Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I thought an update on the book I have been working on would be appropriate. I've got over 120 pages and am not hardly half way through yet. I am on the main plot line, but when I get through this write, I'm going to go back and add another character. He'll bring some added life to the whole thing. The book has such a serious, dark side, he'll bring some fun to a most serious subject.
I was thinking about my book while driving up to Kansas over the weekend. It was then that Leon popped in to my head. When I thought about the scenes I was working on, he seemed like he naturally should be in them. The more I thought about him, the more he became real to me and I knew he needed to be in this book.
For now, I'm trying to decide when to add him. I might write him in today. Not sure which direction I want to go with this scene, but I'll think about it and see.
I've got to start getting ready for that class tomorrow. So far, there are 11 students. Still time for a few more to sign up. We'll see.
Til Later~

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I made it back from Kansas. It was a nice trip, but I'm glad to be back. I start a new class Thursday night. It will run for three weeks. It's a beginner's class, so it will be fun.
As I was driving back from Kansas yesterday, I thought about the old saying, "Two things are certain-death and taxes." I think change should be added and the saying should go, "Three things are certain-death, taxes, and change." Not particularly in that order, but still....
It seems like change for me comes on a daily basis. I think I have everything figured out, a decent schedule worked out, at least in my head, and whammo something happens. Change, like death and taxes, is inevitable. The thing we have to do is become like a willow. Learn to bend when that change occurs. If we don't bend, we will break. That's the bottom line.
Off to do a little bending today.
Til Tomorrow~

Thursday, February 22, 2007

People, people who need people.... As a writer, many a times I have said I would be content to be stranded on a desert island, ALONE. I am a strange creature, a recluse really...or at least I could be. I enjoy being by myself. Believe you me, there are plenty of other people who join me--namely my characters. For me, it boils down to thinking and quiet time, something I've not had enough of through the years.
So, imagine my surprise the other day when I got one of my writer's magazines and one of the articles inside was titled, "Why Writers Need People". My first response was "NOT 'I'" It started to bug me because I started thinking about it. So adamant had I been in my alone time, fate started shoving people in my face--my parents, children, cousins, sisters, in-laws, friends. Surprisingly, I was having an interesting if not good time with all these 'people'. And when I headed back to my keyboard I had a new perspective about one of my characters and several new article ideas to write about. If nothing else, all these 'people' give me things to think about.
With that said, currently I'm sitting in my office, ALONE, looking forward to a very busy weekend filled with 'people'.
What about you?
Til Next Time~

P.S. Tomorrow, I am going out of town--early in the morning. Won't have a chance to write til I get back.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"When the pain of wanting something becomes greater than the pain of working to get it, then a person will make a change," my friend, Richard Simmons said one day.
Over the years, I have seen he is correct.
There is a lot of pain in trying to get published. Most people don't want to deal with the pain and agony. That is why they lock their writing away in a drawer. They don't want to deal with the pain of rejection. People become defensive when their work is criticized, even if the person doing the criticsm is only trying to help. They don't want to deal with the pain of having to dig deeper, learn new things, study harder, or read more.
I am judging a contest currently. Some of the pieces are excellent. They should and will be published if the writers are brave enough to send them out. Other pieces are almost there, not quite, but almost. If the writers will take suggestions, go rework their pieces, they too will be published soon. Yet others need a lot of work, but if the writers really want to get their work published and if they work hard, they will get published.
A young writer I'm tutoring has improved immeasureably over the years. When I first started working with her, she needed a lot of improvement. Now, when she turns in her work, it is far superior to many of my adult clients that I only need to make one or two suggestions and she's all over her manuscript again.
She wants to be a writer and get published. With her enthusiasm and her willingness to work at improvement, she will.
So what about you? I'm committed. Are you?
Til Next Time~

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What would you give up in life to pursue your passion? I've been thinking of this question and to be honest I don't know. I say I would give up everything, but yesterday I didn't write because I was cleaning house. Argh! I want to make it in the publishing world, but am I really ready to make the sacrifices it takes. So far, it would seem that has been a resounding 'no'. But then again, what does one do about family, friends? One can't just walk off and leave them. So one has to learn to work around them. I'll work on that today. What about you?
Til Next Time~

