Monday, September 29, 2014

September 2014: Silence, Inspiration, Solution

My book is in its final edits. Yet, I still struggled with an issue one of beta readers pointed out to me months ago. She had a very valid issue. It haunted me during editing and rewrites like a pebble caught under the sole liner in your shoe.

It was a "maybe it is just me who finds this a bit confusing, but..." comment. Was this confusing for my other readers? Did my method of naming my characters make it difficult for the reader to follow the characters and the story line? Should I let this issue go or continue on with the final edits? Any new revisions may take be back a month, maybe two.

This character problem was solved shortly after a hot shower. I just finished putting on body lotion and flopped across the bed. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I only needed a few seconds rest before going out to dinner.  Bong! Bong! The clock's chimes woke me. In a short five minute nap, the solution to this nagging problem came to me. My editing timeline has been adjusted. The beta reader's issue can be solved without rewriting the entire novel.

The solution came in one of my moments of silence. Yes, sometimes I have the luxury of short periods of silence.  Many times they occur right before the alarm summons me to start my day.  You know when the daylight creeps in the bedroom and you cover you head and go back to sleep until you have to get up.

An answer may come to me as I finish a deep breathing exercise. While laying still feeling my mind connecting back to my world. Bingo! a problem passes by and meets its answer.

My Point: Stop, when your world seems out of control. Yes, many of you live very busy lives.
  1. Sneak away. Lock the bathroom door.  Take deep breaths.
  2. Grab a cup of java, tea, or hot water. Set your stove timer for five minutes. Tell your loved ones they may sit quietly for five minutes. You will come back when the timer goes off. Step outside and breathe deeply.
You don't think you can do it. My mother did. She would get dressed up every Mondays. She would have our supper ready. When my dad walked in the door,  she would kissed him goodbye. Dad was left to feed, bath, and put us to bed. (This was the 1950s.) She'd hop on the bus. Go downtown to shop and have a hot dog at Woolworth.  After a few hours, she'd come home a new woman. This is how a woman with six children under the age of eight kept her sanity for many years.

Always have a mental health escape plan from your reality to help you untangle your "knotty, unsurmountable problems." You may not always solve them, but you can hack away at the weeds or push away the clouds in your mind. With a little silence, sometimes inspiration or a solution appears.

Please share your mental health escape with us. Use the comment space below.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

I came across this blog and thought many of my readers might find this interesting. Enjoy!

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts: Most of the large publishing houses require an agent, but smaller houses often accept manuscripts and proposals directly from writers, as do...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 - September: Writing Again

Many colleagues have consoled me by saying a "writing slump" is a normal part of a writer's life.  I have observed others endure the agony of rewrites and the tediousness of editing. These tasks wear on the soul of a creative person. This process put my muse out of commission until I returned from my Counsins' Reunion.This newly founded tradition lifted me out on my slump.  I am planning my next project while completing my rewrites on my book.

 What is a Cousins' Reunion? A few years back at a family celebration my sisters and several of our female cousins reminisced about the great fun we had when we got together as kids. This prompted my cousin in Texas to initiate the first Cousins' Reunion in 2011. We flew to visit a small town, in the big state, that cultivates artists of all designs.

Our visit was filled with catching up on the history of the area and our lives. The days were filled soaking in a life style in a state most of us had never visited. The wonder and awe of being tourist and the joy and mischievousness of teenagers helped us renew our bonds. We shrugged off the cloaks of wife, mother, grandmother and ignited the fire of our lineage. We are our mothers' daughters and the granddaughters of a lone immigrant woman who came to the United States for a better life.

This year was our third reunion. Yes, we left with great memories and a sense of rejuvenation, but the essence of who we are also is restored.  We hugged one another goodbye knowing the blood that courses through our veins does more than makes us family. It gives us all the strength of generations of courageous and strong women.  We are reminded we are a support system of women.  We carry the legacy of generations while we continue to share the torch with our daughters and sons.