Thursday, July 18, 2019

You Know That Summer is Half-Over When...

You go looking for items like this at the Dollar Tree:

But mostly see displays like this:

Yes, half-way through July store displays begin to to look like that pictured above. As someone who once worked in retail, I already know to expect this.  

Last Sunday, I went looking for some of the bottles pictured above but could only find one package left at the time. Though it wasn't for barbecuing, but something else--to use for reverse tie-dying as a project at work in two weeks. I got the bottles, some bleach, rubber bands and gloves at the Dollar Tree.Since I still had some petty cash from work left, so I went to Kmart to look for condiment bottles, but they were already sold out. I then tried Target and the best I could find was a bottle like this. I guessed that three bottles would be enough, as I can't be certain just yet how many people will be participating, though several have already expressed interest in doing so. I've already tried a few reverse tie-dye shirts at home and hope to post more about this project later. I already have a set of mustard and ketchup bottles (the red and yellow ones) that have been used for cleaning at home. I used the yellow one to reverse tie-dye at home and will probably bring it with me for work. This set was also from Dollar Tree, purchased a little earlier in the season. But even then, finding these things seemed a bit hard at first, but then a worker looked around and was able to find at least one set. I guess the summer items were already selling out by then. Now very few items for summer are on display at most retail stores, and stores like Target have these items on clearance already. Though I  have little to worry about as I don't barbecue and have no big summer parties planned for what remains of the season. 

On a a side note, as someone without children, I still have a way to take advantage of the back-to-school items now on display at most discount stores.This is a good way to stock up on notebooks, pens and pencils for writing and glue and markers for art projects at home.

And I won't even get started on Halloween showing up in stores before September. Well, not right now, since I have yet to see  any such displays. But they probably will start showing up as early as August.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Eavesdropping Isn't Nice (Cough), But It's Great for Coming Up With Ideas for Stories

From How to Get Inspiration for Creative Writing:
“… I've never seen her so angry before.”
“If Frank hadn't been around, I don't know what…”
When you take a walk or sit down in the park, you will hear a lot of snippets of conversations. Some of these can inspire you to come up with your own stories, if you ask yourself further questions, like:
Why was she angry? What had happened to her? How did she show her anger?
And then, depending on your genre, ask even more into the matter:
Romance: Did he cheat on her? With whom? What was the consequences?
Horror: How did her anger play out? Did she brutally kill him with a wood-shredder? Did he come back as a ghost to haunt her?
Even if you can't hear or understand the surrounding people, you can find inspiration in their body language. Are they agitated? Why? Make it up. Are they happy? Relaxed? What will happen next?
You don't have to have a notebook and pen with you, but go over good ideas in your mind many times. And as soon as you get home, write down your inspiration.

By coincidence yesterday for my creative writing class at work, I did something like this. I got the idea from this book. I have an earlier edition, which I got when it came out in 1995. I have been using ideas from this book for the class as well for myself. The exercise is entitled "Legitimate Eavesdropping." The participants in my class and I went across the street to a coffee shop for about 20 minutes to take notes on what we could hear.  I warned them to be inconspicuous as they took notes. I managed to sit down at the coffee shop and take notes without anyone suspecting a thing, including two girls nearby me who were working on a laptop. Others I saw and observed from a distance, including the workers at the counter and some customers they were talking to.  
After about 20 minutes, the class then returned to our center and wrote down what they had observed. Most of them thought the  exercise was fun, since we go to go outside of work to do some writing. I now have other writing exercises planned that will require going outside or to the coffee shop or other nearby places. 

 I also came across this blog post today:
Eavesdropping 101:

