Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thus Sprang Inspiration

I found out Tuesday evening that one of my friends from high school had passed away in a car accident earlier in the day.   We just celebrated our 10-year high school reunion this past July.  He had just celebrated his 29th birthday a few days ago.  And in an instant, he was gone.  Some people may say “that’s life,” or that “it happens” and while that is certainly true, obviously true, it doesn’t make it any less shocking, or make it hurt any less. 

He was one of those guys who was the epitome of a gentleman.  He was always kind and polite; he always held the door for a lady and pulled out her chair.  He would carry your bag for you if it were too heavy, and always asked if you wanted anything when he was going to the vending machines or the store.  All in all, he was just a really great guy and the world was a little brighter with him in it.
Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,
And spent my little life without a thought,
And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim,
Should think of me, who never thought of him.
~René Francois Regnier
The shock of this loss made me think about some of the men that I’ve written into my stories.  The type of men that they were in the beginning, and the type of man they each will become by the end of their stories.  It has surprised me greatly, over the past few hours, to discover that the men I’ve written carry so many of the characteristics that I find in the men who have surrounded me all my life. 

From the 5-year old boys who selflessly share their crayons with the other kids, to the high school teenager who stops on the way to school to give rides to kids who are walking. 

There are the 20-something year old men who are willing, and happy, to help babysit their friends kids; or the ones who shovel your sidewalk every morning when it’s really cold, just so that you don’t have to. 

In looking at my male characters, I found one in particular who reminds me of my passed friend.  My memories of him must have formed some aspect of the inspiration for the character, and through that character, for me, my friend will live on.

When working on and developing your characters, from where does your inspiration spring?

#WW or #WWBH

Hello friends and writers!

I’m writing this brief note as a reminder to everyone that it’s again Wednesday and so the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop will be going on once again.  Take a trip over to The World of My Imagination to link up at some point this Wednesday (and over the days to follow) and you may just meet some new people, new writers, and new friends.

And if you’re on Twitter please use the #WW or #WWBH hashtags and spread the word to your followers!

You can follow me on Twitter at!/apalusa_light.

See you around!

And don't forget that you can grab the WWBH button that is on the right-side of this page or the dancing Santa that Nicole has on her blog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Working Through the Tough Spots

You’ve been working on a story for weeks, months, or even years.  It’s going great and though you began with a pretty clear-cut plan, you’ve been relatively happy to allow your characters and their story a bit of leeway to make some interesting plot turns.  Now you’ve hit that point in the story where you, as the writer, stumble.

Even though you know where you’re headed and the general path you intend to take, the words just aren’t coming.  You write, and write, and write, but when you review you’re nearly disgusted with what you read.  We’ve all been there.  We’ll all be there again sometime – maybe soon.

So how do you get through it?

I wish I could say that there was some simple method, an easy way to get over the hump.  The honest truth is that you just have to find something that will work for you and use it.  And you need to understand that what works one time, or for one person, may not work for another.

Generally that means that you just keep writing.  Good or bad, you need to get the words on the page; you can and will go back and edit, delete, revise, and even rewrite later.  The important thing here is just getting the words out.

Sometimes, and for some people, forcing the words out just doesn’t work.  In this case you may benefit most as a writer by going back to the beginning and (re)reading and editing the work you’ve already done.  As I said, you know exactly where you’re headed, taking the time to review where you’ve been won’t hurt.  And may in fact get those creative juices pumping again.

It could be that reviewing your own work may only make you feel more frustrated.  Then you’ve got a few other choices.  If you write a blog, work on a new post.  Tired of trying to write?  Try reading.  Whether it’s doing a critique read for a friend, picking up a new release at the bookstore or the library, or reacquainting yourself with an old favorite; reading someone else’s stories might just be that metaphorical nudge that helps to clear your mind and allows the words to start flowing anew.

The truth of the matter is that everybody is different, which is a pretty basic fact of life, so it makes sense that no two writers use exactly the same process when writing, none of us use the same methods when working through the tough spots.  So as I said at the start: find a method that works for you.  You’ll need to adjust and adapt as necessary, and always remember that just as your stories evolve from the initial idea that got the ball rolling, to the finished product you share with the world, your writing process is an ever-evolving thing as well.  You merely need to accept that things will never remain precisely the same each time through.

Sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop

It is time again for the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!  
Don’t forget to link up, grab a button, grab the hopping dog (you'll find him on Nicole's site), and see what you can see on all the writer’s blogs…

To link up and join us - click on the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop badge on the right and fill in the form!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Making Time in a Busy Life

We all have busy lives and hectic schedules.  Maybe you work 40+ hours a week as a nurse, an accountant, a lawyer, or a teacher.  Or you may be a student with a full course load and a part-time job.  You could be a mom or a dad busy with bath-times, temper tantrums, school schedules, extra-curriculars, lunches, dinners, breakfasts and snacks.  You may even (most likely) be some combination of all of the above. 
WritingImage by jjpacres via FlickrSo what does that mean for the time you’ve got to write?
Usually, if you’re human and not some mutant-type being that requires no food, rest or free-time, it means that if you truly want to write, you have to make the time to do so. 
It could mean that you’re writing during your lunch time. 
You may have to write in 15-minute stretches between classes or during study breaks.
Or maybe you have to take advantage of nap-times to sit down at the computer and write.  You could be that parent who is sitting with a notebook on your lap and scribbling ideas down as they come to you, while you’re watching the kids in gymnastics/skating/swimming lessons/etc.
The bottom line, no matter what you do or who you are, is that you’ve got to use the time that you can, take advantage of every moment that you can grasp and write.
I have three kids – 7-, 5-, and 3-years old.  The oldest is at school all day and the middle one is in doing half-days, while I (mostly) stay at home with the youngest.  They each do gymnastics, putting us at the club 3 days a week for their lessons.  The two younger ones also do skating lessons twice a week and the oldest started piano lessons this fall too.  On top of this I’m working part-time as well.  And that is just what we’ve got to do outside of the home – there are still of course all the regular chores, errands and tasks involved in caring for and taking care of a home and three kids.
So when do I write?
Honestly, whenever I can.  I keep a notebook in my purse with a pencil so that I can jot down ideas when I’m waiting for the kids at school or watching lessons.  I spend an hour or two in the morning on the computer checking e-mails, working on my blogs, ‘playing’ on Facebook and Twitter, and doing revisions and edits on my work.  And I spend an hour or so after I put the kids to bed most nights writing and working on my stories. 
Does this happen every single day? No.  Does this ‘schedule’ work every single time I use it? No.  Does it work more often than not? Absolutely.
We’re all busy people and we have to take that into account.  Very few of us, especially when we’re starting out, have the time or freedom to spend 8 hours each day writing and working on the computer.  But we all wish we could.  We all work toward the dream of being able to do just that.  Until then, all we can do is write when we can, and carve out as much time as we can manage.
So find the time that works for you, be happy writing and keep up the good work.

And don't forget that it's Wednesday so we've got the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop going on!  To link up and hop click on the button to the right, and we'll see you around!
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's WWBH Time Again!

This post is just a quick update, and it’s going across the board to all my blogs…
It’s that time of the week again!

I’d have more to say but I’m super short on time this morning and I’m already crunched with writing and work.  So this is really just super quick-
Hello and Welcome to all Writer’s Wednesday Blog Hoppers!
And if you’re not part of the WWBH and would like to join us – you can enter your information on either Nicole’s page or Diane’s page, this week they are co-hosting so a special thanks goes to them!
See you around the hop!!

When It Rains...

Yesterday I was happy to discover that I'd been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.  It was one of those moments when have you blink a few times, just to check that what you're seeing is actually there.

So imagine my surprise when I stop by my blog for a quick check on things (I've become really weird about checking to see if people comment, so that I can respond if needed, and that type of thing) and discover that not only is there a new comment, but I've also been bestowed the marvelous honor of another blogger award.  

This time coming from Cassie Mae at Reading, Writing, and Lovin' It! I've been given the Liebster Award.

I can't say how grateful I am to receive these awards - as any blogger knows having something worth writing about is hardly half the battle, having someone to tell it to... that's the real challenge.  It's things like the Liebster and Versatile Blogger awards (and other awards of their ilk), blog hops and multimedia marketing (with Twitter, Facebook, and etc.) that help you gain the audience you need to make yourself heard.  Or read, I guess.  It is gratifying and humbling to know, to actually receive confirmation, that what you're writing is reaching someone else out there in the vast space of the blogosphere.  And honestly? Like any kind of commentation that writers/authors/bloggers receive - getting these awards only makes me want to write more.

So thank you Cassie Mae for paying forward the award (to see who I decide to pass the honor of the Liebster Award to, go to the Awards page - it'll be updated ASAP) and thank you for giving me another nudge on the shoulder, a pat on the back and a good word all in one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It Has Begun

NaNoWriMo has officially begun…
As of 12:01am this morning, writers all over North America (and across the globe) heard the starters pistol, okay not really but stretch your imaginations with me here, and began the marathon-like trek to 50,000 words and November 30th.  As I mentioned last week, I am participating in the event once again this year and once I’ve got my blog posts updated today I will be starting to work on my own writings.
I just want to send wishes of good luck to all this year’s participants and I hope that your ideas and stories will become all that you imagine.
Happy NaNo Writers!!
And don’t forget tomorrow is again Wednesday, which once again gives us the Writer’s Wednesday Blog Hop.  Created by and originally hosted by Nicole from The World of My Imagination, the WWBH is a great opportunity for writers and bloggers to meet and interact with others just like them!  I’ll be around in a limited capacity this week (between NaNo and an extra work shift) but I will be participating as much as I can.  See you around the hop!
And can I say a great big WOW? Just learned that Nicole awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award... So thanks Nicole - you're awesome and I love you and your blog!!  You can all check out my newly created Awards page to find out just what I have to do for 'the prize!'