Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Crushing On

Here are some things I'm just loving right now:

1) Toy Story 3. If you haven't seen it yet, run - do not walk - to the theater. You won't be sorry.

2) The backyard. Having a pool when it's over 100 degrees outside is just heavenly.

3) Jennifer Weiner. Already a fab author, but she's also hosting a fab contest. Check it out here.

Summertime is in full-effect. So far, so good. Let's see how much work I get done with such fab distractions.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'd Like To Thank The Academy...

I was just given this super-cool award. Isn't it lovely? Thank you, Amparo Ortiz!
In accepting this award, I must divulge 7 little-known facts about myself. In no particular order, here are 7 factoids:
1) My name is pronounced he-LEE-nuh, but no matter how badly someone butchers it, I never correct them.
2) I'm plotting my next dog adoption without my husband's knowledge.
3) My written Spanish is much better than my spoken Spanish.
4) I've already started saving money to attend the 2011 RWA Conference in NYC.
5) My favorite place in the world is Disneyland.
6) I'd rather drive somewhere than fly, even if it takes me two days to get there.
7) I've installed no fewer than ten nightlights around the house, because I'm afraid of the dark.
And there you have it. More than you'd care to know about lil' ol' me.
And now, I'd like to pass this delightful award on to a few other bloggers who I frequent. Please check out their blogs:
Megan Rebekah

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Students of Life

"You learn something new every day," the old adage goes. A few words easily dismissed as cliche; all but forgotten until we hear it again.

I know this to be true for myself. It is only 9:30 in the morning, yet today I have already learned lessons in 1) Human disasters, 2) Human kindness, and 3) Humorous humans.

1) Some of my family spent ten days in Pensacola, Florida. They enjoyed the beautiful beaches, photographed the dolphins and stingrays near shore, and frolicked in the ocean waves. Just after they left early yesterday morning, the unfortunate news hit - the oil from the BP spill had made its way to Pensacola. I learned of the disaster, and find it hard to measure that news against the bright, beautiful photos they've shared on Facebook. No doubt Mother Nature routinely causes disasters all her own, but I've learned I find it all the more troubling when devastation is man-made.

2) I came across an article about an organization called Back On My Feet. It's a cause devoted to the homeless population in a way I'd never even fathomed before. The ingenuity of the idea, and the kindness of random strangers never ceases to amaze (or uplift) me. Homelessness is a cause near and dear to my own heart, and learning of BOMF was like being wrapped in a warm hug. I learned the human spirit is incredible. I learned there's always more I can do for others.

3) I learned what Gerber Graduates Lil' Crunchies taste like. Okay, maybe it's not the most profound discovery, except for the manner of my taste-test. My one year old was eating them in his high chair when I leaned in to squeal "Si! Si! Si!" in the silly way that makes him laugh so hard. That's when he sneezed. And the contents of his mouth shot into mine. After I gagged, spit, and rinsed, I had to laugh. I learned laughter is and will always be the best way to soothe my nerves and anxieties.

We do learn something new each and every glorious day we're given. I think as writers, we have to open ourselves to these things. It's our job to note the way our bodies react to situations, to better describe them on the page. We must be keenly aware of sights, sounds, feelings, etc., to bring them to life for others.

I have a notebook with me pretty much at all times. One of the more important purposes of keeping one on hand is to record emotions. Think of the happiest times you've had, the saddest, the most you remember exactly how and where your body trembled? Your cheeks hurting from smiling so hard? Your throat tightening painfully from the struggle not to cry?

The next time you open your mailbox or inbox and find a rejection, take a moment to write down exactly what it is you're feeling. Whether you cry, get angry, are still just as hopeful, write it down. Because I guarantee you incorporate your own emotions into your writing, and I believe the authenticity of the author's emotions ring true in the writing.

Remember that every new event you experience, with all the lessons you learn daily, you're not only growing as a person, you're growing as a writer. I don't want to miss a thing. I try to remain an apt pupil as a student of life.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fitting it all in

So many of us have different jobs, obligations, and duties that must be fulfilled before we can write. There are children to care for, parents to care for, favors we dole out to our friends, volunteer work, and oh yeah - the 9-5 that keeps the roof over our head.

Yet we still write.

The road to being a published author is rocky, and let's face it - the odds are long, but we keep at it.

We toil away at the computer long after the kids are in bed and we're at it again before they wake. Perhaps you sit outside on your lunch break with a sandwich in one hand and your pen in the other. Maybe you carry a notebook with you everywhere, for you never know when inspiration will strike. You hope your books will one day be in bookstores, but even before that dream comes true, even now, it feels good just to write.

Sometimes after particularly trying days I wish I had more time. Often I'm writing during time I've chosen to spend at the computer over time I should be sleeping. I've jotted ideas or sentences down on a paper towel with my daughter's crayon. In the past, I've played hooky from work a time or two when I am cruising along in my WIP. I'm not published or paid yet, but I'm still at it.

I do believe the time I take to write pays off. Even if the pay is only the release I feel after I've finished something I can be proud of, it pays off. I also believe many great writers will never be published for the simple reason that they gave up.

Keep at it, friends. Find time to write. No, make time to write. And know that with every page, you have improved. Know that every word you write will pay off. In one way or another.