Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Yeah, I Pinned That

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

About 98% of readers of this blog find me via social networking. I have to say, I love Twitter; to me it’s the biggest and best social networking site out there. I can connect to people I’ve never met and most of them actually follow me and care about what I have to say.  I have a Facebook account, both personal and professional but not a Google Plus because let’s just face it, it’s just regurgitating what I wrote on Twitter and Facebook.

With that last thought in my mind I was quite skeptical when Pinterest entered the realm of social networking. However, I admit that I was secretly interested. Over the years I’ve been collecting various craft ideas or project ideas for the kids or my husband and the idea of having them all in one place to pull from was pretty exciting.

Even with my increasing curiosity over the site, no one really said, “YOU HAVE TO BE HERE!” and I was already struggling under the weight of being a mom, a writer, a wife, a friend, a trainer, a bus driver, a twitter addict, amongst other things I didn’t think I could handle one more hat.

But I couldn’t deny the buzz that was going around the internet about this little site for long. A very good friend of mine, Janelle Jensen, wrote an in depth blog post about the dangers of the site in terms of copyright infringement. After reading her post I didn’t think I would want to participate in it. However, after some prodding from several other friends (I’m looking at you, Veronica) I thought that the least I could do is go there and make up my own mind about it.

That was two weeks ago. I am now an addict.  (more…)

A Return to Self

Monday, March 12th, 2012

I used to be an excellent organizer. I was one of those freaks that would color coordinate anything and everything.  If I could designate it a color and categorize it with other similar things I was in heaven. And don’t even get me started on my incessant need to alphabetize things. I worked in a library when I was younger and at Blockbuster Video during high school and college, to say that I alphabetize in my sleep is not exaggerating.

I used to love writing down and keeping a schedule down to the minute. It’s not that I was obsessive, if something happened and I couldn’t follow the schedule I never freaked out. In fact, I did quite the opposite; I got excited because it meant I got to make a new schedule. Ok, so that in itself could be considered a tad bit obsessive.

Scheduling gave me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of direction. Needless to say, I am not nearly as organized as I once was and I have but one excuse… well, two. They go by the nicknames of Peanut and Trouble. Yep, like most problems that happen in my life I blame my children, lovingly, of course. ;)

For years leading up to my pregnancies I’ve been told, “Once you have kids you’re on their schedule.” While those words of wisdom are true that didn’t mean that I should throw away years of organizational bliss. If anything, I should have stepped it up a notch. Instead, I threw the baby out with the bath water. Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t use that specific idiom but you get my drift. (more…)

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Growing up I was known to be somewhat of a storyteller. Actually, they didn’t even sugarcoat it with that, they called me a straight out liar.

You have to understand, I needed attention. Ok, that sounds a bit pretentious. I mean, there I was the youngest, the only girl with three older brothers and I had the cutest, curliest red hair imaginable. There’s no doubt I had any problems getting people to notice me.  However, once I had their attention, I needed to keep it.

From a very young age I learned how to read people. I can tell when someone is interested in what I have to say and I learned when to pull back from a story or push through. It wasn’t easy; I got caught lying a lot growing up, but I like to think over the years I pulled a few doozies over people that to this day they don’t know about.

And for that, I’m extremely embarrassed and ashamed.

You see, as I got better, the lies got more extreme. It became almost a game to me; who could I trick, who could I get to believe me? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t only use it for evil, it helped me immensely with acting and I pull it out when I write, what writer doesn’t? (more…)

All For the Love of Shoes

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

“So, what’ll it take to motivate you? Should I take away tv time,” my husband asked with a sly smirk on his face.

I slid my foot into my black converse and started to tie the worn out laces. “Noooo, dad. I have no idea what’ll it take to get me writing again. Every time I set goals or a schedule I never follow through so what’s the point?” I straightened my legs out in front of me and studied my old black chucks.

“What do you think, babe, should my next pair be pink or purple? I’m thinking I need some color in my life.”

