Good Intentions; Bad Planning

Back at the end of May I had quit my day job of janitorial cleaning to focus all of my attention on my writing; actual writing, revising, fretting, more writing, reading, and getting things ready to be sent off.

Well, I started off with good intentions, as we all do at the start of something new.  The prospect of finally being allowed to put all my energy into my writing was exhilarating.  Finally, time to just write.  No worrying about my job.  No more trying to remember codes.  No more driving in the dark.  Just the sheer bliss of doing something I’ve longed to do since I was a child.

But things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, do they?  I was very focused in the beginning; diligently writing for 3 to 4 hours a day, taking time to revise pieces I had already finished, reading articles on the writing craft, and how to publish; etc.(sigh).  I had even joined a writers’ group.  But as time went on, something began to take my focus off of my writing.  It was a television show here, just one or two chapters more in the book I was currently engrossed in, and, the biggest time suck, Social Media.

Ah yes, I allowed myself to get sucked in, again.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Baird & Warner Real Estate.  Yes, I have this problem, this addiction, to view homes for sale.  Why, you may ask?  Since I was small I’ve always been fascinated by how the insides of other people’s houses looked.  Yes, weird.  No, I won’t stop.  I’ll even go as far as to admit that when I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, I still like to peek inside homes as we drive by just to see how they look on the inside.  No, I haven’t seen anything weird.

Now I have to confess my biggest weakness.  I am a horrible planner.  Not only do I have poor organizational skills, I can’t plan to save my life.  All good intentions to be at my desk writing away, but getting easily, so easily, distracted by the little nuances of life.  I wanted to remain vigil at my laptop until the end of the year and return to work then.  But alas I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain.  And I have been kicking myself.  I wanted to blame others for this.  But who else can I blame but myself?

So I vow to forge ahead, with whatever time I can carve out of a ‘busy’ schedule to write.  No excuses because I have none.  I need to plan, yes plan, when and where to send off my short stories.  And I don’t even have to make a trip to the post office either.  Most literary magazines allow you to send through their submissions manager, or email, and snail mail as last resort.  As I hang my head in shame for not having done what I had so eagerly hoped to do, I asked forgiveness from my husband, my family, and those who have supported my efforts, fragile as they are, so that I can regain my vision and continue on.

Life is short and I need to realize this dream before it slips through these fingers of mine.  I need to have this dream realized!  I don’t want to be on my deathbed, regretting I didn’t accomplish all that I believe God created me to do.  No one wants regrets.  So here I go…again.  Until next time.

 

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My Oh My Writers’ Group Experience

Okay, so I did it.  I finally attended my first ever writers’ group.  It was held at my local Barnes and Noble, and we met in the cafe area.  I brought along my daughter-in-law Kayla for moral support(I’m an introvert, so it’s difficult to go to things like this alone).  I was this close to chickening out and saying I don’t feel like going but I wrote about attending in the last blog, to hold myself accountable.  So off I went.

When we arrived, there weren’t too many people there yet.  I looked around anxiously to see who might be involved with the group.  I saw a couple of men sitting alone at tables with an open laptop so I asked one if this was where the writers’ group met and he said yes.  I was relieved I had asked the person who was actually part of the group.  We introduced ourselves and Kayla and I sat waiting for the others.

After some time passing, the rest of the group slowly filtered in and sat at a back table as others pulled a few smaller tables and chairs over to accommodate overflow.  I had seen on the group’s online site that 16 people had signed up to be there that night and I was impressed that we could squeeze so many people in a corner, and impressed with the loyalty of group members to attend.  I wasn’t the only new person, there was one other who had traveled a distance to get there.

