Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Next Big Goal? Keeping an Eye on the Prize.

I had two big dreams growing up. The first big dream was to be an Olympic Beach Volleyball player. The other, less tangible goal (imagine that) I had was to be a published writer.

Obviously, I am not living the beach dream. I have but to look out my office window at the 8 inches of unmelted snow to realize that. My tan is long faded, and my body has managed to survive the birth of three children via C-section. I’m lucky I can survive my Women’s 18+ summer softball season, let alone compete on a level I was far from reaching back in the prime of my late teens and early twenties.   

However, I am about to be a published writer, thanks to Wicked East Press and their Pirate anthology. Dream realized — or will be very soon.

A dream attained.  How many people can say that?  I count myself blessed to be among them.  But, I also find myself wondering what the new goal is. Do I want to make another small attainable goal, or go for the big guns and lay it all out there?

Welp, I have decided. I want the big fat dream now. I want to make a living doing what I love to do — writing. 

Now, I realize I can’t just quit my job and pursue the dream. I have a life, kids, responsibilities, a mortgage. I’ve proven I can write an interesting story, now it’s time to prove I can make a living doing so.

I don’t know what the future holds, but it should be one hell of a ride. Maybe even something to write about.

Finding Time for Yourself

As a working, single parent, the idea of finding “me time” can be a bit daunting– as anyone in a similiar situation can attest. In my world, me time = writing time. It is what I want to be doing when there is nothing pressing me in another direction.

My biggest issue however, seems to be guilt. Guilt over not giving the kids enough attention when I get home. Guilt over spending the evening with my nose in a laptop knowing my retired boyfriend has been home alone all day with nothing to do BUT wait for me to get home so he can chat with someone other than the dog. Some days my fingers itch to write, but I can’t force myself to pick up the laptop because I know the look that will inevitably follow. I guess that would be self-imposed guilt?

This little dilemma got me thinking. There are a lot of you out there also carrying a workload, and a life outside writing, so I am turning the question to you all.

How do you find time to write?  Do you have a specific routine? Certain hours of the day set aside for writing? Do you feel guilty when you are shutting everything out while you pound through a new chapter?

How do you manage to juggle all the little balls without dropping any?

What the Heck Happened to the Thermostat?

I realize, being born and raised here in Upstate NY that a certain amount of snow and cold weather are bound to be part of my life. Especially between the chilly winter months of December and March.

However, I did not — I repeat for any of those that may be hard of hearing — NOT sign up for, get in line to order, or even THINK about ordering, a negative 27 degree morning yesterday.  (And that ain’t wind chill, folks that is just plain temperature)

No – I don’t live in Alaska, Fargo, ND, or Canada…. so what the heck?  Who turned off the heat? Can ya turn it back on please?

Even local school buses wouldn’t start in the arctic chill of yesterday.  So I say, here and now — Enough stinking winter already!

*steps off her soap box and hunts for her Snuggie*

That is all 🙂

The Value of Contests and Writing Prompts

When I first began to take my writing seriously enough to consider the possibility of publication, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I joined a few groups and crit circles. My favorites of which, if anyone out there is in search of that sort of thing are Scribophile and the Writer’s Digest Forums. I have also had some moderate luck using Critique Circle.

The first two of these sites, Scrib and Writer’s Digest, offer occassional member contests. Each will give writers a set of guidelines and some kind of prompt. Always with the idea of spurring creativity in their member groups.

I had always considered them a “neat idea” and tried one or two of them. Some, like Scribophile, offer prize money for the winners, others just acknowledgement.

I’ve never placed in the top, but I have written three or four stories I would not have written were it not for the contests. The last of which, “Lost Hope”, written for a combination of two separate prompts and a call for submissions, is to be published in the coming months (see previous blog posts for details). For me, that the the culmination of a dream, so in essence, aside from any results from the contests, I’ve already won.

My point is this, and maybe most of you know it already: Any excuse to write, any reason to put pen to paper in search for that crazy, fickle guy, Inspiration, is something you should grab onto with both hands. Genre be damned! Get out there, write something. Toss a lasso on some creative juices.

Who knows, maybe there is a dream on the end of that rope.

Success! My First Acceptance

I got the email today, and after a good thirty minutes of “Oh my God” and “Woohoo”, I am still on cloud nine. My short story, Lost Hope was accepted for publication in a pirate anthology called, Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skullduggery being put out by Wicked East Press.  The projected publication date is February 2011.

No monetary payment, but I do get a contributor’s copy of the anthology when it is printed, and for a first acceptance, that is just fine by me. 🙂

Just can’t wipe the smile off my face.

Here is a copy of the book’s cover art: