The Words Finally Came To Me

I am writing two books. One I call my Blindman book for secret reasons that will be revealed once it’s published. The other I call my Horse book, which also has a private reason for calling it that, but it also will be revealed when it’s published.

I think I have finished or almost finished my Blindman book. I am still in the process of printing out all the pages and putting them in order. I tend to write like a grasshopper hops. I’ll get a scene in my head and quickly type the words. So my books are written out of  chronological order, but with passion and hopefully so that the reader feels as if they’re “there”. The task of printing out the Blindman book and organizing it is taking longer than anticipated. I do also have the other (Horse) book to finish.

This morning the beginning, or maybe it will be the back of the book blurb, or both? for the Horse book came to me. I’ve struggled for years to figure out how to begin this book. I wasn’t sure where the beginning truly was. I found it this morning.

I just typed those words, and using the wordcount tool online, I found it was 348 words/ 9th-10th grade reading level. That surprised me. For some reason, my writing usually ends up 7th to 8th grade reading level, and I wondered why this morning’s level was higher? But I digress. I do that when thoughts are too emotional, or when the passion is too high. It may be part of my “grasshopper writer syndrome” and I just coined that phrase, as far as I know . . . but it suits me.

I guess while I’m printing and organizing the Blindman book, I will start writing more on the Horse book. That makes sense.

I also have a poem I showed a friend, and she loved it! She usually politely says my work is “good”, but after hearing how much she loved the bird poem, I think I need to seek a publisher very soon. I’ve sold poems in the past. They don’t pay much, but they do pay something, at least the places I submit. My poems are written when I’m inspired. I don’t just sit down and think, “I’m going to write a poem about birds”. I spend time with birds and at some point, it may be days later, even weeks later, a poem will begin shaping itself in my head from that experience, and I’ll sit down and type or write up the words. Someone once told me I had a muse. There’s something that starts the poem for me and helps me through it . . . that’s for sure. Whatever it is, I’m grateful.

This morning’s writing was very rewarding. I’ve tried for years, strained for years, to find a beginning to my story. I found it this morning.

True Calling

I was reading an article yesterday about rich people who own their own airplanes and looking at pictures of the interiors of the planes. I wondered why I didn’t own an airplane. It looked like a wonderful idea! Then I remembered I didn’t have enough money to buy one.

How did those people get the money to buy their airplanes? Some did inherit money, but others used their special talents to become rich and famous.

I heard someone say that most people never reach their true potential because they’re too busy trying to make money to survive. They went on to say that if we each focused on what we truly did the best . . . where our talent was . . . we’d have plenty of money to survive.

Some people think we were each put here for a reason. We were given a talent to use and if we didn’t use it, we didn’t complete our reason for being here.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve always written, although I haven’t sold many things (yet) that I’ve worked on over the years. Was that my true talent?

I enjoyed teaching children and I was very good at teaching Reading. I don’t think that was my true talent. Or maybe I had two? Teaching and Writing?

I believe my teaching days are mostly behind me, but I have a slew of things I’ve written over the years that I need to market.

I wonder what your true talent is? Have you developed it? Have you worked on it? Do you view it as a hobby?

I’ve taken all the writing courses I intend to take in this lifetime. I’ve learned so much over the years. I took a Creative Writing Class at NCSU. It was during that class that my first poem was published (sold). I’d had a poem published in my school magazine, but wasn’t paid for it. I took a Correspondence Course through the Children’s Literature Institute. I took a Memoir and Truth Telling Writing Course at UNCW when I was a graduate student there. I took James Patterson’s online writing course. Perhaps there have been more? I know I studied the craft a lot.

My youngest son has tried, since he was a boy, to get me to market all the things I’ve written. I did submit and sell some things. Some I gave away for free. I was a columnist for my sons’ elementary school. I sent Dennis Rogers, who was a columnist for the News and Observer in Raleigh, anecdotes I’d written, and he’d use them in his Letters and Left-overs Friday columns. I was a guest columnist for the Durham Herald Sun one May (2005) when I was quitting Durham Public Schools.

So there must be some talent there. I just let life catch me up in surviving and making sure my sons survived, instead of pursuing a writing career.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Autobiography

There is a Chinese curse which says “May he live in interesting times.” I believe someone uttered those words when I was born. My life has been “interesting”, but often not in a good way.

This morning I awoke with words heavy on my heart and I sat down to write them before breakfast. This seems to be my most creative time of day, and I often awake with words already swirling around in my head.

I thought the words belonged in a blog, but for some reason they ended up in a wordpad document. I’ve already checked the count. There were 259 of them. They contained my usual readability level of 7th to 8th grade. I don’t know if this comes from working so long with young children, or if there’s another reason I write at that grade level.

How easy it is for me to digress!

