Fresh Start to 2013

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in curs...

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in cursive script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s hoping 2013 will be a better year. I’m recharged and planning to leave the past in the past. I’m ready to make a fresh start in 2013. This will mean some changes, so please be patient with me.

I will be playing around with my blog a little(already changed the theme today). Just trying some new things out. Will take some time till I get things comfortable and sorted out. It’s like rearranging furniture.

I’m trying to motivate myself as well, so I guess creating some goals are the way to go. I’ve given this some thought. I did try to make sure I have realistic goals, so I don’t set myself up for failure. A big part of being realistic is knowing I have a bit of a chaotic life most of the time. Without further adieu, here are the goals…

Writing Goals for 2013 :
(will be doing more writing than this, but it’s a start)
1. Blog twice a week(continued from 2012-failed last year 😦 )

2. Read 2 books per month

3. Complete the 100k in 100 days Challenge(read more about over at Quiller’s Place or 100k in 100 days facebook group)

4. Find and join a local writer’s group

5. Finish poetry book

6. Work on revamping blog a bit

Feel free to share your thoughts and maybe some of your goals for 2013… 🙂

Memoir Bits

Writing journal

Writing journal (Photo credit: avrdreamer)

Just a short little post tonight, but had a couple of things about memoirs I thought were worth sharing. The first is a cartoon I thought was a very apt description at how readers, including myself, pick out memoirs to read : Roz Chast’s Memoir Spectrum.  There are some memoirs, though they may be well written and interesting to some, which I will never read unless nothing else was available(like on an island with one book).  I have to flip through a book a little and be able to connect to it on some level.

The second thing I discovered tonight was Scoop.it from a posting on facebook.  I haven’t had much of a chance to play with it, but the little I did, it looks like another social media thing much like Pinterest.  I was really excited, because the links posted on facebook to Scoop.it were on Memoir Writing.  There was oodles of information on memoir.  I had to contain myself as I can get a little click happy.  I’m usually pretty good, but it can be a struggle to make sure I do not overdo my time with social media.

Well, I have to work tomorrow at my paying job, so I’d best be cutting it short and get off the computer.  I’m going to go write a little.  I’ve been in a poetry mood lately, but am beginning to write another memoir as well.  Memoir is truly one of my favorite forms of writing.  I think everyone should write their stories, even if it is for yourself or to pass on to a family member one day.

Memoir Writing…Completion to Resources for Writing Your Memoir

I’ve finished doing a self-edit of my memoir.  I did it on a copy I had printed out and forgot page numbers…whoops…yes, those could be important.  🙂 After going back and fixing a few things I found, I have officially printed out my first good copy of my memoir.  It is done.  Feels good to say that for more than one reason.

My memoir is done because I feel the story is done being told.  Though I know I said I wasn’t worried about word count, and I’m not, I think it’s still neat to know it ended up 32, 317 words.  It is 94 pages long, but 98 if the extra pages are included.  The extras are a dedication page, resource page, and a couple of pages of poetry.

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

The next step, and I am taking baby steps, is to turn my baby lose cautiously.  I need to let a few other people read it to get some feedback.  I know I sound like I’m obsessing a bit calling it my baby, but it is.  This is the first book I’ve ever written and the story is a part of me.

The best thing about being done and the story being written is this wonderful feeling of release.  There is a freedom in having some of my most painful experiences in life out of me and into words.  For me it’s actually been easier to find the written words than it would have been trying to speak them.

We all have stories in us and I would highly recommend writing a memoir to anyone.  I think it can especially be part of the healing process if there is something difficult you are dealing with in your life.  Reading memoirs written by others is a good place to get started learning about writing stories from life.  Here are a few other books and a blog I’ve found helpful as I’ve learned more about memoir writing :

Just Driving Along

Mountains Along the Drive

Mountains Along the Drive

It’s been a long week, but there have been some good points to it.  Here are the highlights.  I can now say, “officially” the longest drive I have ever driven by myself is about 8 hours.  It was to Tennessee this past Friday.  Once there, I was able to give my daughter a big hug for the first time in over a month and I was able to see one of my wonderful friends I had not seen in a long time.  The best news is my daughter is now back home in North Carolina.  We love calling North Carolina home.  There is much to be said for family, friends, and home.

This detour is not unusual.  My life has been full of detours in the last ten years.  I’m just getting a little better at accepting the detours, learning a little, and continuing the drive along the highways of life.  I just wish the journey wasn’t so rough sometimes and the rest stops to relax could last a bit longer.  I’m tired, but I keep plodding along.  (I found out kicking and screaming really didn’t work to well! 🙂 )

The writing journey continues as well, though the past couple of weeks it’s slowed down to more the speed of driving through town than on the interstate.  I’ve journaled quite a bit and enjoy being able to say anything in my journal.  It’s my “safe” place.  There’s security in the fact no one can judge me in my journal and no one can stop me from saying anything(just myself).

My other writing has primarily been a few poems and working on my memoir.  My main WIP, the memoir, has now reached over 30K words.  It’s nearing completion, meaning the story is about done being told regardless of the word count.  I have a few ideas of a couple of things I want to include at the end of the book that I need to work on though.

Just wanted to say hi.  I miss blogging and will try to share more again soon.  I’ve been reading some wonderful books I’d love to tell you about as well. In the mean time here’s something you can check out I’ve just begun discovering called Evernote.  I’m still exploring it.  It allows you to have digital notes and notebooks.  Just a few of the things I’ve found I like are you can access your files on multiple devices, share files with others, and email files to your self.  It may end up being a favorite.

Writing Our Stories

Broken Heart

Broken Heart (Photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti)

If you’ve read through some of my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed I have a leaning towards personal types of writing.  I love essays, journaling, and memoirs.  Our lives are stories and everyone has a story to tell.  My life is so overflowing that right now this is where my heart can find release to pour things out.  I have to write it down.

As with any form of writing you choose to partake, it’s said one of the best steps to do is read the form of writing you want to write.  I’ve been working on a memoir, so I’ve been reading memoirs.  Two memoirs I really enjoyed reading were Falling Apart in One Piece by Stacy Morrison and Eat, Pray, and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  The memoir I’m currently reading is The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming by Jennie Nash.  It is about her journey through breast cancer, which my step mother is currently having to face.

I’ll read anything if it strikes me right, but I tend to read memoirs written by women about their lives.  Either the book’s description or a brief flip through has to catch my eye with something I can relate to on some level.  I do have the book On Writing : A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King on my wish list to read.  I love reading about writers’ lives.  Another memoir I have read was Literary Life by Larry McMurtry.  Unfortunately, it did not top my list for enjoyable memoirs.  It seemed to have a bit much pomp and a little too over factual for my tastes, but that’s just me.

One of my absolute favorite bloggers is Kat Collins.  She has a wealth of writing information and resource links on her blog.  She is also doing something I had never heard of before, but is an interesting idea.  She is blogging a memoir book she is writing :  The Good Wife.  She has some guest blogs on the topic of blogging a book at her Kat Collins blog, then you can go to the other blog to read her book thus far.

If you’ve ever been hesitant to write, maybe you’ll decide the truth is easier than fiction.  I’ve found my life is so unreal at times it seems, it’s just easier to write about it than try to make things up.  You can start small.  Start keeping a journal about your life or choose to write one story or blog post till you have enough for a book.  Two good organizations to learn more about writing memoirs are National Association of Memoir Writers and Story Circle Network.  Happy writing… 🙂

P.S. – I forgot another memoir I recently finished and thought was well written was If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus.  Warning is it’s sad and a tragic story of abuse.  It’s a story I think many women need to read.

Rainy Day Mish-mash

raining sheets

raining sheets (Photo credit: mytimemachine)

It’s raining outside and it’s wonderful!  I love hearing it as it falls on the roof and pitter patters against the sunlight.  Fortunately I am appreciating the rain, which we’ve greatly needed.  I’m not usually so appreciative as the rain often makes me sad for some reason.  One of those great mysteries of me.  I’m also glad that though it’s raining outside and continually seems to keep raining more in my life, somehow I’m still looking out for rainbows.

Just thought I would share some about several random things, hence the rainy day mish-mash.  One is something just for fun, because everyone can do with something to put a little smile on their face.  I know I can.  I ran across a comic for writers yesterday during my surfing the net time and got such a kick out of it.  The strip was called Will Write for Chocolate by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  I loved the title and think it’s brilliant, but go check it out.  Chocolate?  I am so there.  🙂

I’m still working on the freelance writing, but it seems to be taking a bit to get going.  Baby steps one at a time.  I’ve worked on an idea list for articles this week.  There are submissions still out that I’m waiting to hear back on.  Yesterday I finally ordered some business cards through Vistaprint.  I’ve been considering the thought of making a website, which seems everyone in the writing world recommends having, but so far have decided against it.

This week has gone by in a blur as I’ve been working a little more.  I am no where near being one of those people blessed to be able to write full time.  I would love to be and will continue plodding away on writing projects as I enjoy it so much.  I have spent a bit of time working on my main WIP, a memoir, and now have a whopping 24,100 words!  It’s my pet project right now just because I feel I’ve got to finish writing it while things are still reasonably fresh in my memory.  Time can make things a little less painful, but it seems to make memories a bit fuzzy.

Another big accomplishment for this week was I finished my submission to Memoir Journal.  They have a contest for memoirs in prose or poetry and there is no entry fee, which works for my minimal budget at the time.  The deadline is August 16th.  The downside is winners will not be announced until March 1st of next year, so a very long wait and I thought a few months was a long time.  I had been working on a memoir in prose for a while and was glad to get it done in time.

There are a few other projects on my to do list in the next couple of weeks.  One thing I think will help to keep me focused a bit is to put up a dry erase board near my computer and write a list of potential writing contests as well as other writing projects to work on with the deadline dates if they have one.  The other thing I need to do is find a writing group and/or an editor or something as I feel I desperately need some feed back on some of my writing.  The writing group I had gone to for a few times fizzled and is no longer in existence.  Any ideas?

Best wishes and happy writing… 🙂

 

Back on Track

English: The train track at Ecser Magyar: A va...

English: The train track at Ecser Magyar: A vasúti sínek Ecseren (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately life has decided to throw in a few detours, so my blogging and other writing pursuits have been sidetracked a little.  The last two weeks of detours have included fixing the agitator in the washing machine, fixing the one time overload fuse on the dryer, replacing the car battery, and repairing the well.  Add into the mix the fact my daughter and her boyfriend moved to Tennessee and I can just say I’m glad I’m still sane.

Fortunately the running water was restored after much hard work.  Manually taking a well pump out 2 1/2 times is not easy work.  I do not see plumber on my list of future career choices.  I am also very glad to have my dryer up and running again.  I like doing things the old fashioned way and enjoy using the solar powered dryer, A.K.A. clothesline, but it doesn’t work well on rainy days.

Life seems to be getting slowly back on track, so one of my goals this week will be to try to get my writing back on track.  I’ve been writing a little, but not as much as I like.  Another goal is to catch up on blogs and email.  Right before I started to write this, I did manage to catch up on reading the blogs I follow.  Now I just need to work on posts for both my blogs.  My email has only had a preliminary skimming for important emails, so it will still take a bit to accomplish that goal.

I will work to get my straggly little train back on track this week.  At least my endeavors have given me valuable repair skills for future use.  I’ve even picked up a little more persistence and lots of material to write about, which are both good for any writer.  Lastly, a side track, thought of another goal :  eat less chocolate.  Unfortunately, I ended up downing a whole container of chocolate icing spoon by spoon during all the chaos.  I did exercise.  Think that counteracts it enough? 🙂

Happy writing… 🙂

Backing Up

English: A Sandisk-brand USB thumb drive, SanD...

If you are a writer, I cannot say enough about backing up your work. Back up, back up, back up, and have a back up for your back up.  Ok, I guess that’s enough back ups.  I’ve been having computer troubles which have thrown me in a near panic.  Luckily or unluckily as the case may be, I have no deadlines for my writing at least.

