Where Do I Go ?


I finished my first draft and I was filled with the feeling of ” oh my… Yeah, yeah” with music and beauty floating around my head and then something happened.

All the things that I would read said the same thing. It said  let your book ruminate and give it time to become something that you can then successfully read and revise without that oh so helpful thing where your mind just adds the missing words that you meant to write , so that your words make no sense to anyone else.

This phase is all about adding and subtracting and fighting the increasing feeling that you are an idiot that wrote the worse book ever written.  That your book will make people run screaming into the streets and cry and weep and scream, they will pull out their eyes and deny the fact that they ever read anything, ever. Somehow your book will actually make other books you love less good. That authors you love will read the book and say ” No, never” to your requests to write a forward.  This is probably not going to happen. This has not happened to the various dubious novels that have been written in the world, both recent and long ago. There are people that count novels that I myself view as painfully bad among their favorites. So what are the odds that no one would read my book and at the very least say it was interesting, or entertaining? And I will not bring about the end of the world. I do not have that power.

But I do have this feeling that is completely and utterly fear-based.  I am afraid of my book. Just a little but the more that I think about what it would mean if this is terrible. The fear of what would happen if I am not a writer worth reading.  I am also thinking of what might happen if I am a writer worth reading. If I write a book that is worth the notice of people that matter, people like me that love books and reading to the point that they can invest years in the lives of people and places that never were. So I am in revisions and now I am realizing that either way fear must not be the thing that stops me. If it is, then I will be a failure of epic proportions.

So if you are having issues like mine there are a few quick and dirty tips that can help to make the experience a little less terror making .

Revision Tips

  1. Start revising as soon as you can 

Figure out what is your best timing but don’t wait too long. Often Procrastination will start pretending to be something cleaner, like reflection or research.

  1. Don’t spend ages making your first draft look pretty

This is just wasting time, include all the details you need to learn, but don’t try to produce a work of art. This is a ROUGH draft. It is just that, ROUGH.

  1. Take short breaks

— Every hour, not every 10 minutes. I enjoy using the pomodoro timers to help me myself on task.

  1. Use revision guidelines 

Cathy Yardley has great tips on her blog. I add also that you should treat the revisions just like you would treat your writing , have a plan and have a schedule on what you will finish each day .

  1. Get yourself drinks and snacks

So you don’t make excuses to stop every 10 minutes…

  1. Sit at a proper desk
  2. Don’t turn yourself into a revision zombie 

There is nothing that you can do all day every day without burning out. It’s really important that you keep time to do things you enjoy… like movies, shopping, sports, Frisbee, rock-climbing, making model planes ,porn, whatever tickles your fancy… When you’re doing these try to relax and totally forget about revision.Meat_Grinder_zombie_7265759848_1

.

  1. Read the book aloud when you can 

—hearing it really does help. If you can, record yourself.

  1. Find the right environment to revise

NOT in front of the TV. NOT listening to the radio. Music can sometimes be OK, but you need to find the right kind. It’s got to be something that’s just there in the background that you’re not thinking about at all. Music without singing is better as you won’t be tempted to dance around your bedroom like a big fool.

5 Reasons That Force You To Quit Blogging [And How To Fix Them]


You start blogging with all your dreams. You want to proclaim yourself as an entrepreneur. Or you may want to build that dream business you’ve always been wanting to build.

Or you want send your message out. Or may be you want to financially support your family by doing your part of “something”.

Everyone has different reasons for starting a blog.

However I am quite familiar of coming across abandoned blogs. Blog that are trashed. Blogs that are just dumped as if they are of no use anymore.

via 5 Reasons That Force You To Quit Blogging [And How To Fix Them].

Advice on Writing Your First Novel (From a Published Novelist) | WritersDigest.com


1. The world has two sorts of writers: people who talk about writing a novel and people who actually do it. I spent several decades among the former and I have to tell you, it feels great finally to join the ranks of the latter. To paraphrase Nike, stop talking about it and just do it!

2. Write a mission statement … and contract. When I started Island Apart, my mission was to use the skills I had acquired writing food stories and cookbooks over the years; the publishing and media contacts I had accumulated; and the promotional savvy I learned from dozens of book tours (and being married to a publicist—more on that in a future blog) to start, write, and finish a publishable novel within a year. Note the words “start,” “finish,” “publishable,” and “within a year.” These dictated a course of action, goal, and deadline, which made me take the process seriously.

