Category Archives: Dreams Drive Content

Damn, What a Ride!

Damn, What a Ride!

I have lived this moment before, I’m pretty sure I have. Yet, every time it hits me, it feels new, transformative even.

The past few days have been absolutely incredible. The words have pushed, shoved, screamed at me to get out on the page. They march out, like a tiny army of ants, ready to conquer the blank pages, and fill the screen.

There are moments when I think that becoming a writer is some awful form of self-torture. Those moments when you sit there, staring at a blank screen thinking, “How the hell do I get Y character from Point A to Point B?”

There are times when the dialogue is so stilted, my ideas and thoughts so scattered that I’m ready to commit seppeku. Seriously, hand me that sword.

And then there are those rare moments, words wrapped in joy, that fall onto the page.

I can’t properly describe it, but when it occurs, the only thing I can do is hang on and WRITE. As fast as possible, notes everywhere, words, phrases, connections – they dance, DANCE out of me in a flood.

And in that moment, everything in my life makes sense. As if every moment I have lived up until this time has brought me inexorably to this place, where the stories breed, the characters laugh, love and hate.

I swear, I could stand on top of a mountain and sing like that overly happy woman on The Sound of Music.

Let me tell you, sometimes writing is one hell of a ride.

p.s. I expect to have the first draft of Schicksal Turnpike done this weekend

Time to Get Serious

Time to Get Serious

Today I am nursing my second major headache in less than two days. Yesterday was a massive one that nearly had me yakking at my client’s house. No bueno, I had just finished cleaning that toilet! And I wasn’t functional until nearly 5 p.m. afterwards.

Today, waking up with yet another headache, I got up, headed toward my computer and started working on our budget. Before any major decision, I tend to hit the file in Excel – it allows me to fiddle with numbers, trim here, fix this other number over there, and keep us on an even keel. I made a copy of the current worksheet and started with a couple of premises, one that included me making no money on a monthly basis.

How I wish I could do that! But the fact is, we have more expenses than one job outside the home can handle. If we didn’t plan on paying off our mortgage until our late 60s, or having any kind of savings, or traveling or ever eating out – well maybe my not earning an income would work, but not otherwise.

I played with the budget until I found a plan that satisfied me, and that included some of these highlights:

  • Dave finding an excellent paying position (there’s one in the works, and I’m really hoping it pans out)
  • I will take over Dee’s cleanings once she is full-time employed (this seems quite likely to happen in the next couple of weeks) for the rest of the year.
  • I will finish the edits on Gliese 581: The Departure (go Like this page, will you?) and get it up for sale on Amazon
  • I will write Book #6, edit it, and get it up and published this year and begin work on Book #7. (It’s a numbers game, folks, write enough good stuff and the money will follow)
  • Reduce my cleaning clients down to a small handful by the end of the year (no more new clients).

By building up some savings during the rest of this year, we have something to fall back on at the beginning of 2017 when I reduce/eliminate my cleanings.

My body is telling me – enough is enough. I have to listen to it. It’s time to get serious.

Changes, Schemes, and Grand Plans

Changes, Schemes, and Grand Plans

I think out loud.

Actually, I think quietly to myself and then bounce ideas off of others. And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

Mainly I have solidified, finally at the ripe young age of 44 years, on exactly what I want to be when I grow up.

I want to write.

I want to teach and inspire others.

I’m doing this, but I’ve allowed myself to become distracted.

I’ve allowed my concerns about money to dictate what writing I chose to focus on above other options that would produce money, just not as immediately as writing for Bubblews has done for me. And I’ve spent hours each day writing for pennies. Granted, those are pennies that added up to around $25 average income per day. Which may sound like peanuts, but really, really helped that bank balance.

Bubblews stopping from paying regularly was a bit of a shock to the system. I had convinced myself I was under a charm, a protective spell, that others simply couldn’t seem to find. My payments came in, with only two exceptions, within days after they were promised. And when they suddenly stopped, in late September, right as I had committed to writing for publication (predominantly on Bubblews, but also magazine submissions on parenting, homeschool, and so much more) I was thrown for a loop.

However, I have dusted myself off, and re-assessed my situation.

