Monthly Archives: February 2015

Writers Have Multiple Research Choices

Good evening! I observed a child, about thirteen years old, having a conversation with their grandmother in a bookstore. Grandmother was reviewing a book on a chosen topic – grandson said, “Grandma, you can “GOOGLE” that, so you don’t have to buy a book about it!” Grandmother responded, “Yes, I know that I can “GOOGLE” anything, but I want to look it up myself!” As a writer – when you want to learn about something – do you (a) ask “GOOGLE” – or – (b) take yourself to a library or book store – walk the aisle – study the title on the shelves – retrieve several titles on your topic from the shelf – compare the data gleaned from each source – choose the content that persuaded you most – borrow or purchase your chosen research tool – return home to conclude your manual research? Writers usually spend a lot of time researching, even small pieces, because we want to verify facts before we publish. Do you engage the librarians at your local library who have a wealth of knowledge? Do you dig deeply into the databases available at the library? We are very fortunate to have so many choices available to help us, as writers, complete our research on any topic.     

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Writer Learns Process to Increase Word Count

Good evening! I am curious – what is your thought process before you begin a writing episode? I have learned that the answer to this question has a huge impact on word count results. When my thought process is an inspirational observation or memory – I produce a higher word count than when my thought process goes something like this – “I must write s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g today!” I use to have many days like that – they mostly resulted in low word count! After I began allowing observations to inspire my writing – I benefited with increased word count! I do not deny that I still have rare days that I default back to the above thought process – thankfully, very rare! This thought process can change many times throughout the day – have you ever reviewed a few pages and thought, “What was I thinking when I wrote that?” When I get sleepy and I, unwisely, finish a piece in progress – I get the pleasure of  humoring myself with the results – because the words that drift onto my pages during a sleepy phase is subconscious thoughts – producing similar results as those that attempt to read my thoughts when I write with my smartphone or word processing program on auto-type mode — I giggle and think, “That is not what I meant to say!” Lol. Of course, I spend more time editing those pieces than I do when I write clear pages from my inspirational observations.

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Writer Attached To Treasured Correspondence Method

Good evening! A short stop for a Latte’ and journal break – evolved into a three-hour observation project when I visited a crowded cafe. I scanned every nook and cranny, not one patron escaped my eye, from infant to elder. I was sitting with my writing tools: journal, pen, and Latte’ – I glanced up from my journal to observe my surroundings…it was at that moment that it hit me! I was the only patron in this crowded cafe using, what must now be considered, ‘old-fashioned writing tools’ to complete a journal entry. I’m sure that someone may have felt ‘aged‘ if they were in my shoes, as all the other tables were occupied with laptops, iPads, tablets, and even kids were using “LeapFrog” digital learning devices. I giggled as I embraced my journal and pen because I knew this day was approaching – when I would have to face the reality of long-hand writing – which I love – appears to be creeping onto the “extinction” list. Last year, I discovered that many school districts have already removed ‘cursive writing’ from their curriculum. I could not believe it! Whilst I still enjoy sending hand-written letters, and receiving them. I realized, along with this observation, that I have many associates, whom I have known for years,  yet I have never witnessed their penmanship because all of our correspondence is electronic. Long-hand cursive correspondence is in my genes – My grandmother and I exchanged hand-written letters; as well as my mother and sister. My closest friends and I still correspond via hand-written letters. My aim is to keep this treasured method of correspondence alive – I have resolved that I do not mind being the last person who refuses to abandon hand-written correspondence; yes, even if that means that I may be writing such letters to myself. Lol. When was the last time you sent someone a hand-written letter? (No, cards do not count in this instance. Lol)

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Writer Examines Meaning of Success