As we sat, no one knew who we were, Kayla and I, until they asked if we were with the group and I informed them that, yes, we were new.  They warmly welcomed us over and we sat, a bit cramped, but they were very friendly.  At one point, after noticing the age range of the members, Kayla leaned over and whispered to me, “They’re all old.  Why do you keep taking me to old people stuff?”  She’s 18 and I’m sure anyone over 30 would be old to her.  I’m ancient because I’m on the cusp on 53.  Side story, when my son, Josh, and Kayla were dating, we were at a Chinese buffet restaurant and we had decided that her and I should hang out together.  And the lovely Kayla agreed and said, “Yeah, I love hanging out with old people.”  Ouch.

Anyway, I did not submit a chapter to the group’s site for critique because I wanted to see how everything worked first.  They went around and introduced themselves and then they starting discussing each other’s work.  I noticed that I did not share the same writing that they did.  I am a more modern-day literary or romance writer and have a plethora of short fiction and not novels in the works, though I do have a couple of NaNoWriMo works.  Most wrote historical, or fantasy pieces.  I did find it interesting how they kindly critique each other’s work and I felt confident, after hearing their comments, that I could do this as well.

After two hours, they were finished, and mentioned that normally there was usually a group of three or four that met every two weeks or so.  I have to say they were a very eclectic group.  Wasn’t sure what I was expecting but what I saw I felt comfortable being around, me being an Aspie and an introvert.  My husband asked me later if I was going back and I said yes but maybe only once a month or so.  I am looking forward to the group critiquing some of my work.  There are several published writers in the group and others who just have a life-time love of the written word.

So I survived my first writers’ group experience.  Now I need to work on my grammar since I’ve been told I use too many commas.  Thanks for reading.  Until next time, my friends, happy writing.  Oh, and reading because it was reported on the news this week that those who read live longer lives.  Go books!

 

Another Day in the Life of a Writer

I was always worried about calling myself a writer.  I have never been paid for my work and I’ve only been published in church newsletters, Letter to the Editor in magazines and newspapers, and had some poetry published in the local paper.  So I was unsure whether labeling myself a writer might be a mistake.

But I’ve been reassured by many writing sites that it’s okay to label myself a writer.  If you write, then you are a writer.  Simple as that.  And yes, I love to write.  It’s not something that I do, it’s actually something I need to do!  Like breathing, or drinking coffee, it’s something that if I don’t do it I feel like part of me isn’t alive.  Okay, maybe coffee isn’t the best example, but I’m sure you understand.  Well, other coffee drinkers for sure.

There are days that I can’t get enough of sitting in front of my laptop clicking away at the keys, watching in wonder as the words appear before me, like they are now.  It’s almost like my fingers can’t keep up with my brain, as the creativity flows from my fingers, making contact with the keyboard.

Other days, I find it a drudgery to sit down and write.  Not that I’m blocked, but because sometimes I just need my brain to have a breather.  So on those days I decide to do other things like read a good piece of fiction.  Currently I’m reading Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh.  Great author, by the way.  If you’re looking for a fantastic writer, there’s one right there.  You’re welcome.  Or I will go through my Writer’s Market for short fiction publications and take an index card and jot down the pertinent info about the journal, for later use.  I try and figure out the best outlets for my work.  Or I’ll go watch t.v. for a bit.  One of my favorite shows is the new Hawaii Five-O, and I’ll catch an episode on Netflix.

So there are very productive days and others maybe not so much.  But as I look at both types of days, I realize that both are needed, to keep me from losing it, my mind that is.  Sometimes us writers need to step back from the laptop or notepad and just take a deep cleansing breath.  Maybe go for a long walk, or just sit outside for a bit and soak up some Vitamin D.

Just relax, fellow writers, and take a break when you need one, unless you are on a deadline, then maybe my advice wouldn’t be the best one for you.  But I haven’t run into that issue yet; but it will happen someday.  Hopefully I won’t be complaining when I have a deadline to meet because a novel needs a little tweaking or a short story has to be sent out to an interested journal.  I am looking forward to having that shot someday, and I feel that it is only a matter of time.  Happy writing, my friends.

