FIGHT FOR YOUR DREAM

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Something is happening to me. I feel more determined than I ever was. I have decided that I deserve to be published. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arrogant. I’m not trying to say my work is the best work ever written but I know I’ve fought hard to write the best story I can. I’ve slaved over revisions. I’ve listened to everything my critique partners have suggested. I’ve cried over rejections and jumped for joy when I received requests, but up until now I don’t think I ever truly fought to get my work out there. I sent a query here or there. I waited months to receive a reply. I never looked at my writing as a business until now.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon an article (sorry I didn’t bookmark it so I can’t tell you what the name of the article is) that encouraged writers to look at their craft as a business. The author of the article stressed that the querying process should be approached with a business like sense. He (I do remember the author was a male) stressed that everyday a writer should devote an hour or two to querying. He stated that you should set a goal to send at least three to five queries out a day.

I’m sure there are various opinions on this subject but his suggestion sparked a fire within my soul. I realized that I wasn’t doing enough. I had this big dream but that’s all it was… a dream.

Instead of focusing on querying more, I allowed the rejections to bring me down.

I had to start reminding myself of the positive feedback I received along the way, the requests for more pages, the star a well-known author put on the top of my manuscript at a writers conference after reading it. The light in her eyes when she told me that it won’t be long before I’m an author with an agent.

I found my boxing gloves. I’m done with here and there. I’m ready to fight for my future. I believe in my future.

What have you done when you feel like you’ve been knocked out? How do you get yourself back into the ring?

Five Things to do when feeling discouraged.

1. Gather all of your positive feedback and put it into its own folder. Title it something like- Reasons Not to Give Up.
2. Read success stories.
3. Make a visualization board. Pinterest is great for this.
4. Read inspirational quotes. Sometimes one quote can change your way of thinking forever.
5. Write down your frustrations. If you allow them to walk around your mind they will invade your ability to think positively.

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How’s Your Writing Going?

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April fried my blog writing brain. I took a month or so off from posting but I’m back. When it comes to blog writing, I like to be inspired. The thirty day challenge used up a lot of the ideas I had stored away in the blog post bank. So, I allowed my mind to chill and waited for my next post to surface.

Here in the writing world, it’s easy to share our accomplishments, rejections, ideas and everything else writing related. We get each other! But, sometimes it’s the people outside of the writing world that impact our thoughts and push us to become the person they believe we will be.

My family, circle of friends, co-workers and many acquaintances know by now that I’m a writer with a dream. Everyone is encouraging and supportive. They keep me in check and won’t allow me to give up (not that I ever plan on giving up).

Today, a co-worker asked me a question that she asks often, “How’s your writing going?” I know by now what she’s really asking is, Are you working hard to make your dream a reality?
There were times in the past that I would answer this question by saying, “This week has been busy.” Each time I’d give her this response, her eyebrow would raise and she’d give me this look that summed up her thoughts. I’m pretty sure she was thinking, Excuses won’t get you to the top. (Or something similar)

I’ve shared my dream with others. I’ve allowed them to read my work. They’ve crossed their fingers for me when I told them I got requests. They wrapped their arms around me when I became discouraged, but never once did they stop believing that I have the ability to become successful. There’s something that happens when you know someone else believes in you. You start believing in yourself. You begin fighting harder and when you feel knocked down you get up because you want to be able to respond with “I’m fighting hard,” when they ask you “How’s your writing going?
I’m a dreamer but with a little help and encouragement from my friends I’m determined to be the one telling others Yes, dreams do come true.

How’s your writing going?

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Zzz’s Let Your Mind Rest

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Today is the last day of the April A to Z writing challenge. I made it! Woo! Woo! Woo!
This month has been fun and challenging. I’m ready to give my mind a few days to rest and then jump back into my works in progress. If you haven’t already commented on my “I” post –Interview with Divinity author Derek Miller you still have time. I will select a random commenter next week to win a special prize.

I have to be honest, my mind feels scrambled. I’m searching for the right words but none seem to want to appear. I’m waiting to become inspired but something tells me inspiration has checked out for the day. I’m trying to collect my thoughts but I’m finding myself staring off into space. My thoughts are silent or at least very quiet.

Sometimes this happens and when it does the best thing to do is go with it. Great ideas aren’t always going to be roaming through our minds.

What are some ways that you rest your mind? Do you believe inspiration hits stronger after you allow yourself to take some time off from thinking?

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Here are a few techniques that may help bring back inspiration.

1. Doodle- This act of unconscious drawing keeps your brain working while your thoughts are resting. I’ve always been a doodler. My journals are filled with doodles. I’m often fascinated by the scribbles that sometimes turn into pictures.

2. Meditate- There is several different ways one can meditate. You can choose one object and focus on it and only it or you can focus on your breathing. The act of meditation is said to improve your mind’s focus when not meditating. If you want, come up with a mantra and repeat it over and over to induce a meditative state.

3. Go outside- Breathe in the fresh air. Take in the scenery and allow yourself to become one with the earth.

4. Choose to Experience Something New- New experiences free up clutter in our minds and helps restore inspiration. The next time someone asks you to do something you haven’t done before say yes.

5. Take a Nap- I’m a huge fan of naps. Naps help rejuvenate you and if you are lucky enough to dream during your nap you may wake up inspired by the story told to you while you lay sleeping.

I had a blast this month. Thanks again for visiting my blog. I’m inspired by all of you.
Now it’s time to catch a few Zzzzz’s.

