Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group JULY EDITION : A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Summer Writing Break...

Well, good morning! Welcome to the JULY meet and greet of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you're new, click HERE to read more about this wonderful group and click HERE to be introduced to our fearless leader, Captain Alex.

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... my last post announced that I'd be taking a quasi-social media break and a writing break until September. I've done pretty well with the social media break: I'm only posting on Instagram and it's been refreshing. I did post on FBk today just because of IWSG.

The writing break, however, has been a bit of a flop. I intended to spend my off days dabbling in arts and craft. I intended, on the days I didn't go to work, to refresh my imagination with reading and getting a new perspective through the hands-on arts I love. I thought I'd enjoy more time to pursue some ideas I've been longing to get my fingers into. That was the plan.

"The best laid plans of mice and (wo)man..."

I failed. Miserably. Instead of taking three months away from writing I did just the opposite. For the past month I've written every off day I've had, for several hours at a time. Actually, it's worse than that.

I wrote a novel.

An entire rough draft. During the first month I said I wasn't going to write anything.

Perhaps the whole idea of breaking away from writing tricked my brain into desperation mode and the story just started to spill. I don't really know. But what I learned during the process has been invaluable:

1. If you feel like you need to take a break - even from writing - do it and don't be afraid that you won't have anything to return to.

2. If, even after said break is planned, the story decides it's ready and starts to overflow, let it. For the love of Mike LET IT! Run with it! I sat down three days a week and my fingers were on fire. The words tumbled, jumbled out and I got completely and totally out of the way.

3. When a story is ready to be born, it will let you know. No amount of begging or pleading or trying to outline it will change that. This story has been with me since my actual writing break I took last year. I tried, over the past ten months, to flesh it out to no avail. Then, suddenly, the dam broke and I found myself waist deep in a raging river. I had to write myself out of drowning.

4. GET OUT OF THE WAY and let the STORY TELL ITSELF. In other words, a rough draft is just that: a draft that is rough. Really rough. There are misspellings and plot holes all over the place! I changed some key points and forgot a couple of names along the way and, at first, I felt like I had to go back, dig them out, and make sure things were write. Once upon a time, someone very wise said: Don't get it right, get it written. I now understand just how true that is!

5. When you finally DO finish that draft and you're able to breathe, TAKE A BREAK from your writing and do something - ANYTHING - other than writing for a while.

I'm now actually taking a break from writing. The draft is sitting on my computer, steeping. I don't think about it. I know it's there and when the time comes, it will be there for me to pick and prod and whip into shape. This is a strange, new feeling for me. I've written rough drafts before but this one, I don't's comfortable and I'm comfortable with it. We have a symbiotic relationship. It's taken a lot from me but now it's giving back in terms of space. Next week I plan to begin my first round of edits. That's the fun part, isn't it?

I hope you're having a wonderful summer so far and that you all had a fantastic Independence Day! I'm going to try and visit a few blogs today but otherwise, I'm still officially "offline" until the IWSG in August. Hopefully, I'll have some more good news in terms of this tale and have learned some more lessons along the way. Well, of that last part I'm sure!!

This month is pretty special to me. It's my birth month and I turn, *GASP* 40 this year!! I'm excited about it. Each new decade has been better for me than the last and I expect 40 to be no different. Bring on a new decade!! I'm ready for it!

See y'all in August!
Stay cool,

Friday, June 9, 2017

On Sabbatical...


Thanks for stopping by. As you can see, I'm not here right now. I'm spending the summer soaking up some outside time, away from the Internet time, and far away from the Social Media junket as I can time.

If you need me, I'll be right there, by the Atlantic, or in my courtyard reading, crafting or slowly scrawling words into a manuscript that's finally chipped it's way out of the clay vessel it arrived in. Well, at least, that's what I'll be doing on my off days. Still working the PT day job! I will more than likely post on the Insecure Writer's Support Group days but nothing beyond that.

Life's too short to stay glued to the computer, the Internet, the news updates and all the negative mumbo-jumbo people spout out on a daily basis.

I WILL be posting on Instagram simply because I love the format, I love the pictures, and I love the general positivity that pervades. If you want to keep up or catch up, do click over! I'd love to see you there.

Happy Summer to those of you in the northern hemisphere! And to everyone: take care and I'll see you back here in September :D


Ahhh. That's much better. Now, where's that Mojito?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group - JUNE Edition

Happy Summer! Today is the June edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group posting. We gather virtually the first Wednesday of every month and air our insecurities or offer hope and encouragement to those in need. Stop by and visit our website and make sure to say HEY to our Fearless Captain Alex over at his space.

Our AMAZING co-hosts for the month of June are: J.H. Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Megan Morgan, Heather Gardner, and  ME! I haven't co-hosted in a while and I volunteered again because, let's face it, it's fun! If you've never been a co-host (or, if like me, you haven't in a while), let Alex know you'd like to. Trust me! It really is fun :)



Check out the Insecure Writer's Support Group site for information on the upcoming IWSG Guide to Publishing for Profit anthology! I don't know about you, but I'm interested :)


Optional question for the month of JUNE: Did you ever say "I Quit!" If so, what made you come back to writing?

I've never said "I QUIT!" permanently. I have, however, taken a hiatus from writing. It was the best thing I could have done. Last year, I didn't intentionally write for the entire summer (June - August). I spent that time cleaning out the piles of file folders I had filled with ideas and partially started novels and stories. I digitized them all, scanned them in, and have them all on my external hard drive and my laptop. For whatever reason, that break really helped me develop a couple of stories, one of which turned into my winning entry to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Anthology Hero Lost that was published this past May. The other story is still in the works. It continues to slither in and out of my grasp, wanting me to let it be something I'm not entirely I want it to. Hmm...I should probably just let it go and see where it leads me, eh?

