Here's what I want to get done:
- Write The Encounters of Paul Bunyan, a play to be performed by twenty-three 9 yo during the summer at CET. (This MUST get done, not just a "want.")
- Format and create a cover for my book The Other Art: Theater Skills for Every Child, Home Edition.
- Upload it to Smashwords
- Format and create a cover for The Other Art, School Edition.
- Upload it to Smashwords.
- Complete the editing of White Fire.
- Re-edit White Fire.
- Format and get a cover for White Fire.
- Upload it to Smashwords.
- Write a new children's show for me and Chris to perform in August at Double Play Saturday.
- Write a new children's show for December's Double Play Saturday.
- Complete a second draft for White Fire 2...which title alludes me right now.
- Complete a second draft for Thirina's Desert...and decide whether I think it's worth editing beyond that.
- Finish my last NaNoWriMo novel...and the name is totally gone out of my head. And I don't feel like looking it up.
- Start a Kids monologue book.
- Get my Short Scripts for 2-3 Kids, which is already on SmashWords, onto Amazon.
- Submit one of my picture books and get Steven Kellogg to illustrate it. (I love his pictures)
- Learn how to illustrate well so I can create the illustrations for the rest of my picture books.
And while I'm at it, I'd also like to:
- totally declutter the shed, the garage, the attic, and the office. I suppose my closet could use a going over too.
- Landscape the front and backyards.
- Build a new deck.
- Create some pathways through the field.
- Plant the upper field in trees--don't know what kind yet; or maybe timber bamboo.
- Make a plywood cut-out of a panda or two and paint them and put them among the bamboo.
- Fix up the barn.
- Make a strong, deep, tall fence for the dogs.
- Grow veggies all year.
- Create a fish hatchery in the back field.
- Cross stitch a few gorgeous pictures and give them away to some special people as gifts. (Yes, I already know who but they can't know...because I might just finish the projects.)
- And play more games.
- And spend more time with family and friends.
(None of these items include anything on my bucket list.)
So, let's see, if I were to use Milo's pencil--the one he got from the Mathemagician (everyone should have at least one copy of this book
; I've been through three or four in my lifetime and I want to get the Kindle version, too)--I could figure out how long all these projects are going to take...and maybe I could just live forever, too. :/Next post will have to be: How I Whittled Down my To-Do LIst So I Didn't Drive Myself Insane!
It's out there. The Garden and the Backyard, too. It's waiting for me so it can drag me in and turn me monster green. The rains were falling and now the sun is shining. The grass has sprouted up to window sill height. Where's a cow when you need her? But it's also the blackberries. Those vines keep sprouting up from no where, and spreading out. It's a continuous horror movie. Although, I really like eating the fruit in August. That's when I get lulled into thinking the blackberry vines aren't so bad. But when your barn is starting to disappear behind the blackberries, it is bad! Tricksy vines.
The peas I started several weeks ago in little pots in the house want real dirt in the real outdoors but I changed a couple of things in the yard and the garden isn't ready. My poor little peas are starting to wilt. It may have to do with the cat chewing on them now and then. I bought seeds. I feel the pull. But once I start, there is no end. None. Ever. I will have to continue to plant, grow, and eat. The shame of it all. The tragedy!
Here's a short radio show episode called The Garden. The events are true but the names have been changed to protect the innocent. (hahahaha...enjoy!)
Two days ago, I was stuck at my computer making updates, responding to emails, and other tasks that I can't even remember. I would take breaks by going on FaceBook or getting a drink of water. Somewhere in all that bebopping around the computer, I saw a serene photo of a pristine beach, calm ocean and blue skies. I ran across two or three more wonderful outdoor photos. With a heavy sigh I thought, If only I could go there and see it. Then I wondered what was stopping me.
My butt was not super-glued to the chair!
Did I not live in Oregon, a land of inspiration? Was it not spring? Was it not sunny outside?! What was wrong with me? Didn't I have photo-ops in my own backyard?! Why do I have to wait until I "travel" some where?!
Today, I put down the computer and went outside...in bare-feet no less. I only came in to show you these pictures to prove I was there and to put away the camera, then I'm off on another outdoor adventure in my own backyard.
