"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Quit!

As if I could--quit writing that is. Lately I’ve seen, on the net, writers struggling, saying  they’re not sure if they want to continue writing, or wonder if there is another word in them to write.

They're discouraged. 
I’ve been writing since the sixth grade (I wrote plays). I didn’t know until I became an adult that I had to write or experience a brain explosion. If I didn’t write, the voices in my head would surely clog the output of my brain—like a type of constipation. So that makes writing a laxative. Right?
As a young adult, I spent years sending my work out to magazines with only a  few acceptances. However, I  did receive lots of encouraging handwritten notes on rejection slips. Writing for fame and/or money will more than likely never be a reality for me, but really who wants the fame of J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? Okay, I'd try it for a week and then give it back.

I've accepted that I may never see my writing traditionally published or have a reader following, but I will never stop writing. I can't because...what if?
For the moment my mission, should I decide to accept it, (AND I DO) is that I will:
  1. Self-pub a short story compilation. (Done) Another is in the works. Even though only a handful of people have bought it, I love my A-Z  story collection. 
  2. Start a blog and post on it. (Done and ongoing)
  3. Hook up with other writers and learn the biz  from them. (In progress through blogging)
  4. Establish a name, (may never happen, but I will try), by
    1. Entering contests.
    2. Self-publishing my work.
  5. Continue to submit to magazines. (Ongoing)
  6. Establish a backlog of fiction so that when I do become desirable, I will have other things for readers to read. (Ongoing)
If you're thinking of giving up anything that is your passion--don't. Giving up is surrendering and you shouldn’t do that until you’re dead. Even then, you’ll probably be discovered, and the world will wish you were still alive to create more good reading (or art, or whatever). They'll want to make a new movie, something fresh, and will find one of your manuscripts. Seriously, THIS IS my luck.

Authors discovered later in life.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder - and we know how that ended. Right? It hasn’t she’s still popular today.
  • Bram Stoker – a blood sucker he was and probably more famous today than then. Nearly everyone has heard of the book Dracula.
  • William S. Burroughs
  • Frank McCourt – I like this quote by him, "Keep scribbling! Something will happen." He won a Pulitzer.
The list of writers that were published after the age of 40 is longer than this, but you get my point. If writing (or painting, sculpting, etc.) is important to you, then keep doing your craft until something happens.

Be encouraged by these links: .
Jody Hedlund wrote Encouragement for Writers Who don’t Know If you should Keep Going  

Stories of Writers who were Late Bloomers
When you want to quit Writing

Terribleminds.com writes 25 Reasons You Should Quit Writing Warning: They may be some language within, even the f-word, so be prepared, but some of it is actually funny and most of it spoke to me.
The song that is playing in my mind as I write this is Don't Stop Believing by Journey.

"Keep scribbling! Something will happen."

Monday, October 13, 2014

TRENDS

It rained buckets here last week. It's raining again, this morning. We need the rain, but not dispensed bucket style.  Now we flood. Flooding is not good.

My sister’s nightmare, week before last where lightening ran in on her house and fried nearly everything electric including wiring, continues as she discovers what appliances and electronics need replacing, picks out new things, waits on electricians and consoles pets that are now nervous of storms. Her search to replace the fried matter, in her house, has made me think about how fast technology changes and the trends. You know, what’s new out there in appliances, decorating, hair styles and even publishing. 
In fact, I just replaced my washer and dryer after twenty-three years. Guess what? Washers and dryers have come a long way, baby. They're all--sensitive like. Kind of touchy, feely.

This is what I read the other day about the newest kitchen trends, in case you were dying to know.

What’s out?
1.     They say that granite countertops are already looking dated.

2.      All wood-looking cabinets are out.
What’s in?
Countertops in marble is in. So is the old standby butcher block. OR you can mix the two. (What? Hey, I wouldn’t make that up.) And for you retro people, laminate countertops may just be returning with retro designs.

