Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Living a Satisfying Life

When is it enough?

Your achievements?

Your goals?

Your possessions?

Your pay raise?

When have you achieved enough to lean back and say "I'm in a good place"? When can you really feel satisfied with what your life is like?

I've been asking myself these questions lately, and have realized a few things:

1) I'm incredibly hard on myself

2) I'm not sure who I'm trying to impress

3) I have enough money

4) I have too much house and could probably downgrade

5) Even though I'm not a published author yet, my life is still complete :)

6) Everything else from now on is just for fun

7) I'm free to enjoy the journey and take as long as I want!

What does it take for you to be satisfied with where you currently are? Are you having fun on your current journey? If not, why not? Why are you doing what you're doing? Who are you trying to impress, if you're not doing it for yourself :)?

What do you guys think?

Have you ever thought about this, and realized you're fine right where you are, and the rest is just for fun?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Link Roundup a go go!

I was browing my favorite blogs today, and found this amazing link roundup from everyone's favorite Editor, Moonrat!

I read and was totally entertained, especially by the list of Top 10 Most Harful Books To New Writers: check it out!

What about you guys? :D Are there any books that you feel didn't help you when you began writing?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tell the Truth Tuesday!

Here are my sad-but-true truths this week ;):

1) I started wearing flip flops to work. It's against the company dress code, but I don't really interact with a lot of people on a given day so I decided to see if I could get away with it. So far, no one has noticed. I feel like a rebel. I assume that one day my "flippity floppity" noises on the way to my aisle will give me away.

2) Sometimes I seriously consider raising chickens in my backyard. I would give them names like Baron Von Cluckenstein and eat lots of awesome, fresh eggs. So far the thought of constructing my own chicken house and cleaning chicken poo has stopped me. I already have a litterbox to scoop, after all.

3) I used a torch to burn the weeds in the cracks of my patio. Because weeding is just too hard. Also? Fire = pretty!

I probably couldn't do this any more if I had chickens back there...

4) My pens, pencils, and silverware all have to be parrel to one another and facing away from me. I frequently reach across the table to straighten my husband's fork if it's too askew. Does this make me crazy?

5) I've been falling asleep reading books on my iphone and then waking up spooning my iphone under my covers. Enough said.

What about you, my lovely blog friends? :D What are your truths this week?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Big Picture Week: Chip Away at It!

Something I've come to realize that I'd like to share with you guys is that if you do just a tiny bit each day... it really, really adds up :). Rocket science, I know, but seriously--how often do we think about that?

More often than not, I'll beat myself up over not having done as much as I thought I should have. Oh no! I only wrote 500 words and I wanted to write 1000. Oh no! I only wrote 1000 words and I wanted to write 2000.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The truth is, if I write 250 words a day, but I do it consistently, I'll get a lot further than guilting myself out and avoiding writing altogether, for fear of meeting our old friend Failure.

If I write more, then yay! :) If not, then at least I chipped away at it.

How do you guys set about reaching your goals? Are you a quick writer, or do you chip away?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Big Picture: Eyes on YOU!

Today I want to mention something that I've had to learn the hard way, in honor of Big Picture Week:

Keep your eyes on your own damn paper.

What I mean by this, is don't be tempted to look to the right or the left, comparing yourself to what someone else is doing.

During your journey as a writer, you will meet the following people:

  • The person who can write 80,000 words in 3 weeks
  • The person who only has a first, second, and third draft
  • The person who found an agent in the check out line
  • The person who found an editor through their church
  • The person who works 40 hours a week, writes 12 hours a day, babysits orphans, makes gourmet 5-course meals for their five kids and spouse, and still manages to look fabulous. Oh, and blog ;).

Tell you what--you CANNOT compare your journey to the journeys of others.

Why not, you ask? Let me put it to you this way.

Are you the same as anyone else you know?

Have you lived the same life?

Dreamed exactly the same dreams?

Worked the same jobs?

Loved the same people?

Written the same words?

Your life is completely different than anyone else's on earth :). And that's exciting! You don't have to be anyone else, compare yourself to anyone else, or worry about anyone else's successes. Your dreams and goals are your own.

So, keep your eyes on your own paper, take your own journey, no matter how short or how long, and enjoy the heck out of it while you're at it. You'll be glad you did ;).

What do you guys think?

Have there been times when you've compared yourselves to others?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Big Picture Week: What's Your Goal?

I have a question for you all today, kicking off a little something different here on the blog: BIG PICTURE WEEK :).

What is your Big Goal in life?

We're all striving for something, but sometimes we can lose our focus. It's good to stop and reflect--what is our main goal?