Norman Mailer eavesdropped on strangers’ conversations. So did J. D. Salinger. Tim Robbins does it, too. If you browse writing tips from great authors, you’ll discover that many suggest eavesdropping as a legitimate writing tool. 
This idea of listening to conversations may sound appalling, but the truth is that most writers can’t help but eavesdrop. When they listen, they pick up not only unique snippets of dialog but also story ideas. Add people watching, and you’ll find a surfeit of characters clamoring to find their ways into books and stories. 
There are several good reasons why writers eavesdrop. 
If working on a story outline, then go where your characters might go. Listen, watch, and take notes. This helps to develop characters’ physical descriptions and personalities. It also provides clues about how characters interact within certain settings. When eavesdropping, pay attention to the flow of the voices, the pitch, volume and cadence. Take note of slang and regional dialect. If you hear a great line, jot it down word for word. You might want to use it someday.
Maybe you’re in a full-blown writer’s block and need story ideas. One way to break loose is to spend a day or two eavesdropping and people watching. Restaurants and coffee shops are perfect for eavesdropping. So are waiting rooms, hotel lobbies, and public transportation. Kid-friendly venues, like playgrounds or public swimming pools, are venues for parent-child/child-child conversations and humorous anecdotes. Quiet places, like libraries and museums, work for scholarly and serious dialog. Experiment. Take yourself on eavesdropping adventures to places you otherwise might not go. 
Thornton Wilder offered the best reason to eavesdrop. He said, “There’s nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.” Some of the best story ideas come from observing the everyday life of people around you. As the saying goes, Truth is stranger than fiction.
I admit that I’ve been eavesdropping for years. Here are a few humorous snippets from my files:
Farmer in a rural cafe: “I nearly run over my wife in the cornfield this mornin’.”
Waitress pouring coffee: “What the heck was Ruth doin’ in the cornfield?”
Farmer: “Said she was lookin’ for somethin’ that flew off the porch last night.”
Woman talking on her cell phone on the train:
“Before you fold the laundry tell Mark to take his underpants off the dog.”
Doctor’s waiting room:
Woman 1: “…then he went to Italy and saw the Parthenon.”
Woman 2: “You mean the Coliseum.”
Woman 1: “I thought he said the Parthenon.”
Woman 2: “The Parthenon is in Greece. The Coliseum is in Italy. It’s where Daniel was in the lion’s den.”
And a few strange (but real) names I’ve gathered along the way:
Christina Pickles,
Ruby Knuckles,
Baldwin Bump, and
Pastor Peacock
 So what are you waiting for? Get out there and eavesdrop!

So now I know this is not an unusual idea, if famous writers have done it. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Importance of Finishing What You Start


For many writers, one of the hardest parts of the job is finishing what we start.
We often find ourselves suddenly with an incredible idea in our heads, one that makes us a little sweaty of palm, a bit breathless with excitement, and we can’t wait to start working on it. However, as we keep going, our enthusiasm dampens, we can’t figure out where to go next, or just other priorities and commitments get in the way which means that we never manage to get to the end of our writing project.
For others, it can simply be the stress and anxiety or the fear of not being good enough that keeps us from seeing our writing through to the end, and no matter how much time and effort we’ve put into it, we can’t bring ourselves to finish.
As professional writers, it’s so important to finish what we start and to get over the roadblocks that prevent us from doing so. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Not being prepared
Asking yourself the right questions can help you be more prepared and therefore, confident in yourself and your work. Are you truly ready to write? How will you make the time? Have you researched your audience? Are you ready to edit and polish your work? Are you prepared for rejection?
Searching for perfection
Writers, by nature, are perfectionists. However, striving for perfection can be more damaging than helpful in the long run. It is essential to learn the difference between putting the appropriate amount of time and effort into your work to make it as good as possible and hoping to produce something flawless and perfect which is an impossibility for even the most experienced and successful writers amongst us. Once you can embrace your imperfections, and stop being so self-critical, you’ll stand a much better chance of finishing your book.
Worrying about what others think
While it is vital to keep your reader in mind if you want your book to be successful if you only care about what others think and worry about rejection or criticism you could end up scaring yourself away from finishing altogether.
You need to accept that criticism and rejection are part and parcel of the writing world, and write for yourself first and foremost. If you aren’t enjoying your writing, and if you are constantly fretting about other people’s opinions, you are far less likely to want to keep doing it.
The truth is, the very biggest obstacle known to finish what you start is yourself.
You have the power, you can do it, and the ability to overcome your fears, worries, and doubts is imperative.
Only you can hold yourself accountable and be honest about what is holding you back - once you can do that, you’ll be able to tackle those obstacles head-on, and move forward, editing closer and closer toward the finish line!

