it just make you want to frantically type away?

Yeah…me neither.

So how do we push through these moments? What do we look for when we feel at a loss? Sometimes what is needed is a small break. Time away from our work so we can gain some perspective. Sometimes we need to keep writing. Challenging ourselves to grab the squeegee and clean up all the muddied thoughts up there. And sometimes, even when we hate this answer, we have to REWRITE EVERYTHING.

Can I tell ya a secret?

Well, I’m going to anyway. J

My current WiP was one of those overhaul moments. It just wasn’t working, but I knew there was something there. It took me a long time to realize it, being stubborn and lazy because I didn’t want to rewrite an entire story when I’d already spent so much time on it. But, It. Wasn’t. Working!



So I grit my teeth, and tried something new.

I changed the POV. I changed the age. I changed the genre.

Originally, the story was told from the heroine’s perspective. There were several elements that seem so bizarre to me now, I can’t believe I even saw the story that way. Now it’s in the POV of my hero, and Hallelujah! I found my voice! And the story became so much stronger, and that heroine of mine went from someone who was probably very annoying to a beloved character.

It got me wondering what holds us back sometimes. For me, I was afraid of losing something very precious, and a lot of hard work, but in the end I didn’t lose any of it. I gained so much more.

So, I guess my advice to us all would be, and this goes for everyone in every stage of the process: Don’t be afraid of the rewrite. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t be afraid to do something that may cause you to rip your hair out by its follicles. Try it. If it doesn’t work out, then oh well, but you may turn up with something much better.

You never know, right?

J

09 November 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

It's that time again! I hope your writing projects are going great. Mine is....well, let's just wait until next Friday, November 18th. I have a little confession to make at around that time.

So, stayin' positive and rockin' things out, right? Let's get a'linkin'!

Oh and our featured character - the horrified, running turkey - is back to join us!


And be sure to grab a hopping button too!



Special thanks to Lacey D Ferris for making it!

Just a few rules:

1) Follow your blog host (Me)

2) Follow at least three other blogs

3) Leave a (good) comment on their blog (not just "Hi I'm From Writer Wednesday Blog Hop"...leave them something good! Or just do the best you can.)*Editor's Note -- Really, just do the best you can. If you can't today, try commenting another time! Really, it's just a way to let them know you are following them and that they can experience the blog love. :)

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!


07 November 2011

[Guest Post] Overcoming NaNoWriMo Obstacles

I'm taking a break from blogging a little bit and having some awesome guest bloggers! 'Tis the season for NaNoWriMo...fa la la la la la la la la...If you're interested in guest blogging for me during this month, just click here. Today's guest blogger is Emily Matthews, who is currently applying to masters degree programs across the U.S., and loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature. She lives and writes in Seattle, Washington. Click here to check out her blog!

So you’ve got 30 days to write a novel. Sound like fun? It is -- at first. After the first few days of type-as-fast-as-you-can composing, writing becomes what it always is: a struggle. Around day five or ten, you start thinking, "Am I ever really going to get where I am going?" This is what as known as the National Novel Writing Month hump, but luckily it can be overcome.

First, writer's who think they have writer's block should take a closer look to determine whether they are suffering from blocked imagination or are just experiencing the essential delay that is often a part of writing. Many professional writers spend very little of their time writing. They do a lot of walking around the house, reading, strolling around the neighborhood, and running errands. This isn't writer's block, writer and writing teacher Donald Murray argued, it's just the essential delay that all writers go through, those who have graduated with a masters degree in fiction or those attempting a novel for the first time alike. As a writer, you need time to come up with your ideas. And sometimes you need to come up with those ideas somewhere other than in front of your computer. If you're stuck, don't berate yourself, just accept what you're going through as natural and go take a walk.