Thursday, February 15, 2007

You know you've read a good book when you feel like you've lost an old friend when you finish. I just finished reading Julia Cameron's book, Finding Water. It was about having an artist's life and she spoke to some issue I'm facing in my life. I also finished up Jane Austen's biography and am having JA withdrawals from that one.
I am currently reading my friend, Jennifer Blake's book, Rogue's Salute. I love the characters and will probably finish it today. Another withdrawal as I like the characters.
As I've been reading, I'm trying to absorb these authors' strengths, their talents, their ability to tell stories. I admire them one and all. Jane Austen was taken from us way toooo soon. I often think how much more she could have given us if she would have lived longer. Then, how much all the others have given us.
I love books. I love writing. I love everything about the publishing business. Perhaps it's the risk, the throwing of the dice. Just like the lottery, one never knows when your numbers are going to come up and you'll be the lucky winner. One thing for sure though. I will keep trying. It's a drive and passion. One day, I want a reader to read my books and feel like they've lost a friend when they've finished reading mine. When I get to that point, I will have known I made it.
Til Next Time~

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. For me, this day has been a bust. I had a lot planned for today, but just as I got up at 6:30 A.M. our electricity went off. I wrote in my journal using a flashlight, in hopes that within thirty minutes the electricity would be back on. It wasn't. I started getting cold, so I went back to bed. Won't tell you what time I got back up. Needless to say the electricity didn't come back on until 11. Can you believe it?
Then I got up and things just didn't go right at all. It's 2:30 now and I am only now doing my blog. I am determined to get my words in today, so with that I will close so I can go and work on them.
Here's to a great remaining of what's left of the day!
Til Tomorrow~

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It takes faith to succeed in this business. Faith in yourself, in your work, in your current project. Do you have the 'staying' power kind of faith. I guess I was pre-programmed to have it. Sometimes I find myself stumbling forward in the dark, believing that all things are possible. It's not that I have a huge ego. I guess you could say I don't believe other people's work is that great. Oh, I know there are those genius writers out there, but I once heard an editor say, "you don't have to be perfect, only good enough." I think I am good enough.
I know I have to keep improving, but I also know that if I try my best, I can beat out others who only put half their heart in to it. I guess that is the faith. It has to be because I keep returning to the page, to my projects, time and time again.
What about you? Do you have the faith?
Til Next Time~

Monday, February 12, 2007

Today, I'm going to write about Market Books. It is probably a little more practical advice than you will ever want and you'll more than likely want to yawn, but none the less....
I have at least four MB's on my shelf at all times--The Writer's Market, Novel & Short Story Market Book, the Online Market Book, and the Christian Writer's Market Book. While the WM offers thousands of markets for writers to send their work to, you will find markets in these other books that WM can't fit on its pages.
The Novel & Short Story Market Book covers fiction and only fiction. If you are interested in novels and short stories and nothing else, this would be the book for you.
The Christian Market Book covers the Christian publishing markets. WM can't print every market so CMB takes up the slack and covers a different market area.
The Online Market covers places a writer can sell their work online. It list paying markets, fiction and non-fiction.
There are other market books available-The Poet's Market Book, Guide to Literary Agents, Children Book Writer's Market Book, and the Songwriter's Market Book.
Several of these books are available at the library and as they all carry a hefty price tag, you may want to look through them at your local library or bookstore before you purchase to decide which one is best for your needs.
I am now off to read through one of my market books. I'm on the search for markets for several of my current projects.
Til Next Time~

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Was reading this morning about supernovas. That's how I refer to those writers who hit big over night. They are supernovas. They have been working and pressing themselves for years. Suddenly, they have such a huge body of work, they explode on to the literary scene. When they explode, the create gold, silver, wealth beyond imagination.
I suppose that's the way I view my career. I'm still building up steam, but one day I will explode. One day, everyone will see the light my explosion make and will know that I am there.
What about you? Are you a supernova?
Til Next Time~

P.S. I may not get around to writing for a few days because my daughter is coming in for a three day weekend.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How do we know if our work is good enough? Honestly, it never will be. I have sent things out, had them published, and refused to read them. I knew if I did read them, I would find things lacking.
A while back on one of my assignments, I kept writing and rewriting, writing and rewriting. I sent the piece in to my editor, then sent her another version, then another. She finally emailed me and wrote, "Stop it already. You're killing it!" When we later spoke, she said I was writing (or in my case, rewriting) it to death. I just felt like it could be better. I wanted to make a few changes here. Add something there.
I have mailed pieces out, turned in assignments, then gone to bed and tossed and turned, thinking 'darn it, I should have put that in' or 'oh, this would be so much better.' But it's out there, let loose on society, the bare naked piece with nothing to cover it up.
I shudder to think of it now. So what to do?
If our pieces will never live up to our expectations, what should we do? Do the best we can and move on. Write another piece. And listen.
Our work may not live up to our own expectations, but if it reaches out and touches someone else's life, then we have done our job. We're not asked to write perfection. We're asked to show up and put our work out there.
Are you doing it?
Til Tomorrow~

