Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holidays and Me

I was sitting and thinking about writing and all of the holiday frenzy. How am I going to squeeze it all in? Then it occurred to me that maybe my focus was a little off. Instead of concentrating on what there is to do I need to put my efforts and energy into who I'm doing it with and  why I'm doing it. I'm doing this because of the relationships that surround me.

These people keep me going. When it feels like I'll never reach my goal, whatever it happens to be, they are the ones who cheer me on. Without them, all of them, I would very likely give up because at times it feels too hard, out of my reach.

They are also the ones that keep me honest, espceially with myself. When I come up against the wall, they are the ones that ask me if the task is too hard, is it that I don't want it that much, or am I just being a bit lazy. I could not be who I am without them.

I have a never-ending love for my family and friends and a consuming love for the One I call God. They keep me going, help me to grow, and it is because of them I strive to be a better person, that includes becoming a better writer. They are the true gift to me, not just for this season, but for my life.

As this year comes to a close, I look behind and see what a blessing each has been to me. I look forward to a better year. A year that includes enjoying my time with all of them, and maybe a little more with my wonderful grandchildren. It has been agreat year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Critique Genies

Last time I told you about the amazing people who help me in my quest to become a better writer. Here they are.

This is our most junior member, Lola. She looks like she's sleeping, but don't let that fool you. Lola lets me know when something isn't working. That lady next to her is her mom, Sarah. She

keeps me on target with age appropriate voice.

This is our senior member, Marian. She makes sure my timelines are accurate. Without her, who knows where I'd place the important things.

And here are all the others in between. My wonderful genies of truth.
I can count on these two, Carol (left) and Lynn, for help with grammar and humor. Carol reminds me when I've put in too many eating scenes.She also shares my love for science fiction.

This is Steve, our lonely male. We have another male member, but he wasn't there the day I took pictures. Steve makes sure I trim the fat in my writing. He's another one that's into sci-fi like me.

These two are Maria (left) and Leah. Maria put our group together and for that I will always be grateful. She keeps my writing smoothe. Leah keeps my humor spot-on. She's also the G-Mama to our junior memeber.

And these are Kathy (left) and Julie. Kathy helps me with fluidity and action. Julie keeps me on target with age of audience, checks my action, and straightens out the strange way I like to phrase things.

These are my wonderful Writing Genies. Without their help my writing would well and truly suck. They are all wonderful writers. Maybe not Lola, yet. But stay on the lookout for her. Anyone who starts this young is going to be awesome. By the way, Kathy, Maria, and Lynn, have just released their newest middle grade book, Monster Moon: Curse at Zala Manor. Be sure and get a copy. It's great.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Blessngs of a Great Critique Group

Being a part of a critique group is a wonderful thing. Without them my writing would flounder, but with them it has grown. I have been a part of a group that is specific to children's literature. I can't even begin to tell you how helpful it has been.

Do they always say what I want to hear? Absolutely not. If they did, how would I grow? They say things that are very helpful. For example, when I think I have written a scene that I think is clear. They tell me when it isn't. And not only that it isn't clear, they tell me why. Often I think the scene is all in place because it's so clear in my ehad. The problem is that the reader doesn't have the benefit of my mind to look into. They can only see what's on the page. Imagine that.

Most surprising is when something I've done is spot-on. They laugh in the right places, gasp when the main character is in danger, or cry when a favorite lesser character dies. That puts me into orbit.

The best thing is that they are people who will tell me the truth. As a writer I can fall into the trap of believing that my work does what I want it to do. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. I can always count on this group of writers to tell me what really is. That is worth more than I could ever say. And it is because of that truth that my writing grows.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas. Really?

How on earth did Christmas sneak up on me? I can't believe the year has slipped by. I drive through the neighborhood and see everyone's lights and decorations. So I guess it's official. We're in the Christmas season.

Last year I thought about writing a piece with the holiday specifically in mind. I guess that won't be happening this year. There's no way I'm going to add another project right now. Once I get the others finished I'll work on that one. I have this crazy idea about writing a series of whacky short stories aimed at the holidays. I think it would be fun.

How many holidays are there? Do I include presidents' days? How about the ones that we don't really celebrate, like May Day? I'll bet I can come up with a lot of different days.

Let's see, there are the usual ones like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Then there are the one that don't get a lot of attention like Grandparents Day or the first day of spring.

How many 'minor' holidays can you name?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Writing and Blogging

Wow! I'm having one heck of a time keeping this blog current. It's definitely not that I don't enjoy it. It's that I am working on three projects at a time. I get sucked into whichever project I'm working on. Now, I'm doing that times three.

Sometimes I think maybe I should put a couple of them on hold until I get one finished. But I can't decide which ones to put away. I really love them all. Since I'm not under a deadline for any of them, I guess it doesn't matter. I just need to figure out where to get this blog into my schedule.

I've thought about working ahead and scheduling them to post at regular intervals, but that feels a little impersonal. I wonder why that it? Do any of you use this feature?

Well, that's that, then. I've fought it as long as I could. I need to commit to a particular schedule to get it all done. No more free floating.