Second, you shouldn't stop writing. This may sound like it's contradicting the first piece of advice, and in a way, it is. Sometimes you're so stuck or unsure of where your plot is going next that you have to let your brain catch up to your fingers -- you have to step away. Other times, you know what you have to say and you are just having trouble working through it. In this case, you need to just keep writing, to write junk until you hit on something good and then to go from there. Allow yourself to have really terrible first drafts because it is often through those really terrible first drafts that you find the content needed to make excellent final drafts. Odds are, a novel written in a month won't be ready to be published, but it could lead to something publishable if you let yourself make mistakes and don't get so caught up on finding the right word that you miss an interesting plot twist.

Finally, you need to read. Many new writers stop reading when they're in the process of writing a novel because they are afraid that they will accidentally use another author's ideas. Maybe you think you don’t have time to read. Reading is actually one of the best things you can do for your writing. Not only do you give your brain a break from your own novel, but you also exercise it in a literary way, exposing it to sentence structures, words, and dialects that can make it into your own writing.

Whether this is your first time sitting down to write a novel or you are a seasoned author trying to challenge yourself, writing a novel in a month is difficult! But if you use the advice above, you'll be more likely to make it out of November with a novel, not a traumatizing experience.

02 November 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

I'm so excited that I didn't forget this time! It will be a great hop I promise.

It's already been one day for National Novel Writing Month and as of Tuesday (November 1, 2011) at 5 pm, I haven't typed a word to a page. Mainly because I have been busier than I thought (I know, excuses excuses).

Ahh, let the guilt trip begin. (And furthermore, I have yet to respond to a few of your awesome comments; so I am getting a healthy dose of the guilt pill and it's barely day one.)

But that's okay! I will do a greater update when this month is over...and of course, this would be a GREAT time for me to direct your eyes to my "Guest Blog" button at the top of the screen. If you would like to Guest Blog for me, I would love it! Especially this month. So clicky-clicky!

So the Blog Hop!

If you are a regular - welcome back! If you're new - WELCOME! We're glad to have you! Take a seat, grab a cup of coffee/glass of wine (whichever your preference) and get a'hoppin...

Grab a hopping button too!



Special thanks to LD Ferris for making it!

Just a few rules:



1) Follow your blog host (Me) -- and our co-host Diane Carlisle

2) Follow at least three other blogs

3) Leave a (good) comment on their blog (not just "Hi I'm From Writer Wednesday Blog Hop"...leave them something good! Or just do the best you can.)*Editor's Note -- Really, just do the best you can. If you can't today, try commenting another time! Really, it's just a way to let them know you are following them and that they can experience the blog love. :)

4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop! - Thank you to all of you who have featured this hop on your site!! I really appreciate it!

Plus, let me know in the comment section if you want to co-host! And feel free to remind me if you have told me you want to blog hop guest host!



01 November 2011

I Can See What You're Doing

You're reading this blog post at work, aren't you? You should be working. But you're not. You're bored. Distracted. Waiting for the meeting to start. The next client to call. And your mind drifted to the internet. And you're trying to avoid the candy bowl that has been sitting out there, taunting you. Damn holidays.

No.

You're reading this at home. The kids are finally taking a nap. Or doing their homework. And you've taken a break for yourself. You're husband/boyfriend/significant other/family member isn't asking you to do laundry, feed them, pay attention to them, find something for them. You're tired, cranky, had too much coffee, and want to take a bath, have a glass of wine, and finish that book/movie/show you've been meaning to see/read.

No.

You're on your cell phone, aren't you? Squinting at the screen. You're on the bus, and you're trying to find some reason to avoid the eye contact of that weird guy sitting across from you who's been staring at you too long. Or you're in front of a red light or your sitting there, behind a traffic jam on the freeway, knowing you have nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. You're probably considering abandoning the car entirely and walking to your destination. Or ditching the bus, and freeing yourself from the confinement of public transportation.

No.

Maybe you're in the bathroom. Or in a class. Or on the couch. At home. At work. At school. At the gym. In the grocery store line.

You've taken these few minutes of your life to read this blog post. To find out what I'm doing. To find out what I have to say.

