Sunday, December 06, 2009


Last week at my writing class I had to admit to not reaching my goal of writing 3,000 words each week for two weeks.
This was the first time in class that I had to say I didn't meet my goal. I didn't give my reasons why- crazy work schedule, fender bender, holiday.
After an adjustment at the Chiropractor on Tuesday I have been in a lot less pain plus I decided two show days or not I would finish this first draft by Christmas.
This week has not been about going and sitting at the coffee shop for hours writing. This week has been about finding time to write where ever I can find it. Between shows, for a a half hour in the morning, for an hour in the afternoon. I actually found myself not going to the coffee shop to write this week when I had a day free because going to the coffee shop would actually take time away from my writing when I had to walk there and order coffee and then walk back home so I just made my own tea and wrote at my house.
I also wrote a couple more scenes that feel more true to the novel so I no longer feel like I am writing in circles so that makes me happy. I may keep what I wrote before but I like the stuff now much better.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

On Christmas Eve

Last spring I went to a SCBWI event and I won a door prize. I picked the book On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin.
I chose this book because I love books about Christmas and also because I have such fond memories of The Babysitters Club series.
Since it is finally the Christmas season I figured it was time to read this book.
This is a great story about the magic of Christmas.
The character, Tess is in third grade and believes that this is the year she is going to meet the real Santa Claus, not just a department store Santa. She has some important questions to ask Santa. She also believes that Santa can help her friend Sarah's dad get better.
On Christmas Eve, Tess waits up for Santa and gets to experience Christmas magic.
I thought the book was a very sweet story about the magic of Santa and Christmas.
A few weeks ago in my writing class we talked about metaphors and similes and keeping these in the world of the story. Martin does a great job of this. When she writes about walking through the snow she doesn't say "walked through the snow" she says "fluffed".
The is a sweet little book about Christmas Eve and the magic and hope it can bring.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Memories

As I watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of my living room I am reminded of what is still to this day the most memorable Thanksgiving Day I ever had.
When I was in college and my sister and brother were in high school my mom decided that we were old enough to go to New York City for Thanksgiving. So she called her brother who has three kids around our same ages and lives in Upstate NY and we decided to have Thanksgiving in NYC.
At six in the morning on Thanksgiving morning my Mom knocked on my door.
"Carrie, we need to go get a spot to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."
"Doesn't it start at 9?"
"Yeah but we have to get a spot."
So Mom and I went and secured our place on the parade route.
The it started to drizzle. Fortunately we were able to buy umbrellas right away from a person selling them on the street for $2. By the time my stepdad and sister got to the parade at 8:30 the umbrellas were $5.
Perhaps you have watched this parade on TV year after year. I bet you didn't know that the area right before the carpet where the acts perform for TV is known as the "Quiet Zone" This is where the acts stop and get into formation before they get to the carpet in front of Macy's to do their big act for national TV. If you want to see Kenny Rogers sing "The Gambler" this is not the place to do this. Nobody performs here. It is the "Quiet Zone". Acts have to be quiet here so that they don't interfere with the performance of the act in front of them. This is where we stood. By the time it was light enough out to read the "Quiet Zone" sign and realize what it meant it was too late to move and still get a good spot on the route.
I would like to say this happened before the age of cell phones. If we had cell phones we may have gotten a call from my uncle telling us to come watch the parade from his warm hotel room. As it was the only person who got that call was my brother who made the wise choice to sleep in and not get rained on for five hours.
So if there was a moral of this story sometimes it is that the early bird doesn't always get the worm. Sometimes the bird who sleeps in gets to eat continental breakfast at the Marriott.
Miraculously at the end of the parade the drizzle let up.
That day we ate Thanksgiving Dinner at Tavern on the Green which I only knew from the film Ghostbusters.
Even though we stood in the rain forever that Thanksgiving was my most memorable ever. Every year my mom calls me on Thanksgiving morning and asks me if I'm watching the parade (which still doesn't come on until 9).
So Happy Thanksgiving all

Monday, November 23, 2009

Even though I am not NaNoing I am in the middle part of my novel and I feel like I just keep writing the same thing over and over.
One of the instructors of the class I'm taking sent us Maureen Johnson's NaNo pep talk in which she compares writing a novel to visiting Australia. Right now I feel a little like I am in the Outback part of my novel. I keep writing in circles.
I abandoned all hope of getting what I was writing into the computer a couple weeks ago and have just been writing in my notebooks.
Work has been a little crazy the last week as well and then while I am in the middle of the outback of my novel I got rear ended by an Outback the other night.
My mom freaked out because I'm the closest child geographically since my sister is in Alabama and my brother is in Africa for two weeks. She wanted me to go to the emergency room and I assured her that I work with a first responder and there was no need for me to go to the emergency room. I am instead going to the chiropractor. My mom freaked out. I might as well have told her I was going to a Witch Doctor.

But in good news I submitted a story to Chicken Soup for the Triathlon's Soul which has now been combined with Chicken Soup for the Runners Soul. My story is in the final round of consideration so I am very excited. They were also looking for more stories so I may try to write a story about my running group.
I'll find out this summer if I made it and I'll get ten copies of the book.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pet blogging

Over the years I have entertained the idea of starting a blog for my cat.
While I read some pet blogs something always stops me from putting my pet into the blogosphere.
The main reason is I feel like it is one step closer to crazy cat lady for me. I have two cats and feel like there are certain things that would push me over that line. A third cat for example would push me over the line. Once you have three case what's one or two more right. Same thing with the cat blogging for me.
Yesterday I discovered another reason not to blog for my cat (or let my cat blog). Snoop and I were featured on the Powderhorn365 website yesterday so naturally I posted a link on my facebook page. By the end of the night Snoop had eight comments and seven "likes". By the end of the night I felt like I was just answering Snoop's fan mail. It turns out Snoop is already pretty popular. Allowing Snoop his own blog isn't something I'm prepared to handle.
But then again maybe I could use Snoop's blog to get traffic to my blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Don't Stop Believing

