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.

 

Getting a Fresh Perspective

Every now and then, it is good to take a step back and get a fresh perspective on things.  I’ve been gone for a bit dog sitting for some friends while they were away.  It was nice to be back in Virginia and I love seeing the mountains.

As many times as I’ve been, I had never been on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This time I made time and took a drive so maybe I could get a closer view of the mountains.  The first few overlooks I was disappointed and thought how much more beautiful the mountains looked from afar than close up.

The further I went though, I found some overlooks with absolutely amazing views of the overlapping mountains (sorry pictures aren’t better, only had my cell phone for photos).  Some of them have interesting names as well like Apple Orchard Mountain.  I want to return one day soon, take better photos, and wear more practical shoes so I can explore some of the trails.

My trip to Virginia gave me plenty of time to think and write.  The first few days I just really took a chance to unwind and relax.  While out exploring one day I went to Barnes & Nobles and found a book, The Story Within :  New Insights and Inspiration for Writers by Laura Oliver.

I absolutely love this book and I am only a little over half way through.  It’s the kind of book that just speaks to my heart.  She provides wonderful insights into helping a writer find their voice and look at their life in a fresh perspective for writing material.  It was helpful to see sometimes we need to take a step forward and more closely examine incidents in our life in more detail.  Other times it may help to take a step back and look at the broader picture for what it truly means rather than the superficial details.  As she says even essays have a plot.

The author also does a good job of providing examples of writing to illustrate her points.  Always looking for positive motivation, I was also pleased about the number of wonderful quotes from a number of writers and other famous people.  One from Louis L’Amour was, ‘If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write.  Do not wait for an idea.  Start writing something and the idea will come.  You have to turn on the faucet before the water starts to flow.”  There are plenty of prompts and encouragement provided for writing as well.  I can’t wait to read more.

It was nice to have uninterrupted writing time.  I wrote several poems and a few essays.  I don’t usually write short stories, but was inspired to start one.  It seemed ideas were springing up as I was writing at times, so I would write them down for future reference.  Hopefully this week I can work on finishing up a few pieces and work on making some submissions.  Back and ready to view life with new perspective.

Little or big, what do you like to do to give you a fresh perspective on life or your writing???…

Virginia Mountains

Power of Words

*I apologize for little different than usual post, this is more of a venting.*

Words have the power to build up or breakdown.  I read a blog post the other day, which broke my heart.  It was so tragic, I don’t even want to post the link to it here.

The blog post was a book review and the writer of the post was extremely too harsh, in my opinion, to the book author.  Some of the words used were dull and mediocre to describe the book.  This wasn’t enough of a critique, so the post writer had to go on to say they couldn’t read any more of it and how bad it was it was part of a series. 

Even without having read any of the books in the series, I could applaud the book author just for being able to complete a book.  As a fairly new writer with limited experience in rejections it could about make me hesitant to ever publicly offer any writing for critique.  I will though and look forward to feedback.

One day I or any of us may be in a situation to offer feedback on a fellow writer’s writing and I hope we offer honest constructive criticism.  At the same time I hope we are not cruel.  It takes a certain amount of bravery for someone to share their writing with others.

Life experiences with emotional and verbal abuse have also colored my opinion on this subject.  If you’re made to feel you can’t do anything right, where’s the incentive to try.  I guess I could also blame it on living in the South.  I wholeheartedly believe the wise saying many mothers have taught their children, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.”  Guess I’m heading that direction, so I’ll stop my ranting and go write.

Finding a Voice Through Writing

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

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I read a lot.  Maybe too much for my own good sometimes, but sometimes you learn some interesting things.  Since much of my reading has been about writing, I have found a common thought shared amongst most writers.  It is usually said, “Write what you know.”  It calls out over and over again from writers much like  “use the force” from Star Wars.

Many fiction writers say many of their characters and scenes come from real life.  Topics for many non-fiction writers are derived from situations in writers’ lives.  Many poems have been written throughout history because of something that touched the poet’s life.

Anyhow, sometimes I am one of those people that can know something, but not really get it.  Sometimes my little insecurities keep things hidden from me.  The other day it did dawn on me.  I made the connection.  I do have something to share.