What is it you really, truly want out of this life? Out of your writing? Your art?

Do you want:

  • Money
  • Fame
  • Personal pride
  • Security
  • Love
  • Something that's just "yours"?
  • Something else entirely?

What do you want? Why do you do what you do?

I've been asking myself this question a lot lately, and figured out that for myself, I want to be able to do what I want and work for myself. I don't want to be rich, I don't want to be famous, I don't even need to see my name on a book spine (although that would be amazing!!). I just want to do my favorite things and make just enough money to eat and live in relative security. I want to be free to be an artist :).

I want to write, paint, create things, and I will do what it takes to do these things as much as possible.

What is it you really want? Why do you do what you do?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kicking Ass Every Day

Even when you don't feel like it any more...

Today, the lovely Moonrat over at the Editorial Ass blog made some excellent points about perserverance and how you must never surrender, even when your creative efforts are weighing you down.

Please, go read it, because is it pure awesomesauce :). Moonrat--thank you for being eloquent and for encouraging us to keep kicking ass, even when it gets difficult. We love you!

Here's wishing everyone a great weekend--never give up! Never surrender!

We can do it if we constantly encourage one another and believe in ourselves :).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's Rantin' Time!

I'm not sure why, but I sort of hate the world today.

It's been a long, long week at work, and I'm feeling like having a bit of a rant to help lift some of the black clouds currently floating over my head.

Either that, or spread the doom clouds until they blot out the sun. BWAHAHAHAHA! *ahem* Sorry, about that..

So, our topic for today is going to be PET PEEVES. Everyone has them. That thing that people do that makes you just want to punch them in the throat.

A few of mine? Well! I'm so glad you asked!

*Disclaimer--if any of these apply to you, please note that you are the single exception :). Blog follower love!

Top 10 Pet Peeves:

1) People who mispronounce simple words! It's lib-rar-y, not LIBARRY, frustrated with an R and not FUSTRATED, and prob-ab-ly, not PROBALY! Seriously, people. It's not that hard.

2) Close talkers! What is up with those people who corner me at the water cooler and insist on talking in my face from a mere 3" away? Are they trying to read my mind by being closer? Are they trying to pick my pockets? Do they not realize that their coffee/cigarette breath is melting off my eyebrows?

3) The phrase "Well, at least you still have a job!" I think this is the new version of "Sounds like somebody's got a case of the MONDAYS!" Just..... stop it.

4) Office thermostats! When it's 90 degrees outside, it's inevitably 90 degrees inside, because the heat was left on from the previous day. Then, when I wear short sleeves to compensate for office hotness, it's 40 degrees outside, and 40 degrees inside because they fixed the previously problem and now the air conditioning is on a timer. A pox on you, office thermostats! Why must you mock me??

5) People who I've never seen before telling me their life story! Note: this does not apply to lovely, lovely internet people :). I love you all. This has to do with me standing in line to buy a soda at the grocery store, and having someone tell me all about their sister-in-law's tumor with the teeth growing out of it. OMG, have we met??? NO?? Then why are you telling me these things?!

6) The price of delicious, life-giving energy drinks! When I get mad, all I want to do is buy a Monster and get caffeinated like a crazy jungle monkey. However, energy drinks are always like $2.50. This enrages me further. I do not have exact change past 1.00! I carry plastic! PLASTIC!

7) Being mauled by boy scouts! In my town, it's Boy Scout Season, which means scouts are staking out the doors of every local establishment and pressuring me to buy cookies from them when I leave. Just let me get to my car, boy scouts! Why can't you go door to door like I used to when I was a kid? Then I can just pretend I'm not home. If I want your cookies, I will find you.

8) People who ask me how to spell something while sitting in front of a computer! Seriously, you can't just use spell check? Or google? Or dictionary.com? Nothing?? Sure, I could spell it for you, but it feels ... somehow... like you're just being lazy.

9) Red Lobster commercials! I recently became allergice to tasty, tasty shellfish, and now everytime All-You-Can-Eat-Shrimp comes on the TV, I feel like crying or else trying to dip random food into hot, melty, butter to compensate. It's just not the same...

10) Plumber's crack at work! Can you really not feel the draft, there, buddy? How about you, lady-bending-over-the-copier? Somehow, I don't think naked asscrack is an official part of the dress code.

I realized today while fuming over petty details of my everyday life that our characters probably do the same thing :). Do you guys give your characters pet peeves?

If so, what are they? If not, why not?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

El Cinco De Mayo Feliz!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!

