Tag Archives: Writing

A Little Spring Fling Writing Challenge

I often feel stuck when I’m writing. When I first started pursuing writing as a possible career, sometimes I would walk away when I got stuck. But more often than not, I would get lured by the lovely promise of writing something new. So of course I wound up with lots of beginnings of stories, but very few middles or endings. I’ve since learned to ignore the siren songs of new stories in favor of powering through the current story and, as a result, I now have a few manuscripts under my belt. In fact, this month I am participating in Candace Havens’s Fast Draft and am powering through another story.

But as I’m sitting here on my back deck working, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and after the awful winter we’ve just had, I feel like celebrating spring with just a little bit of something new. And I’m inviting you to join me. I’ve picked four words at random and am going to write something using those four words. My time limit is fifteen minutes. I’ll share what I come up with in the comments section below and hope you will do the same. The words I picked are: ostrich, carnage, melancholy, August. Don’t worry if you don’t use all of them, or even any of them. They’re just to get you started. And if you can’t spare fifteen minutes, try ten or five. No hard and fast rules here. Just go for it and have fun. I’m off to do mine now. See you on the other side. 🙂

Q3 Non-Resolutions Update!

A little late with my third quarter check-in for my “non-resolutions” but since the nature of this is to focus on positives rather than negatives, we’re just not going to worry about that.  🙂

1 – Weight Loss – Still going strong on this one. I’ve lost 53 pounds and am just seven away from my goal. Maybe. It might be a little more or less than seven because now I am more focused on tightening up some jiggly areas than I am on losing more weight. So it’s more about inches and pants sizes now than it is about pounds. But I am so close to the end game and couldn’t be happier about it.  🙂

2 – Exercise – Still doing well on this, too. I’ve signed up for a 5K road race at the end of this month, and will be signing up for another one at the end of October. And I have set my sights on a half marathon in the spring. I can’t believe I’m even considering something like that, but I know I can do it if I set my mind to it. And I’ve started doing more regular weight workouts.

3 – Yarn busting – Slowly but surely, I am whittling it down. I may allow myself to buy some more soon…..maybe…..

4 – Writing – Still working on the manuscript and happy with the choices I’ve made about it. And I’ve submitted another non-fiction article.

5 – De-cluttering – Thanks to the weight loss, I am getting rid of clothes. And, oh, how I dance with joy as I place them in the donation box, knowing that the reason I am getting rid of them is because they are too big!

So that’s what I’ve been up to. How about you? Feel free to share your accomplishments. Big or small, I’d love to hear about them!

If This Were A Sign, What Would It Mean?

Before I get started, I need to give credit for the above title to Sally Felt. She and I took an online website design class together, part of which had all the students looking at each others shiny new web pages. In her class post, she mentioned this is a game she plays to help get her creative juices flowing. I loved the idea of it and have kicked it around in my head ever since she mentioned it.

This spring and summer, I’ve really been asking the question a lot lately and all because of feathers. That’s right, I said feathers. For some reason, since winter ended, I have been seeing an unusual amount of bird feathers. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep count of how many. I wish I had but, trust me, it’s been a lot. I see them everywhere – on my deck, on my lawn, on my windshield, on the street. There have been a few in the parking lot at the library, and there was even one just inside the entrance to the supermarket. I picked up a beautiful brown and white one a few weeks ago. I am assuming it is a hawk’s feather, and it now resides in my desktop pencil holder. My dog, Spike, was snuffling around the edge of the yard the other day and came up with a pretty little white one stuck to his nose.

But mostly they’ve been large black ones, which makes it all sort of spooky. And thus what has really prompted me into asking if this were a sign, what would it mean? Having spent many an hour during my formative years reading Stephen King novels, you can guess what kind of path my mind is wandering. Just what are those crows up to? Are they leaving each other signals? I recently saw a Nature episode on PBS demonstrating how intelligent crows are, complete with problem solving skills, so the prospect of them leaving feathers around for a purpose does not seem too far-fetched to me. Perhaps they are letting each other know where the next meeting of the revolution will be held (can you say Hitchcock?).

Does this look like an innocent grouping of feathers to you? I think not!

So I put it to you. Share your creativity and tell me what you think the feathers mean. Or maybe you’ve got some signs of your own to share. Either way, let’s figure out what they mean before the crows take over the world…..

