February 28 2015

My March Challenge

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My goal for this year, well one of them anyway, is to become a year-round writer. For the last two years, I have been a November only writer. I want that to change. Today, February 28, 2015, I stumbled upon the website, http://goinswriter.com/my500words, and decided this was just the challenge I need to help me become a year-round or daily writer. I know I just have to make myself do it and that a challenge is the way to get that habit started. I am giving myself a break, and letting the idea soak in for a day before I have to start. Besides, it is a 31 day challenge and tomorrow is the first day of a month, March, with just that many days in it, how convenient! So beginning tomorrow, I will write 500 words a day. I know I can do it. I have done it during November before. I have written as much as 5,000 words in a day during the panic mode I call NaNoWriMo, err November. I love the rush of writing as part of a massive group in November. I have joined a few regular writing meetings this year in an attempt to keep from putting writing on a shelf only to take it down again when NaNo time comes around.

So, I have no idea what I will write about each day, but have a few writing prompt sites saved and a book of prompts in my Kindle library. I actually have a short story in progress that began as a writing prompt a few months ago. Maybe if I ever finish it, I will have the nerve to post it here. Not feeling confident in my writing capability, is part of the problem. Feeling like nobody would want to be bothered to read anything I have to write about is most of the problem. I’m not sure what to do to get over all of these feelings of lacking when it comes to writing. I DO know that I won’t get better if I don’t actually write, and if I don’t get better I will never get over the fear of letting others read what I have written. I have this blog I created a fairly long time ago, if you are reading this, you have found it. I’m not sure how anyone would find it, because I haven’t shared it with anyone until today. Today after signing up for the My 500 Words challenge, there was a place to link your blog as a participant, so I did it! My blog, Lighthouse Life Lessons, is blog number 1,854 on the list. I feel safe that it is so far down the list, that nobody will bother reading it, but I feel better knowing I was confident enough to link it there and someone just might bother to read it. I am assuming no one has ever bothered to read anything I have written before because there have been no comments on any of the posts. That makes me happy because that also means there are no negative comments. No news is good news, right?

So I may post some of my daily writing here. I might actually get brave and decide that just for the next 31 days, I will post my 500 word offerings here if only to prove to myself and the world in general that I did it. I like having a picture or graphic in each blog post. Somehow, that makes my writing seem more interesting so maybe I should go search Google Images for some inspiring photos I could write about for a few of the next 31 days. (Word count = 614)


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November 4 2014

NaNoWriMo Day 4

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This is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo.
Last year I found the site in the wee hours of November 1st and decided that my finding it on the very day the challenge began was someone’s way of telling me I should stop talk and thinking about writing a book and get busy writing it. Being as I had written exactly little of nothing outside of some lengthy emails since my college day, I decided to go with some good advice and write what I know. So I did my first NaNo as a rebel and wrote my 50,000 word in the form of a parenting memoir of sorts. So I didn’t have to think about plots, characters, or scenes. That was a good thing because all I had to do was write out some of the many stories of our adventures in parenting. I had very little organization. If a story was about one of the kids as a baby, it went in the Infant chapter, High School stories went in the High School chapter, etc. After I hit my goal shortly before Thanksgiving, I put it away needing some distance from anything even resembling writing. Basically other than adding some words to it as an assignment for a writing class, I did nothing else on it. It still sits at about 51,000 words and may never be finished.
The experience I gained last November was priceless. I learned that I could write and get to the 50,000 word goal in the 30 days allotted. I earned that there are so many other writers out there and I am not alone. I learned that writing IS a group sport! I met some fantastic and enthusiastic writers and found some very cool places to hang out and write that I might never have visited were it not for someone deciding to hold a write-in there. I am not the sort of person to go out and meetup with someone I don’t already know and spend several hours with them. This seemed very safe, meeting up in public places and in a group setting and I learned so much from those mostly 20-something writers. They didn’t shun me because I am older than them, maybe older than their parents even. Many of them are the ages of my adult children, and maybe that is why hanging out with them never bothered me.
This year, I am doing it again. This year, I am going to do it the non-rebel way. I am attempting to write an inspirational fiction mystery novel, from scratch. I search high and low for ideas and read extensively during the month of October to figure out what to write and more importantly HOW to write it. It still left me unsure until late in the day on November 1st what my subject matter would be. I only got there because one of the other WriMos recommended during a Chatzy Write-In that I check out the area of the NaNo website for adopting plots. I read through so many, making notes on any that seemed interesting, several pages of notes actually. Then I found a simple idea that I twisted and expanded on and made my own. I have some ideas for plot and characters, but nothing even remotely complete and not very solid yet. I took a free class on Sunday afternoon called Introduction to Murder that was offered at the library and taught by members of the Indiana Writers Center. One of the things the teacher had us do in class was to write down our opening sentence. What do I know about opening sentences to mystery books? Nothing! But, I dug deep and wrote some babble down, then had to share it aloud with the teacher and the 1 other student taking the class with me. They both loved it and thought I should use it! So after that, my word count stands at 26 words. But that quirky idea of an opening sentence helped lead my story, gave me a focus of sorts to begin planning actual characters and the tiniest thread of a plot. My word count should be 6,668 or higher at the end of day 4, but it is just 26. I am hoping and praying that once my plot is more solid and my characters more real to me the thought will spill forth from my brain painlessly and plentifully and I will be able to catch up and even get ahead in no time. It is not too late to join the challenge. You only have to write 27 words to get ahead of me! Am I worried? Yeah, a little. But the ideas are growing in my head and I had a vision today of turning this one little idea into a series of 7 or more books. How is that for positive thinking and being ambitious? Come on and join me, we will do this thing together. What is the worst that can happen? I could fail the challenge by not getting to the goal in time, but any words I write are more than I had written on Halloween, so I still win don’t I? So, what’s it going to be? Are you in?
(Originally Posted 11/4/2014)

