Tag Archives: random thoughts

QUESTIONS WRITERS ASK THEMSELVES

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

I’m writing about questions for today’s “Q” challenge.

If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve talked to yourself a few times. We are filled with good days and bad days. Some days we feel like we can take on the world and other days we feel like we are wasting time, chasing dreams and writing nonsense. We question what we’re doing and why we are doing it. Below are just a few questions writers ask themselves. Have you ever asked yourself any of these?

q

1. What am I wasting my time for?
2. Am I good enough?
3. What if no one ever reads my work?
4. What if I become published?
5. Who am I kidding?
6. Where is this story going?
7. Who will I thank if I do get my book published?
8. Where am I going to find the time to write?
9. Is there a purpose to my writing or not?
10. Should I give up?

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Filed under A to Z, writers, writing, Writing

Giveaway Winner

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Congratulations Heather S, you are the winner of Martin’s Big Words. Thank you for everyone that commented. More giveaways will be coming soon.

Question for all writers, what are some things other than books that you would like a chance to win in a blog giveaway?

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Filed under Giveaway, writers, Writing

10 THINGS NOVELIST DREAM ABOUT

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1. Seeing their name in Print

2. Signing their autograph

3. An offer from an agent

4. Selling their book

5. Their book cover

6. Making The New York Times Best Sellers List

7. Great Reviews

8. Writing full time

9. A book store filled with their books

10. Their Next Book

What did I miss?

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Filed under books, dreaming, life, novel, random, story telling, story writing, writer's life, writers

The Forgotten and Undiscovered-A Writer’s Fear

Last week I stumbled upon a few totes filled with my writings from years ago. Discovering my earlier work made me smile and delayed my cleaning (of course, I had to stop what I was doing and read through each and every piece). Most were short stories. There were a few poems (one which I entered into the SCBWI monthly writing contest. I was extremely excited when I got word I placed runner-up), a couple of assignments (back from when I took classes with the ICL), and some scribbled notes for my then incomplete but now complete middle-grade novel.
After reviewing and reflecting on my earlier writings, a realization punched me in the gut. Most of those writings will never see the outside of those totes. They have been sentenced to the world of forgotten and undiscovered.
Sure, one day when I’m wildly famous (it could happen right?) someone might steal those totes and sell the contents for a hefty sum (okay, maybe it’s more likely they will use them to start a fire) but chances are they will remain where they are.
The next day while driving, I thought about how many great pieces of works are out there that will never be read. The thought saddened me immensely. Someone right now can be writing a best seller but because of lack of time, fear, rejection or insecurity it will never become what it could be. Someone might have already wrote a timeless piece but for whatever reason it sits in a desk. If there is one thing that makes me panic, it is the possibility of leaving this world with totes filled of unpublished writings.
What’s your fear when it comes to writing?

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Filed under books, life, rejections, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

Perseverance

If you really want your writing to become something then you have no choice but to persevere. When I began writing, I thought, How hard can this be? Write a few stories, submit to some major publishing houses and instantly become discovered. Ten years later, I look back at my younger self and think, Wow are you naïve. Sure, a few things happened early on that made me think no sweat, but the prize I’m searching for has not yet been found.
I am proud of the recognitions I have received along the way but I still have hopes for more. The goal at this point in my life is to land an agent and see my manuscripts in print. Currently, I have possibilities which completely excite me but if for whatever reason they get denied, I plan on persevering.

For today’s a to z challenge I have decided to list a few of my favorite perseverance quotes. Which was one is your favorite? Do you have one you would like to share?

• “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliott

• “All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

• “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

• “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” [Proverbs 24:16] Bible

• “In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.” Anonymous

• “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” General Dwight Eisenhower

• “Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” Richard L. Evans

• “Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. It is not idly, passively waiting and hoping for some good thing to happen. It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying. We must never give up, regardless of temptations, frustrations, disappointments, or discouragements.” Joseph P. Wirthlin

• “Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.” Helen Keller

• You may not receive what you hope for today, but tomorrow may bring the reward you weren’t expecting. Keep writing for tomorrow because it will eventually come. Maribeth Graham (aka me)

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Filed under books, Inspirational, life, rejections, story writing, writer's life, writers, Writing

COMING TOGETHER

There is something that happens when a writer writes that I like to call Coming Together. It’s the moments when our internal light bulbs click on. It’s the point where the unknown becomes the obvious. Have you ever had an idea but couldn’t imagine what it would become or what story it would end up telling?