Remember the five rules of this holiday:

1) Drink five margaritas

2) Wear sombreros (or lampshades)

3) Drink five glasses of water

4) Eat five handfuls of chips

5) Take six alka seltzers tomorrow!

(I just made those rules up... can you tell?)


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tell the Truth Tuesday!

It's that time, guys--time to 'fess up and divulge this week's dirty (or not so dirty) secrets!

My truths this Tuesday?

1) I love using power tools! I started making jewelry this past week for my new Etsy shop and decided it would be an easy task to make my own square wooden beads. I used a gigantic power saw my husband has to cut up a tiny ass dowell into beads, and then drilled holes in them with another giant, whirring death machine.

It was awesome. I even bought a handsaw yesterday and felt very cool walking out of the store with it. Yeah, that's right. I saw things, baby! Spraying wood shavings everywhere is way more fun than it should be.

2) I'm addicted to Friday Night Lights. And even worse, am suddenly into football because of it. Now, as a geeky sort, I haven't taken in a lot of ball games. There's just something about this dang show, though, that makes me want to shout "FULL EYES, CLEAR HEARTS, CAN'T LOSE!" and go roll around in the mud with a pigskin.

Also, this show has shown me that Texans are crazy. Sorry, Texas.

3) I talk to plants. I started a garden and am nervously watching over it like an overbearing mother and have recently began speaking encouraging words to my plants at night when my husband's not within earshot. Our neighbors also have a garden on the other side of the fence, so I never know when they're only inches away. I'm sure they think I'm nuts. They may be right.

Go ahead, confess ;). What are your truths this Tuesday?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Creativity breeds ... more creativity!

I'm baaaaaaack! :)

I've been unplugged for the past couple o' weeks as you guys know, but now I'm back and (hopefully) better than ever. I missed you! How've you been?

While I was taking some leisure time, I actually discovered something interesting. I tried some other hobbies I've been wanting to experiment with for a while, and found that not only do I like other things besides writing... but that doing other things helps my writing!

I tried three things in past few weeks:

1) Growing a veggie garden

2) Acrylic painting

3) Making jewelry

I discovered that I really like putting my hands into a task and just going for it. Something strange happens when I'm stringing beads or up to my elbows in dirt--my mind is free to wander. My brain relaxes and goes to places it wouldn't if I were trying to force it by staring at a computer screen.

I think sometimes the best thing we can do for our writing is do something else.

Wash the dishes, make a spicerack, walk the dog! Let your brain wander while doing something else you enjoy, and your writing will benefit from it.

What do you guys think? Do you have any other hobbies or tasks that you enjoy that help your brain relax? What happens in those quiet moments?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blog Chain: Gender Bender!

Sandra starts our blog chain off this round. She asked:

Have you ever created a character different from yourself in some significant way, such as (but not limited to) different gender, race, ethnic group, religion, or sexual orientation? If so, what, if any, research did you do to portray these differences?

Was this character a main character, secondary character, or walk-on? Did these differences have an impact on the story?

Gotta love these questions!

In my first novel, LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS, one of my two main characters is a dude--Torin. Writing his dialogue and character was very natural about 90% of the time. HOWEVER, there were definitely moments where I'd stare at what I'd just written and think "Something's.... off." These were usually the moments where, unbeknownst to me, I'd made Torin react to a situation like a lady. Poor Torin..

In these scenerios, I turned to my Resident Man Expert, or RME for short (my husband.) I'd force him to read a scene, or even just shout "What would a dude do in 'blank' situation??" Once I found out that instead of crying, a dude would actually punch the ground. Hence the scene feeling .. awkward. Once I had Torin punching stuff dry-eyed everything made a lot more sense, and the other character's reactions felt much more natural. Thank you, RME!

In HOLLOW LAND (the novel I'm currently working on), I have a few east asian characters as well as a Jewish female lead. This is definiely going to require not only a trip or two to the library but also for me to consult with some non-whitey whites. The good thing is, not only am I friendly with several nice Indian folks at work whose brains I can pick, but there is something wonderful we have now, called The Internet. I've started following a few blogs from the countries my characters originate from to get a feel for the culture. I'm hoping I can eventually get some beta readers of the same religion/culture to help me out and make sure I'm not being a dork about some detail or another.

If I had any advice for you guys, it's to be brave :). Don't be afraid to write a certain character just because they are outside your immediate frame of reference. Learning new things is what makes this fun! Go for it, and get excited to learn about other cultures, sexual orientations, and even how the other sexes think.

What do you guys think? Have you ever written outside your comfort zone? How did it turn out?

Don't miss Shannon's answer coming up tomorrow!