Writing is an amazing outlet to speak what is inside us.  Writing even allows some things to come out, which are not necessarily so easily spoken.  Writing is giving me a voice.  A form of writing I have just become acquainted with is the personal essay.  I am in love with this form of writing.  It tops my list with poetry.

Just this week I have written several personal essays.  Some I will keep to myself, not sure they should be shared yet, but others I want to try to find places to submit.  Here is an online article about writing personal essays : http://www.poewar.com/having-your-say-writing-personal-essays/.

Another type of writing I am becoming familiar with are editorial pieces.  I have submitted one before, but just found out this week my second editorial piece was accepted and I got offered a small payment for it.  Hooray!  Here it is :
http://voices.yahoo.com/pharmaceutical-advertising-profit-driven-medicine-11092326.html.

It is a slow process, but writing is helping me to find my voice.  Right now I am still exploring and haven’t per se found my niche.  I am trying different types of writing, sometimes out of my comfort level such as writing short stories.  I guess the main thing that matters is I am writing.

Searching for Writing Ideas and Motivation

Cover of "How to Get Ideas"

Cover of How to Get Ideas

I am in one of those discouraged moods.  I know I won’t stay there long, but at the moment I am having one of those self pity “woe is me” parties.  I know things take time and I just need to persevere.  Life just doesn’t seem to move as quickly as I want it to at times.  When I am in one of these moods, it zaps my motivation and makes it hard to get things done.

Right now I could either curl up reading a book for hours or watch television without really watching it, but just to distract my mind from thinking about things.  Neither one of those would really be productive choices, when there is so much that needs to be done.  Yes, we all need some down time, but I feel I have had way too much down time this week.

Instead I thought I would write, because usually it seems I feel better when I write.  The only problem is I don’t know what to write about and there is nothing I really have a great desire to write about right now.  I have looked at my list of article ideas, but none of them are interesting to me at the moment.

This blog post may be the only writing I accomplish today, but I am exploring the internet some for article ideas.  I found a website called Quips and Tips for Successful Writers at http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/how-to-get-ideas-for-magazine-articles-freelance-writing-tips/, which had an article with some useful suggestions on how to get ideas.  If I can get motivated at least maybe I will work on a list of some ideas after answering some of the questions I found there.  Well, away I go to surf the internet some more, but hopefully will not lose myself there too long and will find a spark of motivation.

Writing Magazine Query Letters

Magazines

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I would like to start to submit articles to magazines, so I have been reading a lot lately about writing magazine query letters.  The Right-Writing.com website had a great article “The Beginner’s Guide to Freelance Writing”, which shared useful information to write queries.  It cleared up definitions about things such as first rights, second serial rights, and kill fees as well as even had a sample letter.  The article can be found at http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/2009/08/magazine-query-letter-sample/.   This was just one of many articles I have read online, but it seemed to have the greatest amount of useful information in one place.

Another thing I have done in preparation of sending magazine queries is to look for places to submit articles.  The last few days I have kept a supply of post it flags near my favorite chair as I have perused the library’s copy of the 2010 edition of the Writer’s Market.  I am amazed at the discovery of some magazines I didn’t even know existed as well as the number of places I can attempt to submit some of my poetry.  I know it seems the overwhelming school of thought is you can’t make a living writing poetry, but my poetry makes me happy.

It seems the advice to improve writing is to do more of it and often, so I am hoping this will apply well to writing query letters too.  I have to admit I am a bit nervous as I am not an established writer with multiple clips to prove I can write, but everyone had to begin somewhere.  I plan to start with areas I have experience in such as homeschooling and caregiving.  Well, now I need to quit procrastinating, so away I go to write some magazine queries.

 

 

Writing Progress and Plans

Yahoo! symbol design

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It has been a very busy week and different than my usual routine.  I have not done as much writing as I would have liked to, but did manage to finish an editorial piece to submit to the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  I also started working on another couple of articles for next week.  I have really enjoyed writing for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  I have even taken on some writing assignments there, which were not for pay and just for display only, but gave me some practice writing other things a little out of my comfort zone.  For example, I have not written a short story since high school, yet attempted to write a science fiction story.  It may not have been “great”, but it was fun.  Here is the link and if you have any feedback you are welcome to tell me as I am one of those people who can handle constructive criticism well : http://voices.yahoo.com/alliance-earth-planet-vermilla-sabotaged-11006896.html .

