No Writing Today

I can’t write today.  At least, I can’t write about writing.  As a born and bred Okie, the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma yesterday still has me shook up.  We always live with the realization that this kind of tragedy can hit us at any time.  It is just our way of life and we tend to grow fairly jaded when tornado weather bears down upon our towns and neighborhoods.  I am guilty of being one of those that run out to see the tornado when the sirens sound the alarm.  But then, something like this happens and we realize just how deadly these storms can be.

Elementary schools are having a hard year so far and I didn’t want to send my children to school today.  Instead, I wanted to fully encircle them in bubble wrap and not let them out of the house for fear of never seeing them again after they leave.  I held each of them close today before they left because you just never know what could happen during the course of the day.  Yesterday was a horrible reminder of this fact.

So today, I am going to enjoy my kids who will soon be home (this will involve more than a little bit of torment for them, I’m sure) and pray for the people of Moore, Oklahoma.  Especially those who unknowingly said their final good-byes to their children or other loved ones yesterday morning.

This writing thing can wait one more day.

God Bless Oklahoma.


The Care and Feeding of a Writer.

What a writer, at least this one, needs to survive:

1.   Computer with an internet connection.  This is imperative, especially if your printer is on the same wireless network as your computer.  Trust me.  I went without for about 6 hours last night.  I could feel myself turning into a Golem looking for My Precious.  Wasn’t pretty.

2.  Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine.  I cannot stress this enough.  Whether it be from coffee, tea or chocolate, I would say that 98% of the literary world is fueled in some way by caffeine in one form or another.

3.  Experiences.  Be they good or bad, without them a writer is just a hack playing at portraying emotions on the page.  One cannot write about love until one has truly been in love.  One cannot write accurately about betrayal until one has genuinely been betrayed.  And one cannot write about fear without having experienced true terror for oneself or one’s loved one.

4. Imagination.  I write about vampires without ever having been one, obviously.  So for those things that are truly outside of human experience, imagination is imperative.

5.  Motivation.  Call it your muse, or call it your daily goal.  Without it, you are going nowhere and you are going there fast.

6.  Pizza.  Now this will vary from writer to writer, but I think that everyone has their go to food when they are just too mentally exhausted to prepare a meal, but require sustenance to go on.  Mine is pizza because a) I love it. b) It’s relatively cheap and c) They deliver.  What more could you ask for?  Besides the fact you can eat it with one hand.  So I guess any one-handed food would work. Even M&M’s.

6. Sheer fortitude.  It taks guts to face a blank page everyday and create something from nothing.  I overcome writer’s block every single day.  I dread opening that document of whatever story I am writing on that particular day knowing I have to produce or fail to meet my personal goals.  And let down my mentor.  Who is really, really mean and says horrible things about me and makes me cry if I don’t meet my daily goal.  Okay, that last part’s not true.  But the thought of disappointing him me does makes me want to cringe.

7.  Caffeine.  So nice I had to list it twice.  Or whatever.

8.  Booze.  No explanation needed.

What am I missing?

Feed me pizza!

Feed me pizza and liquor!

Featured Author: Armard Rosamilia

Since I began writing in earnest at the beginning of the year, I have slowly found myself immersed in the world of independent writers, that is writers who self-publish their own works or are published through small, independent publishing houses.  These are writers with Facebook pages that interact with their fans and each other on a regular basis.

I have been lucky enough to get to know some of these indie authors and their work over the past several months.  They are a diverse and entertaining bunch whose writing I admire very much.  So, on my blog, I will occasionally feature these talented individuals in my posts.

I will start with a man who cannot only churn out thousands of (well written) words a day, but still makes time to take new writers, myself included, under his wing and provide advice and support.  That, readers, is a true gem of a man.  Of course, I am talking about my personal mentor and ass kicker, Armand Rosamilia, who not only tells me I can do it, but that I will do it whether I like it or not.  It is because of him that I wrote my first and only (to date, hopefully there will be other soon) published story “Die With Your Boots On” which is included in the zombie erotica anthology, Fifty Shades of Decay, available at Amazon and Smashwords. Armand’s story, “Dying Days: Chris Gray”, is included as well as many other great stories.  He simply left me no choice but to write and submit it and then figuratively held my hand while I had a panic attack about it afterwards.  (Go ahead and buy it right now. I’ll wait for you to get back.)

Back already? Okay, then.

Armand’s published works are to numerous to list, so just go here so you don’t miss anything.  He is particular well known for his zombie series, Dying Days, but make sure you don’t miss Death Metal and Tool Shed which are two of my favorites.  Everything is a good read, though.  So, don’t just sit here.  This post is over.  Go find something to read!


