Being in the Moment

 

Bee & Flower - Sarah B sig

 

It’s funny to me how many people write about being in the moment.

Writers are never truly in the moment because, when we have a moment, we’re thinking about writing that moment.

Take my Pause and Smell the Roses post. I was thoroughly enjoying that morning but then I came in and wrote about it. Ideas were floating around my head even as I sipped my coffee and watched the chipmunks.

Actually, I kind of felt like a chipmunk—savoring birdseed and suet while darting back and forth and running in circles. Because, really, that’s what I was doing—mentally running from the outdoors to the notebook in my head and back again.

It’s a crazy writer thing. It is.

Yet here I am, again, about to describe a lovely afternoon I experienced. Blue sky, butterflies, shapes in clouds, the whole nine yards. It was gorgeous and relaxing. Of course…I’m writing about it now.

I’m not exactly sure how this works, but, while I was appreciating sunshine and flowers, thoughts and words were buzzing in my brain.

Was I writing the entire time or did I actually get to pause and smell the roses?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

ThoughtBubble

Are you able to truly be in the moment? (Think about this for a minute…) And, if you are, do you write about it after?


 

 

Window Shopping for Book Covers

 

Silly Book Cover

 

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, putting the cart before the horse and all that, but I like browsing through pictures and playing around in Paint with images that could possibly be my book cover. And there are tons of sites with pre-made covers to set my imagination on fire.

If I have a working title, not just any old working title but one I might actually use, I’m much more likely to talk about my book, think about it, and, most importantly, work on it.

It’s also nice when someone asks me what I’m writing. I can say, “Cool Title” instead of prattling on about the characters, what I think the genre might be, where the story may or may not be heading because I’m really not exactly sure, explaining that I’m a pantser (and then explaining what a pantser is).

If I have a cover? I’m completely inspired.

I write more. Because, now, my book is like Pinocchio. Someday he’ll be a real boy, right? It’s the same thing. Someday it’ll be a real book.

Many will say this is ridiculous. You have to know what your story is about before you can find an image to reflect that. True. But if a visual encourages me to keep writing, it’s well worth the time spent.

And I might find one of the reasons I was sifting through photos was because I needed a break from my writing and now I’m back to it. With gusto.

Whether I wind up using the cover or not, I have one now. In this moment. I can see it in all its glory. The title, my name, an image that speaks to me (literally or figuratively—you make the call).

Window shopping a waste of time? Perhaps. But it’s a helluva lot of fun and fabulous motivation.

 

 

Do you design your book cover before you finish your book? (Before you’ve reached page 10?)

 

* Just so nobody asks, I’ve created a picture for this post (at the top) to answer the question of whether or not I will design my own cover. The answer, quite obviously, is “No”. A resounding NO. 

 

Balancing Blogging and Writing (Or not…)

 

Blogging and Writing -sig

 

There’s a blog trend happening.

Lots of people are leaving, taking a break, or slowing down—some for personal reasons, some to write.

I thought, “Huh. That’s cool. They’re writing. I could write. I’m a writer. I write things.”

And they’re announcing it. Which is nice. Unlike me. With people emailing to ask where I am. And by “people”, I mean like two. Two people. Since I’m small potatoes in the stew of the blogosphere, most probably didn’t even notice.

I haven’t so much stopped as slowed my pace. I haven’t been able to manage a balance.

I’m still blogging a bit but have relaxed my posting, not participated in some of my regular writing challenges, not been as active in reading your blogs. (Apologies.)

See, I’m working on stuff. Secret stuff.

No, it’s not secret. I’m writing. I do that sometimes. And not just on my blog.

Also, I’m stressing about life and loving life. Dealing with responsibilities and enjoying summer sunsets.

It’s all good. Writing is a thing we writers do that makes us happy. Maybe “happy” is a strong word. How about “alive”.

I’m writing, gentle readers, and sharing it with the world.

You have been warned.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Have you taken a blogging break/slowed down or have you kept up your usual pace? Are you working on a writing project? (If you’ve managed to balance blogging and writing, please share in the comments. Inquiring minds want to know.)

 

How Should I Write My Book?

 

Red Maple - sig

 

There is so much writing advice out there. Tips and tricks, instruction and direction, ways to plot and ways to pants.

We want to read all that advice. It’s a conundrum. We can’t stop learning (and who would want to?) but we must, eventually, get on with it.

If I’m spending weeks (okay, months years) reading about how to write, I’m not writing. It’s really that simple.

Some will say it’s self-doubt. Some that it’s fear of failure (or success). Eh. It’s certainly possible.

I think part of it is “the writer’s mind”.

We want to educate ourselves on all sorts of things. We want to know what’s what with the age group we’re targeting – what our audience will respond to. Or learn as much as we can about the setting of our story. Or what the hospital procedure would be for our character who’s just been brought in with a knife wound.

Admittedly, there’s a bit of Am I doing this right? but that’s to be expected and, honestly, I’m not sure how much of that can be blamed on self-doubt. I guess it depends. Because “the writer’s mind” is a tricky thing.

