Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Being a Writer is Incredibly Brave

From Writerslife. org:

Why Being A Writer Is Incredibly Brave - Writer's Life.org



It’s sometimes easy to forget how incredibly brave it is to choose to be a writer. We can get so caught up in the negativity and worry - the writer’s block, the rejection, how much competition there is, how difficult it is to sell our books, that we can all too easily sidestep the fact that actually, we are doing something pretty amazing.
Writers are:

Resilient
Writers are experts at ‘getting back in the saddle.’ Even the very best of us gets knocked down - by publishers, by agents, by critics, by trolls, by ourselves. But when we do we know that there is no point in scurrying away to a dark corner to lick our wounds but instead to learn, to get better and to just keep trying.

Persistent
Writers know all too well that they might never get the results they want from their work. But they keep trying anyway. If something doesn’t work, they’ll take another look at it or try another route. If someone tells them they are not good enough, they’ll keep searching, and hope that eventually, they will get their chance to shine.

Passionate
Writers are passionate about what they do. Even when it’s tough, and they are unsure of themselves, they remain committed to their writing, find time for their writing and always remember that they love what they do.

Fearless
Writers are fearless, courageous and brave. They are willing to explore their deepest emotions, to battle their demons to be vulnerable in ways that most people would shudder at.

Experimental
Writers don’t mind trying new things, in fact, they embrace it. They are happy to give new styles, new techniques, new genres, new voices all a go, and they’ll try their best. They know that trial and error, being open to learning and not afraid to try new things could make them a better writer, so they will always try to gain as many experiences and experiment in as many ways as possible.

Problem solvers
Writers face many obstacles in their journey, time and time again. There are always hurdles to climb over, but they don’t shy away from problems or give up, they instead work out how to solve their  problems, how to make things work, and keep going no matter what.

Patient
Writers have incredible patience. Whether it’s waiting to hear back from a publisher, the patience and resolve it takes to write and edit a book in the first place, or just the patience and quiet belief they have inside themselves to keep on writing.

Followers of dreams
How many people can say they truly follow their dreams? Writers can and should be so proud of themselves for making it happen. Who cares about fame and fortune when you are taking that risk to do what you love?

Saying, “I am a writer,” and truly believing in it is scary, but also liberating and genuinely courageous. So next time you have a day where you feel your writing isn’t going well, or the next time you get a rejection or a bad review or have those niggling self-doubts, read this and remember just how brave you are!

I agree. Some people I know whom I told I was writing my memoir said they themselves could never write a book. They seem to be thinking something along the lines of what this article says. I think it was brave of me to being a memoir. It took a lot of thinking about what  I felt was necessary to include and how much detail I needed to give. It started out small, but got to what seems to be a typical number or words for such a genre. So many of those I have read seem to be in the 80K word range.  It's been some time since I last looked over my memoir, but I am trying not to add anymore. There are some things I remember that I think I could add, but am trying not to. There is so much I can recall, but I do not have to include it all.
I also feel I was brave to have started another writing. For many years, I have had ideas for writing that I never got down. But now I'm doing one such idea. The idea of a diary novel and that of a book set in the 1980s only recently occurred to me, but there is an element to the plot that I have thought of trying to write about and am now doing so. I haven't worked much on this one lately, either, but I intend to get back soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2018 Picture Book Reading Challenge

Still another from Becky's Books Reviews.  I'm doing this one again next year. I will read as many picture books I can, per option 3.

Original artwork by Charles Haigh-Wood (1856-1927)
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: To have adults read more picture books. To celebrate the fact that picture books are for everyone! Families are, of course, welcome to join in!
# of books: minimum of 6

Option 1: Read six picture books of your choice.
Option 2: Choose one author to focus on. Perhaps read through an entire author's work. 
Option 3: Read as few as six, or as many as you like, from the checklist below

