Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Several years ago, I heard someone say, "God never gives you a dream without giving you the ability to make that dream come true." I forgot about that saying until last night when I was reading "Finding Water". Cameron was talking about how sometimes the publishing world can be overwhelming and discouraging. She talks about how one night she went to dinner and all these people were throwing famous authors' names around as well as their famous editors' names. She sat there and thought (to paraphrase) who do I think I'm kidding? I'm not in the same league as them. As I read what she had written, I thought, good gawd, if she feels that way, then what chance do I have? Then she came to her point. God levels the playing field for all of us. If he has truly called us to write, then he will guide our paths. Many times, it's not that God overestimates us, it's that we underestimate God.
Do you underestimate God?
Til Tomorrow~

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Just when one thinks it's safe to feel sorry for one self, one reads something that proves to her life is always what it has been and will continue to be. Those who have followed this blog know that I have been overdosing on Jane Austen. Recently, I have been reading "A Memoir of Jane Austen" written by her nephew, J.E. Austen-Leigh.
Last night, I came across an entry that amused me greatly. It seems her books had caught the attention of the Prince Regent, at the time, Prince Leopold, I believe. Anyway, his Librarian and Secretary contacted her and requested that her latest publication be dedicated to His Royal Highness. She agreed and the publication of Emma was 'dedicated by permission to H.R.H. Prince Regent'. But the attention didn't stop there. The Secretary, a one Mr. Clark, continued in correspondence to her to suggest writing topics--one about a clergyman, another a princely romance. She wrote back declining both suggestions feigning ignorance about the lives of both sets of people. Smart lady.
In view of these letters, I see that through the ages the lives of writers continue to be what they always have been. People casting ideas in front of writers hoping they will use their ideas and immortalize them in some way.
Ponder that til tomorrow.
Til Then~

Monday, January 29, 2007

I have been thinking lately about how spirituality and writing intersect. I'm not talking religion, but spirituality, which I believe are as different as daylight and dark. As I've written in one of my earlier blogs, I've been reading Julia Cameron's new book, FINDING WATER. In it, she talks about 'showing up and letting God take care of the rest'. I believe that is where we have to come to with our writing and have the faith, which she also talks about, to keep on, keeping on. Writing is a fickle and tormenting job. I admit there are days when I can think of thousands of things to do rather than come in and sit down at my keyboard. Yet, I know that to sell an article, book, poem, or script, one has to write it first. "Nothing" doesn't sell well.
So today, I am showing up. I'll trust God to do the rest. Will you?
Til Tomorrow~

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Today, I spent making Artist Trading Cards. I so love spreading my wings and trying different art disciplines. I love weaving, knitting, making ATCs and altered books. It is a diversion that allows me to go back to writing with a fresh mind and new look. I see things differently now that I have entered in to the art world. Colors, textures, shade, and dimension have taken on new meanings. I bring what I've learned to my writing. It is a win-win situation.
I am learning to experiment and (gulp) make mistakes. My mother use to say 'if you can't do it right the first time, don't do it at all'. She had no idea how that would hurt me in later life. Working and playing with different art mediums has taught me to be experimental and I love it.
Even play can be work. Today, I proved it. :-)
Til Tomorrow~

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Last night, my husband and I watched Antiques Roadshow. They always have so many interesting things. I love to hear the history of the pieces. One, last night, was particularly interesting. This guy brought a painting that use to be his mom's. It was painted by a guy named Sutter. Anyway, this guy said he remembered it hanging in their home when he was a child and seeing it all the time. When his mother died, he inherited it. His wife didn't like the painting so they put it in the basement where it had been for a good long while. They had gathered up other stuff to bring to the Roadshow, but as an afterthought, picked up the old painting and brought it too. The painting's value was between $120,000 and $180,000. The guy almost fainted. My first thought was thank goodness the basement didn't leak, but I digress.
Later in to the night, I got to thinking about what a great analogy that could be between a writer and his creative ideas. Think about this for a minute.
Through the years, a writer has many ideas. Some of his ideas he shares with others and because they don't think they have merit, he puts his ideas away, in the basement if you will. Years later, as an afterthought, he brings them out and finds they are worth more than he could possibly imagine.
What are you hiding in your basement?
Til Tomorrow~

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Are you overwhelmed by the 'big picture' or are you guided by small steps? I admit a lot of the past few months, I've been overwhelmed. I keep thinking about all the projects I want to do, the work to be done, the research, the writing, the writing, the pain of imperfection. I keep seeing the possibilities, but also the work and I tend to do nothing.
I don't jot down any notes. I don't drop notes in my project files. I don't do anything because I am paralyzed by fear. Funny how I wrote yesterday, Rome wasn't built in a day in my journal. Today, I read about small steps in Julia Cameron's book, 'Finding Water'. In this particular section she wrote, "the tiniest smidgen of progress is to be savored. We must take small steps on our behalf every day."
hinking over the small steps, I made a list, looked it over, and realized I can do my projects by doing a few tiny things a day.
What are your small steps? What did you do today?
Til Tomorrow~

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I wondered what today would bring. Lord knows I did not feel like writing. I did, but didn't feel my abilities would be up to what I wanted to say, so I procrastinated about doing my word count. (A thousand words a day when I'm on a project.) I went to town, got the mail, washed some clothes, etc. Time was ticking and 3 had arrived. If you don't do it now, the little voice in my head said, you're going to feel awful tomorrow. Just do it.
On a normal day, that cliche drives me nuts, but today it became a mantra in my head. As I went in to my office and headed for the computer all I could hear was 'do it', 'do it', 'do it'. All right already, I said as I sat down at my desk. I turned on the computer and began to write.
What are you doing today?
Til Tomorrow~

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Write what you know. Since I first started writing that mantra is what I've heard over and over again. I am working on a fiction book that involves writing what I know. Unfortunately, what I know is what I wish I didn't know. The more I write, the more I'm finding the character of my relatives in question. Sad. I'm using an incident as a story foundation, but the more I delve into the fiction, the more I'm afraid what I'm writing about may be true.
I have felt strongly about writing about this incident for a number of years, but didn't for fear I would hurt someone's feelings. Now, it seems everything is up in the air.
It is painful as I examine my main character feelings and the way she interacts with other people. Painful because of the betrayal she has to face and move beyond.
Til Tomorrow~ Write what you know.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I admit it. I am a bibliophile. Everything about books excite me--the size, texture, their smell. Words written on a page, telling a story, or conveying information is the highlight of my life. I can not imagine living in a world where I wouldn't know how to read or have no inclination to do so. I audibly gasped when I learned my sister does not own a dictionary. I have seven. I did have more, but when my children moved away, they insisted they had to take a dictionary or two with them. I was happy to relinquish for such a just cause.
Now in my sister's defense, it is not her fault she 'hates to read'-her words not mine. When she was in second grade, she was the slowest reader in 'the circle'. Her teacher was on her case constantly and she grew to hate reading as much as she did her teacher. So, as she grew older, she never took it to change the way she thought about words. It breaks my heart.
I get so much pleasure out of reading, I flatter myself into thinking everyone else in the world should too.
I read this morning about Alexander the Great. The text talked about the Library at Alexandria and its being burned. Everytime I think of that incident I get sick to my stomach, so much lost and absolutely nothing gained by that military debacle. So sad.
It doesn't matter in what state books are in, I love them. Over this past summer, I took several art classes involving altered books. I did fine working with the blank board books, but when they started cutting up real books--old dictionaries, readers, science books, etc.--I couldn't join in the fun. My heart literally ached at the sacrifice.
Now to someone who doesn't love and appreciate books, this will probably sound silly, no out right stupid, but to me, it is perfectly rational. I've talked to my friends about this silliness and they agree with me. We are writers. We know the value, the sacrifice, the possibilities each author put in to his works.
I love words. I love books. I am a writer.
Are you?
Til Tomorrow~

