Category Archives: Writing

Understand? Comprenez? Capice? Entiendo?

Communication is vital for life.  An obvious statement, I know.  But when you think about it, communication, more importantly effective communication, is something we often take for granted. The majority of us learn to talk and communicate at an early age.  We know how to say what we want, identify things we like, show disdain for things we don’t like.  It seems so simple when you think about it but really, it’s so much more than that.  It allows us to be who we are.  It gives us an identity. It is how we want people to perceive us – by the thoughts and ideas we communicate with each other.

Quotation-Anne-Morrow-Lindbergh-communication-coffee-good-sleep-Meetville-Quotes-163525

In college, when I went back for round two, I majored in English (big surprise there) with a concentration in Writing, Communication, and Rhetoric.  I loved words, I loved writing.  It made sense that I would gravitate toward that concentration.  However, while there were some classes that really just were going through the motions (sorry – but Business Communications and Technical Writing were almost the same class – at least Tech Writing started off that way and it was probably because of the professor who taught it…), there were other classes that really examined language and how it’s used and how to effectively communicate with the masses.

In those classes, finding a voice was imperative. Without a voice, how could you communicate?  My Advanced Writing class, which was really my one true Rhetoric class, was where we learned to write effective persuasive essays, straw man essays, and Aristotelian arguments using Logos and Pathos.  It was by far one of my most favorite classes ever.  Combine that with a professor who was one to say “I never give anyone an A,” and I was set to take that class and make it my life’s mission to get that ‘A’ he never gave.

4-14-Aristotle-Knowledge-Quote

That class was so interesting in the sense that in order to have an effective argument, it was important that you were very clear in what you were saying so there could be no misunderstanding.  It taught me to get to the point and support the point clearly.  It taught me to use one word rather than ten to get there.  I could dig it up, but probably my most favorite argument was the one where I argued that Seinfeld was the greatest sitcom ever created.  I don’t remember the exact reasons I gave, but I remember getting an A on that paper and in the end I got an A for the semester (which also gave me a sense of pride because it was awarded by a self-proclaimed “I never give As” professor).

Had I not learned how to effectively communicate and make sure that I was understood, I doubt my arguments would have been as strong as they were.  I took a lot from that class because many of the lessons applied to every aspect of life. In order to have any relationship in life, you must effectively and clearly communicate and be understood.  If you can clearly communicate, then you can be understood.  Being able to be understood means that people are able to know me. They can understand my opinions and if they are able to communicate back, I can understand theirs.

being-understood-in-a-relationship

Today, I have heard a lot of people say things like “Our country is pregnant with change,” or “We are living in a very historical time” and at the same time, we hear the candidates gearing up for Presidential campaigns. Everything is so politically charged and at times, it’s overwhelming.  I can’t help but think that if people knew how to effectively communicate and have a discussion – not digging your heels in and shouting at each other trying to drown the other opinion out but a genuine conversation – we might better understand our friends and neighbors who hold a different opinion.  We would understand what was being said.  That’s the beauty of humanity.  We have the ability to communicate and through that communication we are able to be understood.  It really is an amazing thing to be understood.

This blog is part of my month long attempt (number fiftefoursixthteenth or something around that) at participating in NaBloPoMo.  Check out other great bloggers who are working on hitting this 31 days of blogging goal and join in yourself if you want!  The more the merrier!  This month’s theme: Connect.  Today’s Prompt: Do people generally understand what you’re trying to say?

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Seconds of Summer

It is surreal.  For someone who doesn’t usually like to focus on herself or draw much attention to herself, I find myself in the strange position of putting myself out there and pushing something I created.  Then again, I wrote the story so people would read it.  I find myself following authors on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs – looking for hints about how they market their books.  It’s fascinating to me and sometimes feels a bit egotistical but I suppose we all have that little streak of ego that helps us move forward.  It is probably a good thing. Listening to that ego only takes a second and sometimes it pays off.

Today is the last day of June. They say we get a whole extra second today.  That extra second could make a world of difference to someone today and I find myself thinking about that second.  So many possibilities in one second.  I know in one second, the second I pushed that button to publish, I made a dream come true.  It takes just one second and a person ready to take that second and make the most of it.

