• reCreating Yourself

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Jan. 20, 2012. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    Some days are diamonds. Some days are rocks.

    Sometimes I feel like I am really in a funk, like that Mary Englebreit quote “Life is just so Daily.”

    Other days as I’m cruising up and down the interstate and back roads for my job, just the right song plays at just the right moment and it’s almost like I’m the star of my own HBO series. Last night going in to meet with girlfriends for our monthly “Used To Be a Book Club, Now We Just Meet, Eat and Talk”  gathering was one of those latter moments. It was even complete with a totally rockin’ soundtrack and a Serengeti sunset which I drove into as it faded to black.

    I’d like to have a lot more of those days.

    I was looking for an inspirational computer wallpaper (i.e. totally killing time on the internet when I should have been working) and came across the quote above. I used to say that to myself a lot, not quite so eloquently perhaps since I’m no George Bernard Shaw. My version was more “Every few years you have to reinvent yourself”. Still, the sentiment is the same I think.

    I have not remained the same person for all of my 43ish years. Just ask my husband. I think the basic elements are always the same, but there are so many things to do and experience and try why would anyone want to stay the same forever. Okay, maybe my hair has been mostly the same for the past 15 years or so, but that was another post … (follow to Bad Hair Day post here).

    Bryon says he used to have a wife that hunted with him. Yes, yes he did. Now I’d rather sleep in, be warm and toasty and then drive to Freda’s for coffee and breakfast. There are lots of things I used to do that I don’t have any desire to do anymore. There are lots of other things I’d still like to try. That’s how life is, full of possibilities.

    Then there are things that you rediscover and find out that they still turn you on, after all these years. Like writing.  Sorry honey, the hunting thing is still looking doubtful BUT, you never know.

    I think one of the things that turned me on about writing back in the day when I was full of lots of free time and few responsibilities was the endless possibility of it. That and the fact I got to see my name in print pretty regularly. That didn’t hurt anything at all. It was affirming. It was also a great release. I can’t tell you how many hours of bad poetry was composed in my teenage self’s room on an electric typewriter. Mercifully, none of it survived.

    Sporadically through the years I’ve come back to writing in one form or another. In junior high it was bad poetry, high school brought a monthly column in the local paper, college was all about the term papers so I’m not sure that really counted. When I started teaching, I didn’t have time to write for anything other than sheer survival and that was only lesson plans.

    I walked away from writing for several years. More than once I’ve espoused that I have a degree I hope to never use again: a B.S. in English Education and a minor in Journalism. Then Bryon and I ALMOST moved to Montana and when we didn’t, I decided I was going to experience all this state (and Arkansas) had to offer if I was going to be stuck here. I started hiking. A lot. I went by myself because no one wanted to go. Then, eventually other friends got interested.

    I started writing trail reviews for the Outdoor section of the Newsleader each month.  I rode the entire Katy Trail with the DNR from Clinton to St. Louis on my mountain bike and wrote a full page article on that experience as well. I had a real editor and everything. They paid me money to do it so that made it all all the more legit. Of course that same editor once used the word heretofore in one of my articles. I still don’t know how to use that word. It was embarrassing.

    Then I fell away from writing again. My relationship with writing has been hot and cold for sure, but like a bad boyfriend, you just can’t ever really get away from him. He has some good qualities, you could change him if you just try harder.

    I hope this time around my writing does change and I can find a way to keep it in my life. It is addicting. I’ve wasted my time on much less noble or productive pursuits. I hope it finally lives up to my expectations and I can mold it into what I’ve always known it could be. Maybe it’s time to actually recreate myself into something old and make it new again. A retread. Maybe this time when I grow up, I really will be a writer.

    Like the age old question asked by lollipop licking Owls everywhere … how many words does it take to earn the title of Writer?

    A one, a two …


  • If Self-Doubt Were A Super Hero, What Color Would His Cape Be?

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Jan. 19, 2012. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    Yesterday, I felt a little bit like a superhero with a secret identity. I was flush with the success of completing a monumental project. A project born from the primordial goo of my imagination, spewed forth like a fish-man-beasty thing crawling from the depths. Okay, that might be a little melodramatic. Still, it felt like a big deal. All day.