And even though I appreciate it (really I do)...I just have one thing to say to you -

Write, you writer.

Close the internet page. Turn off the computer. Look up from your cell phone. Stand up and stretch if you have to (if you can).

Get that notebook out. You know the one. It's the one you bought that was meant to inspire you. Well get it. And get that pen too. Don't have one? Eye liner will work. (Fellas? Don't have a pen? Well, it's time to invest in good writing utensils. Or, if you happen to have eyeliner, that will work too. No judgment). Lean on your knee, the dashboard, the desk, the table, the back of the person standing in front of you.

And write.

No, don't think about it.

Just write.

Describe whats around you. What hear. What you smell. What people are saying. Start there. Start somewhere.

And just write.

And, yes, it's that simple.

No really, I mean it. Quit reading now and write.

28 October 2011

Dear Friend: Some Writerly News


Dear Friend:

I like to start my notes to you as if we're already in the middle of a conversation.

I couldn't resist starting out that way...*sits down, grabs coffee*

Okay, so I've been thinking. This whole National Novel Writing Month thing. I've been thinking about...discussing it over with my muse...and my anti-muse...and my younger writing self...we've decided that it's time. It's time that we try the whole NaNoWriMo thing all over again.

So here's the thing though, I did do this a few years back and got caught up because I had mid-terms at the time. And now that I've graduated, and my time is a bit more free, I think this would be the best time to take on the challenge and see what I can do. I would LOVE to make the 50,000 word mark. But for right now, I'd like to see how far I can go.

Okay, let's think about this for a second...

*insert subject change here*

And in the latest developments, I received another blog award!


I'm so proud! The second time I have been bestowed the award - so exciting. Okay, so there are some rules to this blog award. First is to share seven things about yourself - -

1) I love the fall - and especially love the winter.
2) I drink red wine, but I still look for the "Lavender Martini" at restaurants when I go out.
3) Recently I bought 10 books for 13 bucks. Yay.
4) I can't believe I have only had this blog for four months. Feels longer.
5) My biggest distraction is Sims 3.
6) I don't have a car.
7) I am at that top 5% of users going over AT&T's largest data service plan. And yes, I'm really proud of that!

SoooOO, the next part of the process is passing along the blog love to 15 other bloggers!

Drum roll please...

**brrrrrrrrrruummmm.....drrrrrummmm** (I don't know how do you type out a "drum" noise)

Here's the fabulous bloggers with the award -

13)  Inside My Mind
14) Charity's Writing Journey
15) Maureen Crisp

Whoo! That's a lot of bloggers! So follow them, say hi, and tell them who sent ya!

Okay, now about this National Novel Writing Month thing...

I think I will do it. Isn't it exciting!

Here's my badge to prove it -


If you want you can find me on their site - just look for "BeingTheWriter" user name.

Happy bogging and have a great weekend everyone!

Oh and don't forget to link up on the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!

26 October 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

We're back and in action for the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop! I hope everyone is having a good week...I had a little delay in getting myself going for the blog hop this morning, so I will keep the link open until Friday afternoon.

Want to know what on earth I'm talking about? Read here...

So, writers, get those engines ready as it's gonna be a hoppin' good time! (Okay, cheesey, I know...just go with it...)


What's the point of the blog hop? Get readers for your blog, follow new writer blogs, and feel the joy of the blog hop!

Just a few rules:

1) Follow your blog host (Me)
2) Follow three other blogs
3) Leave a (good) comment on their blog (not just "Hi I'm From Writer Wednesday Blog Hop"...leave them something good! Or just do the best you can.*Editor's Note -- Really, just do the best you can. If you can't today, try commenting another time! Really, it's just a way to let them know you are following them and that they can experience the blog love. :)
4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop!

*No, technically, there is no Blog Hop Police that you will come find you if you don't follow the rules; we are running on the honor system. I know we're all honest folk, and it makes Blog Hops more fun if you follow the other bloggers.