My (non)Resolutions Update

Three months ago I wrote a post about the fact that I didn’t actually make any New Year’s Resolutions this year, instead choosing to focus on my accomplishments as they have happened, whether they were goals I set in January or not. This method has been much more successful for me, so much so that I find myself trying harder to add things to the “done” column. I don’t know why doing it this way works better (I suppose a psychologist would be able to explain it) but I’m just glad that it does. So here’s my updated list of accomplishments:

1 – Weight Loss – I’m still sticking to the Weight Watcher plan and it is still working so well for me. As of my last weigh in, I’ve lost 38 pounds so far this year. I feel great, and I am thrilled to be getting my body back in shape.

2 – Exercise – Now that I’ve lost so much weight, exercise is no longer the ugly, difficult chore it used to be. I won’t say I love doing it, but I definitely don’t hate it like I used to. And I am seeing major improvements in just a short time. For example, just this past Friday I was able to run three miles on the treadmill in just under 29 minutes. No way I could have done that six months ago.

3 – My manuscript – I’ve been working hard on it, applying a storyboard method to help me figure out where it’s going and where the weak points are. It’s been going very well and I think I’ll be ready to tackle the final draft fairly soon.

4 – Yarn busting – I’m still plowing through the stash, although that has stalled a little bit because one of my current projects is a slow and tedious one. But the stash is diminishing, bit by bit.

So how about you? What can you crow about so far this year? Doesn’t matter if it’s a big accomplishment or a small one. They all count here! 🙂

Yay!! My Name In Print!!

Okay, it’s not on the spine of a novel….yet. But it’s a step closer to that goal. And I can honestly tell you that seeing my name in a by-line for the first time is an absolutely magical experience. I haven’t stopped smiling since I saw it.

🙂 <– See?

It has also provided me with fresh motivation. I can do this. To quote Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) of Galaxy Quest: "Never give up. Never surrender!"

So here’s the link to my article. It’s called Tightening the Knot. http://sasee.com/2012/04/01/tightening-the-knot/

And now I’m off to go work on the next project. I’m looking forward to sharing the news of it’s publication with you soon! 🙂

New Year’s Resolutions?

Huh? Kind of an odd title for a March 30th entry, wouldn’t you say? Well, not really. I was all set to do a New Year’s Resolution post back on January 1st, but then I thought better of it. I’ve done them before on now-defunct blogs and they have always come back to haunt me. Those lofty lists that are written up with such enthusiasm almost always wind up making me feel like a failure come February or March.

I figured the game of life hands out enough obstacles without any help from me, so what’s the point of purposely setting myself up for a good psyche bashing? So no New Year’s Resolution post for me. I felt a little guilty about it, but I also felt relieved.

Now, this is not to say I didn’t have any goals for the year. I had actually written up a list in my journal back in October. More of a “bucket” list, really, that included places I’d love to visit, and new things I’d like to try before I kick. But some of the things on the list could have easily been converted to a resolutions list. But I held fast, and refused to make them official resolutions.

In all honesty, I didn’t think this was going to make any difference to achieving my goals or not. Surprisingly though, it did. The third week of January, after the obligatory procrastinating, I joined Weight Watchers©. I also pulled out the manuscript I’d allowed to collect dust for the last two months and started working on it again. Happily, the WW plan works for me, and the time away from my manuscript allowed me to see it in a whole new light. At last! Some good stuff to blog about – something else I had let fall by the wayside. I began looking forward to racking up a list of things I’d done.

Well, it’s still taken me a while to get back to the blog, and I hope today’s post is the start of posting on a regular basis. In the meantime, I’m going to take some pride in sharing what I’ve accomplished so far this year. Believe me, this feels so much better than looking back at a list that would only remind me of things I hadn’t done.

So here are my accomplishments so far in 2012, both personal and professional, and in no particular order:

1 – I’ve lost 18.2 pounds. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I am so happy with my success so far.
2 – Reviewed my current manuscript, and was able to objectively cut scenes that weren’t working and inject some new ideas into it.
3 – Re-connected with my writer’s support group. (Go La Las!)
4 – Cleaned out a couple of drawers and my china cabinet, donating whatever I could to Goodwill and tossing the junk.
5 – Sold a non-fiction essay to Sasee Magazine – my first professional writing sale!
6 – Made headway in using up my yarn stash instead of buying more.

So how about you? What successes can you share? Stay focused on the positive and you will be surprised how it motivates you to keep going.

Oh, and Happy New Year. 🙂