Slacker(ish) Alert!

Okay, so I must admit that I was a little surprised when I saw that it has been 24 days since my last blog post.  Wow……there goes that New Years resolution!  While I’m pretty bummed that I let it go so long….I promise, I actually have been productive.  I finished my woman cave (a/k/a my office, a/k/a my writing spot).  It’s been awesome!  I’ve been doing research, including reading different aged children’s books to get an idea of what age group I would like to target.  I’ve really done quite a bit.  In fact, I even FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT!  I just couldn’t stop myself last night.  The words just kept coming, so I just let them.  I’m feeling very proud of myself, but I’m dreading the next stage.  Revision.  I know how important this stage is, so I need to make sure and do it right.  I’d like to also work more on my characters as well.  So my question for all of you is, do you have any tips or suggestions on the revision process?  I’ve read that it’s usually good to let a bit of time go by in between revisions, but I would love some more pointers to help me along the way.  As always, thanks!

My Woman Cave

I’ll start off by giving my bad news….my Grandma finally passed away on Wednesday afternoon.  It’s incredibly sad and I’ll miss her tremendously, but I know she was ready and she can now be at peace.

The good news is that, in attempting to keep my mind occupied, I have been very productive with my writing.  I am in the process of setting up my woman cave…a/k/a my writing space.  My birthday is Sunday and this writing space is my birthday wish.  We are turning our breakfast nook into my writing space.  It’ll have a desk, bookcase and whiteboard.  I started picking up some office supplies to keep handy and will order the desk and bookcase this weekend.  I also went to the library and picked up a ton of children’s books for research.  I’m trying to figure out what age group I want to target with my children’s book, so these books will help with that research.  I also picked up some books on writing children’s books so I could get some tips and pointers.  I started reading all of these books last night and have some great ideas.  I’m getting very excited about it all!

I talked to a good friend about really making my writing a priority.  I am going to commit myself to writing so many hours a week and if I don’t meet that quota, I will have some type of punishment.  I haven’t decided on that punishment yet, but I’m hoping that will get my butt in gear.

My question to all of you is…..do you have any tips on making a great writing space?  Also, any ideas for punishments on not meeting my goals?

Random Remarks

To make up for my pathetic post last week (all like 5 words of it..haha), I actually do have some updates for you guys.

I’ll start by telling you that I had an AMAZING time at Jeepin’ with Judd!  We were able to go on 5 trail rides and rode the moderate obstacle course.  It rained a good chunk of the day Saturday….but mud and Jeeps go together like peanut butter and jelly so this was obviously a non-issue.  This year’s event had a much bigger turnout than last years and there were some growing pains, but it was still a blast.  Here are some pictures for you!

Onto other things now.  My husband and I just had to deal with something that was so devastating to us.  It may seem silly to some of you, but it was a punch in the gut to us.  Early last week my husband came across a dog that the Sheriff’s office found running in and out of traffic on a busy highway.  They called animal control out and were told that she would likely be destroyed within two weeks because she was a pit mix.  Obviously, we couldn’t let that happen, so he brought her home with him.  We grew so incredibly attached to her in such a short amount of time.  She was THE BEST DOG EVER!  She was less than a year old, but was well behaved, housebroken, loving, affectionate, cuddly….just perfect.  Seems like it would be a no-brainer to keep her, but we had more factors in the equation to consider.  First off, we have two (almost) 16 year old cats that would absolutely disown us if we kept her.  We tried introducing them and it didn’t go well at all.  I know we could’ve given it time, but I really didn’t want to make their last few years of life miserable.  Secondly, we have an almost nonexistent yard.  She wouldn’t have room to run and play.  And third, we like to fly by the seat of our pants and didn’t think it would be fair to pass her off to babysitters so often.  Anyway…you know where this is going….we found a new home for her Wednesday.  We did update her on all her shots and got her all squared away with heartworm and flea prevention.  She’s in a wonderful home now and the new owner even named her Kelly (our last name) in honor of us saving her.  It still sucked and we both cried like little babies, but alas….it’s over.  Here’s Babygirl….n/k/a Kelly.

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I still miss her, but the new owner said we could visit anytime we want.

So while we were dealing with this whole dog drama, I got a phone call that my Grandma is going to be dying any day now.  Her last rites were even given.  So for the last two days, I’ve just been staring at my phone waiting for the inevitable.  It’s a terrible feeling.  I know that she is ready though and she lived a long life.  It also still sucks, but that’s life for you.

So believe it or not…..with all the ickiness lately, I do have a silver lining.  Book ideas have been flowing like hot lava lately.  I have one idea for a children’s book that I’m crazy excited about!  It’s something that hasn’t been done yet, but I see so many possibilities with it.  I’ll obviously have more on that as time passes.  I also came up with another idea that I’m really excited about for an adult fiction book.  I’m making my notes, but trying to focus on one thing at a time.  It’s just exciting for me because I was having such a tough time brainstorming stuff initially.  Now it’s just coming to me left and right.  Maybe with gloom comes gain.  I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’ll welcome it with open arms.

