Friday, February 24, 2012

Accepting the Flow of Ideas

I have recently been blessed with two ideas for books that just took off. The first was The Great Twitter Adventure, a novella inspired by a blog post I’d done back in August. The story came to me nearly whole and I wrote it over a three-day weekend. In the second instance, I was spurred on by several questions from my friends on Twitter (and even outside of Twitter) as to how I was accumulating so many followers so fast. Again, I sat down and wrote a short guidebook over a weekend.

I used to be so rigid in what I considered my writing “schedule” that I didn’t allow for these moments of being hit by literary lightening (have I mentioned that I love alliteration?). Some part of me felt like I wasn’t being loyal to the lineup of stories in my brain. It was truly a mental block that truly got in the and here’s why.

I still have to finish my sequel to my first novel, Red Mojo Mama. That’s at least a 250 page project – probably more like 300. This takes much more coordination and effort to complete, let alone the time involved, than pumping out a 60-page novella that simply flows from my fingers to the keyboard - likewise, a 20-page guidebook. Had I chosen to wait and finish the sequel first I would have lost the freshness and simplicity of completing two relatively easy publications.

So, I’ve learned from these two experiences. I will put the more involved project on the back burner if I have an easier and perhaps more urgent mission to complete. It is not disloyal!

The only drawback here – and something I have to track internally – is the tendency to avoid the longer, heavier project because it seems so daunting sometimes. I listen to myself to make sure that I’m doing something first because that’s the smart thing to do, rather than because it’s the easy thing to do.

So, I would urge anyone that has a pressing idea to consider putting it first and then returning to the tougher project when the time is right. Just be cautious of the lazy bug!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Believe in Karma

I learned the old saying “What goes around comes around” way before I had ever heard of karma, and even at a young age, probably eight or nine, saw the truth in that statement. If you’re an observer of human interactions, as all writers are, then you can’t help but notice.

I have wholeheartedly embraced the concept of karma – when an action is seen as bringing good or bad back to the doer based on the good or bad of the action – in my life, both philosophically and spiritually. The hardest part of trying to live the theory is remembering that the boomerang effect may take years to materialize and maybe not even in this life.

Seriously, when you’ve been done wrong, it takes a really strong person to walk away and say “Well, someday it will all come back to haunt him.” On the other hand, when you know you’ve been really, really good, it’s hard to wait for Christmas morning for your reward – or years for your ship to come in.

Still, I regularly see the effects of karma – in the positive things that happen to wonderful people and in the negative “rewards” dished out to those who dump on others. It does, generally, work out within a reasonable timeframe and that’s what keeps me believing.

Wishing you, my lovely friends, tweeps, readers and those just passing by –a generous dose of good karma!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blog & Tweet

I’ll make this short and sweet. I’m no expert on blogging or tweeting, but I have had some success in building a following in a short period of time. Many of my Twitter pals have asked about how I did it. I sat down a couple of months ago and wrote a few notes about that and then it sat on my computer…

Last weekend, I revisited those notes and thought, “Hmmm, I think this might be a handbook.” And sure enough, it was.

So, I sat down and wrote out what I’ve been doing. I’m absolutely sure the result is only my way of doing it and that there are many others, but I’m also sure there are some pretty good ideas in the resulting booklet “Blog & Tweet – How to Make a Splash Online.”

If you know anyone who is struggling to get their follower numbers up there, you might suggest it to them. I’m really hoping this will level the playing field for newbies and others who could use a few tips.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Hobbit Hole

I spent another weekend writing a book, or rather booklet, and my poor RV looks it. Her official name is Wanda but in times like these, I call her my Hobbit Hole.

When I get in a head-down mode, nose to the keyboard and all, I eat at the computer, toss my clothes and everything else wherever it lands. I often worry that something will happen to me in one of these altered states and the EMTs will come to Wanda and refuse to enter. I will have lost my life because I’m a lousy housekeeper when I’m writing.

Not only do I ignore the normal nesting habits of the North American human being during these times of intensity, but I also ignore the rest of the world – with the exception of my wonderful tweeps, who cannot see me and therefore think I’m somewhat normal (I assume).

Seriously though. I left Wanda twice in two days, both times to get rations (in the form of fast food). I did draw back the curtains separating the truck cab from my living space for a few hours, so there was some sunlight.

As soon as I pushed the “publish” button, I showered, dressed and looked around me. Really? OMG (I’m sorry, but I’ve become addicted to that little abbreviation. As my grandmother would say – “This too shall pass.”) The place looked like the Tasmanian devil had whirled through.

