As a Writer, Are You a Fool?

roald“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.”

–  Roald Dahl

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It can be a rather lonely profession at times.  I don’t know about you, but most of the time, I like my alone time, especially if it means I get to have time to write creatively.  Oh, sure, at times, even for work it’s quite enjoyable granted the contract is writing something you’re interested in.  Sometimes, you’re writing technical mumbo-jumbo you couldn’t care less about but it helps pay the bills, huh?  So it’s not all bad.  When you’re actually writing something you love and you’re getting paid for it, aw yeah, that’s the good stuff.  And when you can score a free couple of hours to write creatively for yourself?  Man, that’s gold.  And working from home doing all of that stuff, and fitting it in around family time.  That’s priceless.

Do I sound like a credit card commercial?

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Sorry I’ve been out for a bit.  Too much going on – trying to figure out how to do lesson plans for a class, trying to fit in Camp Nano, working on contracts, looking for more contracts, writing for work, writing for fun, family time, cooking, cleaning, walking the dogs, the list is endless.  I’ve not forgotten about my blog and all you cool peeps.  Just running out of time to do everything.  All work and no play makes Carol a dull girl.  Chocolate and wine helps!  ;)

So how are all of you?  What’s going on in your world?  Tell me everything.  Gimme the skinny.

Who all is participating in Camp Nanowrimo?

Skies Perfused

The sky, perfused with haze

Of pink and bluegrays

Looks and feels like death

 

Especially the tips of the trees

Outlined by this gassed disease

Mist fills the air

 

Up at 3:30am walking a pup, this is how the sky appeared to me…

A Stake to the Heart

david“If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’.”

— David Mitchell, Black Swan Green
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So, what about Beta Readers?  When you write something, how many do you employ to get their opinion?  Do you have close relatives read it?  Perhaps close personal friends?  Strangers?  Members of your writing group?  Or do you read it, reread it, read it yet again, proof and polish and then simply send out your queries?  In your opinion, how many Betas should you have read your precious baby?  And who should they be?

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On another note, how many out there are participating in Camp Nanowrimo, starting April 1st?

Happy Spring, dingaling!  ;)  Oh, and happy Solar Eclipse and SuperMoon!  :D

 

10 Signs You Might Be An Okay Parent

There are as many parenting styles out there as there are parents.  The mom is going to parent differently than the dad.  With so many single/divorced parents, the differing styles become insanely opposite, especially if the parents never saw eye-to-eye when they were married/together.  How do you know you’re doing it right?  Is there any right way to parent?  Do you constantly question your parenting genius or lack thereof?  Here are just a few telltale signs that you might be doing an okay job on the parenting front:

1.  Your teen could easily move in with the alternate parent and have no rules, be able to stay out as late as they like, get away with smoking and drinking and sex and drugs, yet the kid chooses to live with you, the more responsible loving parent with rules, because they know the rules mean you care.

2.  You fight daily with your kid, which could be anything from a slight disagreement or rolling of the eyes to a full-on shouting match and slamming of doors (not just from the kid), yet by the end of the night, you still get a kiss goodnight, an ‘I love you,’ and possibly an ‘I’m sorry.’

3.  You are 99.9% sure your child is not on drugs.  You can’t be 100% sure unless your child had a surprise urine test today.  Thankfully, many schools have surprise urine tests, just to offer peace of mind.

4.  You talk to your kid about everything, from the effects of smoking and drugs to sex, disease and unwanted early pregnancy, and everything in between.  You’re pretty sure they listen, because as far as you know, they aren’t smoking, aren’t doing drugs and aren’t having sex/unprotected sex.

5.  You stress how important good grades are to getting college scholarships and though you may hardly ever see them study or if they are, they’re jamming out to music, watching tv and texting on their smartphone all the while, they still find a way to ace that test and have an A, overall, in the class.

6.  You perform a surprise inspection of their texts to and from their friends and get the all clear.  At times, this can be quite alarming as sexting has become a huge thing with today’s teen (and I encourage you to keep tabs on your teen’s phone), even if you feel 100% sure your kid would never ever do that.  Let me tell you, you can never be 100% sure.  I don’t care how well you think you know your kid.

When your child has sexted, you calmly sit your child down (after your panic attack has ended, you can breathe again and you’re 90% sure you aren’t going to have a heart attack or swallow your tongue) and talk to them face-to-face (I said calmly and preferably without crying — a shaky voice is fine and actually expected) and express the many reasons it’s not a good idea, that you are not judging them, you still think they are awesome in every way, everyone makes mistakes and you still love them fiercely!!  Oh, and don’t forget to ground them for a month or as long as you see fit (this means taking away their cell phone).  I’ve known parents to take away their phone entirely.  While I understand why, I believe the kid deserves another chance to prove they can make better decisions, eventually, after a good 30 days without it.  Make sure you always have their current phone password.

