Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Website

So I've finally gotten my website "finished" enough that I think it's ready to be seen. It's still got some wrinkles to iron out and some coolio things to add, but it's functional at this point. So go check it out! :D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breaking From the Routine

Ever hear that saying that humans are creatures of habit? Hello, I must be human! Me + routine = happy. I like to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. I like to eat more or less at the same time every day. And every time I get on the computer, no matter what my original goal was, my auto-pilot takes over and opens up a certain browser, opens several pages in different tabs, always in the same order, opens WMP, and opens my latest chapter, and then usually another certain browser. It's like I can't stop it, it just takes over!  Which is a good thing when it comes to my morning Bible reading.
Sometimes I think it would be entirely to live my life in my sleep, totally on auto-pilot. At least, when it comes to routine things like checking my email, taking a shower, baking bread, etc. This could be a good thing, but it could also be a bad thing. The biggest reason it is a bad thing is that it seems like it's all too easy to develop a routine of useless things and not as easy to develop a routine of good things. I don't know why that is, I guess it's just human nature or something (that's always a good fall-back for tossing blame, right?).
The other big reason for me that living purely based on routine is... well actually it's several things kinda wrapped into one. I mean, if you're just going through life on autopilot, where's the joy in life? Most people don't have a spot in their schedule to "stop and smell the roses" (how cliché BLAH :P) or watch the sun rise or be amused at the antics of a young dad in walmart making his child laugh. And it seems like most of the things we do by autopilot are not as meaningful. I mean, if I was just writing this blog purely on autopilot it probably wouldn't be all that interesting. (it is interesting, right? :P )
I once had a shirt that said "Any dead fish can tumble downstream. Go against the flow." That was my favorite shirt for a long time too ;)  haa ha! Anyway, I think a lot of us just tumble through life like a dead fish. I do sometimes and then I spend the whole night kicking myself for not getting anything done. Well sometimes I get stuff done going through life like that but it's usually something like washing dishes that keep getting dirty or making meals that disappear faster than I can make them etc. To me, living life on purpose is so much better and fulfilling. Setting goals for the day, week, month, year, etc. or taking the extra effort to help someone out.
This reminds me of the story Jesus told in Matthew 25 about separating the nations at the end of the age. The people on the left --the "goats"-- were the kind of people who just tumble downstream, going through life on autopilot, not noticing the hungry and naked and poor around them. The other side, of course, took the time to make a difference. That is not to say that doing good works should be our focus, but living by faith doesn't mean you pass through life oblivious to everything else. Afterall, faith without WORKS is dead, right? Sorry, I'll stop there because that's a whole other blog. Book, really ;)
So anyway, all this to say, PAY ATTENTION! Don't let life just pass you by. Don't just float through life on the little raft of your routine. Put some effort into life. Take time to do something for someone else. Enjoy every moment because it won't last long.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Room for Non-fiction

Since I never had plans of being a writer, I never was connected to the writing world growing up. I mean, I read a lot of books and stuff, but I didn't hob-nob with other writers or pay much attention to styles and formatting and such. And I read a lot of fiction. Well now that I'm kinda into the writing process, I'm trying to get "into" the writing world a little. I've started trying to brush up on writer's lingo, studying out various publishing options, get to know some other writers, and just generally trying to pick up relevant knowledge wherever I can. But in my wanderings I've discovered something... most of the tips and discussions I run into are for fiction work. Maybe it's just because the majority of writers/published authors I know happen to be fiction writers and so the word-of-mouth avenues I go down (which comprise probably about 99% of my research) usually have to do with fiction: How to write fiction queries, discussions about characters, stories vs poetry, etc... Not that I particularly mind it because I find that kind of stuff interesting too.... I just feel slightly left out I guess.
I haven't found many if any discussions about how to organize thoughts logically or the best way to write expository compositions... Pretty much all I know about writing nonfiction is things I've picked up while reading other nonfiction books and thinking of how to adopt certain styles or things into my own style. Sometimes being original or deciding which method of presentation would be more effective is difficult. Maybe I just need some more people on my chain of editing staff to help me :P  I dunno....
The other thing I ran into especially earlier on in my writing escapade was that when I told people I was writing a book, they automatically assumed I was writing fiction. They'd ask me if they were going to be in it or something. Heh, well some of them probably ARE in it, just not quite like they would probably be hoping ;)
Seriously, doesn't anybody write nonfiction anymore? I know a lot of people do, but they're all famous people, right? Nobody wants to read something written by nobody from nowhere? Haa ha it seems like that sometimes. But I don't want to be famous. I suppose if being famous meant people would actually read my book and have an increased chance of hearing what God has for them, then fine, I'll be famous... but it's really not my preference. Is that weird? :P