We came to the part of my writing class where we talked about plot yesterday.
I have to say that in a previous class I took plot was up there in the first two weeks but that was for picture books so really we did need to think about our plots earlier.
I'm OK with plot coming a little later in the class. It seems like we all have good characters we are writing about and I sort of believe that characters drive plot anyway. I mean different people do different things in each situation. Pippi won't do the same thing as Ramona.
So the instructors talked about different plot structures like the inverted check mark and the three act structure and the hero's journey.
Then oh speaking of journey, we got to listen to a little Journey. Why? Because plot is like a Journey song. According to the instructor's brother. It starts of with an intro and we get to know the characters (a small town girl and a city boy), there are some guitar riff and stuff happens (they take the midnight train going anywhere). Then the music builds more with additional guitar and there is more story (streetlights, it goes on and on) then we get to the climax of the song/story and there is that even more awesome guitar riff and then Don't Stop Believing (hold on to that feeling) and then happy cords at the end. \m/
Armed with the knowledge that plot is like a Journey song is pretty awesome. I woke up today and wrote nine pages. It was brilliant. I wrote some interesting stuff and complicated my character's life. I feel like I may even write again later tonight.
I've been a music junkie my whole life. When I was four my mom bought me a record player at a garage sale, not one of those cheap fisher price ones but a real one with speakers of its own. I wore that thing out until my dad bought me a cd player when they first came out. I watched MTV since I was six. I don't play music but it is nice to know that my lifelong love of music is going to pay off by helping me be a writer.

Friday, November 06, 2009

mean witch story

Since I have been trying to focus on this writing thing more I currently work one job. Previously I was working 2 jobs and had no time for writing. There was only driving, working, driving, working, sleeping. So I decided if I could put even part of my 2nd job energy into my writing I'd be doing OK. In order to make a little extra money and also to get a chance to hang out with kids I sometimes babysit. It is good.
Here is a conversation I had with one of my charges. She is 4.
Fi: What do you do?
Me: Well I work with your mom.
Fi: What else do you do?
Me: I write stories for kids.
Fi: Why do you write stories for kids?
Me: Because it's fun and I love books.
Fi: Tell me one of your stories.
Me: Ok Once there was a girl, Rita and her dog Rufus.
Fi: Is there a mean witch in this story?
Me: No. (I tell the story about Rita and Rufus which was in the Sept issue of Stories for Children Magazine)
Fi: That was good. Can you tell it again but this time with a mean witch?
So I modify Rita and Rufus to include a mean witch. It was really Hansel and Gretel with a dog instead of a Hansel but there was a mean witch. I think I told her the "mean witch" version of the story ten times.
Anyway it was kind of a fun revision exercise and it got me thinking about "mean witches" so maybe next time I sit down to write something after this whole novel thing it will have a mean witch.
*Although there is not a mean witch in my novel there is a mean middle school girl.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Today in my cycling class we were talking about ancestors and family trees. There are some pretty cool branches on the tree but there is one who I feel a great connection with.
My great grandmother was an English teacher. She was affectionately called Stone Face Fitz by her students. She taught during the knuckle rapping days. Although she died before I was born her memory lived on in my mom and grandma.
Whenever I wrote a lazy, sloppy sentence or used poor grammar when I spoke Mom and Grandma would talk about my poor dead great grandmother (Old Stone Face) and the shame I was bringing upon her.
As a result I learned when to say ______ and I instead of me and _________. The word "gots" was eliminated from my vocabulary two days after I learned it. I said "ain't" once. The word came up again in a song in jr. high choir and I couldn't bring myself to sing it.
Despite the fact that my great grandmother was rolling over in her grave at my inability to spell and write a good sentence I still loved reading and I loved writing. My spelling was horrible. I would bring home spelling tests and mom would wonder if there was an ounce of great grandma's blood running through my veins.
Sometimes my mom would read a paper I wrote for school. As she corrected my grammar she told me I was lucky I wasn't one of Fitz's students because my knuckles would have been rapped for sure.
Currently I'm working on a first draft in a class at the Loft and I'm sure it is full of run on sentences, comma splices and dangling participles. I was given some pictures of my great grandmother recently and as I looked at her stern face with her reading spectacles on a chain tucked into her pocket I wondered if she would be horrified by the over abundance of adverbs in my first draft.
I figure it must be OK so far because Fitz's ghost has not come from beyond to rap my knuckles yet.
My grandma was a stock broker. If I ever have children I wonder if I will instill in them the importance balancing a checkbook and investing wisely. Would I ever say things like "Your great grandmother would be rolling in her grave over the state of this portfolio"

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy NaNoWriMo

As the sun rises on another NaNoWriMo I am a little sad that I am not participating and trying to figure out if there is a way.
Here is the deal. I am working on a novel in a novel writing class the idea of which is to write a first draft in 12 weeks. So I am already 20,000 words into that novel. To take time off from my novel, which I think has legs, to churn out 50,000 words could be detrimental. I even feel like any extra time I have should be spent tightening up m current novel and writing the best novel possible.
I love NaNo and the creative challenge it is. The last two years I have won getting my 50,000 words in by November 30th.
The only problem is that I have also written these things which I feel can't be edited. I thought at one time that I could edit my first year NaNo. I could never figure out where to go because it was so daunting.
So I'm taking this class and there were no crazy rules. I came in with a couple chapters written and some ideas but once I started the class I changed some things. But there were no NaNo guilt monkeys that would haunt me for having two chapters already written. We set goals and we celebrate meeting them.
The process with this slower novel writing means that I have been able to pay better attention to chapters, plot, structure and pacing. I'm not under the gun so I can thing about different scenes and where those scenes go.
So anyway I am halfway through a novel that I love and a process that is slower. I think at the end of the class I will have something I can really work with. Something I can edit and something I can maybe hopefully sell once it is all cleaned up. I can not leave my MC waiting for a ride outside of school while I go frolic in the crazy frantic energy that is NaNo.
I will not be tempted by the haunted house thriller novel idea. I will see my main character though as she struggles to fit into her new step family and deal with sixth grade.
The thing that I do thank NaNo for is giving me the confidence to write a novel from start to finish. The things I learned on my previous NaNo journeys have really helped me through the novel I'm writing now.
So Happy NaNo and good luck to all my friends who are NaNoing

Friday, October 23, 2009

pleading puppy eyes

I've been working on a story about the service dog my mom is training. I wanted to work on a nonfiction story that I could submit to children's magazines since they say that nonfiction is a big need. So I looked around my life for something I could write about and found the service dog.
I finished the story and got approval from the marketing specialist at the organization. I also got approval for pictures since some nonfiction articles need pictures to go with them. Unfortunately my favorite picture could not be used because Jack was wearing a Gentle Leader.
As I prepared my submission to send it out I felt like I was breaking one of those "What not to do" rules in submission packages by including pictures.
I hope that the pictures of the dog don't seem like some pleading dog saying "Please buy my story."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Contributor's copies