    Alternately, I was overcome with self-doubt. I shamelessly posted it on Facebook, because, dammit, I can’t help myself. I can’t keep a secret. Don’t tell me any. I sure can’t keep something as huge as a novel quiet. People congratulated me all day. It was wonderful. Like a second birthday.

    But in my mind I was having this conversation:

    Superhero Me: Way to go! You did it! You rock!

    Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Yeah, but you probably just wasted your time.

    Superhero Me: No Way! It’s the journey that matters. Completing the task! Doing what you said and set out to accomplish.

    Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Uh, yeah, still a waste of time and probably at least one tree was also wasted with that stack of paper.

    Superhero Me: No, it’s just as good as some of the other paranormal romances I’ve read.

    Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Really, you think so? Soooo deluded. No one is going to waste time reading that drivel. It’s not even a real genre. Paranormal Romance, what the hell is that? Who cares?

    Superhero Me: Middle aged women, lots of them. We like that stuff.

    Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Does it really make any difference in the world if it exists?

    Superhero Me: It made ME happy. So yeah, it does.

    Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Self indulgent and weak

    Superhero Me: Shut Up, Self-Doubt or I’m gonna rip that cape off and shove it up down your pie hole.

    Last night I was determined to start the next novel fresh and new. When I started trying to massage my tiny little germ of an idea, my last unfinished project kept niggling at the back of my mind, “What about me? Finish me.”

    The last project was also the first real project I had ever started. I retrieved it from the bowels of my hard drive, dusted it off and re-formated it to make it look prettier than it likely deserved. I printed that puppy out. Printing it out all nice and double spaced with a title, header and page numbers made it seem a little more official,  more substantial  and worthy somehow.

    I bound it together with a colorful binder clip and headed to bed to reread it. I had already completed 115 pages before I wrote myself into a corner from which I couldn’t figure out how to escape. As I read through it last night and then more today, I can’t help thinking, it’s not that bad. Sure the plot is ridiculously complicated and has no continuity but that can be fixed, right?

    Apparently there are plotters and pantsers. Plotters tediously plan their storyline and spend hours writing the map of their story before their characters ever even come to life. Pantsers just jump in and write, anxiously waiting to see where the story takes them. For all my planning in my real life, I think I’m a pantser as a writer.

    I don’t like to be bothered with the tedious details.

    On the one hand that’s exciting because, I spent a lot of the work reacting to the crazy things that kept happening. Like in real life but totally not. On the other hand, at one point I got my heroine into such a mess, I’m now going to have to delete her back to something less grand. A God, I would not make. Lisa Almighty won’t likely be in my future.

    So I’ve decided to work on actually PLOTTING this unfinished work and molding it into something much better than it is right now. See, I AM teachable. In the meantime, I keep trying to kick Self-Doubt to the curb but he’s a real bastard sometimes. Mostly he creeps in the minute someone tells me they want to read it. What? Why would you want to read it??? It’s a NOVEL for God’s sake. Oh, yeah. Right.

    I feel like I need to make lots of disclaimers and caveats before I let anyone read it. Only a handful of people have read any of it and that was only the first twenty pages. As long as it’s safely buried on my hard drive, and my desktop and my USB drive and my Skydrive and Google Docs … ( paranoid much?) it’s safe and a gloriously unjudged jewel. As soon as it get’s read …. well … I’ll be judged too.

    My own doing I know. I hear the strings whining as you play your tiny finger violin for me.

    Be careful what you wish for … you just might get it.


  • Novel Success!

     

    Five months of writing to the date.

    86,456 words.

    335 pages.


    Having a finished novel sitting on my desk …

    PRICELESS

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog January 16, 2012. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    I finished my paranormal romance novel Reap ‘Em & Weep tonight. You’ll read this tomorrow sometime. It feels like a real accomplishment. I sort of like just carrying it around.

    I have no idea if it will ever see the light of day but I always wondered if I could do it. Stick it out until the end. See it through. Turns out I can. That feels pretty damn good.

    The only thing better than having a project is having a completed project.

    My plan now is to let it sit and percolate for a couple of weeks per Stephen King’s advice in his book On Writing. The idea is that when you go back to it and read it to do so in one or two sittings so you don’t lose focus on it. Also, after letting it sit for a while and going on to new things, it will be like reading someone else’s writing. You’ll have more perspective on it.

    I think that idea is swell.

    Bryon is begging me to read it. Now that it’s done, I’m chicken to share it. It’s not ready. I know there are some plot inconsistencies I need to iron out. Other things I need to flesh out. Still more I need to take out. I think it will be like a scab that you can’t stop picking. At some point, I’m going to have to share it. And I will, I promise. I can’t keep a secret, let alone something this big.

    Just not now. Just not yet. I need to pick at it a bit more first.

    Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to do it. Thanks to Bryon and Grace who endured Ramen noodles and Beanie Weanies more nights than were probably healthy.

    Tomorrow I plan to start another one. A rolling stone gathers no moss. This isn’t a sequel yet, although I have at least two more in mind for a Reap ‘Em series. God knows how I like a series.

    I’ll let you know a little about the next one when I get rolling, for now I can tell you it’s going to be based on the Worst Case Scenario books. Did you know they have a paranormal one? They do my friend, they really do.

     


  • Day 8: It’s Not Too Late

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Jan. 8, 2012. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    Gosh, I keep toying with the idea of posting every day for a year. Other people I know have done it. I want to do it. I just don’t know if I can. I mean SURE I CAN. I just don’t know if it would be worthwhile or anyone would actually want to read it. All that glitters is not gold. Just ask S.E. Hinton.

    I already have four post for January and this one would make five. I could catch up. Give it a go. Make the effort. If I get behind, maybe I could back date it. Sure I could. I might have to take up a collection for my blog book next year if I actually make it 365 days. Long term commitments are difficult.

    I might forget. I might be paralyzed with self-doubt. Nah, probably not. You might see lots of pictures of a cute but slightly demonic dog.

    You might get random rambling posts like this one.

    Or you might get gold.

    I’d bet on the rambling thing if you are a betting person.


  • The First Week of January

     

    SONY DSC

    The Man & The Beast

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Jan. 8, 2012. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon here in the Big Cedars. I should be out walking today. I walked a total of twelve miles last week and most of that was on the weekend. That is so not happening this week. I felt sort of crappy today and just couldn’t motivate myself to get out and do it.

    I baked brownies instead.

    No that isn’t what I should have done, but it’s what I did.

    This first week of January I also managed to add 12,945 words to my novel. Have I told you what it’s called? I can’t remember. It’s called Reap ‘Em & Weep. I added a lot to it yesterday in the Write In at The Creamery in Springfield. There were 38 writers in attendance writing in all sorts of genres. I added 3,800 words of that total yesterday alone.

    IMG_0281 (640x480)

    The Write In

    Now, that’s not all gold, but it’s at least something and it’s much easier to delete than to add so I’m getting close to wrapping up my novel. I should finish it this week. (fingers crossed). Then the editing begins. At this point I’ve read it so many times, I can’t see the forest for the trees. I’ll probably read through it in its entirety one more time after it’s finished and then I’ll solicit some beta readers to help edit and give me advice before going any further.

    It’s funny how many people are secret novelists or at least harbor the desire to be. I had no idea. The more people I talk to, the more I meet who have a husband or wife or friend who want to or are trying to write a novel. It’s pretty cool.

    Everyone has a story in them. The hard part is getting it out.

    I’ve learned a lot already and I’ll learn even more before I’m finished.

    I bought this little netbook so I could slip it into my purse and take with me for lunch time writing. It’s pretty swell.

    SONY DSC

     

    I can’t wait to start the next novel.


  • Writing The Reaper

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Jan. 4, 2012. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    I’m writing in JANO (local write a novel in a month challenge). I’ve added 7,282 words to my novel in the past four days! I should break 70,000 words tomorrow night. Then only 10,000 more to go!

    Not getting much blogging in obviously. I’m a good multi-tasker but that’s stretching it.

    More to come.


