Missed it by that much!

finish-line

Image courtesy of Google Images

Yep.

My goal was to blog once a week and post every Wednesday and I have already missed it!

My excuse? The week after Christmas and before New Years.

It seems, at least to me, that this week is a blur. Not because I’m doing much, but more so because there is so much that needs to be done!

Besides just cleaning up the house and being exhausted after having two on Christmas dinners to cook for and attended.

I’m trying to finalize my submission for a writing contest. I haven’t entered writing contests in the past because quite frankly I never felt I could write anything worthwhile to submit.

I heard a very successful published author say that she thought writing contest were a waste of time . . . OUCH!

So if I have such a bad attitude about writing contest why have I been rewriting and revising and rethinking all that I have written?

Because it’s one of my goals for 2017. I’m pushing myself to finish my entry – heck, its only three pages! Three pages I have rewritten about hundred times so far!

If I can meet this goal then I can meet others . . . right? I hope!

In the meantime, let’s see how I meet my goal for 2017 of posting a blog every Wednesday . . . shall we . . .

December is a wash.

 

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Image courtesy of  Google Images

I recently heard a fellow writer (actually she’s an author since she’s published) say that really noting gets done in December when it comes to writing.

I sort of agree with her.

December is all about getting ‘stuff’ done that is needed to be done to make the holidays ‘light and bright’ but nothing gets done that is wanted.

Unless, of course, you want every thing ‘light and bright’

I’m not a big fan of the holidays . . . but I bet you already had that one figured out.

My ‘unlike’ of the Christmas Season and all its trimmings is not new. Even as a child, I recoiled from all the frivolities of Christmas.

Until I was an adult, I sort of when along with whatever the family was doing, but once I got out on my own, I sort of turned the dial back on all the Christmas stuff.

The huge expectations in regarding how we celebrate Christmas, I tossed aside. Even though I came of age during the Martha Stewart era where decorating your home (inside and out), wrapping presents, cooking and baking was morphed into a seasonal competition.

Is it any wonder I fell short?

So now long into middle age, I have no one to impress and more importantly, no longer wanting to gain anyone’s gratitude.

I still put up a tree. I still wrap presents. I still cook (just returned from Cost Co – the warehouse shopping experience!).

But my expectations for December and Christmas are much lower than every before. That sounds like a negative but it isn’t.

It’s realistic.

Finally after all these years, I enjoy Christmas and all that the season brings even if my writing is a wash in December.

I’m looking forward to January as a big dry off! And, back to writing.

See you then.

New Year’s Resolution: Make some goals.

 

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My goal for 2017 is to finish my book regardless of what Darby may have planned for me.

I’ve never kept any New Year’s resolutions. Sure I thought up a few but once the party is over. Once I am back into the routine of my daily life . . . those resolutions I was so eager to start, work through, and eventually achieve, are forgotten.

So I rather than figuring out why I never follow through, I just decided to not make any resolutions and begin each New Year with the same old bad habits I had in the previous year.

Until now.

Recently in my writer’s group our guest speaker spoke about goals vs. resolutions.

Really? Aren’t they the same?

No. Resolutions, she said, are always negative: lose weight; give up smoking; stop drinking, etc.

Whereas goals are positive or should be positive: start running, practice yoga, and switch from bourbon to wine.

But goals aren’t just positive but should be SMART.

Smart?

No. SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.

I hadn’t really thought about goals in this way before. I suppose because I’ve always worked in an industry where someone else was always setting the goals: like manufacturing deadlines, end of fiscal year contracts, statement of work deliveries, etc., and before this, when I was in school, the instructor or professor would tell us when are assignments are due, when the tests are and more importantly the school would set up the calendar so I always knew when the semester ended.

So deciding for myself what goals I want to reach I suppose is a relatively new concept for me and setting my own goals seem like such a daunting task until now . .

So for 2017 I’m not just going to work on my book or think about writing here or dream about what if I advanced my writing career . . . instead I’m going to make a New Year’s Resolution and set some SMART goals.

Looking for a pen

ink joy pen

Courtesy of Google Images

I spent twenty minutes this afternoon staring at the Back to School section at Target looking for my favorite pens. Surprised to say, I must be the only one who liked them, because I couldn’t find them.

I walked out empty handed and disappointed. Something I liked. Something I used. Something I enjoyed was gone. Not longer available.

But it was just a pen.