The other day I drove to St. Paul to pick up my contributor's copies of Good News at Good Ground Press. I got to see some samples of the different publications. They have Sunday School publications for all ages of kids from pre-school to high school.
I also got my contributor's copies. After deciding that I would keep two for my own purposes I called my mom so that she could tell me who the remaining three should go to.
Me: Well I have five copies and I need to keep two for myself to prove I've been published so that leaves three.
Mom: I get one, of course and then you have to send one to Uncle Rick. Where do you want the third one to go?
Me: I'd like to send it to Sue J.
Mom: Oh well OK. What about Tina. I guess I can share my copy with Tina.
Me: Oh I guess I can send that copy to Tina.
I guess what this boils down to is that my mom is the boss of my contributor copies. I imagine that in her quest to get more copies she may start visiting all the Catholic Churches in town in hopes that some Sunday School attendee will drop their copy and she will be there to claim them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My cat is in hiding

So I just read about this contest in the New Yorker called Critterati
Basically you dress your pet up like a character from a book.
I am currently brainstorming what to dress my giant cat up as. My cat is currently hiding under the bed trying to stay out of the way.

Friday, October 09, 2009

What's the worst thing that could happen

Today I went to my local neighborhood coffee shop to write.
Sometimes it is too quiet at my house and I need the energy of being around people to get any work done. Also I don't take my computer just my spiral bound notebook so there will be no temptation to use their fast internet to check my facebook page or whatever.
So I sit down and I am next to these really chatty people which is OK but somewhat distracting today. Maybe the people I sat next to were really chatty or maybe it was that my ear was facing the direction to pick up most of what they were saying or maybe it was that their conversation about journals and meditation was way more interesting than what was going on in the world of my novel. So after 3 tries of beginning chapters that weren't working I asked the question "What is the worst thing that could happen to my character right now?" Then my writing got interesting. 7 pages later I'm still really excited about what developed. Not that I want bad things to happen to my MC but it is still a cool development.

Sometimes I go on craigslist and I look at the writing gigs. I look to see if there are any places seeking submissions for anthologies or whatever. I always see people looking for people to write their book for them. They usually have an amazing life story or a story idea they know would make big bucks. I also see ads for people looking for illustrators for their children's books. What bothers me about these ads are the errors. People if you are going to post an ad on craigslist seeking an illustrator for your children's book or someone to write your amazing life story at least spell check

Monday, September 28, 2009


This morning I woke up and went to the gym and came home and worked on my novel for two hours. It is sort of an exciting way to start the day since I have been saving my writing for later in the day. Of course now I wonder what I will do with the rest of my day but I guess that is what the dishes are for.
I have been trying to use note cards to write little things about my characters so last night before I went to bed I looked at some of my note cards to see where I was heading today with my writing. I have actually read this in different writing books, that it is a good idea to check in with things at night so the next day you know where you are headed.
So I feel like I have accomplished something today. Like I have taken a step in the right direction as far as writing goes. We'll see if I can keep it up though the week.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Should I buy this?

Every year I go out like a good aspiring children's author and buy The Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market and every year it seems like there are fewer publishers open to submissions. It seems like there are less listings for magazines and publishers and more tips and inspiring stories.
With my SCBWI membership I feel like I get the same listings.
Then there is this magical thing known as Internet. So if I want to know the submission policy of a certain magazine I will just go to the website and find the most up to date info.
Then there is this fact. My second published story, the first one I actually got paid for, is being published by a Sunday School magazine that I did not find through either of these resources but through a recommendation from my writing group.
So here I am with a gift card to Barnes and Noble burning a hole in my pocket because I can't decide if I would rather buy this book that I feel like I "should" buy or buy a fiction book where I will read beautiful writing and learn about character and plot through reading.
There is my dilemma.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

So much procrastination, so little time

This week was week two of my novel writing class. I also happen to be off work for a few weeks, thank goodness for PTOP. So with a week off work I should have done an amazing amount of novel writing for my class. I think I met my goal but I am still putting stuff I wrote in my spiral bound notebook into my MacBook.
But I notice that I do an amazing amount of procrastination. My procrastination for some reason takes the form of cleaning. So all the sudden the dishes need cleaning, the floor needs to be Swiffered, and the laundry needs to be done. I admit that laundry doing is a task that I can multi task but not so with Swiffering or dish doing.
Finally I decided that I would have better luck at the coffee shop and was very pleased with the amount that I wrote.
I work at night. I hear about the people in my class who wake up and write first thing in the morning and as much as I would love to do that I need to run or bike or work out before I start trying to form ideas on a page. Maybe my fellow writers are just naturally thin and don't have to worry about the gym but for me I know that I will write during the day, sometime. If I don't get myself to the gym first thing in the morning it isn't going to happen.
So one night I felt like a kid who had not eaten her vegetables as I sat at the table at 9 p.m. working on my novel. The next night I saved my novel writing for after the kid I was baby sitting went to bed. The next night I did a little better and was working on my novel in the late afternoon/evening and by Friday I had the good sense to move my novel writing to the coffee shop.
One thing I am trying to do is set a writing schedule I can stick to. I would never let anything come between me and my workout or me and my afternoon nap but sometimes I let things get between me and a regular writing schedule.
Then I think maybe I'm being too hard on myself. I mean I write everyday and I get it done even if I get it done waiting for my doctors appointment or my oil change or whatever.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Take a look, it's in a book..

