Sunday, January 31, 2010

Are You an AM or a PM?

Morning or night? It seems that everyone has a preference. Some people are "early birds" and get up even before the crack of dawn while others are "night owls" and would rather work and play under the moonlight.

Me, I do nights. Always have, always will probably. Let's put it this way, I don't even own an alarm clock anymore. With kids in the house, they wake me up!

I've been pondering this early/late issue very much lately. I've read, over the years, several accounts of authors who describe their days as waking up at 4 or 5 am and writing until it was time to go to work, or time to get the kids up. Pfft! Please. Kudos to them - and to you, if you fall into this category. My heart and head might be willing to go this route, but my body quite forcefully states, "hell, no!" Of course, the body wins this war.

I can understand the sense of waking up early. If a person goes to bed at a reasonable time, it stands to reason that he or she will wake up refreshed and rearing to go. On my end, I don't care what time I hit the sheets the night before, if the clock reads any time before 8 am, I'm useless.

Going back to why I've been mulling this over: I'm really wondering if my keeping to a PM schedule effects my writing, in a consistent, writing-every-day sense. I try to write something every day but there are some days when the kids have been going nutso all day and the animals are just as crazed and the husband gets on the nerves and dinner was a hastily put together mess that you don't even want to admit you served to your family and then -- when everyone finally settles down and gets out of your way and the burnt pans are scraped clean -- it is so late and you are so exhausted that even taking a soothing bath seems like too much trouble. On these days, I can't seem to muster anything to write. Do AM people have mornings like this, too? Just on a backward scale? I really want to know.

You see, if morning people have their rotten AM's every once in awhile (I cannot begin to think what would set it off, however, unless it was a bad sleeping night), then I can continue to be content with my PM schedule, confidant in knowing that rough patches are going to hit and to simply weather through.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Computers - the bane of a writer's existence

Okay, contrary to the title, I have to admit writing with a computer is world's easier, faster and better than writing longhand or using an electric or manual typewriter (giving my age here, folks).

{I shake my head sadly with the upcoming thought}

Yes, is some ways it IS better, but I will probably go to my grave with the sure knowledge that computers are strictly a necessary EVIL.

That EVIL is better known as, "Where the hell is my document?!?!?"

Yep, it's happened to all of us, I'm sure. Whether it's in Word or online in a blog, you have undoubtedly labored over characters and words and phrases and paragraphs, only to touch one button - or worse - have an internet, page or power failure and the next thing you know, your precious letters have gone bye-bye.

Would this sort of thing have happened had you been typing on an electric typewriter? Or writing with pen in an notebook?

I have to give the benefit of the doubt, though. The old ways did have their problems. Let's see . . . maybe you flicked the ashes from your cigarette (with typewriters you had smoking, eh?) and a spark flew off and landed on the pile of neatly typed pages and they burned up. Or, or, maybe your child decided to use your notebook of carefully penned stories as paper to make sailboats out of. Am I reaching here? Oh well. Gotta try.

A plus to this story - sometimes, when you have to do something over again, it does come out better than the first time around.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

For the love of Coffee and Sunday afternoons

I love my coffee. I drink way too much of it in fact, but I can't help it. It's warm and yummy and keeps my headaches at bay. Yes, laugh at that twisted thought. I drink coffee when I wake up. I drink coffee when I'm at the computer (a must). I drink coffee when I'm reading a great book (unless I've opted for a relaxing glass of wine, then the coffee comes after). I even drink a little coffee before I crash at night. I sip at my coffee with lots of smooth cream swirled in and absolutely no sugar or sugar knock-off. You don't call me sweet.

My adoration of coffee isn't a stand-alone, however. I have to have an accompaniment of snack. Not a lot. But I have to have a nibble next to the cup or to dip in. Biscotti, scones, crackers, chocolate chip cookies - I'm usually not too picky - but it has to be full of carbs or it never seems to go right.

This all adds up to a wonderful way to spend a little break time on a Sunday afternoon: a freshly perked cup of coffee, a couple of chocolate chip cookies placed nearby, a working computer at which to happily type away and a warm cat curled in my lap.

This is my Calgon moment. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What's in a name?

As a writer, there are many facets of the written word over which I labor. Amazingly, one of the initial focus points in a new work regards names of the characters. Sometimes I have names before the story even develops and sometimes I find myself nearing the end and saying to myself, "he's really more of a "Ben," than a "John." It's all a fascinating process.

The process of name-giving that surprises me the most is when I already have a name for a character, but when my fingers touch the keyboard, another name appears. Take the other day, for instance. I poured over what to call one of my main characters and finally came up with one I thought worked well. Let's call her Erin. I began writing away and about ten pages or so later, it hit me that Erin had become Erica - and right from the start! The Erica in my head, lurking in my thoughts, finally popped up to correct me. About time, I thought with a roll of my eyes. Sometimes those ghosts that shadow me are a sneaky lot!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fights in Real Life vs Fictional Fights

When I read or write a story, I find I can really get into the fight scenes. No, I don't mean the physical knock-downs (even though those can be entertaining). I'm talking about the fighting with words, with voices, with emotion and pain and hurt all rolled together. I can't really say, I "like" them, poor word choice, but I'm okay with them.

Why? Most of the time, a fight between characters serves a greater purpose. True sides of a character may come to light, or issues can be pushed to the brink, allowing the characters involved to reach a resolution. But no matter how the fight comes to be or progresses, I, as a reader, am confident that the fight scene is meant to be. I know the end will work out. I know, especially if the fight is between the hero and heroine, they will eventually forgive each other and come out stronger.

In the real life, fights absolutely suck. Words are spewed from mouths bared with a snarl. The things that are said intend to maim, hurt, eviserate. Whatever comes back at you, you have to scramble to defend, because what you're being hit with is just as vile as what you're dishing out.

Perhaps the worst thing about fights in reality . . . you don't know how they will end. You don't have that "it'll be okay," back-up. Will the venom that was dished out do more than just sting? Will it fester, ache, spread until you're left starting at the ceiling and cursing yourself, wondering why oh why did you say or do the things you did? Or maybe you're wondering if the same is true with the other person in the fight. Did you cause irrevocable harm? Will things ever be the same again? Is forgiveness even possible after some of the things reveled?

And what do you do then, when reaching the other peson is not a possiblity? Me, I escape. If I don't, I'll be a puddle of worthlessness and pity and worry that does no one any good. Instead, I'll go read something where I do know there is a happy-ever-after, even if it may not be so with me. At least, until the inevitable confrontation with the other party occurs, and only God knows how something in the future will turn out.

I don't care who thinks a fight is a good thing. I just don't see it, unless I know I can turn the page to see an actual reconcilation.

That's all for now. Happy reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Addition

Guess What? We have recently added a new addition to our family: a yellow lab! (forgive the demon eyes; I'm not a great picture taker) Already a home of two cats and two frogs and countless insects and bugs and other whatnots, a larger dog had always been in our future plans, but always "not now." Recently, however, the powers that be have decided otherwise. My husband found this sweetie wandering, appearing lost, in the middle of a busy road near our home. After a few weeks of having reported her missing and all that route, no one's responded, so we (moreso me) are slowly making her a permanent part of our lives.

Oh God, I forgot how having a dog around the house is like having another child! She's been great, don't get me wrong. We couldn't have asked for a better animal. But the coming in and out, the watching to make sure she doesn't jump the fence until we can secure the property better, the watching the kids (especially the littler ones) to make sure they obey the rules of having a new animal around -- I'm exhausted. With a smile.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Hi, Hi. Happy New Year and all that stuff. So, how many of you have already reneged on your resolutions? Are you still into it? Good for you, then!

Me, I don't do resolutions anymore. It depresses me. Resolutions are not meant for people with bi-polar tendencies, ya know? It's like pure fuel for the fire.

Forgive the snarky-ness. I'm in a foul mood because the super dry, extremely cold weather has cracked the skin on my fingers. I don't care how much water I drink, how much moisturizer I rub in, I'm still getting tiny, little painful splits around my fingertips. You see where this is going?

Different injuries naturally affect different professions. A football player may be able to play with a scratch on his leg but a messed up knee puts him out. A writer could continue to write with broken legs or multiple injuries of many types, but something as infinitesimal as a paper cut puts her out of commission. It sucks royally.

Every time I write lately, my fingers cry out. I have band-aides on my fingertips to soften the blows, but blows they still are. I tell you, I love the winter time. I love the cooler, crisper air, but for the sake of my writing, I pray for an adjustment in either the weather or my skin.

I've vented, and I'm smiling now, even if my writing-tips are not.