I looked over our current budget, which is quite lean, and asked myself if I was willing to set aside some projects – like working on The Cottage, and focus on writing instead.

Whatever I write now and get accepted (when it gets accepted) will take months before I see any payout. Was I willing to commit to that uncertainty?

The answer was “yes.”

But it isn’t just my decision. I have a family, a husband, and a certain number of responsibilities. I HAVE to bring in income, and the more the better, but after explaining my thought processes and getting a “I support you fully” from my husband I’m jumping in now, with my eyes wide open and my heart committed.

I’m going to continue cleaning houses – we can’t give up that income. But I won’t be taking on any new clients. I will still teach classes, perhaps I will even expand my offerings, which are now at 46 different classes. Teaching, sharing knowledge and inspiring others has quickly become a “must do” that I don’t see abandoning anytime soon. And I will be promoting my books and continuing to maintain my three websites: The Deadly Nightshade, The Homeschool Advocate, and this website (of course!).

And I will be preparing articles and submitting them. I’m going to try and work my way up to five per week. Right now I’ve got two in process and more ideas popping up all the time. Like the classes I teach, these come from my own experiences, voice, and life. I hope I can find the right publications to fit those words into.

So in any case, comment away. Please. I get so much damn spam that I sometimes wonder if anyone is really reading these. And I really like that you do. Just so you know!

Damn You, Muse, You are Truly a Pain in the Patoot!

Damn You, Muse, You are Truly a Pain in the Patoot!

My muse has ADD. Actually, it probably has ADHD.

It flies about, madly bouncing from one project to another, causing nothing but havoc in my life.

Goal for rest of July/August: Finish War’s End Book 2

My muse took a look at that goal, which was a good one by the way, and said, “F#@% that! What about Gliese 581, huh, huh, huh? Why do we have to work on some boring old chapter that we can’t figure out what happens next? Let’s talk space travel instead!”

“Muse,” I said, “we have to finish what we started. And the chapter isn’t boring, it’s just unfinished.”

“Don’t wanna.” sez the muse. “Hey, is that Zentangle®?” She distracted me by pointing to the bookbag sitting nearby, filled with Zentangle® books, several drawing pads, pens and a mishmash of Zentangle® projects.

“Yes, that is Zentangle®,” sez I, momentarily distracted.

“Ooh, let’s do a book on that!” sez my muse, eyes dreamy and distracted.

“What?!” I’ve got War’s End to finish, and then Gliese 581 and the Plague Tales, and did I mention I also have that twelve book series on the Liv Rowan Chronicles (and 60 pages of notes) plotted out that needs writing. Another project? Are you insane?!” I yelled. I did it in my head though…silently. Otherwise people think you are a little bit off.

The muse was undeterred. “Yeah, I really think we need to write a book on Zentangle®.”

I groaned. “I really hate you sometimes.”

Muse…”Yeah, the feeling’s mutual. Go with the flow, baby.”

Follow the Writing Path

Follow the Writing Path

Someone recently asked me, “How do you come up with these stories? Do you always know what comes next?”

My answer was to shrug and say, “I have no idea, they just spring into my mind. And no, I have literally no idea what comes next.”

And despite my wishes to the contrary, another aspect of writing for me personally is the non-linear quality of it. I think in what I refer to as “snippets” – little pieces of scenes that are, quite often, completely out of the blue, unrelated to much of anything, and nearly always out of order.

I wish that I could write in order. The vision of it appeals to my obsessive-compulsive side.

But I don’t.

I should be working on War’s End Book 2. Instead, I find myself writing an involved scene in Book SIX of the Chronicles of Liv Rowan. Is now a good time to mention that I haven’t actually written Books 1 – 5 yet?

So how does one get to Book 6 with little or nothing written in the middle?

In the case of the Chronicles of Liv Rowan, I found myself taking a snippet – Great-Aunt Martha’s Car – which I wrote nearly sixteen years ago, and envisioning a very real and detailed storyline. So much so that I have over 38 pages of Notes, plus a half ream of paper dedicated to genealogies, maps, creatures and more.

So I literally have twelve, yes TWELVE, books outlined. Not written, but outlined.

And the other day, as I woke up, I visualized another “snippet” and found the perfect place for it, in Book 6.