The cabinet trend is two-toned, as in tops and bottoms are different colors. (Not like when my gray hair makes an appearance next to my highly colored hair—not like that.) Also, open shelving is in, as well as, glass doors.
Tile anyone? Subway tile still holds out at #1. However, the new trend is dark grout (and no it doesn’t count if you spill coffee on the grout). If you still have square tiles, NO WORRIES, just re-grout with the dark or spill your coffee evenly.

Hardware and faucets? Brass is back. Think marble and brass, marble and brass, marble and brass.
Unless you’re psychic, and I’ve been accused of that, you can’t always predict trends. Except, and I almost promise this, what’s old will be new again with future generations. We can't ever leave out what's been tried and is true.

Trends are fun, but it’s more important to be true to yourself and not be a part of a trend unless you like it and it works for you.

And this brings me to writing.
I read an article, With Self-Publishing, We Control the Future of a Series, by Elizabeth Spann Craig. She seems to do both, tries new trends, but rarely dismisses the old way. One thing I admire is her dedication to her fans (readers). She had this book that was traditionally published, but it ended there, a series that the publisher wasn't going to publish.  Not so fast! Her readers wanted more—a series built around those characters, and that’s when she self-pubbed subsequent books as a series. Of course there was more to it, but she’d built a fan base, listened to her readers and hopped on the self-publishing train to give her readers a series.

EC said, “The future of my series depended on my readers and me.  It had nothing to do with what was hot, who wanted to contract books with elderly protagonists, or the rapidly changing editors at my publisher.  And that knowledge was empowering.”
Being flexible as a writer is a smart thing since the next best thing might be right around the corner and useful. However, staying true to your writing style and voice is important, even when you're writing a trendy plot  

This is my favorite line from E.C.'s article. “This is one reason why I feel strongly that this is the best time in history to be a writer.”
And that folks is why I’m hopeful as a writer. It is a great time in history to be a writer with all the different ways to get your writing out there.

Other links about writing trends:
Freelance Writing Trends in 2014: Looking to the future.
5 Industry Trends Requiring Every Writer’s Attention (from March 2013)

Is your kitchen outdated? J (Mine is) Is your hair styling? (Mine is) Do you think self publishing is just getting started or is there something new on the horizon? (Both) Did you miss that I didn't talk about life with Millie? (Not me. I'm trying to forget her. Not really.)


Source: The new Kitchen Top Trends by http://www.apartmenttherapy.com

Monday, October 06, 2014

What a day!

Have you ever had one of those days where your puppy is done/finished (rake paws together) with pottying outside because there’s too many different kinds of weather, and she hates it, not to mention the distracting noises, but is also done going on papers inside because it’s all or nothing for her, and now she’s chosen to hold it in until she pukes? And she does. Or a day where you sit at your desk for three hours, writing a report that helps fund your position (pretty darn important), waiting for a return call and an email reply, but your bladder grows--heavy (yes I drank two cups of coffee) and then you finally amble down the hallway (because running is not allowed in a school hallway) for a five minute bathroom break, JUST to see when you return that you have the email answer and a voice message waiting for you? Or how about a day, where you finally get an electrician to come check out a room of outlets that won’t work (because your handyman couldn’t find the problem even though he really really tried) and you have a new washer on its way and—it needs to be plugged in to work, but you find out all outlets are now magically working? Then the electrician says after you’ve waited weeks and weeks for him to get to you, “I can’t fix what isn’t broken.”
Then they (crew) try stressing out the plugs in the room and adjoining rooms (because my face is stressed and I’m not letting them leave) only to find out the problem is one single outlet in the kitchen on the same circuit (don’t ask me why because I don’t know) and when the electrician pulls out the old outlet to change it, you are told that it’s blackened and melted because it burned and was a fire hazard. No duh.
To finish off the day, you go to your new hairstylist, because your old one has left you, and it’s just not the same experience.

Have you ever had a day like that?


