Saturday, July 23, 2011

Add an "H"

Just a little update to those following along....

It seems I need to add an H to my A.D.D....The Docs have officially diagnosed me as A.D.H.D.
They now have me on Aderol. They say that this will help me focus and hopefully help with my writing....jesh....that would be grand! :D

It's going to take a while to see how it effects me and If I am on the right medicine at the right dose...basically I'm a lab rat, a cute lab rat if i say so myself :P,  until we figure it out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A picture's worth a thousand words

*my friend Erin

A picture is worth a thousand words.

This picture obviously says fun to anyone looking. Girl singing into spoon in vehicle. What's not fun about that?
Anyone one who was there and experienced this moment would see even more here. I can almost hear our laughs as we goof off taking stupid pictures of doing silly things. Yes, we sing into Wendy's spoons loudly while driving down the road to a friends house. Pictures jog the memory so I will always have this moment to make me smile and think of my friend.

For a writer the rule is more like a paragraph is worth a really good picture. Instead of using a picture to tell a story writers use words to paint a picture...then a scene...then a story. If we can manage to do so successfully the reader will be pulled into and absorbed into the story. The characters and scenes will be real enough so the reader feels they could look up and be there with those characters.

I sometimes get a little wordy in my descriptions. It's about a balance. Creating your character with words that are gestures and personality so then in turn tell the story for you. Instead of "He made her feel tense as he walked over." we might substitute " She felt her muscles tense as she watched him strut toward her."

"I had a hard time getting onto the floor to dance because it was late and so crowded."
"I squeezed, shoved, and struggled my way to the dance floor to gyrate with all the other die hard party goers."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's Gonna be a Long Day: True Story

     I thought it was Max. My mind woke sluggishly to the moaning cries. Before I was completely awake I was groping for the bottle and formula, ready for the feeding that comes between 2 am and 5 am every morning. As I rolled myself out of bed to make the bottle and grab wipes and a diaper, I noticed something was off.

Max, in his bassinet next to the bed, was sleeping peacefully with the side of his face all squished onto the little mattress. The pitiful whining was muted. I stumbled my way to the door and opened it. From my door I could see my other kids' room down the hall. Vincent lay curled into the corner of the walls- where his bed snugs up against the wall, oblivious to the apparent agony of his younger brother.

As I entered the room my thoughts were turned towards bad dreams. Thinking to hug and sooth, I leaned down and immediately came back up for cooler air. I couldn't be near the heat radiating from his little body. The fact that he had a fever didn't surprise me because it  had reached 101.3 when I had taken it at 8 pm the night before, but the fact that it felt as though he could fry an egg at 50 paces had me worried.

It took longer than it should to take his temperature. I couldn't calm his and he sat in my arms, moaning and crying and miserable. When the under arm reading was only 99 degrees I knew it was wrong; so, I tried the  under the tongue method and received an only slightly higher 100.7. I am no expert, but I knew when you are too busy moaning to keep your mouth closed while a thermometer is stuck under your tongue.

Sadly, that lead to a rectal temperature being taken.

103.9!!!!!!  Poor guy!

Emergency Room here we come. Again.
Only two hours, but it seemed like we were there forever. Perhaps it was going in when night surrounded us and emerging when the sun shined with that special early morning brightness. The doctors in the ER at 4:30 am are a bit nicer and more personable than when the ER is busy.

So here we are at 8 am, Dimitri simmered down on Tylenol and Motrin and me jittery on lack of sleep (due to staying up until 1 am with crazy organizing) and my Aderol prescription.  It's breakfast time and my kids show no signs of sleepiness. Oh, Joy. it's gonna be a long day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Time flies...and zooms and creeps

"Time flies when you're having fun."

Today I took time to ponder time. I believe time is a wicked, stubborn thing, always opposing our moods and wishes. When we are enjoying ourselves- be it the quiet time parents seize, the date night an eager teen awaited, or even the blissful sleep of the dreary- time simply speeds by. Before we know it routine, mundane, unpleasant, or simply regular everyday life gets in the way.

Which, of course, brings about the point of time dragging it's hands. When it's monotonous homework, all too often occurring house work or awaiting the answer to a question- Am I pregnant? Will she say yes? Did I get that job?Will my loved one make it out of the hospital okay?- the clock's hands sluggishly creep by. And once these often stressful moments of way-to-long agony pass we find ourselves completing the circle as out mood lifts and the clock once again sprouts wings.

The same holds true when putting pen to paper or, more commonly, fingers to keys. ;)

When a writer is immersed in the story, frantically transferring words to paper in order to take the story where the characters demand it goes time slips behind all else and when the real world comes careening back and the elapsed times comes to focus, often astounding the writer.