Next week I would love to have a Guest Host Blogger! So, let me know if the comment section if you are interested!

Happy Blogging Writers!



24 October 2011

Today, Write Like Pavarotti

Recently, my mom got me into listening to Pavarotti. So, one day, while Pavarotti hypnotized me with his incredible, thunderous, mountainous voice, I couldn't help but notice just one thing.


Just watch this...



Okay, did you see it?

Those last few seconds, right when he was done, and the music finished...did you notice it too?

If you didn't, play the video again. And look for that expression on his face...that look of sheer joy for what he was doing. For every second of that song, he enjoyed it, right down to the applause.

When was the last time that you finished your writing session with that look on your face? The look that says, “I love what I'm doing, and that is all that matters to me right now.”

How many of us sigh in exasperation when we reach our daily word count that took us ages to get to? Or ache during that ten minutes of free time we are spared and wonder if we should write at all or just wait for a "better" moment? Or stare aimlessly as we try to think of something profound to write?

I know I have those days too. Way too many of them to count.

So, when I watched that video today, I couldn't help but think about how obvious it was that Pavarotti enjoyed what he was doing. Right down to the very last second. And it was all over his face.

Sure, someone might say, if I sang like Pavarotti, I'd have that look on my face too.

But, you know what? Even though my writing may never be the equivalent to Pavarotti’s operatic talent, I think we can all take a lesson from Pavarotti.

Today, write like Pavarotti. Write with the intent of enjoying every last second of what you are doing. Write like it's your last chance to write. Write like you did when you were little and the idea of creating a story seemed like magic, instead of a chore. Write...to tell a story. Write to create a new world for someone else. Today, don't write to get published. Don't write to fulfill someone else's expectations of what you should be writing. Don't write to get famous. Don't write to get a standing ovation.

Write...to get that look on your face.

Still Image from YouTube Video (Copyright Belongs to valdezalcantara)


And then you know what? Stand up and give yourself your own damn standing ovation.

Because you do deserve it.

18 October 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

Okay, I have had enough. I have done enough Blog Hops lately to realize that there is ONE missing factor in all of this.

But wait! Did you just ask what a blog hop was? Okay, a blog hop is basically one day where we all get together and post our blog link, and find other bloggers to follow just like us. I am making one for writers because I know there are a ton out there that I am missing that I want to read. And its a cheap/easy/fun way to promote your blog and get new followers.

So, where are the blog hops for Writers?

I tried googling it, but I couldn't find anything. Although I know there are themed posts we can do, there isn't a simple way of us all getting together one day a week and finding out where all the writers are. And I know you are out there. And damn it, I will find you.

So! That creepy intro aside here's my first blog hop! I'm so excited! (I even have a jumping pumpkin to prove it!)





Wait! Before you go, here are a few "rules" I would like to have in place* --

1) Follow your blog host (Me)
2) Follow three other blogs
3) Leave a (good) comment on their blog (not just "Hi I'm From Writer Wednesday Blog Hop"...leave them something good! Or just do the best you can.
4) (Optional...sort of): Tweet about the blog hop!

*No, technically, there is no Blog Hop Police that you will come find you if you don't follow the rules; we are running on the honor system. I know we're all honest folk, and it makes Blog Hops more fun if you follow the other bloggers.

Side Note: I know many blog hops allow for Guest Hosts, and I am hoping that this becomes popular enough that I can have a guest host. For the next few weeks it will be just me, but if I find it really is popular, I will post something about a guest host.


Don't Ever Give Up...Just Change Your Approach

Over the weekend and after my last blog post, I began to get extremely frustrated with the growth of my blog. And that led me to get frustrated with writing in general.

And that led to thoughts that ran like this...

Maybe I should just quit my blog. I mean, maybe it's doing more harm than good. Maybe I'll really have time to write.

[My Inner, More Darker Cynic Replies: Psh, Yah. You will only think of another excuse, you know. You won't write.]