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
_5. Title beginning with C
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
_16. Author beginning with H
_17. Title beginning with I
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
_26. Author beginning with M
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
_41. Title or Author beginning with V
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_46. An alphabet book
_47. A counting book
_48. A color word in the title
_49. A number word in the title
_50. Concept book of your choice— picture book
_51. Concept book of your choice — board book
_52. bedtime book —board book
_53. bedtime book — picture book
_54. book that rhymes —picture book
_55. book that rhymes — early reader OR board book
_56. holiday of your choice — board book or early reader
_57. holiday of your choice — picture book
_58. wordless picture book
_59. new to you author
_60. new to you illustrator
_61. favorite author
_62. favorite illustrator
_63. free choice
_64. fairy or folk tale adaptation
_65. fairy or folk tale traditional
_66. a title with the word “first” in it 
_67. a book set in the state you live
_68. a book set in a place you’d like to visit
_69. a book set in an imaginary place
_70. a book set in the past — fiction or nonfiction
_71. a book set in the present
_72. picture book for older readers — fiction
_73. picture book for older readers — nonfiction
_74. early reader — fiction
_75. early reader — nonfiction
_76. picture book with photographs
_77. one word title
_78. long title (four or more words)
_79. oversized book
_80. tiny book
_81. a book about playing (hide and seek, tag, or peekaboo, etc.)
_82. a book about school
_83. a book about hobbies (art, dance, music, crafts, sports)
_84. a title that is a question
_85. a title that is an exclamation
_86. an award winner or an honor book
_87. a collection (of poems OR stories)
_88. a book with animals (fiction)
_89. a book with animals (nonfiction)
_90. a book about books or reading
_91. a book celebrating family
_92. first book in a series
_93. any book in a series
_94. book with an adventure or misadventure
_95. a book about a pet
_96. A title with the word “yes” or “no” in it
_97. A title with the word “big” or “little” in it
_98. a classic published before 1968
_99. a book you think should be considered a classic
_100. Out of print
_101. Library book
_102. Impulse Pick
_ 103. Board book published in 2018
_ 104. Picture book published in 2018 

Kitty Lit Reading Challenge 2018

Here is yet another from Becky's Books Reviews. I love cats so I know this one is perfect for me.

Jeppe, Bruno Liljefors, 1860-1939  
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: To read books with CATS
# of books: minimum of 3

Last year I found a way to bring two of my loves together: drinking tea and reading books. This year, I hope to bring together two more of the things I love: CATS and books. I do encourage you to check out Kitten Academy, where kittens learn to cat; while you watch 24/7 on YouTube. Mr. A and DJ are awesome people. (https://kitten.academy/) I especially recommend the Kitten Close-Ups


What books count towards the reading challenge?

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Board books
  • Picture Books
  • Early Readers
  • Early Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books
  • Graphic Novels 
  • Middle Grade Books
  • Young Adult Books
  • Adult Books
  • Poetry
  • Short Stories
  • Plays

2018 Victorian Reading Challenge

And Becky's Book reviews is hosting the Victorian Reading Challenge again.  This year, I read as many books as I can for (still working on this year's challenge) and will do the same for next year.

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: Read a minimum of 4 Victorian books

Sign up in the comments (If you have a blog, please leave your blog address. If you have a goodreads profile AND if you review regularly on goodreads, then you may leave that as well.)

I'll have quarterly check-in posts. I'll be posting check-in posts March 25, June 24, September 23, and December 30. You may leave links to your reviews on any of those four posts. If you want to share your review with me BEFORE that, AND if you have twitter, feel free to tweet me a link @blbooks.

Option A.  Read alphabetically A-Z with authors OR titles OR a blend of authors/titles. I've decided that from now on X in reading challenges stands for multiple authors. I'm flipping my "x" to a "+".

Option B. Choose one author to read exclusively for this challenge; perhaps challenge yourself to read chronologically OR to read through an entire series in one year.

Option C. Do as many books from the checklist as you can.

Option D. Make the challenge completely your own and read as YOUR whimsy dictates.

IF you love Victorian literature AND you happen to love tea...consider joining my Share-a-Tea reading challenge.  

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

This year's checklist:
  1. _ A book that was originally published serially
  2. _ book published between 1837-1840
  3. _ book published between 1841-1850
  4. _ book published between 1851-1860
  5. _ book published between 1861-1870
  6. _ book published between 1871-1880
  7. _ book published between 1881-1890
  8. _ book published between 1891-1901
  9. _ nonfiction published between 1837-1860
  10. _ nonfiction published between 1861-1901 
  11. _ A book published between 1902-1999 with a Victorian setting
  12. _ A book published between 2000-2018 with a Victorian setting
  13. _ A fiction or nonfiction book about Queen Victoria
  14. _ Biography of a Victorian 
  15. _ Nonfiction book about the Victorian era 
  16. _ free choice
  17. _ place name in the title
  18. _ character name in the title
  19. _ book in a series
  20. _ drama or melodrama
  21. _ gothic, suspense, mystery
  22. _ romance or historical
  23. _ comedy 
  24. _ science fiction or fantasy
  25. _ adventure, crime, western 
  26. _ poetry collection OR story collection
  27. _ happily ever after
  28. _ unhappily ever after 
  29. _ children's book
  30. _ translated into English from another language
  31. _ a book under 250 pages
  32. _ book over 500 pages
  33. _ a book over 800 pages 
  34. _ A book that has been filmed as movie, miniseries, or television show
  35. _ memorable heroine
  36. _ memorable hero
  37. _ British author
  38. _ Irish author OR Irish setting
  39. _ Scottish author OR Scottish setting
  40. _ American author
  41. _ reread
  42. _ book with a subtitle (the longer the better!)