 

 

Short and Sweet

There are days when the sun is shining and the air has a wisp of a breeze to it, that I just don’t want to go anywhere but just sit outside and soak it all in.  I have been so bad with reading e-mails lately, and wind up deleting them inside of allowing them to settle in my inbox for a long nap.  I mean to read them, and have guilt over not reading them.  But sometimes…well, I’m just not in the mood to.

I have this silly weakness on the internet and it’s called…Trulia.  I have a thing for looking at other people’s houses.  I love seeing how they’re decorated, the type of house it is, carpet or hardwood, deck or patio, pool or hot tub…and a sauna in the house is a major plus in my book.  Don’t know why, but I’d love me a sauna!  Something about sweating it out that excites me.  Okay, perhaps that was a bit too creepy…and personal.  Anyway, I love looking at houses online, and love watching HGTV on the television.  Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, and House Hunters are my favorites.  So…now you know a little bit more about me.  Until next time…stay safe, and sane.

The Difficulty of Friendship

Okay, if you know anything about Asperger’s is that we have a difficult time making and maintaining friendships.  I just never got the hang o f it.  I probably can count on one hand the number of friends that I have.  And this isn’t an attempt to garner pity, but just sharing a truth.  Growing up, I always wondered why I was so different from everyone else.  I  wanted friends.  I just didn’t know how to get them.  I couldn’t maintain good eye contact, I was not proficient at small talk, and I wasn’t sure how to act around other people.  It just seemed to me that other women were completely into other things that I had no interest in:  scrapbooking, for instance.  I was attending a new members’ class at a local church when the discussion turned to what the other women’s hobbies were.  They gushed about scrapbooking.  I guess I just didn’t get the thrill of it.  I, for one, didn’t even have a large collection of baby photos of my two sons.  It just wasn’t something I thought of doing, as a woman with Asperger’s.  I didn’t know then what I know now.  Unfortunately for my sons, they won’t have a lot of childhood photos to look back on.

But I was always the quiet one.  Not that I always wanted to be.  I talked the ears off of people I knew.  And just ask my poor husband how much I talk to him.  He just tells me that I must be saving it all for him!  Lucky guy!  I’ve heard that us women have so many words that need to be used up in a day, and he gets to hear almost all of them.  I bet that he feels so honored!

Anyway, I am not a social person, not even with my own family.  I like to see how they all are and then I normally shut up after that.  It’s not that I don’t want to talk to them, it’s just that I don’t want to talk period.  No offense to my family. 

It’s lonely, though, not having friends to confide in, though my husband is my best friend.  I’m thankful that he does listen to me, for the most part.  It used to make me cry, wondering why I was so different.  It doesn’t anymore, because now I  understand.  It is just the way that I am.  It’s not that I don’t want to change, but there are times that I much rather be alone with my thoughts and my books.  I love reading, because they help me with my fantasy life.  I have an amazing imagination, that’s probably why I love to write.  But I won’t go there this time. 

So, if you see someone who doesn’t seem to want to be the life of the party, it may not be that they are terribly shy or standoffish, it could very well be that they just don’t feel like speaking but would much rather listen to what is going on around them.  And that’s not such a bad thing to be.

So You Want to Be A Blogger?

As you already know, I’m not very consistent when it comes to blogging. In the beginning, I had so many ideas and was excited to share anything, and I do mean anything, on it. Since I am not a people-person, it is easy for me to share my thoughts on paper, or on a blog. Something about the flow of thoughts from brain to fingers frees something within me, allowing the extrovert a bit of roaming-time. But there are still times that I’m not sure what to write, or if it even needs to be written, or shared. Will people think I’m weird? Will anyone want to read what I’m writing? Will I have the nerve to share only the easy things in my life, or delve deeper into the painful areas.

Typing out words is so much easier than allowing them the freedom to float out of my mouth. I’m not a talker, unless I know you, and then lucky you, I don’t shut up. Just ask my husband; poor guy. What do I share? Family? Dog? Work? Religion? Writing? My Asperger’s? Working out, and my losing weight? My love of reading? Okay, there you have it, all the thing I enjoy. Well, there are other things, but I won’t go there.