I love cloud shapes
Pear Tree bud
Two ultralights over the house
I do a lot of both reading and writing. When I finally stepped into whatever century this is and bought an ebook reader (Kindle-because Amazon has mass quantities of free classics; I now have quite a library of classics. But I digress), I started reading even more. Is there a title beyond "avid reader"? And because I'm a penny-pincher sometimes, I looked for ways to get free books. I found those previously mentioned classics. I discovered Library2Go (I can only borrow those ebooks but that's not a problem). I discovered Book Bub and Pixel of Ink which send me daily emails about free or seriously low-priced ebooks. And even Smashwords (where I, too, now have a book).
You would be right if you guessed that many of the freebies are from new, self-published authors. (I also got a couple of Artemis Fowl books for free, the Hunger Game trilogy for small change, and several others that were reduced in price. So there. Anyway...) I happen to like the "new" authors. Being "self-published" doesn't mean that their writing is bad just because a "real" publisher didn't snatch them up. I have found some great books! (Remember? I'm a beyond-avid-reader). Have I found some awful ones as well? YES! I just delete those.
Where does the Writing part of this post come in? Right now. The stories that I delete renew my desire to write well for whoever reads my books! I want the formatting and spelling to be perfect. (I'll probably miss something but hopefully not a lot - I pre-apologize.) I want my stories to be great! And just so you know, I'm working on it. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.
I love my critique group. They keep me going and growing, encouraged and enthused. Just in case you're unfamiliar with critique groups here are some answers...even if you didn't ask the questions:WHY:
- Because they'll catch problems with your manuscript you didn't know you had--anything from spelling to inconsistent characters. This sounds harsh but often it's just helpful feedback. If you really feel that the group is WRONG, then you just set aside your manuscript for a day or two and go back and see if you might understand what they're saying. That happens to me. Once, they said that one of my scripts seemed melodramatic for my usual fare. What did they know, right? Then the next day I looked at it again and tossed it. They were right. I started all over and got the kind of script I wanted. It worked!
- Because there's encouragement in numbers. Our group has gone to writer conferences together. At one of our meetings, we discussed a particularly discouraging conference, the kind that makes you consider quitting writing and becoming a farmer instead. But we found solutions to our discouragement and we're still meeting. (One of us is a farmer but he was that before being a writer.)
- Because having your manuscript read aloud by someone else, helps you hear the problem sentences (or paragraphs or page).
WHEN: My group meets pretty much each week; many times there will be something that comes up for several of us and so we don't meet one week for the month. Other groups meet 1x/month. Other groups meet online only. We found that meeting once a week allows us to explore other aspects of authoring, such as website design, self-publishing, and even celebrations of published books.
Just pick a day and go for it.WHERE: Library, your home, cafe. Pick one.HOW: The point is to give helpful feedback. Did something not quite work? say so but don't rewrite for them. Did you like the main character's sauciness? Say that as well. It's important to let your group know what was "right" about their manuscript as well. (I add that because as a director of plays I once made the mistake of not complimenting my piano player. She thought I hated what she was doing! I just hadn't said anything because she was doing a great job, but my lack of expressing that caused her to think I was disappointed in her performance. Well, that learning moment carried over into my manuscript critiquing. Now I make sure I talk about the cool stuff my critique group friends--and my actors--do so they know to leave the great parts in.)Do you have other questions about critique groups? or do you have more great tips? Please share!
It takes so long to cut a Shakespeare script. And, yes, when I'm directing a Shakespeare play with teens in it and the audience is going to be their parents and younger siblings, I'm cutting Shakespeare...okay, that's my excuse but really I cut Shakespeare because I can't stand the play to keep going on and on and on. So back to cutting.
At first I was cutting some words here and a small section there. I added my changes to my document on the computer and saw that I still had 10 PAGES worth of script to cut! Alas! Alack! This was a tragedy!
Second time through, I was kind of on a rampage. I couldn't take forever to cut the thing. Funny part here? Cut; there were already funny parts in the script. Poetical & flowery language about love? Forget it; gotta get to the root, the essence of the thing. Finally I got done and it worked out okay.
And thus I see why some of my own novels remain un-edited: I either don't want to cut down to the essence...or that's all I have left. *sigh* Back to work.
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Adapting folktales for 2-3 children to perform? Things are bound to get twisted!
I was watching a YouTube nature video and right in the middle of it, the film-maker answers his cell phone to tell the person he can't talk, but he'll call back.If your cell phone rings and you can't talk right then, don't answer it in the first place!
If you answer the phone just to say, "I can't talk right now; I'll call you back," DON'T ANSWER IT!If you let voice mail answer, the caller will know that you can't talk at that moment.The cool thing about cell phones is they have voice mail, caller ID and texting as well. Just to be clear, if your cell phone rings and you are going to say any of the following, train yourself to turn off the ringer and not answer instead:
To be even clearer, just don't answer your phone in the following situations:
- "I can't talk but I'll call you back in a minute."
- "I'm right in the middle of something; can I call you back?"
- "Hi. Can I call you later?"
- "Let me call you back."
Obviously, there may be exceptions but there are ways to avoid that as well. For instance, if you're waiting to find out how your good friend's heart surgery went, then don't go to the movies (or wherever) until after the event. If all your calls are so important that you cannot shut off the cell for a couple of hours, or you will answer it regardless of the circumstance, then stay home "waiting by the phone"...but do you really want to do that? The solution? Just don't answer it!And most of the above goes for texting as well.
- you're at a theater watching a movie.
- you're in a class.
- you're at a concert or other live performance (music, dance, drama, etc.)
- you're in the foyer of a restaurant waiting to be seated.
- you're at a friend's house.
- your friend is at your house.
- you're at a party.
- you're hosting a party.
- you're in a car with a friend.
- you're in a meeting.
- you're with your family for Thanksgiving (or Christmas, special dinner, Mom and Dad's anniversary party, just watching a movie at home, etc.)
- you're in the bathroom.
NaNoWriMo is over and I am so glad! Why? Because it was intensive making up a new story, because it absorbed most of my waking thoughts, because I almost didn't want to see a computer again for as long as I could stand it. (I actually shut down my computer for all the Thanksgiving weekend.)
But I still love NaNoWriMo. Why? Because I did it! Because I did make up a story even when it was hard to do; because more than anything, I noticed that a little work goes a long way. Today, even though I didn't have a word count to fulfill, I sat down at my computer for several hours and edited two picture book stories, reworked my website (slightly) and wrote this blog. And it didn't feel like work.
The hardest thing to overcome when being a writer are distractions. During NaNoWriMo, I learned to ignore distractions. I think I can carry that over and start working consistently on my writing. (Key word is consistent). I have 5 more short scripts to prep before I ebook them. Now that I know I can put my "butt in the chair and just write," I will get those scripts done by the end of December, without breaking a sweat.
National Novel Writing Month is a time of complete writing abandon. The goal is to create a new novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. This is my fourth year to participate. To some, it seems counterproductive to just write quantity without writing quality. But I love it for the reasons listed below.
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I'm a busy person and there are some things I just can't justify spending a lot of time on. But NaNoWriMo is my excuse to concentrate wholeheartedly on writing. It only happens once a year.
It wasn't until NaNoWriMo in 2009 that I actually FINISHED a complete novel. I was amazed I could do it. I had never completed an entire book before because I was too busy trying to make every word count--I was aiming for quality. I discovered getting the storyline on paper NaNo style--quantity--alllowed me to return to edit later. (I've now finished a novel in 2009, 2010, 2011, and I plan on finishing one for 2012)
My inner critic goes AWAY. Because I'm working for speed and word count, I'm not worried if there's a better word for "beautiful" or "happy"; I can improve those with the editing process. But during NaNoWriMo I get to write an entire story.
My self-discipline shines through. It is so much easier at the end of the day to relax by watching a movie or reading or just dinking around on the internet. But during NaNoWriMo, I sometimes set my alarm early and I'll skip the movie to write another 1000 words. It boosts self-esteem to know I can manage self-control.
My family, especially, will forgive me the time I spend in front of the computer writing. My friends are also supportive. Because NaNoWriMo is an organized group, I'm officially allowed to spend HOURS writing and ignoring most everything else.
Now if you'll please excuse me, I won't be editing this post because I really must get back to writing my fourth complete novel!