Monday, April 30, 2007

To the Victims of Virginia Tech and Your Families - We Will not Forget You

One Day Blog Silence

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Spring Slideshow

Just imagine our lives without lovely green grass...

What would it be like if God hadn't given us delicate spring flowers?

...or the ones we planted...

What would the hardworking bumble bee do?

Where would he go?

Just imagine...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Thinking Blogger Award - I'm honored

Lillie Ammann at A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye has awarded Getting it Write for You with the Thinking Blogger Award.

Back in February of this year, Iker Yoldas at The Thinking Blog created this award - or actually meme - as a result of her pondering the meaning of the "meme" in the world of blogging, and what they mean to her. In her thinking, she determined that as far as blogs go, what appeals to her most are those that really make her think. She reminds us that the purpose of linking to blogs is to lead others to quality content. So she created the Thinking Blogger Award and the rules that go with it. She lists five blogs that make her think, and those that receive it pass it along to five that make them think.

Lillie Ammann had this to say about my blog, "Her posts are encouraging, inspiring, and thought-provoking - about writing and about life." I am so honored at your encouraging words and nomination for such a fun award! Thank you so much, Lillie!

I'm tagging:

Betsy Henning at Betsy Henning's Blog because her posts make me think about both the serious issues in life that I might not otherwise think about, as well as the importance of recognizing the simple pleasures in life.

Sylvia at Sylvia's Insight because her positive outlook on life, and huge amounts of "gumption" are nothing less than contagious. Watching her rise to success and all of her life's victories has been a true pleasure.

Harmony Cornwell at Writer in the Making. Her posts are fun, packed full of useful information, and her monthly goals and achievements are an inspiration to me.

Kathy Kherli at Screw You! whose posts always make me long for success! She writes about the issues that impact freelance writers - things you might not give much thought to without some amount of experience.

Carson Brackney at Content Done Better on a whim that maybe he will take a few minutes to answer this one. I tag him because he truly stretches my mind and makes me want to be a deeper thinker and better writer. The title of his blog says it all.

I admire all of you, but the truth is everyone who is on my list of "blogs that I love" is there because, well...I love them. I enjoy reading them every day and as far as I am concerned, you all deserve this award!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Am I an Imposter?

“Believe in the quality of your work and the value of your message and at the same time, recognize surprises always happen in publishing.”

If you scroll down on the left of the screen, you will see that this is today’s writing quote. Well, I don’t know about the publishing part, but it’s still a timely quote because yesterday over at The Writer Mama, she discussed a topic similar to believing in yourself as a writer. It’s hard to fathom, but even the most accomplished writers do not believe in their abilities.

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’”

These are the words of Maya Angelou. Can you believe it? Maya Angelou whose powerful and influential words have impacted people all over the world. She is beyond great—a truly amazing woman and writer! Who would ever think she doubts her skills?

Oh believe me, I can relate. I often wonder how much longer I can keep pulling this writing thing off. But I am not Maya Angelou. I have not achieved her level of success.

Thanks to Christina Katz, I now know there is a name for this phenomenon. It is called the Impostor Syndrome and is basically the feeling that you are not as good at something as others perceive you to be—despite major successes and accomplishments. Instead you attribute your achievements to an ability to “fake it,” luck, or you simply minimize your accomplishments as not that great.

Many famous writers, as well as other occupation holders, question their skills and abilities. In light of that fact, Christina Katz suggests we list words that describe ourselves. In celebration of who I am—and the fact that I might have just a tinge of this Impostor Syndrome—I will list a few words that I think describe who I am.

Gifted (I truly believe we are all)

We all have the same emotions, and similar insecurities. It’s a part of what connects us, and of what makes us who we are as human beings. Allow yourself to rejoice in who you are--as human beings and writers. I’d love to see some of you come up with your own list. Perhaps it may give you a fresh sense of confidence, allowing you to tackle your writing with abandon and renewed gusto.

Until next time, take care!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Four Reasons not to Procrastinate in Writing

Procrastinate vb to put off usually habitually doing something that should be done syn. Dawdle, delay
- as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

For some reason, this week I have been an expert at this most unfortunate condition called procrastination. At this very moment, as I sit here and write a post for my blog, I should be completing a writing assignment that is due today. I am dawdling and delaying until the very last moment. And it’s no good!

Fortunately, most of the time I am not one to procrastinate and that’s a good thing because when you wait until the last minute it usually shows in your writing. Here are four reasons not to do as I am doing right now.

(1) Rushed writing is not good writing. When you are in a hurry it makes it much more difficult to catch the little errors (spelling and punctuation) that can ruin your credibility as a writer.