Too often I will begin working on a story after breakfast and seemingly the next thing I am aware of is a setting sun and the kids asking what I am making for dinner.

On the other hand, to balance the scales, sits the dreaded writer's block. A complete loss. A loss of wording, ideas, direction. Though it's dealt with many different ways- jittery nothings, such as Internet surfing, to bring about strokes of inspiration or deep meditation for instance- writer's block is highly effective in dragging the hands around a clock. Like trying to watch a plant grow. Changes are happening, but the process of watching these changes every second would surely lead to madness.

When I find myself at such a loss I turn to the Internet or my kids, who provide plenty of stimulation and opportunity for inspiration.

And so, it seems that sayings such as "time flies" and "a watched pot never boils" hold truth. Truth enough to be documented throughout history. Truth enough to annoy me at times! ;)

Do you ever experience time jetting past without your notice? What do you do to fight off writer's block?
Comments, funny stories, suggestions all welcome  ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Suspending Reality

      The ability to suspend reality is many fiction writer's Holy Grail- most definitely for fantasy writers.

This technique places people so deep in a story that they aren't worried about the fact that men can't really turn into giant snakes.

With the right information, even if it's completely bogus information, plot, characters and wording anything is possible. Any story idea is plausible.

Think about it.Witches, flying brooms, personality altering rings, vampires, vampires that sparkle, wardrobes to alternate worlds, talking animals.....
How real is any of this? Do you think someone told J.K. Rowling that a story about kids going to school for magic, driving flying cars, waving wands and flying on brooms was silly? Unbelievable?

The subject matter makes no difference. It's the presentation and delivery of the subject that matters. You can make up entire worlds if you choose your rules and stick to them while making you world.

Getting Started

??? How does a writer get started ???
They decide.
Many decisions have to be made when writing. Saying a writer must decide on plot and characters is placing many decisions, almost always overlapping, into only two words.

Some writers begin with a plot idea and shape their characters to work in that plot.
Other writers flip it. Creating the main character(s) first and twisting a plot around their personality.
Some times, writers will start with a scene. From there they deepen their characters and wind a plot from, around, or to that scene,

Plot ideas can come from anywhere, anything. Influence is all around us. We just have to look. For example, My drive to write romance comes from Cinderella.
Maybe you saw a movie and thought you would like it better this way. Or you read a book and thought "Good Lord, I'd kill to read something not about vampires...or at least with something new in it." There ya' go. A starting point. You have to write something you would want to read.

"Man, I can't find any books about pixies trying to take over the world!" Well, I guess you'd better start writing about it then.

And now, someone out there is thinking, "Pixies taking over the world? That's ridiculous. Who'd read that?"
That is where the trick of suspended reality comes into play.

It's good to write what you know. That is a whole other realm to find plots and characters in. If you really want to write about something that you don't know too much about research it. Research is a writer's friend.

I find it most amazing when writers write about characters that are not like them. Though reading about a character that the writer poured their heart and soul in, literally taking pieces and parts of their personality and experiences and placing them in that character, is great and often makes for a wonderful read, I love it when I can read about, get to know, and care about a character that seems almost real enough to touch, knowing it is 100% fictional from that writer.

You can research jobs, places, events, but to create a character with a personality, a past so very different from your own and make the reader believe in that character and get to know that character is a wonderful achievement because you are placing yourself in situations, in the mind and emotions of a personality not natural to you. The same holds true for actors slipping into a role and becoming that role.

I can write about anything. You can write about anything. Just pick a starting point and write. Don't worry about your grammar, spelling, tense, POV, rhythm. Just write. Immerse yourself in your characters, plot, setting and let it flow from your mind. You will have to go back for editing and rewrites. Fix your mistakes then. Just get your story out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I don't have A.D.D. I just.... OMG!!! A Bunny!

I had a doctor's visit today, the earliest they had (oh, yay ). Amongst other things was the predicament of my attention span. As the lovely doctor lady and I spoke of options a question popped into my head (that I would later wonder why it took me so long to think of)...

                           How do you diagnose someone with A.D.D.?

True to doctor form, I got a lot of words a no real answer. My thoughts: They don't know because these particular docs don't diagnose it at all. My doctor referred me to Affiliated Psychological Services who do know how to diagnose things such as A.D.D.

That being said, my doc decided to put me on aderol- 30mg being the highest dose they give, she gave me 20mg...apparently I am really spacey =) she said, " We will start you on this dose, if it helps we'll get you an extended prescription. If, however, you start to feel....crazy" (at this point she mimed shaking...sorta like Jeff Dunham's version of a little dog that needs to poop ....if you haven't seen that- and you should, it's hilarious!(near the end of the above clip link) it looked like a kid so hyped up on sugar they couldn't be still and they were, well, shaking!!!...where was I????

