Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Be curious!

My writerly wisdom today comes from the novel Far World - Water Keep, by J. Scott Savage.

"They who are too afraid to ask questions,
will remain forever ignorant."

So true, so true. Whether you're a writer, or just trying to learn something new, don't be afraid to ask questions. It's how we learn. Your question may help someone else learn too. It's all a part of the process.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – First Pants, then Shoes!

A few years ago my office had a "Far Side" calendar. To the left, I found a cute little "reenactment" of my favorite cartoon.

It always made me laugh. Now, I still laugh, but it's more of a reminder. Things need to be done in order. First we have to get out of bed, and then we tackle our day. Once we're up and about, we need to set priorities, and follow the order.

We have to learn to play the piano before we can perform a concert.

We have to learn the rules of writing, before we will be published.

We have to take time to really get to know someone, before we can count them among our dearest friends.

How embarrassing it is to jump ahead of things, putting our shoes on first, and entirely forget about our pants. I've done it before. Figuratively, of course! I wouldn't recommend it.

Happy Monday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – Do Not Follow Trucks

Last week, I drove south for my monthly ANWA meeting. The freeway is under construction, with orange cones and reduced-speed-limit signs everywhere. On the way back home late that night, I saw a sign that made me laugh. After I had a good laugh, it made me think.

A mile or so back I had read a sign that said "Trucks entering highway". I've seen those signs before, and didn't think much about it. But then I read one that said:

"Do Not Follow Trucks."

My first thought was, "Wow, I can't believe they had to make a special sign, just for that."

Next, I realized that people had actually followed the trucks, creating a need for the sign.

Finally, I related it to everyday life.

How often are we so busy following the path we are on, we don't stop and think about where we want to be?

Do we aimlessly follow the person in front of us, or do we take the lead and decide where our future will end up?

Only you can decide where you want to go. Sometimes there are unforeseen detours on the road ahead, but we can choose how to handle them.

Do not walk aimlessly, without a destination in mind.

Do not follow trucks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tag - I'm it.

Last week (or was it the week before?), I got tagged by Michelle Teacress. She's a writer friend, and member of my critique group.

For my "About Me" Friday post, I'll answer the tag questions (five times each). Reader beware, this could get boring. :)

Where were you five years ago?
1- Working too much overtime. (60+ hours/week.)
2- Excited beyond belief to finally be expecting a baby, only to loose it to miscarriage. (Time heals all wounds. That, and my two beautiful children that followed.)
3- Worrying about my husbands health problems and job change. (Don't worry, he's ok!)
4- Going on the stake Pioneer Trek, as the official photographer. (Way cool!)
5- 50 pounds heavier. (Go Weight Watchers!)

Where would you like to be in five years?
1- A published author, with an active writing career.
2- Living in the home I plan to stay in while my kids grow up.
3- With the wisdom gained in five years time, but not the wrinkles or weary joints.
4- Have a kitchen floor that, after every single meal, does not need to be swept and mopped.
5- The same weight I am now. Who am I kidding, I'd love to be a few pounds less!

What is on your To-Do list today?
1- Errands: Grocery store, bank, Walmart, clothes shopping for the kidlets.
2- Take my daughter swimming. Hopefully get her more comfortable in the water.
3- Write 1,000 words on my WIP.
4- Make a couple phone calls for my church calling.
5- Write today's blog post. (Yay, I'm half-way done with this one!)

What snacks do you enjoy?
1- Anything chocolate.
2- Anything cheesecake.
3- Wheat Thin crackers.
4- Granola bars.
5- Popcorn.

What would you do with a billion dollars?
1- A billion dollars? Seriously? Who could ever use that much money?
2- Stop world hunger?
3- Fix the oil leak in the ocean?
4- Buy a house with a gas fireplace and a large jetted tub. Oh, and central air for my hubby!
5- Get rid of 90% of it, before it changes who I am.

Okay, so I'm cheating here, and not tagging anyone new. If you want to answer the questions, just copy and paste them. (And don't forget to let me know, so I can check them out!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Starting Over

Last night I made some real progress on my WIP. I went from just over 7,000 words to a big fat ZERO in 2 seconds flat! Then I managed to type another massive 100 words before quitting for the night.

