Monday, December 26, 2011

A most Unusual Christmas

Last Wednesday was Chanukkah, Thursday was the Winter Solstice, Sunday was Christmas, and today is Kwanzaa. I hope your holiday was a good one. Now that the holiday season is winding down, and many of us are beginning our recoveries from our holiday frenzy. The past few days have been quite challenging for me. I finished up the work I needed to finish for my college class, and then I planned to drive 120 miles to Springfield to meet my mother-in-law to pick up Christmas gifts on Thursday. I was hoping to pick up my husband who is now a truck driver so that he could spend Christmas at home. (I was to pick him up in the same town that I met my mother-in-law.) It didn’t go exactly as I had planned. He told me the morning that I was going to pick up the gifts that he wouldn’t be able to get in until early Saturday morning, and then had to go back out early on Sunday—the 25th so we decided that we—my husband, daughter, and I would spend the holiday in Springfield. This meant that I had to spend Thursday going to Springfield to meet my mother-in-law, come back home on Friday to get ready to go back to Springfield as early as possible on Saturday. My husband was leaving early on Sunday so I planned to keep the rest of the plans I had on Sunday to meet with friends after we saw him off, so I had to get food ready for that event as well. Friday night I found out that the friend whose house we were going to on Sunday, she was in an accident that wrecked her car (hit a deer), but she was having the dinner anyway. I decided to take the food that I was bringing to her house to her house early in the morning, so I decided to drop off the food at her house Saturday morning on my way to Springfield. I couldn’t get anyone to wake up at her house so I decided to take the food to her daughter’s house. I couldn’t get anyone up right away so I tried the door and it was open so I went into the house. The woman’s husband was in the kitchen when I entered. When I told him what I was doing, he didn’t have any problem with the fact that I was in his kitchen at 5:30 in the morning. So I was off to Springfield to meet my husband. We got there and spent the morning doing my husband’s laundry then shopping, then went to the motel room early. I picked up the keys to the room and went up, then couldn’t remember what the room number was. I went back down to the front desk only to discover that the room number was on the envelop that held the keys. My ability for keeping up with everything that I need to do was used up. Fortunately I had my husband with me now. He went to buy groceries for the trip he was taking on Christmas while my daughter and I decided to check out the pool and the Jacuzzi. After some relaxation, he came out to the pool to let us know that he was back; we then went up to the room and got ready to go out for dinner. We ate Italian. After we got back we opened presents, watched some television and went to bed. In the morning we ate breakfast and then my husband left in his truck for the northwest. When we left for Springfield the plans were to have dinner at noon, but when I got back to my friend’s house, they had changed it to six in the evening. I had been out of reach because I don’t carry a cell phone and I hadn’t been on the internet so I didn’t know the change in plans. So instead of going to her house, my daughter and I went home for a while and unpacked our gifts, then went back into town for Christmas dinner. The rest of the evening was enjoyed, uneventfully with friends. It was an unusual Christmas to say the least, but it will definitely be a memorable one. In less than a week now, a new year will begin. During this week of recovery, I plan to finish things that I’ve started, pay off bills that I’ve accumulated, pay the local taxes, and prime the pump for the upcoming year. During this time my class from school is taking a break, so I’m doing what I can to get ahead in that department. I have written a list of subjects that I will be using to write my 366 articles in 2012, and I have started a calendar that indicates which articles I will write on a given topic for each given day in January. I have started outlines for the articles I will write during the first week in January. This week I am also updating my website for 2012, believe me it needs it. Take a look at it this week and then take a look at it next week and tell me how you like the improvements. I have also started putting together a newsletter that I would be happy to send to you. In it are the articles that I have written that week. To sign up, just click here. The first issue will be out January 8, 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

To Mine Own Self Be True

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man-- William Shakespeare.
This quote of Shakespeare’s has become my mantra of late. Actually for the past few years, I have been stubbornly holding onto my own idea of what I want to do with the rest of my life. The way I see it, God created me to be me. He created me to be the best me that I could be, not someone else. I was given a set of circumstances in life, talents, predispositions, weaknesses, and all together, they are what comprise who I am. I am given all these ingredients like a puzzle and have been asked to put it all together into one harmonious package. Too often I have looked at the weaknesses (with help from others I might add) and only saw what I couldn't do. Other times I have looked only at what I thought was good and saw myself as limitless, but then fell on my face because I forgot about the challenges created by the aspects of me which are less favorable. I do best when I am truly in tune with whom God created me to be, even though being honest with who I am doesn’t always seem to be the path of least resistance. My life is like a painting painted in bright and dark colors. The dark colors framing the bright ones causing them to appear to pop from the canvas of time. It is the dark moments, those times in which I am barely able to hold on, that lead to my brightest victories. So what does all this have to do with the coming year? Well, it has to do with the fact that I have unfulfilled desires that need to be explored. I have some wonderful dreams, and in light of eternity, I have only a few short years left to fulfill those dreams in this lifetime. If I'm going to get any of my dreams fulfilled, I need to get on with what I know I want to do. That’s why during this next year I am laying the ground work in making some of these dreams begin to come to fruition. I'm going to be completing my second year of college and beginning my third. I am going to be starting a newsletter after the first of the year, so that I can begin to organize my social networking writing platform. I am also going to be finishing my second novel--Soldiers Don't Cry and publishing it June 30th of this year. I am looking forward to 2012 to being a busy, rewarding year. This all will be the foundation of further plans that I have. I plan to build my own publishing company. This company will not be just for my work, but for the work of countless other Indie writers. I also plan to teach. I love teaching, especially reading and writing. I also would like to begin public speaking. I have been thinking of ways to do that. There are a lot of people who know me who probably can't imagine me going that route. I know I’ve failed them in the past. I failed me in the past. But I know who I am now, and I will be true to myself from here on out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A challenge for the Coming Year

