Thursday, December 16, 2010

I guess we just keep plugging away...

So, last year I made a New Years resolution to read more. I already read quite a bit...every night in bed, sitting in the car waiting for the kids to be done practices. Sometimes I've even been known to read while making dinner if it is a really good book. But I wanted to read even more...I wanted to make a serious dent in the never ending shelf of books that I want to delve into. So I set myself a goal of 2 books a month (not alot really...) That's only 24 for the year.

Well, now it is closing in on the end of the year and I realize I haven't even come close. Not only did I not meet my resolution, but I read so far under my goal that I'm a little depressed about it.

But rather than throwing in the towel, I'm going to try again this year. What were your resolutions for 2010? Were you more successful than me?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Club worthy?

Yippee, Hooray, Yee-haw!

Yes, the kids are back in school! (Well, two out of three anyway...but at least I'm no longer out numbered...)

It's such a relief to be done with all the running around that goes with the approaching school year. School supply shopping must be the most universally despised outing by moms everywhere. We avoid it all summer long which is why we ALL end up at Target and Office Depot on the last week of summer vacation. My school mandated supply list for two kids went something like this: 24 pack crayons, 12 pack colored pencils, 24 pack colored pencils, large white eraser (not pink, mind you), 4 folders in specific colors with NO DESIGNS, 2 folders with designs, 1 pack wide ruled loose leaf, 1 pack college ruled loose leaf get the idea. Add in one crying toddler because it was her third store in one day and she was looking at the McDonald's located INSIDE the other side of the Walmart (who's bright idea was THAT?) and you'll see why I hate school supply shopping. I'd like to say it all works out in the end, but when you get home and begin to load the backpacks, you always find there is something you forgot. For me this year, it was a yellow highlighter for my 6th grader (and yes, it had to be yellow).

But there IS a part of back to school preparations that I do enjoy: the summer reading book report. It is gratifying to see how far the kids have come since the past school year - how much their vocabulary and handwriting have improved since June. But reading over my son's report last week, I had to stop and wonder: As a writer, am I ready to have such detailed and specific questions asked of my work? And more importantly: Would there really be an answer?

Was I really foreshadowing the ending when I had the MC plant a willow tree rather than a birch or an elm? (Couldn't I have just always wanted a willow in my own yard?) Was the fact that the nanny's name was Savannah indicative of the MC's southern roots? (Couldn't I have just liked the name?) And most importantly: Was I, the author, really trying to teach a lesson or universal truth during the course of my novel? How would my novel rate as a "book club" book? And does it even need to be?

Is it possible that authors don't always intend for the literary contraptions that appear in their books or could it possibly just be a manifestation of their underlying talent that these devices arise from their subconscious? What do you think? How would your own work rate as a "book club" book?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How nice to return from a couple weeks of kid craziness - camps, practices, play dates and of course the obligatory summertime tummy virus for everyone - only to find an award waiting for me! Thanks Catherine!

In keeping with the rules of the award, I must now pass it on to five other blogs of note along with posting their links here. I hope you'll take a minute to check out these thought provoking and inspiring blogs!

1. Brian Keaney at Dreaming In Text

2. Julie Musil at her self titled blog

3. Stu at Stusplace

4. Lydia Kang at The Word Is My Oyster

5. Jessica Brooks at My Thoughts Exactly

I hope you'll check them all out and get the same insights and laughs that I do from following each! Happy reading! And as always...check out Catherine's fabulous blog at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thinking about my WIP...

So I was cruising through all the fabulous blogs I follow and came upon a post at The Writing Room (by Catherine A. Winn) that has had me thinking for days. Her post Working on WIP or Goofing Off truly struck a cord with me - her essential idea being that so long as you are thinking about your project, you are still working on it.

I love that! It explains so much about why I feel unproductive some days simply because I haven't gotten my page quota finished, yet I feel like I've spent the whole day thinking about this character or that scene. It explains how the characters that begin in my head suddenly become friends and house guests that I don't want to leave. If we as writers spend so much time getting to know our characters (while we cook, while we drive errands, while we fall asleep at night...) then of course they become more well rounded, more present to us and then their story simply falls onto the page (okay more or less...) At least that's how I see it.