When I tell people that I am a writer and that I want to write children's stories people will tell me about their connection to children's books.
Recently I was working on a show at work and I told the Bass player about my writing classes and he told me about his friend E.B. Lewis. It turns out that E.B. Lewis was going to use Cliff's daughter as the kid for the illustrations in Down the Road by Alice Schertle. The publisher wanted a younger kid but he still used Cliff and his wife as the parents. It was totally cool to open a picture book and see a familiar face in the pages.
All this time I had been being wardrobe girl to someone else with a connection to children's books. It turns out Tina, the woman playing Ella Fitzgerald, is the singer of the Reading Rainbow song. So at the closing night party all of us 30 year olds gathered round to hear a live and in person version of the Reading Rainbow song.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Youngest

I took my first class at The Loft what feels like ages ago. It was really seven years ago. The class was at night. It was a YA novel writing class.
I started taking classes at the Loft again two years ago and I tend to take a lot of day classes because I work at nights and on the weekends. So mid morning or mid day classes are perfect for me.
This semester the perfect class just happened to fall on a Monday night, my night off, so I decided to go for it.
While my daytime classes seem full of moms and retirees my evening class seems to be 50 % young hipsters. I have to say that even though some of the moms in my daytime classes are right around my age I still feel like the "youngest" because I don't have kids. I am footloose and fancy free. I don't have demands on my free time when I want to write. I don't even have a "grown up" type job in an office. My procrastination is my own thing.
Looking at my evening class I don't feel like the "youngest" any more. I look at some of writers who are probably the same age I was seven years ago and I remember still feeling like the youngest in my writing classes then. I remember I wanted to write for teens or young people but I didn't know what I wanted to write.
Now I feel like I have more confidence. I have a story idea with legs. I know more about character and plot and my process as a writer. I'm really excited about this class. Even if it means I don't feel like the youngest anymore.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Rufus on the Web

Last fall I took a class at The Loft called The ABC's of Writing for Children. During the class we worked on one children's story for twelve weeks. At the end of the class we were encouraged to submit our stories and after a couple tries my story from class, Rufus on the Loose found a home at Stories for Children Magazine.
Stories for Children is an online magazine. The current month is available online and past months are available for download.
Here is a link to my story Rufus on the Loose. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Dream interpretation

Last night I dreamed my car got stolen. I have actually had this dream before but usually I have it when I go home to visit my Mom. How this dream usually goes is that I look out the window and see people stealing my car. I try to yell at them to stop but no words come out of my mouth so they steal my car.
Today I thought that maybe there was some deeper meaning to this dream so I Google "dreams, stolen car"
This is where I learn that stolen car dreams can mean loss of identity, loss of job or failure in relationships. This makes me think about why I would have this dream.
Earlier this summer I pulled a muscle in my shoulder during a workout. I recently started sewing part time at my old job for a few weeks but the shoulder is rebelling. This makes me feel weak and wimpy as I try to figure out how I'm going to work around it and if I'm just going to have to quit the second job.
Also I'm fairly strong and into fitness and I think I define myself by my strength. I sometimes don't think I would have the confidence to handle the rejection that comes with writing if it wasn't for running, biking, swimming and kettlebells. The good news is that I have been running more as a result of my shoulder hurting.
Maybe I am feeling a little loss of identity as I deal with my new wimpy self and my inability to sew right now. I can still do my normal job but with the economy being so slow I have been trying to find ways to make more money.
I know that if I am going to write that I can't work two jobs and that my stitching job will probably be the one that falls by the wayside. I have known that for a while and have tried to quit the stitching job for two years but I keep getting sucked back in. So even though I guess I'm having anxiety dreams about my changing identity I should just embrace it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Writing Group

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting with one of my writing groups.
This is a great group of writers and I get so much from them whenever we meet. I love getting their feedback on a story and then spending the time revising to answer some of the questions that come up and play with their suggestions.
I also love the ah-ha moments. When someone really has a realizations about something about their story during our discussions.
There was one of those moments today.
Last month one of the people in the group recommended Take Joy by Jane Yolen. I just got it on my most recent trip to the library and I really like it. One of the things she writes about is the need to elevate a story from real life into fiction. So today we were talking about how to do that with one of the stories and then the ah-ha moment came for the writer.
I love reading everyones work and being a part of that process. I can't wait to have a bookshelf full of books written by people in my writing group.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What I'm reading

I just finished the most amazing book. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
It seems that even when I read books from the grown up section of the library I am still reading books where the main character is a child. Recently I read My Sister's Keeper and The Secret Life of Bees is another recent read that comes to mind.
This book follows that life of Oskar Schell as he comes to terms with his fathers death. His father died in 9/11. Mixed in are the stories and letters of his grandparents who lost everything when Dresden was bombed.
This book has been on my list for a long time but I don't buy a lot of books. This is due to the fact that my appetite for reading and books is more than I can both afford or have space for. In the book Oskar's great grandfather has a shed behind his house made out of books. So when a person pulls a book from the shelf it creates a space in the wall. This is what I would have to construct if I bought all the books I wanted to read.
Oskar is nine and he obviously has a lot of fears and he is such an honest character in how much he misses his dad. He goes on a search for a key that he found in his father's closet. Oskar is very scientific. He sets out to meet every person with the last name of Black in New York City and ask them about a key he found. He meets a lot of people on his journey and you get to hear their stories too.
There are also letters from his grandparents. His grandmother lives in a building next door. Oskar is the most important thing in her world. Through her letters you learn about her life of loss in Dresden and how she lost her family and all she had. She came to America to start new.
This was an amazing book and I would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The best childhood toy

The other day at work Isabell Monk O'Connor stopped by. She is an actor around town but has also written some children's books. She had in her hand a silver plastic hoop. At first I thought it was for the kids who were lucky enough to attend Target Play Dates but I was wrong. She brought the Hula Hoop for us, the lovely ladies of wardrobe. Awesome.
Here is what I have discovered- I'm still good at Hula Hooping. Seriously it is like all those years between when I was 10 and now never happened and much like riding a bike I just picked it right back up again.
It is really fun. It is kind of like being a kid again.
So I went to movies at the park by my house and there were Hula Hoops out for that event so I did some more hooping on my day off from work.
My week has begun again but I still want more Hula Hooping. I checked my gym which used to have hooping classes but doesn't have them anymore before going on a quest for my very own Hula Hoop. I think I should have made one but I'm just wanted instant gratification today so I checked at Target where they did not have any. Finally my search for clip on sunglasses and a hula hoop lead me to Kmart where I had the option between the Wave hoop which has water inside, the basic hoop which seemed really light after you have been using a wave hoop and the cosmic hoop. The cosmic hoop was $9 so I ended up with the wave hoop.
It is awesome but my scaredy cat is afraid of it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Goonies

