This and That

I’m still crafting, crocheting, and baking as Christmas is fast approaching. This means my writing temporarily takes a side seat. I’m still writing, just not as much. Thought I’d share a few things today, hence the title, so here’s a little of this and that.

I started reading a good book yesterday. The funny thing is I didn’t realize it was the same author of another book I had read till I got started. It’s a memoir titled Barnheart : The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own by Jenna Woginrich. The other book she wrote that I read is Made from Scratch.

The book is about her homesteading adventures, which of course intrigues me as I love homesteading. She has quite a sense of humor and writes with the blatant honesty I adore. Loved her apt description of chickens. I already read a little over 50 pages and can’t wait to get back to it.

This month also seems to be a month for poetry. It’s something I don’t write all the time, just when the moment strikes me. I seem to write more of it when I’m in a sad mood for some reason. Why can’t I just write happy optimistic poetry? Maybe one day. Though the one I shared does have some optimism.

Poetry appeals to me, because it allows you to say much using only a few words.  The feelings are there even when I’m too tired, more emotionally than physically tired, to write pages worth of my thoughts. It’s an easier way to speak my heart. This is a short one from yesterday. It may not be finished. Seems to need more.

Hope’s Flight

Hope flies on wings
Fragile as a butterfly’s
It’s such a delicate thing
Lifted on the winds of dreams
Inspires soaring higher
Seeking life’s passions and desires

Butterfly

Butterfly (Photo credit: fox_kiyo)

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a last thought. I was going through some of my many scraps of paper
I end up writing on and found a quote I had wrote down. It’s one of those that just make me so inspired, not just in writing, but living. Such inspiration is a desperate need in my life right now.

“I wished to live my precious time upon this earth deliberately, so that when my life was over, I would not discover that I had not truly lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

Writing Balance

Balance

Balance (Photo credit: kmakice)

Balance is something I have been struggling with for a while, and this being December, means it is an even more unattainable goal. My blogging will suffer a bit this month. I turn into crafting and baking mode like mad in December. I’ve been crocheting gifts galore. I read a post over on ChantelC’s blog about perseverance tonight, go take a peek. It was interesting and got me to thinking about how my life is a continual battle to persevere. I think one of the biggest part’s of the battle for me is trying to find balance.

It’s a struggle and my life always seems to be in varying states of chaos. Writing, while a source of great joy in my life, has brought it’s own baggage to the balance equation. I have to be careful to balance finding enough time to write with spending time accomplishing other tasks involved in living like cleaning house, being with family, and working enough to pay the bills. Of course, I must also ward off the time vampires called social media and surfing the net(vicious little time consumers).

As if it’s not enough to get better at time management, there must also be balance in sharing enough in writing without sharing too much. I want my writing to speak truth, but reserved. I’m a southern gal, so there are some things I will never quite feel comfortable airing publicly and there are things you honestly just don’t want to know. There is also the people pleasing aspect and not wanting to offend, but I’m realistic enough to know you can’t please everyone and I won’t try to, I will have my say. I just don’t want my voice to come at the expense of others.

Until this year I had been quiet for so much of my life, that discovering the power of writing, was like letting a lion out of it’s cage. I just have to be careful and quiet the lion a little. Sometimes it wants to speak up too much. Those times I have to moderate myself before posting a comment on a blog or posting a facebook comment. I try to balance my need to speak up with compassion for others and being discreet. For example, there are some things about children or spouses, which should not be blogged. I try hard to just put some thoughts to bed in my secret journal.

Sometimes an escape happens. Usually it’s okay as what escapes often winds up a riddle most people would not be able to decipher without knowing more about my life. I just take comfort in the fact the riddles voice truths even if they are missing parts. In case I seem to be speaking in riddles right now, here’s an example of something I posted once : “Whoever said ‘silence is golden’ must never have had their voice squashed so many times.” I was feeling so strongly in the moment and wanted to say something and not silently in my journal either. The obvious truth was there, but I just left out assigning the tell tell details.

What areas do you struggle to find balance in as a writer? Thoughts on truth in writing?…

Good News and Writers’ Notebooks

Selena and her Bird Housing Development Photo

Selena and her Bird Housing Development Photo

Yesterday was a good day and we’ve been needing some good days around our house.  My daughter had entered three of her photographs this past weekend in the Autumn Arts 2012 Art Show held at Vance-Granville Community College.  We went last night to see how the judging went and found she received an honorable mention for her photo “Bird Housing Development”.  She was thrilled.