2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Seems I'm not the only one posting reading challenge for 2018 this early :) I just found this one at Becky's Book Reviews. I will see how many books I can read for this one.

Girl reading a book by Federico Zandomeneghi
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2018
# of books: minimum of 6

Option 1: Read six middle grade books of your choice.
Option 2: Choose one author to focus on. Perhaps read through an entire author's work. 
Option 3: Read as few as six, or as many as you like, from the checklist below

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
_5. Title beginning with C
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
_16. Author beginning with H
_17. Title beginning with I
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
_26. Author beginning with M
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
_41. Title or Author beginning with V
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_46. 2018 Newbery Winner or Honor
_47. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2010-2017
_48. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2000-2009
_49. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1990-1999
_50. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1980-1989
_51. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1970-1979
_52. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1960-1969
_53. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1950-1959
_54. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1940-1949
_55. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1932-1939
_56. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1922-1931
_57. Notable Children's Book from 2018 or 2017 
_ 58. Any book by a Wilder Award author
_ 59. verse novel
_ 60. graphic novel
_ 61. biography or memoir
_ 62. nonfiction 
_ 63. poetry
_ 64. audio book
_ 65. first in a series
_ 66. any book in a series
_ 67. last book in a series
_ 68. favorite author
_ 69. new to you author
_ 70. British author
_ 71. Australian author
_ 72. Canadian author
_ 73. translated into English from another language
_ 74. American author
_ 75. set in the state you live
_ 76. set in a place you'd like to visit
_ 77. set in an imaginary place you'd like to visit
_ 78. picture book for older readers 
_ 79. book about a pet
_ 80. animal fantasy
_ 81. fantasy
_ 82. alternate reality
_ 83. science fiction
_ 84. adventure
_ 85. action/suspense
_ 86. mystery/detective
_ 87. realistic fiction
_ 88. school setting
_ 89. multiple points of view
_ 90. historical fiction -- world war I
_ 91. historical fiction -- world war II
_ 92. historical fiction, your choice
_ 93. historical fiction, mystery or suspense
_ 94. oh the sads
_ 95. happy, happy ending
_ 96. laugh until you cry
_ 97. coming of age
_ 98. "diary" or "notebook"
_ 99. classic, your choice
_ 100. out of print
_ 101. library book
_ 102. impulse pick
_ 103. published in 2018
_ 104. YOUR pick for Newbery 2019

Bonus/alternate picks:
_ made into a good movie
_ made into a horrible movie
_ book from your childhood
_ free choice
_ multiple authors
_ orphan child
_ vacation setting or road trip
_ first crush
_ new book by favorite author
_ time travel or steam punk

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Writing Where It Hurts

From Writerslife.org:


Writing Where It Hurts - writerslife.org

Writing can be an incredibly healing and cathartic process, and some of the very best writing comes from authors being brave enough to explore their most profound, darkest, most agonising thoughts and memories and translating them to the page.
Many writers can feel scared or intimidated by exploring their own intense emotions. Dwelling on when they have felt most alone, most scared, most sad can feel incredibly daunting, but doing so, and using writing as a tool to express those feelings can bring about great relief, as well as create some incredibly raw, touching work while they are at it.
So how does one write where it hurts? How does an author find a way to get in touch with their most intimidating emotions, their secret feelings, their innermost fears? Here are some things to try:

Sit in a dark, quiet room
To tap into those buried emotions, you might find you need peace and quiet. Sit somewhere you know you won’t be disturbed and just open your mind and let your thoughts flow. Make sure there are no distractions and really focus on your thoughts.

Drink some wine (!)
OK so this may not work for everyone but having a glass of wine can sometimes help you to be less critical of yourself and allow your thoughts to become freer and float more readily to the surface. Focus on memories, issues you are struggling with or thoughts you usually try to block out. When they come to you, write them down.

Listen to emotive music.
Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions, so why not create a playlist of songs that evoke memories for you, or make you feel a certain way to get you in the right frame of mind and mood to write more emotionally?

Keep a diary
Keeping a diary will help jog your memory when it comes to recalling certain events and help you understand why you feel the way that you feel. An old diary can bring back so many memories so try to write a daily journal - you never know when it might come in handy.

Write while it’s fresh
If you are feeling particularly angry or upset, don’t wait until you have calmed down to write about it. Try to capture how you feel while it’s still raw; this will result in a much more emotionally powerful piece of writing.