Listen to yourself and your tone: How should I write my book?

That is kind of a huge question. It’s also an interesting one. How are you saying it? Why are you asking it?

That can be a self-doubter’s dream. It puts off the actual writing part of writing your book.

Is this a good opening? I like to just write but so-and-so says I should outline. I should really learn to outline. But I recently read that article about how to plot as a pantser. I should read that again. Or maybe I should listen to that podcast about…oh, yeah, that agent is having a Q&A on Twitter today! I should totally do that.

Then again, it’s smart. It gives you much-needed info about the process, category, and genre, among other things.

How many pages does a MG novel have to be? Can I use swears? Is kissing allowed for this age group? Actually…is this MG or YA?

These are valid questions. Definitely do some research. But, then, sit down and start typing. It might be a good idea to set aside a bit of time for even more research as the market changes or unexpected scenes pop up in your book. But don’t get sidetracked. I’ve noticed (from personal experience) writers love to read about writing, write about writing, and talk about writing.

That’s awesome. All of it. But we also need to write.

So, once you’ve read and learned and researched and read some more, the question How Should I Write My Book? is quite easily answered: Sit down and write.

 

Is this an issue for you? Do you put off your writing to read about writing?

 

How Do You Like Them Apples?

 

 

Scrivener App

 

I was wavering, trying to decide which program to use for my writing.

So, naturally, I wrote about it, hoping readers would help. They did. That post generated quite a few comments. I learned a lot. I also made a decision to at least try Scrivener because I need the organization.

However.

My main problem with it was that you had to download it to your laptop and leave it there. That did not work for me.

Here are some of my replies from that post:

Can you use Scrivener on different devices or only one? iPad, iPhone…?

 Awesome! And, please let [Scrivener] come out with an app. Please! *fingers crossed*

No, no, no! Say it ain’t so. This is my main issue with Scrivener. I’m a total tech floozie, too. (Nice accidental alliteration there, if I do say so myself.) I use different devices and need a program that is available on all. I can’t imagine this isn’t an issue for many writers. Why on earth hasn’t Scrivener…created an app?

Exactly. I use two different laptops plus type a lot on my phone (I know, but it’s convenient if not a bit tricky). I’m going to do the trial but this was my main problem with it. *shouts* “Fix this, Scrivener techies!”

A lot of writers had the same issue. They used more than one device (because, really, who doesn’t?) and/or wrote when they had a second between errands, taking care of kids, work, commuting, sleeping, eating…

Hang on to your hats.

If you haven’t heard, I’m delighted freaking out that Scrivener now offers an Apple app for iPads, iPhones, and any other iThing you want to use it for.

They advertise that you can “Write Anywhere”.

Thank you, Scrivener, we already do.

But now lots of us writers will buy your program to “write anywhere” with. How do you like them Apples?

 

Those of you who use Scrivener, are you going to get the app? Those of you who didn’t (specifically because you used different devices) are you rethinking using Scrivener?

 

Deflecting Compliments (Like a Ninja)

 

Ninja Thank You - sig

 

Why do I apologize for myself?

This goes so far beyond not being able to take a compliment, I can’t even see the coastline anymore. I’m floating out there in the vast sea of self-deprecation. Clinging desperately to a belittlement buoy.

I actually get defensive when someone says something nice.

It’s ludicrous.

Last week, I was minding my own business, milling around a store, when a clerk grabbed my hand (because girls can do that—it’s weird) and said, “Oh! I love your nails!”

Weapons at the ready, I started my self-defense.

“Oh! I only did that for the summer solstice, I mean…my kids…it’s like a fairy thing, sort of…it’s a fun…” By then, she had let go of my hand and was backing away nodding. And no wonder.

I have an inability to accept compliments. But this need to make excuses for pretty much everything I am—from my clothes to my hair to my voice to, apparently, my fingernail polish—this has got to stop.

It’s a seemingly simple fix because, really, all I need to do is smile and say “Thank you”.

But when I bring out my sparring swords, we have a problem.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

It’s bad enough to become self-deprecating when someone insults you but, when given a compliment, it’s truly bizarre. How do you react when someone gives you a compliment? Have you ever gone so far as to make excuses for yourself?

Can you take a compliment? (If so, is this something you developed later in life or something you’ve always been able to do? I’m wicked curious about this.)

 

Grilling Fun for July 4th Weekend

 

Grilling Cookbook - sig

 

Happy 4th of July!

It’s time for some outdoor grilling.

I don’t really cook (at all) so here’s my alternative to a fab 4th recipe for you. Enjoy!

Visit Lemon Shark Reef here (yes, right here – just click right here) for some weekend fun.

Riding Hood’s Grandmother Reveals Identity as Bestselling Author

Because, as we all know, fairy tales aren’t always what they seem.

(You don’t have to celebrate July 4th to enjoy this tail tale.)

Go *Tweet* Yourself

 

Go Tweet Yourself - sig

 

I just figured out I could retweet myself.

Late to the party.

I won’t lie. I played around with it a bit, hovering over those double arrows, clicking them, unclicking them, and generally goofing around.

My first thought, before I played, was: “That’s weird. Why would I do that?”

My second thought was: “I wish Twitter would introduce some useful new features.” (Ahem. Edit button.)

It went downhill from there:

“Hee-hee. I wonder if I’ll get a notification from myself that I got an RT from myself.”

“Where would it come from?”

“What would it say? ‘You retweeted you!’ or ‘You really think you’re something special to RT your own tweet, you humble fool.’

But, then, I got to thinking about how I use my Twitter account.

As I’ve mentioned, I mine my own tweets for future short stories and flash. So it might be kinda cool to revisit a piece of micro fiction and have it show up on the timeline of someone who missed it.

Then again, I could just pin it or copy and paste it into a new tweet… So, I guess, I’m back to my first reaction. Retweeting yourself is weird.

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you retweet yourself? Did you know you could retweet yourself? Do you find any benefits to retweeting yourself that I’m completely missing? Did you notice how I just like saying ‘retweet yourself’ because I’m immature and find it amusing?


Full Moon & Fairies (Summer Solstice)

 

Summer Solstice -sig

 

There is magic in the air.

Fairies flutter about enjoying the day, preparing for their feast, and, perhaps, causing a bit of mischief. And, this year, they have even more to celebrate. A full moon accompanies the solstice.

This weekend, I’m celebrating with them.

Wine will flow, my friends. And I will run barefoot in the grass like when I was a child. I’ll breathe deeply, inhaling the heady scents of blossoms that, weeks ago, were tiny buds.

At twilight, I’ll light candles and search for blinking fireflies.

Of course, after this longest day of the year, the days will become shorter. But I will bask in the sun and light and magic then welcome the dark half of the year.

When the sun decides to set after its long journey, I will marvel at the pinks and purples of dusk. I will fill my glass and toast the twinkling stars who, in my wine-induced bliss, will merrily wink back at me. I will refill it to toast the bright, full moon who will smile her light on me. I will soak up the night and all its beauty.

Because, if it wasn’t for the darkness, I could not appreciate the light.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

What will you do with your extra hours of sunlight? I’m toasting you, my tweeps. Know that.

 

As always, I think of my friends in Australia during these times of year. Happy Winter Solstice to you!

 

(The summer solstice is officially tomorrow, Monday, June 20. Enjoy!)

 

Process This

 

Sarah B Process This

 

I’ve been using Microsoft Word for…um…many years. I’m old. Moving on.

I hear from online writer friends, bloggers, and tweeps that Scrivener is the bee’s knees. Some say it’s easy, others that it has a steep learning curve. I don’t have time for that. But, if it really is all that and a bag of chips, I’ll find time to learn it. Because, as we all know, a stitch in time saves nine. (I have never understood this idiom. Surely there are better ways to say that if you do a little work now, it will save you doing more work later. See? That was easy.)

To add nuts to the cookie dough, I’ve just started using Pages. I know. But it was there and I was in need… I’m finally getting used to it and it has some pretty cool templates.

Pages is a shiny new toy, Word is a comfy, tattered old teddy bear, and Scrivener is a bike in the shop window.

I want all of the things!

You see my issue here.

I’m not likely to ever get rid of my ratty teddy bear. It’s comfortable. I know it well. But I do see the lure of a new toy, though that could be temporary. And the bike in the window that everyone is talking about? It’s a must-have yet I should probably learn to ride it (and that could take a long time).

Using three different programs seems excessive but do I whittle it down to just one?

I’m thinking each program could be useful for different types of writing—novels, short stories, flash, blog posts, notes…

If you have a spectacular idea and type it out on some note-taking app on your phone (yes, I have done this), are you able to extend it there or do you have to type it out somewhere else? I’ve always had to re-type it or email, cut, paste, repeat. I want to be able to extend writing where my notes are because, when inspiration strikes, you can be in bed at 2am and you have to write that scene.

I’m befuddled.

There are word processing programs, software designed specifically for writing, and apps for…just about everything.

I want to know (from you writers, not sites trying to sell me something) how easy or difficult these are to use. I want to know if you can transfer documents from one device to another and how many steps are involved in that process. I want to know if you can save these documents as other documents—Pages as Word, Word as Scrivener-ish-thing. What is a Scrivener document called? Anyway, I would love to know all of these things as well as any shortcuts you lovely writers have discovered.

 

What say you, gentle readers? What program/software/app do you use for writing? Do you use more than one?

 

* Edited to add: I’ve seen numerous mentions of Evernote in the past few weeks. Do you have this? Do you like it?

 

“But wait! There’s more!” I know there are dozens of apps out there and I’ve touched on only a few so please do let me know what you use and what works for you. I’ll send you cookies. (Chocolate chip, not electronic tracking data. Although… That would be a cool spy gadget.)

 

** Here’s something amusing for you. I wrote this post weeks ago in Pages and it took me forever to figure out how to get it to my laptop (in Word) and now, as I’m uploading it to WordPress, I’m having formatting issues. And I just love the irony of this. So much. Plus, the Hulk in me gets to SMASH something. Which is always fun.