Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Off Topic II

Prov. 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
***
On Wednesday Adam was home from school. My how he enjoys school. If only the kids were nicer to him. His grades are not bad and I heard something this weekend that went something like this, “All C’s still get degrees.” So if Adam gets out of this year with all C’s, I’m only more than happy that he whizzed through the year and made it out alive!

Bullies are a whole other topic! I’m talking holidays today. Adam had a five day weekend at home! Wednesday I had to run to the store and you would’ve thought it was Black Friday trying to get through the store. I didn’t need a whole order, that was done on Saturday, but I muddled through, got a prescription, and some cough medicine. It still took almost an hour and a half trying to get back home! Grumpy tagging along.

Thursday I slept in as did Adam. I arose and made some Pumpkin Pies for what I thought was a two pm. dinner that, to my surprise, turned into a 12 pm dinner and the pies were still in the cooling stages as I brought them to moms for a family celebration. Good food, laughter and hugs were shared.

Friday was a rest day! I slept in, as did Adam and the day was bright and sunny, as football bellowed from the radio and TV. Thursday had been cold and blustery but Friday was Sunny and 54 degrees! What a whirlwind of temps we have here in Nebraska. Saturday, Adam and I went off to the store to pick up a few things. The store was darned near empty. A pleasant trip on the day AFTER Black Friday! The wind once again picked up but it was a gorgeous sunny day, yet felt like a Sunday for some odd reason. I saw grumpy in the mirror!

Saturday was the day that we put up the Chritmas decorations, after beau played the sax, rehearsing for some dinner party. Then Adam kept bugging me to let him put up the tree. We used to get a real tree but allergies abound and it dries out too quick in a months time, so we have an artificial tree. Adam went to town on that tree. Took him about three hours but in the end, I have a beautiful tree. Now sadness was with grumpy, those two had a party!

Sunday was church. I got to see my Church Family and realized how much I missed them when we missed a week (due to sickness.) An air of grumpiness followed us around like I was Snow White and Grumpy belonged here with me. I couldn’t shake it. I prayed, cried, laughed, but there it was, staring me boldly in the face!

Depression. It is obvious to me but well hidden from others. Standing on the edge of sanity, depression will knock you down, drag you through the mud and leave you there to get hard to turn into some form of  lumpy clay. I can usually meditate and pray and shake the bug, but beau and Adam? Well they have a hard time just letting go and shaking off the blues. They’ll pull me in because it’s what we do. We’re a family, we feel each others pain, share each others sadness, and hopefully mend each others heart.

Bring on the holidays!
Ecc.1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Off Topic...life

Prov. 14:13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
***
Today I’m going to go a little off topic. I mean after the exhausting week last week, I think my blog needs a break from all this writing biz. Sometimes it’s a welcome relief and I know you, my reader, you all like to see what’s happening in my life every now and again. Which not only makes me feel good, but it also makes me feel loved.

I never realized how depressing the holiday’s could be. I mean, in years past, living in Texas, I was down around the holidays because I missed my family back in Baltimore. I’ve been away almost eight years and only got back home once to see my mother and father. It’s around the holidays I miss them most. Not just Thanksgiving and Christmas, but holidays in general.

Back before I gave up my old life, my family was my life. Mother, father, sister, brothers, my son, hubby, nieces and nephews. The seasons of love, sharing and caring were all shared as a family. Sure I have a dysfunctional family but they are mine, and I loved the holidays with them.

Six years of loneliness and healing in Texas’ grand warmth, I started to get used to being alone and possibly never seeing my family again. My niece and sister came to visit me in Texas once, and beaus mom visited a couple times along with his aunt and uncle. But again, the holidays were just us three in our tank tops, putting up the tree, eating turkey and celebrating being alive. We did make a few trips to Nebraska in that interim.

My how much life has changed in two years. Beau went blind and life took on a whole new meaning. We both went through transitions of healing our hearts and souls and even Adam had his set of adjustments. Money commenced, warmth of the Texas heat was left behind, replaced by snow and wind and a life out in the middle of nowhere, except there was a difference here in Nebraska; family.

The holidays have a new shape to them now, spent among family, sharing the joy and laughter, but something is missing. As Adam (who did all the work) and I put our Christmas tree up this weekend, and beau sat on the sidelines moping, I realized life has changed all around for all of us.  Although we have his family surrounding us and special times are being had and memories are being wrapped in our hearts, we are still three people, in search of something we know we may never find.

Adam is off at school, I sit here writing and beau is absorbed in audiobooks and listening to movies. The holidays are upon us and it can be quite depressing. All I do know now is that I have the love of God in my heart and his plan is in action, and we all move with the fluctuation of the life energy that sustains us.

Ecc.7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Poetry Sunday ~ Nightshades

Ps.146: 8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:

Nightshades
***
A parade of silence fills the air
the night is cold and dreary;
light it dances on my face
my legs are getting weary.

Christmas holds no magic
the sight of me took flight;
it left a somber stillness
in every bleeding night.

The tree it has a presence;
the lights just sit and stare.
I touch the piny needles
Yet no one knows I’m there.

Another Christmas is coming
the holiday creeps right in.
I’m standing here left gazing,
at the windows I have within.

Will the season show its mystery
to me as I muddle through
I’ll cling to all the sounds I hear
and memories of you.

