Writing Wins and Woes: All About Dogs

I am switching gears here and writing a little bitty book review with some personal insights attached. I just finished Jon Katz’s book, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm. And like usual, I began to speculate if I had read this book before. I am always re reading books that I like because I forgot which one of this author or that author’s book I read already. I tend to read everything by a certain writer if I like that writer. I guess most people do this. Anyway, I’ve ready many books by Jon Katz. He is all about dogs, and I love dogs, as well.

I feel an affinity with him because he’s had a troublesome border collie and we have, too. We presently have a troublesome corgi, which is not one tenth as traumatic as the trouble we went through with our border collie, Dunkin, even though we’ve had our corgi attacked in our own yard twice now by a pit bull who busted through our gate.

This book is biographical. It’s about a guy who obtained a border collie with behavior problems and decided to train him to herd sheep to combat some of those problems. To make a long story short, by this particular book, he has three border collies  and bought himself a sheep farm. His little anecdotes are really humorous. I particularly liked the story about how he traveled states away to his sister’s neighborhood where there were some runaway sheep that had gone very feral and herded them back into a makeshift corral. It took hours and he ended up roping them each separately and being drug around by them until he tired them out.  Having a sheep farm is more work than you could ever guess, and sheep are not particularly bright. He also has two donkeys that love cookies to keep life even more interesting. It’s a very good read. My favorite book by Katz is A Good Dog, about his troublesome border collie.

I wanted to go into my border collie, Dunkin, a bit. We got Dunkin from the humane league at eleven months. He had a sister there, too, but she barked so much that we bypassed her and decided on Dunkin. He was just sitting there so forlorn in his cage, and he put a paw out to us and it broke my heart. We adopted him and my life was very different for having him. We had Dunkin about ten years until we had to have him put down because he had cancer. I had nightmares about walking him because every time I did, he would end up lunging at a child or another dog or freaking out over noises or plastic bags blowing around. He hated fireworks, kids and random people. He bit around a dozen forgiving people and he was lucky that way, and so were we, that not one person turned him or us in for his lack of sociability. Dunkin loved me and followed me everywhere, even into the bathroom.

I walked him most everyday even though he had me to the point of anxiety attacks on our walks. I went through various harnesses, trying to figure out how to control an uncontrollable dog, but he loved hikes in the woods where he could be off leash and run to his heart’s content. He also loved frisbee and tennis balls. If I ever dared to sit or stand in one place, I always had a tennis ball dropped at my feet. Playtime? Through my experiences with Dunkin, I learned unconditional love, loyalty and patience. I still miss him so much. Dogs are family, and when people call their dogs their children, I understand wholeheartedly.

I started to write a book about Dunkin, but I misplaced it. Someday when I find it again, I may finish it. Dunkin taught me that I can love people/pets through their many imperfections. Perfect isn’t very interesting anyway.dunkin at door

Writing Wins and Woes: Writers and Babies

This is kind of a humorous piece. You have to keep laughing if you’re a writer. Otherwise, you’d be depressed a good deal of the time.  I’ve called this edition of my blog Writers and Babies or What do Writers and Babies have in common?

  1. They cry a lot. Let’s face it, babies have to cry. They need to make their needs known so they can be fed, changed or just entertained. Writers cry a lot, too, over all the rejections, disillusions and dysfunctions of the writing life. It’s sad, it’s solitary and it’s disappointing a lot of the time.
  2. They need changes. This goes without saying in babies, doesn’t it? ha ha. But if a writer doesn’t change, he doesn’t move forward. They get stuck, and they don’t go anywhere.
  3. They need to progress from babyhood to adulthood. If I stayed with short stories as a writer, I’d be a fabulous short story writer, I suppose, but I wouldn’t be much of an author. Writers needs to write books, not just stories. Stories are nice. Books are better. A writer can also write and write and write and never submit something for publication. That’s fear talking. I know it well. Those are all things baby writers do. Adult writers have to be brave and grow.
  4. They need attention. Babies love attention, whether they have real needs or they are just bored. If a writer doesn’t get attention, nobody reads their books, they don’t sell books and their writing career fizzles.
  5. They need experts to help them. Well, this one is a stretch, because the experts can be parents or they can be doctors, child help books, grandparents(notice how I slipped that one in).  Writers also need experts to help them. It may be another writer who is more successful, a fresh pair of eyes to read their work, or a  publisher.
  6. They need reassurances. Babies need to be oohed and ahhed and patted on the back and held and swayed and rocked, etc. etc. They need lots of positive reinforcement. So do writers. If writers don’t get this kind of support, they give up, they get discouraged, and they quit writing.
  7. Writers are most happy when they’re needs are met. And by needs, I mean wants. Writers are happiest of all, overjoyed even, when they sell a book, a story or an article. When someone says, I read your thing, and I really liked it. So, you’re a writer and you’re kind of like a baby, that’s okay. People love you. Someday you’ll grow up and it’ll be worth all the fuss.laughing miles