3. The secret to writing a novel—or any book—is writing. You won’t turn out elegant prose every day. But it’s important to keep cranking it out. Bad writing eventually leads to good writing and paragraphs eventually add up to pages, chapters, and a finished novel.

4. There’s no one right way to write a novel. Some writers start with a plot (vague or meticulously planned); others use as their point of departure a phrase, character, situation, or moral dilemma. Some writers craft meticulous outlines before they start writing; others let the characters drive the story. Island Apart began as a title—not that title (more how and why it changed in a future blog). My original title was The Hermit of Chappaquiddick and the minute I had the title, I knew the who of my story (my protagonists) and the what (what would happen). What I didn’t know was how to get from the beginning to the denouement. Fortunately, I didn’t have to make the journey alone—I had the characters to guide me. They knew where they needed to go.

(Agents get specific and explain what kind of stories they’re looking for.)

5. Write with your eraser (or delete button). In the course of writing Island Apart, I jettisoned whole characters, situations, and chapters. I probably wrote 1000 pages of manuscript to wind up with a finished book of just under 300 pages. It hurt and I fought every deletion (my wife was a ruthless editor), but the final book is better for all the cuts.

6. Take the time to celebrate the milestones in your writing process. When you finish a chapter, take yourself and significant other out for dinner. When you finish the first draft, uncork a bottle of Champagne. (Not prosecco, real Champagne.) I timed the completion of the first draft to coincide with my birthday. I made a great ceremony of typing the words “The end” just before my birthday dinner. I also took the time to make a sententious speech to my children about the value of setting goals and working hard. I’m sure the latter went in one ear and out the other, but it sure made me feel good.

Advice on Writing Your First Novel (From a Published Novelist) | WritersDigest.com.

Literary Agent Spotlight: Jennifer Azantian Starts Her Own Agency | WritersDigest.com


Literary agent Jennifer Azantian has formally opened her own agency early this year, and put out a call for submissions. Check out her specifics below and see if she’s a good fit for your work. About Jennifer: Founder Jennifer Azantian began her agenting career in 2011, first as an intern and then as an assistant and associate, at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. In 2014, after working with senior agent and entertainment lawyer Paul Levine, Jennifer opened her own agency specializing in genre fiction. Jennifer brings to her clients a passion for literature born of a writer’s heart and an editorial eye honed from reviewing thousands of projects both for herself and as submissions manager at the Dijkstra Agency. This, coupled with the guidance and superior contracts knowledge of Paul Levine, empowers the Jennifer Azantian Literary Agency to confidently commit to negotiating the very best terms for its talented authors as it guides their careers to success.(11 literary agents share what NOT to write in your query letter.)She is seeking: fantasy, science-fiction, and horror that focuses on characters that feel real, the kind whose stories she can get invested in regardless of extravagance in plot or setting. She is fascinated by the basic human truths that emerge at the heart o

via Literary Agent Spotlight: Jennifer Azantian Starts Her Own Agency | WritersDigest.com.

Somebody’s watching me


We live in an overly cataloged and documented world. We are doing it to ourselves, of course, but it is true. I am attached via name and face to no less than two dozen sites, I have Facebook , LinkedIn , foursquare, twitter and Google+ to name a few. I do reviews and comments enough to earn a “top contributor” on the internet. I am online. I am locatable. I don’t mind that because my world and my goals in this world are a want for recognition. I am trying to build a brand for both my writing, my day job and myself.

Still and all that means that my image is attached to many things. As, probably, is yours.  That brings me to today’s topic. I recently upgraded to Microsoft Office 2013 and one of the fantastic little updates is that you can sign into sites right through to your outlook. I did because I love stupid little things like that, they know this, and the people that made that feature are tech geeks.

The thing about that is, I can see the Facebook attached to my candidate’s emails, when they come into my inbox. Which for the most part is fine, but that begs the question, “if your employer or potential employer saw your Facebook profile, would that cost you anything?” I hope that the answer is no. However, for some of you …

We have all seen the chick whose Facebook photo is her breasts or her behind. Unless you are in the sex industry that is not the image that you need to portray.  The person whose profile picture is his weed stash or some other unflattering image.  Do yourself a favor and take that down, right now! First, I do not care who you are, you are better than that, trust me. Second, if your name is something rude, crude or sexually explicit, take that down too. Same thing for your email address, while I have you here, if you are “sexytramp69@yahoo.com “for the love of GOD get a new email address. Potential employers will not be impressed at how “real” you keep it. Just think of this; if you are standing in a room full of family members, and you have to give your email address, your YouTube name or your Facebook handle, would you be embarrassed? If yes, change it. Does your employer need to know that you are “Dabaddezbitch”, “DatNiggaDarrall”, or even “Jackdaniels4lyfe”?