Cape Cod Canal and The Sagamore Bridge

Cape Cod Canal and The Sagamore Bridge

It feels like summer today. So many seconds make up a summer day, roughly 86,400 seconds.  Seconds of laughter. Seconds of hazy heat.  Seconds of cookouts.  Seconds of music playing into the night.  Seconds of splashing in the ocean.  Seconds that make life wonderful.  Take those seconds and try to enjoy them.

As the Daughter and I were getting ready this morning, she was regaling me with stories of her first day at 4-H camp (which was a huge success thankfully and put this worried mother at ease), I took a second to just look at that little 6-year-old face. In that second, I saw her happy and innocent, enjoying life in its simplest form.  Out in the woods, out in the lake, out with people having fun singing camp songs.  No electronics.  No real worries.  Just sunshine and laughter.  Seconds of life that hopefully she will some day remember and smile about.

Go make the most of your extra second today.

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Anointed is in the Kindle Store NOW!

Holy crap! I did it. I did it on the eve of my 35th birthday.  I uploaded everything and clicked the magic button that made my book available on the Kindle Store.  WOO HOOOOO!

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So, if you would be so kind and consider reading it, and writing an honest review, I would be much obliged.  I’m more than happy to take constructive criticism.  I almost have the second one completed so that will pop up soon.  Then to get the next one done…

Terrifying and exciting all at once! But I did it.

Get out and chase those dreams people.  You never know unless you try!

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Self-Publishing or Desperate Attempt to Feel Accomplished?

I signed up for a KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account last night. It was a grown up step for me.  Made me feel like I was one step closer to getting that NaNo 2012 book out to the masses for someone to read.  I did have two kind and generous people read it.  They both said they enjoyed it and liked it so that’s a good sign.  I have spent hours upon hours re-writing, editing, making sure the dots connect and I think I’m finally done.

This is the next step. The next step in getting a “book” out to the masses.  On one hand, I feel like it’s not necessarily a “real” book because anyone can self-publish.  Then I realized that I really just want people to read my stories.  And if Kindle helps people read it, cool.  If not, well hey – I didn’t lose anything now did I?

My other reason for going the self-publishing route is that I’m honestly a bit nervous about writing a query letter.  I mean I don’t know that it won’t get read and picked up, but still I can’t help but wonder if it’s easier to go the self-pub route and see if the number of sales catches the attention of a publisher.  Hey, it’s happened before…a girl can dream.

I think I’m just curious as to what will happen with this if I put it out there.  That nagging voice is shouting at me.  You know the one that is overly critical and condescending.

self-publishing-cartoon

Yeah, she’s being quite the bitch right now, but you know what? I don’t know that I care anymore what she says when it comes to my writing.  I just have to put it out there and let it go.  Who knows – I could make a killing on this first one…don’t laugh too hard at that.  There was an article on CBS Sunday Morning that talked about self-publishing and it was very interesting.

Either way, once I’m done formatting to the specifications that KDP requires, I’m going to unleash my story upon the masses.  Eeek!

I suppose that also means I should start working on self-promotion.  I’m terrible at building myself up.  But I do want to get people to read it…soooo dear readers…I’ll be letting you know when I finally get it out there and you’ll probably get sick of hearing about it, but hey – I have to be my own cheerleader right??

 

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Time Travel? Yes, please!

I suppose I should be thankful I was raised on a steady diet of Star Trek, Star Wars, Quantum Leap, and books that featured all kinds of sci-fi themes.  As I got older, I discovered even more wonderful things hiding in this genre and for a while it was a bit of an obsession. Time travel is probably the coolest idea to me.  The idea of being able to go back to any point in time, past or future, just opens up so many possibilities.

It travels through time AND space.

It travels through time AND space.