Monday, March 8, 2010


Next to inspiration, motivation is probably one of the most important facets of writing. It also seems to be another one of the most-struggled-with amongst many writers I know. I'm no exception. I know some writers have no problem getting motivated. To them, it's almost necessary for life or is, at the very least, a huge part of life. Writing itself is motivation.
I think part of what sets apart those of us who struggle with motivation is the rest of life. When I think about my own life and that of some of my fellow writers, there are a lot of us who are multi-talented or who have a lot of other responsibilities besides writing (such as parenting, school, work, etc.). Those of us who fall into those categories seem to be the ones who struggle most with motivation. That is not to say this is scientifically proven or that because you're multi-talented means you may struggle with motivation or anything like that... this is just my observation.
I know for me, it's hard to sit down and write sometimes because I have SO many other things going on that make it difficult to concentrate and work at inspiration. And then there's demotivators. LOTS of demotivators (yes, that is a word, oh spellcheck. I have spoken, therefore it is a word. but I guess I don't feel too bad since it says "spellcheck" isn't a word either :P Sorry, I digress...). Sometimes I'll be writing along and something happens to lose all my work or someone will suggest I totally redo a large piece of work... that's just so uber demotivating. Don't get me wrong, it's great if someone has a good suggestion that will make my work even more perfect (lol) than I already have it. It's just like this subconscious thing about having to do MORE work and realizing that all that work was wasted *tears*. Ok well  with the exception of accidentally lost work, no work was truly wasted, right? That's what I'll keep telling myself anyway. But anyway, as I was saying, these things just totally work against motivation. When these things happen, I just run into a BRICK WALL mental block not much unlike the Berlin Wall... complete with armed guards and barbed wire. And it's not so easy to get past. This drives me crazy to no end, and it almost seems like it's unstoppable. It's like a battle within just trying to MAKE myself get back into writing and climb the blasted wall. I usually end up taking a break and working on something else but that is just not conducive to productivity in the writing area (though it works great in the "help dad out", baking, exercise, or sewing departments :P ). This is a bad habit I must conquer. *attempts to look determined*
Ok so now that I've admitted my stupid problem, let's talk about what DOES motivate me. And let's see if there is anything that could possibly help me overcome the demotivations I face... hmmmm
So one thing that motivates me is new or fresh ideas... new things in general, really. It kinda reminds me of my school days when getting a new book to work on got me all excited and motivated to get schoolwork done. I don't know exactly why, but newness is always very motivating. Sometimes I just have to get out a fresh page and start writing. This can be both motivating and inspiring (the two are very closely linked, you know ;) )
Outside challenges or deadlines are usually very motivating. Especially when it comes to getting over the brick wall. I have to be careful there, or sometimes it occasionally causes panick and therefore causes sloppy writing which in turn causes having to re-write large portions and you know where that leads. However, knowing that I have a deadline helps me focus and tell myself that I have no choice, no time for pity parties or hitting the wall with my head, just gotta get it done. Does that mean I work well under pressure?  Ummm yeah sure I guess so. In a way. Here's the thing though. It doesn't always work if I have self-imposed deadlines. I usually have to get someone else to hold me accountable to my deadline in order for it to be motivating. Funny how that works, huh?
Sometimes I play little tricks on myself to motivate myself. I wrote a blog elsewhere once about this... Sometimes I will bake cookies in order to motivate myself to clean the entire kitchen solo mio. Usually seeing a dirty kitchen is enough by itself, but if I've cleaned the kitchen solo for a week and my brothers come in right behind me and mess it up: y'know... demotivation. Anyway, so the same thing works for other things I need motivation for. I just find something else to do that necessitates or inspires me to do something that I need to do. That's a little trickier with writing, though. But I find that if I do a lot of studying and note-taking, that sometimes motivates me to start writing.
Another thing that will motivate me sometimes is thoughts/dreams. Yeah I know, kinda funny... But like sometimes I have an awesome thought while I'm taking a shower or going for a walk and it just totally motivates me to write. Or sometimes I'll have a horrid dream that it's the end of the world and God is disappointed with me for not finishing my book (I can't tell you how dreadful those dreams are! O_O ). Sometimes I'll have a positive-motivating dream though where I write this tremendous book or preach a tremendous sermon that changes the world. Then I just wanna write and get it done. ^_^
For sure, the absolute biggest motivation is inspiration. Which is funny because sometimes inspiration comes by motivation. The two are just such great pals, it seems. They're always pushing each other around and having a great time. ha ha that got a funny picture goin' on in my head
Ok well I'm either out of things to list or I just lost my motivation to write this blog. At any rate, I do feel some serious motivation to get back to work (lol). But before I go, I want to ask YOU: Do you ever have motivation problems? how do you motivate yourself? Or do you? ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lessons From a Watering Can