“We could set up a shoe budget and every week you reach your goal we can put money into it.”

My eyes shifted to the man sitting on the floor trying to put shoes on a wiggly two year old. I was afraid to make any sudden movements. Does he know what he just said? Is he really serious? Oh my God, think of all the shoes! Not soon after all those thoughts raced through my mind his eyes met mine.

“Ah, I see we have found your carrot.”

“My carrot? I thought we were talking shoes?”

“We are. You know the motivational theory about the carrot and the stick…”

I had no idea what he was talking about and I have to admit, I was still thinking about shoes, sparkly, sexy shoes. Before I knew it his fingers were snapping in front of me.

“Karen! Stay with me, Karen. Look, there are two ways to get a horse to move, punishment or reward. You either swat it on the butt with a stick to get it move faster or you dangle a carrot in front of it to get it move forward. You obviously respond to the reward motivation. Get it?”

I stood up and adjusted my shirt. “I sure do. If I write I get shoes.”

He smiled at me like a proud teacher and zipped up his jacket. I returned the smile and turned to leave before adding, “And you just called me a horse, but if you tell me more about the stick theory I’ll forget about it.” ;)

(more…)

Interview with Michael Shean author of Shadow of a Dead Star

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Oh happy day! Michael Shean, author of Shadow of a Dead Star, stopped by the pub today to talk science fiction. Now if you’ve hung out in the pub before you know that only a few science fiction writers have made their way onto my bookshelves and Michael Shean is one of them. I love noir stories and the way he’s combined the two into a gritty and captivating story just blew me away. With that said, I’m super excited to have him here to talk about the possibilities of merging human with machine. And the best part about the interview? The Balvanie Scotch Michael has introduced me to. So pull up a barstool, grab yourself your favorite drink and listen up. Oh, and if you stick around after the interview I hear Michael’s buying a shots of Jaegermeister for everyone. Is this guy great or what? ;)

KD: Where did the inspiration for Shadow of a Dead Star come from?

MS: I was in a dark place a few years back, very angry with certain aspects of the world and how it was affecting myself and other people I knew – I started having strange dreams about the future, and I came to feel very distant from people and society.  Shadow is an artifact of that alienation.

KD: Your novel, Shadow of a Dead Star and your serial, Bones Wires, both take place in a futuristic Seattle. What is it about this time period and Seattle that draws you to set your stories there? 

MS: At the time I just thought Seattle was a good place to set the story.  It can be beautiful but also very grim and dreary, and I had friends who lived there talk about the penetrating gloom that they felt after living there for a few years.  It’s the paradox of the area that draws me there: I hear stories of isolation and despair, but also stories of vibrance and color.  I try to capture that, and I hope that I’ve done the city justice.

KD: You combined the darkness of noir with the endless possibilities of science fiction to create a bleak future full of illusions and disconnect. Is there a message hidden within your words regarding the path that we’re on in respect to technology?  (more…)

It’s All Downhill From Here

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I like to be a little bit reckless sometimes. See, I was raised pretty sheltered. I’m the youngest of four children and the only girl. Now granted if you read my last post with random facts about me, you know that I can handle myself in a sticky situation and I don’t take kindly to people stealing my friend’s money or my soccer ball. However, self-defense and bully bashing aside, I was the good girl growing up.

I did what I was told when I was told to do it. I hated being a disappointment and I always colored within the lines. The only dangerous situations I put myself in were kept to the soccer field and dealing with a bully here or there. Oh, and there was that knife fight outside of… you know what? Never mind. Let’s just say that I played by the rules.

When my husband introduced me to snowboarding ten years ago I was totally against it. I walk into walls on a daily basis and he wanted to strap me on a board and have me hurl down a mountain, trees and other skiers be damned. The first couple of times I hated it. Partly because I hate sucking at things and partly because I was just too damn scared. Scared of hurting myself. Scared of being laughed at. Just plain scared. And snowboarders? Aren’t they a bit dangerous and careless? I felt a little spark at that that thought, but like the good girl I was, I ignored it.