It seems to take me AGES to finish the first 50 pages of a new book. Painful almost. But then suddenly I'm in too deep and the story just takes over...the characters do what they were meant to do, no matter how much I might disagree or warn against it. They have a mind of their own.

So I'm curious, do you spend alot of time thinking and "living" your characters before putting them on paper? How do you find your stories unfolding? And if you have a moment, take a stroll over to The Writing Room at!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Textbook or Netbook?

I read an article lately that suggested in a few short years, the use of textbooks in classrooms will be a thing of the past. Instead, each child will have their own laptop computer with the textbooks downloaded.

My first thought was how fabulous it would be not to have to cover any more textbooks in September! No more cutting brown shopping bags and fitting it around the book! My second thought was how nice it would be not to see my kids schlepping TONS of heavy books back and forth from school, their backs bending under the weight.

I couldn't really think of any downside unless it be the expense involved...the expense of replacing spilled on, virus ridden and lost laptops. The worry of lost computers left behind at sporting practices and dropped from counter tops in the rush to pack schoolbags.

I wonder if making laptops a necessary item might also make it more difficult to monitor web usage of children. Currently, I ration and monitor the amount of time and which sites my children use. If they are on the Internet for school, who's to say cyberbullying and inappropriate usage won't sky-rocket?

What's your thought? Textbook or netbook?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Famous Authors?

I've decided that the quickest way to get your book published is to first be famous - then you can write any old thing and they'll slap your photo on the cover and print it. Heck, you'll even get a tour of Good Morning America and The Today show to boot!

Since when did being famous (and by this I mean playing a professional sport, being an "actor" or doing something seriously questionable but acquiring fame via internet) mean that one had a talent for writing?

It seems to me that many publishers are interested solely in making money rather than looking for quality writing and unique ideas and storylines. Didn't there used to be a time when the ART of writing was simply that: an art? Somehow it seems like a "lost art" when I see every actor and athlete putting out books while serious authors who have studied the craft and spent YEARS on it can't even get an agent to request partials.

Or perhaps, I'm just grumpy today...

What's your take?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pluperfect, Shmluperfect...

Is it possible that correct grammar and word usage has changed over the years? I don't consider myself old exactly but am dumbfounded by this newfangled English that I see in my son's phonics book. Is it possible that there is a newer "modern grammar" from what I was taught &*&^ years ago?

For example, the word swim. I learned the tenses to be swim, swam, swam. I was told over and over again not to say swum. Under no circumstances was I to write "swum" on a school paper lest I invoke the wrath of Sister Angela in fourth grade. But swum is exactly what my kids are being taught to say under the guise of the pluperfect tense (which I do realize is a valid tense, just not in this case!)

Another is the word swing. I learned swing, swung, swung. They are learning, and it kills me to even write this...I'm cringing even now...SWANG. Yikes. It even looks wrong. Swing, swang, swung? Seriously? Even if it's right, I won't be using it and I'm thinking of making a $0.25 fine at my house if I hear it.

Am I the only one that finds this weird? Have the rules changed? Are there any words that just don't seem right to you?

**Ha ha...just as a footnote: when I spellchecked this entry, the only spelling mistake it found was swang!**

Monday, June 28, 2010


In my absence from the computer world, I've been watching more television. I've caught up on my usual shows like Top Chef, The Good Wife and some brainless TV that shall remain nameless. But in my channel surfing, I happened upon a new reality game show that has me truly appalled.

The show is called Downfall and it airs on ABC...the premise being that contestants have a certain number of time to answer trivia questions; meanwhile several prizes are lined up on a conveyor belt that they can win. Keep in mind that these are relatively big prizes that include grand pianos, appliances and cars to name just a few. As the time passes and the contestant can not answer the trivia question, the prizes roll off the conveyor belt and are thrown off the roof of a skyscraper only to break into pieces at the bottom. Yes - the show destroys perfectly good items all in the name of entertainment.

So I have to wonder: is this the kind of entertainment America wants these days? Really? In this terrible economy, with people struggling to make ends meat, do they really find it fun to watch things crash into a million pieces? It's horrifying to me. It's unconscionable. But mostly it is sad that the public sense of interest has fallen to such a bitter low. No wonder book stores are closing. No wonder libraries are closing for one day a week. It makes me sick as a writer to think that people are watching that junk on TV, because it can only mean one thing: they are not reading or using their imagination.

