Tuesday, February 1, 2011

See the Silver Lining

Life throws us curve balls all the time.  The car breaks down, someone gets sick, your alarm clock doesn't go off and your late for work again.  Rather than get angry or upset about these set-backs, try to see the good in the situation.  It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that this is a far better use of my time and energy.
I apply this now to my writing.  When I hit a block or get a rejection letter, I take a step back and think of the positives:
  1. This block will pass, they always do.  I now have time to do other things I love which will renew my mind and spirit.
  2. I open myself to new ideas and directions that will make the story even better.
  3. This is a great opportunity to share ideas with other writers and get some inspiration from them.
  4. The agent who rejected my story probably isn't the right fit for me and there's someone out there who is.
  5. I write because I love it and feel more like myself when I'm doing it.  Noone can ever take that away from me.
The next time there's a cloud hanging over your head, don't forget to search for the silver lining.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Magic Mirror

"Mirror mirror on the wall,
Is my writing the best of all?"

I often wish I had a magic mirror so I could ask this question.  It would be great to have a built-in editor for my work.   I read, reread, and tirelessly edit my work until I think everything's perfect.  Then I give it to someone who's kind enough to read it for me and they tear it apart.  It's frustrating, but they're usually right on target with their recommendations.  Why can't we see what others see in our writing?
How much easier the writing process would be!

I think we could also apply this same idea to our lives.  Think how the world might be different if we all had a magic mirror that allowed us to see what others see in us.  Would we all like our reflection, or would we have to do some major editing?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New You Resolutions!

As a rule, I don't make resolutions at the beginning of a new year.  I feel you're creating too much pressure and setting yourself up for disappointment when you don't follow through.  Several years ago, I changed my way of thinking in the area of bettering myself.  Instead of resolutions at the start of a new year, I set goals for myself with an estimated time frame for completion whenever the mood strikes.  In this spirit, I have the following writing goals I would like to accomplish.  If it doesn't work out, I'll extend my deadline and probably add to the list.

  1. Query at least 8 agents with my current manuscript by the end of January.
  2. Complete the second installment of my story by the end of the summer.
  3. Complete a working outline of a third story idea by the end of February.
  4. Blog more consistently.
  5. Read inspiring books that help me stay on my path of writing to better my craft.
I always keep my list to no more than 5 goals.  Otherwise, it's overwhelming and nothing gets done.  As the list is completed, I add and branch out to include other things I'd like to do.
I encourage you to try this method to keep yourself on-track in any area of your life.  It's so satisfying when you've accomplished something you set out to do.

Note:  Set goals that aren't dependent upon the decisions of others.  For example, don't set a goal that you'll get an agent or sell a manuscript.  Set goals that you can control to avoid disappointment.
Good Luck and Happy New You!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quintessential Quotes

Quotes from others inspire us to reflect upon our lives and become better people.  Words are a powerful tool, whether written or spoken.  When I hear or read  inspirational quotes, it helps me focus on the important things in my life and motivates me to improve as a person.

Have any quotes had this affect on you?  Maybe it's the words of a famous person, politician, or just a friend or co-worker that creates an impression.  Share your quotes and how they've had an impact on your life.  Don't forget to give credit to the originator.

Don't have a favoite quote you'd like to share?  Search for one and become inspired. http://brainyquote.com/

Closet Time Machine

One of my favorite things to do growing up was play dress-up with items from my mother's closet.  I would act so grown-up wearing oversized dresses, scarves, hats, jewelry, and, of course, the high-heel shoes.  When feeling adventurous, or when mom wasn't looking, I'd even experiment with her makeup.  I was in such a hurry to turn the clock ahead and act like an adult.

Now that I am "all grown up", I look at my nieces and the children I teach and admire the clothes they wear thinking, "I wish they made something like that in my size".  If only it was possible to go into their closets and play dress-up, only this time turning the clock back rather than ahead. 

It makes me wonder, is this just a case of wanting something I can't have.  Yes, I love clothes and trying on different styles when I shop, but I think this is about more than just fashion.  When young, we wish our lives away, wanting to reach those milestones.  When older, we realize life was simpler when we were younger and we didn't even appreciate it. 

Well, I appreciate and cherish the memories of my closet time machine.  It was a fun, exciting part of growing up.  I am thankful I had an active imagination that allowed me to travel to another time in my mind.  If only I could do that same thing now, but in reverse.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Metamorphosis of a Manuscript

     One of my favorite insects is a butterfly.  Writing a story is similar to the stages this insect goes through to become the beautiful flying creature.
     *The egg- this is the first stage where you discover the concept of your story.  The idea is hatched and the work begins.
     *The caterpillar- in this stage your story is crawling along, developing and growing until you've finished your first draft.
     *The chrysallis- your story is now ready to be changed through editing.  At this stage, your piece may go through so many changes that you don't recognize it as the original piece when you're finished.     
     *The butterfly- that brings us to the final stage of writing, where your story is ready to spread its beautiful wings and fly off for the whole world to see.
     It's sometimes difficult to go through these stages to arrive at the final result, but all are necessary to develop your story into a stunning creation.