"Are you sure that's progress?" you may ask. Yes, because this time I have a better beginning. I changed the POV, and started in the middle of the action. Okay, so I didn't get far into that action, considering there are only 100 words on the paper, but I know where it's going from here.

This opening scene is pretty clear in my mind, and I want to get it down on paper. After finishing chapter one though, I'm done writing until I've done more research and outlining. This story is a historical fiction, and I'm only beginning to realize how much research will be involved.

It's overwhelming. So much so that it challenges me to give up. I don't know much about life in Nauvoo in the 1840's, so how can I write a book set in that time? The answer: one slow scene at a time, combined with lots and lots of studying.

I feel like I'm back in school.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – Sting Like A Bee

My husband has an enormous fear of bees. Seriously. If you want to see me run away screaming like a girl, put a spider near me. If you want to see him do it, well...okay; he doesn't really scream like a girl, but he does run away. I'm called in to be his protector. (Just like when I make him "deal" with the spider.)

I was stung by a bee once. Actually, it was on my first date with my now-husband. The darn thing flew inside my shirt and stung my stomach. When I grabbed at my shirt and pulled the bee away from my body, it bit my thumb. Ouch. Hubby was brave then, I don't remember any screaming or running. Good thing too, since we were in his truck, driving down the road.

Today, the weather was near perfect. The temperature was a comfortable 70 degrees, and there was no wind. My family was spending some leisurely time hanging out in the back yard. My three-year old daughter was standing next to me, when she winced and started to cry. Then she started screaming. Her dad and I both tried to figure out what was wrong, and eventually found a bee inside her dress.

The bee sealed his own fate when he stung my little girl. If the act of stinging her was not enough to kill it, Daddy took care of the rest.

Fifteen minutes later, and a few pieces of chocolate too, the pain was going away. Did you know that chocolate has healing powers? It does. But two Hershey's Kisses weren't quite enough, we had to up the dosage to three.

I never would have hoped for my daughter to get stung, but there is a positive way of looking at it. I now know she's not allergic to bees. If it happens again, in a more remote area, I know she will cry, and then probably demand chocolate, but I also know I will not be faced with a medical emergency.

That brings peace of mind to a mother's soul. What more could any mother ask for on Mother's Day?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Getting and Using Criticism

I've got some heavy deadlines this week, in my personal life, so I'm linking over to another blog post for the day.

Tristi Pinkston, with Valor Publishing, wrote a wonderful post about Getting and Using Criticism. In writing, putting ourselves out there for criticism is one of the hardest things we do, but it's also one of the most important.

I blogged my thoughts about it a couple weeks ago, but if you want more, check out what Tristi says about it here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – Failure Creates Opportunity

I can hardly believe it's already May! I had set some goals for April, and posted them on my sidebar - shamefully so. I didn't do very well.

Okay, so my writing goal came up way short. I hoped to write 20,000 words, and only came up with 7,000. I spent a lot of time working on my first chapter, to get it ready for bootcamp. I'm glad I didn't write much more than that, because after what I learned in bootcamp, I will be changing a lot.

My personal goal for April was to not weigh myself for the entire month. It was an idea I got from another blog, encouraging us to monitor our weight by how our clothes fit, rather than obsessing about the ups and downs on the scale.

I succeeded at this goal, mainly because I sent my scale home with a friend for the month. The result? Not good. Apparently I need the numbers on the scale that tell me to stop eating so many sweets. (I'm a sucker for anything sweet.)

But the good news about failing at something, is that it creates a new opportunity. I've redefined my goals for May, and hope to do better.

My writing goal is to revise my first chapter, applying what-I-wish-I-would-have-known-before-bootcamp. Also, I need to research and create an outline, before beginning chapter 2.

My personal goal? Reverse the damage I did in April, by staying in frequent contact with my bathroom scale.

What are your goals for the month of May?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Elizabeth Mueller's Blog Contest

Hi All,

My friend Elizabeth is having a fabulous blog contest. Go check out her blog for more information. She's a very talented artist, and will actually draw the winner as an Avatar. Plus the actual movie and all the candy you need to enjoy it.

It's her birthday month, and she's celebrating with all of us.

Check it out here.