Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Friends They Are So Beautiful

My favorite parts of a book just-might-be the acknowledgement and the dedication. In fact, I read them multiple times. I'm always disappointed if they are absent from a novel.

I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that I love about them. And it is love. I truly deeply madly love them.

Maybe it's meeting the people who inspired the author. Maybe it's reading about how the author's dream became a reality through the dedication and encouragement of those closest to them and those willing to take a risk on them. Maybe it's the realization that an author is never truly alone when writing. Be it a novel, a short story, a fanfic, a flash fiction, a journal entry, or a blog post, when writing a author is surrounded by a host of people -- loved ones, fans, even naysayers.

There is something insanely beautiful and awe-inspiring hidden deep within these dedications and acknowledgements, a sense of rightness, a sense of honesty, a sense of humility.

Maybe I'm just a sentimental fool. Maybe some think I'm reading far too much into a few seemingly meaningless lines. But to me, they are enchanting.

Don't you wish our lives could have an acknowledgement and dedication page? Wouldn't that just be peachy? There's no doubt mine would be filled with sappy blubbering and long rambling sentences. Maybe yours would be a few simple lines or even a list of names. Either way, it would get its point across and be all yours.

In my mind, almost daily, I write an acknowledgement page, reminding myself how I arrived at this exact moment in time and those who have been on this journey with me. I highly recommend it. It brings clarity to life, a sense of rightness, a sense of honesty, a sense of humility.

You don't need to be rich and famous to write one. I know, because I'm nowhere close to being famous and even further from being rich. And maybe, just maybe, that's why they appeal to me, because the people in my life only see potential. They don't really know if I'll ever be a successful writer, but they sure do believe in me. They continue to encourage me-- lifting me up when I'm down, treating my dreams as if they were precious to them, making me feel like I've already succeeded. And that, my friends, leaves me speechless.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five For Friday

I've been sick--
like fever snot unpleasant sick.
Your welcome for sharing.
Let's move on, shall we?
How 'bout this week's Five for Friday?
Fridays are good and five is the best darn number in the world.
I can't see this going anywhere but Awesome Town.
How 'bout you?

1. This week in Greta is awesome.
My good bloggy friend Greta has a debut novel out
and I be sooooofa king excited for her!!
You can find her blog here.
Her Twitter account here.
Her Goodreads's page here.
Annnnnd you can buy her book here, here, here, and here.
What ya waiting for?! 
Check out her awesomeness immediately!!
I'm excited to read it very berry soon.

2. This week in Marie is wonderment.
An amazing friend of mine finally took my advice
and started her own book blog!! 
It's been a long time coming and I'm beyond freak-out-excited.
Marie is one of my go to book recommend-ers.
She's smart. She's witty. She's fun times, no doubt.
Pleasy cheesy check out her blog here and follow her on Twitter here.
You will not regret it!

3. This week in Doctor Who news.
 We be on season four. 
Things be getting cray cray.
My favorite thing about David Tennant,
he's either all CAPS & !!!! or ...
It's bloody brilliant.
You care about this update,
you do my friends,
you just don't know it yet.

4. This week in writing.
There she sits and there she remains.
In fact, I haven't touched good ole 
(Remember that name is copy written, friends.
Again, I apologize for taking the world's greatest 
book title in the history of all the things!)
It's been surprisingly freeing not working on her
and I now completely understand why people 
suggest taking a break after finishing a big project. 
While I'm itching to get back to work,
I've decided to let her simmer until next week,
maybe longer. Who knows?

5. This week in funnies.
I'm sure everyone has already seen this
and the mister has informed me these be going out of style,
but I just can't help myself.
Good. Times.
I'm more of a Fruit Ninja kind of gal.
However, I do love me some bouncing cards.

And that's what I've got.
World defining thoughts, no doubt.
What can I say?
Five for Friday is going to change the world.
Happy Friday to all and to all a relaxing weekend!!
See ya on the flip-flop side.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five for Friday

1. This weeks in socks. 
If pressed to pick my favey fave socks this week
it would be these beauts:

 2. This week's freak out moment.
this showed up on me doorstep:
First thought:
What the hell am I doing?
Quickly followed by:

3. This week in music.

oh. so. very. pretty.
It makes me want to write a story whilst listening to it--
a sad heart-wrenching tale.
The kind I avoid at all costs cause I'll be crying for days on end.
You can follow Jay Brannan here on Twitter.

4. This week in webernet fun.
Anna Meade (@ruanna3) is hosting a
flash fiction contest at Yearning for Wonderland,
which is open till the 20th. Check out the rules here.
I've read a few of the entries and they be delightful.
If not for prior plans this weekend,
I'd join in on all the fun!
 I think you should.
Go. Now.

5. This week in the real world.
My mister and I will be married for thirteen years this Monday.
At times, I can't believe thirteen years have past
and yet it feels as if we've been together forever.
Either way, it makes my heart insanely happy.
It also leaves me speechless...

And that's what I've got.
Happy Friday, one and all.
I'm off to clean shampoo off the bathroom floor.
Three year olds are a blasty blast.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Writing: Take One

I wrote a book, like a book book, a book with words, a book with pages, a book with characters and plot and dialogue and tension and allll the things, all the things that make a book a story.

Why am I so surprised when I've done it before? Because this one, my friends, holds promise. It's not perfect. Oh my, is it ever not perfect. But there's something there, something special, something good, something new, something (dare I say it) worth reading. I can feel it, feel it as sure as my heart beats. And it's freaking me out.
Now before you roll your eyes at the cute noob, let me share with you a few things.

a. I have been writing for well over a decade. In that time, I've written multiple short stories, false started a few novels, and, in fact, wrote She Who Must Never Be Read, also known as The Novel Hidden in my Closet (literally). This is not the ramblings of an unseasoned writer. I've been there. I've done that. This is different. I assure you. Now you can roll your eyes.  

b. I am a self-deprecating mess. Nothing is ever good enough. Nothing will ever be good enough. And if anyone is willing to point out my faults, it would be me. I'm willing to climb my way to the tallest mountain top, hold up the world's largest megaphone, and proclaim to all my failings.

Let's get back to the book. Ya know, the one I wrote. The one I'm willing to fight for. The one I'm gonna beat down all my fears for. The one that's got me all tied up in knots.

Her name? Fluff, Nonsense, & Other Emo Crap. That's copy written, my friends. I know you are kicking yourself for not coming up with the world's most awesome book title. Take a moment. Grieve. I understand.

I started writing her last summer. I finished her about a month ago. Since that blessed day when I typed the last word followed by that all too final period, I've been in a state of freak out. What do I do next? 

I mean I know what to do next: find first readers, edit all the things, edit more of the things, get more readers,  just for fun edit more things, research all the agents, spend a million bucks on paper, printer ink, stamps, and envelopes of the perfect shape and size, stress over stuffing all aforementioned envelopes just right, redo envelopes when smallest lil cutie finds them and gets paint all over them, decide one more round of editing wouldn't hurt, finally mail all the envelopes, wait to hear from all the agents, kick myself over a typo found on page 1, continue to wait for what feels like years to hear from all the agents, get rejected by all the agents-- rinse and repeat. It's a run-on sentence from hell.

I know that part by heart. Every writer's blog, agent's blog, and expert-on-writing-because-of-goodness-only-knows-what-reason's blog will share with you the dismal facts.

Fact 1: Your book is never polished enough. Go back and keep editing.
Fact 2: It is more likely that an alien will abduct you than you getting published.
Fact 3: Your query letter sucks. Rewrite it.
Fact 4: Did I mention you've got a snowball's chance in hell of a. impressing me and b. getting published? Just wanted to make sure that was clear. Good luck!

Go ahead, let it wash over you, take in the depressing reality. [insert sigh] Annnnnd moving on.