I’ve always been particular about the pens that I write with. I don’t like really expensive ones, although I do have some of those tucked away in my desk drawer; I like inexpensive pens that I can use until they run out of ink and then them into the trash. Maybe not so Green, but so satisfying to know that I wrote so much I used up all the ink in the pen.

Something about the way a favorite style of pen feels in my hand, the way the ink flows across the page, staining the virgin paper with my words. Some pens become my favorites and I buy them over and over again – until like now, I can’t.

Most people, I suspect don’t write with pen and paper anymore. Now that lap tops, tablets are ‘de rigueur’ pens and paper (and gasp! pencils) are probably too passé for most.

But not for me. When it comes to getting my thoughts down, I want blue ink, narrow ruled paper, and the only noise? The almost indecipherable sound of the scratching across the fresh page.

I left Target empty handed. I looked at the market (their Back to School section) I also checked Amazon, but I came up empty. My favorite pen has gone the way of the rotary phone or the VCR or the ipod.

Sure there are other pens out there, willing and waiting for me.

And, I will have to try them all.

Thoughts on my first RWA Conference

 

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I am home. And, my head is still percolating with ideas, thoughts and techniques from my first RWA conference.

Besides getting to meet some of my favorite authors (No, I didn’t take pictures with them). I did take some stellar workshops and learned a few things that I would like to share.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Yes, it is true. If your feet hurt you are not going to have a good time or be able to listen or even smile.
  • Pack light. I mean do you really need that designer hobo bag with fifteen pounds of necessities in it? I think not.
  • It’s okay if you don’t have a tribe (a group, a circle, a posse, a gang) to hang with.
  • Even the worst presenters may have something to important to say. Yes, there were a few – one in particular- workshop which was down right bad, but I sat through it and tried to figure out what the heck the presenter was talking about. I think she had some good ideas, but was not too good at presenting them.
  • Everyone has his or her own path to success. Don’t compare yourself with others. I know. Easy to say but hard to do.
  • And finally, it is easy to pack for a trip (all that excitement and energy) than it is to unpack – just too tired to do my laundry.

Would I go again? Absolutely. However, now I must reread my notes and get back to working on my novel. My next conference is California Dreamin’ in 2017.

But until then I must get back to my writing.

 

 

 

 

Another hot day

 

desert picture

Image courtesy of Google Images

Hot. Temperatures are expected to peak at 110 F.

In southern California we do expect the heat. This area is a desert, although it doesn’t resemble one any more. We have collectively altered the environment with our green lawns, trees, and swimming pools and of course our famous (or perhaps infamous) freeway system.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

What we have done (over several generations) is what writers do everyday. Of course, a write doesn’t work with a shovel but rather a pen and paper.

Okay! A computer and word-processing program.

A writer takes her tools and molds her ideas, thoughts, and emotions into a story, an article or a journal. Which ever it is, it is taking what’s there (the voices rolling around in your head, the anger at an injustice, the remembrances of the days activities) and molding those emotions using words into a story.

We, as writers, change the landscape – physically pen to paper, but also by writing we change the landscape of our thoughts and when someone reads what we have written we influence or alter them as well. I mean come on, haven’t you read a book that once you finished you couldn’t get out of your head?

I have.

And sometimes as a writer, we need that intensity of emotion to write – like a hot summer day or even the bleak cold of a winter night to force us to put our ideas on to paper.

So maybe its not so bad it’s projected to 110 F today. Maybe the intense weather will melt out something that has been simmering in the back of my mind . . .

And just maybe, I’ll write a bit more.

The end is near.

Well, not really.

I sit here writing this as the calendar is slowly clicking away to November 1st. The first day of NaNoWriMo. A month long celebration or endurance race to write a novel. This will be the first year I have EVER participated in this activity. Right now, on Oct 31st as Halloween takes hold and the streets are swarming with costume-clad children (and adults!) announcing their intention to trick unless they get a treat (mostly chocolate!), I am eager to get started on my novel; to tap away on the keyboard for a minimum of 1,666 words a day and see and feel what bubbles up from my conscious and pours onto the glowing screen of my lap top.

Eager, but also ready to wait until tomorrow dawns.

It’s quite interesting that NaNoWriMo begins on November 1st.  Since Oct 31st is the eve of All Saint’s Day; of course, here in the USA, no one really thinks of Halloween like that but rather more of a huge celebration that has evolved from a children’s activity to a huge, multi-generational reason to don costumes and act outrageous.