That isn't true. I will write more!

[My Inner, More Darker Cynic Replies: Yah, and maybe you can quit writing in general. Wouldn't that make things more easy? You'll really have time then.]

Okay, maybe I won't quit blogging. But how come I feel like I am spinning my wheels here? How come I feel like this isn't doing a damn thing?

[My Inner, More Darker Cynic Replies: Because you are a crappy writer. Just give up.]


[My Inner Super Hero Replies: NO! Don't give up!]

(I figured that my inner super hero would look something like the PowerPuff Girls.)

As usual, my inner super hero came to my rescue and kicked my deep, more darker inner critic out of the way. So, I went online and I posted a question to Writer's Digest Community and also to Google Plus and got a ton of feedback.

And a lot of it spoke to...don't give up, try a new approach, or just...don't give up. I thought about it a bit more and I thought of the constant struggle most of us feel when we are writing and trying to "make it." I recently submitted a short story to a literary magazine and it is a story that has been rejected before. But I kept at rewriting it, and resubmitted it. And I hope this time, I am successful.

But, with us writers, it is so easy to just give up. Or maybe it isn't so easy. I don't know about you guys, but when I'm not writing, I get that feeling of leaving behind a friend. I can't quit. I can't give up.

So you know what? Don't give up. Don't give up even though your blog has less than 10 followers. Don't give up even though you don't have enough comments. Don't give up even though you haven't been published and you have been trying for years. Don't give up even though your friends have been published. Don't give up even when you don't have anything to write. Don't give up even when it seems dumn to even try.

And so today I kept writing. I'm inspired to write because I didn't give up. I came to my own rescue. I didn't give up my blog. And I'm sure as hell am not going to give up my stories. I will always be there for my writing self, even when she is down. I'm inspired to write because I know we are all trying to make it. I'm inspired to write because I don't want to disappoint myself.

And you know what? I did decide to take a new approach.

Wednesday, I want to bring all the writers together and promote my new Blog Hop, "Writers Wednesday Blog Hop." Just make sure to stop by Wednesday and link up. I want to connect the writer's into one quick, easy place. It's a way to promote your blog, gain new followers, follow some new people, and hopefully boost your spirits a bit.

Because you know what? You should never quit. Just change your approach. Put on different colored socks. Wake up earlier. Play hooky. Wear something you've never worn before. Create a blog hop. Take on a new story idea. Read a new book. Sit somewhere different.

Just don't quit.

14 October 2011

Why Writers Will Never Have a Reality Show

Do you ever wonder why you never see writers on a reality show?

You see a ton of them for dancers...

Singers...

Comedians...

Truck Drivers...

Horders...

People living in New Jersey...

People who are about to be fired...

Rich People...

Wives...

I mean, all of the groups I just listed...represent a just few among many that are represented (and often stereotyped and categorized) on our television these days. And as I was watching TV last night, trying to ignore the advertisements for Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and XFactor, I realized something...

Why don't writers have a reality show?

I'm interesting!

I can be funny!

Pssh, so where's my freakin' reality show?

And then I thought about it a bit longer...and came up with five reasons why writers will never have a successful reality show.

Reason # 1: The actual process of writing can be dull.

Okay, let's be honest here. Have you ever actually watched someone write? Just write. Nothing else. Probably wearing sweats and a t-shirt or something, too (nothing fancy, come on, we're writing here). If you said yes, you probably know how dull it is to watch someone write. Maybe writer's block can be fun to watch because you get to watch the writer go beserk and do all that weird strange stuff we do to get our brain going. But, really, writing is just dull to watch someone do.

Reason # 2: It isn't possible to film the inside of our brain (yet).

Now, the writing may be boring to watch, but for the writer...it's fascinating. Especially if you are finishing a great scene in the book. Your mind plays out the scene for you and you can forget that you are even writing (on our best days, anyways; sometimes the scene play out like a silent film). Until it's actually possible to put the camera inside of our heads and film the imagination at work, writing will never be that fascinating to watch for the viewer.