Bird Housing Development

Bird Housing Development

After returning home, I checked my email and found I had good news as well.  I  had an email with the subject line “congratulations”.  Yes!  I was so excited.  Something I wrote got accepted rather than rejected.  I’ve been accumulating quite a pile of those(rejections that is).

My piece, “Diagnoses : An Unwanted Collection”, was submitted to The Barefoot Review and will be published in the winter issue, which will be public December 21st.  Thankfully December is right around the corner, so it won’t be a long wait.  I’ll try to remember to post a link to it then.

Just a little side note about writers’ notebooks since it seems I keep tripping on information about them.  Most writers, it seems, keep a writer’s notebook or several of them to jot down ideas as they strike or work on chosen pieces of writing.  Everyone has their preference from fancy to basic spiral bound notebooks.

I usually have at least two notebooks in constant use and prefer “pretty” spiral bound notebooks.  My notebooks tend to be a random accumulation, though lately I have taken to trying to keep one strictly poetry related and the other for everything else writing related.  Occasionally I sit down going through my notebooks to see if there is anything I need to refer back to like a list of writing ideas or a poem I haven’t yet typed into the computer.

My normal method to track those stray pages that need dealt with, but are strewn through various spots in assorted notebooks, is to put a post-it flag on the page so it sticks out.  The post-it flag is removed after I transcribe the information on the page into the computer.  The downside to this method is it can be time consuming and every so often a post-it flag accidentally falls out.  Here is a blog post I read yesterday about writers’ notebooks, which had an interesting idea I’m thinking of trying.  It was simply to number the pages in your notebook.  I don’t think it’d take long to write a number on each page corner and maybe it’d be easier to find stuff.

My "Pretty" Writer's Notebooks and Journal(center)

My “Pretty” Writer’s Notebooks and Journal(center)

Weeding Through Freelance Writing Resources

MSI laptop computer

MSI laptop computer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m still working on one day being able to earn more money through my writing, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I’m not giving up and it is a work in progress, but at least I’m learning along the way and I’m enjoying writing.  This week my plan is to go at submitting some more of my work with renewed vigor as well as continue working on my memoir.

I thought I’d share some of my experiences so far with certain freelance writing resources.  Time is valuable and I like to make the most of it.  I spend enough time keeping up with email and social media(facebook and pinterest), so I don’t want to spend more of my valuable time uselessly searching for freelance jobs in difficult to find places.  I’d rather spend my time writing.

Please keep in mind these are just my opinions based on my personal experiences.  Without further adieu,here are the lists :

Favorites

  • Yahoo! Contributor Network – This is one of the first places I started submitting my writing to and is still one of my favorites.  You can choose assignments from the site, but I’ve had more success writing about my own topics.  I’ve earned between $3 to a little over $4 per article.
  • www.newpages.com – I love this site.  It has listings for literary magagzines, calls for submissions, and writing contests.
  • www.freelancewritinggigs.com – I check this site every weekday.  It has listings for freelance writing and blogging jobs.  I like the fact that if it’s available, it will have listed beside the job if can telecommute.
  • www.pw.org – Much information is available on the website, however, I receive Poets & Writers magazine monthly on my kindle.  It’s very affordable at only $1.25 per monthly issue.  It has helpful articles, calls for manuscripts, writing contests, and more.
  • www.fundsforwriters.com – I receive two of the free newsletters, Funds for Writers and FFA Small Markets, weekly in my email box.  The newsletters have articles, paying markets, and contest information.
  • www.writersweekly.com – I receive this weekly free newsletter on Wednesdays in my email box.  This newsletter has articles, paying markets, and freelance job listings.

Not Worth My Time

  • www.freelancer.com – I signed up and created a profile.  This site has a 30 day free trial and afterwards it is $4.95 per month.  I canceled before my trial period was up.
  • www.craigslist.com – I’ve used this site to successfully find furniture and farm animals in my area, but have not had any luck finding writing jobs.  Some of the other freelance resources above already list freelance jobs found on craigslist, so it’s also a case of why duplicate work.
  • www.textbroker.com – I found a suggestion for this site in an eBook a freelancer wrote, but have been sorely disappointed.  It took a bit of doing to get started with the site including submitting a copy of my driver’s license.  I’ve also been checking the jobs daily and have found nothing of interest in the writing assignments.  Most of the available topics would bore me out of my skull and I’d rather take my chances elsewhere.

