Chatter

Is There such a Thing as “Perfect” Writing?

You are plugging away at your computer, absolutely convinced you are constructing the next masterpiece to hit the New York Times Best Seller’s list. Alternatively, perhaps you write in another aspect, typing out the tasks and procedures necessary for Billy-Joe Jim-Bob to follow in order to assemble a recliner. His only objective is to follow your procedures so he can assemble that chair by the weekend. Whatever your goal, the point is, writing is a process, and there are no shortcuts.

We wordsmiths may have a jewel or two in the muddy mix from the start, but many more times than not, the writing needs molding, manipulation, and maneuvering to reach the anticipated outcome. I do not care how much experience you have under your belt, you are going to write, read, edit, and do it again, a number of times. Then, when you think you have created something that may sell and put some “cha-ching” in your bank account, you are going to give that work to someone you trust, to read and analyze.

Prepare yourself, my friend, because if that person is someone you trust for their expertise and writing skill, they are going to do some serious bleeding on that submission. Can’t handle criticism? Find another passion or line of work.

In order to write, you need to, “just do it”.

However, not everyone can do it well. It is an art form. Like any art form, in order to be truly respectable, you have to work it, practice it, and hone those skills to that dreaded point of “perfection” or as close to it as humanly possible.

You cannot please everyone. One man’s rejection is another man’s gem, remember that, and have faith in your abilities. As we hear so often from people that really do not recognize or care how writing works, “anyone can write”. We know differently. Do you have talent? Then learn to let the naysayers and ornery, obnoxious, miserable folks and their voices roll off your back.

It is a simple, however, time-consuming process. Writing is not one-step and done, but a progression that takes hard work. Can you follow through on your actions, continue even when the fun wears off, and it is time for due diligence and polishing? Once, twice, or maybe even three times. If so, you will be successful. I am going to give you the key to success right here – the key to “perfection”.  Are you ready?

There is no such thing as perfect writing. I know, disappointing is it not? Nevertheless, it is true. Because writing is subjective in so many ways, yet it requires skill. If your writing is good, and you are patient, persistent, and more than anything, you can handle the heat, you will succeed.

Here is another key. You measure your level of success. Believe it or not, not everyone wants to be a best-selling author, and that is perfectly okay. Top of your tech-writing field, short story hobbyist, writing contest enthusiast, or a gut wrenching, bound and determined, come hell or high water, best-selling writer, the measure of success is what you decide and not another’s view of success. Keep that in the back of your mind at all times and you will also be a happier person.

The bottom line is this, whatever your writing market, once you begin to prove your talent, success will follow you. After a bit of time and you establish a writing reputation, you may just hear your name answering the question, “Do you know the perfect writer?”

Evidence of Spring

There is light at the end of this gray, dismal, winter tunnel. As we pulled into our driveway this morning, I noticed a long, dazzling line of greenery under the weeping cherry tree. My eyes darted about in my excitement. I cased the front landscape further trying to capture additional evidence of what is soon to come – Spring.

I stepped out from the car and hurried over to inspect the luscious foliage, evidence that tulip petals would soon pop up from the earth after months of cold, desolate existence. As I gingerly canvassed the area, I discovered the crocuses were also bursting forth from their winter hideaway. Slivers of fine, reedy leaves challenged me to bend down and caress their slender, gentle form. On closer inspection, one lonely blossom caught my eye. The deep purple flower bowed a greeting of great magnitude toward me as I smiled my reply. Soon the lonely flower would be joined by others in its’ gathering, ushering in spring with a blissful purple reign of color across our front walkway.

I enjoyed gazing at that single blossom this morning. While doing so, I removed myself from the suburban world in which we live. Listening, not to the sounds of cars moving nearby, but to the birds in the trees. Evidence of spring was all around me. Small buds laced the outer reaches of the maple trees. Not very many, mind you, but enough to paint a picture of what is directly around the corner. The lawn was a bit greener in color than it was brown, and although the morning wind was cool, it no longer carried a bone chilling bite with it.

After winter’s cold and blustery weather, spring lifts our spirits with a plethora of color. The early risers, crocuses, tulips, day lilies, are nature’s way of reeling us into the season. We shed winter doldrums and ready ourselves for the outdoors. Don’t you feel the mental lift as you see spring flowers popping up from the earth? As the birds sing throughout the morning air, do you not find yourself moving nearer, if not right outside, with your cup of coffee in hand to be closer to their melodious chirping? It is nature’s way of bringing us into the light, more energized, and ready to participate once again in her playground.

One of the benefits of being a writer is that we, fairly often, can write anywhere we want as long as we can see what we are doing. One of my favorite places to write is on the deck. I face the surrounding woods and allow myself to get lost in the story. Sometimes I work from an outline, other times, I work from an idea that takes over and demands immediate expression through the keyboard. Poetry usually strikes me in a demanding tone. I do not spend hours on rhyme or meter, but allow the poem to unfold on its own. Some call it a gift. I call it pure dumb luck. Whatever you call it, the surroundings help me write, stories or poems, it doesn’t matter. Nature rocks for inspiration! Use her energy to boost you. Fuel your passion, take time to enjoy spring, and allow the natural wonders to invigorate you so you can accomplish your goals for this year.

One of my goals was to write more, creatively that is, and so I shall. Just as the spring season brings forth a kaleidoscope of color and rebirth, a new writing endeavor fuels our creativity and bolsters us, writers, to continue plugging along in the craft. This new venture highlights short stories written by a number of dear people, many of whom I have the privilege of calling friends. Look for an announcement soon for the collaborative works offered in “I Believe in Werewolves” through Netbound Publishing.

Until next time, keep your eyes open to the colors emerging around you. Spring is in the air!

Warming Up

I have heard enough about winter weather, blizzards, wind chills and snow, snow, snow to last an eternity. Ground Hog’s Day gave all of us something to look forward to with hopes for an early (and warmer) spring. Furthermore, it is time to heat things up with Valentine’s Day around the corner. Do you have something special planned for your significant other?

I did promise to keep you up to date on the novel-writing contest. Well, I have a GREAT start to what will be a wonderful story. Only 20,000 words by the end of the month, which does not get me close to a novel. Those carefree days of not working a regular day job do look good during time crunched months such as was January, but we can’t have everything. I’ll have to keep the writing going as life permits. Thirty-eight writers signed up for the challenge, seven determined and committed wordsmiths gave it their all and finished their manuscripts. I cannot wait to see who wins the competition. The winning entry will see their novel published, most likely, early next year.

All are winners in my book. To write a novel within a month is a challenge.

Although I did not finish this story within 30 days, I will keep working it and see where it takes me. With two major writing projects, my goals for this year are to finish these stories so I can work on the other ideas filling my notebook. Writers – we are always coming up with something new. The problem is time!

Now, I do not really consider myself a poet. Free verse, as far as writing poetry, is my nearest and dearest associate. Some of my writing friends would argue with me on this point, but I do confess I do not pay a great deal of attention to form, flow, rhyme, meter, and all that jazz. I just write what comes to me. Many times, a poem is itching to come out and I manage to write something respectable in a few minutes. The inspiration brewing in my subconscious until it screams to be inscribed on paper or computer screen.

I love it when I get an idea that is begging for release and I can churn it out at that moment. Frustrating is when an idea strikes as I am driving, working, or otherwise engaged and cannot jot down my ideas. There have been so many interesting concepts that have gone by the way side due to circumstance. I try to limit that from happening, but sometimes the good ones slip by me. There is probably a phone app out there somewhere that solves my dilemma.

My newest poem (posted in the poetry section) is a product of this spark of creativity that grabs me from time to time. I was actually trying to nap. Trust me, naps do not come my way often, but this time I thought I could take advantage of a short snooze. Well, my mind just would not stop working, and the poem started working its way to the surface, demanding full development. I believe recent thoughts regarding several relationships that we know of that have fallen apart were my inspiration, but I can’t say for certain what spirited such a sudden demand for it to be drafted on the spot. I wrote it in less than ten minutes. The damage done though, I was wide-awake. No nap. The poem, Does Knowing Bring You Comfort?, is a poem that speaks to me on multiple levels. I get something new from each subsequent review. I hope readers find a way to connect to it as well. I will not say anything more so you can read it and interpret it for yourselves.

Comments are most welcome.

Killing Cupid?