Writing Wins and Woes: Small Successes

Right now I am trying for small successes. I realized while replying to another blog lately that my writing successes were much higher in 2014 and have been in decline since then. What’s the difference? Well, for one thing I am writing a whole lot less. For another I am submitting a good deal less as well. Some of my original writing avenues have gone defunct, but in times past when that would happen, I’d find other means and ways to submit to places. I’ve had some emotional setbacks as well. Something akin to depression over empty nesting. It just didn’t set well with me.

When my world was turned topsy turvy two years ago, I re-evaluated my life. I began to think maybe writing wasn’t as important as family and frankly, does anybody even say frankly anymore?- well, it just took a lot of the joy away from my writing that I had before. I began to believe that all the writing successes in the world wouldn’t make me happy when I didn’t have the person in my life who made living worthwhile.

I’ve since had to move on. I had no choice. I didn’t want to move on. In many ways, I still don’t, but getting that old writing drive back has been no easy task. I lost the “oomph” if that’s a word. In other words, I lost hope.

So, I strive for small successes now. Any success is a big success if I’m enjoying what I’m doing and taking some kind of steps to re-invent myself. I have Guardian Angel Kids to keep me going. In some ways, that ezine has saved my writing sanity. I so like writing for kids and exploring the new topics for the stories and articles.  That said I have a brand new story in the August edition if you want to check it out. The theme is pets with disabilities.

What do I want to achieve most with my writing? I’d have to say getting my children’s book published. I hope I can do that someday. Until then I’ll move on with my small successes.melisa strolling Miles

Writing Wins and Woes: I Finished Something.

I think we’re probably about two-thirds through what is my summer because summer ends for me when school is back in session and I finally finished something. Yay! I did write a few articles over the summer for GAK but I’ve been working on a real story for a while and yesterday I finally finished it. It may need some fine tuning and it needs to be typed and submitted but it is written. I’m still so old school that I  often write my stories in a notebook. I can just write my story on a laptop but I like the feel of paper and pen. It’s just a preference for me.

Finishing things does not come easy for anybody. Starting projects is fun but after a while they can get boring or not work out the way we had hoped. Also, I tend to overthink. Well, this will probably be rejected anyway. Nobody will want to read it. It sounds kind of weird. When I was writing it, I thought it was great but now that I’m re-reading it, it’s kind of lame. On and On. I really do beat myself up quite a bit.

I really have to look back at what I’ve accomplished so far to spur me on to the next step. Our church has that motto: taking your next step. We all need to do that. Take the next step. We don’t have to make a giant leap, just a step.

Next week I will again be MIA. I am taking a little half week break to stay with my dear daughter and beloved grandson. Be back in two weeks. Until then, finish something.Miles smiling


Writing Wins and Woes: Dog Days of Summer

I have to admit I get a little disenchanted with my writing this time of year. I’m not sure why. It’s summer. I want to be out and about doing fun things, not cooped up in the house writing. Not to mention that it’s hot, and it tends to drain my energy. Yes, I have air conditioning in the house, but after a long day’s work, I just don’t feel much like writing.

There’s a lot of reasons why summer just doesn’t seem to fill me with motivation. So I decided to list some motivational tools to help others who are going through the same thing.

