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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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2016 passed in a blur…no reason why that I can think of. Just happened.

2017, however, started with a bang. The inauguration of a man I didn’t vote for nor like. Never did from way back. Distasteful person. The idea for personal well-being these days is to avoid negative people and surround yourself with positive people. I mean, who wants to be stuck with someone who acts like a seventh grader most of the time, if not a verbally obnoxious two-year old. That would be our current president. An embarrassment as far as I’m concerned. That’s going to prompt some replies, I’m sure. Not that it’s changing my opinion of a negative president in office.

Be that as it may, I’m writing and quilting and enjoying life while trying to figure out where my America is in the world these days. Personally life is pretty good. Citizen of America-wise, not so much.

So I’m starting up my blog again and hoping to be positive while hoping my America returns to calm rather than chaos.

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When I worked as a teacher, I knew exactly what I’d be doing each hour of the day, even after school was out. I had classes every hour, a lunch break, a conference period until 4:00. By 5:00 we were home, the evening meal to prepare and eat, clean the kitchen, laundry, helping kids with homework (or chauffeuring to various activities they participated in), maybe a TV show then bed.

When I retired, I gave up that routine. For a year, I had no idea what the day held, what might happen the next five minutes! Which for about that long is okay. But then you want something to look forward to. You yearn for some semblance of normalcy. In other words, you want to establish a new routine that fits your slower life style or perhaps that plus the activities you’re now involved in.

And this doesn’t happen overnight either. Eleven years after retiring, I have a routine. I’ve been away from that for about a month now. Loved each minute as it involved a new grandbaby and a convention. But now with the start of a new month I’m ready to get back to my computer, my writing/editing as well as tossing in some painting and quilting. Primarily I’m ready to get back to my desk and get words on paper (or words on screen as the case may be).

Even when retired, life has meaning when it has a touch of personal routine.

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When was the last time you honestly had to study about something new you wanted to do? I remember attending workshops, taking online classes and joining Romance Writers of America when I got serious about writing. Someone asked me what the GMC for my novel was…huh? I had no idea what that meant, hence the need to study. When I decided to learn how to quilt, I got lucky. I had a mentor, albeit a long distance one. And I had the ladies at the local quilt shop. Same thing for learning to use acrylic paints. I took some painting classes—fun ones. Enjoyed every moment. Did more studying. Drawing and watercolor sets popped up in my Christmas gifts this past December. Now, I’ve done some drawing but did read up on it some more. Watercolors, however, are a foreign topic to me, but one I’m eager to learn. There’s nothing more inspiring than a softly rendered watercolor painting. But how to use the colors—what is referred to as pan or paints in powder form versus watercolors in tubes. Tubes? I never knew there was such a thing! Someone wisely pointed out that as we age we should be learning new things in order to keep our minds nimble. Well, regarding watercolors my mind at the moment is pretty stiff and ignorant, but I’m studying and getting up my courage to actually open some of those tubes of vibrant colors and use them ½ inch at a time (I learned that this afternoon!)

What was the last thing you had to actually study in order to know how to do it or use it?

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When a person is in career-mode he or she gets paid to show up and do a specified job. The people he associates with might not be of his choosing. I often worked with teachers I’d not particularly want to have as a ‘friend’ outside of school. You’d like to think all those folks in that particular job are ‘like-minded’, there for the same reason and as dedicated to the process as yourself. To be honest, that’s not the case. Many in jobs are there simply for the pay check.

However when you join a group of like-minded people (ex: bowling, writing, woodworkers) then those folks are there because they love that activity. Their minds are LIKE yours. Their goals and aspirations are the same as yours.

I am a member of a writers group both on a national and local level. Nothing beats arriving at a meeting and discussing who’s writing what, what sort of edits a person is doing on a completed work or what workshop someone’s taken. The group speaks the same language. When I first joined, one of the members asked me if I had my GMC in place for my work? Huh? I had NO idea what the woman was talking about! So I started studying writing, which, by the way, is more than just putting pencil to paper or fingers to a keyboard though that’s an excellent way to start.

Same thing goes for bowling. Several members of my family love to bowl. It’s nothing unusual for one of them to sit with cell phone in hand and watch YouTube videos of bowlers in order to see how pros throw their balls down the lane for strikes or picking up spares.

Think about groups you are involved in. Other than work, you are a member of these groups because you want to be there. No one made you go. Don’t we wish work was that way: we go, we enjoy, we can’t wait to get back? The saying goes: if you find a job that you love then it’s not a job, it’s a passion.

Look for that thing you are passionate about then find like-minded people and be passionate together! (And you can take THAT however you want LOL)

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Mark Twain had it right—at least for me. He once said: A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds. Now I’d not say I was a constant crank but if an idea is nagging me (story ideas 99% of the time) then having to do ordinary things tends to get on my nerves. I’d rather be writing.

