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.

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.

 

Dove Into Writing First Magazine Query

Magazines to read

Magazines to read (Photo credit: Longzero)

A few months ago I did submit some of my writing to different places, but never wrote a query letter.  One was a poem entered in a contest for the Carolina Woman magazine, which I did not win but did receive back a very nicely worded rejection letter.  The other has been primarily writing articles and submitting to the Yahoo! Contributor Network since February.  I’ve been writing other articles and researching magazines I am interested in making submissions to, but honestly I think I have felt a little intimidated about writing query letters.

My writing doesn’t make me hesitate as I just write.  Maybe I’ll hope someone likes it, but I don’t think about it too much.  It’s not that I don’t care about the audience who may be reading my writing.  I think it’s just I’ve spent so much of my life trying to make other people happy and often being quiet about things that my priority is speaking up even if some one may not like it or agree with it.  Sometimes it’s something I’m writing from the heart.  Other times it can be something I have to share I’m interested in, something I learned, or maybe something from my life.

Query letters on the other hand feel like one of those nice tidy things which if not done correctly like a form you fill out at the DMV office can lead to the demise of your writing.  Hence my trepidation.  Some things procrastination does not improved and just holds you back, so I decided to just jump in yesterday.  Hooray, nice deep breath, I can officially say I have written my first query letter and begun in earnest to work on submitting some of my writing.

Through all of the reading I’ve been doing the last few months, there are a few basics I recall to query letters.  A big one, which I am floored to learn not all people do, is to make sure to read submission guidelines and follow them.  Another point is let your writing stand out by itself, but stick to the classics when it comes to a query letter and don’t try to make it stand out too much.

It’s not the time for creativity with a query letter on neon green paper and an unusual font.  It’s best to use good old fashioned standard white paper and a font usually accepted such as arial or times new roman.  A last point is just as you try to grab your reader’s attention, you want to grab the attention of the editor right away, so put an interesting idea or the “hook” of your article in the first paragraph.

There is a good article How to Write a Query Letter on the PoeWar website.  In the beginning there is a list I really like of some of the advantages of writing query letters, which are worth considering as I’m learning some magazines do not require query letters.  I did some of both yesterday.  A few poems were submitted to one magazine without a query letter, but I submitted two stories to another magazine with a query letter.

What’s your favorite tip regarding query letters for submitting your writing?

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

Organizing to Write

Organized

Organized (Photo credit: Librarian by Day)

Okay, I watched too much “Blue’s Clues” with my daughter when she was a toddler and use the phrase, “handy dandy notebook.”  Can’t help myself.  Well, while perusing my handy dandy notebooks and books about writing, I have been using a bunch of those little flag post its to mark important or interesting things.

I am almost done with the library’s copy of the 2010 Writer’s Market book.  Love the book, but will have to wait to own a copy when budget will allow.  The past few days, I wrote down information for the magazines from the pages I had flagged as possibilities for places to submit articles.  I didn’t write down everything.  Just wrote down things like title, web address, type of writing accepted, word limits, and if accepted poems.

Things do change with time though.  I went to some of the websites and some magazines are no longer accepting submissions or no longer pay for submissions.  I’m updating the list as I go, noting changes, and have gone online to print submission guidelines for some magazines I am really interested in submitting to in the near future.  

In the notebooks I flagged interesting tidbits as well as things I had written, but had not typed into the computer yet.  I’m a little guilty of writing things randomly through my notebooks such as a website link in the margin if I run across an interesting one.  So another project I have done the past few days is try to transfer a lot of the information from my notebooks into the computer in a more organized manner.  I have a form I’m filling out for article writing ideas, a list of writing contests, and another list for helpful websites.  The system I use is after I type the information from a page I flagged, then I remove the flag.  Hopefully, eventually the notebook will be flag free.     

I have still been writing this week, but not really submitted much of anything.  It’s okay though, because I feel the time I am spending on getting somewhat organized will pay off in the long run.  If nothing else, but a little sanity. 

I’ll leave you with a link.  I’ve played around with a few different free organizers and found one I like.  It is HiTask at hitask.com.  It is free, has a calendar, and I can do a to do list for each different project I have I am working on. 

Writing Magazine Query Letters

Magazines

Image via Wikipedia

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.

 

 

Inspiration for Writers

Ernest Hemingway Writing at Campsite in Kenya ...

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, I have a thing for used bookstores.  I found another interesting book, Beating the Odds :  Getting Published in the Field of Literacy by editors Shelley B. Wepner and Linda B. Gambrell.  Even though this book is geared towards those in the literacy field, I thought it had quite a bit of useful information for any writer.

I found several inspirational quotes from other writers in the book :

  • Edward Fry – “there is only one kind of author who never gets rejections:  the author who doesn’t submit anything”
  • E.B. White – “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”
  • Ernest Hemingway – “For a long time now I have tried to write simply the best I can.  Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”
  • Bill Wheeler – “Good writing is clear thinking made visible.”

I thought a good idea would be to start writing inspiring quotes I find on sticky notes and put them up in visible places near my desk. Online I started to pin inspirational things I find on a board at pinterest. Pinterest can be found at http://pinterest.com/ , just beware you can waste time there and get sidetracked from writing. My thinking is if I surround myself with words of encouragement and things which inspire me, it will help me hang in there even during the discouraging times.

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