You develop a plot, create characters and build settings, but the pieces to your writing puzzle are scattered. Eventually, somehow, they will all fit together.
In my middle-grade novel (it’s currently out on submission) I created a character who rode a bike with a horn. The character is not a child but an older man. At the time, I had no idea why he insisted on attaching a childlike horn to his bike and to be honest I didn’t care. I just knew he did. I don’t think I ever intended on exploring the reason behind it until the reason presented itself and suddenly I became giddy. It’s as if someone gave me a pertinent piece, I had no idea was missing. My story was coming together in a way I never imagined it would have.

I have learned to stop worrying about what will be and just let it be. When reading books, I find myself questioning whether I’m at a point in someone else’s book that was one of their aha moments. One that comes to mind is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (if you have not read it, be advised I’m about to reveal a spoiler). It’s the scene where Katniss and her squad are sharing a laugh at Mitchell’s attempt to show desperation-(they are supposed to be acting, and their lack of acting skills sends them into hysteria). I can still remember the smile on my face contorting into an opened gasp when a few sentences later Boggs steps back so he can find the best light for the Holo and triggers a bomb which ends up killing him). I remember thinking, did she know she was going to do this or is it something that in the midst of a fun scene just showed up? I’d probably have to ask Suzanne directly to find the answer but I imagined her tapping at a keyboard when the realization set in that this scene required tragedy.

Writing is an unraveling of the mind. Sometimes the idea never comes together they way we imagined. But, the times they do, make doing what we do worth every word.

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Filed under character, character building, constructing, story telling, writer's life, writers, Writing

ACT IT OUT

ACT IT OUT

This blog post has been walking around my thoughts for a while. I’m glad it coincides with the first letter of the blog writing challenge from A to Z.

Have you ever got to the point in your story that is begging for an action scene? You stare stupidly at the screen in front of you. Your imagination presents to you a clear picture but the words you type out are bland. All you want to do is get your main character up the stairs (insert whatever scenario you are writing about here) quickly and down the hallway to the back bedroom where there is another hidden room that she can hide from the baseball bat carrying stranger. You feel her anxiety rush through your bones but yet you can’t convey it on paper.

There are a million action scenes that can be acted out right in the confines of your own home that will help make your scene stronger. I am forever jumping over obstacles, banging into things, pretending to shoot darts, stirring a pot just so I can experience the moment of the scene. What happens when I bump into something? Does pain shoot through my body? Do I bounce back? Do I bruise?

Please don’t think I like self mutilation because I promise I do not. But, I like to get down and dirty with my writing so I can help my readers experience the scene as if they are part of it.

If I was trying to get my character up the stairs, I’d probably find a flight and start racing up them. I’d pay attention to my movements. Do I stumble? Do I catch my fall with the palms of my hands slamming against the step above? Do I trip over clutter on the stair, causing my knee to smash into the step? Once I reach the top what happens? Do I turn back to see if the stranger is right behind? Or do I race down the hallway to the secret room only I (aka the character) knows about?

If this is not something you have done before, I suggest you give it a shot. It could be something as simple as making a pot of coffee. Act out the action and see what you come up with.

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Filed under character, constructing, Fiction, life, writer's life, writers, Writing

Freeing The Funk

I have been in a funk. It started about a month ago. I don’t talk about my day job too often because the fact of the matter is, out here in cyberspace I like to be known as simply a writer. I, like many other writers have a day job (well sort of- I work from 3:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m). What do I do? I work in a casino. I am what they call a “dual”, which means I am half dealer, half supervisor. I began as a croupier (craps dealer) and learned additional games along the way (black jack, three card poker, Spanish 21 and Let it Ride). About a month ago, I was asked by my superior to train for Baccarat. I knew it was a good opportunity and I wouldn’t be able to turn it down. (Well, I could have, but not everyone is asked so I hated the thought of saying no.) Saying yes to training meant I was saying yes to fourteen hour days. I knew it was a temporary situation and in the end I would be glad I said yes. I didn’t know that it would put an end to writing for a while. You see, I am also a mother of four. My free time had to be spent mothering. I’d wake up at 1:00 a.m. and go non-stop until 8:00 p.m. After the first week, I started to feel blue. I blamed it on lack of sleep. It occurred to me that it wasn’t the lack of sleep or the overload of obligations. It was the absence of writing that was making me feel lost in my own world. For the past ten years I have written daily (occasionally I’d skip a day or two but never a week). The part of me I enjoyed so much was gone. I started to feel like I was no longer a writer. I even convinced myself that I might have to give up on my dream of becoming a published author. I’d stumble upon writing sites such as Twitter and feel like I didn’t belong. I’d attempt to write only to fall asleep in mid sentence. I had a pity party for myself and was about to make peace with the fact that my dream had to be abandoned. I simply no longer had the time (for ten years I was a stay at home mother who waitressed part time) my choice to get a full time job meant that my dreams had to be sacrificed. I spoke these words over and over trying to convince myself that I believed them to be true. Then somewhere in the distance of my mind another voice spoke back. “Don’t be silly,” it said. Being in a funk did not mean that I no longer could write. In fact if I chose to never write again, chances are I’d never come out of the funk. Writing is my first love. It is my therapy. It is my hope for a better tomorrow. It is who I am. I am a writer. I might have other things going on but a true writer always finds their way back. Today I am freeing the funk. I am continuing to do what I love. A writer may do other things but the only thing they want to do is write. Have you found yourself in a funk? What did you do to get out of it?

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Filed under creating, emotions, life, story telling, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

Inspiration Isn’t Always Pretty

If you have been watching the news you should have seen the devastation that poured through my hometown and all surrounding towns this past weekend. Yes, Northeastern Pennsylvania watched in horror as the floods swept away homes (my sister-in-law’s was one of them), flooded streets and brought people to their knees. Our bridges were closed. We had curfews. I myself sat on the only open bridge for an hour and a half trying to make it home to my family. I felt as if I was on the set of a movie. It was surreal. It was inspiring?

As I watched the news something the reporter said initially struck me as odd. She was talking about how people just couldn’t help but go out and see what was happening. “It was like viewing a car wreck,” she said. “You know you shouldn’t look but you just can’t help it”. She then went on to say a situation like this was inspiring. Inspiring? At first I felt a little offended (I know the writer in me should have immediately knew what she meant) but because everything was so close to home (Literally. The only thing that saved my street was a makeshift dike built out of dirt by a bunch of heroes) I didn’t like that she used that word. To me, inspiring meant beauty. The word itself even sounds pretty. It couldn’t relate to something horrible, or could it? Of course it can.

As I thought about her broadcast my flooded mind receded and my thoughts became clearer. I began to understand exactly what she meant. Something horrible can be inspiring. Devastation like the one my town recently endured inspired many things. It inspired communities to rally together to help save homes. It inspired newspapers to share heartbreaking stories. It inspired photographers to snap photos so we can remember and others will be able to see history. It inspired me to write this blog.

Writers don’t only write about sunny days and perfect lives. If you want to write about the human experience you have to be able to be inspired by things not so pretty. How boring would books be if there was never sorrow or obstacles to overcome?

Because we observe unhappy situations and then later write about them does not mean that we are freaks or disaster lovers, it simply means that we are interested in writing about life experiences. I am not happy that the flood happened. It saddens me that so many people I know had to suffer. I don’t find joy in writing about their pain but in a strange way I do feel inspired.

Have you ever been inspired by an unfortunate event?

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Filed under emotions, Inspirational, life, random, story telling, writers, writing, Writing

Rejection

Out of the darkness comes a fist to your face.
Smashing against flesh
Distorting
Mangling
Upsetting
Laughing at your inability to stay fresh
You fall to the ground weak and unable to rise
A leg from somewhere delivers a kick
Smashing your soul
Rattling
Pounding
Destroying
Unsympathetic that you now feel sick
Curled up and sobbing you shield yourself
“No more, no more, please let me be.”
Pleading
Cursing
Screaming
“Why? Why? Why don’t you believe in me?”
You wait for the next impact but it never comes
Peeking out of a bruised eye you scan the room
Alone
Confused
Wasted
The fist uncurls and out stretches a hand
Get up!
Fight Back!
Toughen up!
Rejection stands before you wrapped in dark clothes
Clueless
Crazed
Suspended
Slowly you rise. You are ready to confront
“Why do you hate me what did I do?”
“My child, my child, do you not see? Acceptance without rejection wouldn’t be the same.”
“I am here to make you better not cause you shame.”

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Filed under emotions, Fiction, Inspirational, life, rejections, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing