Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Sometimes I'm like a kid in a candy store. There are so many things to do, to try, to go, to write. And I get slowed down because I stop to dawdle awhile and when I look at the clock I know I need to get moving. But exploring the world around me is...sigh...what I do, perhaps too much.

My friend, Linda Della Donna, still grieves for her late husband. I worried about her for awhile. Anyone who has done e-mail for awhile knows that without the cues of eye contact, facial expression, body language, voice inflections, any of us will misinterpret anything that is said. I needn't have worried about Linda. She was going through the steps of the grieving process...an individualized journey, no two the same because no two humans are the same.

Linda has a blog, Mourning Joy, that she writes for widows. It reflects a writing talent that warms the heart, joins us at the heart. She is focused. She has found her niche. She knows her topic. She has a target audience.

I asked her if I can link to her blog. She hasn't answered yet. My request got me to thinking...What is it that I should be focusing on? Where is my niche? What is my topic? Who is my target audience? I'm a writer. What should I be writing?

I am working on yet another project...a local business idea that I might want to start. I plan to spend the afternoon working on one of my novels, WG. (Titles are not copyrightable so I won't mention the entire title for this one that has turned into a trilogy.) If I work diligently, I think I can have all three written by Jan. 1, 2007. But if I stay true to form or get real lucky, I might have them finished by June 2007.

I've made a decision. I'm overcoming my email addiction. If I don't use my time writing e-mail I might actually reach my writing goals. So, I'm going to go work on those questions and find my answers. How about you? I'm going to write what I need to write. How about you? I'm going to get focused, find my niche, my topic, my audience. I'm going to write, write, write...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

James A. Michener

Tuesday night I sat down in the living room. On the bookshelf immediately behind me was James A. Michener's Writer's Handbook. I've had that book for a LONG time. I took it down and inside the cover was one of my favorite writing tablets...college ruled, no margins. I can't even FIND that kind of writing paper any more. It was there, though, ready for note-taking.

So today I began to work on my novel again, with Michener's advice still fresh in my mind. There's something new to learn every time you read something. It seems to take a new spin each time, like when you read the Bible. Whatever state of mind you're in, you notice something new that you didn't see before.

Michener died nine years ago in October at age 90. But his work is the kind of work that will live for generations, I think.

I'm feeling...I can't define how I'm feeling. I applied for a job 10 days or so ago. The ad is no longer in the newspaper, and I haven't received any telephone calls asking me to come in for an interview. I'm thinking that I don't have to worry about getting any calls. I'm thinking I'm probably supposed to be doing something else. Like writing.

But friends on a writers' list are talking about traditional vs. POD publishing. Both are discouraging to me today. I mean, how likely is it that I'm going to send in the first manuscript and the editor is gonna say, "Eurika! We gotta sign this marvelous talent!" Well, I guess it COULD happen, but is it likely? Does that sound like I don't believe in my writing abilities? No. It's me trying to be realistic.

Well, if I can't dance, I guess I'd better just keep writing. My current WIP is 30,000 words.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Take responsibility

Mom said to me, "You can't have the same expectations for everyone else that you have for yourself." Good advice.

Mom said to me, "Everyone isn't as capable as you are, so don't try to measure them by your abilities." Makes sense.

Mom said to me, "You never know who is watching you to see what's OK for you to do so they will do the same things." Wow. That piled on a goodly amount of responsibility to my young shoulders. Being the type of person I am (does birth order have anything to do with it?) I took those words VERY seriously. Yep. I'm the first born and feel like I'm responsible for everyone.

Mom said to me, "You can't carry the whole world on your shoulders." Um, that sounded like a contradiction to all of the above to a firstborn child who was growing up in a challenging world during the 50s and 60s.

Then when I grew up and had some years on me I asked some questions.

Mom said to me, "Why do you ask so many questions? Can't you just accept that some things are?

There has always been a driving need to know things, I guess. I stopped asking so many questions. I became more introverted, more observant, collecting data from Experience, which Mom said was the best teacher. Rather than ask questions, I dug and dug, and watched and listened and read and learned the answers.

Mom said to me, "When you do it yourself you remember it longer."

Mom also said to me, "If you want it done right, do it yourself because nobody else is going to do it the way you want it done."

As adults, Mom and I have talked numerous times about some of the Mom-isms I remember and how I interpreted them, often not in the ways that she meant them.

"I didn't know that's how you took that! That wasn't what I meant! You never know how a child will interpret something that you say."

But I must be a responsible individual because these days my mother says to me, "I don't know what I'd do without you."

My mother says to me, "You are the best daughter anyone could ask for."

My mother says to me, "I love you very much."

But maybe I take TOO much responsibility, jumping into the frey when someone I care about is in over their heads. I've been interpreting that as 'teamwork.' What about my own responsibilities? Do I shirk them to one side while I take care of someone else's business? But do they do the same for me? Are my priorities correct? Can you be TOO responsible?

Perhaps it's time for me to focus on my own responsibilities--like writing and my house--and let everyone else around me do the same. Where does one draw the line? Oh, this isn't art class? Artists don't draw straight lines? There are curves in art and curves in life? How does one get and stay focused? How does this apply to writing? Conflict. Observation. Emotion. Focus...