I just do not relish the thought of all the work I have put into my writing to just evaporate into nothingness.  I have many of the things I’ve written in actual notebooks, but a lot of my writing was stored on my computer.  A limited amount of my computer writing was stored on one of those flash drives that insert in the USB ports, but not everything.  Another note on this subject shortly!

Fortunately my daughter’s boyfriend is a bit tech savvy and was able to restore my lap top computer to working order again.  He was nice enough to also get the antivirus program on it as well.  My computer once again works, better than ever, but he had to wipe it clean.

Some of my writing was on the flash drive, but the next time I went to pull something up on the computer, a message told me the device had malfunctioned.  What?!!!  I thought those were supposed to be safe as back ups, then my daughter tells me she has had one mess up once that she used for music.

Flash drives may be good for portability so you can easily pull your writing up on another computer, but I don’t personally now consider them a good way to back up your writing.  I know there are online cloud places you can store writing, but I don’t have much experience with those.

After I finally could think clearly, I remembered we had had Carbonite.  It was a program my husband wanted on the computer to back up our files online and to think I had complained about spending the money.  I now love it!  It helped me be able to get back my beloved pictures and writing.

Carbonite will do a complete restore of files or you can go into the backup files to pick and choose what you would like restored.  I did the pick and choose option as there was a lot of junk I didn’t need back on the computer.  I’m not very tech savvy, yet it was easy to figure out once I logged onto the website.

* Side note on writing progress–  I have been on a writing roll the past two days and eagerly working away on my memoir.  I have several books in various stages of progress but it is my main WIP.  I am so excited that I’ve written a little over 3,000 words since yesterday and it now has a grand total of 20,404 words.  Hooray!!!  And just in case you happen to be one of those people who word counts makes crazy, no I’m not obsessed about the word count.  It will be done when the story is done.

Journaling and Other Writing Pursuits

English: Headshot of Louisa May Alcott (Novemb...

As I’ve shared before, I’m an avid reader.  This evening, I just finished the book Note to Self : On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O’Shea.  Absolutely loved it!  The author is blatantly honest and the book is written like she’s conversing with a close friend, the reader, as she shares many of her own intimate journal entries.  There are numerous sample journal entries throughout the book, including several historic examples as far back in time as 1665.  I was delighted to learn the famous author Louisa May Alcott journaled throughout her life.

Journals can be an excellent way to closer examine our lives.  The author makes suggestions for some topics you may want to write about in a journal.  Journaling could be as simple as recording your daily activities, documenting a dream, or even divulging inner thoughts you would never say aloud.  No matter what you choose to journal about, I do agree with the author’s sentiment that one of the most important people we should be honest with are ourselves.

My writing progress as of late has been a little slow on the end of writing which may bring in financial benefits, but I’ve been writing.  Journaling has by far been my favorite means of writing as of late, since there are some things in my life I’ve been working through.  I’ve actually looked forward to journaling and sought out my journal more often since I gave myself freedom to write in it as I want rather than a required daily entry.

* Enough about journaling, now a little side note about my other writing escapades.  To borrow a phrase from my teen daughter, Camp Nanowrimo was an “Epic Fail” for me and I did not accomplish the goal.  On the positive side, it did inspire me to attempt writing fiction and I wrote a whopping 6,127 words thus far on my novel for the month of June.  Not bad, considering I was devoting a lot of time to several other projects, including gardening.  I will hopefully finish writing it one day, as I am interested in the story. If you’d like to try it, there is another camp coming up in August.  Besides my novel, I’ve also continued writing poetry and worked on adding to the memoir I’m writing.

Lost

The maze of Longleat House

The maze of Longleat House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moments of absolute bliss
Moments of deep deep sadness
Heart seeking balance
Lost in the in between

Moments of deep faith
Moments of just hanging on
Trying to find the way back
Lost in the in between

Moments I know who I am
Moments I haven’t a clue
Trouble uncovering who
Lost in the in between

Moments life has purpose
Moments wish didn’t exist
Looking for a reason
Lost in the in between

In this limbo I remain
Lost in the in between

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