During this next year one of my ongoing projects is going to be writing an article a day from January one through December 31st 2012. Since it is a leap year, it means that I will be writing 366 unique articles this coming this year. This is in addition to my blog posts to this blog. (I’m planning to post one every Monday.) This is in addition to the papers I have to write for school. This is in addition to editing Soldiers Don’t Cry. This is in addition to marketing When God Turned His Head. This is in addition to the 50,000 word new novel for NaNoWriMo next November. It sounds like a lot of work, and believe me, I know it is. How will I be able to get all of it done? It’s not like I’ve never done anything like this before either. Back a couple of years ago I wrote 100 articles in 100 days for eHow. I’d probably still be writing for eHow if they hadn’t become part of Direct Media. I don’t begrudge Ehow’s changes. I, too, needed to grow. I learned so much from my time with Ehow. What I learned when I write for Ehow, I can use now to write these articles. First of all, I have to have a plan, and a plan is exactly what I am working on this month. I’ve got a notebook sitting right beside me and I have been taking notes about I need to do to make this happen. I’ve taken one page for each month of the year and written the numbers 1-29,30, or 31 down the side of the page for each day of each month. I have several more pages where I’m going to write down ideas for articles that I want to write. I will pick and choose what articles I will submit for each day of the year. On still more pages I will work through each one of the ideas creating outlines for each of the articles. From these outlines I will then move to the computer to research my material and flesh out my articles. The second thing I am going to do is to schedule time to write these articles and blog posts. As I mentioned earlier, I am going to publish my blog every Monday. As you will notice, I started my blog back up last Monday. I intend to keep this a habit. I don’t like the fact that I didn’t have a blog post in a year. Also at the beginning of each week, I am going to schedule what articles I will be posting that week, and where I am going to be posting them. I have a number of sites where I can post my articles. I am sure I will be telling more about them in the near future. I intend to build up my readership in those sites as well. Again, I will tell more about those sites later. The third thing I must do is determine my subject matter. One subject, of course will be writing online, another will be about marketing. I’ve been doing both now for over 3 years. Plus I’ve had a couple of classes in college about these subjects. I think I can teach at least beginners on these subjects. Also there are still some recipes that I would like to add online. I have learned quite a bit about organization, business, and personal finance. There are also the holiday articles that I can write. I can even glean some articles from the papers I write at school. Just by changing the voice to match my audience, I will be able to recycle those papers into articles. There are also the history facts that I have discovered from the research I have been doing. I have also been discovering info about my genealogy. Perhaps there is an article or two there, as well. Is there anyone else out there who would like to take me up on this challenge? Can you write 366 articles this year? I’d love the company. Comment below and let me know that you’d like to take the challenge.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 year in review

I am shocked that it has been almost a year since I wrote a blog post for The "Write Approach". Time certainly has a way of getting away from me. It wasn't because I haven't been working on other areas of my life, however. It has been a busy year for me. I started working on my bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts in January, and have already started my sophomore year. The fact that I have been in an accelerated degree program has definitely taken a large chunk of my time this past year.
Not only that, but I also have started a part time job. I work Friday nights at an artsy kind of restaurant in West Plains, Missouri called the A La Carte Cafe. Susan and Jon Lumsden are the proprietors of the establishment. The food served is, as much as possible, from locally procured sources. Much of what they serve is also organic. As you might realize from my other blog Simply Living, I support local foods and organic foods. Not only does this establishment have the foods I like, it displays creative outlets. Susan spent many years creating artistic quilts. She has a number of them hanging in the restaurant. Jon is a singer/songwriter. The reason I have the opportunity to work here on Friday nights is because on these nights local musicians from all different music styles come into the restaurant and entertain the patrons. From time to time the restaurant also has special events, some of which I have able to be a part. I have also been busy trying to network on the Internet through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. During the first part of the year I built my twitter account from around 300-1000 people I was following. During the last three months I have increased my following to nearly 2000 and my followers to over 1500. I hope that by the end of the year I will be able to increase my followers to just over 2000. In March I had a major writing setback which has caused me to play catch up ever since. My husband decided to wipe the computer where I had all my documents. I had recently bought a new computer so I told him that I wanted all my documents stored on a flash drive so that I could transfer them to the new computer. Rather than making sure that I had everything off of the computer, he went ahead and wiped the computer. Later, when it was too late, I discovered that he deleted all of my Microsoft Word files and just saved "my documents" files that had been on the computer. My published book had been deleted from the computer as well as the three rough drafts I had of my upcoming novels. I had to start all over again. Fortunately I was able to find an old copy a draft of Soldiers Don't Cry on an old computer that was here in the house. I have since taken that draft and expanded the manuscript to almost 300 pages. I have been working on editing the book since March, and I plan to publish Soldiers Don't Cry on June 30th of next year.