But after the words were written, I realized I was beginning at the beginning of my “interesting life” where I had first memories. I don’t know if anyone will ever want to read my autobiography, but it appears that I am writing one.

I made a new folder on my desktop and labeled it “Autobiography”. If words continue to arrive, I will add to it.

Some days I never know what I am going to write. Well, I should correct that to say, when I go to bed at night, I know I will write the next day, but frequently the “what I will write” is decided as I sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Best Laid Plans . . .

From Robert Burns Poem, “To A Mouse” . . . from whence this was taken:

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy.”

or to paraphrase: “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.”

Personification

Personification is having something that shouldn’t be viewed as a person, actually act like a person. Many children’s books give animals the ability to talk and drive, and do all sorts of things they shouldn’t be able to do. The personification I refer to involves inanimate objects, ie: a talkng table, or a talking tree with eyes and a mouth . . .

When I was a fifth grade language arts teacher, I explained Personification using an incident from my own life. I had recently gotten a puppy and it appeared that its former owner had used a broom to frighten it. Any time I got the broom out to sweep, that puppy (Joy) would run and hide. I’m ashamed to say I used that knowledge to help train her. She didn’t always listen to the word “No!”, so I would get the broom and bounce the bristles on the floor and say, “Mr. Broom says “NO! DONT DO THAT!” and it would have the desired effect.

I mentioned to my students that when I pretended like the broom was talking . . . I didn’t hit her with it, I just bounced the bristle part on the floor while pretending to talk for the broom . . . but when the broom was “talking”, that was an example of personification.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Book Markets for Children’s Writers

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was rounding up my Writer’s books and magazines – the ones that help me become a better writer, or find markets, etc . . . I’m putting them all together close to my computer so I will be inspired or perhaps pick one up and peruse it.

The whole time I was teaching school, I was also spending time writing. I would buy various writer’s books so that I could do more with my writing, but between raising three sons (mostly alone) and writing lessons plans at home (one district actually graded my lesson plans and I spent hours on Sunday afternoons that could have been better spent doing something else . . . that county required certain verbs be used from Bloom’s Taxonomy in my lesson plans, as if what words I put in my lesson plans mattered more than what I intended to do and accomplish) . . . but I digress. I’m merely explaining why these books were bought and neglected over the years.

One of those books was Book Markets for Children’s Writers 2012. It boasts that it has 612 updated and verified listings and 73 completely new markets. I began to study it yesterday. I have children’s books written that I would like to try to sell. In this book I found the Category Index, which tells me the types of books certain publishers publish. This is a very valuable section for me, and I’ve already underlined categories related to my work.

This morning I went to amazon.com and looked for the same book. My copy is dated 2012 and I wondered how much a newer version would cost. There is a book called

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published

Oct 19, 2017

by Cris Freese 
that looks similar. Since the 2017 book with the same title is by Chuck Sambuchino , I decided to see who my book is “by”.  Well, mine is a Writer’s Institute publication. I took a writing course from The Institute of Children’s Literature. It was a good course and this book may have been part of their materials. I never finished the course, but I almost did, and I learned quite a lot from them.
So, perhaps it’s not the same book. Mine has 616 pages and looks very thorough.
I was posting about this book to recommend it, but I’m not sure it can be purchased anywhere except the Institute of Children’s Literature. It says it’s a “Writer’s Institute Publications” book on the back of my copy. Here’s a website for them that comes from the back cover:
On their website, I found a book titled Book Markets for Children’s Writers 2017 and it is selling for $26.95. They also show other books, that are for sale, to help writers .
I’m not certain where I got my book, but I know it looks valuable to me as a writer of Children’s Literature.
As I search for ways to be a better writer and improve my number of manuscript sales, I share what I find that works for me in this blog. I don’t know if it will help you, but it might. It depends on what your goals are and what kind of writing you do – whether or not anything I blog here will help. I hope some of it does.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finding the Right Word

I was just writing on my proudofeverywrinkle blog (at wordpress.com) and used the word “clamor” for a group of dogs who would run to meet me . . . I wasn’t sure that word was correct, so I checked its definition. No, clamor is more of a noise. While I expect a group of dogs would make a clamor, it wasn’t the clamor that might knock me down.

I went to the obvious word “group”, but that was too mundane, too ordinary . . . I tried hoarde and a hoarde is first defined as a verb, but later I saw it can also be used as a noun to express a stash of something valuable that you keep hidden. . .

That still wasn’t exactly the word I sought, although I used it and started to hit the “publish” button . . .

It suddenly occurred to me that I could put the words in google, instead of the word I thought might do and that would give me the word I was looking for . . .  so,

a large group of dogs is called “a pack”.

I changed the word hoarde to pack and it read so much better.

Isn’t it funny how one word in a piece of writing can bother you until you get it exactly right?