 

The bottom-line is this , treat your name and image like it is your product , because now a days it is just that.

Successful


 

I am a Creative with deep roots. Its not what people see that counts, its whats buried deep that counts.If you are particularly sensitive, you may want to get an “updated” copy of Napoleon Hill’s masterwork “Think and Grow Rich” , but if not it is available in PDF or E-reader for for free download all over the internet. I say that “if you are particularly sensitive” part because I began reading the original for the first time yesterday and I realize that over the years, some of the language has been cleaned up and some stories have been edited for content. I am not particularly sensitive but I did take slight umbrage with the use of “Deaf and Dumb” in reference to Helen Keller, Calling a black child “ignorant, illiterate” in a story .words that did not really add to the story in my opinion. The almost constant use of the word “Normal” in relation to Blair Hill, the author’s son, that was born with no ears but who was forced to learn how to hear because of the overwhelming need for him to be “normal” by his father. I find that story both amazing and horrible.

Nevertheless, the other parts of the book are filled with merit. The book has been revamped and this is my third or fourth time reading it, although my first with the original text, and I think that it is something that everyone should read, at least once. Like the bible. Moreover, like the bible, you will get out of it what you get out of it. I can see it going forward in some people’s lives as simply new age ( the book is rounding on 100 years I think but still people will call it that) bull. Which for them, it will be. Some people will, as I did, read it and not really understand it. It rings a faint bell but I do not know that I really know the tune kind of thing. You have to keep reading it as your paradigm changes to get the true scope of the thing.

Then some of you, the Chloë Grace Moretz, the Bill Gates, the Zuckerbergs, among you will read it and have a kind of ping and duh moment at the same time. I think that the “secret” that lives in the pages of the book is something that comes natural to some people in this world. They wake up every day with the knowledge that they are going to make it. I am both awed by and terrified of these people. Not those as they are now but I suspect that Hitler was one of these people just turned inside out. When I meet them, always a part of me hopes they are one the side of good. Because I do not think that, I would be great in the apocalypse, except the Zombie Apocalypse because I have plans together.

I am reading this book again, and what I am getting out of it this time is, I can do it. In actuality, I am getting a full picture of my successes and failures of the past year. I tend to lose faith when I am close to the end because I believe that I fear (or have feared, as I am conquering that now) the near win-miss. The honest to god truth is that, without failure you cannot win; or should I say constructive failure. You cannot win the grand prize, if you do not lose the second prize. So many times in my life, I have been unwittingly leaving the game because I lost at second when the first prize had yet to be awarded. Real life example of that is when I won my 60-Inch TV, I had wanted to win the TV, which was the last prize. In the process, I gloomily sulked over not winning the laptop, the vacation package, the PS3 (they had just come out) and I was literally putting my coat on when I won the TV. The thing that I had actually stated that I wanted! My single raffle ticket, if it had won something else, could not bring me the TV that I wanted but I was ready to give up when I had not won everything. Something that would have been impossible anyway!

Therefore, again in my reaffirming the goal mindset, I state that while I am blessed and lucky to have been given my fantastic brain, I am also at odds with said brain. Sometimes I have to shut it off and let my heart take the wheel. I know what I want. I am learning how to get it and nothing will stand in my way. Not even me

Power


 One of the corniest things ever is the renewing of vows. It is taking something that is already done and restarting it. It makes very little sense logistically and has no real function in the schematic of life. You are married and then later you will be married still. Nothing, has changed. It is not as if you can change your mind mid renewing and that would undo your marriage. So why do so many people do it? Why do they take the time, and very often the expense, to renew already agreed upon vows? Because it is not hokey, it is renewal. It is a done deal but every now and again you need to hear those words again and re-acknowledge what your commitment is and make sure that it is, in fact, still your commitment. And with that in mind, today I have decided that I am going to reaffirm my commitment to myself and my goals. I am renewing my vows, to myself, so to speak.

