Sweetheart or Shark?

You wake up one morning and… you’ve been turned into…. a lawyer! A cut throat, ambulance chaser in expensive suits. Your first case of the day is a widow you know killed off her husband. She is paying you a bucket of money from the insurance claim to make sure she gets away with it. Would you continue on, making easy money (and a tonne of it) or would you change and become a saintly, goodie goodie lawyer helping ‘the people’ and borrowing money from friends so you can afford your morning coffee? It all depends on your version of success and happiness.

Would You Like Coffee With That?

Do you want a hot mug of coffee or do you want a mug of hot coffee? Do you watch your word placement as you write and edit? Make sure you are describing a hot coffee and not a hot mug.

Something like “I’m an antique lover.” Works in conversation, spoken words have tone to show their meaning and feedback to help any confusion. When writing calling someone an antique lover could be misunderstood. Do you love antiques or are you the antique? This really makes a bigger difference when you are trying to describe an idea of sequence of events to someone else. It is also one of the things I was told I do a lot when I was writing in college.

Close Your Eyes…

Close your eyes… pick up something (not your hot coffee cup!) and describe it by touch alone. What do you miss by not being able to see and more importantly, what do you discover through touch that you would have overlooked if you could just plainly see what it was? Consider all your senses next time you describe a scene, a person or a thing.

Don’t Stress About It

What brings you stress? Kids, your job(s), spouse, parents, deadlines, or any of a hundred other things. For me, people give me the most stress. Also, one that will seem odd, my name. You will think it odd that I’d stress out over my name but I do. I gave up my maiden name when I married, the husband wanted me to and I did it to make him happy. Then, we got divorced and I decided to keep my married name, like a marker to show that I had at least gotten that far. Now, I don’t feel I have a last name at all. I get stressed when I have to fill in my last name cause I don’t want to be that name. Anyway, it’s a long winding story.

What odd things bring you to the stress breaking point? Have you ever written about them. Just a freestyle, brain storming type essay to vent your feelings. It’s amazing how much you can discover about yourself and your feelings when you vent on paper. You know you control who reads it, if anyone so you can type things you’d never say and not even dare to think in public. Vent your stress. Maybe all it really needs is an outlet, a chance to let off some steam.

Stressing about family and friends – personal relationships, is something we have to live with. You just can’t get rid of people. I think of various Twilight Zone style stories I’ve seen and read. Those tales of the last person on Earth or the only one, somehow, even for just a day. Doesn’t that just seem like paradise sometimes? I wrote about my adventures as the only person left. It was such a blast, I did so many things I’ve always wanted to do, went to all kinds of places and tried all kinds of things I’d be too shy to do if anyone were watching. But it was great fun to write it and see it all happening in my mind as I wrote.

The best way I handle family stress is to give myself a day off, even if I have to lie to get it. When necessary I tell them I’m working (my day job) and then go out just as if I were working. Then I drive. Most of the time I don’t even have a real destination in mind. I might not have much spending money either. It doesn’t matter. I just go for coffee and read a book in one of those coffee shops where all the soccer Moms hang out. It’s a nice break. I start to feel like I’m really part of the world again and not tightly fitted into my little space squished between family and work. It’s nice to just be me in the world.

Deadlines are another big stress. I have a bad habit (for lack of a better word) of taking on too much. I just seem to think I can never do enough. As if I have to compare myself to some perfect woman writer who probably doesn’t exist outside of my own mind. I have begun to realize this about myself. I handle it by admitting I am not super woman. If I have dug myself in too deep I allow myself to decide what stays and what goes. I’ve learned to make better decisions about what projects I do take on. Rather than saving the world I am just doing what will work for me. (I only save the world every other week now).

Anyway, everyone has evolved different stress management techniques. Do what works for you. Find something that does work though. Don’t wait till you have steam coming out of your ears and you’re yelling and screaming at everyone in your vicinity. That’s not good for anyone’s stress level.

Get Thee Blogged

21 21 21 Great Blogs to Read a New Zealand blogger has given my blog a review.

If you assume everyone who has a blog wants (in some way or degree) to be famous… that’s a LOT of people around the world who want to be famous. Or do we all just really want to find someone who will faithfully listen to us, like a great fan.

I would like to be famous. Not for something stupid or horrible like a murderer or someone who rips off a bank and is caught cause I asked them to transfer it all to my account before I left the scene. I’d like to be famous for some kind of good, positive and optimistic reason. I can be the woman who has that great blog, the one you actually enjoy reading and remember to come and check more than once a year or when something else jogs your memory to remember that I actually exist.

It’s sad how we don’t want to be just another one of the unknowns. Yet, the unknowns are important and we really, truly need the unknowns to know us. How can you be famous if everyone is famous. There have to be a bunch of the great unknowns who bother to make us famous.

It’s funny, but I don’t want to be popular, just famous.

Being popular seems to be about snobbery, being part of some clique/ group who look down on all others in order to feel they are all something better. That really peeves me, that kind of attitude. So, I don’t want to be popular. I want to be famous and yet unpopular. I can be that famous woman everyone thinks they are the only person to have discovered. I will always be the new thing. That way I can always be fresh.

Not fresh in the way of being slutty. Though, I’d do that too. It could be fun. If I was feeling pretty one day and walking along and saw a nice looking guy in a suit… I wouldn’t put it too far past me to give him a pat, a little brush against him on the street. Something like that. Being fresh isn’t all bad. If you’re nice about it. You can go too far and cross the line into being obnoxious. Don’t invade someone’s personal space too much at a time. Even better if you can be mysteriously fresh. Just give that nice looking guy a pat while you’re in a crowd and he won’t ever know who did it, unless you grin and make sure he is suspicious.