See, since that moment when I finished good ole Fluff, Nonsense, & Other Emo Crap, I have been going full speed, my brain-brain jumping from one thought to the next-- confused and unable to think. I feel small. I feel unworthy. I feel lost, weak, overwhelmed, uncool. It's high school all over, people, and frankly, it sucks a whole lot of arse. 

I've come to realize something: I've been so busy worrying about how to impress the literary gods that be, I forgot to celebrate the moment. I forgot I didn't write this book for them, but for me, for those people out there who are like me, for the simple joy of writing, creating, dreaming, living.

With that in mind, I am climbing to the tip top of the tallest mountain, taking out the gigantic megaphone I keep in my back pocket at all times, and declaring to all the world:


Gosh, that felt good. I highly recommend you do it too! Maybe you haven't written a book, maybe it's a kick arse scene you've been dreaming about for weeks on end or maybe it's a witty dialogue thread that cracks you up or maybe you had "that moment," you know the one when the idea that's been festering in the back of your brain-brain finally clicks into place, or maybe you just so happened to write a thousand words today and that's the most you've ever written in any sitting and you are dying to share it with someone.

Whatever writing goal you hit today, be it an amazing sentence or a whole damn book, celebrate it! Rejoice! You are awesome!! No, really, you are. Pat yourself on the back, pick up your favorite treat, and realize you've done something billions of people only wished they could do:

You are living out your dream.
You are a writer. 
You're doing it. 
Never lose sight of that one simple amazing fact.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lessons Learned: Take One

Talking to a friend the other day, a startling realization bonked me right on the nose.

I am not the only one who has felt
they were doing this thing called writing wrong.

There is a bit of mystic surrounding the art of writing. Editors, literary agents, and professional writers make it appear not only easy, but as if there was a formula to writing the perfect novel.  Not to mention, the countless books out there declaring they can teach you how to write a bestseller by means of charting your rise in tension, plotting out your pacing, developing your characters, and setting the perfect scene, just add in a dash of witty dialogue and you're sure to be a hit.

Oh, yeah, of course.  Now that you've pointed that out, I am sure to succeed. [insert headdesk]

And while you can gain an overwhelming amount of insight from these books, there really is nothing that will help you more than simply reading and writing. In fact, if you were to believe the words of my favorite English professor you might give some thought to tossing all those self-help books aside. His belief-- you are either a writer or you aren't. It cannot be taught or forced. It either is or it isn't. fin.

In summation:
There's no big secret to writing.
You just do it.

This line of thinking was something of a revelation for me. It freed me from all my prior worries. See, the stories in my head, they are mine and I get to decide how to transfer them onto paper.

If that means writing is a mad dash of inspiration that consumes a person like a raging wildfire, so be it. Or a writer can choose to plot things out meticulously, keeping notebooks filled with character traits and post-it notes filled with last minute thoughts and details. And if none of this appeals to a writer, they are free to find their own way, their own style. The sky is the limit.

I'm not saying we can't learn from professional writers, literary agents, editors, publishers, bloggers, creative writing classes, conferences, and books on writing. In fact, I think it is incredibly important to strengthen your skillz of a writer by soak up all the information and knowledge from others that you can. I haunt multiple blogs on writing, plus pick up books on writing all the time from the library. I believe one of the best things I ever did for my writing was work toward the associates I earned last fall.

What I am say is writing is personal. It's a passion, an itch that must be scratched, and how you go about scratching it is completely up to you. Don't worry about doing it the right or wrong way, realize the only way that matters is your way and hone your skills by reading and writing daily.

The goal must remain pure and simple -- to write. Not to become a bestselling author and by extension become rich and famous, but to write for fun, for the love of it, for yourself. You owe it to yourself to get the stories in your brain-brain out. Worry about all the rest of the mumbo-jumbo afterward. And leave all the worrying about writing a bestseller to the pros. There is something freeing and incredibly wonderful about being an amateur.