I have gone on a journey of self-awareness, self-improvement, and self-forgiveness that sometimes gets lost in the minutia of everyday living. It is like a marriage, sometimes you are so caught up in the bills, kids, problems and struggles that you forget how much you love the person you married, or how much better all that is with someone that you care for by your side. In my case, I forget how lucky I am, how blessed I am and how much I have because of the day to day struggles of trying to get to the next thing. I am reading “Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to Find, Build and Keep a Yes! Attitude for a Lifetime of Success   by     Jeffrey Gitomer” and I have to say that he has some wit and wisdom that, while not ground breaking (seriously, at this point all positive thinking books are relatively the same) is brought to me in a different way. There are some thoughts that I like very much. One is to start off with Thank you when you are getting bad news. As in “you forgot to get me the report by the deadline” instead of going “I’m sorry” or “I would have but * didn’t do their part and so …” just say “Thank you and “. No excuses, no sorries, just thank you. I love that but I would like to expand on that and say just start off with thank you all the time. Every time I have gotten an email since I started reading the book an astonishing 16 hours ago I start with “Thank you” and I feel better about it, no matter what.

Another thing that I have learned is that I have almost all the things that people complain about sewn up. People generally grip because they do not like their Job, their coworkers, their living place, their spouse or themselves. I like all those things. I am so grateful to realize that I am again in the top percentile for things that I have that are important that ensure happiness. I love my job, I love my coworkers , I love my spouse , I love my city and I love myself. These are the essentials to ultimate joy and I have them all in hand, so when I find something to complain about I will remind myself that it is a filler thing and all the major things in this life, are great. That is a powerful awareness.

So I am adopting, or reaffirming to be more accurate, an attitude of gratitude, today. I want to live with as much YES in my life as possible and this is why for every moment of everyday for the rest of my life I will have a small secret yes in my mind and heart. And as of Friday on my body! I am getting a tattoo that simply says “yes”. That is my commitment level to

Crazy Man, Crazy


131008-140951I happen to love my job. It is not an easy job, it not a simple job and I can see why some people just do not have the stomach for it. It is sales but not sales. Moreover, I have to sell to the client and to the product! Imagine I have to convince someone to buy my broom and then convince the broom to join this family.

In a job like mine, you have to wear many hats. There is the recruiter, the salesperson, the career counselor, the negotiator, the travel agent … and the therapist. There are probably more but the Therapist is the one that sometimes is the hardest to deal with, for me. The truth is that I want to help everyone that comes into my inbox. I want to get the job for the guy who has been out of work for 5 years for no understandable reason. I want to help the kid right out of college. I WANT to help the person that was retired and now wants to go back to work because retirement is not for him. For the most part I CAN NOT HELP THESE PEOPLE. I am a recruiter; someone has to pay for my services. Companies do not pay for fresh faced kids, unless they did something amazing in school that put them on the map. Companies do not pay for the chronically unemployed, and usually the chronically unemployed have applied everywhere anyway and I have no one to whom I can market you. Companies largely do not pay for people that may retire at any moment. If they are going to pay a fee, at minimum, they want 3 years from this person, and really, they want closer to eight. So you don’t send these people out, you reply politely to their inquiries and express that if you get something that fits their experience you will be in touch.

Then there are the wild cards, those people that are looking; have a good background and are all go-go-go on the job market. Something is off about them but you just are not sure what.  Why did you leave the last position? Better opportunities. All sounds right. Then You get a call after the send out that this person bitch slapped the receptionist or drooled throughout the interview and you are left with that “ I knew it , I just didn’t know what IT was” feeling. So what can you do when you have put your reputation on the line and someone did a Hadouken to it? Do your best to laugh about and learn from your mistake.

Mine went this way.

  1. Person calls me and I feel that he is a little arrogant, a bit full of himself ( red flag!)  but I like his background and I decide , what the hell , meet him . Not everyone conveys well over the phone.
  2. I meet him and he seems perfectly lovely, except for getting lost on an almost impossible to get lost road ( red flag!) and acting as if we had somehow hidden the building on purpose. Once inside he was amiable and interesting.
  3. I get him an interview, on the day of the interview he gets lost( OMG REALLY!), and ends up late to the interview.
  4. I get my prerequisite call after the interview and he tells me “ everything went so great, I hope they can wait for me to wrap up my current contract”
  5. The client calls and asks me, basically, what the hell I was doing sending them a Looney tunes!

(1)    He got an attitude about getting lost as if it was their fault (where did I hear that before?)