I watched The Goonies at my neighborhood Movies in the Park.
I have to say that this movie was just as good as I remember it being when I was a kid. It has everything a movie could want, pirates, bad guys, rich guys and cool kids that out smart everyone.
If you've never seen this movie basically the rich guy in town are going to foreclose on the poor section of town known as the Goon docks. They want to turn it into a country club. The kids in the movie want to save their houses so no one has to move.
They find a treasure map in the attic and some paper clippings about a pirate ship that was supposed to be hidden on the coast somewhere.
There are also a band of bad guys known as the Fratelli's who escape from prison at the beginning of the movie.
The kids decide that they've got nothing to lose and so they tie the older brother up and go look for the treasure.
Their search leads them to the Fratelli's hideout where they climb down a fire place and end up in tunnels under the city filled with booby traps.
They end up walking through the wishing well where Mikey makes the best motivational speech, ever.
They find the pirate ship but then the Fratellis show up and they run leaving all the pirate gold behind.
When they show up on shore safe and sound everyone is happy, the Fratelli's are caught but the rich guys still want to foreclose on the house. But one of the kids has managed to get some jewels out of pirate land and everything is good.
The pirate ship, still full of gold, sails off into the sunset and no one goes after it.
So the thing I wonder is why doesn't anyone go after the ship full of gold? When I watched this as a kid I just figured they went after the boat after the credits rolled. But then again maybe all they needed was the marble pouch of jewels. I mean the whole point of going after the pirate ship was so they wouldn't have to leave the Goon Docks so if they got the ridiculous amount of gold on the pirate ship they would end up leaving to Goon Docks to be neighbors with the rich guy Troy and his dad. So they just got what they needed to save their way of life.
But it was a really fun little trip down memory lane.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Nicest Rejection Letter. Ever.

So today I opened my mailbox to find a rejection letter. Since I am waiting to hear on a story from a magazine I thought this is what it might have been about. This was a rejection letter for a manuscript that I sent out in January.
First of all it was a personal rejection letter not the typical form rejection.
The letter talks about how much she loves the concept of the book and how she thinks it would be a valuable resource for children.
The letter was so positive that it made me really bummed that this publisher would not be a home for my book.
The letter was so encouraging that it has been taped up next to my acceptance letter from the magazine that is publishing a story of mine this fall.
So yeah even though it is a rejection letter it is still really nice and positive and from the letter I feel like she really wanted to see this be a book.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Another Blog

OK so I have decided to start another blog. It is a blog about what I do for work.
Since I'm trying to keep this blog more about writing I wanted this other blog to be its own thing.
I feel like my job is fun I have lots of funny things to say about my experiences working as a wardrobe girl as well as stain fighting tips and stuff so check it out.
Dressing Them Up

Saturday, August 01, 2009

cat vs. dog person

I am trying my hand at a nonfiction story by writing about the dog my Mom is training. The dog is a Leader Dog and my Mom is a puppy raiser so she has the dog for a year before he goes to be tested and trained.
I am always reading about how children's magazines are looking for nonfiction stories so I thought this might be kind of fun to write.
The thing I wonder is how a cat person like myself can write so many stories about dogs. The story I worked on last year in my ABC's of Writing for Children class was about a dog. Is there some dog person buried deep inside my cat person? Or does writing give me a way to imagine all these dogs as I would like them to be but without having to own them and walk them and clean up after them.
I would say that I prefer cats for all the stereotypical reasons that people prefer cats but I happen to have the neediest cat in the world. He waits for me by the door to come home at night and if there is a change in my schedule that requires me to be away more than normal he makes himself sick with concern. So the whole idea that cats are independent creatures doesn't work in my favor since sometimes my cat behaves more like a dog than a cat. My other cat is aloof and quiet while plotting my demise.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In my mailbox today

Like many writers there is always a little bit of hope when opening my mailbox. Especially when I am hoping to hear back from a magazine that they love my story or something.
Today I opened the mailbox and found the annoying advertising circular and a letter addressed to my cat. From the vet.
OK I love my cat and he lives a very good life and has a few fans. Last year when he was sick he got a get well card.
The letter inside was written to my cat. "It is time for your vaccination." "Please remind your owner to call and schedule your appointment."
Does the vet realize that my cat doesn't have thumbs which makes opening mail hard. I suppose he could use his teeth but then where would we be.
Does the vet know that my cat runs in terror if he thinks there might be a chance we will have to go there. If it had been up to the cat to remind me the letter from the vet would have gone the way of bad report cards. It would probably be lost under the doormat right now.
I think this attempt to be cute fails because every time I walk into to vet they try to extract the most money possible from me. When I took my cat there last fall when he was sick I suggested that they do a $65 urine test and they suggested a $250 test that tested everything but the urine. In the end my cat ended up having crystals and getting blocked up and the whole experience cost me $1500 because they wouldn't do a $65 test. When I brought him in for his 6 month check up they suggested I do this $250 test again. I think it is time to find a new vet as soon as this vaccination is finished.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ

The other day a walk around the park proved to be a good break from writing. Observing some of the park goers also proved to be inspirational for a story. I came home from the park and wrote a rough draft for a short story.
One of my dream jobs in life would have been to come up with names for nail polish colors. I thought this would be the perfect job for me when I was in college and was wearing a lot of the Street Wear and Urban Decay lines. Colors I wore at the time were Blood, Gun Metal, and Envy.
I stopped wearing nail polish shortly out of college when I became a server. I worked at a couple places that were pretty strict about the uniform. Both places were a little pricier and nicer than just going to Applebee's or Perkins but they were not quite fine dining. Both places had fairly strict uniform codes including starched shirts and a certain color shoe. Both places had the same view on nail polish. Nails had to be kept neat. If nail polish was chipped that was considered Tacky and was not allowed. Both places would send people home if the uniform was not up to standard.
But I've been using nail polish a little more often lately and I find that I am still love the names of nail polish colors. Which is why I have been trying to remember to look for the OPI color Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ. I remembered to buy it yesterday while at Target.
I first found out about this color through Facebook quizzes since this is the OPI color that describes a couple friends. When I saw that there was a Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ I had to have it.
When my dad started going through the Jimmy Buffett phase of his midlife crisis he traded in his 26 foot sailboat for a 45 foot sailboat. The boat he bought belonged to Mrs. O'Leary's great great grandson. He even left us stationary with his letterhead on the boat. Inside the large O was a picture of a cow kicking over a lantern lest you forget why the O'Leary's are famous.
Sadly my dad traded the boat in for a motor home about 6 years ago when he began the Texas Hold 'em phase of his midlife crisis. But I still feel connected enough to Mrs. O'Leary and her cow that I needed to own the nail polish with her name on it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

inner editor

The challenge the last couple days has been my inner editor. For some reason my inner editor has become way to loud on certain projects.
Fortunately the inner editor has not been so noisy when I have been working on my middle grade novel but when I sit down to work on something shorter my inner editor is like "Too much dialogue." "Not enough conflict."
I am always able to send my inner editor away to "inner editor camp" in November for National Novel Writing Month but for some reason my inner editor will not go away lately. Perhaps I need to enroll my inner editor in a day camp for the summer.
It could be that I should just focus on the middle grade novel but I like working on shorter things as well. Even though I like my middle grade novel sometimes it is nice to have a little break from that. It is good for me to write and revise smaller pieces because then I can put into practice some of the things I've learned about writing for children.
So today I will try to silence the inner editor so I can get some of these stories out of my spiral bound notebook and into my computer notebook.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Dance