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Interruptions. They come in all shapes and sizes. They cut in to our artistic time and thoughts. How do we deal with them? Sometimes interruptions come and one has to set aside what one is doing to deal with them. For instance, even though my girlfriend is on a deadline in the middle of a book, her mother took ill and she has spent the last four days at the hospital. She emailed me the other day and told me ideas were coming fast and furious and she couldn't wait to get back to the keyboard.
For me, interruptions come in the form of my own doctor's appointment, house cleaning, taxes figured, grocery shopping, and family obligations too numerous to mention. How do I deal with them? By doing what I can on those busy and full days. If all I get done is 2500 words this week instead of 5000, that will have to do. Next week I can get back to my 5000, plus everything else I should be doing in regards to my writing.
It's not a perfect world, but I have decided to be like a willow, be flexible. I get frustrated, but have to trust that in the end, someone larger than me has it all in control and things will work out.
How about you? Are you dealing?
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, February 05, 2007

In order to grow as writers, we must be willing to risk. Imagine an artist painting the same picture over and over again. Pretty soon all he would have is paintings of the same thing. To grow the artist paints different scenes; he may use different mediums; he looks and studies shades and tones and practices them by expression on the canvas.
We, as writers, must do the same thing. Sometimes it by taking a risk and trying some new form of writer that we find a form we truly love. Recently, my friend who writes non-fiction tried her hand at writing a play--a ten minute comedy. "You know I don't write plays," she said. "Really didn't know what I was doing, but I had so much fun." Her play was chosen to be performed at the local community theater in the spring. She thinks now she may try her hand at another. "It was so different, I enjoyed it immensely."
Trying our hand at different writing genres can free our creative spirit so when we do return to the discipline of what we've written in the past, we can look on it with a fresh eye. It is taking a risk and you never know how it will turn out. You might think you'll fail or be embarrassed or fail, but you never know what you might learn during that time. My friend didn't tell me she was writing her play until it was finished and sent out. Now, she is excited about what she is doing.
What are you willing to risk?
Til Tomorrow~

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Never assume. Last night I came to a chapter in Julia's book titled 'companionship'. I wasn't thrilled about reading the section because I assumed the chapter was going to be about friends, networking, and hanging with different types of people. I could not have been farther from the truth.
The chapter was about how that even though we feel alone when we sit at our computers and work, we have a companion-God. He is always there guiding, helping, encouraging us. If we but acknowledge Him, it will take all the pressure off of us. If we let Him worry about what we write, our writing will benefit and help people.
Yes, we must always do our part, but we've got to remember and be conscious of our companion. I feel better just thinking about that one.
Til Tomorrow~

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The seasons of our lives come and go like the seasons of our writing. In the summer, ideas and good writing come like the hot, sultry days of that season. In the fall, we begin to lose our edge, ideas begin to die and we find it more difficult to get our optimism up. It's not that creative life isn't there, it just takes a little more strength than it did in the summer. Winter hits and we feel like it's all over. Everything is barren. Our words are flat, our minds blank like an erased chalk board, and we wonder if summer was just a fluke, if we'll ever feel the warmth of success. But like the saying says, 'this too shall pass'. Soon, we begin to feel renewed, revived, a sense of optimism returns. Our ideas bloom and in our writing we see the possibility of if not great things, at least good. We have made it full cycle.
The seasons will cycle again. We must be ready for them. We must prepare ourselves for them as we do in our physical life.
Tomorrow, if I'm not in Kansas, we'll discuss preparing and making through winter.
Til Then~

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Do you wait for luck to strike you on the head or do you make your own luck? A few months back, I did an interview with Cheryl Holt. One of her comments was 'everytime she sells a book, it feels like she hit the lottery'. Most of the rest of us feel the same way, but it amazes me the number of people who believe they should be handed their lottery ticket and sit and wait for it to hit. That's not the way life works. Sure there are those lucky few, but did you know the odds of winning the lottery on any given drawing day is 146,107,962 to 1? Do you know your odds are better of dying in a car or plane crash, getting cancer, or 'getting published'? Sure it takes a little work, but I'll take my publishing odds any day. What about you?
Til Tomorrow~