I proofread (I put myself through college proofreading . . . or the pay from it certainly helped) everything. When a word I’ve written “jars me”, I assume it will jar anyone else who is reading it.

So I’ll take that word and work on it until I’m satisfied that it’s exactly what I mean.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t used the wrong word at the wrong time, but I try to get them right.

That’s part of being a writer . . . not just writing, but going back over what you’ve written and making sure every word is exactly what you meant to say.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How Much Am I Writing?

Today is Sunday, May 21, 2017. I usually write off and on throughout the day. Since I don’t designate writing “times”, but rather write when motivated, I wondered how much I truly write daily. Today I will make a list and add to it every time I write something.

around 8:00 am, the poem that once was in my head, but I waited until I got to work to write down and then before I could, I got side-tracked and lost it . . . I worked on that poem again because about half of it came back to me.

around 8:20, I sat down and wrote about Repercussions, which was on my mind when I woke up because I have a problem I’m trying to deal with, and as usual, I’m considering all the possible outcomes. That was written on my proudofeverywrinkle blog here at wordpress.com

8:42 have printed out 14 pages of writing on Blindman book. I still get emotional, years later, when I read and remember this time in my life. But I think it might help others for me to finish writing and get this book published.  Right now I am printing out what I have written so far so I can read it as a whole book and see where the gaps are and what the first edit should involve. I’ve spent years writing this book. I do not want to spend years getting it to a publisher. But I cannot emotionally or mentally read through it too long at a time. 14 pages may sound like a few to peruse as they print, as I look through to see what pages still need to be printed out. (Once printed, I change the font to red, so I can see at a glance if something has already been printed and put in the blindman binder, or if it still needs a quick read-through and to be printed.) This was the hardest thing I’ve done so far today. I cannot believe I lived through these things I have written about; I cannot believe that in what is supposed to be the “free country” I was born in, that families endure such horrific events and no one seems to care or question it.

10:12 am – been outside adding four tomato plants that I started from seeds to the raised plant bed I designed. Also planted marigold seeds as they are good for a garden. I heard the birds chirping and hope they weren’t discussing the seeds they saw me planting. We’ll see if they get eaten or sprout. I took a few pictures. I designed this raised plant bed and it was easy to make. I may write an article about it when I see how well it works (or doesn’t) and I’ll have pictures to go with the article.

End of Day: I have collected several writing books and magazines and put them where I plan to keep all my writing info . . . books and magazines with markets, and techniques, etc. that I read and that help me be a better writer . . . they are being put in one general area. That may sound logical, and why didn’t I do it before? Doesn’t matter why not before; what matters is that I am doing it now.

I’ve decided to quit “beating myself up” for what I haven’t done and carry on with what I can do.

For this to be a Sunday, I’ve done a lot. The weatherman says the whole upcoming week will be very rainy. I guess I’ll be stuck in this house and that will increase my writing output.

I wrote a few emails to a friend. One described a bird . . . supposedly a wild bird . . . who landed on my porch railing and squawked at me in a harsh tone as if demanding that I fill up the bird feeder. When I did, he sat and watched me and quit squawking. Animals amaze me. I think they’re much more intelligent than we give them credit for.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

Grasshopper Writing

I find on days like today that my writing life is expressed like a grasshopper hopping. I’m here, there and yonder. (Is “yonder” just a southern expression, or do northerners use it too?).

Anyway, I’ve hopped from outlining a book that a nightmare triggered and woke me from at 4:40 am this morning. Could not get it out of my head. Wrote it down. There it’s gone and filed under “story ideas”. But I hopped from that to other things.

Breakfast eaten, a TV show half watched – I LOVE hulu because I can pause and  come back to shows/movies . . . then I cleaned off the place I want to put all my writing instruction books. I’ve bought so many: I’ve taken so many writing courses . . . then it’s back to reality and walking one dog while playing fetch for awhile with the other. One dog is 16, the other is 6. Then it’s back to the computer for research on a topic I have great interest in . . . ending that with a preposition . . . is that still a “no-no”? I created another file folder for this new idea on my desk top. I research why my icons keep rearranging themselves and how to fix that . . . the fix online that I read about doesn’t work . . . going back to the show I was watching. Have you ever watched “New Tricks”? It’s about a team of detectives, three of them . . . retired . . . who come back into service to work to solve old crimes. It’s good, but my mind is hopping like a grasshopper today and I have to stop from time to time to do some writing.

Grasshopper Writing. That’s what I call it. My oldest says when I talk, I will change topics on him frequently and he has to pay attention to know what we’re even talking about. He says I’ve always done it and for him, that’s normal for me.

I don’t always write like this. Maybe it’s the only four hours of sleep I got? My mind is hyper-active today. I will get nothing finished, but a great deal started.

Sometimes I need something already started to be able to sit down and write. This will all make sense . . . or be completed on other days.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~