Tag Archives: real life

Sealed Lips Sink Ships: pushing away support

So, I had an eye-opening experience this past week. With two novels under contract–one due out in a week and the other next year–I was feeling a little put out that my Dear Hubby wasn’t flapping his gums about my impending success.

Right? I mean, I’ve worked so hard to perfect my craft and piece together stories worthy of public consumption. Shouldn’t he be hanging from the streetlights with a megaphone?

Okay, part of that is a silly fairytale dream, but equal parts are true. As spouses, we support each other publicly and privately–except in this one small area. So, we sat down and had a heart to heart. Turns out, I’m the one who sealed his lips from years of being so guarded with my writing.

Scenario 1

  • Him: Whatcha working on?
  • Me: Nothing. Just stuff.

Scenario 2

  • Him: What did you get done today?
  • Me: Not enough.

Scenario 3

  • Him: What’s your new story about?
  • Me: Hmmm, it’s kind of hard to explain…

Scenario 4

  • Him: walks by as I peck at my computer
  • Me: covers screen in embarrassment

I could write a thousand and one more scenarios, but the point will always be the same. I. Am. Terrified.

I’m terrified to talk about my writing, to share my writing, to articulate where I’m at in the process. I am insanely scared of being judged when my work is incomplete. Once I’ve finished a piece–and by finished I mean polished to near perfection–I’m tolerably okay with sharing.

The problem is that by sitting behind my writing wall for so many years, I’ve shut him out. Him and probably other people as well. Not a good place to be when you’re gearing up to throw your baby onto the world’s bookshelves.

So I ask you, dear writers, have you locked your writing and your writing process behind fences and walls to the point where you feel isolated from those who would otherwise love to support you? If so, it’s time to throw the gates wide. The question is how…

If  you’re one of the smarter ones and have been open with your writing from the get-go, please share any tips you have so the rest of us can learn to gracefully and graciously accept the support we so desperately want, but so completely push away.

Curious minds need some help!


Confession Time: Rebuilding My Brand

I hate to publicly admit my failures, but I’m going to do just that, right here for all the world to read.

When I started Words from the Woods, it was my private space. A place where I could go as a wanna be writer to connect with other wanna be writers ina way that didn’t intersect with my real life. And I did.

But slowly, more and more of me came out in my posts, and readers began telling me, “I read your blog to keep up with your family.” Or, “I love your insights into kids and relationships.” Over time, I’ve found myself catering to two vastly different readerships:

  1. Those seeking posts on my quirky take on family dynamics, marriage, child-rearing and my unique soap box issues. Sure they enjoy the bits about the books I read, and more than a handful like to keep tabs on my writing. But, and here’s my public failure announcement, I didn’t start blogging with you in mind.
  2. The people I initially blogged for were those seeking writing tips. Guess what? There are a thousand and one aspiring writer blogs (times infinity). In fact, I blog at a collective with that as the sole purpose. I’m also very active at AgentQuery Connect where, as a moderator, I provide real-time tips to writers nearly every day. Seems a little redundant, actually, to expend the energy regurgitating the information here. Which is likely why I haven’t been blogging as much recently. (Public failure announcement number two.)

All this got me thinking that it’s time I repurpose my blog. My future audience of book buyers is not writers themselves. Well, actually some are, but, as a whole, my future audience is parents. Parents and grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or godmothers and godfathers or teachers and librarians who are looking for WHY my books should be on their shelves. Not writers. Not unless you also have a child or twenty in your life that you wish to purchase books for.

I also happen to like talking about the things near and dear to my heart, like child-rearing, education, literacy, marriage, bullying and friendship. I’m a speech coach, a mother, a volunteer, a wife and a writer. I advocate for at-risk kids (the traditional kinds and the kinds we seldom consider) and do freelance writing on the side. Someday I want to have my books published and in the hands of the children you love. It is my ultimate goal.

But in the meantime, these other passions are also a part of who I am, and they impact why I write the things I do. These are the focus of my new journey in blogging.

Over the next week or so, you’ll see some changes to my blog as I begin rebuilding my brand. Not as a whimsical walk with an aspiring writer, but more so as a whimsical walk through the life of a parent writer.