My joy is in the musical notes,
the sounds of bells and song.
I’ll find that during Christmas
it was with me all year long.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quotation Saturday

STRENGTH

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."
-Harriet Beecher Stowe

"Never give in... never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force... never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
-Winston Churchill

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.”
- August Wilson

VISION

"Yesterday's passions may not serve tomorrow's goals."
- Frederic Hudson

"I think all of us are looking at the future with yesterday's eyes."
- Dan Burrus

"Achieving your vision doesn’t mean you’ve reached the end of the line. It simply means that you’ve come to a new starting place."
- Nido Qubein

HOPE

You cannot put a great hope into a small soul.
-Jenkin Loyd Jones

Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have. -
-H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Hope, like the gleaming taper's light,
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
-Oliver Goldsmith (1730 - 1774)

ON WRITING - Emotions
 
Writing is communication, not self-expression. Nobody in this world wants to read your diary except your mother.
-Richard Peck
 
Sharing our stories can also be a means of healing. Grief and loss may isolate us, and anger may alienate us. Shared with others, these emotions can be powerfully uniting, as we see that we are not alone, and realize that others weep with us.
-Susan Wittig Albert
 
Storytelling is healing. As we reveal ourselves in story, we become aware of the continuing core of our lives under the fragmented surface of our experience. We become aware of the multifaceted, multichaptered ' I ' who is the storyteller. We can trace out the paradoxical and even contradictory versions of ourselves that we create for different occasions, different audiences... Most important, as we become aware of ourselves as storytellers, we realize that what we understand and imagine about ourselves is a story. And when we know all this, we can use our stories to heal and make ourselves whole.
- Susan Wittig Albert

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful For...

1 Chron. 29:13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
***
I’m thankful for….

I’m thankful for that one warm ray,
that shines on me to lighten my day.
I’m thankful for the dewy grass
that tickles my toes as I pass.
I’m thankful for the fragrant air,
that wafts on by without a care.
I’m thankful for the torrents of rain
that soaks my skin; releases my pain.
I’m thankful for the budding flower.
that blooms in glory, a scented shower.
I’m thankful for every timeless season,
new bark; new bough with endless reason.
I’m thankful for all the joyful bliss,
that graces my cheek as a gentle kiss.
I’m thankful for being allowed too touch,
that one lost soul whom needs so much.
I’m thankful for every little thing,
that has no worth, but smiles they bring.
I’m thankful for the minuscule,
for that is where my soul can rule.
I’m thankful for all my eyes can see,
breathless beauty from God to me.
I’m thankful for all of this and more,
The love of life, the chance to soar!
***
May you all have blessings this day
and be thankful for one small thing!
AMEN!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 Steps to Cure Writing Addiction

Nothing you write, if you hope to be good, will ever come out as you first hoped. - Lillian Hellman
***
I find that I am addicted to writing. I’ve decided to start my very own 12 step program to help me with my problem and I was thinking, maybe you’re addicted too? Let’s heal together. The first thing we need in our arsenal:

1. First you have to admit you have an addiction. Own up to it! Admitting you have a problem is always the very first step! Do you sit for hours on end, typing words onto a blank page, only to find your butt has grown a suction cup like bottom and is now stuck to the chair?

2. The second step is seeing the addiction for what it is. Yearning to sit at the computer for hours on end, craving words to be spilled onto the empty screen that longingly glares at you; calling out to you, needing to hear the hum of the computer to know it is working so you can begin to write, bleeding fingertips from hours upon hours of tapping on the keys, carpal tunnel syndrome AND arthritis setting into your bones; these are all good signs to look for.

3. Your third step is to look at the problem in the face and tackle it head on. DO NOT pull your hair out! You will need a sledgehammer in this instance, by your side. Not for the kid screaming from behind you, saying it was his turn hours ago. Or for the man repeatedly saying, “finish up,” as he plays ‘Taps’ with his fingers on a trash can lid.

4. Ah, the fourth step -- you’re getting there. You realize you have a  problem, and are now ready to take some form of  action against the issue of gnawing addictive writing.

5. Step five is a biggie. Look yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you, I want you healed, you’re special. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Okay, the last half was a Stuart Smalley affirmation but you get the idea.

The next six steps you might want to skip because it could get ugly. You’re going to take the sledgehammer to the computer and beat it until it stops humming (or just turn it off), go for an enjoyable bike ride, purchase a kite, take long breathtaking walks through the sun-filled streets, look at human people once again, or have human contact in any fashion, and then, be like a kite and soar!

12. The 12th and final step into curing your addiction? Bend over, stick your head between your legs, and kiss your butt good-bye, because you’ve now come to the ugly conclusion...there is NO CURE! And why should there be a cure, YOU’RE A WRITER!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Newcomers

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye
serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24
***

I have to admit, watching new writers makes me smile. They are just like I was about eight or nine years ago when I began to take this journey seriously; alive with creativity bubbling over their cup. Oozing with frothiness, layers of imagination whipped up for the course.

Some newcomers I sit in awe of as they have a natural ability to putting pen to paper and creating a dashing piece of art, not just words in a novel. The most fun part of being a new writer is learning. Learning new words, new techniques, grabbing ideas, tapping at the keyboard into the wee hours of the night, and being one with a new character. But the most fulfilling, is completion, I have to say.

Although when you complete your novel, you’re sitting there scratching your head wondering what to do next. We can’t go back and do revisions, it is too fresh in our minds, we won’t see anything wrong at least until a week later. So what is a writer to do?

Start a new story, new style, learn new words, different techniques. There’s a world of knowledge to be gleaned from the writing pool. As I sit in the stages of revising my nearly sixty thousand word novel, which will more than likely be more after revision, I think of where all this writing began.

Like many before me, writing was and is a part of  every day living, always has been and always will be. It began at a young age when I first held a pencil, albeit a fat one, in my tiny hand and began doodling. Ahh, fresh untouched paper, like a newly fallen snow with not one footprint, a firm wooden pencil clutched in my hand like the baby-blankie I gripped in the other hand; scribbling thoughts that surfaced, images, words, the love of pencil and paper began. Those were the good old days.

As I grew, the words took on new meaning, they shaped either a poem or a story and all throughout school, before I ever typed on a computer and had the luxury of internet access, I was born to write. I didn’t stumble upon the written word and think, “Hey, this is cool.” No, I read, read and read some more. Wrote, wrote and continued studying the craft of writing, all throughout my childhood and early adult years.

After my hand developed callus's from writing, my hands ached from the old style typewriter, then out of nowhere a computer fell into my lap and changed my world forever. That was almost nine years ago, and I still persist in writing, whether pen or keyboard, I still write.

The best advice I can give newcomers to the field, is persist. Don’t write for a year or two and give up, that does not make you a writer, nor just because you pen words on occasion, does it make you a writer. A writer exemplifies, PERSISTENCE! We’re a tough breed and I’ve learned that the writing community is more than a community of artists, it is a home away from home.






Welcome to the writing world F2k alumni! You completed lesson six, in the shroud of NANO, and now move on, to PERSISTENCE!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ The Path I Take

Pss. 17:5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.
***
The Path I Take
***
As curious winds dance about
snow lay at my feet
swirling in my mind is doubt
for all the world to meet.

Take my hand and walk me through
the life that has a muddled hue.

Swift soft whispers of the day
spin my life around
stellar are the stars I see
they lift me off the ground.

Hold me now for I am weak
my Father’s face, do I seek.

Step lightly as you pass.
on wilted willow's bough;
Windows open, breath falls in
I’m here amongst you now.

He breathes new life into me
I share for all the world to see.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quotation Saturday

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. --C.S. Lewis
***
TRUST

"Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him."
-- Booker T. Washington

"You can't shake hands with a clenched fist."
-- Indira Gandhi

"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough."
-- Frank Crane

"One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life."
-- E. M. Forster

THOUGHTS/THINKING

"Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once and a while, or the light won't come in."
-- Alan Alda

“The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.”
-- Norman Vincent Peale

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”
-- Benjamin Disraeli

"The most expensive piece of real estate is the six inches between your right and left ear. It’s what you create in that area that determines your wealth. We are only really limited by our mind."
-- Dr. Dolf de Roos

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
--C. S. Lewis
 

A tragedy is a representation of an action that is whole and complete and of a certain magnitude. A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.
--Aristotle

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Outline

Job 27: 18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.
***
I’ve opened a can of worms with the mention of an outline.

A lot of writer’s don’t ever draft an outline. They write their story, get ample feedback on it and are happy with what they’ve created. Other writers have a story lined with complexities that an outline is an absolute necessity.

An outline is going to help you with the tiny, mundane, intricate levels in your story, that just writing the story isn’t going to be able to accomplish.

1. It will help you see inconsistencies. Whether it’s the clothing of the era, or the song of the right times, or maybe as simple as a car that’s being driven. If you’re doing an early 20th century novel, surely they will not be driving a Volkswagen.

2. The outline will help you with a time line. If your character was born in 1940, surely he won’t remember the 1800’s from memory. If something happened in 1955, you want to keep track of all instances that things happened.

3. It will help you with POV shifts. Maybe you started out in third person and drifted off to first person?

4. The outline is going to give you a shape and form to your work. Think of it as a lump of clay, and you the potter, who is going to mold it into an interesting piece of art.

5. Clarity! The outline is going to give you clarity so you can point out the weaknesses in your story. Whether it is a weak character that don’t really add to the story. Faults of your main character? Maybe some other character is more interesting?

The outline is a trade secret in all your writing needs. If I’m writing a short story, the outline is more like a synopsis of what I want my story to be about, where I am going with my characters, what direction each one is heading and what is the point I’m trying to get across to my reader. We need the outline to give us a visual field in which to see the future progression of our story, all the way into our umpteenth revision.

I like to think of the outline as the building of a house. You don’t begin building without a plan, a sketch, an idea; or an empty parcel of land (the blank page.) You don’t use mortar in place of wood. You don’t do the brick work without first building the foundation.

After the foundation is laid, you begin framing the house and giving it shape and form. Think of the outline as the foundation. Think of building a story around that foundation and then move onto framing the story. The rooms will all have doorways which will be different levels of your characters and conflict will abound in each and every room. (The chapters)

Sheetrock will be the solidity of each chapter, paint will be the emotions and senses of the story.  The surrounding gardens of the house will be the beautiful imagery that you add to make your story work.

Now I bet each and every writer among us is going to make an outline right this minute if they haven’t gotten one already done before they started the book. Now get building!


author's note: Congratulations to me on reaching my 600th post! Wow, I didn't think I had anything to say. :) Thank you followers!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Making of a Story

Matt: 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
***
Here’s the Long and Short of it:

You may want an outline if this is a novel, this will be the foundation of your story, a framework on which you are going to build a solid, cohesive tale. Without it, your story could crumble down around you midway through your first draft. Outlining first may make the difference between a powerful story with depth or a mediocre tale. Which will boil down to an accepted submission or a rejection.

An outline will force us to think through our story piece by piece. It shows us quickly and precisely: (1) the depth of our principal character's problem; (2) if our story sufficiently resolves that problem; and (3) whether our plot logically takes the character from his problem to the eventual resolution.

So start by jotting down the kind of conflict that concerns your main character. With this information in front of you, you're ready to begin your outline.

Using an outline to discover the character's innermost conflict can lead you to a very rich story. A shallow story about a loser who throws away his gifted life after one mishap may leave the reader with an empty experience.

Let's look at the outline:

Plot example:
a) josie finds God (spiritual guidance)
b) josie needs attention (inner struggle)
c) josie uses drugs and alcohol (the dark force)

Theme: Man against himself (or woman) in other words, the conflict
Problem: The affects of drug use
Resolution: Leaning on God to help
Conclusion: healing through diverse measures

Outlines don’t need be lengthy epistles, nor should they take long to complete. If you can't seem to finish your outline, this may be a sign that all is not well with your story idea. If you're stuck, ask yourself: does your character have a compelling enough problems around which to build a story? Does your resolution solve your character's problem? Do your plot developments logically take the character from his problem to his resolution? If not, can you come up with a series of events that do?

I hope I’m not confusing you with the term OUTLINE. The outline is like a short story (500-1500 words) basically giving us all kinds of tidbits into one crammed piece of work. This is your story in a nutshell.

You may choose to write a short story instead, using all of the elements identified here:

1. An opening conflict
2. Complication 1
3. Complication 2
4. Complication 3 (optional)
5. Complication 4 (optional)
6. Crisis
7. Falling action (optional) -this is where the crisis tries and resolves itself.
8. Resolution - this is where the crisis DOES get resolved.

Think outside the box and start being the creator of a masterpiece. Build your story like a pair of marble steps, then let the rain wash over your words and slide down and conclude your completed story!

Most of all, Write Right!

Rom. 1:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Voices

Job 3: 18 There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.
***
I think it was June who did a post on the voices inside your head. I didn’t borrow this idea, someone in class today triggered the voice topic, via sharing her self-doubt with me and thus, I write this.

Have you ever had those voices running around in your head? They’re having a party and  invited you to come and play! These voices are usually the ones of self-doubt, fear, and any other negative word you’d like to throw into the mix of marbles being scattered all around in there.

I always think, Hey, this is my head why can’t I play? Then I jump in full steam ahead barefoot into a bouncy house. I’m loving it, relishing it actually. I’m in here, all good/bad thoughts are on the move, and we are one with the bounce!

Then suddenly, doubt takes a swing at me, he knocks me upside my head, I spin in a circle, my body floats and I’m down for the count. Almost a TKO,only I jump back up and begin bouncing once again.

Has this ever happened to you? Of course not, you’re full of confidence, you walk on air, life is good and everything you touch turns to sold. What? That isn’t you at all? Hmm...well I just assumed everyone had it better than me, was smarter than me, could do more, say more and write more. Guess not.

So once again we’re dealing with the confidence issue. The voices are only there because your confident nature has taken a ticket, and is waiting outside the Bouncy House of Doubt. We need to do something to get all those kids (negative thoughts) out of the bouncy house and put a bunch of positive thoughts in there so that you’re not standing out there when it begins to rain.

First and foremost - Become aware. Make yourself become a witness to the fact that doubt and fear are actually taking up residence. Hopefully you envision your bouncy house square or you won’t ever be able to place denial in the corner, facing the wall.

Second - You need to get in there and wrestle with doubt and fear to show them who is boss here!

Third - If necessary, you can sit doubt and fear down and have a good long talking to. Maybe tell them they are not welcome?

Fourth - In your mind’s eye, become Hercules, face each new day with a positive thought: I can get through the day, I CAN write 500 words, I can, I can I can! As soon as the negative tries to force your hand with the “You can’t do it”, you push harder with all your might, with the force of,  “YES, I CAN!”

Fifth - Get yourself OUT of the bouncy house and enter the Hall of Mirrors. This way you can look yourself in the face with each new turn and know just who is where. You will always be in the lead, you will not falter, you will walk through the maze and realize something as you get a little confused, the door is just ahead into the future. You made it out into the warm sunlight and every day you will take a walk through this place and leave the bouncy house where it belongs, up the hill and around the bend.

The voices have subsided... I CAN face this day! Are you with me?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Write with Confidence

Job 4:6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?
***
By now you all know I am one of eight mentor’s in the f2k, (Fiction 2000) free writing course on the web. It is a seven week course and I happen to come into contact with a lot of writer’s who lack confidence.

Some are young, some are old, some have never taken on writing before and are in search, in search of that elusive passion that has evaded their grip for so many years. I ask them what made them come to f2k and they are quick to say, I’ve always wanted to write but got sidetracked on the road to life.

But there in lies the lack of confidence. They’ve taken the leap but are now fearing  putting any of their work out there. Oh the students are full of questions like, “Suppose I’m a lousy writer?” And my response, “You’ll never know unless you get a bunch of non-partial readers to look it over.”

Then come the copyright questions along with plagiarism questions. Yes you are protected and YES it is illegal to plagiarize. And YES you will win a lawsuit if this is caught. I always say, if someone steals your work, they must think very little of themselves, and thus, lack the confidence that they need not only in writing, but in life in general!

