Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My December Update

Boy oh boy, it's a week before Christmas already! How did that happen? I can't believe 2015 is just around the corner. Even though I'm not big on New Year's Eve parties, there is always something exciting about the thought of a new year on the horizon. 

Over the weekend, we finally set up our tree and put out the last of our Christmas decorations. Most of our Christmas shopping is done, too. We don't have a very long list as more and more of our friends and family members are choosing not to exchange gifts, which is just fine with me, thank you very much. When everyone is just exchanging gift cards, what's the point? lol


It was nice to be able to focus on something fun because last week was a stressful week. We had some MAJOR flooding in the area, and I woke up on Wednesday morning to this:

:


By the end of the day, the water levels had almost reached the house, but thankfully, before any damage happened, the water made its way into the street and drained. Two days later the water quickly and completely receded--we figure that the drain (which is in the neighbors backyard) must have unblocked. Amen!

Anyhow, the area hadn't seen flooding this bad in about 15 years. It was extensive to say the least. Roads washed out, cars in ditches, many basements and commercial establishments inundated, as well as entire highways. Crazy, crazy, crazy stuff!

I'm glad it's over, and now, I just wish it would snow because everything looks so dreary. It's not looking very promising for a white Christmas. 

In other news, things are going well with my YA urban fantasy WIP. I figured out my villain and her motivation, so all the pieces are starting to fall into place. I'm hoping that by the end of 2015 I'll be in a position to start querying agents, so I'm excited to see what the coming year brings!

I don't think I'll be blogging again until the New Year, so I hope you all have wonderful holidays and a fantastic new year! Peace and blessings to all! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Hundred Gourds, March 2012



You can view the haiku section in the current issue of A Hundred Gourds here, where I also have two haiku--one on page 3 and one on page 10. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk as a way for writers to share and connect with other writers. The details on how to participate can be found here.

WHAT I'M READING - I have totally stalled on the reading over the last week. Nada. Zilch. 


WHAT I'M WRITING - I'm still working on my YA Urban Fantasy manuscript. I imported several scenes into Scrivener and did some light editing and added new words here and there. Worked on fixing a few things that needed fixing, brainstormed a bit. I shared many scenes with my writing coach last week and got some wonderfully encouraging feedback, so all in all, I'm feeling very good about this story!


MY WRITING GOAL THIS WEEK - As long as I keep making forward progress on my WIP and work on a few haiku, I'm good with that. 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME - I've joined the Write Chain challenge and have successfully reached 14 links on my chain. Basically, every day you reach your goal, you get a link, if you miss a day, the chain breaks and you must start over. My goal is simply to spend at least 15 minutes each day writing or editing fiction or poetry. What's happening of course, is that on most days, I go well over the 15 minutes. I've found it to be very motivating so far. Here's the link if anyone would like to check it out:

http://www.writerology.net/2013/09/the-write-chain-challenge/

WHAT ELSE IS NEW - Of course, we saw Mockingjay part 1 over the weekend. It was very good, but it had a very different feel than the first two movies--not as much action and it was more about what's going on underneath it all--which of course, was expected since I have read the books, but I'm not convinced that they had to make it into a two parter. It was also interesting to see how things were altered for the movie--loved that they added scenes for Effie. OMG, Elizabeth Banks did such a great job! 

Other than that, I'm still waiting on a few submissions, poetry and short fiction, as well as results of a haiku competition I entered. I try not to focus on that, because waiting is so frustrating, but it's so difficult not to! lol! And last but not least, it's my birthday tomorrow! Yay! :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Simple Secrets to Becoming a Writer

Here's an article I wrote a while back that I thought might interest some of you. :)


Photo by @hanseljg at http://www.dotspin.com/photo/339843


Making Time to Write

Lack of time is a major obstacle many writers face. So what do you do? First of all, there is no miracle solution, but you can begin by changing what you ask yourselfWhat you need to do is ask, how do I make time?  

Here's a simple little exercise you can try which should help. 

First of all, make a list of all the things that fill your time. Some things are a given, and you can't change them, like school, work and family responsibilities. Cross those off. What's left? Extracurricular activities, TV, dance lessons, gardening, friends, etc. Now put all those things in order of importance, and put writing where it fits on your list. Bear with me; I'm getting to the point, honest. 

Now list an average of how much time you spend on each. Does the time accorded to each correlate with the order of your priorities? Probably not. For example, is writing more important to you than watching TV? Well, I certainly hope so! But which do you spend more time on? A-ha! See what I'm getting at?

Being a writer means you have to put writing high on your list of priorities and give it the time it deserves. And once you see the big picture clearly, you will find yourself making the time.

A Minute Here, a Minute There

Sometimes we put off writing until we have a large block of time. The trouble is that large blocks always seem to get chiseled to almost nothing by the time we get to them.  However, if you combine those little pieces, they do add up.

Try looking at blocks of time in minutes instead of hours, and you'll be surprised at how much you get done. We all spend wasted time every day waiting for people or events. 

 Here are just a few examples:
  • Stuck in traffic 
  • Waiting rooms 
  • Laundromat 
  • Check-out lines 
  • Bus 
Have a note book and pen with you at all times and stop wasting those precious minutes. You never know what masterpiece you might uncover by combining all those chiseled pieces.

Just Write

Sometimes, the only way to become a writer is by placing your butt in the chair and promising yourself that you won't get up again until you've written something -- anything. However, the simple thought of sitting down can sometimes be daunting.  

Make the thought of it less fearful and tell yourself that every day, you'll write for 10 minutes. Chances are once you've been writing for 10 minutes, that 10 minutes will turn into a half an hour or more. Do that every day and in no time you will have established an excellent writing routine.

It's More Than Reading

Reading teaches you things on many different levels. First of all, it helps you subconsciously learn how to put sentences together and what is grammatically correct.  It also strengthens your vocabulary. 

Reading nonfiction is also an excellent way of finding story ideas. Always ask yourself, what if? What if this prediction or theory you're reading about came true? What could be the repercussions? Keep asking yourself questions, and soon you will have a great idea for your next short story.

When reading fiction, look at how the author describes things, and how he puts his sentences together. How does he handle character development, and weave in backstory and description? Look at the use of adverbs, dialogue, and vocabulary. Does it work in your opinion? And why? Analyzing material this way will help you more than you can possibly imagine. 

And, if you can't make time to read, chances are you'll never make time to write either. 

I Am What I Am

When people asked me what I do, I used to say "I write." I had several published clips, but I still had a hard time saying I'm a writer. You don't need to have published a novel or countless scores of short stories or articles to consider yourself a writer. 

Own it, and perhaps once you do, it will give you the confidence and motivation you need to take yourself seriously. 

The Blank Page

In closing, I'd like to pass on one more thing I've learned. It's important. To become a writer, you have to get over the fear of writing crappy material. Yes, I've learned that a page of crappy material can usually be salvaged, but you can't do diddly squat with a blank page. 

So, now that you know the simple secrets to becoming a writer, stand up and repeat after me:  

"I am a writer!"

Louder, I didn't hear you! 

Now, sit your butt back down in that chair, take out a blank page and write something!

It really is as simple as that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Polish International Haiku Competition 2011

I was quite pleased to receive one of the ten commendations awarded in the first Polish International Haiku Competition, in 2011, for the following haiku. I have entered again this year and am still waiting for the results. Keeping fingers crossed!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk as a way for writers to share and connect with other writers. The details on how to participate can be found here.

WHAT I'M READING - I hoped that with the cooler weather I'd be reading more, but the days and the hours are still getting away from me.  Although I haven't gotten much further in the HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS, by Arthur Slade, I have started another book, a middle grade novel by Darlene Beck Jacobson called WHEELS OF CHANGE. I'm not far enough in to comment yet, but hopefully will be by next week. 

WHAT I'M WRITING - I tried to get back into my YA contemporary and managed to put in almost 500 words, but seem to be stuck there. I think it needs more time to simmer, so I ended up going back to my urban fantasy, imported a few scenes into Scrivener, did some light editing, and ended up with 1,300 words on a new scene, so I was happy about that!

I was also working on a renku (Japanese form of collaborative poetry) with 3 other poets and we completed it at the end of October. It's been submitted to FrogpondI'm keeping my fingers crossed that the editor likes it.  

WHAT WORKS FOR ME - I've had difficulty with the writing the past few weeks. The only way I've been able to convince myself to sit down is to set my timer for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes is up, I then decide if I will do another one. Usually, the first 5 minutes is the hardest, and I can say that this method has helped me get back to writing many, many, many times. 

WHAT ELSE IS NEW - October was also a good month for haiku. I had three appear in three different publications, two of them print! 

untold things
the groaning creak
of ice-laden trees

~Modern Haikuissue 45:3, October 2014


Milky Way
the numerical perfection
of a snail’s shell

~Acorn, October 2014, issue #33


unfurling ferns
my mind 
empties its thoughts

~tinywords, issue 14.2


Besides that, hubby and I went away for a couple days, just the two of us. Was nice to spend some quality time together. We went to see Interstellar Monday night--it was AWESOME! And, last night, we saw Big Hero 6. Fabulous and fun! LOVED it! :)