(2)    He was completely arrogant and acted like his questions were more important than the interviewers ( damn)

(3)    He asked the person he would be replacing how much more he would be making at his new job (ok, what?!)

(4)    He asked the owner of the company how much he had paid for the company ( nope , I’m not taking a hit on this one) .

  1. I called my candidate and asked him, for the love of god ,WHY?

What I did was apologize. I apologized to the client, to the owner, to my company and I learned to listen to my gut feelings and not the little therapist in your head that wants to believe that everyone deep down, is good. Yes, I would get everyone a job if I could. The college kid, the old man, the man who can’t stay off the internet ,or whatever it is that keeps getting him fired from every job. Everyone. But I can’t. If I could I would. What I can do is find the best people, with the occasional snafu that I can use as an object lesson.  Sometimes you also have to give yourself a pass. Because … let’s face it. Crazy people are sometime interesting, intelligent , funny people . Right up until they bitch-slap the receptionist.

This is how you remind me


GM World Headquarters ? Dressed for Baseball?s...

GM World Headquarters ? Dressed for Baseball?s 2005 All-Star Game Detroit, Michigan. Summer 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I drowning in nostalgia.  Everything in this area so familiar , so known. I’ll look around in a lot of the streets, and I see things .
All of these things , great things like the tire on interstate 94, the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, and small things like Coney Island, natural casting hot dogs, White Castle, are things that I miss when I’m in Texas.
These are the things , just is known, that I do not miss when I’m away.  the utter ruin of Detroit buildings, homes burned out, bombed out , and whole neighborhoods completely destroyed. I drove through some  of my own former neighborhoods. Sadness fills me whenever I am in the area. Beautiful architecture, left in ruins. I hate to witness what Detroit is becoming.  I hate to see what Detroit has become.

 

 

 

There is a sucker born every minute..


P.T. Barnum famously said there’s a sucker born every minute.I think that is a little bit cynical I think the truth is there’s an optimist   born every minute. I think that most of us are essentially optimistic. I think largely the problem is that optimist are often viewed as wide eyed idiots. 
Now in the case of P. T. Barnum there was no bad thoughts in it. Mostly he was saying that people want to be fooled , at least a little. they want to believe that there is a woman who survived the train , we want to believe all of the humbug as PT Barnum put it.
I like to believe that I am smarter than the average bear, with PT Barnum twist. Reasonable intelligent, and wise… I would like to believe that I would have spent the nickel to see general Tom Thumb, or the mummified remains of an actual King… Even if that made me a little bit of a fool. I would like to believe… I think I just like to believe.

 

Hot Thing


I’m born and raised here in Michigan.  I have lived here for 34 of my 38 years.  I have spent less than one year in Texas. So this is going to sound ridiculous… it is too darn cold here!
I’m saying this with weather between 65 and 85 degrees being the normal weather here for this time of year. But the fact is bad after living in Texas, for just the one year, I cannot acclimate or re acclimate to Michigan in just two days.
Hopefully by next week I’ll be used to it again. In just about enough time to have to get back on the bus and go back to Texas and suffer the heat.

Send in the Clowns


This song means a lot to me as I grow up and grow older . So many things  in my life , not just men but jobs, friends, thoughts, actions  , feel like they fall in this category . This why didn’t I realize at the time what I had .  Only to realize that the recapture of that thing , place , person or action is outside of your ability. You can not get the one that got away.

There are a lot of these for me , some because I truly didn’t see the merit on them and for those I can only sigh and move on but the ones that hurt are the ones that I missed out on because I was too  chickenshit it make a move . I am never proud of myself when I  miss out on something because  I decided to be a chickenshit . I would rather fail miserably  in trying than be in fear. I would like to try and fail beautifully.

In the spirit of that I have decided to sing today. You are free to listen or not to listen ( like you didn’t know that , right?) but understand that I am singing accapella and I did not do another take . I am a little pitchy at times I think but I am also woman enough today to sing one of my favorite songs to you and free of change .

http://youtu.be/TU8d7SBwswI

This year has not been easy and it is only May , but then again this year has not been easy and it is already May . I am not going to wallow in the many yesterdays, the could have beens , the should have beens. I am going to sing. and I am going to dance . I am going to move forward and laugh . Topple , roll , squeak my red nose and freak some people out . In short I am going to embrace the fact that I may be a clown. But after I go forward I will never let fear make me a clown again .