Taking Chances

Poem based on Monday Melting prompt (week 20) from Rosemary Mint blog :

Lines of character upon her face
Feminine flair with ribbons and lace
Warrior spirit out of hiding
No longer silently residing
Hungry for a chance to live life
Conquering sorrows and denying strife
Willing to risk for just one chance
Tasting sweet love, a true romance

Lace hem of a half slip

Hidden Words, Hidden Works

Hidden canyon5

Hidden canyon5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I’ve been trying to find homes for some of my writing, I’ve had to take into consideration which pieces I feel comfortable sharing.  There are some things, which may only ever be shared with select people in my life or may never see the light of day unless I was to die.  There are some things I’ve written that I know in my heart I want to share one day, but some time will probably have to pass first.

There is not much I hesitate to write about as I’ve spent too much of my life being quiet.  Too many days not speaking my mind and saying my peace.  Writing gives me the freedom to get things out, even if it’s not shared.  There are some things I’ve written, which I keep hidden so no one will find and read.

Even though I write about most things, there are still things I’m afraid to write about.  I don’t think it’s really the things themselves are scary, but rather I think it’s like Natalie Goldberg points out in her book Old Friend from Far Away : The Practice of Writing Memoir, we’re afraid of what others will think.  Most all of us have either secrets in our lives or things we hope for, but don’t want others to know.

In a section of her book I love she emphasizes, “You have a right to write it.  Throw it out, rip it up, swallow it down.  Build up a capacity to bear up–don’t let fear run your writing life.  Hide your notebook in a good place.”  In other words never let fear stop you from writing.  I like the freedom to be able to say and write things.  Write things even if you have to burn it after you wrote it or hide it.

Kind of a side track here, but wanted to share.  There are two other great resources I’ve found for finding homes for writing when you’re ready to share something.  Duotrope has market listings, response time stats, and you can even do a specific search to find the right place for a piece you’ve written.  NewPages.com has information on magazines, publishers, calls for submissions, writing contests, and many other useful things.

 

The Not Such Solitary Life of a Writer

Sunset at Rockaway Beach

Sunset at Rockaway Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I may be alone a lot, but I still don’t think writing has to be as solitary as many people say.  In fact, I think the internet offers a wide open community for writers with many different options.   Yes, it’s a virtual community, but community none the less.  Lets you know you’re not alone in the world.  Now before anyone thinks I’ve lost my mind, no I’m not advocating just staying home and never venturing forth into the world, but I’m saying there are many sources of support for writers online.

There any many discussion boards on the internet, especially on LinkedIn.  Two of my favorites are the Definitive Serious Writers Group and the Poets group.  Both are supportive groups.  You can share things or ask a question or maybe learn something from a comment posted.  Sometimes there are links to articles or blogs and the Poets group even has a weekly poetry contest just for fun.

Another great source of community I have enjoyed since January, and boy have I learned a lot, is the wide world of blogging.  Many writers share their writing online, resources, and their thoughts on things they’ve learned about writing.  There are plenty of writing prompts offered on blogs as well.  Some of the ones I like are Be Kind Rewrite has writing prompts on the blog called Inspiration Monday and Rosemary Mint has prompts on Thursday Melting.  There are probably many more to be explored out there.  It can be nice to use a writing prompt on one of those days nothing is coming to mind which I want to write about or just for the fun of it or as a challenge.

Reading blogs exposes me to new things too.  Today as I was reading through the WordPress blogs I follow, one blogger called Rosemary Mint, posted an amazing music playlist.  I’m more of a country and bluegrass music kind of gal, but thought it was wonderful and I learned about music not as familiar to me.  Still sitting here listening as I write this.  I know, not really writing related directly, but it is as it inspired me to write.  Also, I’m one of those writers who would rather write listening to music than dead silence.

When I’m at the computer, I always keep paper near too, just in case I need to jot a quick note down.  I’ve learned about interesting books I would like to read, writing contests, different types of poetry forms, writing tips, and a ton of other things.  One day I’ll try to post a list of many of the links I’ve found helpful about writing.  Instead of feeling alone, I actually feel like writing has opened a big wide world.

What are your thoughts about writing as a solitary life?…

Sad Goodbye National Poetry Month

POETRY SOCIETY POSTCARD

POETRY SOCIETY POSTCARD (Photo credit: summonedbyfells)

Having been so excited when I first learned of National Poetry Month, I am a little disheartened the month is coming to a close.  There were so many things I wanted to do and it just hasn’t happened as time passes by before I know it.  Poetry still has my heart and I thought I would share a couple of writing specific poems I’ve done.  Also, can happily share there are now ten poems of mine happily floating in the world having been submitted to three different publications and awaiting accepting or rejecting.  (Maybe overkill on the happy, but am very happy at the moment, even though it’s in the wee hours of the night.)