7.  You perform a surprise inspection of their internet browsing history and get the all clear.  Naturally, kids are going to be curious.  Actually, the age range at which children start viewing porn is as early as 11-13, sometimes younger.  Many children look for new friendships in chat rooms, where sex offenders lurk, and their new friend is pretending to be a sweet 15 year old boy or girl when actually he’s a 45 year old perv, saying ‘let’s meet for a smoothie’ and he grabs your kid.  Make sure to keep computer passwords so you can view their history anytime.

8.  You ask your teen to do some chores and you’re 95% sure they aren’t listening but when you learn they did clean up their room, wash the dishes (though it may not be the greatest job ever in the history of dish-washing), feed the dog and take out the garbage, they were actually listening to every word.

9.  You talk with and laugh with your child on a daily basis — I’m talking fall-down bust-a-gut belly-laughter.  About anything.

10.  Your child talks to you about something that could potentially get them in trouble, yet they bring it to you anyway, because they trust you, because they know you will listen, because they know you care, because they know you will not judge them harshly, because they know you love them, and they love you.

Okay, and 1 more for good measure:

11.  Your kid is still living at home with you, hasn’t moved out to that alternate parent, a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or run away, because you are a completely wretched parent, unfair in every way.

I could go on but I’d say those top 10 are pretty fair in establishing that you might just be okay as a parent if you can meet all or most of those.

Life Experience Molded Into Art

Jorge “A writer – and, I believe, generally all persons – must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges:  Interviews by Roberto Alifano 1981-1983

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I totally agree!  Don’t you?  I believe every morsel we have eaten in life along with every bite taken out of us is only treasure needing to be spilled and poured out and regurgitated into the most wonderful novels we will ever read and share with the world.  Our most horrific tragedies and triumphant victories should become our musings melted and melded into the written word to become the most wonderful, beautiful stories ever told.  Like an actor uses life experience as motivation and inspiration in order to act out a scene, we writers use the same to further motivate us in telling the experiences of our characters in a relatable truth, whether it’s our truth or someone else’s, even if it’s been twisted and molded into only the truth of the character.

What Rhymes with Camp Nano?

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If you’re thinkin’ of takin’ part in Camp Nano
Do ya gotta have some sort of planno?
Do you write first to last?
Do you skip and advance?
Do you even want to open that canno?

Do you write science fiction with flair?
Your comedy cause giggle or glare?
Are you a pantser or planner?
Do you call yourself camper?
Or too busy with to-do lists to go there?

Me? I’m gonna give it another go
Will I make it? I simply don’t know.
But I’ll give it my best
Put my muse to the test
And hope and try to come out a hero

I have so many things to write
I pray none of it sounds trite
Have two books in mind
On both I’m behind
So both till the end I will fight

Can I work on two at the same time?
Are you sick and tired of this rhyme?
It’s just about done
Just havin’ a little fun
Before starting and possibly lose my mind
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Just a silly little Nano poem.

Are you participating? Camp Nanowrimo is a “Mini Me” compared to the regular Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). Regular Nano is held in November every year, starting Nov 1 at midnight, ending on November 30 at 11:59pm and is traditionally 50,000 words written within those days as a new novel.

Camp Nano is usually held in the months of April and July from the first of the month till the end and can be any amount of words 10,000 to 1,000,000, can be a novel or script or poetry or whatever, new or revision, and you can have bunk mates, I believe up to 12 in a cabin these days. You can choose a private cabin of personally selected mates, choose mates with specific criteria or leave yourself open to let them surprise you with new friends.

You can also opt out of the bunk mates as many of us prefer to focus on our writing and not socializing. I do a bit of both. I’ve met some great people in the cabins with whom I’m still connected today. Some days, I’ll chat it up over s’mores or wine and cheese at the campfire. Other days, I’m quiet and fully focused on pumping out that word count.

What about you? Are you open to apply yourself more to your writing? Dedicate yourself to a certain word count run per day in the hopes of reaching the finish line and being treated to some nice wins and refreshment for yourself? There are many perks that come with winning the race. Interested?

If nothing else, you can make plans to plant your butt in the seat in front of that laptop, desktop, pen/pencil and pad, antique typewriter, whatever your tool is to record your precious gold, and pump out your daily word count and get that sucker down. You can go on to publish, as many Wrimos have and have even gone on to have their gold not only turn out best sellers but movies, as well. Whatcha think? You ready to share your God-given treasure with the rest of the world? ’cause I know we’d love to read it!

No Need to Raise a Stink

I knew a loud lady from Wink
She was always dressed in pink
Eating garlic at lunch
And onions a bunch
She was always quite the stink

To speak with her was not swell
My eyes teared at the smell
All chit chat and smile
While all the while
She made everyone around her quite pale

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Not sure where this one came from. I’ve never actually been to Wink, Texas. I do know a loud lady. I also have known someone to always wear pink! Ugh. As far as garlic and onions go, I eat them whenever I get the chance but I also brush frequently and eat a lot of mint and lemon. hehe! Although, right now, with coffee, banana and peanut butter breath, I smell a stink. Time to brusha brusha!