I raced off to Wal-Mart to pick up a very necessary prescription that had been waiting since the day before (something else that had fallen by the wayside as a result of my write-a-thon). When I returned I spent an hour restoring order to my living space, which mind you is 180 square feet approximately - an hour on 180 sq. ft.! Does this tell you anything?

So Wanda has been redeemed from the nickname Hobbit Hole, temporarily. It will happen again the next time I get on a writing binge. I really don’t think she minds. After all, I also credit her for making my life simpler so that I can write.

Am I the only one who gets like this? Tell me the truth.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Versatile? Who me? No, you!

I've been nominated by the fabulous Kelley, of @Call_Me_Bookish fame for the Versatile Blogger award. Thank you, thank you. Can you see me taking my bow? Pretend you didn't see me bend over too far and fall on my head.

So, I guess I'm suppose to tell you 7 - count them - 7 things about myself and they are supposed to be true. Well, doesn't that requirement just blow the whole thing for a writer? Here goes and I'll try to keep the dramatization down to a minimum.

1 - A poem I wrote when I was eleven was published 25 years later in a magazine. Really. That's a very, very long time to wait for a $15 check!
2 - I always have a writing "uniform," which often lasts until it it just too tattered to wear. When I write - it isn't pretty!
3 - I have two big crushes on two men who with big hair who aren't even alive anymore - Mark Twain and Albert Einstein. If these two were still alive I'd be chasing them around.
4 - You can find me in a store perusing the funny greeting cards when I get sad. I don't stay sad long.
5 - Even though I often tweet or blog about Bloody Marys, I rarely drink. I still love the taste, but turned into a lightweight a few years ago.
6 - I watch Steel Magnolias when I need a good cry.
7 - I watch Independence Day or First Wives Club when I want to move myself to action - then I do whatever it is while listening to Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive.

Phew! That was tough! Now, I'm putting the spotlight back where it belongs on these wonderful bloggers:

My favorite blogger is Dannie C. Hill - Dannie writes these amazing posts about Thailand. It's like having your own personal National Geographic reporter out there. And the posts are always very personal and meaningful

I love Miss Kelley Lane - Call Me Bookish - She's a terrific blogger who shares her worldview on tweeting and other social media stuff. She's funny and terribly bright.

If you're looking for a good book to read - try Kate's Reads - she's a positive reviewer who gives you a reason to read the books she suggests.

Nicole Pyles - gives everyone an upbeat look at the world with her blog - The World of My Imagination

For a taste of life that is always colored by honor - this is the guy - Bert Carson

I just discovered Emma Calin - a Brit with a great sense of humor! She also very kind.

Jo VonBargen is a prolific poet/blogger. I'm affected by each one I read.

Rob(R.S.)Guthrie - His blog is truly about all things writing - Rob on Writing

Mari Stroud has a funny, wonderful blog - Make Pretty Words Hard.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm a Dreamer

My very favorite song ever is “Imagine” by John Lennon. This particular line always hit home – “You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.”

I’ve always been a dreamer. I believe in the better side of things and choose to live in the light rather than the darkness, which is why I have a very hard time writing dark and disturbing things.

The Wounded Warrior Valentine drive I started last week is a good example of the dreamer in me. I made it my goal to sell 2,000 copies of The Great Twitter Adventure, so that I could donate the $700 profit to Wounded Warriors – even though in a month long drive during the month of September I only managed to sell 50 books. I set ridiculously high goals at times and fully believe I can accomplish them. Why? Because it’s possible.

Things don’t to have to be probable for me to buy into them. Only possible. I believe that’s a major ingredient in a dreamer’s mindset. The negatives don’t halt us; generally speaking, we embrace the positives and go with it. Is this practical? Absolutely not. Does it sometimes work? Absolutely!

Here’s the best personal example I have of that. I went to work for the Maricopa Monitor, a community newspaper, as a reporter. Two days later I was asked if I thought I could handle being the editor. Mind you, I had never done any editing whatsoever and this position required doing the actual layout of the newspaper. I didn’t hesitate. I said I was sure I could. The next day I was the editor of the paper. My first two editions were a little sloppy, but by the third week, my paper looked way better than my predecessor’s product had.

I didn’t know what I was getting into so I just jumped and it worked out. I am very proud of that moment when I went for it without hesitation and I credit the dreamer in me. She believes in me, in the world and in possibilities. She’s also responsible for my writing.

If I wrung my hands over whether I could write, I would never write. My inner visionary becomes or falls in love with the characters, sees a future for them and sees the published book. She also clearly sees people reading the book and because of her there have been people to read my books.

Yes, I am a dreamer, unrealistic at times and damn proud of it. Come dream with me.