This is one thing I have been trying to do. Often I ask myself when its it really finished? Then I say that's for me to decide. I was told by the creative writing teacher I had in junior college that "writing is rewriting is rewriting..." That's what I ahem tried doing. I worked on the memoir many times before I decided it was done, to my satisfaction. Same now with the diary novel. Still have some things to do with that one, though it's been a while since I last worked on that one. I felt what I had done on that work was how I wanted it to be; I just need to check for errors and such. But even when I work to find errors, I may see things I want to add, delete or change completely. How often I do this, is something I decide and do until I feel satisfied. 
I began and finished my dictated story afterI had made changes to the diary, which I have yet to print with the recent changes. I wanted to get the dictated story on Wattpad and have it complete by the end of June. On a side note, I emailed a PDF of the story to the members of the writing group, as a way of keeping in touch while the group is out for summer. One member gave feedback via email. I gave then the option of reading the story if the wanted to and had time since we won't be meeting again till fall and won't be seeing  most of them till then. I was glad to see at least one person respond.
My next plan to work some more on the diary, then possibly the sequel that I have already begun.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Quiz: The Fancy Cupcake Test

Click here for the quiz.

You Crave Happiness

You are an idealist, and you spend more time in your dream world more than the real world.
You feel deeply, and it's easy for you to tap into your emotional side. You empathize strongly with people.

You are highly sensitive and a bit withdrawn. It takes you a while to get used to strangers.
You can happily spend hours by yourself. You are your own best friend, and your imagination constantly entertains you.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all you. I'm sharing this photo a friend shared on Facebook today.

And I want to repost this from two years ago:

Definitely agree with this one.

Your Fireworks Say You're Introverted
You are a rather reserved person in day to day life.
However, you do have a few topics that truly excite you.

When you become impassioned, it's a surprise to everyone around you.
But if they blink, they'll miss it, because you get back to being calm very quickly.
Blogthings: 100's of Fun, Free Quizzes!

And just in time for the holiday, I read the following book:

It was a great read and tells you more than you might have already known about women's fights to get the right to vote. With only one year till the centennial of when the right was granted, this is a definite must read. 

Once again, happy 4th!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Chapter Break Bingo – July 2019

Here is the yearly Emoji-themed bingo card for July.

Click on the card to download (or right click here and save-as).
Mark up the card however you wish to claim the squares.
Here’s a recap for clarity (with specific dates for example):
July 3 – new bingo card available
August 2 – Julie and I will post our July completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post
August 3 – new bingo card available
September 2 – Julie and I will post our August completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post. We will also be posting the July winner of the most squares in this post.
And so on and so forth.
My Books:
  1. Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating--Christina Lauren (6 squares): Shelf Love, Physical Book, Dual POV, Not in a Series, Vacation Read, Fireworks
  2. Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah--Rachel Cohn & David Leviathan (2 squares): Library Book, Cookout
  3. On Tall Pine Lake--Dorothy Garlock (3 squares): Free Space, Long--Over 400 Pages, Thief
  4. Friday the Rabbi Slept Late--Harry Kemelman (6 squares): Free Book, In a Series, Made Into a TV Show, Spy, Death/Murder, FBI
  5. The Poet X--Elizabeth Acevedo (4 squares): Audiobook, Sport/Physical Activity, Birthday, Gift
  6. The Night Watch--Sarah Waters (1 square): Foreign Country
  7. The Temple Dancer--John Speed (1 square): Travel (Distance)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

What to Do Next...

I still am not sure what do with my memoir to get it "out there." and the same for the diary novel. I am not too sure if I should include these on Wattpad. I did just complete one story that I included on Wattpad, the first work in out on the site with more than one part. Everything else I have opted thus far has been short works, mainly poems. It was the story I dictated on my phone, with necessary corrections and embellishments added. I have shared by email it to the members of the writers lab, in order to keep in touch over the summer break. Click here to read the completed story.

This image was created from a picture I had
on a past blog post.

I have been working more on the diary novel or "the tooth book," as some I know are calling it because of its subject. I have drawn a possible cover for that one, though it has ben years since i ever attempted to draw anything. I'm not sure how to scan the image, or I would have posted it on the blog by now. I now want to try to figure this out. Something I have not done before.