I hope you stick around to see where this takes me. Personally, I’m both thrilled and terrified!

If there’s anything you personally would like to see me do more of (or not at all) let me know. Thanks for your support up ’til now and hopefully through this and beyond.


PS. I’ll completely understand if I some of you abandon this new brand. Just know you can always follow my writing words of wisdom at From The Write Angle or on AgentQuery Connect.

Ethical Considerations of the Nose Picking Gene

My crazy, writer brain never stops working.  Typically it’s most active when I’m in the shower, where it got a real work out on Sunday.  I know this may be a bit TMI, but while shaving my legs, I noted one big toe had hair on it and the other didn’t.  While I know I’m at fault (got lost in my own head and forgot to shave both big toes the last time), it got me thinking about genetics.

We know hair color and  eye color and finger lengths and big knuckles and hairy backs and unibrows are all genetic.  Some physical traits can be manipulated by outside forces such as weight and height being affected by diet.  While other physical traits are guaranteed such as gender and skin color.

We can bask in or avoid the sun to tan our cheeks or keep them creamy white, but we can’t inherently change the actual, honest to goodness birth-given color of our skin.  It will always revert back to its natural color.

But what about those seemingly random behaviors like, say, nose picking?  Some people have never stuffed a finger in their nostrils while others dig for gold several times a day.  Does this run in the family?  Is it genetic or purely learned?  Or a combination of both?

Because, let’s face it, some behaviors that seem to be completely learned may be very genetic–or vice-versa.  For instance, while recently visiting the zoo, I watched a nasty bunch of monkeys.  This crew was unkempt, boisterous and engaged in base behaviors–like rapidly taking turns urinating on a pile of fresh pooh.  They clamored about and banged on windows.  One went so far as to pick his hinder and sniff his fingers.

Learned or genetic?  I don’t know.  The monkey clan next door was far calmer and seemed prim and proper by comparison.  And cleaner too.  Maybe a hidden camera would have caught this species picking and sniffing and claiming piles of debris like their neighbors did.  Or maybe not.  After all, they could see into each other’s pens…

The question of Nature vs Nurture is a favorite topic in science and psychology.  It has been forever, and likely will continue as a much debated topic through all eternity.

But, what if the code gets cracked and a formula is written that can pinpoint certain predispositions with 100% accuracy.  What then?

Teachers (and maintenance engineers), would you demand that the Nose Picking Gene gets turned off before kids enter school?  Especially the gene that makes some wipe their boogers on anything except a Kleenex?  Even if the frequency and gross-factor of nose picking can vary from student to student?

Seriously, if we could, would we turn off crude behaviors because they disgust and annoy us, effectively creating a homogenized race?  And, who would get to decide the onslaught of Crude Behavior Banning?

Or, what about impinging behavior restrictions on individuals based on medical predispositions?  Is it feasible that insurance companies could refuse treatment to someone genetically predisposed to skin cancer if she sun bathed on the beach?  Even though non-sunbathers still get diagnosed?

The implications are too many and make my head want to explode, so please chime in with your two pennies.

If we could genetically pinpoint behaviors do we have a right/duty to restrict them?  Why or why not?  And who decides which behaviors are merely annoying and which ones are downright dangerous? 

Seriously, do we let school boards determine whether or not to turn off the Nose Picking, Loud Talking and Mouth Open While Chewing genes?  Or, do we simply compile class lists differently?  IE: giving the Nose Picking students to the Nose Picking teachers and assigning Nose Picking janitors to clean those Nose Picking rooms?  Or do we create specific classes, such as Nose Picking etiquette 101, geared toward modifying natural tendencies in a socially acceptable way–even though we know these students will continue to nose-pick on some level because of their genetic codes? 

And, what of the medical implications?  Diseases found in snot can be fatal to certain groups of people.  So, are these genetic Nose Pickers potential murderers?

Curious minds really, really, really want to know!

Where Art Thou, Humor?

My Dear Hubby texted me: Going to Dick’s Sports, was there anything to get yet?

My response after trying on a dress this past weekend: a new a$$ for me.

Him: I’ll check in the rear of the store.