Anyway, I was thinking about how many people are blogging and how many of them seem to feel it’s important to have readers, to become popular and be part of various other sites and groups. It’s like we are all digitally socializing. No more messy face to fact meetings, like a blind date. Now you can enjoy your social circle of friends and acquaintances without every leaving your computer. Glue yourself down into your chair, make your own coffee and put on whatever cyber face you like for that day. No fuss, no muss, just go ahead and be interpersonal.

Are we going to end up like some weird science fiction experiment in human behaviour? When was the last time you met someone new? Was it virtual or out in the real world? What happens when people begin to avoid even the virtual world? What happens if someone shrinks their world down to the size of a peanut and they no longer go outside into the real world and no longer dare to step into the cyber world either? That would be a true hermit. I expect they would just have to die out or invent some kind of time machine so they could send themselves backwards or forwards in time to a place where there are no other humans. Perhaps somewhere after we have blown ourselves up or suffocated with our own pollution and such. No doubt there will be an end to humans eventually. It would be kind of ironic if that hermit wasn’t the only one to do the same thing. What if everyone got hermitized and they all sent themselves ahead in time? Suddenly everyone would be back, together on the planet even after the human race had officially annilhated themselves.

It would be interesting. I doubt I will be there. I still smile at people on the street. It’s more likely I will be picked up by some mass killer and stuffed into a shallow grave. I won’t be there with the hermits at the end of time. Well, time as counted by humans. I don’t think the planet itself really counts time at all. It’s been around too long to want to think about how many birthdays it’s had.

People Watching

I don’t think you can really be a writer unless you are also an avid people watcher. I really like to sit with a coffee and watch the people around me. I don’t write stories for them, I just observe and come to my own conclusions about who they are, what they think and feel. Do they seem tired, grumpy, cheery, clever, amused, interesting, rushed or laid back? Are they well dressed or a bit too casual? Does that hair style really suit them? You can go on forever.

What things do you see that cause you to decide who someone is, on one sighting alone? I think the way they dress, their body language and how their face, are big first impression tip offs. Next time you are people watching consider the first three things you notice about people. Do you notice different things than I do?

Do you write that way? When you describe a character do you write about them as if they were someone you just saw at the mall, in the parking lot at work or wherever you happen to be writing them. Do you give details about their appearance, body language and facial expressions?

Have you ever written about a stranger you watched somewhere? Try it. Give yourself a challenge and write in a different venue than your usual. If you write fiction try poetry, if you write non-fiction try fiction and so on. Go nuts and write a greeting card just for them!

Most of all, keep watching those passers by, you never know when they will become inspiration.

The Email Subject Line

Lovely, luscious readers, tonight I have two, count them, two great, sensational, momentous ideas for you! Can you tell I’m kind of enthusiastic tonight? !! Too much coffee I fear. But it was GOOD coffee!

Anyway, idea number one. Next time you need to write a short bio for yourself pick up a magazine. Have you ever read the bios they print for the contributing writers. Well, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Of course, not all of them are as magnificent as your own will be. But, they give you a great vantage point to start your own. You can even collect the best of the best contributors bios in a file and use them to keep yours even better by comparison.

OK, now you’re revved up for idea number two. Who can blame you. I’m so revved up a this point I may never need to sleep at all tonight. Wouldn’t that be nice. Think of all I could get DONE.

You will be thanking me for sharing these words of wisdom with you for many moons to come. Basically, use the space/ line for ‘subject’ in your emails. Use it, use it wisely, cautiously and smartly. Don’t be a knob and type in ‘hi’. What do you think happens to any email which looks like spam? Right! It gets the quick flush. Your email will not be read if you leave an ambiguous subject line or, worse, if you completely forget to add one at all. Don’t be an email loser, make good use of the subject line and warn others to do the same. That way people won’t be asking you why you never read their email. Unless of course, they only send those forwarded joke emails that you never actually do read. Who can blame you?!! For yourself you will now heed this grand advice and never again darken your email subject line with useless, unclear drivel. Instead, go forth and type in clear, concise and clever subject lines to alert your readers just who you are and why they should not randomly delete your very important email as spam.

So that’s it for tonight. I suggest you all drink coffee and stay up with me. We can write about the moon, scribble odes to the moon. Write on.

I Don’t Feel Like Writing

I don’t feel like writing cause my bra strap is too tight. I don’t feel like writing cause I’m not in the mood. I don’t feel like writing cause I’m too tired. I don’t feel like writing cause I don’t have anything really brilliant to say today. I don’t feel like writing cause my typing is worse than my penmanship tonight. I don’t feel like writing cause my asthma is bugging me. I don’t feel like writing, I just don’t feel like writing. Can’t I just not feel like writing?

I can always come up with reasons why I don’t feel like writing, some of them are real reasons. But, in the end, later I’ll still be trying to catch up on everything I didn’t write the night before. Time keeps passing, you can’t politely ask everything to stop for you.

What do you do to get back on track when you don’t feel like writing? Sometimes I have a shower. Going for a drive or a walk also works, weather and gas money permitting. Even just taking yourself away for the time it takes to make a fresh coffee is now and then enough to get yourself back into a writing frame of mind.

If not, maybe you need to make a list instead. Lists are a short form of writing. You don’t have to obey rules of punctuation, grammar or spelling. You just make notes for yourself. List your plot developments for fiction you’re working on. List possible spin off articles if you’re writing non-fiction. Make a list of ideas you could work on if you felt like writing.

In the process of making a list I usually find I suddenly really feel like writing again. In fact, I often start writing right on the back of my list.