I think Jeff Herman in his book Guide to Book, Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2011 sums it up best:
"Not knowing that there's a lot you don't know is empowering. Being ignorant won't hold you back from entering the contest but feeling ignorant can be paralyzing. Many people achieve the biggest strides, and experience the greatest satisfaction of their lives, when engaged in something completely new. Ignorance is an opportunity for innovation, because you haven't been corrupted with a litany of dissuasion about what "can't be done," or how it "must be done." You're a clean vessel with the power to recreate reality."
 He goes on further to say:
"Whatever happens to you belongs to you."
I really like the sound of that.
How about you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

One Giant Leap For Me

If you like me fancy yourself a hardcore book fanatic, then you like me might just dream about becoming a writer. I've been writing since I was a kid, scribbling in hidden notebooks and journals. I've spent endless hours lying in bed at night replaying a scene over and over until I finally passed out from exhaustion, only to awaken the next morning upset I'd fallen asleep before getting to the good part. And, as much as it pains me to admit, I have (upon occasion) locked myself in a bathroom to act out a scene of dialogue.  We will not get into the many musicals and dances I've created in my spare time.

All these years, I've concealed my secret desire to become a writer. Partly because I'm a self-deprecating mess of a person and partly because anytime I've broached the subject with random people in my life I’ve received blank looks of you-want-to-do-what-now, which always led to the how-cute face. The only logical conclusion I could form is writing is somewhat frowned upon.

You can imagine the reaction when three years ago (after the birth of my fourth child), I changed my major from Elementary Education to English with a Creative Writing Emphasis.

Conversations went something like:

random peep: You changed your major? Cool. What is it now?
me: Creative Writing.
random peep: Wow. What are ya gonna do with that? Teach?
me: Um... no.
random peep: Really? Then what?
me: Write creatively?
random peep: Wow. Well, good luck with that. It's really hard.

Thanks much.

Even mentioning my desire to fellow artists (musicians, photographers, and the like) earned me an odd look and a weak pat on the back.  The poll results were in, the masses had spoken, me becoming a writer equaled fail.

An overabundance of these conversations coupled with my aforementioned stellar self-esteem and I quickly zipped up any and all talk on writing, hid what I was doing from everyone save a few online friends and my wonderful mister.

Between picking up and dropping off my kids at school, I attempt to write as much as is humanly possible while a toddler choke holds me. Countless times my friends and family have asked me what I do all day long. My response? Oh, you know, stuff. This has led many of my friends and family to believe I am extremely anti-social. At this point, I think they all believe I'm hopelessly addicted to Twilight, reading it multiple times in a day.

Until recently, that is, when after seven years I graduated from a local college with an associates (that's right seven years for a two year degree) in Creative Writing. After some soul-searching and encouragement from my mister and my bestie, I decided to say to hell with all the killjoys and roll with it. Now when someone asks what I've been up to I say (proudly, but with a slight blush) "I've been writing all day long! What you got to say 'bout it, fool!?" Okay, so I don't get up in their bizness, but I think you get the point. As if a dam broke inside of me, I actually finished my second full length novel (one I'm fairly proud of) and the ideas started popping up in my brain-brain for more stories.

The moral of the story?

The more I've tried to hide my passion for writing-- due in part to shame and silliness-- the more I've harmed my writing. By opening up and facing the naysayers (myself included), I have broken something loose inside of me, something that has been holding me back, something extremely melodramatic and emo. [insert epic eye roll here]

And so, here I am starting a blog (because isn't that what we all do nowadays) on my journey as a writer. From musical influences to the outright overwhelming steps of getting published, I plan to share my journey in an effort to get all this madness out of me brain-brain. You are very welcome, webernets.

Will I succeed? Only time will tell. Truth be told, I feel as if I already have.

You, my fellow reader, are more then welcomed to join me on this journey. If you are a  writer, come out and play. I am dying to share with other writers and learn from them! If you are a book lover, share with me your passion for books. My addiction to reading overwhelms me at times. And if you just.so.happen. to be one of the naysayers, welcome to the party in my head. It's a mess, but it's all me.