Oh-Yeah! (*slaps self in forehead)

She was saying," ...Crazy, come back and we will lower you dose."

Now, for those who don't know, A.D.D. meds are stimulants. Which seems stupid since the problem is I have so much going on in my brain I can't focus. I am told that these stimulants help focus the energy into one point....hmmmm.
So, I will either have an easier time focusing- hence more writing - or....I will be bouncing off walls, unable to finish a sentence and completely hopeless!!!! Tehehe!
Meds start tomorrow. We'll see how it goes! It may make for some interesting posts! Bahahaha!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Win $1000 - poetry contest (Ends Aug 31, '11)

The World Poetry Movement is currently holding an amateur poetry contest.  It's free and 116 prizes will be awarded- totaling over $10,000. Entries can be submitted until August 31, 2011. Only one entry per contestant, so choose carefully.

Entry into the poetry contest is an easy two step process. Go HERE to enter your poem.

Bad news leads to rewrite

So far my blogs have mainly revolved around writing. Many will continue to do so, but this blog is also about my family life. It often affects my writing after all.

Anyone whose checked out my works in progress has seen the first novel I ever began on was spun off my fear that my husband, a U.S. Marine, would be mortally wounded in Afghanistan.
Today I found my fingers flying across the pages I have already written and adding more. All because of a call I received around 10:30 this morning. (She Waits- a poem from and for the military spouse)
The call that stopped my breath and had my control wavering.

My husband was hurt. Three and a half hours prior to that call my husband was doing his job and received shrapnel in his legs and arm due to enemy indirect fire for his efforts. One long conversation later, all I really knew was he is hospitalized with what the USMC considers a "serious injury". What is a serious injury, you may wonder. Join the freaking club! "Serious injury" is all I could get. Was he awake or sedated? How bad is the damage? Is there any resulting disability, temporary or life long?

But, no! I'll they apparently know is it's freaking serious!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Step one: Don't fall apart in front of the children.
              Find a balance. Let the know I love daddy and am very sad he is hurt, but reassure them that he's being taken care of. He's ok. And don't let them see me fall apart. I watch my mom, the woman I thought impossibly strong, fall apart, break and it frightened and hurt me. That I can not put on my children. So, hold it together. Hold it together. Hold it together. This is my motto for today and who knows how long.

Step two: Wait excruciatingly, impatiently for information.
             Waiting. I am not sure what is more nerve wracking when waiting for information about a loved one in trouble. So, keep my mind and hands busy. This proves easier than I thought. One of the kids are throwing up green stuff, gotta pay insurance before it's cancelled and take a paper to the doctor to fill out so I can get more baby formula from WIC....Get dinner, keep kids busy and happy.
When a lull presented itself and I found my mind too close to worries best left alone until the kids are in bed, I turned to my writing, but my story of genies, wishes, adventure and love refused to flow. The little I wrote was stilted and confusing. I scraped it. That's when "Warriors" caught my eye. While the kids ate dinner, I felt no hunger myself, the words poured out of my finger tips with passion. I could not stop the out pour if I had wanted to. I didn't. But know the well has dried up and my story id better than before.

Step three: Make it through the day.
                The day is finally done- as far as my kids are concerned. They are asleep and have taken comfort in the dream catcher that hangs in their window. For me, well, a glass of wine awaits. Something I look forward to in what is sure to be an endless, sleepless night.

But again, as most days, my family life has affected my writing. And while I wait and pray for more information, hopefully saying hubby's ok, my writing will help keep my mid and fingers busy, getting me through the day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Being pulled back to reality

Have you ever been writing something and whatever it was, whatever path your thoughts were following suddenly veered back to reality? Something you wrote, something you thought, something you character said or did made you think of your life abruptly. Suddenly you realize the parallel.

I imagine this can be a good thing. Funny even, at times. But this time, it was not the case.

One small part of the reason I write is because I need something to keep the stress of life from crushing me. Without my writing and my books to read I fear I would collapse under life. I'd have an emotional breakdown...and I so hate those.

So as I wrote of a careless gesture, life slammed into my head and my characters, my story evaporated. And I was all that was left.

The kids in their beds. The lights off throughout the house. My little world silent. And me, sitting in the dark, typing away. My husband's letters in a stack near my elbow. Suddenly the worry and fear, the loneliness, the yearning for my other half was all but debilitating.

I sat for a moment, washed in self pity, in sadness. But I had a story waiting. I had to get back to Joylanna's problems. I placed my fingers on the keys, poised, ready for the journey to continue. When I looked at the clock I realized I'd sat, poised, for seven minutes, my mind blank of even the passing time.

I know I am an individual. I am strong. But my husband is my other half and I am therefore stronger with him.

And I am swamped with aching for him. His teasing. The way he absentmindedly runs his fingers through my hair. His endless tapping, like a drummer missing his drum. The mischief almost always present in his hazel eyes.
His arms around me, his head resting on mine, swaying gently is home to me.

I have my kids and the wonderful moments of watching them grow-even when they make me want to pull my hair out. It's love and happiness and hope and inspiration and protectiveness I feel with my children. It's beautiful, ultimate, and all encompassing. And different than what I have with my husband.

Can a writer pull themselves back into their story when this happens? Is there a technique? A secret? A ritual?
If so, I have not found it. So this night will be spent with a good book and a heart ache. If you know how to bounce back into a story when this happens, please share. If you have had a similar situation happen to you, I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My doodling friend is on the indangered list

There are so many wonderful advantaged to computers.
Writing letters, reports, stories making presentations, being creative, finding information, learning, connecting to people and much more has become easier and more time efficient. Not to mention the endless gaming possibilities. I love my computer!!!

But a dear friend of mine, the pencil (that thing you write on paper with, remember?) is shrinking into the distance as the computer races to new, improved technologies.

I bring this up because even though I treasure my lap top and all the wonders it contains at my finger tips, I am really a pencil and paper kind of person. Ok- sometimes I use pen :)

When I am jotting down my story on paper instead of Word, it all seems to flow easier for me. Plus, when I am having a moments pause over something, a search for the right wording or a simple lag between scenes I can doodle in the margins- and come on, who doesn't love a good doodle?- sometimes freeing or providing inspiration for what I need to continue my work at that moment.
Also, his makes editing much easier for me. I simply can not edit on a computer, I need the hard copy.

The draw back are simple and bold:

It takes sooooo much longer...and that's before it's transcribed onto the computer.

No auto correct on spelling or grammar.

It's easier to loose pages than it is a computer.

While I am writing I do not have that instant information at my finger tips if I need to check a fact or something. I have to move out of my comfy writing position, shuffle papers, get my computer up and running.....blah, blah, blah.

This all contributes to my time problem mentioned in my first ever post. I have many time constrictions to work around and the fact that writing by hand is easier for me makes my time a little tighter because I always get all my thoughts down in the time I have or I may no be able to finish a scene when it's first fresh in my mind with that ringing clarity.

So; this is me, owning up to another challenge I must face. But don't worry, I am a writer and I will do this! (*sings: Yay, me! Yay, me! while doing a happy dance*)
But I hope this serves as a reminder to everyone how wonderful our little doodling pencil friend still is.  ;)


Sitting here watching America's Next Top Model, one of my TV vices, I'm struck with an important lesson some writers, and people in general, pay little attention to.

Your attitude effects your life.

Want a more popular cliche? Perception is reality.

If you go to collage, studying for that one perfect job, graduate top of your class, get your coveted interview then walk into the interviewee's office late, smacking gum, while snappily answering questions with "I don't need you or your crummy job" oozing out in your tone do you really think you are going to get your dream job? Better yet, do you honestly believe you deserve it?!

So, if you write, edit, rewrite, edit some more, write an amazing query, edit it, rewrite an even better query and find the perfect agent to send it all to then ignore simple courtesies- such as "Thank you for your time and consideration"- instead stating you are the best and they'd be down right lucky to have you and out of their ever lovin' minds to reject you....
Are you getting that agent to represent you or your work? Do you deserve to have that agent take the time to pitch and represent and stand by your work?

                                              Let me help....the answer is NO!

But don't make the mistake of being selectively nice to those you have to impress- i.e. sucking up.
There are people those agents depend on, such as assistants, that help them daily, save them time and energy so the agents can do their job better with more efficiency. You need to impress them just as much as the agent. Plus, Hi!, they are people too.
Janet Reid, a literary agent, talks about this in her blog (read it here).

Simple things like "please", "thank you", keeping calm, not hounding, trying to intimidate or yelling at people can make such a world of difference, like whether or not the choose to represent you, and it's simple courtesy. That shouldn't be so hard people.

        The simple, tired cliche "Do unto others as you'd have done unto you" is a cliche for a reason.

This holds true not only in the business world, but in every one's own personal little bubble of life. Think about it, beyond it being a simply kind, courteous and respectful way to treat people simply because they are indeed people, you never know if that person you met at the hotel lobby while you were in a hurry and tired could help you further your career or your life in some way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If the origin of sorrow is desire then we should not desire anything. T/F?

