February 2011 Archive

Lesson From My Dogs

First, I won! Pia Bernardino hosted a contest on her blog (http://solittletimeheresmine.blogspot.com) and I won a $10 gift card to Amazon. How amazing is that.  I’m going to have to put some good thought into what books to get…hmm…

Sometimes, in my writing, I have a hard time with silence and have to put a lot of work into sections where I do not have dialogue.  I try to put time and thought into what a characters mannerisms are that will make them unique, so if a reader only reads their movements or thoughts they will immediately know which character it is.  This is a lesson I have learned from my dogs (and have to continue working at!!).

Prefontaine is my Boston mix (both dogs are rescue mutts) she has a firecracker personality.  I don’t mean she’s loud and rambunctious, but she is intense.  She always lets you know what she is thinking and feeling.  She’s the dominant female of the family and often butts Piglet out of the way so she can get attention.  This includes crawling on top of Pig if she’s cuddling with me.  When she’s happy she squiggles; she’ll roll onto her back and twist back and forth, grunting.  She’ll belly crawl across the carpet with a huge smile on her face in the morning.  I’ve never seen a dog so happy to wake up for the day.  Along with her happiness, comes an opposite pouty nature.  She lets you know when she’s mad.  If I go out on a run and don’t take her I come back to her sitting on her dog bed.  Her head will be down and she won’t come see me for an hour, at least not until I am fully punished.  Pre also does not like carrots.  She’ll sniff and push her head away to tell you so.

Piglet (German Shepherd/Pitt Bull mix), on the other hand, is not an attention seeker.  She often lays at the opposite end of the couch and does not like cuddling all that much.  She’ll give kisses, but they’re tentatively given- you can tell she thinks hard about who and when she’ll give them out.  She snorts when she’s happy, when she’s sleeping, and when she’s getting her belly scratched.  She loves nothing better than swimming and running off leash when we’re at the trails.  Often, she’ll disappear in the house and we’ll find her asleep on our bed.  It seems to be her ‘safe’ place.  Not much bothers or upsets her, she seems to be even keel in emotion.  She also has refused to learn how to walk on a leash so we have to walk her on a harness, which she absolutely hates and backs away from when we start putting it on.

How much do you learn from someone from their body language, without talking to them?  Quite a lot.

The happiness tip for today isn’t really a happiness tip, but a piece of advice for writing.  I have real life inspiration for my character, Rupert.  To get to know Rupert better, I sat and watched my inspiration and wrote pages purely on his mannerisms and things that made him unique.  After that, I picked out the ones that were Rupert.  My advice, is to take time getting to know your characters actions, the parts that make them interesting and be sure that is put into your writing.  This will develop those characters in your readers’ imaginations and will stick much better than any dialogue!

I am a Writer

I have thought many times to myself that I would like to be a writer someday.  How ridiculous is that?  I was just sitting on my porch eating dinner (scrambled eggs with cheese, and milk) when I thought, “you already are a writer!”  At least 65% of what I think about during the day has something to do with writing.  I could be putting words together, playing with plot, or pretending to actually be one of my characters and seeing where the story goes from there.  There are numerous aspects to writing that I think about.

What I probably should think to myself is not that I would like to be a writer someday, but mostly that I hope to be published and am able to share my work with all of you out there. :)

How awesome is it to know that I get to spend the rest of my life doing what I love the most?  Whether or not I am ever published or make any money from this, at least I know that I am a writer and that is what I love best.

Happiness Tip: eat dinner outside (unless you live up North, than eat dinner looking out the window, haha), and let yourself think clearly about the very thing you love doing the most.

Help!

I’m in need of some genuine advice.  What do you do when your library does not have a very good selection of books and you’re too poor to buy new ones?  I need something to read.

Maybe I just need to spend a day scouring the counties around mine for a better library.

****

Alright, I got some fabulous advice from my wonderful aunt and am feeling much better about the situation.  It’s time to go to the library again soon!  I will have to make a day of it.

As a GED instructor, it is frustrating to have students register for the class and then never come back.  It seems that once a person realizes how much work they have to put into getting their GED, it scares them away.  Cale and I talk around and around this problem at work and we never come up with any good solutions.  It is a discouraging issue to be confronted with.  So, while this problem is on my mind, here is my happiness tip.

Happiness Tip: learn something new.  Enjoy learning and relish the fact that your brain can soak up so many amazing things!  I don’t care what you learn or how you learn it, just learn something brand new that you never imagined knowing before.

Today, I learned…actually, I can’t think of anything I’ve learned today!  I guess my goal now for the evening is to learn something and get back to you all with what it is.

Happiness Tips

I have compiled a mental list of things that make me happy.  Some of the things are small, some big, and I’m always adding to it.  I keep this list around because I really hate being in a funk.  When I’m not in the best of moods, I’ll go down this list and find something on it that will help blow the dark clouds away.  I’ve decided to post a ‘Happiness Tip’ at the bottom of all my posts, just to make sure you all come back and visit me :)

Yes, some of these may not interest you what-so-ever and may not work for you, but then again, maybe there will be one posted that is exactly what you need at that exact moment.

Aaaand, here’s the first:

Happiness Tip – do something you’re not particularly good at.  The secret to the success of this is that you must already know you are not good at it.  Choose something you enjoy but don’t have to be perfect at.  My favorite thing to do, that I am not good at, is drawing.  I’m at terrible artist, but I still do it because it very rarely fails to put me into a good mood.  Often, I’ll attempt to illustrate scenes from the stories I write.  Most of the time when I do this people can’t tell what I’ve tried to draw, but it still allows me to see something on paper that I have in my mind.

Young Adult Dragon

My dragon

I drew this the other day.  It’s on the back of a pizza box.  As you can see, it’s not the best dragon you’ve ever seen, but it’s still one of my favorite things to draw.

So, go do something you’re not good at and have no expectations of yourself.  Just go out, do it, and have fun!

Writing is Hard

  • Enter contests.
  • Edit.
  • Critique.
  • Find critique partners.
  • Post on blog.
  • Post on twitter.
  • Write something new.
  • Think about taking out an old piece to work on.
  • Outline chapters.
  • Get someone in my family to read my work.
  • Think in circles.
  • Be rejected and told something doesn’t make sense.
  • Go back and re-work again.

Writing is hard.  It takes a lot of time.  Sometimes I feel great about it, call my sister talking non-stop about something I’ve just written.  Othertimes, I want to lay down and not lift my fingers.  Sometimes the only reward is knowing I’ve put a few thoughts down.

Today, I’m having to force myself to work because I’m reminded about how long a road it is until a story is complete…something I am very far from.

Alright, it’s time to go to a baseball game – the perfect place to sit and think in circles some more.