Funny that this is our question for today because I'm doing it again. I'm taking a Sabbatical for the summer with writing and social media. The blog will lie dormant as will my Facebook page. I'll still be posting on Instagram (and I may cross post onto FB but I won't be actively on there) so if you want to keep up or catch up over the summer, by all means, follow on over!

I wish you all the very BEST summer! Whether you're taking a writing break (like me) or if your pens and keyboards are on fire, take care of yourself and do what you need to do. And if you do take a break, ENJOY IT! Clean out your closets and see what may be lurking inside. Take up a new hobby or do nothing on your off days but read. We writers are always "ON" and it's nice to let our writer brain recharge. TRUST ME: if you let your writer brain rest, the ideas won't disappear. They'll become fine tuned and you'll be more focused than ever when you come back. I'm looking forward to September. Maybe that blasted story will finally let me wrangle it onto the page.

Happy Summer everyone!
See you in September :)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Feels a lot like summer

I know.

Summer doesn't "officially" arrive until June 21. That's the Summer Solstice. Here in Savannah, however, Summer came in with Memorial Day.

It's been in the 90's, humid, and even now I can hear thunder rumbling in from the islands.

Do you get a little lethargic in the Summer? I know I do. I don't want to work on anything serious. I leave work and come home and sit outside with a cold drink and my feet propped up until it's time to cook dinner. At least once a week we pack up some sandwiches and picnic on the sand

Today, I'm working on a project while listening to Jimmy Buffett. The sun went behind a cloud and the cats are asleep in front of the back door. I could keep typing but I also could go sit outside with a cup of coffee and watch the storm blow in.

Summer is like that, you know? It gives you an excuse to just enjoy life.

To just BE.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lost Heroes Go A-Traveling

This past Saturday I was fortunate enough to do my very first book signing/promotion event. Some dear friends of ours own a charming bookstore in Hampton, GA called Speakeasy Bookstore. It's cozy and comfortable, the perfect place for a nervous, first time author like myself to set up in a corner booth and sell some books.

See? The dark side really DOES have cookies!

Don and Shannon LOVE what they do. They love books, they love coffee, and (most importantly) they LOVE the community in which they work. When I called to ask if they'd be willing to host a little book event, I think they were more excited than I was! I got to see a lot of people I'd not seen in years and several ladies from the book club I belonged to in Hampton came out. We sat, sipped tea and enjoyed catching up on some local gossip.

Ana and Johanna, ya'll are the BEST...
just don't kill me for posting your pictures here :)

Of course, I can't take my husband into a coffee shop without him getting wrangled into pulling some shots! Jon became the unofficial Guest Barista for the afternoon. I'm pretty sure he didn't mind :)

Having people you love come out and support one of your biggest dreams is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. You really get a sense of the community that surrounds you. I am still reeling from all the faces I got to see, all the hugs I got to give (and receive!) and the genuine excitement these wonderful souls had for my little story.

Thank you, thank you, Speakeasy Bookstore for allowing me to occupy your corner booth and commandeer your book shop for a Saturday afternoon. Ya'll are the BEST and I can't wait to schedule another book signing in the future! And thank you to EVERYONE who came out to support the Anthology project and my writing. You truly mean the world to me and I don't think you can possibly know how much it meant to see you all there.

Big love,

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When we let our minds wander

If you haven't noticed, there's been a thread running through my posts lately. I've become a bit obsessed with the ideas of pilgrimage and wandering with intent. There's no real beginning to this. At first, I believed there was a STORY in it and oh I started digging. Maybe there is, but that's not why the Idea visited me.

This Idea visited me for the sheer joy of discovery and I want to follow it as far as I can. Wandering sounds easy but our modern lives make it hard. Example: I live three blocks from a coffee shop. I've been there twice in almost three years. Now WHY (aside from the fact humidity in Savannah can make three blocks feel like 30 miles) have I not wandered up there more often? Sure, the street is a bit busy; sure the traffic rarely stops for pedestrians and the last time I went there I was almost hit by a car backing out of a parking space. But seriously: three blocks. Am I lazy?

I don't believe laziness has anything to do with it. I believe it has more to do with always feeling that we have to be ON THE GO. I found out years ago that there's a personality trait that labels one an HSP: a Highly Sensitive Person. Now, that doesn't mean that you'll hurt my feelings if you look at me wrong (though you might) nor does it mean that I cry at the drop of a hat (though I do). It means that my senses are more acute than others and I am far more likely to be overwhelmed by loud noises, crowds of people, negative situations, and being in a public place when a lot of energy is happening. This could be a concert (which gives me anxiety attacks) or a large group of people suddenly starting a riot (which sends me into sheer panic). To leave my house, to walk alone, to go into a place that's unfamiliar all is stressful for me. As in heart palpitations, hard time breathing, mind racing to think of just the right things to say when I get to the counter stressful. Once I'm seated, I have personal space and I settle down. But leading up to that? Well, is it any wonder I just elect to stay home?

But that's not good enough. My goal this summer is to wander more. My goal is, at least once a week, to walk the three blocks, order that dang chai latte, and sit in the local cafe and ... and what? Well, who knows? Maybe I'll write. Maybe I'll read. Maybe I'll watch cars go by. Maybe I'll sew. The point is, I'm open to whatever and THAT'S what makes wandering with intent intentional.

Right now, I'm breaking out the sewing supplies. I don't really have a plan, just an idea, and I'm letting my thread wander. You know, just to see what might happen.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Wander well,