Creativity has been thrown out the window along with the baby grand piano and the new car I saw fly off the roof. I better get my computer back before I become even more jaded!

Friday, June 25, 2010



Yup, can you believe it? So, yes, I've been MIA this week biding my time until I could get online for a moment. And now that I'm here, it seems to be Friday again which means it's time for Favorite Friday!

This week, I want to share with you one of my favorite pieces of sage advice: When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Simple, right? You'd think so, but I have to remind myself of it constantly. I always want to believe the best of people and make excuses for their behavior. But since I've applied this wisdom to my everyday life, it has saved me a world of headaches - and probably heart-aches too!

So what is the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Favorite Friday

For the summer months, we're going to lighten the mood a bit. In that vein, I've decided to be fun and introduce Favorite Fridays (just for fun and to learn more about all my friends out there!)

As writers and wordsmiths, we all love words. We like the way certain ones fit together perfectly and the way others make us feel. We like the way they sound in our head and the way others sound spoken in a crowded room. Words are fabulous! So this week, I want to know your favorite word. I'm sure you have at least one - you know, the word you love to use and work into conversation. I have several. One of my favorites is panoply. It just sounds fun rolling off the tongue. Try it! But my all time favorite is ferhoodled. It is a Pennsylvania Dutch word as in, "I was so ferhoodled by his sudden affection that I laughed when he leaned in to kiss me!" I love it, love it, love it! Just saying it makes me smile.

So please share - what is your favorite word?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime!

Well, with summer break having started, I find (as I expected) less and less time to write let alone blog. And frankly, I've missed you all over the past week! I keep looking out to the backyard at the cushioned chairs under the umbrella and tell myself: "Go sit down...just for a minute." But then (inevitably) I hear the "mom, where's my flip flops? Mom what's for lunch? Mom, the baby's messing up my toys..." And sitting down just never happens. So instead, I've implemented twice daily trips to the library so the big ones can browse and read, the little one can listen quietly to story time or whatever is the program du jour and I get to SIT DOWN and think and imagine to my hearts content.

I'll be checking in with all your blogs soon to see what you've all been up to - even if I have to sneak into a closet (where no one can find me) to do it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuesday was a good day...

Aside from being sick (apparently an untreated sinus infection can lead to bronchitis...who knew?), I have had an awesome week!

Perhaps one of the most exciting moments came as I checked my e-mail on Tuesday while listening to the last half hour of Good Morning America. There I was reading and deleting with the pleasant hum of George Stephanopolous in the background and baby still sleeping. Then I heard "...hottest new book this summer, author Justin Cronin..." I just about dropped my coffee as I ran for the television. And yes, there he was: my college creative writing professor! Yup, it's true. He's written the new novel THE PASSAGE which, now that I've seen the spot on GMA, I have seen EVERYWHERE!!!

Now, yes, I know. I didn't write the book. I know this. But somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I feel validated. I feel hopeful. I just need to keep at it. Keep writing, keep editing, keep the queries flowing. I feel re-energized.

Tuesday was a good day...

In case any of you would like to check out the trailer for the book, here it is:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Joe Cool Author...

I was reading an article by Elizabeth Sims (author of the Rita Farmer Mysteries) regarding how to handsell your book. Yes, you read correctly: HANDSELL. She went a step further than listing marketing suggestions and the "create a presence on the internet" line. She suggests that authors become more assertive - bordering on aggressive (her word, not mine) - when promoting their book at signings, booths or even from the trunk of the car!

Now the article was fascinating! Engage the would be reader in a conversation about themselves (the type of fiction they enjoy or an upcoming holiday), mention your book, physically put it in their hand and voila: book sold 6 out of 10 times. Add the offer of a personalization to the would be recipient and make it 8 out of10. Sounds great...sounds like it would work on me - I'd surely by a book if the actual author handed it to me to look at. After all, how would you get around it? How would you look the author in the eye and put his/her book down and say "no thanks." It's like when you happen upon a Girl Scout cookie booth. Once you stop to look, there's absolutely no way you can walk away without buying at least one box of Thin Mints!