Think about going back to any point in history and seeing it, in person.  Obviously, you wouldn’t be able to really do anything because you wouldn’t want to change the course of history but still, let’s think about this for a minute.  Imagine being there when Teddy Roosevelt charges up San Juan Hill or watching Marie Curie work in the laboratory.Think about watching Caesar in Gaul or being there when Annie Oakley was performing.  So many amazing things to witness.

rough riders

Rough Riders Instagramming the moment. #RoughRiders #SanJuanHill #ByebyeSpain

Even in the last 50 years, there is so much to go back and witness.  Then think about going to the future.  I mean if you could ahead and see what happens, what would that do to you?  I love these questions.  I could talk about them for hours.  It’s just one of those things that just fascinates me.  I don’t even know when I would go first.  And then the other major question.  Do I go alone or do I find someone fun to go with?  Or do I find some kind of academic like Doc Brown to come with me so that if something bad happens, I have someone smarter than me to figure things out while I just goof around and explore?  And then the other important question – what if someone wants to come back for a little while do you take them like Bill and Ted took Abe Lincoln and Socrates?  Even more importantly, do you get Napoleon the Ziggy Piggy?

If time travel ever comes into existence, I want to sign up for it.  I don’t care where I go.  Ok, well maybe I care a little since there are a few things in history I really could do without seeing but there are so many other options! I’d even offer to do a time exchange where I spend a year in the time I pick and study it.  See what it was like.  Maybe not a full year.  Maybe more like three months but still, it would be enough time to really see what it was like in that time.  It’s such a cool thing to think about.  Excuse me while I now go make a list of all the places I would want to travel and what I would do when I get there.

This blog post is part of the July NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is “Decade.” It’s a fun time so you should go see what the other NaBloPoMo bloggers are writing and maybe even think about blogging along!

 

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10 Years From Now

Dear Future Self (I’d say from the “Year 2000” like Conan O’Brien used to but 10 years from now is about 20 years into the year 2000 so – awww who cares….In the year 2000….In the year 2000),

How was that time you were on Jeopardy?  Was it all you hoped and then some?  Did you go for a true daily double?  Did Trebek chuckle at your stories during that mid-game interview?  I’m sure you rocked it and probably cleared a whole category on your own.  It was probably a cool category too like Before & After or Rhyme Time.  Though, if you cleared any category related to literature, language, or science, I’m still impressed.  Hell, the fact that you made it on the show is impressive.

Now that the Daughter is getting ready for her driver’s permit, are you ready for that?  I mean seriously.  Are you ready for her to burn out your clutch? It’s only fair.  You almost burned out Mom’s clutch when you were learning to drive.  God knows you potentially gave her whiplash as you learned how to time the clutch and the gas pedal.  Hopefully you have already bought a neck brace or have invested in a chiropractor.  Just remember to laugh and not yell.  Clutches can be replaced.  Learning to drive only happens once.

The book was cool too. The fact that you have it on Amazon is pretty sweet.  I hear that you did manage to get an agent which is pretty much right up there with Jeopardy.  The fact that they are optimistic about getting at least a limited release is pretty cool.  Keep on writing.  Obviously.

This letter almost sounds like a kids wish list but honestly, over the past ten years, you really stayed focused.  I could list a bunch of clichés here but, thankfully, you haven’t changed that much that clichés make you throw up a little in your mouth.  At any rate, it’s impressive to see where you are at the age of 44.  What’s next? Travel? Living abroad? Whatever it is, keep on going!

Love,

You, ten years younger

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Bookends?

When I turned 10, my youngest brother (Brother 3) was only a few months old.  I remember feeling so much older than him.  When I was in high school, he was in pre-school.  I got my driver’s license when he was in first grade.  It was odd.  He was so little and it seemed like such a big difference in our ages, I thought I would never get to know him.  A ten-year age difference really seemed insurmountable.  I need to take a minute here to pause and just comment on how much I enjoy the word insurmountable – I also love proving the opposite of that word.

Brother 3 - Yukon Cornelius???

Brother 3 – Yukon Cornelius???

As we grew older, Brother 3  started to slowly join the ranks of adults.  That 10 year gap seemed to close.  He had a job.  He had bills. He had responsibilities.  Now that he could have a beer (legally), he seemed to be more like an adult.  We were able to have conversations about adult things.  He slowly discovered Monty Python, Doctor Who, classic movies (that came out when I was a kid I might add), pop culture references finally made sense to him.  It was like he was finally a member of the adult club.  I have to admit, he’s still my baby brother who still has a lot of life lessons to learn but because he’s in his early 20s, he thinks he knows it all.  When those instances come up, the instances where he knows more than I do, I sometimes find it hard to keep my mouth shut.  I have ten more years of experience than him.  I’ve made a few mistakes in life.  I’ve learned from them.  I have some knowledge from those 10 years that could benefit him.  However, because I’m older and he thinks that the three of us (my other two brothers and me) pick on him, he doesn’t always listen to what those ten years have taught me.

At times like that, when he gets a little overly sensitive about advice or I give it a little bluntly (which I will admit I sometimes do), I realize that 10 years is a long time.  There’s a lot that can happen in 10 years.  Looking at the 00’s, the “aughts” if you will, I graduated college; worked a couple of different jobs; I bought a new car and paid it off; I went to Europe; I met my husband; I had my daughter.  I’m sure there’s a lot more, but even those life events are pretty major for a 10 year period.  Think about how much can happen in a 10 year period.  Seeing those things listed makes me realize it was a long time, even if it feels like it was just yesterday.  10 years may go by quickly, but it’s really a long time and if you are living life you won’t realize they have passed until you are looking back on them.  Seriously, writing that sentence where I packed in all that stuff I did in a 10 year period was weird.  I didn’t realize how much happened – which is odd because obviously I know it happened, I lived it.  But it’s just odd that so much happened and I didn’t even blink as the calendar pages kept turning.

Getting back to Brother 3, I guess even though that 10 year gap seems to have shrunk, there still is a lot of time between us.  It’s interesting to watch the differences those ten years really make.  I suppose it’s only if I choose to acknowledge the differences.  I mean, if 1998 was still only about 10 years ago, things can’t be that different, right?

These things are all still things.  Right?

These things are all still things. Right?  Though Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe are a little out there…thanks random Google collage for this strangeness.

 

 

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Writer’s Block, Schmiter’s Block

Yeah.  I’m uninspired.  It’s odd. My head feels empty.  Just random observations to be made which don’t always make for good blog posts, however, I promised myself I was going to write every day again, so here it is.

It’s July 1st.  I have signed up for another NaBloPoMo.  The theme this year is Decades.  Glancing at the prompts for this month.  It should be interesting to explore these ideas.  Today’s prompt thought is a little tough.  I have no idea what I’ve been doing for 10 years straight.  Writing? Perhaps.  Learning? I’d like to think I’m always learning.  Growing? Well that goes hand in hand with learning doesn’t it?  See – it’s a tough question to come up with a genuine answer to.

Because of that and the fact that I’m currently being distracted by the documentary “The History of The Eagles” which, if you haven’t watched it I have to tell you it’s pretty awesome, I’m going to leave it as that.  For the last ten years, I have been listening to music.

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Under Pressure?

There are times when I realize that my self-induced state of procrastination is the cause of my anxiety when it comes to completing projects.  In 2014, I really am trying to approach life with less anxiety.  I have seen some people say that they are choosing a word to visualize and focus on for the year.  Normally, I would view this as some kind of new age mumbo-jumbo that may or may not work.  However, this year, I’m trying to cast aside my cynicism and open my mind to something new because clearly, my cynicism isn’t exactly working out so well for me.

My word is:

happy

Whatever “happy” means, that’s what I’m aiming for.  There are lots of meanings for happy and how it applies to life.  I could just have a happy day.  I could have a happy accident.  I could just try to find happiness in every situation.  Happy.

Where does that leave my procrastination?  Where does that leave my last minute pressure of making something perfect in a less than perfect amount of time?

I think that it leaves my procrastination being tossed out the window.  I used to tell myself that I only worked best under pressure.  Working at the front desk of a busy Cape Cod hotel, I was constantly under some kind of pressure during the summer months, coincidentally my favorite months of work.  There were complaints, room moves, last minute tours…all things that required me think fast, perform quickly, and get nothing wrong.  The pressure pushed me to perform at my personal best.  At least that’s what I thought.

If I’m trying to focus on Happy, doesn’t that mean I should be trying to eliminate stress that I can control?  My brain says “Duh, stress is ridiculous!”; my heart says “But, I like the pressure. It’s a big thrill to see how well I can do in the eleventh hour.”  Well, my heart might not really like the pressure because the pressure can sometimes cause high blood pressure which could ultimately kill me.  If I’m dead, then any goals I may have planned are pretty much null and void.  It’s just that I have become used to that kind of pressure.  I have convinced myself that it’s the only way that I can get things done.