The pieces I usually prefer to write are articles and poetry.  It was nice this week to come in after a horrible day and have good news waiting in my email inbox alerting me some of my writing was published on Yahoo! Voices.  Here are links to two articles from this week :  http://voices.yahoo.com/save-money-through-yourself-repairs-10988874.html and http://voices.yahoo.com/first-person-learning-through-yourself-projects-10988638.html .  So far I have earned close to $12, which may not be much, but everyone has to begin somewhere.  The Yahoo! Contributor Network has been user friendly to submit writing, has good forums for learning more information or asking questions, and I have even had rejected pieces approved if I followed the suggestions offered in the feedback.  If you are a beginner it is a place you may want to give a try.

Another idea I have seen in several places is to keep a list of article ideas you are working on, so I created a chart in Microsoft Works on my computer.  I titled it Writing Idea List.  It has columns for the idea, publication, date sent, and the result.  I took the ideas I had brainstormed in my notebooks and filled in the chart.  I think I will put it in a page protector and keep it near the computer or start a notebook maybe.  I am kind of a notebook queen around the house for organizing.

Finding resources seems to have been my final task for the week.  There were many treasures I discovered in a library visit, which included a 2010 edition of the Writers Market.  At a bookstore I looked through several writers magazines and finally settled on a copy of the Writer.  I decided I couldn’t buy them all(didn’t need to either) and this magazine had more articles I thought offered more helpful information.  Well, that was my writing progress for the week, but next week will hopefully be a fresh start and I plan to tackle magazine queries for some articles I am finishing up.

 

Writing Resources

The World Digital Library.

Image via Wikipedia

It has been a slow writing week for me.  I definitely need to work on my time management skills and atleast write a little everyday.  Some days I spend hours writing and other days I do not seem to find the time.  It is easy to also get lost in time, researching information online, rather than spend time actually writing.  Maybe I need to start setting a time limit for reading blogs and researching information online.

I do find some very helpful information, so at least I am not wasting time.  I have found two books which are on my wish list as writing resources : The Yahoo Style Guide :  The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World by Yahoo and the Associated Press Stylebook.  Another of my favorite freelance writing websites, www.freelancewritinggigs.com , has a link to several free writing resources : www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2009/10/4-free-stuff-for-writers/ .  A dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia are among some of the resources you can find there. 

I have been saving useful links I find as favorites on my computer, so I can find them easily when I need to refer to them again.  Some of the favorite folders I have on my computer are writing jobs, reference resources, nurse freelance writers, and writing contests.  I may have to go through and reorganize them again, but atleast it’s a beginning and you have to start somewhere.  Same thing with writing.

I did finish writing a short article today and submitted it on www.firehow.com .  Here is the link to it : http://firehow.com/2012020530040/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-healthcare-provider-visit.html .  Well, maybe this will be a more productive week and I will get more writing done.

Beginning the Journey in Freelance Writing

WritingIn the abundance of time I have as I am currently unemployed,  I decided I needed to let my creativity flow loose or go crazy.  Hence the title of my blog.  Well, as I started researching jobs which can be done from home, I stumbled across freelance writing and have been reading quite a bit on it.  I was very intrigued and have discovered I have a passion for writing.  The writing just seems to flow freely.  I have been writing using traditional pen and paper as well as frequently typing on the laptop.    

One lesson I have learned from reading a lot of information about freelance writing is there seems to be mixed reviews regarding the merit of blog writing among writers.  In light of this information and out of curiosity as I have never blogged before,  I thought I would give blogging a try.  I hope to share my discoveries along my journey to become a freelance writer. 

Even though I am just beginning, I feel as if I have accomplished quite a bit already this week.  I just finished writing and submitting an article to a magazine last night.  Also, I have two books I have begun writing and have spent time developing a list of possible topics for future articles.  There is so much to learn about freelance writing and I’d like to share a good resource I found recently, which has a lot of good articles about writing, is www.wow-womenonwriting.com .

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