(2) As a writer it is always good to let your writing “rest” for at least a day or two to enable you to read your paper with fresh eyes. Your mind is not set on reading it just the way you wrote it, allowing critical changes to be made that could make your article much better. When you put it off until the last moment, it’s much harder to do this.

(3) You risk disappointing your client. If you are waiting until the very last moment and your article is not the quality expected of you, your client is not going to be 100% satisfied with your work. You could even lose him as a client.

(4) You risk disappointing yourself. You feel anxious and apprehensive with deadlines looming over your head and you feel badly knowing that had you not put it off you could have done a much better job.

Wow! Four convincing reasons for me to end this post right now and go finish my article. What am I still doing here?

Take care and may you have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Victims of Virginia Tech - Silence for You

Yesterday tragedy struck our country. A young man by the name of Cho Seung-Hui took the lives of 33 people, including himself. This is by far the worst shooting of this nature in American history. Nothing can change the outcome. It is done, and the grieving process must now begin, for family, friends, and for a country left in shock and disbelief. What could have been done to prevent this?

Sad things have been happening since the beginning of time. On March 13, 1964 a young woman from NYC, named Kitty Genovese, was coming home from work in the wee hours of the morning. She was followed home and brutally attacked. Her screams were heard by many, but nobody called the police. Nobody helped. Perhaps they were afraid to get involved, thinking it was a domestic dispute. Perhaps some did not care. She died. But her life could have been saved if someone had gotten involved.

I have spent my day wondering what caused Cho Seung-Hui to do such a thing, and what could have been done differently to prevent it. I can't answer that question, but perhaps simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference. Our involvement doesn't always have to be so dramatic. Just smiling or saying hello to someone who appears to be lonely or upset might change someone's day--their entire life. Or it doesn't have to be a person visibly upset. You don't know what turmoil is going on within another being's mind.

Yes, we can make a difference. I believe, compassion is at the heart of change. That ability to put yourself in another’s shoes is all it takes to care. I’m not saying that what these men did was ok. It’s not. It was wrong. People died. But can't we learn from it? Can't we be compassionate people? We can teach our children to be compassionate and caring individuals. We must do this by example. Stop and show you care. Perhaps if we all do, another situation like this can be avoided.

"As you draw closer to your families in the coming days, I ask you to reach out to those who ache for sons and daughters who are never coming home," said President Bush today at a memorial service for the victims. I think of them and my heart aches. I can only think I understand their pain. In light of this, I am doing as many fellow bloggers will be doing. On Monday, April 30, 2007 I will not be blogging or responding to anyone else's blogs for that entire day.

The silence will not change what's happened, but is meant only to honor those who are gone and is an act of respect for the families who will bear permanent scars from the damage that's been done. My thoughts and prayers will be with them.

My inspiration for this blog comes from Mihaela Lica of eWritings - Online Public Relations. Her words have touched many today-including me.

For more information about the day of blogging silence visit Steli Efti's post "One Day Blog Silence in Honor of the Victims of Virginia Tech."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Simply Amazing!

I sit in my car, waiting for my husband to come out of the store. My eyes are closed-- seatbelt still strapped across my waist. My hand feels the silky smoothness of the strap. I recognize what it is. My youngest daughter's breath slows down, becomes louder, more methodical. She sleeps peacefully. My eldest shuffles the pages of her book. She reads quietly. My mind quickly identifies all it senses and I marvel at the complexity of the human body. I am amazed at how easy the mind and senses come together to identify all that surrounds us.

Wouldn't it be nice if writing were as easy as living and breathing? Not to say it never is, but the words do not always come flowing from the fingertips like the blood that circulates our bodies. Things get in our way and impede the writing process. What are our distractions?

At times, merely living gets in our way. We are busy people. Many have jobs to go to and families to raise. My job is at home maintaining a household and raising children. I love it. There is nothing in my life I enjoy more, but it definitely makes carving out time for writing difficult.

Juggling household chores and the demands of parenting are hard enough in themselves, but adding writing to the mix really steps things up a bit. I admit that I have not yet mastered time management, but there is one thing that consistently works for me. I write when my three-year-old naps. I never do anything else during this time and it allows me at least two good hours in the afternoon to work on my writing projects. It is a productive time for me.

Another big distraction in my life is--you are never going to believe this one--the internet. It is not unusual for me to turn my laptop on with the intent of working on an article, but first I think, "Well, I will just check my email real quick." I check my email, find a neat link to an interesting website, check it out, and that one leads me to another. Then I figure I may as well see if any posts were made to my favorite blogs, and before you know it an hour has gone by. An hour I could have spent writing!

A couple of things have helped me in this area. I only allow myself so much time a day to do all that fun stuff. I take a look at my schedule and determine when I should read those blogs, and then stick to it. Ok, so I get a little ADHD sometimes and I don't always stick to it, but I try. I find that when I do, my writing time becomes more productive.

Another thing I do--especially when I have a project looming--is turn the internet off. I make sure my research is done so I don't need it anymore, and then apply myself. I get into the project and before I know it I am nearly done.

Many things get in our way, but many things can be done to overcome the obstacles. And it's true that some days will be more productive than others, but we must keep at it. Keep those fingers typing. Eventually they've got to work with your mind in the same way that your senses do; working in coalition to write a masterpiece. Right?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Accolades of Journaling

I woke up early this morning to see my husband off for first day of trout and was treated to this lovely sunrise. Perhaps it will serve as writing inspiration for you!

Today I want to talk about journaling. I already touched on this with my meme post, and it seems that many of my blogging friends already participate in this great activity, but there are so many positive things to say about it that I felt it warranted a post of its own.

Journaling is by far one of the most useful exercises a writer can take part in for many reasons. To begin with, it serves as a great warm up. An aerobic enthusiast would not begin a kickboxing routine without first loosening up her body. In much the same way, a writer must also warm up her mind before embarking on a writing project. There are always exceptions, like when you get that burst of inspiration and you know exactly what turn your story must take—then you WRITE!

If you are a writing procrastinator, journaling is a free writing experience in which you have the benefit of committing your thoughts to paper without worrying about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or anything else. These very concerns have the potential to take your focus off of the actual act of writing itself—thus possibly snuffing out your very creativity. The ability to write without inhibitions clears your mind for other writing projects and gives you more ideas for more. It may even help you with something you are currently working on.

Of course, you may even find that the personal gains outweigh the practical benefits. As I said the other day, I find it to be therapeutic. I get an opportunity to write down what I have accomplished in my day and that helps to alleviate my stress. I can say, “Wow, I did more than I thought I did!” That’s a great thing to be able to say! I also get to look back on my memories—many of my children that I would not have recalled otherwise.

Don’t let me fool you though. I do have a journaling regret. I mourn the fact that I did not journal when my older daughter was little. I wrote down a couple snippets of things here and there, those I never wanted to forget, but I did not write down the little things. She had the cutest way of saying ketchup, and I can’t remember what it was. Lesson learned. Now I write down everything—even things that seemed trivial at the time are now priceless.

Journaling keeps you involved in writing. It is healthy practice. We all know what they say about that! Practice makes perfect, so go buy yourself a lovely journal and get to it!

Until next time, take care!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again!

I'm back from Virginia (it was cold but great), recovered from migraine headaches (for now), the flu, and have been tagged with a meme! Life is good!

Harmony Cornwell of Writer in the Making tagged me with a meme that asks, "What is your favorite type of writing?"

I really enjoy all kinds of writing, but from a professional standpoint I enjoy article writing the most. I have always liked the educational element of researching a topic, learning everything you can about something, and then turning it into your own original piece. It's so exciting when words, sentences, transitions, and information all come together smoothly and coherently. It's creativity and it's fun!

From a completely personal standpoint I would say I enjoy journaling the most. There is nothing quite so cathartic as writing down one's thoughts and feelings at the end of the day. It helps you to know who you are and understand how you really feel about things. Not only that but I love being able to look back through my journals and remember my past. Memories are recorded there that I would not have recalled had I not written them down. My own journaling rule is to never write about silly disagreements I have had with my husband. If I need to do that I write it on a separate sheet of paper and then throw it away. I need only to remember the greatest highlights of my life, marriage, and family--not the negative stuff!

I may have expanded a little more on this meme, but it was too hard to completely narrow it down to one kind of writing.

I am tagging:

Sylvia C of Sylvia's Insight
Kathy Kehrli of Screw You!

Robin of Robin's Writing Now

I missed you all and appreciate your loyalty! Sorry it took me so long to get back into the groove of things--I wasn't counting on the flu! Geesh! I will be back in a day or two with another blog for aspiring writers!

Take care and see ya soon!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Going Away

I just wanted to let you know that my family and I are going to Virginia for the Easter Holiday. Nick has family down there and we thought a little break away would be nice. I planned on blogging last night, but got hit by a migraine headache--that makes two in three days. Hopefully they don't become a problem. I will try and blog while I am away, but you know how that works out!

See you next week if not before!

Have a Happy Easter!