Now the question surfaces, “How do I build confidence?” This is a tough one because if you are already suffering with low self esteem, doubtful and full of obstructions that will keep you from fully participating, then maybe you need more than a writing course can give you.

To build your confidence in writing:
 

First you need to write! - This can be anything from a journal style of writing, if you are new to the field, or a non-fiction piece or jump into fiction and create. Or maybe start a blog to get those fingers tapping.

Second - You need to toss doubt and fear out the window. Or put them in a closet somewhere far away from the other writings that you’ve hidden and never shared with the world.

Third - You need to be willing to jump without a parachute into the writing world. Leap into the unknown, bite nails later!

Fourth -  Get feedback on your writing and wait for the reviews. Keep in mind that these people are growing too as writers and you need to be able to GIVE feedback also. By seeing what YOU like in someone else’s writing, you’ll be more than likely able to pick out what you like in your own.

Fifth and final confidence builder - Plan in a positive fashion! Start building that portfolio, grow each day as a new writer, learn new words, skills, and a network of writing friends!

With these five tips, you should be well on your way to growing as a writer. The confidence will come in and sweep you off your feet and you my friend will begin to seek publication for your work because of the bunches of confidence that you now have to move forward with.

Write Right!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ten Tips to Keep on Writing

Prov.1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
***
1. Free-write without stopping
This is where you pick a word, picture, idea, and start writing about the subject without stopping. You can write about your day, your mother or sister, your dog or pet, anything, just to write something. Give yourself thirty minutes and if the keys are tapping so much you can’t stop, then DON’T!

2.Don’t make plans ahead of time
Just write the first thing that comes into your mind. Don’t debate whether it is a good topic or whether you’ll have enough to say, just keep writing.

3. Always keep tapping the keys on the keyboard. (Or keep the pen moving on the paper)
Don’t glance up to see if you’re making mistakes. (Or stop writing when you catch a mistake on paper.) Turn the internal editor OFF. There will be plenty of time for editing when you’ve written a few thousand words.

4.Sometimes it is helpful to have classical (or what ever you prefer) music to help you along.
If it becomes a distraction, turn it off and find whatever puts YOU in the mood. Is it complete silence? Is it background noise that helps? Maybe its rock & roll? Lit candles?
The ambiance setting is up to you.

5.Make your workspace fun and enlightening.
Having yourself surrounded in tranquility can help those stressful days of no-writing and turn them into productive days of key tapping.

6. Write with confidence.
If you are a writer, then having the confidence of a writer means that you will accomplish something on any given day. We, as writer’s, can not say, “I’m not good enough.” That shows lack of confidence in your writing. When you sit down in front of the keyboard, repeat after me, “I AM a WRITER!” Then write your heart out!

7. Study the craft
Make sure you have studied long and hard the craft that you are about to embark on. Roads have been paved for you, sure you can make your own paths, but if you lack the confidence of ever becoming a writer, it is for certain that you will NEVER become a published writer.

8. Step out of the box
You need to find a place where you fit in comfortably. Maybe you like non-fiction, spiritual tales, horror tales or sci-fi. Whatever the case may be. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of that comfort zone and trying on new clothes. Sometimes you might find a comfortable fit in sweats and a tee, but never be afraid of trying on that little black dress.
But as much as I say this, I won’t write or read outside of what my faith calls for.

9. Show determination
If you are not determined to be a writer, how will you expect to ever become a published writer? Writing for family can be rewarding, but are they hearing what editor’s are reading? No, editors expect professionalism from you and it is your determination to strive for the best that will make the editor stand up and say, “Now THIS shows promise!” Give them your best!

10.NEVER GIVE UP!
I say this because there will come a time when you just feel like throwing your work in the trash, times when you wish you could curl up in a ball and wish this talent away. But I’m afraid to tell you, that if it is a true talent, it will haunt your days and nights like the ghost of Christmas past, present and future all rolled into one!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Poetry Sunday ~ Oh Heavenly Father

Pss.33:21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have
trusted in his holy name.
***

Oh Heavenly Father

(c) Joni Zipp

My burdens heavy
I walk alone,
I can only do
what I am shown.

Oh heavenly Father carry me
help me Lord to understand thee.

Though my life
has me blind
I always seek
but never find.

Oh heavenly Father set me free
from the pain of reality.

I do not question
this wonderful task
I can not hide
behind a mask.

Oh heavenly Father now I see
You have a special plan for me.


All rights reserved: copyright © Joni  Zipp

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quotation Saturday

 Sometimes you think you know someone. Then you look in the mirror and realize. You Never knew them at all. ~Joni Zipp
***

 TEAMWORK

"Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success."
-- Stephen Covey

"You cannot succeed by yourself. It's hard to find a rich hermit."
-- Jim Rohn

"Light is the task where many share the toil."
-- Homer

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
-- Helen Keller

GROWTH

Language grows out of life, out of its needs and experiences.
--Anne Sullivan

A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows.
--John Powell

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.
--Madeleine L’Engle (1918 - ), "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art", 1980

THOUGHTS/THINKING

"Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once and a while, or the light won't come in."
-- Alan Alda

“The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.”
-- Norman Vincent Peale

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”
-- Benjamin Disraeli

"The most expensive piece of real estate is the six inches between your right and left ear. It’s what you create in that area that determines your wealth. We are only really limited by our mind."
-- Dr. Dolf de Roos

SUCCESS

Success is the ability to close the door on your past, regardless of your failures, and move forward. In other words, if you're not on the way, you're in the way, so it's best that you get out of the way.
--Bill White
 

Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius.
--Josephine Johnson ~The Dark Traveler

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.
--Anna Quindlen (1953 - )


Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.
--Christine Bovee

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dialogue ~ To say or Not to say

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret. 
--Matthew Arnold


Dialogue between two people is often never mis-communicated. When I tell someone, “You look nice today.” It is always met with a smile and a, “Why, thank you.”  But in writing, the dialogue we run into has to be deciphered and seen for its hidden meaning.