I love that man!


Off Slaying Dragons

…er, words.

Sandwhiched between NaNoDays 1-3 and 5-6, I have to do all the writing I can before heading out of town tonight. This is my only day in Week One of NaNo where real life will let me try to pad my word count for future days when my fingers and keyboard will not be allowed to see each other!

Hugs to all you writers out there. May your steed be fast and your sword be strong!

Flashback Friday: Spell Check Mad Libs

As a kid I loved playing Mad Libs with my sister and friends.  The silly party game could be why I enjoy writing so much.  It might also be responsible for my love of lyrical prose and my inability to outgrow quirky juvenile fiction.  It quite possibly is the reason so much description creeps into first drafts these days.

But I’m not here to bash adverbs and adjectives.  I’m here to tell you a secret.  Spell Check plays Mad Libs with me every time it edits my posts.

For instance, my post on Youngest getting into a playground scuffle?  SC wanted to substitute trousers for tusslers:

…the two trousers made see-ya-at-school-tomorrow faces at each other.

Seriously funny stuff, right?  Not to mention a-w-k-w-a-r-d!

Or how about this one?  (You may need to click on it to see it better.)

Yeah, it kinda cracked me up too.  SC insisted that marinating is not a word and begged me to exchange it for laminating…or worse.

My Little Sister cheekily donned her editor’s cap and fixed my post so I wouldn’t be embarrassed about my manuscript marinating in public.

Spell Check Mad Libs.  Gotta love it!

Did you play Mad Libs as a kid?  What other silly games did you play to occupy your time and stretch your imagination?  Do you think certain games may have jump-started the passions and hobbies you have today?

Curious minds want to know!

*”My Dream Man” from The Original Mad Libs, copyright 1988

Return of the Zombie Writer

I’m tired.  Land of the Living Dead tired.  But I’m also thrilled to be back home, back to real life and back to my computer screen.

The last two weeks were filled with the good, the bad and the ugly.  In no particular order or chronology. 

  • My computer died.  I all but had it buried when the Computer Tutor sat up until 3:30 in the morning last Tuesday breathing new life into it.  Thankfully he was able to save my writing–heading to Mozy now–but everything is in read only now.  Should be fun retyping…
  • I went to Chicago with my DH for his work.  We were wined and dined with dinner cruises, champaign carriage rides, museums, botanical garden tours and sailing.  It was my first trip there, but definitely not my last.  The architecture was amazing and the fact that our last name is a famous street name had a cool factor all its own. 
  • While gone, my DD got in a car accident in which the car was totaled, the airbags deployed and whiplash abounded.  Nothing like being states away and completely helpless.  I didn’t have the ability to hug her and hold her close while simultaneously beating her for being on the wrong road at the wrong time.  Everyone is okay and seatbelt safety has been reinforced.  The windshield in front of DD was cracked even through the airbag and her seatbelt.  I shudder to imagine what could have been. 
  • Two days later, Eldest’s wallet had a run in with the lawnmower.  He lost it on the golf course.  It was found after credit cards, driver’s permits, money and leather spewed out onto the green.  All as finely chopped as a specialty salad in one of the fancy restaurants we ate in.
  • Because of the above two items, my little sister (who kindly watched over our angels) will never need birth control.   
  • I read Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  If you haven’t read them, get cracking.  Now.  Suzanne Collins is firmly planted at the very top of my Favorite Author list.  When I grow up, I can only pray to be just like her.  Even a little bit.
  • I have tons of catching up to do on my computer–sorry for the absence–and a new schedule to figure out.  Starting next week, I will open the doors of my new business.  I finally have pictures up over there if you want to check it out.
  • Lastly, my women’s group decided on our 2010/2011 program.  As I am on the committee, I had the pleasure of helping plan our year.  Our theme is Bridging the Gap.  Because of this, we will get to learn all sorts of ways to move from possibilities to practices.  Subjects of interest: literacy, socio-economics, health, technology, safety, environment and culture–to name a few.  Exciting stuff.

Life is good.  My novel fodder folder is overflowing and blog posts tumble around in my head.  All I need to do is hop on over and visit all of you before I fall asleep…