My only problem is that I, myself, could NEVER follow through with this plan. Though a bundle of fun once you get to know me, I'm painfully shy at first meet! There's no way I could just hustle up a conversation about Mother's Day and suggest that my book would be the perfect gift (no matter how much I believe that's true...)

I do think that selling yourself is as important a factor in how successful your book becomes, but it just seems unfair that writers (who thrive in small, poorly ventilated rooms with nothing but a computer screen and a cup of coffee) have to also excel at small talk and ad-lib performances! If you research famous writers you'll likely come up with words like recluse or private. Heck, you even hear of pseudonyms and ghost writers - you never hear of a ghost singer because performers like the spotlight.

Reading Ms. Sims article led me to wonder: Am I in the minority as a shy writer nervous about self-promotion? How did you overcome your shyness to get out there and talk up your book?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Passionate beginnings...

A big THANK YOU to all of you wonderful folks out in bloggerville who follow and read my blog!

Seriously, I've been thrilled to receive so much feedback and advice regarding my various posts lately - I couldn't be happier to find so many new friends among my followers and to hear so many different points of view. What a treat it is to log on each day and see what all of you are up to!

That being said, as I've been sifting through the MANY blogs I follow, I've been intrigued by all the diversity among us - the many backgrounds, locations and occupations that have led us all down the same path: writing. It doesn't matter if we hail from the US, Australia, England or Canada; it doesn't matter if we are math teachers, stay at home moms, social workers or engineers - we all find ourselves sitting in front of a computer screen creating people and situations that seem so real we can hardly type fast enough.

I can still remember my favorite book series growing up. It was The Trixie Belden Book Series. I read it as a pre-teen and adored it so much that I set out to write the next book of the set right then and there at age 11. Although that didn't work out quite as I had hoped (wink, wink), it did inspire a love of writing and creating that I never lost. I wrote my first novella in 8th grade (which left my teacher speechless wondering what type of Catholic School values she had instilled) and continued with short stories through high school and college. I took every writing class I could get my hands on whether it was business writing, creative writing or didn't matter so long as I was WRITING. I have kept every piece ever written and enjoy looking back at them from time to time if only to see evidence of my growth as a writer.

Remembering my own beginnings has left me to wonder: how did each of you first know that you were destined to be a writer...when did you first discover your passion?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Repressed and Depressed

Ok. I am extremely frustrated with my current main character. It seems I have done such a good job portraying the teenage daughter of an alcoholic that now I can't break through! She is such a repressed personality that even I am having trouble getting to know her! The things I want her to do - the things I wish she'd do - just don't suit her...yet. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm writing War And Peace or just going in circles.

So I spent my long weekend (which, let's face it, is a REALLY long weekend for stay at home moms) sitting in the backyard managing play dough and dueling light sabers and trying to channel my WIP. Maybe it's back to the drawing board, but I really hope not. I'm hoping that she comes up with something truly stirring and soon or else this might just be the "work in progress" that doesn't progress.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Novel idea...

As many of you know, I am in a constant state of indecision regarding whether to go the self-publishing route or stick to the old "query 'til you drop" route...which is most likely only successful if you truly do query 'til you drop rather than giving up for a month after every 50 queries which is what I tend to do. I don't really have the stamina to put my creative hat aside for long periods of time to write cover letters and research agents and their interests.

Though I'm not really any closer to a definitive decision for my own work, I did notice something interesting the other day when my Alumni Magazine arrived from my Alma Mater. I did the usual perusal for my graduation year and noted the new arrivals and who's been named to what boards and graduated which medical schools. Then I noticed a page dedicated to new publications from various alumni. Right there on the page was a color photo of each book, the author and a brief synopsis along with the book price. There was a children's book, a self-help book and two novels. I didn't know any of the authors myself, but I did recognize the publishers. In fact, 3 of the 4 were SELF PUBLISHED!

I'm chagrined to admit that my first I thought was "Oh they are self-published" as a justification of sorts. But then I recognized the little green monster for what it was and wondered if the majority of alumni reading this page would be informed regarding the various names of self-publishing companies - and would they even care? And then I thought: Who cares - this is GREAT free advertising to a HUGE alumni network!

So I'm back on the fence. Mostly because I'm perhaps not ready for the huge self-promotion work it will require to be successful as a self-published author. After all, I still have a toddler at home - my time is not really my own. Or perhaps that is just an excuse. But either way, I'm gathering the courage (and marketing ideas) so that when I DO decide, I'll go out there into the professional arena with a bang!