We can not use words like THIS, or IT, as we write because we’re giving our reader the opportunity to misunderstand what the IT is that we’re referring to. Dialogue is the same way, we need to be clear and concise so the reader knows just what we’re talking about.

As much as I chide people for lack of imagery, failure to use the senses, I also correct them for using the word IT, THIS or AND. These three simple words can confuse the reader and have them doubling back through the book and we don’t want that. We want them to read, clean and concise words so that they keep turning the pages.

“So your saying that if I write right, the reader will understand what I’m saying?”

“Yes! None of that stuff where you say, ‘it is on the table.’ You let me, the reader, know what IT is!”

“And you’re telling me AND is not good either?”

“Well, when your sentence needs five AND’S in the structuring of a sentence, you are not helping your reader to understand.”

“What was the other word?”

“THIS, silly!”

“Okay let me get this straight. Wait I just used THIS.”

“But in the right context.” I breathed, “Had you said, ‘I just used this.’ Is a reader going to know what THIS is that you used? Of course not. Always explain, elaborate, use your words wisely.”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool.”

“I know, now get your feet offa my table!”

That banter was dialogue. We also need to be aware of how we naturally speak. Often we use words like gonna, didja, offa, I’ma, things of that nature, where, when read out loud, it sounds more fluent.  In writing, our dialogue between two people needs to be clear, but in character. We need to speak, so-to-speak, as natural as possible. Could you tell there were two different people speaking? I didn’t use tags on purpose because that is what this weeks lesson at f2k was all about. The use of dialogue!

We’re in our fifth week and next week will be our final sixth week. It has been exciting picking out the ‘lesson that followed all the rules, guidelines and understanding of the lesson’. They were published in the f2kzine where writers got to showcase their work, and can now call themselves ‘published’ writers!

Dialogue isn’t as tricky as POV, or as vivid as the senses, but dialogue is just as important in a story as the plot/theme and the whole structure of the story! Next time you’re writing dialogue, make sure it isn’t being misconstrued, write it clear and concise.

Keep writing people! Most of all, Write Right!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Angry...at God???

I’ve been on this planet for many a year. I gave my life over to God and I did it for a reason. A couple really; to be closer to the creator, salvation, redemption, saving grace, and the promise of eternal life.

1 Tim. 3: 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

I didn’t become a Christian so I could get things, you know, prayers answered. But upon accepting Him and all His glory, there were standards that I had to meet. I could no longer walk in the dark, do what I wanted to and never be held accountable. No, I was living my life for Christ and as such, I would try with every vein in my being to be the best person He created me to be.

1 Tim. 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

A lot of people I know, assume things about faith. “Well I won’t have to answer for THAT sin until I meet him in heaven.” So they go about doing what they want in life, never feeling they have to answer until they are dead, so why worry about stuff like that while they’re living? 
 
1Tim. 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

So when we, as Christians, don’t get what we want, is it God’s fault? Are we to blame him for not giving us what we want? Why would anyone assume that? When you get angry, you do things that aren’t in your Christian nature, losing sight of the One who created you, the Almighty God that would never give up on you, yet you, you feel you can just turn your back on him and stomp off like a child who didn’t get that toy he wanted?
 

You know, I lost two children and everyone expected me to be angry at God. Angry because he took away something so precious to my heart, that I had wanted, but he ripped them away before I ever had the chance to see them smile.
 

Instead of anger, I gave Him GLORY. I praised Him and rejoiced. Why? Because I know that HE knows what is best for me in any circumstance I am facing. No he don’t give me what I want, he fulfills my every need. 


1 Tim. 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Don’t be told what to pray for. Know what to pray for. Don’t ask to be given something, pray that he knows what you need. NEED! Not WANT!

Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

My sermon has thus commenced.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Omaha on hold...

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that
weep."Romans 12:15
***

My friends and followers have all been following the story of my beau’s blindness. As you may know, he was scheduled to go back to Omaha again today, but  he canceled the appointment yesterday.

Back in September, we were really excited to find out that the Lion’s Club was willing to pick up the tab. Lion lady told us that they would pay for the visits leading up to and follow-up visits. Excitement gathered as everyone couldn’t wait to hear the good news, that beau would see again!

That September visit didn’t go as planned. We got the news that one eye had shut down completely with no chance of seeing from again. The retina had begun to detach. The right eye, possibilities. The doctor didn’t look too optimistic to me as I sat across the room watching as he studied intently the two eyes. An ultrasound was needed. He said, “If we do the right eye, there’s about a fifty percent chance of success, which isn’t bad, but there are other factors, like this eczema, and your allergies.  I can’t guarantee the transplant will be 100% success or even 60%. Let’s get the ultrasound and I’ll know more.”

We both left the office in silence. My heart ached, and beau said nothing all the way home, except, “Lets eat.” We ate in silence. I could feel the cloud of disappointment lingering, and I had to drive and get us home. Tears kept filling my eyes, but we made it.
Silence.