Happy Dance. Happy Dance.
A couple weeks ago I brought my rejected story to my writing group to see what could be done. My writing group loved it and gave me a couple suggestions and one of the ladies in my writing group suggested I send it to a friend of hers who works publishing a Sunday School paper. Since the story was about Christmas she thought they might be interested.
So my writing friend emailed her contact and they said they would be interested in reading it if I could get the story to around 300 words. Which I did. And now Happy Dance, Happy Dance because they are going to publish it.
This is really great because it is just the encouragement I needed. I know that there are people who get like 200 rejection letters and still they manage to keep going. Since this story was about Christmas it just felt like it needed to get picked up soon or wait until next year.
My Mom is super proud and excited.
I am super excited. So anyone on my Christmas Card list who normally gets one of the nice Courage Center cards will be getting a copy.
So that is my awesome news. Now back to the writing board to work on more stories while I am still riding the wave of confidence that comes from being accepted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I had my writing group last week and I brought my previously rejected story in hopes of suggestions for making it stronger. Not only did I find some suggestions and much love and support for my story so I am not going to apply the changes and send it out again.

In other exciting news I gave award winning playwright Tony Kushner a pony dressed to look like him. I think he liked it.

Pony Kushner

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A life of luxury

Due to mounting dental bills and less work at my full time job I talked to my boss at my second very part time job about picking up a couple days a week in the fall.
It was hard to ask to be able to do this but since the money that I had saved so I would be able to only work one job and use my free time for writing is now the money I need to save because the economy sucks. And because I am anticipating a large dental bill and a lot of time off in the fall I asked.
I think that this is the most temporary solution and would work the best for me. As long as I set my boundaries and don't work more days than the two I have committed to I think it will be OK
One of my co-workers was asking me about it and her comment when I said I was picking up two days of work therefore giving up two days to write. "So it's time to give up that luxury."
I think what bugged me is that I don't think of writing as a Luxury. I don't think of working only one job as a luxury. Many people only work at one job.
I work hard at writing and it is something that I feel I have to do. I guess that I feel it is important whether I am cramming in writing time on my lunch break or spending a couple hours writing.
I guess if I was sitting on my boat, wearing diamonds and driving a mercedes then I would think of writing as a luxury.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Yesterday I went to my mailbox eagerly awaiting some news of a story I had submitted to a magazine. Yesterday I opened my mailbox to find a rejection letter.
I have gotten my fair share of rejection letters since I started submitting my work usually with the "Does not fit our present needs" box checked.
Yesterday was a little hard on me because the box checked was "It involves stereotyped roles." So now I need to decide do I rewrite the story and try to get rid of "stereotyped" roles or do I scrap the story all together or do I not change a thing and just hope a different magazine will not be as picky about "stereotyped roles". The added challenge is that it is a story about Christmas so I am not sure if I have enough time to completely revise it to eliminate some of the things that might be considered "stereotyped" roles.
The rejection did help me make other decisions like "Which story should I send to writing group?"
The rejection did not help me with the decision of taking a writing class this summer which I want to do but the only ones that fit are on Mondays-my only night off. It's hard to give up the only night off.
I am trying out a second writing group which is nice because it gives me a new set of eyes looking at things. I am trying to remember in writing group to do my best to bring out the best in other people's stories. I think sometimes it is hard to remember not to just praise the story but to give suggestions. I think the thing is hard is knowing that these stories are like people's children in the way that they feel about them. I sometimes feel like if I have a suggestion is like insulting someone's child.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

writing and rewriting

Earlier this week I met with my writing group. I was excited to see what they had been working on for the month and I was excited to share what I had been working on.
Currently I am working on a novel and my main character is in sixth grade. She gets to the first day of sixth grade and finds out that she is in a class with her almost step brother. I was happy to hear that my writing friends like my character and my story and to find out things that I can do to make it better.
I have done NaNoWriMo twice but it is so much nicer to write a novel slowly and to really have a handle on where it is going and to have the time to get to know your character and have them develop over time.
Whenever I hit a writers block I go and interview my character.
It has been fun to hear what people think and get ideas and see what their questions are.
I went to a critique group last month and one of the writers was so clear in her writing that as a reader you always knew what the character was doing and why.
In other news I finally figured out my scanner. Really I never installed the software since I have a Mac I thought it wasn't important for me to do but then I could never scan. So I downloaded the software for the device and now I can scan. I spent some time yesterday scanning old family photos of grandparents and such.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Last night my front brake cable on my bike broke which left me with a very inadequate back brake.
So I took my year old bike to the bike shop where I felt like a person who goes to the dentist without brushing and flossing first. The guy working on my bike told me that I had been hard on my bike. I guess that it is hard not to be hard considering the pot holes and bad roads.
My back brake was completely malfunctioning. I tried to explain that it had been like that for forever and that I asked about it when I brought the bike in last summer for the 90 day tune up but that since I had never known any different that I never didn't push the issue.

But really this is a story about my cat. When I brought my bike home my little cat had to check out the bike and she took special interest in the new brake. So it must have met her approval. I know that animals have a heightened sense of smell but I had no idea it included new bike parts.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm a winner

I was excited to be able to attend the MNSCBWI workshop today. There were two authors presenting on the Nuts and Bolts of Children's Writing.
It was fun to connect with friends who write for kids and to see so many familiar faces from classes and events I've gone to over the years.

There was a drawing for door prizes too and I won a door prize. There were books to chose from. Since the book with the pink cover had already been picked I chose the On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin and it's signed.