May 11 2014

Writing Exercises and Prompts

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Writing Exercises and Prompts just might become my new favorite app on my smartphone. One of my main problems with writing consistently is coming up with ideas of things to write about. This could solve the problem on the go!
Now I will have no excuse not to write, because it is on my phone, it is always with me,. It generates “random story ideas, plots, subjects, scenarios, characters, first lines for stories and more” so I don’t even have that as an excuse anymore. For those without access to a smartphone, there is a website also: http://writingexercises.co.uk/index.php.
You can just keep having it generate new ideas until one sparks your inner writer to action and the writing flows. So what are you waiting for? Go to the website or download the app and get busy writing already!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.uk.writingexercises.WritingExercises
(Originally Posted 5/11/2014)

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May 9 2014

Writer Up!

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Thanks to Kristen Lamb, I am writing this blog post today. I recently found her blog and have been reading the entries as time permits or rather as the need to avoid actually writing myself hits. Tonight, I was going through my overly-full email inbox and was caught immeadiately by the subject line, “Writer Victory!—#1 Voluntarily Submit”. Now as a writer, I can certainly use a victory, so of course I had to stop and read it to find out what the victory was all about.
Read the blog here:
http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/writer-victory-1-voluntarily-submit/
She says, ‘Today, we will discuss V, which stands for “Voluntarily submit.”‘. Ok, Kristen, after reading this blog post, I too will “voluntarily submit” to writing because now I am inspired to share this blog post with others so they can gain inspiration too. Click on the picture here to read the entire blog posting. Loved the graphic and wanted to grab your attention. This will inspire me to write when I normally would have talked myself out of it. 
So, those of you reading this, is there anyone reading this? Take a second to comment and tell me what inspires YOU to write, or do whatever it is you do to express your creativity?
(Originally Posted 5/9/2014)

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May 6 2014

Top 3 Favorite New Places of Learning…

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Probably my absolute favorite new place to learn is the Indiana Writers Center. I asked for and received a membership for Christmas. I have always wanted to write and publish a book. I decided that this is the year I am going to do something about learning how to write a book. So, far I have taken lots of different kinds of classes there. There is a good discount on all their classes for members and I have met some wonderful writers there. I am still exploring and trying to learn everything I can about writing, structure, etc. Perhaps as my confidence as a writer grows, and I have no doubt that it will with every class I take, I will feel comfortable posting some of my writing here. If you have ever wanted to be a writer, but don’t know how or where to start, this is the place! Check it out and maybe we will see each other in a class one night. (Thanks for the gift of knowledge Austin!) http://www.indianawriters.org/

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I only discovered Trade School Indianapolis this year and have taken 3 classes through them so far. They have some very interesting and unusual classes to offer taught by real people like you and me. If you have yearning for learning and live in or near Indy, you should really take a look at the most recent class offerings. It is always in the back of my mind that maybe someday I could teach a class for them, but I want to get a little more experience taking their classes before actually offering to teach one myself. The best part is that no money changes hands. You sign up for the class and choose one of the instructors barter request items and then bring that to the class as payment. The list of requested items varies greatly. I have taken post-it notes, dark chocolate and AAA batteries in as payments for the classes I have taken. Part of what keeps me from teaching is thinking up things to request as payment. Anyway, have a look and see if anything on the class list sparks you! http://tradeschool.coop/indianapolis/

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The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library is not a new place of learning for me but one of my oldest and most treasured friends from early childhood. When I want to learn something new I always check the library to see if they have a book on the subject. What some of you may not know is that they have a plethora of classes available for FREE all around the city. They even have an extensive selection of computer classes. I have taken classes on all sorts of things through the library over the years. I have learned about Diabetes, how to knit, about genealogy topics of all kinds, about German cooking and foods, about how to archive my photos, research my house, write my life story, download eBooks to my Kindle app on my smartphone and on my Nook Color wirelessly. So do yourself a favor and go to their website and look through the offerings under classes and events. You just never know what you might learn if you do! http://www.imcpl.org/