Then you find a message Saturday morning on your cell phone from your handyman, that after he measured for supplies to fix the rotting fascia boards on Friday morning and went to work on a garage door spring, elsewhere—to adjust it, the spring blew up  nearly killing him and mangled his hand.

The hand that fixes.

This was my day Friday.
Then I learned about my sister’s day. She came back from vacation at the lake to find that lightning had struck an electric pole outside her house, throwing parts of the pole down to the road in front of her house and frying nearly all her wiring and nearly all appliances and electronics. She’s grateful her pets were not killed or hurt.
This life tries our sanity and our faith (sometimes) with extreme measures.

Thanks for reading my run on sentences.
 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sunday Reflection: Light Shining

After years of traveling one highway to shop in Osage Beach I was forced to take another route, due to a road closing. Since that day, I've been using the "new to me" highway route. The scenery along the way is gorgeous, a new view of the countryside. This weekend, the trees along the way hadn't turned fall colors yet, but for some reason, the leaves glowed from the sunlight hitting them. It was refreshing and beautiful.

Last week, I didn’t shine every day. One rainy day, I put on a cloudy face, and another day I was just plain grumpy with others. My bad attitude shined. This changed me and those around me.

 As a Christian, I need to reflect God’s love for a couple of reasons. First of all, God needs us to radiate love for him—to love on others. Secondly, choosing to show love instead of hate changes us within by turning on our compassion and understanding. Finally, and this is important, one smile or kind word to another might be the only smile or kind word they get all day and perhaps be the light that brings them out of the darkness they're in.   
 “ For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.1Cornithians 4:6 (NIV)

“ See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.  Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” Luke 11: 35-37
 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

Blessings,
Teresa

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Mourning and Stuff!

Monday makes me sad, and I mourn, but what ya gonna do? Go to work that’s what.

Last week, I was a sick puppy (no Millie pun intended). I finally returned to work on Thursday a little wrung out. Upper respiratory.  
I knew I would get sick this school year because “they” moved me inside the building and out of my “mobile classroom” office. The very first year working at the school (1991-92), I was sick the entire year with something. Kid germs.

I hope this year isn’t a repeat of that year.
Writing

I’m still in the rewrites of Body Bags. I’m getting a little bored with it. I really need to write something new and will look in my idea folder.
Speaking of writing. I went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder festival again this year. This photo is of Laura's and Almonzo's Missouri home. On the far left of the photo, a young man played Pa Ingalls' (actual) violin. Exciting! (Click on it to enlarge.) Beside me on the grass, a little girl (8 or 9) danced a jig in her prairie dress and bonnet. So cute. The love for Laura's books lives on in the newest of generations. That warms my heart for sure.
 
Millie the PILL
Millie is no longer cute to me, nor her antics. No really!  The honeymoon is over! I cleaned out my bookcase and left my very old Dog Book (really that’s the title) within her reach. I thought perhaps she would enjoy looking over the part where she’s supposed to be a good doggy.

I found out she doesn't enjoy reading, but she does like eating EVERYTHING. Millie peeled off parts of the cover with her razor teeth and ate it. Right in front of me. And with no shame.  

Millie went to a groomer for the first time. I needed her claws nails trimmed after my final attempt at trimming them and causing her to bleed. While she was there, I also asked that they cut the hair away from her face. Her eyes had been weepy from hair touching her eyeballs.
I kind of liked her better with the overgrown face. It kept her demons at bay. Giving her eyesight back was a mistake.


I swear she’s ornerier with a shaved face, and this is my theory. I think Millie can see better now which helps her locate things she should not do. 

Millie likes snakes, especially leopard snakes. She caught this one in her backyard.
 
Finally, one more picture of Millie the Nut who listens to nothing I say. I told her she needed to go to bed. I picked up her toys and put them in her toy box. But Millie decided she wanted to play for just five more minutes--in dog years, with Pink Pig.
 

The End!