Saturday, November 21, 2009

Project 365-5: Use It or Lose It

My poor rocking chair didn't see much use this summer and the vines took over. Now it is the true definition of use it or lose it. Of course the vine will die, I'll trim it back and recover the use of my chair.

It did get me to thinking about my life and the vines that I've allowed to creep in. It's happened so slowly that I didn't even realize. I think it's time to do some pruning and I don't think I'll wait for New Year's.

How about you?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Project 365-4: '70 Chevy Nova

Did you ever get rid of a car and then you wished you'd have kept it? If you did it's probably a car from your youth and somehow you've managed to forget all of its shortcomings. Like the lack of power steering (which can be added for a price), the lack of air conditioning (which also can be added for a price) and the process of warming up the motor before you can actually pop it into gear and take off (which evidently can't be remedied for the price he's willing to pay).
When we got married my husband had a 1969 Chevy Nova, which we kept for a couple of years and then got rid of. Needless to say, after about 10 years, he was kicking himself for getting rid of it and spent the next fifteen years looking for another one.
This spring he settled for a 1970 model and hauled it home. Someone had sprayed painted the interior red, there were no seats and worse yet, no motor. He was thrilled. He didn't do a ground up restoration on it as he just wants to use it as a driver. After many hours spent in the garage this is the result.
We recently took a trip down memory lane when my friend had an 80's themed prom for her birthday and we drove the Nova to the prom just like we did the last time.
Now it's your turn. What have you gotten rid of that you wished you'd kept?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Project 365-3: Flashlight

If I had all the money that I've spent over the years on flashlights I could probably buy myself something really nice. I've bought the super cheap $1 lights, the sleek sexy Maglights, the utilitarian super sized lights with the handles, and even the ones with long fluorescent bulbs that you use for emergency lighting.

Most of them met their end at the hands of my husband. He's forever carrying them off. Finally, in self defense, I picked up this little cutie for 50 cents at a rummage sale. Just squeeze the handle in back and it will open it's mouth and giggle. The light is inside. Not only will he not fit into my husband's glove box or under his truck seat he also won't fit his image.

I've managed to hold onto this one for a couple of months now and I'm hopeful I'll have it when I finish this project. I'll let you know.

Do any of you have problems holding onto flashlights?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Project 365-2: Christmas Cards

I'm trying to get a start on my Christmas cards today. Christmas cards are kind of iffy around my house. I either get them out early or not at all. And I never, ever, ever send a Christmas letter. Come to think of it, I've never received one either.

I'm wondering how much longer Christmas cards will be around. It's easier to do an ecard and send it to your contacts list. Probably a lot greener too. But, there's something about receiving a card in the mail. It's personal. Someone took the trouble to go to the store, pick out the card, address it, stamp it and get it in the mail. Whew! sounds like a lot of work so I'd better get back at it.

How about you? Do you still send Christmas cards via snail mail, do email cards or just forgo the whole thing? And if you do write a Christmas letter, let me know what one should include in such a document.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Project 365: Day One

I first learned about Project 365 on facebook. My cousin started doing it and it looks like fun so I decided to give it a try.

Wondering what the heck Project 365 is? It consists of taking one photo a day for 365 days. I plan on posting mine here though I may not be able to post daily I'll at least take on every day.

Oh, so now you want to know what the point of this is? You're already too busy and this will cut into your quality reality television time. Well, suck it up. The Project Runway finale is tomorrow and American Idol auditions don't start until mid-January by which time you'll be in the habit of taking your daily picture.

I'm hoping that the project reminds me not to take the everyday for granted and helps me to look at things from a different angle. I'm also hoping that some of you will join me in the project. If you don't have a blog to post your photos to then put them on facebook or Flickr. You could even upload them to an online photo album.

If you decide to participate, comment and leave a link. I can't wait to see the world from your prospective.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Taking the Next Step

After you've been writing for awhile you may realize that something is missing. At least you should realize that it's missing otherwise you'd be on a bestseller list somewhere already. That's what had happened to me.

I was like a dieter who had plateaued. I'd attended the conferences, participated in critique groups, and read a ton of books and blogs on how to write. Somewhere in there I actually found time to put some words on paper and get a few short stories published and write a couple of unpublished novels. Still, I knew that I needed something to take my writing to the next level.

Much to my family's dismay, I decided to give William Bernhardt's week long writing workshop a try. I packed my clothes, my computer and my snack mix. Then I coerced a friend to go with me and headed for Tulsa.

We weren't sure what to expect when we got there. The classes were only scheduled to last four hours per day. What would we do with ourselves? So we concocted this dream world where we went to class, hung out at the pool, did our toenails, put the green facial goo on our faces, and got spiffied up for long leisurely dinners with the other writers in the evenings.

Ha!! The reality was four hours of class in the morning a quick lunch and homework. Yes, homework. It normally took us until 11 pm to complete it all plus read and critique everyone in the group's writing. Dinner consisted of a can of tuna and some crackers eaten in the room as we didn't feel that we had time to go out. (Well once, but just for an hour.)

I'll admit we're a couple of overachievers but we felt that we'd only get out of the experience what we put into it. And how many times do you have the chance to get a New York Times Bestselling Author to critique your submission packet (query letter, synopsis, first three chapters) as often as you'd care to re-write it?

Normally when I leave a conference I'm all pumped up. It's kind of like going to a revival. You ride high for a few days and then things settle back down. This time I was quiet, thinking about how I could rearrange my life and my schedule to find more time to write. I mentally reviewed my budget. How many hours could I cut back at work? Could I afford a housekeeper a couple of times a month? Was it possible that I would be awake enough to write at 5 a.m.?

Writing novels has been a dream of mine for a long time. But, for the first time, it's more than just a dream. It feels like it's real. Now I know that I can actually do it. The scary thing is if I fail it's my fault for not putting in the time and effort.

If you're ready for the next step, get yourself over to the Hawk Writing Workshop in Tulsa next month. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

To Plot or Not to Plot

Every writer has an opinion on whether or not to plot. I've tried it both ways. The first book that I wrote under the "No Plot, No Problem" school of thought was a hot mess. But at least I learned that I could produce a novel length work.

This inspired me to do a ton of research. Read a lot of books and plot, plot, plot. Even though I've changed it during the course of writing the actual novel. I think what I'll be doing for novel number three is to combine these two methods. I'll plot my main points and let my characters tell me how we'll get from point A to point B.

Just so you know, here are what some published authors do about plotting:

  • Jeffrey Deaver plots extensively. I heard him say once that he'd rather waste four months writing a lengthy plot outline and discover that a book wouldn't work than spend a year writing the book and then realize that it won't work.
  • Steve Berry says he plotted his first several books but doesn't anymore.
  • William Bernhardt is a believer in outlining his books. He say "When you outline . . . . and you will outline."
  • K.D. Wentworth doesn't outline.

Check out:

Plotting It Ain't for Wienies

Author Interviews with: Evan Marshall, Marilyn Harris Collins, and Carolyn See