Keep it private
Remember, you don’t have to share this writing with anyone, and you can pick and choose bits of it you want to use in your creative work. Reminding yourself of this will hopefully relax you enough to really go deep and get to the root cause and most raw, brutal memories, thoughts and feelings that you have.

Write freely
When you are trying to write with emotion, never censor yourself. Always allow yourself to write freely and without judgement. It doesn’t matter if it’s not eloquent or even that it doesn’t make sense at times; you can refine and shape it later.

Focus on how you feel afterwards
Writing in this way can be incredibly relieving and cathartic - is this how you feel after you’ve finished a session? If so, focus on these feelings of relief and weightlessness so you’ll be more motivated to try again. Remember, this kind of writing requires a certain amount of bravery, but doing so can make a powerful difference to your work, draw readers in, and if they have had shared experiences, can make them feel connected to you and understood.

Know when to stop
If it get’s too painful, overwhelming or exhausting then just stop and try again another day. You don’t have to explore every intense emotion you have ever had, every bad memory, every frightening incident all at once. So know when to stop for the sake of your sanity!

If you want to learn how to write more emotionally, or simply have some things brewing underneath the surface and you know you might benefit from writing about them, try these tips to see if they can draw out your emotions and help you craft powerfully moving and dramatic pieces of writing while you're at it.

Now this sounds like great advice, except the part about drinking some wine, since I can't do that. But I must admit I have not followed some of these, like keeping diary, though the journaling class at work started this week on Monday so I just may get more into this idea now. I've not been listening to a lot of music lately, let alone emotive music! 

I also have to come out now and say I've not been working on either of my stories lately and have yet to hear from the instructor of the memoir class to offer me a free critique. It's been more than a week since I last e-mailed her. I will decide when to e-mail her again.  I've gotten ahead of the game by posting my challenges for next year a little earlier than most people tend to post theirs (many bloggers start posting their challenges in November or December). I've gotten two sign ups for one of my challenges and one another, but so far none for the other challenges. But as I said, I'm ahead of the game and it's almost Halloween. And I'm getting into to Halloween spirit by trying to decide how to make a prescription label to put on an orange shirt to look like a prescription vial for my typical depression costume (more on this to come). Once I figure this part out, I will have the costume ready for the party at work on the 27th.  And I want to make these cookies for the party as well. I will be doing these the day before the party.



But I plan to get back to writing soon. It's so easy to get preoccupied with many things at this time of the year.
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Creativity Reading Challenge 2018

This challenge was started last year by Julie Cornewell  at her blog. The link was deleted (here is my signup post on my blog).  I have tried to get ahold of her, but to no avail. So I decided to host this challenge myself for 2018.  I will keep the rules mostly the same as the original host had them.

UPDATE: 10/16: Julie Cornewell responded to my Tweet asking her if I can take over hosting this challenge and said yes.




This challenge is about reading books on creativity, art, crafts, writing, film making, photography, cosmetology, DIY, cooking, music and any other topic that helps you live a more creative life. 

Here are some links to get started:
Best Books on Creative Life
Fiction Book Involving Art
Books on Creativity
Best Books on the Writing Life
Books with Main Characters Who Are Artists

You are by no means limited to what is suggested in the links above. Any books you find that fit the challenge description may be read toward the challenge.


Challenge Guidelines


  • Begins January 1, 2018 and ends Dec 31, 2018. 
  • I won't be creating different levels. Read as little or as many books as you want.
  • Books may be nonfiction, memoir, how to, self help, coffee table books, instructional, picture books, and even fictional if they are about people who are creative.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks or audiobooks
  • You may reread books. 
  • Books may count towards other reading challenges in which you are participating




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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Humor Reading Challenge 2018

This was a new one I did this past year, and will bring back for 2018. I started it because I had never seen a similar challenge offered, and I think it's a good challenge topic. The rules will be the same as this year's.


Choose a level from below.  You may go up a level, but not down.
Cartoonist: 1-5 books
Humor Columnist: 6-10 books 
Comedy Writer:  11-15 books
Stand Up Comedian: More than 15 books 


Guidelines for the Challenge:
  • Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2018. Books must be started on or after January 1 to count. Re-reads are allowed as long as they are read during the specified time frame.
  • Books may cross over to other challenges in which you are participating.
  • Any book (fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, graphic novels, poetry collections, plays, picture books) labeled as humor counts. As such, all book formats (paper, audio, electronic) may be read.
  • You do not need a blog to sign up. You may keep tract of your progress on Goodreads, Amazon or other similar sites with a shelf dedicated to this challenge. Or sign up on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. 
  • There will be no checkins, nor do you need to post reviews.





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