  • January Resolutions

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Jan. 1, 2012. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    I had a long list of resolutions that I was considering for this year. I’ve decided to simplify them and just concentrate on one or two each month. This month’s area of focus will be WALKING and WRITING. I signed up for JANOWRIMO which is the local version of NANOWRIMO. Basically to write a novel in a month or 50,000 words.

    Most people start from scratch and write, write, write without editing until they hit the 50,000 word goal to ‘win’. Some work on ‘works in progress’. I’m going the WIP route as well as the blogging route to shoot for my word count. My real goal is 18, 591 on my novel because THAT will put me exactly where I need to be.

    I’m going to need to write at least SOME on it every day this month to achieve that. No easy task! Time is the enemy of ambition. At least it is for me.

    I am excited to meet some new people next Saturday at the Write In at the Springfield Creamery which will give me eight uninterupted hours of writing and smoozing with other writers. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

    I’ve put a word counter at the top of my blog to try to keep track of the writing (all forms) I accomplish this month.

    Here we go!


  • Clean Slate

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Dec. 30, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    Well it’s all over and done with … Christmas, 2011… out with the old and in with the new. I’ve been taking the week between Christmas and New Years off since Grace was born. This year, I thought I might not burn that many vacation days but once again decided to do it.

    On the one hand, it’s great being home and getting all of the Christmas stuff that I enjoyed so much BEFORE Christmas down and put away. The minute the gifts are opened and everyone goes home, I’m over it. I want things clean and organized.

    I stayed up late the past several nights getting things put away and doing the little and big tasks that had been getting put off while I was working. I revamped the Girl Cave and moved ALL of Grace’s stuff to her playroom. She’s already been in there more ‘working’.

    Moved the day/trundle bed to the playroom.
    Girl Cave Redo

    I moved the futon to my Girl Cave and bought a book case. I’m going to buy a better and much larger one to put on the wall behind the closet door.

    Futon and  a book case!

    Optimistic exercise equipment

    With the futon out of the way, the exercise equipment beacons. I even dusted it off. Maybe this will be the year? Lord knows we need it.

    The dog sleeps alone.

    And the dog got relocated. Bryon has had to get up with her every few hours to let her outside since we got her. She doesn’t NEED to go outside that much, she just WANTS to go outside. She goes out there an lays in the grass in the middle of the night. Uh, No. Now she sleeps outside in her dogloo. If it gets super cold she can sleep in her crate. She likes the crate so it’s not really the hardship it sounds like. AND we can all sleep better now. It makes me want to beat her a little less.

    I have LOTS of goals for 2012. I’ve written them all down. The problem, as always, is in the IMPLEMENTATION of those goals. I’m all ideas. I just need more minion to do my bidding so I can follow through. I didn’t make any resolutions last year. My number one resolution for 2012 is to finish this novel. I’m at 61,409 words as of last night. I need 18,591 more to reach 80,000 and then I can pursue publication. I’m not even going to try to follow that path until I have a completed project to present.

    If I can’t get it published, I’ll self-publish it on Amazon and then you can read my pulp fiction masterpiece. Or not. No pressure. It’s all good. Paranormal romance is not for everyone. I understand that. Try to make me read a historical romance or a ‘classic’ and we’ll have a problem. Boring. Add zombies or vampires to that and I’m all in.

    Maybe I’ll share some of my other resolutions as we go.

    Life is Good in the Big Cedars.


  • Blogging In 2012

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Dec. 11, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by! 

    A blog is like a garden that you need to tend. If you don’t water it, if you let the weeds grow up, if you just plant the seeds and then forget about it: nothing will grow there. Or if something does manage to grow, it won’t be what you expected.

    Here is my blog book for 2011. I ordered it a little early because there was a sale, so it goes from Jan. 1- Nov. 30, 2011. Next year’s book will start Dec. 1. It goes against my sense of organization and completion but totally agrees with my sense of a good deal being had.  I felt like I blogged a lot in 2011.

    I have been blogging since June of 2007. The first year I had only 49 posts. In 2008 I had 113 posts, 2009 115 posts and in 2010 I had 79 posts. 2010 was a long eventful but ultimately unbloggable year with all that was going on with Bryon’s job. This year has been awesome. If I hadn’t blogged so much in October though, I wouldn’t have had very many posts. For 2011 I’m at 87 posts so far. I’ll get a few more in before the time ticks down.

