Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Being a mom and writing

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that my life is crazier than anyone elses. I'm sharing my experiences on being a stay-at-home mom and being a writer.

With that all out in the open. I'm a mom. That's my main job. I take care of my kids and the household. Yes, I work as an interior designer too, but that's part time. I'm also a writer. In fact, writing is all I want to do. It's a passion I can't live without. There are days I can't breathe because I didn't write. It makes me grumpy and just unhappy when I can't. So how do I deal?

It took me a while to figure out and I'm still learning. You can never stop learning, right? All I know is if you are flexible and understand things take time then the enjoyment will slip in.

I wrote a long time ago for fun. I never wanted to share what I wrote, it was just for me. After I had my first child, I put it away. After having my second child, I missed it. There was a part of me not there, a void in my life, and I needed something for me. I started writing again, but this time, someone suggested I do something with it. There starts my journey on taking my writing life seriously.

At the time, I had no idea what I was doing. My kids were 1 and 3. When I started blogging, I saw other moms were doing it too so I tried to keep up and push myself even further. Yep, the whole why can't I do it, they are. It took me a couple of years to really understand that I had to deal with things my way.

Every person's situation is different--Some kids demand more, sometimes we don't have the support of loved ones like others do, health issues, our focus, etc. Every one's life is different so the path is not the same no matter how many success stories you read.

My kids never slept and my husband traveled, so for me, writing was difficult, but I pushed myself and other things suffered. I finally realized I needed to do things differently and that keeping up with the masses was not going to happen.

So here are some tips that may help:
-- Nap time: If you're lucky and your kid sleeps, try and write during this time. Even if it's one line. That's right, I said one line or one word. Do it. Who cares that your word count is one. It's one more word. Yes, this is the time for you to sleep too, and if you have to, do it.

--Making dinner: Put on a movie or show and while dinner is simmering--type. I pulled my laptop into the kitchen and typed while stirring.

--Bedtime: This one is hard cause let's face it, you want to zone out to mindless TV or just sleep. If you have to, do it, if you think you have some juice left, write.

--School: Kids eventually go to school and I'm lucky mine are at the age. I have a couple of hours of no kids a few days a week, and guess what I do, write.

--Sitter: If you are lucky to have a family member take the kids for a while, do so. I would leave the house and go to the library or local bookstore and write.

Now, not everyone can do this and yes, other things suffer (cleaning and laundry). You have to figure out what is right for you and be flexible with your schedule. If the laundry is higher than Mt. Everest then you might want to take the time and do it. Like I said, one word. Plus, thinking about what you want to write is contributing to the writing. Figure out a plot hole while making lunch. Yes, my brain is on constantly. There is no formula or magic potion (I wish). And if you can't write, you can't write. You have to deal with it. No matter how grumpy you are realize that your kids are small once and if it passes you by, you missed it.

Any tips for mom writers?

Have a great day and Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting for the storm

Well, the hurricane is on it's way and I've prepared as much as I could. I was going to write about being a mom and writing, but I will save it for another day. So with that, I leave you with a link to a post I thought was excellent.

Why I'm not doing NaNoWriMo by Jane Lebak

Oh, and in case I don't have power on Wednesday, Happy Halloween.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why Halloween is awesome.

I love Halloween. I always have. I love the spooky stories, the colors, and okay, the candy is probably my prime motivation. The one thing that I really love about it is that you can be something other than yourself. You can be that super hero you look up to or the monster that invades your nightmares. Halloween can be full of mystery. The shadows from the house lights can take on a whole new life while you're walking down the street to get your treasure. Halloween can also be cute and sweet.

On a normal day, we writers come up with a ton of ideas on everyday things, but Halloween provides us with even more. Yes, more, especially if you're a paranormal/scifi freak like me. It makes me want to write a chilling ghost story or create some sort of monster that eats moldy pumpkins. In a way, it's distracting me from my new story with ideas that want to be written, which isn't a bad thing if you know how to handle them.

Do you like Halloween?

