Day 7 Unplanned

I have spent the morning reading the March/April issue of Writers Digest magazine. I found it in my room. I berated myself for not reading it when it first arrived. Then I thought back to my three trips to the Emergency Room between February 29 and March 11 and my weeklong stay in the hospital the first week in March. I remembered how I could not type after the March 11 Pitbull attack and even had my middle finger, left hand, in a splint for almost four weeks, and remembered the pain pills I took; even then, I was not able, until March 14, to ride along with my son to pick up my little dog, who was also involved in the Pitbull attack, from the vet. She was ready to come home March 12. I was not able to drive to get her. So I will cut myself some slack, although the issue was so good that I wish I’d read it sooner. I’m not finished with it, but have spent this non-working Sunday delighting in its pages.

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Day Six?

To write or not to write. That is the question.
Whether tis nobler and more advantageous to take a break
Or better to work six days a week . . .
I am not Shakespeare . . . if only I were . . .

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Last night after posting on Day Five here, I wrote a scene for the blindman book. It was a little over 500 words. At that time I didn’t know if I’d “work” today or not. I still don’t know, hence the poem (ha, ha . . . lines would be more like it) above.

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2:06 pm . . . no writing work done yet, although I did talk to a Vietnam Vet at Walmart this morning. I actually bought a hat from him. Perhaps I’ll post a picture of me wearing the hat?

Did you know that when you talk to people, you are gathering information for possible characters? It is also a way of doing research. And he was a delightful man. ­čÖé

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I just watched Lesson 18 of James Patterson’s Writing Course. It was about Book Covers and Titles. I have been told that I am good, very good, with titles. I did learn a thing or two about how he designs his covers. I’m not ready to design a cover, but when I am, I hope I remember his suggestions. I like his Along Came A Spider coming from a nursery rhyme. As a former teacher, I could come up with those. Also, once in awhile you’ll have a student who has said something clever that you remember. Then there’s the writer . . . is it Sue Grafton? that does hers in alphabetical order. I don’t share the titles of my two books because I think they are so good that someone might steal them. Or maybe not. Either way, I don’t want to share them.

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And I think I said too much in yesterday’s blog here, so I will go delete the part that was “over-sharing”. Taken out of context, it might make me look bad . . . or maybe not. Anyway, I’m going to edit that blog and remove that part.

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Tomorrow is Sunday and I won’t be working on my writing. I’ll be back day after tomorrow.

Day Five

Not much done today on my writing life.

I went out this morning and it tired me. I napped this afternoon.

Last night I did look through the Writers Market book and make notes on a couple possible publishers.

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Sometimes I wonder if I don’t want success; other times I wonder if I’m just so tired all the time that I work more slowly than other writers. I know a lot of my time is spent thinking about things written and unwritten. I have two books that I’ve been working on over the years. I was thinking last night about a chapter in each of them and how I need to add to or edit those two chapters. They are about similar events. Let me look at those now.

OK . . . the one in the book I’ll call the horse book was last written about in January 2014. I added 40 more words just now and see it needs more work. Details. I have the general info in the scene, but it needs elaboration.

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The first section in the blindman book has 1361 words so far. It may be a chapter by itself.

The second chapter has 465 words and is mostly dialogue. I read through it. It needs no revision. It was last written in June, 2015. Ok . . . that chapter is DONE.

Back to first longer chapter . . . Read through it. It may end up being three separate chapters as there are at least three different scenes. I’m more “telling” the action rather than showing it and I need to make it more vivid to the reader. The last time I worked on this was in July 2014. I wrote the original in July 2012. I have been working on this book and the other one for years. They are hard books to write as they are memoirs. I’ve also worked full time and been helping family members. I guess I’m trying to find excuses. At least now, with me keeping track of what I do on my writing endeavors daily, I will do a little more.

Writing is tiring at times. Writing about something you are emotionally involved with may be more tiring. I do want to get these two books finished. The one with the blindman is mostly done. The other one is just as important to me, but I haven’t worked on it as much recently.

Now I am beginning to bore myself. I apologize, if you’ve read this far and are also bored.

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Day Four

Going through the “memories” section of my facebook page, I find a poem I wrote last year this time about my dog. I made sure it’s in my poems folder because I plan to publish a book of my poems this year. I went to Kickstarter to request money to help with publishing it and although my project was fully funded, it was funded by my sons, which warmed my heart, but did not do me the financial good from others that I had hoped for. I’ve been reading about how to finance your writing life and Crowd Sourcing was one of the suggestions.

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I watched the video for Lesson 17 in James Patterson’s online writing class. This lesson is titled “Getting Published”. ┬áFor most writers, that is the ultimate goal. I like the way he explains how to write a query letter. I like the way he encourages writers to find joy where they find it and to take the time to enjoy all successes. I left a comment on this lesson. I have left few comments because I am usually still thinking about what he said when I get to the comment section and I have nothing to contribute right then.

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The asterisks I typed across the bottom of my posts is something I learned from one of the courses I’ve taken in the past. It a way of signaling that it’s the end of that part.

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I started another article today. With at least 100, maybe 150, articles already written, I don’t really need to start another one right now. However, it’s an idea that may develop into something saleable. I might as well jot it down.

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Day 3 and still Counting

Perusing my latest copy of the magazine Poets & Writers, I notice a sidebar about pw.org. I google it and see it’s another resource for writers.

http://www.pw.org/

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Watched Lesson 16 in my James Patterson Writing Course. This was on Collaboration and I almost skipped it because who am I going to collaborate with? Then I reminded myself that I have learned something from every James Patterson Course Video I watched, and I decided to see if there’s anything for me to learn here. There was. Maxine Paetro, who is one of James’ collaborators, and who is very helpful with her suggestions and the things she shares that James has told her. I am big on research and I learn that James Patterson says it is crucial to the story. I’m not going to tell everything I learned because other people will learn other things from watching the video.

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Went to physical therapy. A Pitbull attacked my little dog on March 11 and when I grabbed the Pitbull to pull him off her, he jumped on me. When he knocked me down, I both broke and dislocated the middle finger of my left hand. I’ve been going once a week for physical therapy and today was my last day of once a week. In a couple weeks, I go back for a recheck. My mother was right; when I wanted to be a physical therapist, she said I was too kind-hearted. She said they hurt people while they helped them. The therapy has been painful, but the results are great! This has nothing to do with writing, except now I know what a Pitbull might do if you try to rescue your dog from his jaws and I know what physical therapy looks like and how much it can help. I also am giving myself a little reprieve from my “why aren’t you writing more” scolding because for a while, I was not able to type. It also hurt to write. I had pain pills for that finger. I also was in the hospital for another reason from March 1 to March 6. I need to be less hard on myself. Sometimes I cannot write or try to market my work.

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Day Two as a Writer

As a writer, I also read a lot. Just came across this in a blurb from ECU . . . the person who quoted it didn’t say who made the original quote.

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Kids who learn that they can create generally don’t destroy.’ As one learns to appreciate his or her own uniqueness, they learn to respect it in others.”

Well . . . I cannot find who first said that. Perhaps the person who spoke it when I read it in the ECU article? His name is Richard Caudle.

I pride myself on my ability to do research when I’m writing. It bothers me that I can’t find the person who originated this quote. But I won’t dwell on it because the day is beginning to get away from me.

I’ll walk the dog instead. Have you ever noticed that when you do a mindless task, like walking the dog or washing dishes, your creative mind takes over and you either compose something mentally or have an idea for something pop into your head?┬á

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Spent the afternoon in bed not feeling well.

Later last ┬ánight I read an article about how to make money from Blogging. It’s in the Writers Market 2016. Then I looked at book publishers who publish the kinds of books I am writing.

I also looked at agents listed in the Writers Market and marked the ones who handle my kinds of books.

I looked at book publishers and was dismayed to see Scholastic only accepts material from agented writers. As a former teacher, I’m familiar with their products and think I have something great they’d want and would make lots of money publishing. I guess I’ll have to find a different publisher or self-publish. I think you can self-publish and then let a book publisher “pick up your book for publication” later? My idea is actually a series of books. I have some of them already written. I may post them on TeachersPayTeachers.com as downloads. That’s the beauty of creativity. You get to decide how you want to use your creations. Here’s that teacherspay teachers link, if anyone else wants to post there:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/

Day One of Writing Schedule

Outside with my dog this morning, the first four lines of a poem about animals popped into my head. They’re now written down and in my poems file . . . hopefully the poem will finish itself today.

Later: ┬á ┬áDidn’t finish that poem but it may be finished, although it’s only four lines. I let my writing get “cold” for a couple weeks and then come back to see what I think of it after I haven’t seen it for awhile. I’ll do that with this poem. It’s titled Animals, but would need a stronger title. For now, that is ok.