A month passed and we had the appointment in October for the ultrasound. Hope clutched in our hands! We were in the office ten minutes after a four hour drive, only to turn right back around to go back home. We never saw the doctor, we just saw the lady who does the ultrasound.

Not much time passed and someone from the office called and said that they could operate on the right eye. With the success rate that the doctor had pointed out. Okay, now hope is back. One eye is better than none, even if it’s for one day of sight, this is a go! We were a little excited, but I still felt some form of apprehension on beau’s part. More tests need to be done.

A few days later lion lady called and said, “I hear you’re getting the operation, just let me know the day you go in so I can let my people know.” We hadn’t been given a date to ‘go in’, we were not even told anything to that affect. He was told, “More test are needed but there is potential.”

Mixed communication. Lion lady is saying one thing(we’ll pay it all) others are saying other things (they’ll pay for the op and that’s all) and all this info is rendering beau apprehensive to the point where he just doesn’t even care if he gets this operation. What started off as feeling right, now feels as if everything is going wrong. He's like a pressure cooker about to explode. Too much pressure and *KABOOM*.

Does he want to see again? YES! We all want him to see again. But it is not up to me or anyone else. He’s a grown man and can make his own decisions. I NEVER give my opinion, this is for HIM and him alone to decide. Does he want all this confusion? NO! So he has decided to take matters into his own hands! HE will choose a doctor, go and get their opinion, in April he will have medicare and if this is meant to be, he will have this done.

Is time of the essence? I don’t know what that means. It has been a year and a half, so what is five more months? Will his eye be any healthier in April? Well, there should be as much percentage of success in April as there is today. No one knows! Only the Man Upstairs.

This is a bag of mixed emotions I just wanted to toss out to those who have followed, prayed and stood by in support of us.
 

I Thank You!

It is important to distinguish between opinion and judgment. Opinions open us up, judgments close us down.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Confusion~ Conflict

Ps.71:1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
***
What a roller coaster of a ride. I have my ups and downs, my twists and turns, my corkscrew of a loop and then I live life like a straight and narrow path has been set before me as I walk along the road of life.

Sounds like a writers life, doesn’t it? Sounds like a novel. Ironically, this week in F2K, (the free writing workshop that I mentor) we’ve been working on conflict. Conflict in a story is essential, I guess, just like in life.

If we had no conflict in our story they would be boring beyond belief, no one would read a word of it, or at least they’d get so far into the story, realize there is nothing happening and decide to put the book down.

So I’m wondering, without conflict and controversy in our lives, would our lives then be boring? Sometimes which bread to buy can be a conflict on my weekly shopping trip. Although not really bread but the decision of what meals to make for seven days can stir in me a conflict.

And now I’ve come upon a fork in the road. Which do I take? The easy one that leads me to where *I* want to be, to achieve the things that *I* want. Is it all about me, me, me? No, it’s not and never is about me and what I want, it’s about a decision, made by God, and do I listen to him in his offering of settling the conflict, or do I go against what he is telling me and follow the path that I want?

A yo-yo, that is what I feel like, dangling by a string bouncing up and down wondering when the worn out string is going to snap. We in class like to use the inverted check mark.
Should be a yo-yo but really it wouldn’t define the uphill battle that the inverted check mark provides.

You start out slow going up the hill, conflict arises, you move onward and upward,  /\ , pace it nice and slow, throw in more conflict, reach a peak upheaval, then slowly resolve the conflict to give a to-die-for ending. This can be used in short stories also. You don’t want your story all cozy as a laz-e boy recliner, you want the lumpy sofa with no added pillows for cushion.

That’s my life, a lumpy sofa that needs refreshing. I like to have a plan in place, you know an outline, but when someone comes in and erases the entire central part of my outline, I need to try and figure out the outline all over again. Have a plan and stick to it. Sure, upon revision you can edit out or add to, but stick to the plan, or scrap the whole thing!

Do we go to Omaha or do we not? Does he listen to God and his heart or that of people? Does he buckle to man or rise in the Spirit. His choice. I’m just a yo-yo.

Confused? Join the crowd.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Twilight

2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
***

TWILIGHT

I claw my way out of the light
finding myself in the still of the night.
Wolves they howl and wild things stir
leaving my mind an ominous blur.

My nails they sink into the soil
I fight my way through lifeless toil
sweat rolls down my furrowed brow
the timeless flight cinches me now.

Creatures lurk as the abyss is looming
deadened trees have all stopped blooming.
He thirsts to drink my fruitful blood
I paw my way through moistened mud.

The beast is heaving ripe with lust,
cry if I will; die if I must.
Lord and Savior help me please
I lost my way; I’m on my knees.

Upon the hill the light it beckons
The Lord is near within just seconds.
Wrapping me in all His Glory,
I wake amid a fabled story.

Gone from me is all the dark,
the Lord has smoldered the evil spark.
I will never stray from the shade
The Lord my God has an angel made!

***
2 Tim. 2: [1] Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
[2] And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.[3] Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Quotation Saturday

2 Tim.1: 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
***

SUCCESS
“Success or failure in business is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacities.”
-- Walter Dill Scott
 

"The first requisite of success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem without growing weary."
-- Thomas Edison
 

"Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life." 
--Mary Kay Ash
 

"Success is not a pie with a limited number of pieces. The success of others has very little bearing on your success. You and everyone you know can become successful without anyone suffering setbacks, harm, or downturns."
-- Denis Waitley

HAPPINESS
Happiness is, in the end, a simple thing. . . .Happiness is really caring and being able to do something about the caring.
--Brian O'Connell
 

Happiness lies in the consciousness we have of it.
--George Sand, Handsome Lawrence

TEAMWORK
"Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success."
-- Stephen Covey
 

"You cannot succeed by yourself. It's hard to find a rich hermit."
-- Jim Rohn
 

"Light is the task where many share the toil."
-- Homer
 

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
-- Helen Keller

EDITING
There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
--Justice Brandeis
 

Half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at.
--David Gerrold
 

In brief, I spend half my time trying to learn the secrets of other writers - to apply them to the expression of my own thoughts.
--Shirley Ann Grau
 

It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
--Ernest Hemingway
 

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
--Ernest Hemingway

Friday, November 05, 2010

Words sound the same...

...but are spelled differently. The elusive homonym.

I work with some really intelligent writers, and like all humans, are susceptible to errors in spelling and grammar. When a person corrects such grammar, you’d think that the writer’s would take note and learn from the lesson! Some never learn and keep on making the same simple mistakes over and over.

Take fore example:

Advise - [ad-vahyz] - to give counsel to
Advice - [ad-vice] -  an opinion or recommendation offered

wander - [wahn-der] - to go aimlessly,
wonder -  [wuhn-der] - to think or speculate curiously:

than - (used, as after comparative adjectives and adverbs, to introduce the second member of an unequal comparison): She's taller than I am.
then - at that time: Prices were lower then.

write - to express or communicate in writing; give a written account of.
right - in accordance with what is good, proper, or just: right conduct.
rite - a particular form or system of religious or other ceremonial practice: the Roman rite.

break - to smash, split, or divide into parts violently; reduce to pieces or fragments:

brake - anything that has a slowing or stopping effect.

to - expressing destination
too - in addition; also; furthermore;
two - a cardinal number, 1 plus 1.

loose - free or released from fastening or attachment: a loose end.
lose -  to suffer the deprivation of: to lose one's job; to lose one's life.

This is just a simple list. You know there is someone who actually collects these words, for fun? http://www.crazysquirrel.com/stuff/same-sound.jspx

I’d say she is a crazy squirrel, but she beat me to it. :)

Wanna add more confusion?
Are they homonyms - a word the same as another in sound and spelling but different in meaning, as chase “to pursue” and chase “to ornament metal.”

or homophones? Phonetics -  a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir and air.

Some of these words are not even spelled the same and they confuse me. What I’m getting at is this; we as writer’s need to check our spelling and wording before you click post/submit and post it as a professional piece of work for your writing friends to see. Do your homework, don’t let everyone do it for you.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Doctor Conspiracy

Matt. 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
***
I’m wondering if there is some sort of Doctor conspiracy out there in the world. Why are doctor’s so unwilling to work with other doctors?

Take for example the doctor in Omaha, who is overseeing my beau’s eye condition. Now I know there is more than one facility in the state of Nebraska, that can do an ultrasound on the eye. Let’s see, there’s an eye clinic right here in Kearney that specializes in lasik surgery, cataract surgery and cornea transplants.

We’re using the Omaha doctor because the Lion lady directed us to this facility. Knowing we live 4 hours away, why would the doctor not send us to a closer facility to say, get an ultrasound? An eight hour round trip, a ten minute visit. It makes no sense to me.

Since I’m not paying for anything and I’ve given it all up to God, I’m not worried where the funds will appear from to pay for all of this. They will come.

The butterflies arrive at knowing all that we have to endure to get from point A to point B.
It is not just beau who is involved here. Adam and I have endured the seven years of doctor visits, infections, ups and downs, first hand. Then there is his family who are all eager for him to see, and his friends who would love for him to come out and play also. But again, getting from A to B is going to take time.

Our first visit was the over view, what can be done. The second visit was to get the ultrasound to look behind the cataract to see how healthy the eye is and if surgery is at all possible, now this third visit, more tests. To see if there are any infections? I dunno, I just get, “Need more tests.”

If there is an infection, that will entail more trips until it is healed and ready for a cornea transplant. Then to be put on the donor list, and wait. Waiting is the hardest part. Then the surgery, then the after care keeping the eye, infection free. I know a dermatologist and sinus specialist will come into play real soon. Roughly, in a years time, he might see again! 

The surgery CAN NOT be done while their is an ACTIVE SINUS INFECTION. You might ask why? Because the cornea transplant is a fragile delicate tissue. A SNEEZE can damage all the work that went into transferring the cornea to the recipient. An ITCH can scratch the cornea. So all this combined HAS TO BE taken into consideration.

Idealistically, a perfect skinned man walks in with no allergies, gets the transplant and can see again. Realistically, we know, all this could be for nothing, and a rapid succession of sneezes is not a good thing with a freshly implanted cornea.

But I do carry hope! I don’t sit in doubt here, I just walk with faith that the Good Lord knows what is best for him and no one else can really say what the plan is. I haven’t doubted for a minute that there is a plan in affect and we are not able to alter the plan even with fervent prayer. When Jesus prayed for God to spare him, in the Garden of Gethsemane, God had a plan in place, and had He said “Yes, okay,” to Jesus. His blood would never have been shed for our sins.

***
Matt. 36:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Silent Protocol

Silent Protocol
Angel Always...godspeed

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award