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Looking for discipline...In the past I have had no trouble getting to my computer and whacking out words. For the past year however, it has been torture getting to my keyboard. Once there, I typically settle down and get to work, but until I get there.... I can think of every excuse, shuffle my feet, even CLEAN. Now how sick is that? I want to write. Feel my best when I'm writing and feel like I'm worth something. Why do I have such an aversion? Human nature. At least that's what my girlfriend says. I think it's something else.
When I think about going in to work, I tense up because I know when I get started I will get nothing else done. Time slips away from me when I'am working. I can start at 10 A.M. and 4
P.M. will be upon me before I know it. I love getting lost in the work, but know the consequences if I do so.
If it was just me I think, I could do whatever I want, but I have a husband and family. There are clothes to wash, dishes to do, suppers to cook. So, what do I do? Those things will always be there.
I have to discipine myself to set my timer, go in and go to work. I will admit that in November when I was doing the Nano Novel Month, I set my alarm and amazingly wrote a lot of words--over 50,000 to be honest. I can do it again.
So can you? So get your timers ready. Set them for 55 minutes and let's get to work.
Til Tomorrow~


Saturday, January 20, 2007

The snow is finally ending. We didn't get that much to begin with, so I'm thinking by the end of the week everything should be melted away. Things will be getting back to normal.
I'm setting up a schedule so by the end of the month I can see how productive I've become. I've got to get back to a regular writing stint.
We were watching television and saw a long lost friend. Haven't seen him in 15 years or so. Found out tonight that he's written 12 books and one of his books has sold over 3 million copies and has been made in to a movie. He is a motivational speaker, too.
Very interesting how lives reconverge after a long period of time. Think about who you would like to run across, and then think synchronicities.
Til Then~

Friday, January 19, 2007

It looks like the snow will start falling some time tonight. I am in for the endurance and hope to get a lot accomplished. As long as I don't have to get out and run around, I can usual get a fair amount of work completed.
I set up a chart for the book my friend and I are working on. We talked about it last weekend. I didn't work on it at all this past week, but am ready to get started on it.
My girlfriend and I see this as only the beginning. This book can take many life forms, so we're trying to get organized and see where it goes.
While we're working on this non-fiction, I'm working on a fiction book. I've got the synopsis put together, have a very 'rough' rough draft, and plan on beginning the rewriting stage tomorrow.
The next few weeks I'll spend writing proposals and chapters. I love it when I'm working so this is a good thing.
Will close for now. Write more tomorrow.
Til Then~


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. How many times have I heard something declared as art; I look at it and just don't see it. I guess I don't appreciate the artist. Perhaps if I knew him or her better I would. I've given this conundrum some thought. I know I have produced pieces that aren't works of art, but I have come to the conclusion, if said 'artist' give work a title, it is then art. Think about it. The next time you look at a 'reported' piece of art and don't appreciate its value, ask what it's called. You'll suddenly appreciate your work a lot more.
Til Next Time~

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The freeze continues. I am beginning to think we shall never see our sidewalks or the sun again. It's cloudy here again today and has been spitting snow. What is the deal with central Oklahoma? Well, I guess all of Okahoma..and I know I shouldn't crow too loudly. It could be worse. We could have NO electricity. At least our power is still on.
This kind of weather is great for a writer though. Snowed in..or in our case, iced in..which we hear is to change to snow over the weekend..we can get to our computers, have an excuse not to go anywhere, and write. In between the phone calls I've been making, that's what I've been doing--writing.
I've turned to topics of spring. I figure not only will editors love the pieces because of their lead time, but perhaps it will put me in a better mood. Of course when spring comes, here in Oklahoma we have to worry about tornadoes. All these distractions. It can be quite maddening, but somehow we writers survive and get through it.
In the meantime, I think I'll write about tornado preparedness. It will take my mind off the four inches of ice outside.
Til Tomorrow~


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In getting ready to tutor one of my young writing students I've been studying about style and the way the words we use express that style. I've told my students for years that they need to keep increasing their vocabulary. It has been one of my goals ever since I began writing, but then I love words in general so adding more and more to my list never has been a difficult thing.
Young people however, tend to balk at the thought of looking up words in the dictionary, writing down their meanings, and then sentences using those words. That is one of the easiest way I know of though to move word expansion along.
There was a time that I wondered myself if studying words was a waste. After all, I thought, wasn't our vocabulary full enough with the words we have. Then I read somewhere, right now the publication slips my mind, that Leonardo Da Vinci kept a word journal. Every day, he discovered a new word, wrote down its connotation and denotation, and used it in sentences every where he went. He wanted to see how people reacted to the new words he used.
I found all this fascinating. Afterall, if Da Vinci studied words and kept a journal of such, I should do the same. I must admit I've not been as fastidious with my word journal as Da Vinci was with his, but that is getting ready to change. Why?
A friend and I are working on a book, tentatively titled, "A Leap Year of Words". I will not tell you the slant of give you any more information except to say it deals with words. We are excited and plan to have the proposal out by the end of the month. It will be fun.
So which word did you study today? Can you guess my word? I'll give you a hint. It's written in this blog.
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, January 15, 2007

The ice storm is over. We had electricity throughout, but we wondered if we would keep it. With all the thunder sleet and ice falling from the sky I left my 'puter turned off just in case. I did a lot of reading over the weekend. I believe I mentioned in an earlier blog how much I love Jane Austen. I've read her books, books written about her, books containing her characters, etc. I just finished 'Sandition' las night. That would have been a great book if she had lived to finish it. It was the last piece she was working on. I think she died a couple weeks, maybe a couple days later, after she put down her pen on that one. It is incomplete. One can tell it is and with it being unfinished leaves one to wonder which direction Jane would have taken her characters. One also has to wonder about the town of Sandition, too. What kind of town it would have turned out in her thoughts and under her hand.
It is so sad that she died at 41, such a young age. I often wonder what kind of books would she have written if she had lived to 50. We were robbed of a great author.
Til Tomorrow~

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thought I would post here early today. Thank goodness we still have electricity. We may not have any by Sunday night, but I'll take what I can get. We received a lot of sleet, but as yet no freezing rain, which they think that is what will bring down powerlines. We're hoping for the best.
Got our wireless network fixed yesterday. That is a good thing because now I can work in any part of our house. Plan on getting a lot of work done this next week, so the wireless will allow me to do that.
It's back to the pages and various other projects. Even though I have not had a 'super' strong start to projects this year, I keep reminding myself we're not even half-way through the first month. I know it will go fast, but I have made a little progress. I do have a synopsis and outline completed, so.... Onward.
So, what are your plans for this year? What great books are you planning to write?
Let me know.
Til Tomorrow~ ...or as long as we have electricity

Friday, January 12, 2007

Didn't get to post yesterday because I was having computer problems. The computer guy came early this morning and left about an hour ago. He had to scuttle, because we are getting the worse ice storm of the century. People are fighting for firewood, food, batteries, and flashlights. It's a nightmare.
Anyway....they are expecting our electricity to go off and they're not sure when it will be back on, so if you come on, read this email and I've not written, it will be because I am plunged in to the darkness of prehistoric times.
Good gawd, what did we do before electricity? I'll leave with with that thought. I have to go find blankets, batteries and some books I've been meaning to read forever...that is if I can find a window to sit in front of.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Isn't that just the way life is?
This morning, I logged on and was pretty thrilled with myself because 'I' was going to get this blog message sent early. As luck would have it, the site was down for maintenance. I had to laugh. All these days of my not getting to this until later in the day and the one time I was ready to go.... But isn't that how it is?
What to do in those instances?
At first, I admit, I was a little annoyed. The more I thought about it the better I adjusted to the site messing up my schedule. Ha!
The truth of the matter is I jumped on over, opened a synopsis I'd been working on and finished it up.
Ah! When I came back to check this site, I really felt good. My thoughts now are perhaps the site being down was for the best. It certainly was for me.
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, January 08, 2007

When last we met, :-) I believe I wrote about those students in my class who did not like the information I gave them. I know it is difficult to believe editors would take so long to answer a letter, but editors are very busy. In some cases, they receive hundreds of pieces of mail a day. The key word here is patience.
Another piece of advice I'd like to pass on is don't toot your own horn. Your work should speak for itself. You shouldn't and don't want to tell an editor how great your work and what Aunt Martha thinks about it. It doesn't matter and more times than not it simply makes an editor angry.
From personal observation, I have found that those who crow about their work can't write a lick. It's the insecure person who questions everything he puts down on paper who trypically has the talent. Why?
Because the insecure person will work to improve his work while the too-confident one will throw words down on paper, believe they are chiseled in stone, everyone will love them, and dares an editor to change a word.
I'm not suggesting false modesty. I just want you to be realistic about your work.
Til Tomorrow~