Silly as it may seem, I must get over that mentality.  I have to take one step at a time.  Plan a little, not excessively, to complete goals and not leave them to the last minute and expect to have the results that I really want.  So while I may feel I work best under some kind of pressure, I have to accept that it does not make me happy.  Since happy is my word this year, I have to try to obtain that word and stay focused.  Procrastination – I’m sorry, you are no longer welcome to the party known as my life.

This post is part of the January 2014 NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is “Pressure.”  Today’s prompt was “Do you work well under pressure?”

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October – The Best Month of the Year!

October 1st is pretty much done.  I have decided that I am going to give NaBloPoMo another go.  Next month is NaNoWriMo (which by the way, every time I write either of those I feel like I’m taunting you with the age old “na na na boo boo” and I promise I’m not) which means I’m going to be submitting myself to the annual masochistic ritual of trying to write a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days.  It’s something I actually look forward to every year since I discovered it.  This year will be my third year and hopefully my second win.

It’s probably my most favorite thing about Fall.  October is prep month – outlines, character sketches, tons of post it notes and journals filled with questions and ideas.  I love it.  Until I start writing that is.  Then I hate it and totally start from scratch.

Le sigh.

At least I know that my Caramel Vanilla Creme coffee will keep me adequately caffeinated as I attempt to work my way through both this month of “warm up” and next month’s actual writing blitz.

My fuel.

For those  who don’t know about either of these two writing events, I know I have written about them in the past but I will gladly re-cap because if you want to join, you should.  The more the merrier!  I also know that I enjoy the personal challenge of trying to accomplish something that I truly enjoy doing.  Yes, it really is all about me.

Let’s start with NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  It started out as just one month of posting a blog post every day for an entire month but us bloggers, we liked it so much that the creators of the great idea decided it do it every month.  You can read more about it here and sign up for it today!  If not this month, come back another month and give it a go.  It’s not monitored.  It’s kind of a personal goal and I can say that the first month I actually did it, I felt pretty awesome.  At first you think, 30 days (or 31 in this month’s case) is nothing.  You start out strong and the first week goes by no problem.  You move into the second week and you’re like ok, this is still working out.  Then the third week, you find that the prompts are pretty vital to creating new content because you start to feel a little narcissistic. By the fourth week, the end of the month can’t come soon enough.  I was amazed that those were the emotions I went through.  I hope that this month is going to be a little different.  I know some people plan out their content.  I usually don’t do that because every day, I feel something different and that affects what I feel like writing about.  We’ll see how I feel about this plan as the month goes by.

In November, NaNoWriMo begins.  National Novel Writing Month is simply 50,000 words in 30 days.  It averages to about 1700 words a day.  It’s not that bad if you have a good plan and stick with it.  There is no editing.  There is no revising. It is just getting words on paper, or on virtual paper if you will.  I love it.  I don’t love the months after where you have go through and reconcile things that you wrote down on page 38 with something you wrote on page 155.  That is not fun.  That is when you wish you had a real editor to help make sure that you have good continuity and didn’t miss one small word that you changed on one page but forgot to change on another and it ends up changing the whole meaning of everything.  I’m still working on last year’s NaNo novel’s revisions.  It’s taking some time because as I was revising one chapter, I realized that I needed an important piece of the puzzle changed.  That then led to three new chapters being added.  Nothing wrong with that, just a part of the process.  Did I mention that I love it.  I’m almost to the point where I’m going to need some friendly “proofreaders” to go through and just read it for me and point out any issues.  Just something to keep in mind.

That's how November will feel...

That’s how November will feel…

So yes, Fall is wonderful for apple picking, pumpkin picking, Halloween (the greatest holiday ever), cool days, crisp blue skies, sweaters, frosty mornings, warm cups of coffee…it’s really the perfect time to sit down and start writing.  But in my case, it’s time to start seriously writing.  I cannot wait!

This post is part of the October NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is Fall (how apropos).  Check out the other great blogs participating in this month’s blogging blitz.  

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