I must admit that in my youth I read could not get enough of the Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. I think at one point in time some friends of mine and I even tried to start our own version of the Babysitters Club. We were not as successful as the kids in the books but I still did a lot of baby sitting.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What I'm reading

This week I read the book Miss Spitfire Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller. I have to say it was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down.
The story is told from the perspective of Annie Sullivan and follows her first month of trying to teach Helen Keller. Through out the book there is some background on Annie Sullivan like her memories of the time she spent in the almshouse and her memories of losing her brother. I know that I have seen the Miracle Worker but reading about it I found myself turning the pages. I think the moment when Helen finally makes the connection of water and the finger spelling really means something is really a magical moment. Also reading about this bond that this student and teacher had was really amazing.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Wallet

Yesterday I got a new wallet.
I carry a wallet because I don't carry a purse. I can't remember purses. I lose purses.
Normal people go to a store and buy a wallet or maybe get a wallet for Christmas. Not me. I go to work.

L: What is that? Is that your wallet?
Me: (looking at the fire hazard receipt holder in my pocket) Uh yeah.
Note- Now I am preparing for a lecture on the state of my wallet. How I should take some time to clean it out or just get a new one or whatever but no here's what happened next.
L: It's perfect. Can I have it for the show. I'll let you pick out one from stock.
Me: Uh sure. Let me clean it out.
L: No I like the stuff. Just take what you need and leave the rest in there.
Me: Cool
So I get rid of some things I don't need anymore like my Northwest Airlines frequent flyer card and a bunch of receipts and I get a new wallet. Despite all the sensible choices I chose one with flames and a chain. I ditched the chain but kept the flames.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Today was the annual May Day festival at Powderhorn Park.
As I was sitting and waiting for the parade to start I heard a kid across the street yelling "Baby Mohawk!" "Baby Mohawk!" (Note: Babies with mohawks are not an uncommon sighting during May Day)
Then the kid across the street started yelling "Baby Blue Mohawk!"
I looked around me and realized that I was sitting next to a Baby with a Blue Mohawk who will now be called Baby Blue Mohawk.
I managed to get the mohawk in a picture which makes me happy.

So Happy May Day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cat Blog

I've been thinking of starting a cat blog. Or rather letting my cats blog. Not sure what they would write about. Napping? Toy mice? Eating?
Is this really a way for me to avoid my own writing?
I got two rejection letters in the mail this week. Does not meet editorial needs.
Now I am just trying to decide where to send my latest creation which has to be sent out like right now because it is a story about Christmas.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I went to visit my Dad in California and had the most wonderful time.
We went hiking in the hills where he normally hikes. The trail we were on was part of Bidwell Park which is the the largest municipal park in the country.
We went to the Sierra Nevada Brewery which was really fun. I used to work in a brew pub so it was fun to sample the different beers.

We went to San Francisco for a couple days since I had never been and my Dad thought it would be fun for me to see.
We went to Fisherman's Wharf and saw the Sea Lions who took over Pier 39. We rode cable cars, visited Chinatown and went to Ghirardelli Square. The next day we rented bikes and biked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

We biked all the way to Tiburon but my future recommendation would be to bike to Old Mill Park and then bike back to Sausalito. I think it was just too long a distance with nothing touristy to look at in between Old Mill Park and Tiburon and it is really hilly.

I didn't get much of a chance to write but I did take a picture of a plaque of Robert Frost.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And the winner is not...

I spent this weekend spreading the word that I had won third place in The Meltdown Challenge at my Y. A team weight loss competition at my gym. Third place comes with a $50 prize which was really going to be exciting until I got an email last night that there had been a mistake in the tally and we had not won third place. OK so that is kind of a bummer. I feel like we should get good sportsman prizes since we were told that we had won and then it changed. But I guess that I will probably just have to accept that although there is no cash prize that I lost 10 pounds and probably feel a little better about myself then I did when I started.
I have gotten stronger as well and I am at my summer biking weight even though it isn't summer yet. woo hoo.

Friday, April 10, 2009

what stresses me out

Today I had an appointment at my little part time job. While I was there I talked with my boss about possibly changing how I get paid for rentals or changing how much I see of the restocking fee. So my boss said that we couldn't change the amount I get paid but if I wanted to stay and work a couple hours cleaning in the storage areas that I could. I said that I couldn't stay any longer today explaining about my busy week. Rental on Monday, Babysit on Tuesday, Matinee on Wednesday, errands on Thursday and Rental on Friday.
My boss said that he could tell I had baby sat because I had seemed stressed. Meaning that baby sitting stresses me out. I don't actually think this is the case. I think that not being able to write stresses me out. Running around and doing a bunch of other things that aren't writing leaves me with very little time to write. So instead I am thinking about stories I have written or story ideas I have in my head. I get stressed because I think about how I am not working on my writing.
In addition to getting stressed I get frustrated because I know that I should be setting side the time to write and not saying yes to everything. I am working on not being frustrated with myself when I chose to do something other than writing. Being frustrated means that I come back to my writing and write about being mad at myself for letting other things get in the way of writing.
I feel like it is better to be a little busy now and to take these opportunities to make a little extra money right now in hopes that I won't have to work two jobs at the same time and really steal time away from my writing.
I have been working on a story which I have been writing in a notebook for now until I have the time to sit and write at my desk on my computer. It is going really well and is really fun to write.
When I've written my NaNoWriMo novels in the past I have just written and not really worried about revising and structure. This time around I am taking my time and really thinking about chapter and timeline and plot.

Monday, April 06, 2009

What I'm reading

In addition to trying to write I also try to read a lot. Since my interest is in writing for teens I tend to read a lot in the teen fiction genre. This weekend I read a book that has been out for a couple years now and has been on my to read list for a while and it just happened to be at the library that I stopped at to return my books.
From the moment I started reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher I was hooked. The main character gets a set of cassette tapes mailed to him with no return address. The tapes are from a girl named Hannah who is dead. Being on the tapes means that he is one of the reasons Hannah is dead.
From the moment I started reading I was pulled into the story. I think I was driven to find out how the main character falls into the story. I think this story really makes you think how you treat people. Maybe what each of the people on Hannah's list did was small but it all added up to make her feel like no one cared for her. Like when she needed a friend or a kind word the most they couldn't be found.
When I read this book besides being totally engrossed in the story it made me want to be a better writer. I feel like this book is so well written and it makes me return to my own writing wondering if I picked up something I wrote and this book which one would I keep reading. How do I make my writing the kind that can't be put down?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The other day I had a fun idea for a middle grade novel. I started writing it in my journal. I was thinking about something that I think Flannery O' Conner ( I think) once said that anyone who has survived childhood has enough to write about for the rest of their lives. So I started writing a story based on a childhood experience of mine. Well it is more inspired by something from my childhood but I think the character is going to take off.
I have been worrying about work and the economy and writing about how that has effected my writing. For the last year I have been trying to say no to a lot of extra stuff so that I can focus more on my writing. This past year was the first year that I had actually been employed year round at my full time job. This meant I didn't have to worry about finding part time work but instead have been able to spend more time taking writing classes and writing in general.
I had a great experience taking a children's writing class and now we still meet as a writing group. It has really made me a better writer. It has given me a lot of confidence as a writer.
The other day my tooth started hurting. A lot. So much that going to the dentist seems to only option to get rid of the pain. So I am going for what will probably end up being a root canal. ew.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yesterday was a good writing day.
I was able to channel some of the stress and concern I feel about the economy into an idea for a story.
I also got a contest submission in the mail.
Even though winter is hopefully winding down here in MN and spring will hopefully be arriving soon a couple of the things I am writing are winter pieces. This is good since magazines look into the future and are hopefully looking for winter pieces in the summer.
The good things is that when I go to my writing group on Tuesday I will have things to share instead of having to say that I have been a slacker for the last month. yay.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


