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?


06 October 2011

Happy New Year!

No, no, I know what day it is. And no, I didn't accidentally post a scheduled blog post. But, this time of year always makes me think of the newness we usually associate with the New Year. So, 2012 may be just around the corner, but I am celebrating my new year now. With that said...





Okay, celebrations aside, you know why I think of this as the right time to celebrate the New Year?

Well, first of all, fall always has made me think of new beginnings, especially because around this time of year school usually starts, and its the end of summer time and that always signifies change. I remember being in school and every time the fall came around, it felt like there was hope and opportunity in the air. So, even though I am not preparing for a new school year this fall, that hope and excitement is still in the air. And today, I thought it would be a great time to talk about some resolutions.


Let's call this the...

New Fall Resolutions!


No, not "New Years Resolution"...it's the New Fall Resolutions.

And as you can see, I have been cleaning up around here in preparation for such a celebration.

First, notice the new blog design? Yes, I love it too. It's a bit more manageable, easier to load, and a tad more balanced. I still kept my cute little heart world button, so do grab this button and post it on your blog for some awesome new flair!



Second of all, I added a couple of new ways to follow me and my blog, which you may like a little better depending on how you usually like to read your favorite blogs --

Google Plus (Loving this new Social Networking Site! Find me on there and I promise I will try not to bother you with commentary about what I had for dinner last night...which was beans and rice in case you were wondering)

My Podcast (If you listen to podcasts and want to add me to your playlist, I have a great new way of you listening to the blog! Yes, it's a touch on the robotic side, but it's still a great way of keeping up with me in an "oh-so-fun" way.)

My App (I am SO excited about this little feature! If only I could get it to work. But, still, just download the BloApp application to your Android or iPhone and just search for this blog. It should be running normally soon...*crosses fingers* ...I hope.)

My Facebook Page (After a long debate about this, and several tweets and google plus questions, I finally decided that I did want to make a facebook page for my blog. So, just LIKE me, really, really LIKE me...and share me and my blog with your friends too...)

And the latest upon latest news...

I FINISHED MY BOOK OUTLINE.

Fourteen chapters...are...outlined. I am so proud of myself. It actually took longer than expected because the ending is a little iffy, as I sort of want the beginning to play out first. I do know what will happen, but I am leaving room for the characters to figure things out on their own and maybe even shake things up a bit (as characters don't always do as their told...).

Now...where was I? Oh, NEW FALL RESOLUTIONS.

And here's my resolution for this new fall...

1) Write a little bit each day to keep the Anti-Muse away (don't know about the Anti-Muse? You should! Read here to find out...)
I don't expect that I will be all that rigid on this one, especially on the weekends, but I want to write a little bit each day. Just a little bit of something each day will keep that writing muscle strong and healthy!

2) Keep a regular blogging schedule (and quit changing the damn design changes).

Tuesdays and Thursdays seem like the best days for me...and I resolve to have those be my blogging days. I am also very settled with my blog design...I think...no, I'm sure...yup, kinda sure. And I will not keep changing it on you. I may change the color scheme (maybe next month can be orange...) but that is it. I promise!

3) Submit my short story to a literary magazine by the end of the year

Okay, there is a short story I have been babying and I think it's almost ready to step out into the real world and find a new home. It's already ventured out into the world a few times but nothing felt like "home" to my little story. My story and I have been talking though and we both think it is very important to keep trying and stepping out to meet other short stories is very important to growing up to be a very healthy story.

Alright, one more time everybody!




Happy New Year!

So, my dear blogging readers, what are your New Fall Resolutions? Any new writing or blogging news on your end?

04 October 2011

What Dancing With The Stars and My Character Have in Common

So, if you haven't been paying attention to the latest in entertainment news (which probably means you don't have a television or you don't watch it much...which also probably means you are getting more writing done that I am) you probably heard about Nancy Grace being part of Dancing With the Stars.

You probably also heard about her horrifically, awful humiliating moment. To give you an idea, let me just say...when you are dancing, just make sure everything is all in it's place.

We've all had embarassing moments, and I'm sure we've all experienced awful wardrobe malfunctions (skirt tucked into the panty hose, anyone?). So, Nancy Grace is not the only person on the entire planet who has experienced this for the first time ever.

So why is it a big deal? Why am I blogging about it when I have sworn I will only blog about writing?

Because, for one thing, Nancy Grace -- to me -- has always represented a tough, intelligent woman who I may not always agree with, but I respect a lot. Beyond that, I have not really seen Nancy Grace in any other light but the one she portrays on her shows.

A little one-sided, sometimes, to be honest.

And when this awful moment happened to her, my opinion of Nancy Grace changed just a little bit. She became more human. More real. She no longer had that tough exterior up that no one can penetrate. We can all be made vulnerable, we can all be embarassed in some way, and this was her moment.

This came up during an interesting time, because I am developing my character for that writing project I have going on and I have already talked with you about my struggles with developing a well-rounded, real type of character that has flaws like everyone else. Well, when this moment happened to Nancy Grace, I realized something about character development.

The Nancy Grace we see on televison, of course, is not entirely who she is and I know that. But, much like your character -- being the real person they are, of course -- is not always who they portray themselves to be. Sometimes, surprises (both good and bad) can reveal an entirely new side to this person that you haven't had the opportunity to see before. Nancy Grace had her vulnerable moment where we all realized she is just as vulnerable to life's mishaps as the rest of us.

I began to think about this question...

What situation would reveal a new, or unique side to my character that maybe I don't even know about yet?

Because really, if you are spending an entire book with this character you want to really get to know them, right? So, you may not need to put your character through a wardrobe malfunction to see "another side" (literally, or figuratively), you may want to think about the unexpected moments we all go through in life that cause us to react at the moment, without thinking or preparing beforehand at all.

It's like that expression said by Maya Angelou, "I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she (or he) handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

So, just think about that for a second...if your character was caught in a rainstorm, how would they react? Would they run under shelter until it passed? Would they start to cry? Run and scream in the streets? Share their umbrella with a stranger? Do they even have an umbrella?

And how about that lost luggage? Does your character get mad and yell at airline? Do they cry? Or does your character even bother with luggage? Do they just arrive at their destination with the shirt on their backs and thinking they will worry about it when they get there? Wouldn't that really say something about a person?
And christmas lights...come on, now, christmas lights? I mean, we wait all year for the season and you go into the storage closet and you realize that the entire collection of lights is in tangles? What would your character do? Laugh? Take the giant ball of light and just throw it on the roof? Go out and buy more?

These little unexpected moments can say so much about all of us, without even realizing it...


Did I mention I love this time of year? *evil laugh*

So, let me ask you this, how do you react to unexpected moments? How would your character react?
Umm...I hate to be a joy kill here, but don't watch the below video if you startle easy or have heart trouble...
Happy Halloween (and Happy Writing) Everyone!
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