Good evening! This question was posed at a meeting that I attended once…”How do you know when you are successful?” If I invite one hundred people to complete a survey on this one question – I am convinced that there would be one hundred different answers. Although Webster defines success as, “1 a favorable result 2 the gaining of wealth, fame, etc.” – I strongly believe that this is one of those words that can be defined on an  individual basis, rather than a generalized definition. Success is driven by internal experiences and instincts. As a writer, we each have our benchmarks for success – there is a popular one that we are all familiar with — that a writer may not feel successful until they have sold over twenty-five-thousand books to earn the prestigious label of “Best-Selling Author”.  There must be small successes before reaching this level to keep writers motivated to achieve such a pinnacle in our industry. NANOWRIMO allows participants to feel some level of success at many stages of this monthly journey for thousands of writers – – at the beginning, for having the courage to start a novel – from scratch; after reaching 1667 words each day; after reaching the middle of the month and learning that you made it halfway to the finish line; and again, after calculating your 50,000 words to earn your WINNER certificate! Small successes give us the confidence to keep moving toward our  larger goals. My answer to this question is – I know I am successful when I achieve a goal- be it small or large – I reward small successes just the same as when I reach the larger ones!  How do you know when you are successful?

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Writer Willing To Be Vulnerable

Good evening! A friend once said to me, “How is anyone going to read your story if you do not share it?” Of course this was a rhetorical question to motivate me to identify a method that I am comfortable sharing. As writers, we know that we want to share our work  s-o-m-e-d-a-y! Granted, there are some pages that we write with the intent to keep private – such as our daily journal entries. Writing is a vulnerable industry; each time we click that little blue “PUBLISH” button – we are taking a risk! We have no clue if our audience will embrace our words – or reject them….yet, we, confidently, continue to write because we know that we have something valuable to say, as a writer, it is just an unspoken rule that someday another set of eyes will review the pages we created – the fact that we are writing these posts show that we do believe in our ability to produce valuable words. My theory is this — I like to compare writers to candles, there are many uses for candles: a source of light in dark spaces to help you find direction; a source of heat when you feel cold; a feeling of calm when you feel stressed. I feel that our work, as writers, provide the same benefit to our readers. When I click the “PUBLISH” button – I am always hopeful that at least one reader feels a sense of calm from a stressful day – or that my words remind them of something pleasant that provide a sense of warmth in their heart – or that my words provide some insight to guide them through a decision they are making. If my words have touched just one reader in a positive manner – that warms my heart!

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Writer Creates New Behaviors For Characters

Good evening! Today I was inspired by an old tape recorder (I am sure there are some folks reading this who remember that great gadget). I was observing the function buttons and thought how similar the prompts are to how we chose to behave in our life….allow me to demonstrate –

FAST FORWARD: This button is for people who skip ‘the process‘ and speed ahead – learning that ‘the process‘ was there for a reason.

REWIND: This button is for people who live life full of regrets – thus always wanting to return to their past and fix something – only to realize that if they had the chance to actually do this, they would not want to change anything.

STOP: This button is for people who get stuck – they make no progress for long periods of time – in essence, they have lost their desire and motivation to move ahead – so they remain where they are, and pretend to be happy.

PAUSE: This button is for people who have learned to relax and live life at a healthy pace – they live long, happy, and healthy lives. 

PLAY: This button is for people who keep moving forward, despite obstacles – they are driven! They reach their goals!

This is just my creative spin on these function buttons that I will utilize with my characters in future stories that I write. Make up your own – or let me know which of the categories created above that you feel best fits your behavior.

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Writer Strives For Daily Improvement

Good evening! Today I am inspired by improvement. Webster defines the root word, improve, as, “to make better” and further defines the full term, improvement, “an addition or change that improves something” – the definition I like best is “the process of becoming better”. The reason I like this definition more is because it has the word ‘process’ in it. Webster gives one definition of process as, “a method of doing something, with all the steps involved” – mapping to the word, method, “a system in doing things or handling ideas”. When all of these words are connected we can determine that the only way to achieve improvement is to have a system that includes steps which require action to motivate the type of change that result in something getting better. This word, improvement, is carved into my subconscious – I really think it is a strand of the DNA in perfectionists. A part of my process is – to measure my current writing against the outcome I want – after I identify the comparison of the outcome I am anticipating – I transpose it into visual content (because I am a visual learner) – then I commit to steps to reach the outcome. This last step is critical! I take action! When I follow through on this last step of taking action; I normally begin to see some improvement immediately…If I take no action, my plan fades away and I become frustrated because I do not reach the outcome I anticipate, most important is that, without action, I do not improve – which is not acceptable to perfectionist, like myself! Therefore, I am always setting small, action-oriented goals, that get me closer to my ultimate outcome – which is to be a stronger writer!

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