I hope to write it out and then get back to work on War’s End. Who knows if I will, but it is my hope.

To sum this post up, I would give the following advice – follow the writing path. Don’t be afraid of going off topic, off book, off project…you know…OFF. Follow where your writing leads you. It may be maddening, it may cause you to wonder just how this will be of use, but follow it anyway. It’s all writing, and all good, in the end.

When They Make “War’s End” Into A Movie…

When They Make “War’s End” Into A Movie…

I will have a woman sing an acoustic version of The Decemberists’ “This is Why We Fight” in it.

Think of the small town that Kevin Costner goes to in “The Postman.” They all gather at the Foster’s Freeze and eat and sing and dance.

As for me, my song will be “This is Why We Fight” – somehow I’ll work it into the damned contract.

Come the war, come the avarice
Come the war, come hell

Come attrition, come the reek of bones
Come attrition, come hell

This is why, why we fight, why we lie awake
This is why, this is why we fight

And when we die, we will die with our arms unbound
And this is why , this is why we fight, come hell

Bride of quiet, bride of all unquiet things
Bride of quiet, bride of hell

Come the archers, come the infantry
Come the archers of hell

This is why why we fight why we lie awake
This is why this is why we fight

And when we die,  we will die with our arms unbound
And this is why , this is why we fight

Come hell, come hell

This is why why we fight, why we lie awake
This is why, this is why we fight

And when we die, we will die with our arms unbound
And this is why, this is why we fight

Come to me, come to me now, lay your arms around me
This is why, this is why we fight

Come hell, come hell, come hell, come hell

Yeah. That’s the song.

I don’t dream small…

Tip #1 – Write Down Your Dreams…Right Away

Tip #1 – Write Down Your Dreams…Right Away

Status update: No Change

Damn it all, I know this rule, and yet, I didn’t follow it. I was so darned sure I would remember my dream last night that I did not get up and write anything down. I remember actually saying to myself, “Now, remember this, it’s important to the story.”

That was approximately 2 or 3 a.m. this morning.

Can’t remember worth shit whatever it was. All I can tell you is it was important. So important, that I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and dreaming of the book, only to forget all of it by morning. Worse yet, I was really looking forward to writing in it. Realizing this morning as I booted my computer up and tried to peer through the non-headache pulsing eye that I couldn’t remember a thing was distressing and rather depressing.

I’ve pretty much kicked the headache.

So my week looks like this:

Monday (today) – Emily and me alone today, then Supervised Coaching from 8-9:30. I need to review the ICF competencies and prepare for my oral examination as well for tonight. It is a good day for writing!

Tuesday – 5 am ICA call regarding the Research Paper, then story time with Emily, up to Mom’s to drop her off, and then down for a 2pm cleaning in Belton. An Ecosystems class at UMKC from 7-9pm, but I should have some writing time in the mid-afternoon.

Wednesday – two cleanings, and Supervised Coaching from 8-9:30. I should have time for some writing in late afternoon, early evening

Thursday – morning is totally free. Hopefully I can get some writing done but I also need to get together a handout and the supplies for the Purse Magick class and of course verify that the class does has participants. Then it is off to Hallmark for a research study in the early afternoon and then up to North Kansas City for the class if it is a go.

Friday – THREE cleanings, starting at 8am in the morning and then straight up to Mom’s to pick up Emily. I doubt I will have any time for writing on Friday.

So…I think my goal will be this…

Monday (today) – 1,500 words, Tuesday 2,000 words, Wednesday 2,000 words, Thursday 2,000 words – for a total of 7,500 words for the week.

I’m currently at 19,055 words. I would like to see that number increase to 27,000 by the weekend. That’s a little more than I’ve detailed above, but I think it is do-able. I was reading today in Chris Baty’s book “No Plot? No Problem!” that a deadline really helps. So there you have it, my deadline/goal is to be at 27,000 words by 8/21/10.

Oh and today, I have around SEVEN books I’ve sold on Half.com that I need to take to the post office. I also need to get together a list of foods to buy from some of the healthy foods classes I have taken recently and go by Wal-Mart for that and other supplies. Past that, I don’t think I’ll be doing much else!