The wisdom of Twain’s comment certainly applies to any project—whether started, in the planning stages or still rattling around in the mind, getting organized to come out and get on paper. We all have our moments when we’d just rather be working on this appealing inspiration than doing dishes, commuting or buying groceries.

Fortunate are those who have the opportunity to go from thought to plans on paper to development without having to do the mundane things in life. Creating IS their life.

I guess I could say that when one of these thoughts hit me I want to go right to work on it. Writing is fairly simple to do: sit and type. Painting is just as easy. I squirt out paints, mix and brush. Sometimes, as in last night, I walk away telling myself this is just not what I had in mind. So this morning I cover with a new more appropriate color and there you are—ready to move on. Quilting takes time no matter how fast you work at the project. It’s one of those ideas that really bugs you until months later when the finished product sits there in front of you in all its glory.

No matter what sort of things you’re interested in, art projects, writing, business, services to the public, think about the last time some fantastic inspiration hit you. Did you want to go in and immediately start creating it? I hope so.

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Write whenever you have something to get off your mind or heart.

Write whenever you have something to get off your mind or heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently dived back into the world of blogging, having taken a class that taught me how to set up a blog as a website. Now I have two ‘website’ type blogs and two real blogs—meaning, sites where I can post messages, my thoughts or challenges, as the case may be.

In order to keep track of what I post (or how to make a site look like I want it to) I went in search of a journal. I didn’t head to the bookstore for one; I looked on my own office shelf. You see, I collect journals. If the looks of one appeals to me, I buy it. I have a dozen journals stacked on my shelf. I’ve written in all of them but never finished one. So I picked through them this morning and found one that only had a few pages written on. I carefully taped them together and made a note that the few entries there were from 1989!

This almost new journal will be for my wordpress adventures—my two ‘website’ blog sites and my two actual blogs. Where I dislike dealing with Facebook, I adore writing blogs though I don’t do it weekly. I blog when inspiration hits me. I intend to actively seek topics to blog about in the future though.

However back to journals—what’s the difference between a diary and a journal? As it turns out according to research, diaries are daily accounts of your life whereas a journal is not necessarily daily but more an examination of your life and world and how you fit in (or not). In that respect then, I journal.

While I will keep a diary of my internet entries I have a journal beside my bed. At night, I pull it out and record the hits and misses of the past few days, always trying to end on a high note. There have been times when my entry in an evening is pages long. When I found myself NOT journaling, I realized I disliked writing so much—besides my hand would start cramping.

I enjoy reading the O magazine, and last month the author of one of the articles suggested a ‘5 minute memoir’ way of journaling—set a watch and write for 5 minutes only. So I tried it. More like making a list of what happened and why. Did I sneak in another minute or so if I didn’t finish a thought? Yes, but I honored the time limit for the most part, and now I journal more often.

Interested in what else I discovered about journals and diaries? I’ll be brief as you have been so kind as to stick with me this far.  The earliest form of a diary was written by Marcus Aurelius. The earliest mention of the word ‘diary’ was in 1605. Diary by the way is from Latin while journal is French in origin. Medieval mystics often kept diaries of emotions and spiritual happenings. One of the most famous diaries belonged to Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who wrote about hiding from the Germans in Amsterdam in the 1940s. The first small pocket size book for journaling or writing a diary was printed by the Symthson company in 1908. Writing daily or as often as the mood serves helps reduce stress, clarifies goal-setting and generally improves well-being. From writing in a small book, to online journaling in the late 1990s to our current day blogging, humans seem to have an innate desire to record their lives and the experiences that shape them.

Hence my need to write down what I am blogging about as well as how to make my blog sites more appealing. This time when I blog I can track where I’ve been and clarify where I’m going by looking at my journal.

 

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I always wondered what the phrase paying it forward meant until recently when I had a brain flash. Among experienced writers, we discuss marketing our work. Not often though do I get to interact with an up and coming new writer. This new writer being a niece, I don’t want to alienate her by appearing snobbish or extolling my knowledge as a writer. She asked for an opinion and I felt privileged to share my thoughts. That in a nutshell is what paying it forward means, to pass along what I’ve learned about writing to someone who is learning. I believe a person is born with the ability to tell a tale. But to capture the audience, or in this case the reader, one must study how to make the characters, plot, body language, edits…the best they can be. So I have studied and hope to share some of that information with this new writer.  How wonderful it is to discuss writing with someone entering a field that is near and dear to my heart.

I’ve also been told the best way to show something is by doing it. So in the spirit of the season I offer two Christmas stories. Check out the sidebar to the right for these holiday stories. Holiday behind the Red Door at Amazon.com/Kindle and Clueless at Christmas at Smashwords.com One is a story about robotic repairs or Christmas ain’t happening and the other is about forgery and attempted murder that cements blooming love.

I wish you the best of Christmas and the New Year, warm love and high hope for 2012. And if you get a chance to pay forward your knowledge, share with a full and glad heart.

Janie

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