Happy Memorial Day

IMG_3893

Today as we honor our veterans and those still fighting the fight so we can have freedom in our great country, I want to say Thank You!

Thank you for your commitment.

Thank you for your service.

Thank you for giving your life so that we can have ours.

Thank you for giving so selflessly so that we may “have.”

Thank you for giving up time with your families that we may have time with ours.

And thank you for the ultimate sacrifice of YOU.

Today, let’s honor, pray for, and give thanks to the men and women of our great country who are too often forgotten as we live the life we have because of their sacrifice.

Happy Memorial Day!

 “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

 

 

And in the Beginning…

Beginnings

For those who have read my bio, you know my writing years began at the tender age of four. I took my fat little crayons in my fat little fingers and decided to experiment with words on the knotty pine walls of the living room. My parents were not impressed! But even back then, I had something to say and writing was the natural way for me to say it.
As the years went by, that didn’t change. The only thing that did change is that I graduated from crayon on walls to pen on paper. For that, my parents were grateful.

In my teen years, it was writing that helped me work through the tumultuous teen emotions and heartbreak. Many summer days, I lay in our little fishing boat, tied up to the dock, rocking as waves rolled up against the shoreline and lapped the bottom of the boat. I clutched my pen and paper and wrote poetry like there was no tomorrow. The words flowed endlessly. When I wasn’t in the boat, I was perched on the end of the dock, my feet dangling in the water, or plopped on my bed in my basement bedroom, crafting more poetry.

Fishing Boat
Fast forward a few years. I was still writing when I got pregnant with my first son. I penned 2 ½ novels (yup, not just 2, but 2 ½), which are still in boxes in my home office. I took a few writing classes, too. Then came my second son. The writing stopped. There was no spare time.

When my second son was in high school, I got my Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies, and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. While everyone else was impressed, I knew it wasn’t what I was meant to do. My heart longed for the days when I was a writer.

When my second son graduated from high school, I followed my dream. I got back to writing and haven’t looked back. While I still maintain a day job in the legal field, my true calling, my avocation, is writing.

As I think about the journey to where I am now—five published books, two more in the works—there are three suggestions I have for beginning authors.

1.) Find a writing community, or even one or two other writers. Non-writers, family and friends included, think we just sit down, write and voila! A book appears. A non-writer can’t possibly know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a piece of creative fiction—or non-fiction. And if that’s the only mindset you’re subjected to and hearing on your writing journey, you’ll start believing it yourself. Eventually you’ll start to think of yourself a failure when you’re unable to just sit down and magically produce a novel.

Additionally, the non-writer can view writing as a waste of time unless the writer is making a lot of money. You may hear that you should be spending your time on something more worthwhile, something “important,” whatever that means. “Important” means different things to different people. Writing is hugely important to me. And if you’re a writer, it will be to you, too. It’s not about how much money we make (though, I imagine you wouldn’t catch any of us complaining if we made a dollar to two), it’s about a need to express the creative side that’s burning inside of us. And it’s work. Hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

“To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

That being said, not all non-writers think this way. And if you feel they are, it’s important to ask yourself if there’s any validity to your feelings or if it’s your own insecurity and self-doubt that makes it feel that way. We writers are frequently tormented with self-doubt. It’s what many of us do best. Either way, let it go. If you don’t already, you’ll soon have a writing community reminding you you’re not alone. 

2.)  Plan your week and schedule in writing time. When first starting out, set a timer and just write. Don’t get up under any circumstance. Not for anything. This exercises your butt-in-chair muscle, even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time. And don’t open the Internet to check anything. Your email will still be there when you’re done with your writing session, and your Facebook likes will still be there waiting. Even hard-core social media addicts can stay away for 15 minutes. If not, invest in Freedom. After you’ve created a habit of writing, play around to discover which method most accommodates your lifestyle—continue with timed writing sessions, decide on a set number of pages per day, word count goals, etc.

3.)  Don’t compare yourself to anyone else in the writing industry. We all have mentors and people we admire in the writing industry (think Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Joanna Penn) but don’t strive to be just like them. You are you. And you are fabulous. You have something unique to contribute to the reading world. And it would be a waste to deprive the world of that because you’re trying to be like someone else. As well, comparing yourself to other writers is the kiss of death. I struggle with comparisonitis as much as the next person, but I recognize it for what it is and kick it to the curb as soon as I realize that it’s trying to sink its fangs into my writing life.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

And now it’s back for week three of Camp NaNo and more virtual camping.

Bonfire-Brainerd

Carpe Diem

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

4th-of-july-love-quotes-2

With such a big week, it’s difficult to narrow it down to three, as blessings flowed–and keep flowing–abundantly. However, keeping consistent with my Friday posts, my top three for the week:

3.) The amazing freedoms in our country, none that have come without a steep price by dedicated and loyal military men and women, that give us the freedom of choice in so many vital areas of this beautiful thing called life.

2.)  The outstretched arms of my precious granddaughter followed by the feel of her little arm curled around my neck. A grandparent’s delight.

1.)  Dancing with my son at his wedding for the Mother-Son dance, to the song Watercolor Ponies by Wayne Watson. Reduced this mama to tears of joy, pride, and love beyond anything I could have ever imagined since the day he was born.

photo (7)

Wishing everyone a beautiful, filled-with-love-food-fun-family-and-friends Fourth of July!

I’m back off to the wilderness of camp! 🙂

Camp Nano-2

 

 

 

 

Happy Memorial Day

Flag

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, god bless the USA.”   -Lee Greenwood

As we enjoy this day off from work, celebrating with friends and family, may we remember the real heroes of this day.  All those who have fought for our country, those still fighting, and the families keeping the home fires burning while their loved one is defending our freedom so that we may enjoy this life we live.

1D76717F164C754946F2FDEE98ACE

Have a beautiful, blessed day!

Peace.

TGIF – Gratitude Friday

So I’ve decided to add a new weekly gratitude post on Fridays, naming the top three things I’m incredibly grateful for from the week. There are so many things to be grateful for, but the top three are what I plan to mention.  I would love for anyone who reads this to add your top three as well. Let’s get the gratitude meter skyrocketing. 🙂

I’m grateful for:

1. The all around freedom we have in our country and for the men and women who have, and continue to, fight for us that we are able to keep that freedom.

2. My 21-year-old son meeting me at home for lunch, sitting at the kitchen table with me while we eat, talking to me so openly and so filled with joy and enthusiasm, revealing what’s in that beautiful 21-year-old mind.

3. The joy and freedom I feel while running outside in the sunshine on a beautiful, warm day. My mind is the most creative then and I can come up with so many ideas for stories, or simply pray.

Wishing you a Beautiful Weekend.

photo (2)

Make This Day Count

Today I pray we as a nation can celebrate how far we have come but not falter at working for how far we have yet to go. Vow to make this day count.

MLK

Key excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream”:  “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of  ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification’ — one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.”