Did you know you could learn a lesson from a watering can? I do now.  You see, for a long time we haven't had a watering can. I've just had to do without. I've gotten by alright when it comes to watering house plants, but when it comes to watering tender young plants, you can really mess them up if you dump a cup of water on them. You want the water falling on them to be more like a gentle rain shower, sprinkling them with the life-giving elixir of water, not like a tsunami wave of death that bends them over under the pressure and disperses the soil from around their roots. So anyway, for my plantlets I had been making due with a Styrofoam cup which I had poked a bunch of holes in the bottom with a needle, then I would pour water in the top of the cup and let it rain on top of the seedlings (do I get points for resourcefulness? :P ). This is when I first started noticing this little lesson, which also carries over into the watering can. You see, if you just put a little water in the cup, or tilt the can just a little, the water comes out of the holes, runs along the sprinkler surface, and collects other droplets coming out of the holes till they become big heavy droplets and fall with a great splash into the soil. Well at least it's not a tsunami, but it still makes a mess and is pretty hard on some of those wussy little plants. But if you put enough water against the sprinkler to put the water under pressure so that it shoots out of the little holes, it sprinkles the water like it's supposed to!
So here's the point I'm making (see, this isn't really a lesson in watering your seedlings): in order for the watering can (or makeshift watering can/cup) to work, you can't just give it a little bit of water--you gotta give it all you've got! A lot of things in life are like that. You can't just half-heartedly do things and expect to get good results. What does the Bible say? It says "whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your MIGHT" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). That means you get in there and apply a little elbow grease! It's all or nothing. You have to decide what you're going to do with your life, then get in there and do it. If you're going to serve God you have to be prepared to leave everything behind and give it your all. You can't just serve Him part time or half-heartedly or you WILL fail and become discouraged. When you seek Him with your WHOLE heart, you will find Him.
~L. E. Neighbour

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blog Fail

Reason #102 I'm not a very good blogger...
I was going for a walk today in the icy wind with our two crazy dogs, Danger and Duke. (No, that's not my blogging problem :P ) This is a rather common occurrence in the average day of me: walking alone with no human companion to chatter with... just me and God and the critters and the trees B-)  I find it's a good way to clear my mind and do some praying and some talking to myself too. (Not like Gollum kinda talking to myself... It's more like rather than thinking in a continuous line I think in conversations with internal mental images of people I know, where I'm actually supplying both ends of the conversation :P)  So as often happens while I'm out walking and thinking and praying I'll get some brilliant idea of something to write in my book or something to blog about so I don't bore my adoring readership (L.O.L.).. well that happened again today. So then after I got back and thawed out and got ready to get to work I tried to recall my brilliant ideas. At this point one of two things usually happens: #1, I decide it wasn't really quite as brilliant as I had originally thought (aka "that was dumb" xD) #2, I find that somehow I misplaced the file for that brilliant idea or accidentally deleted it from my CPU... Yes, I'm smart like that. Today, the latter is what happened. I would explain it all but, as you would quickly be able to deduce from the evidence at hand, I don't remember what it was or how I misplaced/deleted it. So now you know why this entry will have to suffice :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Honest Scrap Blogger Award

Emily (her blog) nominated me for the honest scrap blogger award. Ain't I speshul? ;) :D  Well apparently this is a sneaky way to get info from people b/c nominees have to post ten things that few or no people know about them... Well to be perfectly honest, there's usually a reason nobody knows them! But whatever, I'll play along :P  ok let's see... 10 things... just in the order they come to me :P

1. I am claustrophobic. Not severely, fortunately ;)
2. I hate long sleeve shirts/dresses. if the sleeves are stretchy/baggy enough I don't mind them so much, but if they grab my arm I can't stand it (so I don't mind coats or sweatshirts as long as they hang loose). I think maybe it's related to the claustrophobia
3. I am very warm-blooded and sweat easily so I don't mind not wearing long sleeves :P
4. I am so OCD that I serial-number my socks so that I know which one goes with which and which foot each goes on (actually it was mostly part of a weird experiment I decided to conduct but that experiment was due to OCDness :P)
5. I am constantly writing stories or descriptions in my head but I rarely get around to writing them down much less developing the stories into something worthwhile
6. Ok so most people who know me only online do not realize that I am MUCH quieter in real life MOST of the time. (I prefer ze term pensive... sounds more intelligente xD ) I can be just as wacky though... just depends on the particular situation I'm in (who I'm with, what we're doing, whether food coloring is involved etc :P )
7. I am famous in the local homeschool group for my ability to mimic the Impressive Clergyman from Princess Bride as well as the French Peas off Veggie Tales... I also have a plethora of other cartoonish voices and accents which escape my lips at rather random times and earn me interesting nicknames and reputation and such :P
8. I am, upon occasion, a halfway decent artist (so they say). I wish I had the time and patience to learn more... maybe someday :)
9. I don't particularly care for the color pink (can't really wear it :P) but I have a few pink things (flashlight, bike helmet, etc) so that my brothers won't steal them :P
10. I don't have a laptop but whenever I get one, I've got a name all picked out for "her" ;) :D

I'll add my nominees later ;)