Well the writing contest is in full swing and I am only 20% through my attempt to have a novel written in 30 days. Life likes to get in the way of writing. However, I did accomplish another short story, so the month is not a total loss, or completely over. Even if I don’t get the story finished by the contest deadline, it will get finished. It is a good action packed tale that will see an audience at one point or another. Fifteen days to go until contest end, so I will plug along and see what I can accomplish in the time remaining.

Now, let’s move on to a topic that has started to rise to the surface of our consciousness, Valentine’s Day. We at KPN like to have a little fun with Cupid. As one of the moderators of the Romance Group, I take a slight offense to the negative tone that Valentine’s Day can receive from those less open to love. However, let’s face it. The idea of little fat people with wings flinging arrows full of love at us is just a bit on the freak radar.

Therefore, even though I should be offended, I join in the fun too. Swing over to the poetry section and read my creation from Valentine’s Day 2010 titled “Battling Cupid”. In a few weeks, I will have to add a romantic poem or two just so you will not think I’m all about killing off love. Quite the contrary, but you don’t know that yet since we are so new at getting to know each other.

Stick around, bookmark my website, or follow my blog through Facebook. There’s no telling what I’m going to write about next – so make sure you come by every few weeks. If nothing else, I’ll keep you entertained, enlightened, or enraged.

Doesn’t that last statement intrigue you, urging you to come back for more?

Remember to keep writing those chapters in your books titled Opportunity. Cheers!

Happy New Year

Well, here we are in 2011. Maybe just by the tips of our toes we have tested the waters of the massive pool of 2011 possibilities, but we are definitely here. As I started typing out my newest storyline, I remembered I started a website not too long ago and it might be a smart thing to update it occasionally. What better time than with the fresh beginnings of the New Year.

I ended 2010 with a whole bunch of crazy. Isn’t that a profoundly eloquent statement? Well, after many years of either working for myself or part-time for other people, I took on a full time job right when the holiday insanity rolled into my lap. As any working mom already realizes, the end of the year activities are a little stressful. Add the new job and travel to boot, and I managed to get sick right about the time I should have been having fun. Four weeks later, I am finally well and feeling confident 2011 is a year of bright prospects.

This is the year of many changes. I will get into that later throughout the year when I feel the need to share (or vent), depending on the circumstances. However, for now let me say it will be challenging and rewarding. The journey is just as important as the finish line so, I am expecting the bumps along the way and embracing them instead of meeting them with trepidation.

So, what does coming into 2011 mean to you? I don’t do resolutions, but do you? If so, feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you have resolved to do differently this year. I have a friend that says she is reinventing this year. I like that concept. All of us take time at one point or another to evaluate where we are in life, wondering if we have met our personal goals and expectations. I think of the movie, Titanic, and how Rose did so many exciting things with her life after experiencing such tragedy. I do not think she regretted much, if anything at all. I do think life is about taking one step at a time, but make sure you take the steps. Do not let fear paralyze you into inaction. Of course, you can keep your eye on a big goal, but do not miss the small wonderful experiences along the way. As Marian Wright Edelman so persuasively states, “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” This is so true in life.

If people had told me 18 months ago that I would be where I am today, making writing a major part of my life, I would say they were crazy. Well, now I am writing all the time, and I do this amusing little blog. So, go figure. A dear friend gave me the nudge back into writing that I needed and I am forever thankful for his friendship and encouragement. Without his support, the support of fabulous friends within the KPN network, and a very supportive husband and family, who knows if I’d be on this exciting adventure, grabbing opportunities to challenge myself as they come my way.

I catch myself from time to time contemplating if I have taken all the risks and opportunities that have come across my path in life. I do not want to realize at 80 years of age that I passed up opportunities that would never come again. I have a few that I missed out on, like taking private pilot lessons in Japan ten years ago to get my license, or learning to deep-sea dive. Both I declined in the end and wish I had at least given them an attempt. Of course, with flying if I had attempted it, I probably would not be writing this today. Diving I still find fascinating, but since my husband cannot join me in the underwater venture, I let it pass. Maybe one day I will decide to pursue diving after all, as that is another world within our own worth exploring. So what opportunities does this New Year hold that we should not let pass us by without giving our best efforts?