Modern Writer

Fingers tapping on the keys
Spell check and auto save
A modern writer’s life of ease
More useful tools I do crave

Let me check email a bit
Read my blogs a little more
Surf the net while I do sit
Technology I do adore

Promise soon I will write
But social media, me, oh my
Calling me into the night
Wasted time does make me sigh

Must put the computer down
Make this pen go to town

 

A Reader’s Request

Writer, writer pen in hand
Take me to another land
Develop characters and plot
Give an ending to hit the spot
Thrill my mind as I do read
Maybe your novel will succeed

Nomination for My First Ever Blogging Award

Just this morning I found out I was nominated for the Liebster Blogging Award by AlreadyNotPublished. Thank you so much!  She has a great blog.  It is the first award I have ever been nominated for on my blogging.  Still feel like a newbie to the blogging world, so I hope I’m doing this right.

Liebster Blogging Award

Rules which go along with the award are :  Thank your Liebster Blog award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.  Copy and paste the award to your blog.  Nominate 5 others for the blog award(Sorry if you’ve already been nominated before and I didn’t know it).  Lastly, list 10 random things about yourself.

My top 5 favorite blogs (Hope you’ll go check them out!) :

  • Honesty, blog by TheOthers1, which I truly appreciate for her forth right honesty and quirky sense of humor.  She is a writer as well.
  • Linneann, blogged by herself, a mother with a heart of gold and is also currently working on writing a book.  Love the blog because it connects with my mother’s heart.
  • Kat Collins, a freelance writer, whose blog I enjoy for the encouragement and inspiration for writing.  Have also enjoyed many of her Wednesday writing prompts.
  • On Becoming a Wordsmith by Elaine Cougler, who is another writer whose blog has been a source of inspiration and valuable for discovering resources for writing.
  • Last, but not least : Be Kind Rewrite by Stephanie and TragicPete, whose blog I have particularly enjoyed for their weekly Inspiration Monday writing prompts.

10 Random Things About Myself :

  • I will only drink milk out of a glass, no plastic.  On rare desperate occasions I will drink it out of a paper carton.  Love milk and it is essential for chocolate.
  • Love chocolate.  Think it definitely needs to be classified as a food group and is one of the major destressers in my life.  As much as I like chocolate, however, I do not particularly care for white or dark chocolate.
  • My favorite forms of exercise are swimming and yoga.  I love the water, even though the only things I know to do are the doggy paddle and swimming on my back after a fashion.  I don’t know how to do the front or back stroke and don’t like to swim underwater either.
  • I enjoy making homemade lye soap and using different essential oils to give it fragrance.  My favorite scent is lavender.
  • I’m directionally impaired.  Meaning I get lost incredibly easy.  I joke I can get lost in parking decks, but it’s not so much of a joke as I once was and had to have the security guard drive me around to find my car.
  • I was born in Germany as both my parents were stationed over there in the military.
  • Historical romance books are my favorite type of fiction to read just for fun.
  • Love studying about herbs and growing them in my herb garden.
  • Like to paint my fingernails and toenails in a matching shade of pink.  Pretty petunia is one of my favorites and a bright pink is about as wild as I go.  Once I did get adventurous and painted my nails red for a party.
  • I had a planned homebirth with midwives for the birth of my daughter.

Sorry this was so long.  Hope you made it this far and if you did, thanks for reading this!  Not my normal post about writing, but it was fun to do.

 

Reassessing Goals

Goal setting: creates a future

Goal setting: creates a future (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

Every now and then it can be a good thing to reassess goals.  See if the original goals you have set are being met, if the goals need changed, or if the goals need totally removed from your list.  I have decided since things have changed in my life it is time for me to reassess the goals I set regarding my writing.

Originally when I first started this blog I was completely unemployed and attempting to begin freelance writing.  Recently I have been able to find a job, which is nice as I feel some of the pressure is removed from writing to make sure it earns money.  This is a two edged sword per se and may also be a bad point.  Either way, I guess the main point is at least I am still motivated to write and still working on freelance writing.  Temporarily I also have another side freelance job I am working on from home.  It is not writing, however, but is internet research.

I love to read, so the goal I set of reading two books a month is one I think I’ll keep.  Though I haven’t kept up with the goal of two blog posts a week, I still think it is a goal that can be met, life has just kind of got in the way.  Another goal I want to add is to start submitting my writing, which I still have yet to do and I have several things ready.  Just need to try to find homes for them.  The article writing goal is one I am deleting from my list as my priorities have changed and two articles per day was too much with the other projects.  I’m still writing articles, but have also expanded to working on other things.  Poetry, personal essays, and a few books are the writing projects topping my list these days.

Any good tips for reassessing your goals or helping to meet the goals you have set?

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