Then half-way through that first season something happened. I stopped riding my back edge down the trail and I discovered I could go fast, really, really fast. The light bulb went off and the little devil on my right shoulder drop kicked the angel off my left and away I went.

I always liked the “thought” of going fast but I just could never let go. I could never trust my instincts. The more I practiced, and the more confident I got in my abilities, the more I realized just how much I not only enjoyed going fast, but how much I needed it. It isn’t until you’re flying down that mountain under your own control, trusting your own instincts that the freedom truly captures your spirit and you’re free.

Something happens to me when I go fast. When that adrenaline rushes in I feel like no one can touch me. Don’t like my stories? That’s fine, you’re entitled to your opinion, which sucks by the way, but you’re still entitled to it. You don’t want me as a friend, a sister, a confidant? Who needs you? I’m my own person. I can do this. I can do anything!

I can, and most likely, will run into that tree. Just kidding. Maybe. ;)

OK, let’s face it, becoming a totally awesome snowboarder will not turn me into an independent snob who doesn’t need anybody. The truth is I need people a lot more than your average Jane. But knowing that I can handle speed and trust my instincts to work the bumps and divets along the way is very empowering to the sheltered, scared little girl hiding within me.

We went snowboarding last night for the first time in five years and once again I heard that whiny voice creep into my thoughts. Wouldn’t you know it’s the same voice I hear when I write? That damn bitch was telling me that I couldn’t do it.

You’re going to fall and bust up your knee again.

You’re going to make a fool out of yourself when you get off the lift and take out thirty people including a ski patrol guy and be kicked off the mountain.

You should just go home. 

But as usual I kept her voice in my head and put on a happy face. That’s what I do. I smile through the fear, through the pain, because that was another life lesson I learned growing up. I learned no one needs to know your doubts, they’re yours, just deal with them. But I’ll save that train of thought for my therapist. :)

Anyway, back to last night… I laughed and joked with the people riding the lift with us, telling them stories about some of my worst falls.  As we neared the top of the mountain I braced myself for that first major wipeout off of the lift; my heart started to pump, my hands started to sweat and a nervous giggle escaped me. When it came time to push off the chair I took a deep breath, held it and glided about 4 feet before stopping. I didn’t fall.

Just got off the first lift of the night and I didn't fall!

I wanted to kiss someone but no one was around me so I just did a little dance and strapped myself back into my board. As the night wore on, my body remembered the flow of the mountain and I found my rhythm. I remembered that feeling I had five years ago, I remembered the freedom that boarding gave me and I felt that craving to have more of it.

Then the voice got quiet.

It was replaced with real, genuine confidence. I didn’t go as fast as I would have liked, but I had fun, I trusted my instincts on certain trails and I kept going. Sure, I wiped out getting off the lift twice, but the other times were smooth dismounts.

I’m tired of doubting myself, friends. I’m tired of thinking everyone is better than me. I’m ready to take on a bigger mountain, to shut that damn voice up once and for all.

I’m ready to write what I want to write, in my own time, no one else’s.

So shove that in your half pipe and smoke it. ;)

 

And for everyone who requested it… here is a little video I put together of me on the mountain. It gets a little choppy in the middle; I played with the speed of the clip because we were on a “mosey” part of the mountain. Enjoy!

Where Have All the Words Gone?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

This is something I’ve never had to deal with before and its freaking me out.

Here I sit with my computer before me all ready to lay down the words that have been living inside my mind for the past four weeks. I’m ready to give a voice to the dark haired man with eyes that flash a vibrant blue at unsuspecting women causing extreme confusion and frantic calls to optometrists.

Yet, here I sit. I’m staring at the blank page with that cursed black cursor and nothing is happening. Nothing. I can’t think about how to start the story but yet, I do. Are you confused yet? Because I sure am.