On All Saint’s Day, the church were I grew up would ring the bells for our long dead relatives. I can remember  bells for my grandparents and the  hearing their names spoken along with the names of others and feeling the years of their lives that touched mine.

As I sit here on the 43rd floor looking out over the city, my subconscious is churning and bubbling ready to get to work, filled with ideas and people that have inhabited my past.

I am a bit awe struck by it all, but eager, very eager to begin.

Writing Class Begins

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I started a writing class recently. To get here, I must leave my house three hours prior to class – Southern California freeway traffic is brutal and this whole experience is especially so for me, because this is way out of my comfort zone.

So, I am sipping an oversized latte. Do I even like this? I panicked at the counter and ordered the first item on the menu that caught me eye.

What do I want to get out of this writing class? Well, how to re-write the novel I have already written. It needs to be tightened, shorten and clean up . . . a lot and much more, although I am at a loss to list it here.

I’m a bit apprehensive about this class since I do consider myself pretty well read, but not so great when it comes to putting emotion on the page – sort of fall flat there. I’m hoping this class will help me infuse my characters with more emotion and also – give my some guidelines on how to plot – another pitfall of mine.

So here goes. Jumping in with both feet. Something new and different just like trying to finish this oversized latte.

Multi- tasking? Nope. Not me.

I can’t do two activities at the same time. Well, I shouldn’t say I can’t what I should say is that if I try and do two activities at the same time I do neither of them very well.

Multi-tasking is a concept that seems to have run rampant through out American businesses partnered with the ever-annoying synergy, work smarter, and walk the talk.

None of which makes doing two activates better, faster or efficient: at least not for me.

I guess, it depends on the activity, but I do believe that concentrating on one effort is better then dividing my attention (and skill) over several efforts at the same time.

For instance, when it comes to writing, all I can do is write. I don’t listen to music while writing, nor the TV, and many times I can’t even have my cats in the room with me because they are demanding my attention as I write.

 

What is it with cats and computer keyboards?

What is it with cats and computer keyboards?

Since multitasking is not in my genome or skill set or what-ever-the-latest-buzz word is – I am a liability in the current environment of American business and I am a stumbling block in my home life, too. I am unable to answer the phone, wait on a client and answer emails simultaneously nor am I able to vacuum the floors, listen to a book on tape, check my Twitter feed or plan the next weeks meals, simultaneously. For all these tasks (and many more) it takes me much longer to complete each and everyone one for them because, I do each task one at a time. Yes, it is true: I vacuum only. Write out my grocery list. If the phone rings? Yikes! I sit there at the kitchen table and – ready for this?! I only talk on the phone! How very old fashioned of me, isn’t it?

There is, however something very calming about doing one task at a time. I do feel a sense of accomplishment once I get the house vacuumed. I can concentrate on my phone conversation if all I am doing is talking to one person. I never could understand how anyone could drive and chat on the phone – let alone text!

Geez! I like to drive even without the radio on.

By being a ‘multitasker’ failure, I feel much more calmer, relaxed and in control of my life rather than being ‘controlled’ by all these tasks I think I should be able to do simultaneously.

Will I even be a CEO? Nope. Will I ever learn a language? I doubt it. Understand the workings of my cell phone? Definitely not. Get my book written? Yes, I will – someday.

What I do know is that by not being able to multitask I can enjoy the here and the now. I can be in the moment and realize that this is a real good place to be.

The First.

The first day of school.

The first job.

The first kiss.

The first in line.

The first time.

The first is an important landmark in our lives: our first steps (we may not remember, but our parent(s) probably do or our first date (perhaps we may like to forget this first) or our first car. The freedom to drive – Anywhere we wanted- as long as we had petrol in the tank!

I remember my first pair of glasses; I was thrilled I could see – see every thing really, really well.

So everybody has his or her favorite, or well-remembered ‘firsts’.

So this is, my first blog post, under my own name.

My first.

It isn’t, my first blog. I have been blogging for a few years under my pseudonym of Kemmish at sewforward.wordpress.com. But, that blog has been – for the most part- all about my adventures in sewing (primary garment construction) lightly salted with tidbits about of my life in Southern California.

Now, I’m starting a new blog, under my own name, for my own writing that isn’t limited to sewing, in other words: a new first for me.

Enjoy!