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Yum, I’ll Take What That Character’s Having

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A to Z Writing Challenge

When we talk about writing stories we tend to chat about settings, plots, genres, climaxes and endings. How often do you think about the types of food mentioned in a story?
Yes, our characters have to take journeys and learn lessons, but they also need to eat. The types of food a character eats can tell a lot about them. The way they eat can tell even more. Do they cut their food into tiny pieces before taking a bite or do they shove large amounts of food into their mouths practically swallowing their food whole?

Have you ever read a story and found yourself desiring a dish the character ate or looked up a recipe that was mentioned in the book?

Maybe it’s because I have a deep love for food but I tend to remember the meals, snacks, or goodies that characters enjoy or hate in the books I read.

In Jodi Piccoult’s The Tenth Circle Trixie’s mother made Sorrow Pie. Many people were curious of what this recipe consisted of and how to make it that Jodi ran a contest for the best Sorrow Pie Recipe. There was ritual that came with making the pie and it was usually prepared after someone was struggling with an intense emotion. I know I was curious about it after reading the book that I too looked to see if there was a recipe.

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Katniss ate the Lamb Stew. She spent her life hunting for food to survive. The stew was not the kind of food she was accustomed to eating. Maybe, that’s why she thoroughly enjoyed the dinner.

In Because of Wynn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo one of the characters (Miss Franny Block) has a drawer stuffed of Littmus Lozanges. They are candies that when eaten produce a feeling of happiness and sorrow at the same time. I wanted so badly to try one of these candies.

In Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa Lee, the girls looked forward to eating fried sugared taro prepared by Old Man Zuo. Lisa went into such great detail on how the sugared taro was prepared that I still find myself craving the food I never tasted.

These are just a few of the foods that stuck with me from books. What types of food do your characters eat? Is there a food from a story that stuck with you?

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XO My Dear Readers

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We’re coming to the end of the month long a to z challenge. I’m thrilled. This is the third year I’ve attempted this challenge and it looks like it will be the first time I will complete it.

I come from a big Italian family. Hugs in my household were the norm. We never greeted anyone or said goodbye to anyone without giving a big warm hug. I became so accustomed to hugs that as I got older and I met new people I would have to restrain myself from giving them a hug at the end of a conversation. (I learned quickly that not all people do hugs and some even get weirded out by a friendly embrace).

There are still times I have to cross my arms around my stomach to stop myself from giving “the hug.” Most people that have come to know me have accepted that I’m a hugger and I’ve even got some to become huggers or at least accept a hug a from me.

Today I’d like to offer a giant air hug to all my readers. This challenge allowed me to meet many new people who I plan to keep contact with. I appreciate everyone who commented or followed my blog. I’m sorry if I didn’t get to comment on your blogs as often as I would have liked. I will continue to stop by your blogs to see how my new “friends” are doing.

Hugs and Kisses my new and old friends. You all inspire me to keep on writing and make me smile on days that even a thought of a smile seems impossible.

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Xoxoxo

Maribeth

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WHO,WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY

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The five w’s are important when it comes to story writing. Who is your story about? What is your story about? When does the story take place? Why is this story important?

Below is a list to help your story building. Ask yourself some of these questions, if you have answers to most of them then chances are you are headed in the right direction.

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Who is your main character?
What does he/she look like?
When is your main character’s birthday?
Where is he/she from?
Why are you writing about this character?

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Who are some of the other characters in your story?
What connections do they have with your main character?
When do they enter the story?
Where would your character be with or without them? Is their presence needed?
Why are they important to the story?

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Who will your story connect with?
What genre are you writing?
Where does your story take place?
Why did you choose to write this story?

This simple exercise will force you to look at your story a little deeper. Were you able to answer most of the questions easily or did you have to think?

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Three for One – T U V

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I’m not ready to throw in the towel. Yes, I missed the last three days of the a to z writing challenge, but I refuse to give up. If I was smart (like a lot of a to z bloggers) I would have pre planned my posts, but I wasn’t and because of my lack of planning I had no choice but to let three days go by without posting anything new. I wasn’t being lazy or uninspired (although I have found that trying to think of writing related topics every day without repeating something previously written is challenging) I was suffering from an extreme lack of time. After three days and seven softball/baseball games, a night of cupcake making for a special girl’s birthday, work, housework and sleep somewhere in between I’m just now finding time to sit down.

Forgive me for wrapping all three posts into one but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

T is for TIME MANAGEMENT – As I explained, my time has been consumed with just about everything other than writing. This happens from time to time. Usually I make it a point to write everyday but once in a while my other responsibilities must take precedent. What tips do you have to offer to me? I’m somewhat of a scattered brain, organized in a disorganized way, self-admitted procrastinator whose dream of finding success is just as big as anyone’s. What are your rituals?

U is for Unwritten- There are so many ideas written down in my journals, prancing around in my mind, showing themselves in my dreams that beg to be written. I’m not an anxious person, but whenever I think about all of the stories I want to write and the little time I have to dedicate to writing them I feel my pulse race, my heart beat faster and my soul panic. All I want to do (professionally) is write stories for a living, but unless writing is my actual job, I may never get the chance to write down all of the stories I dream of writing.
I want to stare at a blank page every morning and a page filled of words every night!

V is for Vacation- After this month of blogging I may take a mini-vacation from posting to focus more on the edits of my current YA novel. As much as I loved doing this challenge, I have found that the extra time I normally would have spent doing edits or critiques was spent writing posts. I want my blog topics to be fresh so I will let my mind rest in hopes that new ideas surface. How often do you blog? Did you face any challenges with your other writing this month?

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