I was asked this question in a public forum. deep thoughts for someone out there, I guess. So, I have an answer to share and would love to hear if you agree or disagree and why.


Desire can bring both sorrow and happiness. Desire the married woman who doesn't know your interest or have interest in you and sorrow is eminent. Desire the promotion to the head of your chosen pushes you to work hard and do your best and there is happiness when you reach the goal.

Even in love, which is a long journey often full of trips, small pain, disappointments that ends in a thrill filled love, once found there will still be tests and struggles, big and small. However love, if it is love, endures and changes and even through the small sorrows there is a bone deep, heart deep happiness.

Above and beyond that, without sorrow in the world, in our lives, we would not know or appreciate the true value of our happiness.

Hello. Welcome to HBH: Journey to the Beginning.

    When considering a name for my blog I went through several days of trail and error. I tried silly and serious and even a few innuendos. Finally I hit on "Journey to Getting Published". This is a good solid name, but I saw two big problems.

1) It was already taken.
2) This isn't just about being published.

Yes! I want to get published. That is my goal, but I hope to continue this blog after I am published. I didn't want a title that indicated once I reached my goal of getting published I was done. Getting published is an ending to my goal, but a whole new beginning for my life! So, I decided on my blog's name. I stayed up all night setting up my blog. Now comes the hard part.

Every writer faces obstacles on the way to print; some the same, some very different.  I need a plan. First I must recognize my obstacles so I may map a route to overcoming them.

I have a husband, house, dog, and 3 kids  under the age of 6 to take care of. While I normally have help from my husband for help and support, he is currently serving in Afghanistan (*proud me*) and needs my support. Between playing, studying- yeah, we do that over the summer- potty training, bottle feeding, sports camp, cooking, cleaning, house chores, exercise...blah, blah, blah.... My time is often stretched thin.
My solution: Squeeze it in. At the end of the day when I'm tired, grab a hot shower, a piece of chocolate and put in some quiet, productive writing time.

My A.D.D is so bad I may be worse than a few people with short term memory loss. I have struggled with weather I should go to a doc and see if meds can help, but I am not fond of meds in general and that's IF I remembered to take them! I lose. I what I'm thinking before I complete the thought sometimes.
My solution: I am currently trying many things. I carry a little note pad and pen with me everywhere to jot down thoughts. I have been trying meditation- key word: trying. If it continues to interfere with my writing or if it gets worse I will probably have to suck it up and go to the doc.

I did OK in typing class, but not great. I have been getting better over time with lots of use, but I simply like pencil paper better. My thoughts flow easier, but hand cramps faster...and I am horrible at short hand.
My Solution:
Bite the darn bullet and practice. I will have to keep at the typing. I can do both, but I do need to keep typing and hopefully continue to improve.

No. I am not saying I am stupid- though I can claim my fair share of blond moments. I am simply ignorant of the way the industry works and have many questions about how to do stuff; like send in manuscripts, where, when, who???
My Solution:
Research. If I can research a topic for my book, I can certainly research how to get that work on the market. As I feel my way around this process I will share my experience and hopefully help someone else with theirs.

Finally, the biggest and hardest of my obstacle...
There is the fear of rejection, too many or too obvious mistakes. I have felt many types and degrees of fear in my life, the worst ever not knowing weather my infant would wake up and breath by himself outside of a hospital ever again. This I have now is strong, not quit that strong, but strong all the same. I love writing and I want so very painfully to be good at it. I think I am good, but I want it so bad and I am afraid I will simply find out I don't have the talent for it.That would be a crushing thing.
My solution: This one is rather tricky. I don't have a solution. Instead I have a wall around my heart. It looks like it's made of brick, but really it's that vinyl stuff that is brick patterned and flimsy when not glued to the floor. I have that wall and two sayings I repeat every day, several times a day. "I will never know, unless I try." and "Failure is the path to success."

So, armed with my quotes, fake wall, computer and will I am marching toward my goal. It will be a hard journey I am sure and I have yet to leave my safe little concrete driveway for the dirt, dust and pot holes ahead, but I can do this.
I believe in positive affirmation and I can do this. I will do this. I AM doing this.

I have to thank Janet Reid-who has never met or even spoken with me directly- for my courage to start a blog (new territory for me) and stay on my toes with my writing. Her "Rules for Writers"; particularly Be Confident and Be Brave, spoke to me like no other articles I have read. It was from the I got the confidence to pursue this dream. You can link to her blog from my home page and check out her Rules for Writers.