Nothing To Fear

Earlier this week, I thought about writing and why I started in the first place. In school, I loved to write reports, essays or anything that involved some sort of creative writing. Writing was something I enjoyed that I didn't have to work very hard at to get good grades. Some teachers would let you out of class to enjoy free time if you finished your writing project (providing they were happy with it) and that was a—dangling carrot. Years flew by and I wrote here and there but mainly to advocate for my disabled son. When he passed away the house went silent and so did my pen. Then one day I visited my parents and listened to my father's recollection of his thrashing days. Later that night, I dreamt about one of his shared childhood memories and I woke up knowing what would make me happy. I wanted to write realistic stories that I wanted to read. The only problem now—facing the dreaded computer. Before 2008, I rarely had the opportunity to lay my fingers on a keyboard. I certainly didn’t have the time or energy to sit down and give it an honest try. I’m not complaining. Like most of us, I had other things in my life that took priority, but my love for writing pushed me on. I admit in the beginning, I was scared of my computer. I didn’t think it would eat me alive, or something silly like that but I feared the permanent damage I could inflict upon myself and the rest of the world. If I’d only known then, that without the access code to home land security or the FBI files, everyone was safe. But that irrational fear was nothing compared to the fear of appearing ignorant. It seemed like everyone had gone to technology island and I had missed the boat. I’ve come a long way on this cruise but I have much farther to go before I’m to where my fellow writers have docked. I'm comfortable enough these days with the computer and I hope to continue learning how to use it. I now often think about how it was for writers years ago using the old typewriters. They had to be so deadly accurate with their thoughts and words or had plenty of white out handy. Thinking about them, I feel blessed for technology instead of fearful of it.  

Just a Little Patience

Come on already! It feels like January but the calendar says it's April. Maybe it's... Japril. It's hard to believe spring has sprung when snowflakes continue to fall and temperatures are running twenty degrees lower than normal. I guess it gives me more time to submit my book. I know if it were nice outside I would find it hard to sit at a desk and research agencies and their agents. A writer friend of mine said that querying isn't for the faint at heart. She was definitely right. It takes a lot more time and effort than what a person would think. Like I said in my last blog, the average number of queries a new writer sends out before someone agrees to represent their book is around one to four hundred. I'm no where close to that. Meanwhile, in my effort to muster up some patience, I decide to google what it means to be patient: Bearing pain or trials without complaint / showing self-control / steadfast, persevering. I can't complain because I do love to write and if I refrain from ripping my hair out after each rejection, I am showing self-control. I'm more than determined to push on and move forward. I know a mountain is in front of me, but it doesn't scare me as much as it used to. I've already climbed a few on this journey.

A Forrest Gump Attitude

Many people have seen the movie Forrest Gump several times. Most can agree the main character, Forrest, isn't the most intelligent. However, he isn't afraid to do what is called upon him and is driven by his beliefs. That said, I've often told people in challenging situations to try and take on the Forrest Gump attitude. It being an older movie, I remind them of how Forrest perseveres ahead and does the best thing he can despite the fact that those around him seem to have little faith in him or the situation they're currently in. The weird part about that fictional movie is that the moral of the story is usually true. Many times in real life things work out better than you could ever imagine if you just put your best foot forward. I remind myself that in the publishing business, it's not uncommon to submit your book one to four hundred times before someone agrees to represent it. So far, I've submitted my book over thirty times to agents. I realize to get any feed back is a rare and positive thing. I've had a couple of impersonal rejections (Dear Author) and some that say they're simply not interested. Some rejections I've received are very positive, saying that they're not interested but keep querying because another agent will take it. One agent (My dream agent) thought it was a good story but didn't think a seventies romance was salable. She went so far as to challenge me to keep on querying and prove her wrong. I think about Forrest Gump and push on!