I’ve been talking about the opening scene and following chapters so much lately that the words should just be pouring out of me. I’ve set the opening up in my head that I can see it right now. However, when I go to put my thoughts into words nothing is fitting.

I’ve tried just writing hoping that the words will just come to me; that I just need a kick start. It didn’t work. I felt the writing was so bad it was distracting me. In fact, everything is distracting me.

The woman blowing her nose so loudly that I’m waiting for an elephant to come charging in looking for his mate is distracting me. I’m thinking about how I just spent $115 at Old Navy and how I need to return some things before Sparky finds out.

But what I’m really thinking about is that I’m not good enough.  I’m thinking I’m fooling myself into believing that I can do this.

I really hate thinking this way. So, before I started writing this post I tried writing little exercises to get the juices flowing. Its like the well has run dry. How is that possible?

Like I said, I dream about this story but when it comes time to writing I freeze.

Am I putting too much pressure on myself to write?  Am I comparing myself to other writer’s and their writing habits? Is it because I can’t write everyday I feel I’ll never be where they are?

The answer to all three is “yes.”

I just want to be good, who doesn’t? I just want the confidence to write my story without comparing myself to others. I used to write for me, I don’t know when I stopped, but I did. And it sucks.

But I’ll keep trying. If I don’t these characters will never leave me alone; which is good. Somebody needs to give me a swift kick in the butt. Too much complaining and not enough writing, right?

Do you ever get into a funk with your writing? How do you get out of it? Do you keep on writing every day no matter what comes out of it, or do you allow yourself to take a break now and then?

Twitter: An Online Support Group For Writers

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Last week I reviewed a book by Steve Umstead, a writer I met on Twitter. I don’t remember how I started following him, but I’m glad I did. Steve would tweet about the book he published and with his every tweet I got a little more curious about the novel. Even though the story was sci-fi, a genre I know nothing about and usually don’t want to know anything about, I downloaded it for my Kindle.

I won’t go into how much I liked the book, for that you can go to over to my corner shelf and read the post there, but I did like – a lot. By talking to him on Twitter I was introduced to other writers of that genre and started to talking to them as well. The same thing happened. I found myself downloading several other books that are currently burning a hole through my Kindle waiting for me to read them.

I first joined Twitter because that’s what “they” say you should do when starting up a writing career. Get out there, show yourself and your writing to the world. Make friends, give support and in turn you’ll get support back, hopefully.

I have to say it works.

The one writer I talked to asked where she could find my books. If I could have reached through the computer and kissed her I would have. It would have been creepy afterwards, I mean, really, how do you back out after something like that? A nice woman would be sitting in front of her computer giving support to someone whom she thought was a normal person and this crazy redhead jumps out of her computer wanting to kiss her in gratitude. Embarrassing.

I got so giddy when I saw that tweet pop up. However, the ever grounded Sparky was there.

“She wants to know where she can find my book!”

“Um. You don’t have a book yet.”

Gee, thanks for the reminder. But that wasn’t the only reason why I got excited.

I got excited because I made a connection. Everyday I stay at home with my kids and although I wouldn’t change that for the world it can get a bit lonely without adult contact. When I go on Twitter I can talk to other adults about things that are of a common interest.

Knowing that there are people out there that are going through the same things that I am make me feel supported. Knowing that there are people out there that are where I want to be and are willing to talk with me about their experiences gives me something to shoot for.

Sparky’s right, I don’t have a publishable book right now, but I am working on one. It’s amazing that there are people out there that are curious about my work because of conversations that I’ve had with them. It makes me want to write even more.

The support I’m finding on Twitter is second to only the support I get from Sparky.

So, thank you Twitter friends for being there to motivate, inspire and support me. And for giving me someone to drink with while I write. ;)

 

My Escape to Panera

Monday, March 28th, 2011

If you follow me on the Have Coffee….Will Write blog you know that last week was a tough week for me as a mom and a writer. I was fed up with trying to do everything for everyone and not having any time for myself as a writer. I have to say that the response I got to the post was very supportive and inspiring, so if you visited the site and commented on my post, thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.