Another incredibly exciting bit of news……The Walking Dead starts in 2 days!!!!  Woohoo!!!

I did it!  (Insert Round of Applause)

So it’s not even 6:00 am on Friday morning and I am on my way out the door to head to Jeepin’ with Judd!  So this will be my quickest post yet.  Please excuse any grammatical errors.  I just wanted to send you all a quick update.  I FINALLY HAVE A GREAT IDEA!  It’s for a children’s book and it’s not a poetry book, but I feel like it’s pretty darn brilliant!  I haven’t seen it done yet, which is an obstacle I kept encountering.  More on this later…..had to meet my one a month quota.  I’ll have some updated Jeepin pictures too!  Have a great weekend!

A Shel Parallel

As a kid, I was dramatically obsessed with Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.  I’m pretty sure I knew every poem by heart, yet still read it over and over again.  I’m not sure what made me think of it recently….but it’s been on my mind.  It got me thinking about possibly trying to branch out and try writing a children’s book.  A book of children’s poems to be more specific.  I just remember how big of an impact books had on me as a child, and I can’t help but think of what a rewarding feeling it would be to have that same effect on a young and curious mind.  I’m just wondering if anyone out there has tried this and can give me their opinions on it.  I will do some research but would love some first-hand input.  Anyone?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

I finally started writing!  Alert the media!!

I’ve been so wrapped up in coming up with my storyline, that I never once put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard…I guess).  So last Thursday, I finally said, “screw it,” and just started writing.  I was hoping that the idea may just come to me as the words started flowing and that is precisely what happened!  I’m sure I’ll change the storyline numerous times along the way, but actually getting something down on paper is so completely gratifying.  Now my mind is swirling with all kinds of ideas!

I actually loved doing it too!  Thursday night, I could’ve stayed up until the wee hours of morning as the ideas just kept coming to me, but unfortunately, the 8-5 job doesn’t allow for that (insert frowny bratty face).  Not to mention, those stupid Powerball numbers failed to listen to my instructions Saturday night.  They’re so disobedient.  Oh well, maybe one day I can make writing my full time job.  One can dream, right?

Anyway, I am very excited about my ideas and can’t wait until it all starts coming together.  I will, of course, keep you all up to date on my progress.

Also, now that I’m finally moving forward, I would love any suggestions on organization, structure, etc…  I read something about a program called Scrivener’s that is helpful.  Does anyone have any tips on this, or unique methods you use?  As always, thank you!

Writing Exercise Update

So I’ve been fortunate enough to try my writing exercise with a couple people.  For those that didn’t see my last post (shame on you! haha), I highly suggest you check it out.  It’s basically an exercise that is designed to help you not overthink things…and JUST WRITE!  Overthinking has definitely been my kryptonite in this writing process, but I can absolutely see the benefit in this exercise.  You’re supposed to respond within a specified amount of time, which has helped me tremendously.  When I’m forced to just write…..I JUST WRITE!  Imagine that.  Additionally, the people I have done the exercise with so far have been great writers (intimidatingly so), so I feel like it’s forcing me to try even harder.  While I’m not at their level, I like the challenge.  Also, from the stories I’ve done so far, I feel my mind going into overdrive.  I’ve had a bunch of new ideas for a storyline pop up in my head, which is exactly what I’ve been needing.  So I would say this exercise has been a success so far!  Do you guys have any other ideas for great writing exercises?  I’d love to hear them!

Writing Exercise

I really wanted to start this week off with a blog post, but was drawing a blank on a topic.  My brain is still on standby following an exhausting weekend.  As much as I hate to admit it, I didn’t do anything related to my writing.  My weekend consisted of football, Jeeps and more football.  Oh wait……did I mention football?  Yes, even more football.  Anyway, I mentioned to a friend that maybe I should blog about recent news events.  However, he wisely suggested that it might not be a good idea.  He’s right though.  I can be very passionate about certain topics and the last thing I need to do is upset or irritate any of my readers (yes, I finally have some!).  He also gave me the idea for my blog post today!  Thanks buddy!

So, he recently heard about a writing exercise, which sounds incredibly helpful and actually really fun.  Maybe you’ve already heard of it, maybe not.  Either way, it goes something like this.  One person writes two sentences….about anything really.  Then the second person writes one sentence.  The first person follows with another sentence….and so on and so forth.  This creates a “story,” that literally can shift directions at the drop of a hat.  This continues until one person says, “the end,” which can be at any time.  The last person then gets to write one last sentence.  The writing of the sentences is timed as well, so you really don’t have time to think (or overthink) what you’re going to say next.  It’s supposed to help people overcome writer’s block.  I think it sounds pretty brilliant myself.  I keep being told that I just need to start writing and stop thinking.  This sounds like the perfect way to try that out.

I would be thrilled if this exercise not only helped me, but maybe some other aspiring writer too.  So, I’d like to throw out an invitation.  If any of you are interested in trying this out with me, I’d be stoked!  Shoot me an e-mail if you want!  It’s 7thtimesacharm@gmail.com  Let’s do this!!