I did find two magazines that might publish some of my poetry. I also found a book publisher that might be interested in my blind man book. I looked in the Writers Market. I want to go to the websites for those three places and check out their requirements and be sure what I have in mind is appropriate for their publications. The biggest problem is the book pays 7.5% royalty, but has no advance. One writing course I took taught me to get the biggest advance I could get . . . they will subtract your advance from your royalties, but it’s possible your royalties won’t even equal your advance . . . so that teacher told us. I want to look for more book publishers, but I may approach this one just to see what they say . . . The blindman book is almost written completely. I’m sure it needs editing, but most of the hard work is done . . . getting the words down. It may be what I focus on as I do James Patterson’s exercises . . . to help me tighten up the writing and make it better.

 

 

Searching for Publishers

I’ve begun to spend time with my Writer’s Market as I search for publishers for my manuscripts. I buy a new Writer’s Market each year and the format changes slightly with each new purchase. I am still reading the articles in the book and making myself aware of any changes in this year’s edition.

One of my sons suggested I use a google calendar to map out my plans for the week. I tried that and found my brain more used to navigate the calendar than to figure out my weekly plans. I’m going to go old-school and write down what I do each day in this blog as it relates to my writing life.

I have spent some time this past week watching James Patterson’s online writing class. He does give some good tips for writers. I will use some of them to improve things I have already written. His course also includes helpful “exercises” to do to practice each thing each lesson teaches. I had been doing those exercises, but find it’s not exactly helpful for me at this stage in my writing life. If I have some part he covers in a lesson that could use rewriting, I will watch that video again and then work on the already written thing instead of writing something new to practice with.

So far today, May 21, I have written three blogs. I awoke with the memories in my head that I wrote about in my blog “Proud of Every Wrinkle”. Then I wrote down the experience Joy had with the rabbit in my “Ms. Playful” blog. When I read that again, it will carry me back mentally to that delightful moment when I watched my dog in sheer enjoyment chase a rabbit she could not catch, although the rabbit stopped and hopped around for a bit enticing her. And then I came to this blog. My last entry was about needing to market and edit rather than needing to write anything new. That will be my focus for the coming week. As I record it here, we’ll see how much I truly work on this new “career”.

Poets & Writers

I’ve been frustrated with myself because I’ve had the last year to focus on my writing and I’ve submitted nothing. I listened to friends and read articles and thought about the best way to approach writing – how much time to spend on it daily, what time was best to write, how to block off that writing time. Yet when doctors’ appointments or other things interfered with my writing, I let it go. I didn’t make up the time. Still, there were times when I’d be seized by an idea that was so compelling that I’d sit down and write out the words and then go back and do a first edit. Then I’d save it on my computer in either my Articles, Short Story, Book, or Poem folder.

The last two months have found me struggling physically to write because a Pitbull attack both broke and dislocated the middle finger of my left hand. I could  not type. I also spent six days in the hospital in early March. That prevented much writing, although it did give me ideas to write about.

Yesterday as I sat reading my Poets & Writers magazine, I stumbled across the list of markets and contests they had in the back of their May-June 2016 issue. As I’d read the requirements for each submission, a poem or article, or story I had already written would pop into my mind. I’ve been going about this writing gig wrong.

I do have a Writers Market, but I use it to search for a market when I’m through with a manuscript. Until that final edit, I am not through. When I’d scan all the things I have written, I’d feel overwhelmed at the idea of choosing just one to search for a market for. I don’t know why that was so. It seemed that having so many already written was a bad thing. I needed to devote several hours a day to writing.

Actually I need to devote several hours a day to editing and submitting what I’ve already written. Just because I’d write pieces here and there through the years when the muse would strike doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable.

I just counted and I already have over a hundred articles written in one form or another. They need editing. They need publishers found to publish them. I’ve had a few things published. I know how to look for the right place to submit my work. That’s what I need to do now.

Now it makes sense. Now I can block off time in my day and use it to edit and submit work I have already written. If something stirs my muse and causes me to do more writing, I’ll save it in the appropriate folder. Perhaps it too will one day grace the pages of a magazine or book.

I’m not a failure as I feared I was when I had all this “free time” but did not spend it writing. I’ve worked on my book about the blindman, and while it’s much closer to publication, it is still not as finished as I want it to be. I can devote time to it and devote time to marketing, and that will fill my writing time.

Part of writing is submitting your work. I got led off the path to publication by well-meaning friends who said to set aside time to write every day and by my vision of writers who did in fact spend hours every day writing. It’s not the writing that needs doing. It’s what you do after you’ve written something that comes next for me.