Love at First Sight

I was a waitress/ bartender for twenty plus years. I liked waitressing and anyone in food service can testify that tips greatly depend on being attentive. I kept an eye on the bar and on my tables and doing so I noticed a thing or two about longtime committed couples. Many barely spoke to one another as they waited for their food and if they did, it was a brief comment or an occasional nod. Often, it seemed to be a quiet time while their attention was focused on other things or places in the room. Thankfully, my faith in romance was restored after I met Bill and Ginny, a couple in their late seventies. They rendezvoused for lunch every week after he played golf with the guys and she quilted with the gals. It wouldn't take long for them to be settled at a table and be enthralled in one another's account of the day's events. Their eyes and minds stayed on each other and it was obvious that they truly loved being with one another. I learned later they had met during World War II when he came to a dance hall with some navy buddies. Bill told me it was her sparkling eyes and captivating smile that drew him in from across the room. Ginny said something had drawn them together like magnets. It had to have been powerful, because she was engaged to someone else at the time and two weeks after meeting Bill, they were married. I was a honored to be a guest at their fiftieth wedding anniversary. The sparkle was still in her eyes that day and the way he looked at her, I got a glimpse of what happened at that dance hall back in the early 1940's. I still believe they were the most in love couple that I've ever met. This Valentine's Day/Night when you're with your sweetie remember it isn't just about the flowers and the chocolates or the fine dining. It's about spending your time and full attention on the one you love.

Rays of Hope

I was going to write about winter being half over but who cares about the weather when the Vikings are just one game away from the Super Bowl? I think about the team members and imagine the pressure they must be feeling. To me it all falls into three categories: Winning, Losing, and Never Trying. Winning is the best feeling in the world and no one can argue about that. All your efforts have finally paid off and because of them...you won! Losing, well no one likes to lose, but the bright side is that you did your best. You can learn from your mistakes and hopefully, you'll win next time. Then there's never trying...that's the real failure. When you don't even try to live up to your potential, that can eat away at you. So whatever happens next Sunday is going to be a success no matter what. This Minnesota football team isn't an accidental miracle, these guys are winners because they strive to give it their all. Go Vikings!!

The New Year’s Banquet

Do you ever notice that year after year we make the same old New Year's resolutions? Topping the list are vows of weight loss, exercise, saving money, finishing old projects, or maybe even finding a new job. I believe goals keep us motivated and most of us find self satisfaction once they've been achieved. My question is: Why do some goals get left on the tread mill? At the beginning of the year we're hungry for change and sit down at the table starved but end up too full to finish. Our goals end up like left overs pushed to the back of the fridge—out of sight and out of mind. Perhaps our eyes were bigger than our stomaches. So this year maybe when we chose our resolutions we should order a la carte instead of a full entree. I'm going to limit the amount of goals I make and focus more on the ones most important. This year I'm going straight for the dessert table...and publish my book!

The Race is On!

leftOn your mark, get set...go.... Holiday Hysteria...ho...ho...ho! Wouldn't it be nice if we could freeze some time during this busy season? Not just to get more done, but a way to preserve the quiet moments necessary to keep our sanity? A timeout to sip on coffee or hot chocolate while we watch snow flakes gracefully float outside. Or a moment to simply release a deep breath in front of a fire with a relaxing glass of wine. Sometimes, even a walk outside can do wonders for our attitude and repair some of the damage from the hustle and bustle. We found this leaf frozen in the lake, suspended in time. I feel it's proof of how nature calms and soothes by example. I may need to remind myself of that as I prepare to enter my book: Sowing Northern Fields, in Romance Writers of America's, Golden Heart Contest.

Whew! I’m Finally here.

Hi Everyone, This is my first stab at creating my own website/blog. I keep pinching myself because I can't believe I'm really here. I like to think of this website as hope to those who weren't born in the thick of the computer age that we too can learn enough to survive in the technical world. I guess the whole thing boils down to timing and how bad we want something. My dream is to be a published author and I would like to invite you along on that journey. I'm close to finishing the final edit on my book: SOWING NORTHERN FIELDS and need to decide if I should snag an agent or self publish? I think I'm going to take a few steps on the agent trail. I can always go back and take the self publishing route.                                                                                           ↓