Discouraged

So I’m feeling a bit discouraged today.  I know it’s only been 2 weeks and 1 day since I started my journey, but I’m still at square one.  I haven’t made any progress on my storyline or characters.  I only have 1 blog follower, so I’m not optimistic about getting advice and suggestions.  I definitely have an issue with patience (I need to work on that) and I’m an instant gratification type of person.  And so my pattern begins.  Typically I have a few days of being discouraged and then I quit.  Obviously, I will try my best to not let that happen this time….but we shall see.  I just wish my creativity would slap me in the face every once in a while.  That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Inspiration in Life

There’s something I learned about this whole brainstorming process.  You can find inspiration in just about everything.  I have found myself listening to the lyrics of songs, reading descriptions of shows on television, people watching, thinking of old friends and looking at old pictures (amongst other things).  It’s actually pretty fun.  I’ve also been trying different methods on how to develop my story, such as starting with my characters rather than my plot.  This is all still a learning experience for me…but I’m enjoying every minute of it so far.  Also, since my blog was originally intended to share not only my journey with you, but also my life…I figured I’d share some more of my life with you now.

After looking at some of my old pictures, I got inspired to share one of my favorite trips with you.  Heck, thinking about this trip gave me inspiration for my story as well!  Anyway, as much as I am ridiculously obsessed with traveling, I haven’t done any outside of the US.  My funds have me strapped to the walls of the US.  I don’t mind though.  There are so many beautiful places to see and things to do right here in the good ol’ US of A.

So I’ve been to Vegas quite a few times over the years.  My last trip there however, was my absolute favorite.  My husband and I decided to spend most of our “Vegas vacation” outside of Vegas.  Go figure.  For those of you that have already been to Vegas, I would highly recommend you plan a “Vegas trip” and do the same thing.  Though we mostly scooter-pooped (yes, I did just say scooter-pooped) outside of Vegas, our hotel was in Vegas.  I mention that because I would also love to give a quick plug to our hotel because we really loved our room.  It was at the Elara, which is a Hilton Grand Vacations hotel.  It doesn’t have a casino, but is connected to Planet Hollywood, so there’s a casino there, along with tons of places to eat and shop.  The room was amazing though.  The service was great.  The room was huge and clean.  There were floor-to-ceiling windows, which, at the press of a button, brought down an 8 foot wide-screen for a HD home theater projector.  So yes, my spoiled butt got to watch the Superbowl on this heavenly screen.  The picture of the screen below was taken in the dark, but you get the idea.  So if you’re ever in Vegas, I would give this hotel a shot.  You won’t regret it.

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So technically, the first thing we did was actually in Vegas, but I still wanted to point it out because it was very cool and I would also recommend it.  It’s the Neon Boneyard.  It’s where all the old Vegas signs lay to rest.  It’s really a sight to see and makes for some really cool photo opportunities.

126 132So I lied…we did yet another thing in Vegas, which I thought was cool, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  It was the Mob Museum.  It’s really cool if you’re into that kind of stuff, which I am.  If you are, I’d stop for an hour or two.  So onto the non-Vegas sights.  Our first stop was a ghost town called Rhyolite.  It’s about 120 miles northwest of Vegas and was really an interesting place to visit.  A lot of the existing old structures, along with some of the artwork displayed outside, make it a must see!  It’s very close to Death Valley too, which was our next stop.  Might as well kill two birds with one stone.

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241248Next stop…..Area 51!  Don’t roll your eyes at me!  It was the bomb dot com.  Even though it’s an incredibly desolate (maybe a little boring at times) drive, I still had a blast!  Maybe it’s a mental thing.  Just the idea that you’re visiting Area 51 is kind of badass.  It feels a little dangerous too, which is always fun.  We had lunch at the notorious Little A’Le’Inn.  It’s nothing fancy, but the food was good and the shop was neat.  We also stopped at the “Black” Mailbox, which if you didn’t already know, isn’t black anymore.  Talking to a lot of the locals about their extraterrestrial experiences was a lot of fun too.  I really really really wish I could replay this day again.

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333 334 335The last two stops I’ll tell you about are Mt. Charleston and Lake Mead.  Mt. Charleston is only about 35 miles northwest of Vegas.  However, once you drive up the mountain (which has an elevation of 7500 feet), you’ll think you are in another state.  It’s gorgeous.  Not only is it a beautiful sight to see, the weather was amazing.  As many of you know, Vegas can get damn hot!  Like seriously…..holy crap hot.  On this particular day, the temperature gauge on our vehicle showed 117 degrees!!  Yes, you saw that right….117 degrees.    However, as we drove up the mountain, it dropped to 65 degrees.  Unbelievable!  For a gal from Florida, I was FREEZING!  We had lunch at a little resort on the mountain with incredible views.  We later visited Lake Mead, which was beautiful as well.  We didn’t do much while we were at Lake Mead other than sightsee, but we did really enjoy it.

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While we did quite a few more things while we were there, I just wanted to share the non-Vegas stuff.  It really was an amazing trip and hopefully some of you will try some of these places out.  THAT will be gratifying to me.