Lu Ann Barrington is in her mid to late fifties. Lu Ann was a recent widow after being married for 36 years and when she got the money from her husband’s life insurance, she decided to use it to open her own business so she could be surrounded by people who enjoyed the same things she did and earn a modest living while doing it. She opened her store only after she had paid off her house and car and put money in her retirement account. She was nervous about spending the money to start the store but felt she had done what she could to ensure her financial future by cutting her expenses and paying off her debts. She didn’t know if she could make it work, but she hoped she could if she started small. She was confident she could teach others to quilt, knit and crochet, she just wasn’t sure she could make a living doing it.
Stitches in Time is her brain child. She always loved to sew and do all sorts of crafts, but never seemed to know what to do with herself. She never went to college, never really wanted to even. She married her high school sweetheart and settled into married life trying to be the perfect home-maker. She never really worked outside the home, at least not for pay. She had done a lot of volunteering and being on various committees at the church and helped to organize the occasional bake sale, rummage sale or other fund raising event. She wasn’t without experience, after all, being a wife and mother for so many years had given her wisdom and experience a plenty. Her resume was a little thin, so being her own boss seemed the perfect solution.
Lu Ann wanted to help others develop the love of all things stitched like she had. She wanted a place where they could learn to knit, crochet, do cross-stitch or quilting, or even make their own clothes. She would offer classes for those who didn’t know how or those who wanted to learn more. She would offer the supplies needed to do all the projects that they could think up and give a ten percent discount to those who were buying supplies for the classes she offered. She was best at quilting, so she began by offering basic quilting classes and decided to wait and see what else her customers were interested in learning. She would meet lots of new people and thus would ease her new found loneliness.
She bought a large Victorian house near the business district of the small town, she made the upper level into her living quarters and the lower level was renovated into a store front. The living room now housed the quilting fabrics with the walls lined with notions of every kind. The dining room table was where they hosted quilting classes. There were lots of extra outlets installed and smaller tables around the edges of the walls so the customers could set up their sewing machines and work during classes. The kitchen was condensed to a much smaller version of its original size to use as a break room and the space saved from reducing the size of the kitchen made a great storage room. The rooms in the rest of the main floor had been combined to house the yarn arts area. The walls were lined with cubes to hold the various yarns, and there was a comfy seating area with a sofa and a few overstuffed chairs that customers could hang out and knit or crochet in or for seating during classes.
By living above her shop, she saved time not having to commute to work. She also saved money by being able to sell her house she had shared with her husband and the kids when they were growing up. She had loved the old house but was glad to be away from all the old memories now that she lived alone.
Lu Ann has a very strong faith and hopes having her shop will give her the chances to gently lead others to a relationship with the Lord too. She helps with various groups and tasks as needed at the church she has been a member of for many years. (717 words)
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)
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!
(Originally Posted 5/11/2014)
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:
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)