What are your thoughts? Any great marketing ideas from those of you who have opted for self-publishing?

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Schizophrenic Mind

Okay so my husband and I were seated among friends at a school dinner the other night and the conversation between my friend beside me went something like this:

Her: So how do you get the ideas for your books?

Me: (Stumped for a moment...after all, how do you describe the entire creative process persuasively and succinctly?) Um, uh, eh, well... (Yes, I was brilliant...)

Her: I mean, do you meet people and tell their story or what?

Me: (Laughing now at the thought that this woman was perhaps vetting me for how much to say and how likely her conversation would end up the major plot in my next novel) No, I might go somewhere and be intrigued by the lifestyle or scenery and decide to write about the people who live there. I tell the story of someone I imagine is there somewhere.

Her: But where does the story come from?

Me: The stories are just there waiting to be told. Once I meet the characters at the beginning of the book, their stories just unfold.

Okay, so now she just looks at me with her salad fork hanging somewhere between her plate and her lips as if I just told her that a multitude of personalities live in my schizophrenic mind. She thinks I'm crazy, I decided. So I shrugged my shoulders, I told her the truth...there's not much more to say. I said I'm a writer not a professor...that's not my thing.

Laying in bed later that night, I thought more about how I really do come up with my books. The more I thought about it, the more I marveled at how remarkable the process really is and how little we writers are really understood. I truly do feel like I meet my characters in the opening pages of my novels. I meet them, see what they are wearing - how they move and react to the things around them. Before long they are running the show. They show me where they have been and where they are going. It's my favorite part of writing actually.

I still remember during my last book, there came a point where my main character did something totally unexpected (even to me!) but it just felt right for her. I remember running to my husband who is always patient with my writers ramblings and said: "You'll never guess what Andie just did!" He kind of looked at me cock-eyed as if to say: "and this is news to you?"

But that's what I love. That's how I know the work is authentic and worth writing...that's how I know I'm writing something worthwhile and not simply toward an audience who wants a happy ending or a kiss here or a murder there. At the end of the day, I'm a writer because there really are a million characters out there just waiting for us to claim them and let them tell their stories.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ocean Oasis

So we mozied over to the beach last night with the kidlets to see the sun set (which was conveniently obstructed by the marine layer of course) and was reminded once again just how much I love the smell of the salty air and the sound of waves crashing against the dunes at high tide. In fact, it looked a lot like the photo at the top of my blog...which reminded me why I had put it there in the first place: I feel my most creative at the ocean's edge. I breath easily and drink it in with all my's my perfect creative oasis. I've always done my most productive writing and editing at the beach - even as a teenager writing short stories - my beach bag always has a notebook and my favorite fine tip pen (the right pen is essential!)

My husband always asks where I want to retire and truthfully, I can only think that I want to retire next door to my three children - because of course they'll all want to live on the same road next to their mother, right? But last night, as the kids ran around on the dunes and I watched the waves and the tall grass wave in the wind, I realized that what I really want is to retire at a beach front property with a cozy writing room overlooking the water with giant shuttered windows - and of course the perfect fine point pen...

Do you have a favorite place to write...someplace that releases your creativity like no other?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Since when did this computer become my life?

Today was going to be a great day. A productive day. I had my usual to-do list, but today it was filled with computerish things - sell a couple things on eBay, balance the checkbook, order some party favors for our Girl Scout Party next month, upload some pics from my camera and of course blog. Missing were the usual household chores that always take priority. Somehow I had caught up on the laundry, the dusting - even the dishes were clean. And to top it all off: THE TODDLER WAS TOTALLY IMMERSED WITH HER LITTLE PEOPLE TOYS! This almost NEVER happens that I can go online while she's awake. It seemed that the gods were truly shining down on me today.

Then it happened. I poured myself a perfect cup of coffee and tiptoed to the computer. No connection. Crazy. I tiptoed to the other computer. No connection. NOOOOOOOO!!!! (I would have screamed but for the thoroughly occupied toddler mentioned previously who might at any moment notice I'm not looking....)

So I was left to wonder (for the better part of the morning) how did this happen? How did I get so dependent and wrapped up in this computer. How did everything become a computer operation. Hadn't I balanced the checkbook by phone? Hadn't I flipped the pages of a catalogue to order things from Oriental Trading? Hadn't I taken the film to the store and been done with it for 3 days until it was developed? Had it all been a dream?

Well, don't you worry. I've learned my lesson. No, I'm not trading in my digital camera for film (after all, I'm not crazy!) But I will be sure to NEVER finish my household chores again! :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

How do things develop?

What's the deal with every agent under the sun requiring book to begin with extreme action or plot conflict within the first couple of pages?

What happened to those wonderful books that eased us into the scenery and wove us through the complexities of history all the while keeping us wondering what delicious disaster was about to erupt? Am I the only one who enjoyed those books? Has even the world of readers been stymied by the age of computer games and instant gratification? Am I the only reader willing to read background and setting description before I get to the meat? I certainly hope not.

I have been agonizing over how to rearrange my WIP so as to infuse excitement into the first few pages (just to please Joe-agent) when I don't truly believe the action belongs there. The story develops slowly and temptingly...after all isn't that usually how things DEVELOP? Does anything really develop in a hurry? Hmmm...if I think of things that develop - butterflies, young bodies, the brain, our understanding of mathmatics (which continues to elude me) - nothing develops in the rapid fashion that the current publishing and reading world says they desire.

Personally I'm about to throw it all to the wind and continue to write the way that comes naturally to me. I'm tired of writing toward a group of people I don't even know in hopes they buy into my style. My style is my style and perhaps I just need to believe in it a bit more. So my "conflict" is going back to page 25 where, frankly, I believe it belongs!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I confess - sometimes when I'm flipping through writing magazines and journals, I'll stop to read the ones titled THE 8 WRITING BLUNDERS YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE or THE 3 THINGS AGENTS DON'T WANT TO SEE - not to find tips to improve my writing necessarily. Usually it's to make myself feel better. You know the articles - when to use whom vs. who and avoid using 'ly dialogue tags. Part of me figures: I have a degree in Creative Writing, I understand grammar - certainly I can check off these "blunders" and give myself that much needed pat on the back. (Yes, I realize this is arrogant and self-serving - but that is a topic for another post!)

Well, GULP, I found a blunder. Yes. I'm sure there are many more I am guilty of, but I found a blunder that seems so basic now that I read it that I can hardly believe I succumbed for so long!

The blunder was the use of ellipses in your writing. Now I've used ellipses often in my dialogue and thought nothing of it. Heck, I've used ellipses in almost all of my blog postings! But according to this article, ellipses are cowardly and lazy. In real life people's speech and conversation doesn't just die off. Real people simply stop speaking (thus a period) or their thought is interrupted (a dash). How true. To use ellipses in your dialogue, then, would seem to be a way to rush the dialogue without paying true homage to the character's feelings and intent.

Perhaps even more humbling then realizing I've been making this blunder for so long is thinking about how many ellipses I need to now go back and fix!

I'm sure you all have many more blunders, I can add to my list. Feel free!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Charts, charts, charts...

So my friend called the other day with a discipline issue concerning her 5 year old, and while we creative problem solving, it got me thinking about how I have handled these issues with my own kids.

I'm what my children would call "chart obsessed." The second a behavior or issue presents itself, I create a chart. Not a loose-leaf, hand written, fly-by-night chart, mind you. I create large, poster board sized charts with stickers and reward points and names in big letters. And the crazy thing is: the charts work. For a time. All the charts work for a month or two - in which time, I hope the behavior has corrected itself and the chart is no longer required. Then inevitably, another chart pops up on the wall by the breakfast nook. My latest chart attempts to have more cheerful cooperation in the chore department (and so far so good) but I've recently had great luck with a chart to help track TV/video game time and keep it to a minimum as well.

On Monday, my 11 year old came home and found a new chart in the kitchen and said: "Mom, your charts are really creative." His statement made me laugh. He wasn't buttering me up or using his gorgeous baby blues to get out of work. Rather, it was just his simple acknowledgement of my effort and the creative bug inside me that apparently must come out one way or another. Perhaps if I get back to my writing more, my charts will disappear all together and I'll have to find a nice painting to hang on that wall!