    This year I’m going to really concentrate on my blog. I know a few of you guys out there read it every time I post. I think that’s cool. It’s very personally satisfying to see those page views increase. Since the month of October when I blogged every day, my monthly page views have gone from 200-300 in a month to 800 in the past 30 days.

    That is AWESOME!

    I’m not saying I’m some robed sage to be followed. I’ll just be continuing on as usual, telling you stories about life in the Big Cedars, my family, preserving some of the stories about Bryon and my childhoods, our courtship, and our marriage for Grace and writing about the various and sundry other things that strike my fancy.

    Things like writing. I’m still working on my novel. I started it in August so I don’t feel like it’s too stale yet or has been worked on a ridiculously long time and should be shoved into a drawer and forgotten. I’m still interested in it and still excited about it. I just need many, many more hours in the day to be able to work on it. I can’t really accomplish much in fits and starts. I am looking forward to another Write-In day January 7 at the Creamery with the writing group (Ozark Romance Authors – ORA).

    Maybe I can squeeze in a few more hours/days/minutes before then. At this point at least I don’t have to reread the entire thing before I feel like I can sit down to work on it again. Those characters are like cousins I don’t see very much but still remember what they’ve done during holiday dinners past. I at least know their story now.

    Blogging is not as difficult as writing a novel but it still takes time in between cooking dinner, washing clothes, tending to kids, husband, animals, plants, sleep, reading … you know how it is. You are doing the same things. I’m not promising a post a day because that will suck the joy out of it if it becomes a chore. I am promising I’ll make an effort to post MORE.

    I’ve been collecting a list of topics in my notes app on my new iPhone. Siri has been helping me … when she isn’t on crack that is and spewing forth nonsense.

    Here’s what I have (in no particular order) coming up in the next few posts to pique your interest…

    A Walk In The Woods

    Gift Giving

    Coolest Apps in the Universe

    Needless: How to be not so needy

    Serial Killer: Why series books and shows turn me on

    Product Loyalty

    What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

    Picky Eater

    Amusement Parks & Memories of Vacations Past

    Getting Religion

    Old Timey Ways

    Resolutions for 2012 – 12 Months of Projects

    Oldies But Goodies

    I’ll keep working on more as they come to me.

    For now, thanks for reading. You’re swell.

    And if you haven’t subscribed by email, you should do it. Just fill in your email address at the top of the blog and you’ll get my posts emailed to you. They also update on my Facebook page. Friend me and you’ll never miss an episode. I can’t promise there won’t be any reruns though. I am my Mother’s daughter. I have to search my own blog sometimes to make sure I’m not repeating myself 🙂

    Life is Good in Big Cedars.


  • Write In – Write On

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Nov. 23, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    This is what a Write-In Looks like. I was set up beside the girl in the red sweatshirt against the wall. I’ve mentioned several times that November is NaNoWriMO which I did not participate in. These folks did. There was actually about a dozen people that came to the Brown Egg last Saturday to participate in a twelve hour write-in. The Brown Egg is a new place one block from MSU and it just opened last month. I hope it lasts. It was super cool. I was BY FAR the oldest one there … by a decade … or two.

    There was a very cute young man making and selling his zombie art while we worked. Who can resist zombie art? Not this girl. He’s working on the piece I bought in this picture. I just wish I could remember his name. Timothy something. I can’t read his writing where he signed my piece.

    Here is the piece I bought. I’m going to hang it in my office over my writing desk. Seems appropriate.

    We spent half the day at the Brown Egg and then the second half a few blocks away further downtown at Boca Mocha . It was fun. I was just working on my revision and trying to get the word count up which is easier than you would imagine now that I can tell you what the other characters are up to.

    I spent ten hours working on my novel and revised half the book and added seven thousand words for a current word count of 57, 627 words. I only need 22, 733 more to go. I have a couple of big fight scenes and the ending to finish so I’m feeling pretty confident.

    I just need about eight more days like last Saturday to get it done.