For me it will be writing. The year is starting out with a writing contest that I could not pass up again. I missed out on all the excitement at KPN last January, and I had no intention of letting the opportunity of challenging myself to write a novel in 30 days go by again. This is a total package writing contest, from concept to completion in 30 days, what an exciting, dynamic challenge. Therefore, you can expect an update next month on how that turns out. Stay tuned! In addition, I have a few other writing projects in the works that I must finish for my own sense of accomplishment. You may see them on bookshelves or on your eReaders one day, but they are not going to miraculously appear if I don’t finish them first, and then query them to publishers. Those are my goals for the New Year.

Is that reinventing, or looking to grab each opportunity? I feel I reinvented myself last year, finding my writing voice again after years and years of ignoring the gift. This is the year to challenge the boundaries of that craft and see where it can take me. All of us have something that we dream of doing. If you are already lucky enough to incorporate your dream in your life, are you following that dream to its full potential? Take a risk; go beyond your comfort zone. Do not be afraid to fail once or twice. Enjoy the journey, as well as the outcome.
I wish all of you a happy and prosperous New Year. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes for the beginning of the year, by Edith Lovejoy Pierce, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

Holidays 2010

I’m writing this on Thanksgiving evening, after enjoying a relaxing and enjoyable day with family. A traditional day to give thanks, I sit here reflecting on the blessing of a year full of writing surprises and unexpected success. Many of us reflect on our position or status in life and count our blessings. If someone had stated a year ago that I would find myself published numerous times this year, I would have asked them what they were smoking! I cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunities that have come my way this year.

As we gear up for the holiday mayhem and merriment, I’d like anyone reading this blog to think of how they can help someone in need this holiday season or throughout the coming year. The traffic is terrible and not everyone we meet is jolly and bright this time of year. Try to keep in mind that there are a lot of people in difficult situations these days. The economy has hurt much of the country, families are separated due to work and war, and every day it looks as if someone we know is newly diagnosed with a challenging disease of one kind or another. A little patience and courtesy go a long way. Add a smile when you’d rather scream and you might be surprised with a smile in return.

I don’t particularly like shopping, but I do like gathering gifts for others. And, although people are bustling about without so much as an “Excuse me” or “I’m sorry for knocking you over as I grabbed for that sale item”, I tell myself often that everyone has issues and obstacles in life. Keeping that in mind helps me stay in the holiday spirit and spread a little cheer. Some ideas to bring a smile to others this holiday season and throughout the following year:

1. Bring a platter of cookies to your local police department or fire department. These people provide valuable services each and every day. Let them know you appreciate their dedication to the community.
2. Make a commitment to donate to the food bank once a month throughout the coming year. People don’t go hungry just at the holidays. Put a note on the first Saturday of each month to bring a donation, and stick to the plan. If you can’t afford a donation, offer your time.
3. Thank our military service men and women. I don’t care how you do it, but do something to let them know you are thankful for the work they do 24/7, 365 days a year. Freedom is never free.
4. Smile and say “Hello” to the greeter at Wal-Mart.
5. Thank the people that keep your office clean. If you don’t know their name, ask, and then thank them for the job they do. You’ll be amazed at how much that comment will mean to them.
6. Offer to watch someone’s child, elderly parent, or pet so they can have a break.
7. Bring dinner to a sick friend, someone that lives alone, just went through surgery, or is bed ridden.
8. Offer to write and address Christmas cards for an elderly person in your neighborhood or for someone at the local nursing home or assisted living facility.
9. Give your hairdresser, favorite waitress, or favorite waiter a gift certificate for a foot massage or pedicure.
10. Hug your friends and family. You never know how much time you have left on this earth. Let them know how much you love them each and every day.

With that last idea in mind, take a moment to read my recent short story, A Chance Moment, published with Associated Content from Yahoo, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6050380/a_chance_moment.html?cat=44. It is a short read about love and possibilities, which may also get you in the holiday spirit. Enjoy.

New published writings in Vicious Spirits

Now available, the last book in the trilogy of terror offered by Key Publications and available through Amazon. This large 450 page book offers haunting tales and poems from the talented writers at Key Publications Network. My contest winning short story ‘The Emerald Curse’ and my tough talking poem ‘Unhinge a Phantom’ are lurking within the bindings of this spine chilling anthology.

Vicious Spirits Anthology