Writing Wins and Woes: Direction

I’m not very good with direction. I once visited the home of a bus kid from our church, and tried to leave the house via the closet. I’m known for veering off to wrong exits on highways because I followed the car ahead of me. I don’t know whether the place I’m going to is “up” or “down”. If there is a hill in the way of my going there, it’s always up, or a slope, it’s “down”. A map is useless to me. The best thing ever invented on the phone was GPS, and I can even get lost using that. Luckily, it re-routes itself.

I want to go a new direction on this blog. I love writing themes and starting in September which is next week, I want to explore a new writing theme of some kind. If I still have some readers out there, I’m open for suggestions. Themes in the past I have done were: Writing Recluses, Spring Cleaning the Writing Life and Mothers. I’ve also done some small holiday themes. Here’s some ideas I have for themes: Writing Fairy Tales, Juggling the Family with your Writing, What kind of author am I?, Back to School with Writing. Let me know if any of these themes catches your fancy. Otherwise, I’ll probably just pick one.

I’m very happy with my progress this week. I didn’t write a whole lot, but I wrote an article for a deadline at the end of the month, and submitted a fairy tale, also on a deadline. I was very pleased with the value of the work I did. In other words, I liked what I wrote. Sometimes I don’t like what I write as much.

It was my first week back on second shift but my husband was on vacation and we were trying to fit in some electrical work on the house, so it was hard to find time to get writing stuff in. So I’m glad I got anything done. Next week, I’m back to a schedule of trying to write every week day. Have a great writing week.13895200_10102107096314122_9099884758137303723_n

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