Monday, January 30, 2012


Oh, man.  I can't believe I am going to do this.  I don't know if I can.  I don't think I've ever done it before.  I'm starting to panic a little.  Okay, a lot.

I am NOT going to read a book in the month of February.

I know!  It's crazy.  I'm the person who ALWAYS has a book in her hand.  A Nook in the crook (of my arm).  I read one, two or three books a week, maybe more.  How will I ever make it through a whole month without reading?  Other than working during the day and my family, I don't have another hobby like so many other folks do.  I don't watch TV or knit or....anything.  I read.  Everything.

Why take this vow of reading abstinence? 

I need to see if reducing my reading is going to help me focus on writing and being more creative.  I know I need to get better at it and you only get better by writing every day.

You see, it's easy to read, but it's hard to write.  I love both, but I lack confidence in my writing skill.  So, I usually take the easy way out and choose to be entertained, educated, and enthralled by other people's works rather than spend the effort to get better at my work.  And yet I want my work to be brilliant.  This is the part where you tell me that's the definition of insanity!

So, it's time to close the escape hatch, lock myself in, and see what I can really do.  I need to give myself time to think, dream, create, and write. 

*freaking out*  *hyperventilating*

Wish me luck. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What's the worst thing that can happen?

When you're young, birthday's are really exciting.  I mean, who cares that Christmas was only a month ago.  It's birthday time!  Presents!  Cake!  My son was excited.  He was counting down the days and moaning with sadness every morning when it still wasn't his birthday. 

Little Man turned 9 on Friday. 
On Thursday evening he came down with a major stomach bug and spent the night being very sick (gross).

But little man soldiered on.  He rested instead of going to school.  I offered to have the family party on Saturday instead of Friday evening so he could feel better but his answer was an emotional "NO!"

His perseverance made me think about characters in our writing.  As writers we're supposed to think of the worst that can happen and then make our characters work through it.  It lends depth and emotion to the story.  It helps readers care for the characters. 

When you're young, what's the worst that can happen on your birthday?  You're too sick to enjoy the presents. 

What's the worst that can happen to your characters in the story you're working on?  Are you challenging your characters enough to make them seem real to your readers?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Multitasking and Story Ideas

Multitasking is hard for me.  I didn’t always know this about myself but as I’ve gotten older, it’s become apparent.  I don’t know how people do it.  I wish I could.  I’m writing this blog post about multitasking from a writer’s point of view.  A lot of writers have ideas come to them when they are doing something else.  They might be walking down a street and an idea comes to them.  They think through plot lines while exercising.  The only thing I can think of while exercising is how many more minutes do I have left? 

When I’m working my day job, I don’t think about writing or stories.  I think about work.  I want to think about my plot or my characters but I can’t do it.  I’ve tried.  An example would be the work I did yesterday.  I was gathering data between two flow meters and so I was sitting on a ladder, glancing back and forth between two display screens and writing numbers.  For hours.  You would think my mind would have lots of opportunity to wander and think about other things.  But oh, no, not me.  My thoughts were constantly evaluating the numbers, wondering why there was fluctuation, whether or not it was statistically significant, was I doing a good job and getting the best data possible?  My thoughts are constantly focused on my work projects and my next steps and what needs to be done when I’m at work.

And home is really no different.  When I start the washing machine, you would think I could daydream then, but it’s not to be.  My mind immediately focuses on whether or not I filled the detergent to the correct level, how to pour the softener without spilling it all over, choosing the right settings.  It’s never done on rote.  I think about it every time.  Washing dishes doesn’t give me a chance either.  I just think about making sure everything is clean.  I think about how warm the water is and how soapy.  When I try to think about a story or developing an idea, it’s just a blank.

Now that I’ve finally realized that I’m not the kind of person who ideas are just going to pop in my head and flesh themselves out while I’m doing the menial things we do in our normal lives, I have decided that if I require single focus time to do things, I need to discipline myself to sit and think of story ideas.

I need to learn to sit quietly and let my mind wander.  This is so difficult.  I’m not sure I know how to unfocus and just let the ideas come.  I know they are there but they seem so hard to grasp.

Do you have any trouble thinking about story ideas?  How do they come to you?  Do you have any advice for letting my creative side free?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How’s it hanging?

Over the holidays, I had a death in the family.  One of our hangers committed suicide.  Don’t laugh, I was shocked.  I hadn’t expected it at all.  I must have missed all the clues.  There I was, minding my own business.  Doing the laundry and not thinking about anything other than which shirt belongs to which kid.  I had a group of hangers on the bed where I sort and pile the clean laundry into groups.  Shirt pile for kid 1, pants pile for kid 1, underwear pile for kid 1, you get the idea.  I grabbed the hangers and started putting shirts and pants on them to take into the walk in closet.  Everything seemed fine.  I grabbed a handful of hangers with shirts on them and walked into the closet.  Just as I raised my arm to hang the shirts on the bar, one of the hanger’s heads jumped up and came into contact with the top shelf of the closet.  SNAP.  The head goes flying and the body drifts slowly to the floor taking a clean shirt with it. 
What was so wrong with this hanger that he would resort to this sort of macabre decision?  Were my other hangers so exclusive that they couldn’t get along?  Was he tired of hanging around the bar and never getting picked up? 
Please join me in a moment of silence.  *wipes tears*  Personification can really suck sometimes.