Right now I’m reading, Run the Risk, by Lori Foster. An enjoyable, juicy read. I guess I’ll never outgrow my love of romance novels. It must be that female thing. But I have gotten into thrillers; mostly spy ones. Has anyone read Mark Greaney or Vince Flynn novels? I have a wonderful habit of purchasing most of my books through a thrift shop. I know, it’s not helping the booksellers, but it is a fantastic opportunity to increase my collection, which is about 230 books at present. And those are only the fiction ones. I try to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour reading per day. I believe that good writers are enthusiastic readers. The first books that really got me wanting to be a writer were the works by S.E. Hinton. Also fell in love with To Kill A Mockingbird. An awesome read. Also a great classic, to me, is Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. So, that’s the reading part of the post.

Now back to my regularly scheduled post, what to write about. There are too many situations in this life that pop up on a daily basis to blog about. Kids get sick. Spouse loses job. Fight with a good friend. Dog gets skunked. This last one happened to us, twice, in the seven years we have our current dog. Or you can discuss serious issues about religion or the state of the nation. I enjoy writing about happy topics. To try and cheer others up. There’s enough sadness and pain floating out there already so why add to it. Alright, before I go off on another tangent, I’m writing about a lot of nothing probably. But it’ll get better, I promise. I’ll keep you all informed of my writing progress and when I submit work for publication. Maybe you can give me moral support, since us writers know how painful a rejection letter is.

Well, that is all for now. I’d like to write something on a weekly basis. I have to be consistent in this. Make time for the things you like, I’ve been told. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Right? Let me know how I can improve this blog. Let me know what you’re currently reading or writing. We can encourage each other. Until next time, happy writing.

Guilt, guilt, go away!

Here I go again with the guilt. I’m up at 4 or 4:30 A.M. but I don’t always know whether I should get up or not. Why? Because laying next to me is my dear husband, fast asleep. It’s: do I get up and not be here when he wakes up, or do I just stay here and try to fall back asleep for another hour or so? Trying my best to be a good wife, I at least make it a point to go to bed at the same time as he does. But I am a morning-person, always have been. So needless to say I’ve stayed in bed the past few days, shunning my early-morning quiet time/writing time. In addition to that, the time of year isn’t helping much either since the sun rises later now. During the summer, when the sun is up a lot earlier, it’s not as difficult for me to drag my butt out of the warm bed and shuffle down the hall to the kitchen table where my laptop sits, waiting.

So I discussed this situation over with my husband, and he said he was fine with it. That was a relief. I don’t want to feel guilty about my writing. I want to have a clear head to think up clever plot lines and character sketches. I do not want to bog down the old brain with feelings of remorse or uncertainty. What do I do? Can I even fall back to sleep? So, tomorrow, bright and (very) early, I will bounce, okay, perhaps that’s not accurate…stumble is probably a much better word choice…and shuffle down the hall and into the kitchen to the table where my laptop waits. I think that my brain does work better in the early morning when it’s nice and quiet in the house, for the time being. With my husband and two grown sons, and a mangy mutt, the house doesn’t remain that way for too long.

I’m ready for tomorrow morning. I’m ready to write. I’m ready to start the day off right with creativity and coffee; lots and lots of coffee. And when the day is done, I will be bathed in a joyous sense of accomplishment. Thank you, dear. Thank you, brain. I’m always happiest when everything flow together nicely.

On a side note: I recently went to one of our thrift stores and purchased a few books. I got another Vince Flynn, Alex Berenson, and Joseph Wambaugh to add to my growing collection. Okay, I hope I spelled Wambaugh correctly. And currently I am reading another fantastic romance by Lori Foster, Run the Risk. Well, friends, that’s it for now. Happy Writing and happy reading. If you’re like me, you aren’t happy if you don’t get at least a half hour to read a good book. What are you reading right now?