Writing Contests? With This Family?

Between being sick (chronic is wonderful), Cheekies and Champ I haven’t had a lot of time to write this month.  The days I feel like I can write have usually been spent chasing a baby or playing fetch with a pup.  Add Lumpy’s promotion ceremony into the mix, and I have no free time.

My plans for writing have gone astray.  Even the software on my phone hasn’t helped.  The idea of writing two short stories this month?  I was suffering from sleep deprivation when I thought of that.

One story.  I’ll be lucky to finish the one story that is close to finished.  The question has become “Do I enter Glimmer Train Press or Writer’s Digest?  If I get the one story edited, of course.

Luckily, I have about ten days to finish the story and decide.  Do you have any suggestions, Dear Readers?

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Writing Again

So, the stars aligned on Wednesday.  For two glorious hours the baby slept, the old dog slept and the puppy slept.  Instead of doing housework I took time for me.  I sat in front of my computer and just started writing.  Two thousand words later, the baby’s cry and puppy’s responding bark weren’t that bad.

Now, if I could just get the stars to align every single day.

Stacking Cups

It turns out that stacking cups can be very therapeutic.  That is until the household destroyer knocks them over.  Sometimes I don’t even get the cups stacked before Cheekies knocks them over.  Yet, I keep stacking the cups.  I’ve gotten pretty good at stacking the cups really fast, really tall and color coordinating.  Besides, it’s almost fun every time Cheekies knocks them down and I restack the cups.
I figure this is like writing.  Just when you think you are nearing your dream of becoming published something comes along and knocks you down a few pegs.  But, you keep writing, getting better with each draft, each story, each query or contest.

Back From Vacation and Now I Need a Vacation

It turns out technology can’t actually write a blog post.  Nor can technology write a short story.
I spent a little too much time hanging with my grandma, playing with my nieces, and enjoying being home.  Other than the trip up to Colorado, I got absolutely no writing done.  Sad, I know.
Oh well, we’re home now.  It’s only the thirteenth of the month.  That’s enough time to recover from the trip and finish the short story I started in the car.

The More Things Change…

We are on vacation at the moment.  Lumpy’s posting is around 900 miles from our family.  Saturday morning we loaded the baby, the dog, and a bunch of stuff in the car and headed north.
As I sat there typing on my phone it hit me.
Technology has changed writing.  When I was a kid I would listen to my Walkman as I wrote with a pen in my journal.  Shaky penstrokes I might not be able to decipher once I returned home filled lined page after lined page.  Old country tunes softly played in my ears where I could barely hear.  (If I played them where I could hear over Dad’s talk radio my Walkman would travel with Mom the rest of the trip.)  On those long trips the legends of the West became my friends.  William Bonny (aka Billy the Kid), Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, Kit Carson, and the fictitious Cartwright Clan and Barley Family danced through my imagination as Marty Robbins and Chris LeDoux sung lyrics that brought the country we drove through to life.
As a teenager I wrote ideas to type up when I got home while listening to CDs with my headphones.  The Cartwrights were replaced with The Magnificent Seven and Lonesome Dove.  Marty Robbins was replaced with Garth Brooks, dcTalk and Audio Adrenaline.  Yet legends in their long black coats, high top boots and six-shooters still filled my writing.  In writing – that depended on how well maintained the dirt road we were driving on to be readable – I used the renegades of old to work through the changes in my life.
In my twenties I typed and listened to Chris LeDoux via mp3s.  The road could be bumpy and rough, but the crack of John Wesley Horton’s pistol and the whipping of his jacket came through loud and clear.  Descriptions of the wagon ruts I just saw were easily deciphered at home.  My main character now knew more about life, though the gypsy blood of a cowgirl still flowed through her veins.
Now at thirty I’m on my phone writing stories, posting directly to my blog, listening to music or watching live TV and stopping at Starbucks.  Where the barista scans my phone for my payment.  As I drive down the road with Chris LeDoux helping pass the time, my main character is riding through the sage brush.  Her horse stops by the Rio Grande, a drink to quench their thirst beckoning them.  The wind whistles past, turning the arroys of Southern New Mexico cold.  The yucca and cacti hold the promise of summer in their flower buds.  The Organ Mountains are blue hills in the distance.  The land is hard and dusty, yet as my character rests for a moment she realizes there is no where else she would feel comfortable.  As she mounts and follows me further north on my trip she sings Desperado.
Life has changed a lot since I first picked up pen and paper.  But, I guess some things never change.  I will always write about the American West.  And my character will always ride through this hard land, even if she now has GPS and a cellphone to keep her company while working cattle.

Writing During the Week Again

I started a new short story yesterday.  A brand new story!  As in new characters, new setting, new plot line, and new problems.  It is starting nicely.  Well, the process has started nicely.  My stories always start off with some major issue.
Getting back into writing during the week is nice.  This short story is for Writer’s Digest’s Annual Short Story Contest that ends May 1.  If I can keep writing during the week I should make the deadline easily.
Now time to see if I can write around 1,000 words a day again.

New Time for Writing

The vet went well yesterday.  Jet has a new lump, but she’s healthy for an older dog.
When we got home Jet laid down and Cheekies began playing with her toys.  That’s when I realized something.  If I write on my phone I have more time to write.  I can write on the floor while playing.  After all, Cheekies is crawling to what toy she wants.  She can sit and entertain herself.  As long as I’m right beside her, Cheekies is fine.  I just can’t use my laptop because Cheekies is drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  Writing becomes gibberish when Cheekies helps.
This new found time to write is great.  I can’t wait to start a brand new short story.

Sick Day

Lumpy brought home a cold from the office.  I got it last week.  Yesterday Cheekies woke up coughing and sneezing.  It will probably shock you to learn I only got a story idea down on paper.  I really didn’t think that would shock anyone.  I’m going to try flushing the story out more tomorrow.  Today?  I was up most of the night, so if Cheekies will sleep I’m going to nap.
Does anyone else have troubles working with a sick baby?

Cheekies Is Interfering With Writing

Cheekies is having a couple of those days.  She is cranky and crying.  Nothing seems exciting to her, except Mama coming up with sing-song “poems.”
My poetry skills are horrible, especially without sleep.  Here’s a very pathetic example:
Baby, baby, baby.
Baby, that’s me!
Or this one:
I’m a little baby
I’m not short
And I’m not stout.
I don’t get all steamed up
But I can shout
You can’t tip me over
And pour me out.
See what I mean?  Children’s poems and stories will never be my genre.  Luckily, that isn’t what I want to write.
I am hoping today is better so I can write something more adultlike.

Good Friend and Writing

It’s St. Valentine’s Day, which means most people think about love, flowers, chocolate and jewelry.  I guess I should write a post about something to do with St. Valentine’s Day.  Jewelry works.  When I think of jewelry I think of a friend.

You know that friend you had as a kid that no one could figure out why you were friends?  The outgoing, bubbly, fun to be with, energetic, non-geek to your introvert, dour, no one wanted to be with you, extreme geek that secretly watched Star Trek and Star Wars?  (Okay, maybe not that secretively if you saw the posters on the back of my bedroom door.  But those could be covered up.)  That friend who you’ve known so long you don’t count the years because it makes you feel old?

My friend like that is named Rachael.  She’s everything I’m not, which is good.  Otherwise our teen years would have been spent in a library.  That would have been boring.  Well, not really, but we’ll pretend for Rachael’s sake.  (Howdy, Rachael.)  Ask anyone who knew us when we were young if they are surprised that Rachael is now in direct sales they would laugh and say “nope.”  (I know.  I’ve asked.)  What does Rachael sale?  Jewelry.  Sparkling pretty things.  (Which I assure you I am not trying to sale you.)

Anywho, Rachael is great at selling jewelry.  Her business means Rachael has to be outgoing and friendly.  After all, she does jewelry parties.  (Supposedly these are parties where some woman has her friends over and Rachael sales jewelry.)  Rachael came up with Blingo.  That is a combo of Bingo and bling.  She has a Facebook page where she gives fashion advice like “The color this year is orange.  You should wear lots of orange.”

Rachael can create great graphics.  She can put together a flier that makes even someone like me wonder for a moment if they might need the jewelry on the flier.  After all, couldn’t this make you go “Hum, I think that I might like that piece?”

 

Here's a sample of Rachael's work.

What Rachael cannot do is write.  Here is a direct quote from Rachael about one of the pieces in the graphic, the Midnight Sparkle Ring.  “A ravishing ring with textured feathers, and royal blue, marquise cut sapphire crystal, overlay a larger marquise cut glittering sandstone.  This Midnight Sparkle Ring has all the magic and wonder of a crisp night sky.  You can almost see the stars twinkling in the sandstone.”  (That’s a direct quote.  See what I said about writing?)

Rachael obviously can’t write.  Well, she can write, but it is dry and quite uninteresting.  (I’m gonna duck real quick while Rachael throws something at me.)  She’s always been to the point when writing.  No imagination in her written words.  This is almost impressive in a strange way, since Rachael can paint vividly.  She can create wonderful graphics.  As she talks she breathes life into the jewelry.  But asking her to write about a piece it is a hopeless endeavor.

(Here’s where we circle back to writing.)  Luckily for Rachael she happens to have a friend who loves to write.

“The stars sparkle at you from deep in the night sky as you stare into this beautiful ring.  You can imagine yourself flying through the heavens, taking a right at the second star on the left.  Your dreams soar high while morning beckons in the distance.  But even the sparkle of the Morning Star that lightens the sky can’t make your dreams crash to Earth.”

Any old ring can quickly become more in the care of a writer.  A writer needs to help the reader both see the object and feel the emotions the object stirs up.  That’s the entire job of the writer.  And it turns out that describing jewelry is a great exercise for an inspiring writer.  It doesn’t hurt when said writer has a good friend who just happens to sale jewelry.  After all, if I can’t stir something in Rachael when she reads what I’ve written about a piece it isn’t a good description.

Jewelry and writing.  Who knew they went together like Rachael and me?