  1. Start a brand new project. Sometimes the old projects get boring, so a new endeavor can spur you on to write.
  2. Use the five minute plan. I’ve talked about this before. Decide to write for five minutes. If you are still motivated, write for five more minutes.
  3. Journal. Here’s another thought I’ve harped on before. If you don’t have a story you feel like writing or adding to, just write your thoughts down. It may motivate you to write other things, and it’s good practice.
  4. Reward yourself. Decide on a special treat after you’ve finished writing. Then give yourself some pats on the back. Rewards work with kids and adults.
  5. Go somewhere specifically to write. Sometimes a change of scenery can start the creative juices flowing.
  6. Free yourself from distractions. Don’t answer your cell. Don’t open the door. Don’t check facebook. Shut the door and write. Don’t even throw the ball to the dog. (I have that problem when I’m sitting down to write.)
  7.  Write a whole story in one sitting. Challenge yourself. I know this sounds hard but you really get a sense of achievement when you finish something. Try not to stop until the story is done. Work on fine tuning later.
  8. Add a chapter. Add just one chapter to the novel you are currently working on. It’s forward progress and it feels good.
  9. Write something completely different than you usually write. Again, it’s fresh and fun and you might be surprised that you actually like writing in a new kind of way.
  10.  Practice whenever you can. Read a news story. Write about it. Watch something on tv. Write about it. Read a book. Write about it. These projects are actual things. They are called book and movie reviews and editorials. They are fun and helpful to developing your writing skills. Even try writing a review on a product you bought on Amazon or a recipe you liked.             There you go. Take one or all or make up your own. Just write.019

Writing Wins and Woes: Moving Forward

I’ve had a brief hiatus from writing and my blog and I’m itching to begin my journey once again. For those of you who have been keeping up with my “new adventure” I’m now a grandma, and I spent a wonderful week keeping Miles and his mommy company last week. He had his first doctor visit and his first professional pictures and I’m so excited to add this bundle of joy to my life. I’m certain he’ll be in many future blogs.

I started writing again this week. I worked on an article for my favorite ezine, Guardian Angel Kids on Halloween pumpkins and if you are interested, you can click on the link, and read my article in July’s issue about Grandpas and Grandmas in school. It’s a very interesting concept and hopefully will be picked up by other preschools and homes for the elderly. Grandparents should never be obsolete. They have so much love to give.

I also was able to be published in Enchanted Conversation the mid-summer issue. This is a fairy tale magazine, and I love to write fairy tales. My story is the continuing saga of Sleeping Beauty. Check it out.

Last but not least, I have been interviewed by a good writing friend from the UK on her blog. I’m very excited to be included. Check it out here    The interview lists some of my hopes and dreams, reasons for writing, etc , etc.

So, lots of news. Hope to have some more good news in the future. This has been a good bunch of weeks for me. I’m finishing off with a plug both for early reading and my grandson, Miles. He’s a sweetie. Never to young to begin the reading journey.

reading to Miles

Writing Wins and Woes: Grandson, the Adventure Begins

I  love adventure, don’t you? Mountain climbing. Surfing. Skiing. Cliff diving. Ha ha. Yeah, I’m not the adventurous sort. When I was a kid, I hung upside down from a swing,  fell off and got a nosebleed. I never did that again. The most adventure I have is visiting a zoo with wild, ferocious animals, taking hikes on man made trails and maybe, just maybe camping, if there is a cabin involved. But do you know what? That is just the right kind of adventuring for being a grandparent.

I’m so excited to be a brand spanking new grandma, or Mom Mom or whatever he chooses to call me. My grandson, Miles Scott,  was born on Monday through a very difficult labor, which I’m sure my daughter doesn’t wish me to relate on my blog, but suffice it to say that he was born not breathing through c-section and to me, he is a little miracle, because he is home with his mommy and daddy after only 4 days in the hospital or 5 if you count the labor.

I’m so looking forward in anticipation to the adventures we are going to have together; taking walks, feeding ducks, visiting zoos and aquariums, playing with toys and reading books. Maybe we’ll even write some books together. My adventure begins very shortly because I am going to spend all next week with him and his mom and I can’t wait. So next week I will take a little hiatus from my blog. I’ll join you back here in two weeks.

Let the adventures begin!

my grandson MilesMiles in carseat



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