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I have signed on to do another series of creative writing classes. I swore last year when I finished up that last set of classes I would teach no more. It was becoming a painful experience. I hope being gone a year will give me some enthusiasm for my topics. It's not that I dislike teaching. I dislike people's response to my teaching. It wasn't the material I presented. It was the way they took that material.
For instance, it is a simple statement of fact, that when someone sends in a manuscript to wait to hear three to six months from an editor is standard. One student thought that was ludicrous, literally threw a two-year-old fit, got up and walked out of class. I was sorry he felt like that, but nothing I could do. I was the messenger, not the message.
Through the years, I have seen many such incidents. I've learned that those individuals probably won't make it in the business. They want things their way and right then. Publishing, I'm sorry to say, doesn't work that way. Wouldn't it be a perfect world if it did?
My goal when I teach or take on a new client is to see him succeed. Some of my students have, some haven't.
Tomorrow, we'll talk about why certain writers succeed and others don't.
Til Then~

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I'd like to continue the theme of guilt, but today offer a few suggestions on how to overcome it. One suggestion is to forgive yourself. Tell yourself that whatever you did, whatever happened, you learned from your mistake and you're moving on, never to repeat the offense again. You can't go back and undo the past. Tomorrow is gone. The day you didn't write yesterday can't be regained. There will never be another January 3, 2007. But this is a January 5, 2007. Make a committment to write tomorrow. Period.
Another suggestion is to decide whether your guilt is self-imposed or outside imposed. My not writing about some of my childhood experiences are not because I don't want to. It's because I'm afraid of how other people will react to what I've written. And this guilt is there even though I've not written word one yet.
I've decided to write down some of those experiences. Started with an outline yesterday.
Casting off that guilt, I'm moving forward. What about you?
Til Tomorrow~

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

As promised, today's topic.....
I have a little rubber stamp that reads 'guilt, the gift that keeps on giving'. When I saw that stamp I knew I had to have it. Guilt has permeated my life and held me bound not freeing me to write what I want to write. I have been experiencing guilt for years for a project I've wanted to work on, but haven't for fear it would hurt my parents and grandparents. I've felt guilt for not raising my children properly--locking them out of a room while I wrote, sitting them in front of the television when I wrote, or bribing them to spend hours in the library as I did research. No child can become adults secure after those traumas.
Now they are grown however, the guilt continues. Yesterday I felt guilty because of all the projects I had intended to do last year, but never got around to them, not spending four hours writing, only two, and not updating my webpage.
While I still haven't gotten around to a lot of things, the guilt continues to mount.
On my meditation card today, it read 'guilt is destructive'. My first thought was a sarcastic 'no kidding'. The more I thought about it, I realized how guilt has paralyzed me, not only in my career, but in other things I've wanted to do.
My new goal is to get beyond the guilt. Maybe I should make a bumper sticker that says just that. Will ponder that thought for the rest of the day. What about you?
Til Tomorrow~

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Wow! Another new year. Just got hooked up with the new blogger account. They say there are a lot more things to see and do here. We'll see. In the meantime, it's back to work for me.
I was a little worried during December. Typically, I am optimistic, looking forward to the new year. This time though, there was nothing. Nothing until this morning.
Maybe my excitement came from the fact I planned on getting back to work today. I do so love to write. It could be because I filled my January 2nd Daytimer page with so many things 'to do', my subconscious thought I'd better get excited or we wouldn't get anything done. Maybe it was because I got up and exercised. What ever the reason for my renewed enthusiasm, I am glad it has arrived.
It's a new beginning. Time to start over, get on all those projects I was going to do last year, just never got around to it.
Personally, I'm glad 2006 is gone. I look forward to 2007 and all the goals I plan on setting and reaching. No more guilt. Tomorrow I'll write about that.
Til Then~