When I was at a complete loss last week, spiraling out of control inside my own mind, I did what any self-respecting writer would do. I turned to Twitter. I posed the question there, then again to the HCWW blog readers, asking them where they go when working at home just isn’t working out. Like I said in Friday’s post, I got the usual answers of coffee shops, libraries, parks to the not so usual, McDonald’s.

I’ve decided that although I absolutely love McDonald’s french fries, I opted for our local Panera Bread. I didn’t pick the best time to go, Saturday over lunch, but I must say, even though I shared the restaurant with 150 perfect strangers, I loved every minute of it. I ordered soup with a sandwich, a huge Pepsi, found a corner table and slipped into my own little paranormal world. It was amazing.

And quite surprising actually. The little table I found was situated by the door and with being there during lunch time, it seemed as if that door swung open every 30 seconds. Not only was the door constantly being opened, but with every person that came in brought a chill from the outside with them. The tables were full around me with gossiping teenagers, hungry children and deaf senior citizens. I did more writing in that crowded bakery then I have done in a quiet house with the napping kids. Who would have thought?

I sat for 2 1/2 hours and I outlined chapters with details, I thought up ideas for blog posts, I ate and drank way too much. No one wanted food from me, no one needed their diapers changed, the dishes were being taken away by someone else and I got to just sit and think. The noise and chaos around me didn’t touch me; I allowed myself to forget who I am and the responsibilities at home and just focus my attentions on my characters.

When I did come home I felt refreshed. The rest of the day I could dedicate to my family without feeling like I was forgetting to do something. There was no guilt trying to balance reading books to my children and writing a book for me.

I’m going to try a library next. We’re surrounded by several colleges, so I may check out them out (with their longer hours it may be more beneficial for me with writing at night.)

So, thank you friends, for being there when I needed you, your support and advice were greatly appreciated! Now, I’m off to make dinner.

 

My Writing Environment

Monday, March 7th, 2011

When I think of writers sitting down in their offices to write their next bestseller I don’t picture a dining room table littered with Barbie dolls, play food, notebooks, sippy cups and used tissues. But alas, that is my office.

We bought this old house back in 2005, before kids, before dogs, before I knew what I wanted to do with my life. We were like most young married couples, full of big plans for our home and completely stupid. We looked at this house and saw a blank canvas that we could make our own. While our parents tried their best to stifle their giggles and groans we tore down old plastered walls with reckless abandon in hopes of adding more bedrooms, blowing out the kitchen wall to make it bigger and live like kings. Well, we still only have the 3 bedrooms, the kitchen is still small and I haven’t had a front hallway, and thus use of the front door, in over 3 years. Our computer room is now in the bathroom’s closet. Oh, how I wish I were joking.

Back to the point of a writer’s office. I think most writers have a place where they can close away the rest of the world and just focus on their craft. Me? I have a dining room table that has yesterday’s oatmeal stuck to the sides and constant distractions in the form of young children around me. The scene below is a very common occurence while I’m writing…or trying to.

Both of my kids love to grab ahold of my leg and try to swing the chair around so they can climb up and sit on my lap. Usually I can distract them by pointing out a toy, a doll or some shiny technological gadget that their father has left out for them to go play with but that only lasts so long. Before I know it the following happens….

Yep. I cave. I pick her up and let her sit on my lap while I try to figure out how to type with one hand. Which never works because as soon as my hand goes to the keyboard, so does hers and she’s not as good of a typist as I am. Although, some of her edits are interesting and noteworthy.

But I try. Through all the distractions, the runny noses, the surprising plot twists that set me back in my story, to spending time playing princess for the thousandth time that day I make sure that each day I write something. Each night I set aside time to tickle the keys with my thoughts, hopes, ideas and hopefully, if I’m lucky, my characters.

It doesn’t matter what the space looks like when we sit down in it. What matters is that we sit, that we type, that we do what we feel we were meant to be doing and I am.