my sister and I

I am currently working on a kids story. In the story the main character's little sister is always ruining her toys. Usually by accident. I have been trying to think of things that little sisters do but I am trying to keep the little sisters actions more accidental. So far I think I have come up with some things that the little sister does that kids can relate to.

I am into fitness. I love to swim, bike, run, swing a kettlebell and play sports. But I must admit that sometimes I need to slow my movement down in order to think about a story. Good ideas always come to me when I am walking. When I want to work out a problem in one of my stories I take a walk. New ideas occur to me when I am walking as well.
I am also able to get story ideas when I am swimming. But this happens less frequently.

Today on my walk home from the coffee shop I had a great story idea so I am excited to play around with it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

stress and writing

Lately it seems that all the stress in the economy has stifled my creativity a little when it comes to writing. Instead of spending time writing I have been spending time worrying about how much I will be working in the next year and once again I have been taking any chance to work in addition to my normal full time job. These little jobs tend to take away from the time that I would usually set aside for writing.
I find it hard to write and set aside time for writing when I am thinking about what I should be doing to ensure that I continue to have a steady income stream. Should I find a part time job that I can work more at when I have time off from my full time job or should I pick up more work at my old job? The problem with working at my old job in addition to my full time job is that the work there is full time which means working 72 hours a week and driving 1 1/2 hours a day. It means leaving my house at 7:15 a.m. and not getting home until 11 p.m. This leaves me with no creative energy to write and then when I do come back to writing I feel like I have taken huge steps back.
This week I don't have a lot of other things going on so I will be able to get some writing done.
I feel like I still have deadlines for contests I want to enter and since I had been concentrating on submitting some things that I had written I feel like I need to get back to that.
I am looking forward to a half day writing class I am taking in April.
My writing group meets next week so hopefully that will get me back on track as well. I am working on a couple things including a story that I would like to send to a magazine for tween girls.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Last year I attended a conference here in Minnesota for children's writing. It was a lot of fun and I was really looking forward to attending again this year. Until I saw the brochure and saw that the price went up $100 from last year with no option to save money by only attending for one day of the conference.
So now I have decided to use my gift certificate for classes instead. I got so much out of the last class I took including a writing group that is made up of the members in the class. I would rather pay for another class and get to go to spend 6-12 weeks working on a story.
I recently read a book called Chapter by Chapter by Heather Sellers. In the book she talked about how in order to write a book you need to write. I have been trying to apply this to my life but the economic downturn has got me kind of worried which means that instead of writing I am doing things like baby sitting or picking up more hours at my second job. Then at the end of the week I realize that I have not gotten any writing done and that I haven't spent nearly as much time revising the things I have already written.
Writing is really something that needs to be done on a regular basis. I am finding that if I write everyday I am more ready when new ideas come. I am more perceptive to ideas for stories when I am writing on a regular basis. When I take time away from it I have a hard time getting back into the groove of writing. I end up spending time feeling guilty for not writing and thinking about all the things that took me away from my writing in the first place.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Running and Writing

A few years ago I became a runner. This has helped me so much as a writer.
I am not a gazelle who is going to win prizes or running shoe endorsements so running give me time to think about things that I am writing about. I think a lot about how to solve problems in my writing when I am running.
Since I finish races in twice the time as people who finish first I obviously run for different reasons. But this not coming in first all the time, well ever, has taught me self acceptance. Before I started running I would write in fits and starts and I would submit my work and it would get rejected and I would think that meant I wasn't a writer. Not winning races does not make me less of a runner just as not having my work in a book or magazine doesn't make me any less of a writer. Although it would be really cool to have a book published.
Groups are very helpful for both things. My running group pushes me to be a better runner. Those ladies push me to run farther and faster than I would on my own. My writing group does the same thing for my writing. It is so great to be connected to both groups.
Running is something you have to do on a regular basis if you want to be good at it. This is true of writing as well. No one would expect to run a long distance without first training for it. You run, you train and you work up to the distance. Most people do not wake up and say "I think I'll run 10 miles today" without having done some running before. The same is true for writing. It is something that needs time and practice and the more I work at it and make time for writing the better I get.
They both take commitment. There is always something that would be better than running 5 miles or writing 5 pages but once I do it I can cross it off my list of things to do and go about my day feeling accomplished.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Writing goals

I don't really consider it a new years resolution because I started working on it in December. I think I just figured why wait until the new year to start?
I have been trying to focus more on writing. After taking writing classes and filling my toolbox with writing tools I feel more confident about writing. I am focusing on writing, revising and submitting stories.
So far I have been doing well. I have a couple projects that I am working on and I have actually been working on them.
Actually having stories that I have written that I need to revise is good motivation. Instead of turning on the computer to a blank page I find that I get to revisit a new friend.
As many writers know looking at a blank page can be very scary. Just getting enough written before an inner editor takes over to tell you what is wrong with it can be a race.
The challenge for me is saying no to other things that come up. So the real goal this year is to treat writing as more of a job. I have been writing to do lists and I have been doing tasks from said lists. Tasks include sending out submissions, working on new stories and revising stories that have already been written. So far it seems to be working.
Having the list has been helping me take the writing more seriously. Now when people ask me to do things like baby sit I am able to put my own limits on how much I can do because I have tasks that I have to do for my writing.