If you do, what's your favorite part?

A short post today. I've got an ear infection that won't quit so I need to get some meds.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First Drafts

When I write a first draft, I cringe. I like that it's all new and stuff, but I don't like the craziness of it. I want things to be right and good, but with a first draft they're not. I'm getting better with writing first drafts. I still don't like them, but there's no story without them. I used to have anxiety attacks on how horrible they were, but no one has to see it. It's for you, for your story. It's a start.

When you write a first draft, you have to keep in mind that it is a first draft. Go crazy. Mess up. It's okay. Revisions are when you really know the characters and the story. First drafts are like first dates. Ya know that weird, excited, awkward stage where the other person is telling you things and holding back, then telling you things. Yeah. Now, my methods of just writing may not be what you do. I'm more of a panster and I let the characters guide me, but even if you outline, your first draft doesn't have to be perfect.

So don't be scared of that first draft--just write it. It doesn't matter if it's not perfect just let the story flow.

Here's a post I found that's simply wonderful on this topic. Always Write Terrible First Drafts by Carolyn Kaufman

How do you feel when writing your first draft?

Oh and happy belated book birthday to Quantum Coin by E.C. Myers. I got my copy and can't wait to read it. Congrats E.C.!

Have a great day!!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Ideas. They are funny things. Some strike us like lightning and some hide from us and only give us hints of what they are when they feel like it. Lots of ideas have been done and some are just a twist of an existing idea. Here's what I mean.

Everyone, for the most part, knows what Twilight is about--vampires and werewolves. So what made it different besides super hype? The author twisted it. Who would of thought of vampires walking around in the daytime. I'm mean, really, it's not the first thing you think of when think vampires. I'm a vampire fan at heart, thanks to Bram Stoker, so yes, I'm old school. I love Lestat (Ann Rice books), Buffy and Angel, but I never thought about sending a vampire into daylight, and if they did hit the sunshine, I thought inferno, not sparkly. So whether you like it or not, Stephanie Meyer took an idea and twisted it and it worked (of course, there are some other factors, but that's for another day).

Taking an idea and twisting it can work, but sometimes it's hard to break the mold. When we like something it's sometimes hard to change our perception of it. It's like we are breaking the rules, and as we all know, rules can be broken.

So, how can we twist something? First off, do it as an exercise. Take an idea or story that you like. Start asking yourself--what if? Yes, it works. What if this took place on another planet? What if the main character could fly? What if this took place years ago? See what I mean. The idea you started with may only be a faint paint stroke in your full masterpiece, but you started it there.
Another exercise I used to do is write characters into TV shows and movies. What if Obi-Wan had a secret lover? See, ideas start to flow.

For me, I use this as an exercise to strengthen my writing. My head is full of ideas that come from all sorts of influences so my stories are a mash of many different things. Yes, my brain is on full throttle most of the time. The thing I see is many stories that are re-tellings or "based on" type of thing so I thought I would share my thoughts. Let's face it, we are all influenced by something.


What are you influenced by?

Have a great day!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy birthday, Lenny!!

Today some of us bloggers are giving very special blogger birthday wishes.
I've got 10 reasons why blogger and writer, Lenny Lee, is awesome.

1. His avatar. It's the sun with a smiley face. It makes my day.

2. He calls me Miss.

3. He leaves the best comments that are supportive and optimistic.

4. He writes the best blog posts. Did you see the post about "words"? I loved it. Good stuff!

5. He is super supportive.

6. He is a brave.

7. He's a great writer.

8. He has a quote on this blog by Walt Disney that is fantastic.

9. He is determined.

10. He is very smart.

Please go a wish Lenny Lee a very Happy Birthday!! He's turning 13!! I can't believe it.

Have a wonderful birthday, Lenny!!

Happy, happy birthday!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

All mixed up.

Lately I've wondered why my one novel (the query one) really didn't get any interest. It hurts . . . a lot. I mean, really, a partial would've made my day with a form rejection, but, hey, I'm getting over it and moving on. The thing I wonder is did I classify it right.

