About Me

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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Have a Little Faith in Me

I’m currently in the process of finishing and editing a large project that has put my heart and soul on the line. It means a lot to me and I naturally want it to be a great piece of work that inspires and influences many lives. What author doesn’t? So, like any good author I send my manuscript out for others to read and give me their opinions on what I’m doing.

Plus, I get hives if anybody mentions the word grammar too loudly in my presence. I know how I want things to feel, but I trust others to tell me how they should look on the page in terms of spelling and grammar.

Editing is a difficult process for me. I pretty much have to go into analytical mode and I don’t exist there very well. So, sometimes I do my edits on auto pilot. I just go through and make the changes without thinking too much about it. Pretty much the same way I accomplished many very nasty tasks as a nurse— you concentrate on what needs to be done and don’t think about what you’re actually doing.

The other day I think I was becoming a little too trusting and automatic in my edits. I had put my feelings aside, changing and making corrections based on different feedbacks. When I finished the last set of edits, I came across a note the reader had left me at the bottom of the pages she had examined.

In essence it said, “These are my suggestions for you, but remember it’s still your book.”
That gave me a moment’s pause. Had I made changes just because someone else told me to? Had I taken away from the feel of the words as I made corrections to the structure of the words?

I needed to take a step back, turn those feelings on and take another look at my manuscript. Reader feedback is a wonderful thing, but in the end are you left with your work or a band-aided job from pieces of all of your readers and nothing of you?

I have to learn to trust myself a little bit more and realize that it’s ok to judge what a reader would have you do against the overall vision of the piece. I write for the way it makes me feel and the way it makes others feel. I don’t write for the exercise in perfect sentence structure. When it’s all said and done my words should be readable, but they should also still be feel-able.

That’s not to say that I don’t have room for improvement. I definitely do. But, I also think I need to have a little more faith in myself during this phase. I need to remember that I am a good writer. If I get too bogged down with the technical my own feelings become muted, making it much more difficult to get the feelings I want expressed to the reader. I still need to have faith in me. I need to believe in the power of what I do best— help people feel.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be famous enough that my grammar errors will be seen as quaint and original….I’ll become the “every-man’s author” who speaks to and like the masses instead of like a text book. Yeah, authors have some pretty strange aspirations sometimes.

Grammar-shmammar, who needs it!

Friday, February 22, 2008

What Happened to Monday?

This is pathetic. I try to post every Monday and I was really excited to do so this week. I was plotting out what I was going to say and everything. The next thing I know it's Wednesday night and I have no idea what happened to Monday. Now it's Friday and I'm just now getting around to posting an apology for missing Monday. It must be another scatterbrained thing.
I promise to post a calendar by my computer so I don't forget poor Monday again.
In the meantime, maybe you can find something to lift and inspire you in my posts here:

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Trip to the Dentist

I had to visit my dentist today to be fitted for a bite guard. Apparently I’ve started grinding my teeth at night and he’s not too happy with me.

Anyway, my dentist knows that I am a writer. Whenever I’m in he checks with me to see what I’m working on and what I’m reading. We swap information about titles and authors to look for.

Today was no different. When he saw me in the chair, my mouth full of impression goo, he had to stop for a chat. He checked what I was reading (a Whitney finalist) and told me about his latest title (the Charles Schultz biography). We compared notes on titles we’d recommended to each other.

Now you’re really thinking I must have very bad teeth, I’m sure. So, just let me clarify that I have 4 children who also use the same dentist. Yes, I’m in there a lot. It’s just not always for me.

Back to the story.

After checking in with me and assessing my teeth molds he declared that he needed one more (darn) and then bid me farewell.

A few minutes later, as I am once again drooling with my mouth open and full of nasty tasting stuff that reminds me of that “great stuff” expanding foam you can get in a calking tube, he walks past the door of my exam room again and informs the technician not to let me go yet. Hmm, I’m being held captive by my dentist. I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere.

We sit chatting and scheduling my next appointment after she was gracious enough to remove the “stuff” from my mouth when my dentist comes back in with a large box of books. It seems he has been purging his bookshelves to make room for more books. He just happened to have them in his car to drop off at the flea market for resale.

I spent an extra few minutes in my dentist’s chair happily looking through titles and discussing plot. I left with a stack of 10 new books to read. Ah, bliss.

The euphoria lasted until I got out to the reception desk and had to pay for my new bite guard. I guess it was too much to ask to get new reading material and have a rich uncle mysteriously swoop in and pay all my medical expenses.

The moral of the story:

Never be afraid to tell people you’re a writer, and

Always be on the lookout for a fellow avid reader, you never know what you’ll walk away with- even from a trip to the dentist.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Idea List

The other day I was cleaning out some old files on my computer and I ran across a list I hadn’t seen in probably over a year. It was an old idea list where I kept track of writing ideas as they occurred to me, or outstanding projects I wanted to go back to.

That idea list was over 100 entries long.

I was surprised to see how many items were on there that I had forgotten about until the list jogged my memory. I was a little disappointed to see how few of the items I had managed to accomplish. I was renewed in my commitment to write a little bit more each day and get some of these things off my list, out of my thoughts and onto the page before I once again forget where I put that blasted list.

Since creating that list, I have gone on to create several more. Each one is filled with my dreams and wishes for my writing career. Each one is a tiny spark inside of me that I’m longing to increase into a warming flame that fills my soul with its light.

It’s easy to forget those types of dreams in the messed-up daily grind of our lives. I was glad for the reminder. I’ve once again vowed to learn to write faster.