Armand Rosamilia

Why I Hate Editing Slightly Less Than I Used To

I seems to me that the majority of writers will write something and then when they finish that work, stop all writing and do nothing but edit it.  Now yesterday, I posted about how much I hate to edit.  So a fellow writer taught me a method that works a little better for me, personally.  And by a little better, I mean it makes me feel like jamming an icepick into my eye a little less.  Now, I’m going to share this brilliant method with you.

Instead of spending my time constantly editing my latest completed work, I continue to write on my other projects and only edit my finished story about a chapter or so at a time.  I believe that I may be slightly ADHD (I don’t know really….I seem to have the attention span of a gnat lately though) and the change in “scenery” seems keeps me from going totally bonkers, at least.  Of course, it takes me a significant amount of time to edit things, but to me it’s worth it.

So, I want to hear about how you edit your finished works.  Do you stop everything and work only on editing until you are completely done?  Or do you mix it up a bit by editing a little, writing a little like me?  Or am I still a weirdo freak?

G Elmer Munson don’t answer that last question!

It’s Just Another Manic Monday.

I don’t know why my kids seem to forget the morning routine during the brief gap created by weekends, but everything they know seems to fly out of the window.  My daughter can’t remember where her pants are, my youngest swears he can’t put on his own clothes even though he’s been doing so for two years, and my other son doesn’t want to take the medication that he must take in order to keep me from selling him on ebay as a doorstop.

This is especially frustrating because all I want to do come Monday morning is write.  I get little time to myself during the weekends, with the seven kids and all, and Monday means that my writing week is beginning and I can finally get all those little details and ideas out of my brain and onto paper.  If I haven’t forgotten them already and there is about a 50/50 chance I have. (Note to self, figure out how to use the memo feature on the iPhone and then use it.)

Now, I need to go make an appointment with the eye doctor because I seem to have gone blind over night.

Wait.  False alarm.  My glasses are just covered with tiny fingerprints.  Sigh. I love Monday mornings.

How many is enough?

I call them Works In Progress, or WIPS, which a term that I carried over from my knitting days.  Now I use the term to define the short stories and novels that are in various stages of being completed.  Right now, I have two short stories, two novels and one story that I can’t decide what it will be in progress.

I used to work on only one thing at a time.  However, a very wise writer advised me to keep more than one project going at a time, the idea being that if I got bored with one thing, I could work on another one.  Or, I could work on editing (which I hate) while also writing something else that I enjoy, thereby avoiding burnout.  This particular author has as many as seventeen projects going at one time.  I could never, ever keep that many balls in the air at one time.  I’m way to ADHD for that.  But he can churn them out, good, well written stories, left and right like this.

Another writer that I admire reports that he only works on one thing at a time.  Now, he might be in the process of editing another story while he finishes another, but pretty much he writes only one at any given time.  This guy is a machine and can crank out 8,000 words like it is nothing and I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t because he is so focused on that one story.

So, one, five, seventeen?  How many is too much?  How many is too little?  What method works best for you?

Am I a writer yet?

Yes, I am a writer.  I can say this, not because I have ever published a book (I haven’t) or had a story published (I have), but because whether or not anybody ever sees any thing that I ever write or not, I still write it.  Merriam-Webster defines a writer simply as “one that writes”.  To bastardize Shakespeare a litte: I write; therefore I am a writer.

I am an author.  The first definition, also from Merriam-Webster is: one that originates or creates.  I figure I create everyday when I sit at my computer and bravely charge into battle with the blank page.  The second definition of author is: the writer of a literary work.  I have completed three short stories and am about a third of the way through my  first novel so I think that I qualify in that regard, as well.

Now, I know that this pales in comparison to most writers, especially those of my advanced age.  I resisted the idea of writing for many, many years to the consternation of my high school English teachers and college composition professors.  All told me that I had an innate ability when it came to writing.  But there was just one problem: I hated to write.

That’s right. I said it. I am a writer that hates to write. I do not write because I have a burning need to share my ideas with the world at large.  In fact, I didn’t write a single piece of creative writing with the intent of showing it to another soul until I was 42 years old.  Frankly, the reason I decided to write was because there was a story I wanted to read, but it did’t exist.  Until then my fear of writer’s block kept me from ever seriously considering writing more than a grocery list.

However, once I started writing my novel, and connected with other writers through the internet, it started to snowball.  My three short stories were all written since the beginning of the year.  Writers are some of the most supportive and kind people you could ever hope to meet.  All of my shorts were written because another writer told me I could do it.  As a result, the first story I ever submitted was accepted for publication in an anthology.

It has taken me some time to stop answering the question, “What do you do?” with my stock answer of “Oh, I have seven kids.  I’m just a full-time mom.”  Now, I respond with, “I am a writer.”  Because being a mom, that’s who I am.  Being a writer, now, that’s what I do.


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