My writing tends to harbor many genres or sub-categories, whatever you want to call them. My science fictions are not your typical scifis and sometimes they are mingling with other genres like paranormal. Is this bad? Is mixing genres a taboo? To me, I'm not sure. It's not like I set out trying to do this. It just happens.

After my first attempt at querying, parts of me are thinking yes.I classified my novel as a scifi, which, technically, it is. Mostly. There are paranormal elements in it, but I was afraid to include that in the description with the fear that I would get a rejection. Obviously, it didn't matter. But is that the reason? Did the agents get confused? I did have one rejection simply say, "It's not the trend."

So, my decision on this was to put it away. The problem I fear is that I will do this again. Other genres will seep into my writing and then I have something that is mixed.

Have you read any novels that are mixed?

Have a great weekend!!

Oh and I have a special post tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The creative ones.

People who are not naturally creative don't understand those that are. What do I mean? We who are in the creative fields need to be . . . creative. If we're not, it's like we're dying. Okay, that's extreme, but it's like we are walking around looking for something to fill this piece of us.

Creativity is a part of you that can never leave like breathing. It's funny cause some people don't get how we have to do something creative to function even if we doodle a funny little guy in the corner of our journal. Creativity is embedded deep in our being and if we don't fulfill it, we can feel sad, or just empty.

Getting someone to understand this is not easy, and yes, they may think that you're crazy, but turn to those who understand and they will encourage and support you to no end.

I've been thinking about this whole creative business a lot lately. From people in my own family to friends and then to those who don't get it. I'm lucky to be surrounded by so many creative people who do understand. It keeps my juices flowing and helps me understand that it's not just something I can turn off, it's something I need to use.


BTW--This is what I'm listening to while writing today. Awesome!! Silversun Pickups--Skin Graph Have a great day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Get ready.

When I decided to pursue the avenue of getting my work published, I didn't know what I was getting into. Yes, I knew it would be hard, but I didn't realize how much I would learn about myself. I've learned a lot over the years and I thought I would share what to expect if you are just starting out.

1. Patience--I really don't have much of this so it took me a long time to get some. I don't know if I'm fully there, but I'm much better than I was two years ago. You need lots of it, cause folks, the writing/publishing world runs slower than snail on a Sunday stroll.

2. It's not a race--sort of relates to the patience thing. There are other people out there who are writers and want the same thing you do--a book that's published. The thing is everybody is going at their own pace and every one's situation is different so don't let all the whoopla distract you. Work at your own pace and don't dwell on other's progress it only holds you back.

3. Be happy for others, cheer them on and one day they will do the same for you. Being negative, gets no one, no where. I've seen too many friendships die out of jealousy and for no good reason. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

4. Learn and ignore the red. Getting critiqued is super nerve wracking especially when all you see is red. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You must learn from it, not get down about it. Learning what may help your MS is what others want from you. If their feedback is only negative, move on and try someone else. Ask lots of questions and join groups that support writers, you never know who you will meet.

5. Blog- I know some writers frown upon this, but for me, I learned a ton about writing and met people I never would've met before. To me blogging is a writing exercise and a way to network. Now don't let blogging get you distracted, but do some now and again especially when you're starting out.

6. This goes along with the learning. Attend workshops and join groups. I can't stress this enough. I get bullheaded sometimes and think, I know enough. I don't. I don't think you ever know everything, you can always learn. I also think attending these things is not just for learning, but networking. You never know who you're going to meet.

7. Read, read, read. Read the books in your genre. Know what is out there and learn from those who are published.

8. Also, read some books about the craft. They are always handy to have around in case of emergencies. I'm not the best with these, but I do have some that hold my attention and they're great to have on hand.

9. Get out of the house. Take breaks now and again and write about something else. This helps the brain open up.

10. Have fun.

There you have it. Any thoughts? Anything to add? Any questions?

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Love this time of year

It's fall and I love it. I don't love the damp rain we are having right now, but I might over look that. It's a great time to get your brain working too. What do I mean? Look outside. Have the colors changed? (This doesn't apply to all locations, but you can do the same thing.) So, this is my writing exercise. As you know, I love trying to come  up with ways to describe things. Look outside again. Describe what you see. It could look like this. . .
Come up with as many words as you can to describe it.
Here's another one. . .
Is your brain starting to get warm?
Now, once you have a bunch of words, take it a step further. What do I mean? Let your mind go and starting asking 'what if' questions to develop a short story about each. You'd be surprised how far this could go. It's a great way to get your brain moving and thinking a different way. It's also a great way to get out of a rut.
Do you have any exercises to share?
Have a great day!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

So, I've been tagged in another meme called the Next Big Thing. Crystal Collier, cheese connoisseur and a talented, fabulous writer, tagged me. Thanks Crystal. Go check out her blog if you haven't already. Since I talked about the manuscript I was querying last time, this time I'm going to talk about the manuscript I plan to query next.

1. What is the working title of your book?
Dream Thieves

2. Where did the idea come from for your book?
Music--where else. I was listening to Bloc Party and Foo Fighters, and . . . BAM, characters showed themselves.

3.What genre does your book fall under?
Young Adult paranormal

4.Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a tough one. I really don't know. Sadie the main MC is super snarky with long dark hair. So, I only have an image of her in my head. I know my one MC, Graham, would be a mixture of Blink-182's Tom Delonge and Tom Sturridge

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Junior year sucks for Sadie Perkins, she creates a dream world (hot guy included) to escape her far-from-perfect life, but when black hairy monsters try to enslave her, she must fight to leave her growing nightmare alive.
Okay, it needs work but I got it down to one sentence.

6.Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Agency. *fingers crossed*

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
6 months

8.What other books would you compare to within your genre?
Hmmm. Good question. I'm not sure. I need to think about that really hard and this morning my brain isn't there yet.

9.Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Besides music? The thought of what would happen if you fell into your own dream world. A place  where you'd love to be only to find out that not everything is as perfect as you would've hoped.

10. What else about your book might pique the readers interest?
There are dream worlds, a hot guy, and an ex-boyfriend who is a punk rock skater. Add in the main MC, Sadie, who is just trying to show the world, not to mention her parents, who she really is.

Sooo, I'm supposed to pass this on to some peeps, and I'm going to be a party pooper and let any of you try this fun exercise. It's something fun to try, so do it folks, and let me know.

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I can't believe I missed this last month. Shame on me. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing this. Writers need all the support they can get.

So today, I want to talk about shelving. Yep, how to deal and what feelings you feel when you put that baby on a dusty shelf.

Recently, I made the decision to tuck a manuscript away. Ya know, give it time and hopefully write my new one and make it shine.

How do I feel? Hurt, embarrassed . . . just plain out sad. This MS is close to me and I think that's part of the problem. It's hard to close the door to it, even if it's temporary. In a way, I feel defeated because I'm a fighter and it's hard for me to give up on something.

How to deal. I've gone through this period of mourning like I've lost a pet. I know, bad metaphor. All I can do is think about it and why it didn't succeed. Those feelings have to be pushed aside. Because I have too many stories to tell and the only way to learn and to grow is to move on. So far, I've listened to some great music, which has given life to my new MS.

Here are some other things to do:
-Confide in a friend especially a writer friend. Let's face it they understand the most.
-Eat some chocolate. Always helps. Chocolate is such a good friend.
-Go out. Get away from the screen that burns your eyes. Whether it's for a walk or a drive, get out. Just don't forget your journal. Trust me, ideas will spring up.

Basically, whatever you do to get ideas and take a break, do it now. You see, shelving is not the end, it's only the beginning. It a second chance. It's giving your MS time to marinate and grow. When you look at it again, you will see it through new eyes and it will live again.

What do you to get over shelving an MS?

Now go check out the other participants.

Have a great day!