Reason # 3: Writing takes long. And it takes patience.

Let's say you have a television show filled with aspiring writers. And it starts out energetic, all of them talking about their ideas and planning and plotting...

And then they sit down to write....crickets anyone?

In reality (no pun intended...okay, maybe a little), percentages that I am horrified to share, will tell you that only three percent of writers actually finish their book. So...maybe it isn't a book. Maybe it's an article. But could you really have a camera over someone's shoulder as they type out articles one by one...to improve their writing skills enough...to get that article published on a site that actually says something about their skill? No, I didn't think so.

Reason # 4: Writers don't want their critiques on film.

An essential part of the writing process, is getting critiques from people. I don't know about you, but I have a hard enough time accepting critiques...and I wouldn't want that whole situation on film. I'm a good sport about my critiques of course, and I do learn from them, but really...that's a lot of confidence re-building that I wouldn't want the world to see.

Reason # 5: Papering our walls with rejection slips also shouldn't be on film.
Unless you are filming an extensively published writer, most writer's who actually get to finishing that book, or short story, won't get published immediately. It can a really long time to get published, and often involves a series of rewriters before we get to that point.

I think I not only proved my point, but I think I have also proved how much work is involved in writing (and how writing really is a solitary sport). I find that a little depressing. But, not, because it's not like it's new news to me.

I really think I need to get rid of my television.

So, what do you think? Would writing make a good reality show?

11 October 2011

Can Timing Really Be Everything for a Plot Line?

So, while I was completing my outline for my...book...(yes, I know I wrote that in smaller text; and yes, I am still superstitious about even calling it that...I'm still in the baby step stages okay?), I thought about a little something I would like to call...timing. And the most pivotal point in the book...that moment that changes everything...all depends on timing.

Now, without going into too much detail (you all know my suspicions on that), I was wondering whether or not that really happens in life? Is timing really everything? How much difference does an hour make? A half hour? Ten minutes?

Would certain parts of my life really be any different had I made that 3 o'clock bus, instead of having to wait a half hour for the next one? If I had left five minutes earlier, would I really have been on time for work? Would these small moments have really impacted my life in some huge way that I don't even realize?

And does timing only make a difference after the fact? How many of us have stories about how if it wasn't for that five minute difference...this one good (or bad) thing would have happened?

Okay, so with these thoughts rolling around in my head, I thought back to my own life and tried to think of moments where timing made a big difference...

...And so it's something I'm still thinking about it. I will let you know if I think of anything.

Not to mention, I also wondered if I was cheating by letting this moment rely on timing. Well, to solve this problem, let's go through some of my favorite movie scenes to see which of them best represent our discussion topic of the day...

Alright, our first example...

Sleepless in Seattle


That final scene...that FINAL scene...the moment we were all waiting for...all depended on the timing of Tom Hanks getting to the top of the Empire State Building when Meg Ryan did. Can you believe that? Timing here...was everything.

Titanic



Our next scene is when Jack and Rose first meet. The timing of this perfect...had Rose run out to that edge of the boat any sooner...well, that entire love story may not have taken place.

Can you guess where all this is going? Me too.

Okay, our last movie...

Bridges of Madison County

Don't we all remember that scene where she stares at Clint Eastwood from her car? Weren't you just urging her to run out to him? I know, me too.

But her husband comes...ah, here just watch.


I mean, had her husband waited just a few minutes before going to the car, would she have gone to him? Had that light just taken a few moments long, would she have run to his car?

I guess we'll never know, but now that I am done with my outline and I am getting started on actually writing the book, I couldn't help but wonder if timing really is everything. If you based your answer on the movies I showed you, I would say...yes, it can be.

Or maybe I should stop watching romance movies and get to writing.

What do you think? Is timing really everything? Have you ever written (or read) a short story or book where a major point in the story depended upon the right timing?

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