So I wonder, do you find that your creative inspiration oozes out in ways totally unrelated to your writing?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Illusive Work in Progress

I read an article in Writer's Digest the other day that really got me thinking...okay worrying is more accurate.

The article focused on the number of "stories" an author has in them and how generally speaking only 1 out of every 10 "stories" ever comes to fruition successfully. The vast majority, the writer suggested, get tossed out in the first draft or sit unfinished in favor of a new story that pops into the author's mind.

Now while I read the article, I was nodding my head in complete agreement. It sounded perfectly logical and reasonable. But later as I sat down to work on chapter 10 of my current WIP, I wondered: Is this one of the 9 that will never see the light of day? Is this the one that gets away? I quickly pushed the thought from my mind considering it completely self-defeating - and quite possibly self-fulfilling - and tried to get back to work.

As a newbie...only working on my second novel, I'm curious: how many of your works in progress actually get completed?

Friday, April 30, 2010

How to be a "writing mother"?

Okay, so where does time go? And why am I fighting this inevitable evolution of who I am - or who I need to be right now?

I created this blog as a way to forge relationships with fellow writers - as a way to in essence "become" more cohesive and tied to my work. And while I do enjoy popping over to all the fabulous blogs I have since found and keeping tabs on these new friends of mine out in the blogosphere who are so busy writing up a storm, I also feel a bit scattered and inadequate. I feel a bit like the proverbial ducks in my life are not all lining up in a sequential line but rather in a dot to dot of life that I just don't have time to complete.

Yes, having three children (one a toddler at home) could be throwing me off balance...or could it just be that my writing process takes eons longer than almost anyone else. I cannot set myself word count deadlines - if I do, I simply stare at the page counting how many more lines I need to fill. I cannot leave the dishes in the sink and the laundry to pile up while I pursue that next chapter, or else I drown in a sea of guilt. And if I think about it, I don't need to let things pile up, because for some reason when my characters are ready to speak, ready to reveal themselves, they do and somehow it works. It just might take 18 months for it to all flow! Ugh. That's not great output time, I realize. But it is just how it works for me.

And so I write this entry out of frustration. Frustration that I have not been a loyal blogger for a few months, frustration that my book is not further along, frustration that I should truly be planning my middle daughter's next girl scout meeting instead of blogging... But I guess life is a game of hide and seek and I'm back in the game looking around the corner to see where my next chapter is hiding...

Tips on how to be a successful "writing mother" are more than welcome...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Proud Mama

I'm ecstatic that my son got points taken off his last book report! Crazy right? Well, here's what happened...

My ten year old son had a complex book report to do (complex in the form of cutting poster board in the shape of a kite, with different sections for different aspects of the book - characters, plot etc.) What ever happened to just writing a straight forward paper? But I digress... So I watched as he sat at the kitchen table hunched over his masterpiece writing drafts and crossing out what he didn't like. Finally, he finished his project and brought it to me to proofread (he was very excited about some of the vocabulary he had been able to work in and could hardly stand still!) Together, we made a couple minor adjustments of capitalization and basked in the glory of his completed report. Phew. It was finally done.

Well, the next week he comes home completely distraught. "She took points off of my summary," he told me. When I asked him why, he thrust the report rubric into my hand. Written at the bottom of the page, it read: "-5 pts. Summary sounds like it was copied off the back of a book."

I beamed. Is there any higher compliment than being in fifth grade and writing so well that it sounds plagiarized? Ah, I'm a proud mama indeed that maybe at least one apple hasn't fallen far from this tree!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Follow me!

Okay, I've finally joined the land of the living and joined twitter! Come follow me...lov2write...who are you?

Monday, January 4, 2010


Oh my gosh...has it really been that long? Was my last blog really in October - for Halloween?

I won't bore you with all the BORING details of where I've been...because, frankly, I've been nowhere. No exciting vacation. No book deal of the century to negotiate. No winning lottery ticket. Just trying to keep up with the holiday hullabaloo like everyone else, though sadly, it seems I didn't manage my time very well.

So: WELCOME to my new followers! I promise to be more inspiring and thought provoking in the coming weeks. Lots of New Years Resolutions to follow through on - mostly involving getting my novel out there for the masses one way or another (more on that to follow).

I'll be around to each of your blogs in the next few days to catch up. In the mean time: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!!!!