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Showing posts from December, 2009

Reflecting Back on 2009

Looks to be the theme for most blog posts today. :-) For those of you that know me pretty well, you know that 2009 was a huge year for me on many fronts. I don't think I could tackle everything here or if I would even want to. So, I figure I'll just hit some of the highlights and downlights when it comes to the writing and homeschooling end of things.

The first half of the year for homeschooling was not good. With a huge upset in my personal life and a lot going on in my writing life, the homeschooling was for the most part put on the back burner. Not that you'd hear any complaints from Big Daughter, LOL, in fact, she's asked a lot during the last half why can't she do what we did in the beginning of the year. :-) Anyway, a big thank you to Time4Learning which at least kept her on track academically while mommy was way too focused on other things. The second half has been better (depending on your viewpoint). I found this super cool curriculum called Moving Beyond …

Best Laid Plans

So, last night I'm planning out my day today. Big daughter can get a jump on her school work and then has an art class. Little daughter, will as usual, tag along. I will get 1750 words written today cause I only got about one page written before I simply could not think anymore last night.

Day is moving slowly along, typical day for us, I finally start getting ready for the day and Big Daughter and Little Daughter start playing nicely and sweetly together. I stand watching them going - okay am I gonna retain my title of Meanest Mother in the World and inform them play is over and Big Daughter has to get to her school work now. Or, am I gonna be a total softy, and tip toe away and pray the quiet and peace last longer than 15 minutes. In case you don't know me very well, it was the latter. Peace and quiet are always at the top of my list any day of the year.

But do I use this peace and quiet and jump into my writing, well, just a little. I got another page written (250 words), b…

Keeping All the Balls in the Air

When I have a day like today I'm reminded of how many balls I have in the air and the amount of juggling I have to do to keep any of them from falling, and today actually wasn't that busy of a day in the scheme of things. We headed down to take care of the horse (who lives almost 45 minutes away, one way, during the winter) and headed to another town to swing by the cheap grocery store and cheap gas (living in a tourist destination has its drawbacks, namely price gouging for all the necessities). Then gotta drive back up the mountain and head home. Big daughter had a friend over while little daughter tagged along. Thankfully, they actually all played really well together which meant a minimum of interaction required from me. Yeah! And big daughter actually talked me into letting her have a sleep over party on New Years night. Hmm, I must be softening, note to self, I must remain focused if I'm going to maintain the title of Meanest Mom in the World. No waffling aloud. Add …

Finding a Great Beta Reader II

On to the actual search and find of a great beta reader, critique group, or critique partner. After I posted my post yesterday I had a friend ask me what a beta reader was and how did I find her. Here are some basic tips on locating someone to beta read or critique your work.

1) Check with your local writing groups. If you prefer face to face contact a local critique or writing group is probably your best bet in joining a critique group or finding a partner/reader. If you're in a larger city, you shouldn't have any problem in finding such a group. You'll just need to choose which one (out of those accepting new members) you think will suit you. If you're in a smaller town, it might be a little more difficult to find one that is open to new members. If you know a member, approach that person and ask about an invitation. You can look for groups at libraries and book stores (talk to the staff). If you can't find a group, consider starting your own.

2) Chapters of writ…

Finding a Great Beta Reader

As I mentioned before, I just reentered the world of critique partners or beta readers (whatever term you prefer). I will admit freely that I was nervous about this, because of past experiences (from long, long ago, LOL). As usual, what I am most nervous about ending up being something that I shouldn't have been nervous about at all. I was paired up with a lady via one of my RWA chapters and got back a critique of my first couple of chapters from her like the day I emailed them to her. :-) And, the good news, she confirmed everything I had been worried was wrong with the thing. Not that it's awful, but that the story could be so much stronger. As I was reading her critique and the spots she marked as wanting to know more I found myself nodding along with her in complete agreement. Why? Because I had already suspected these problems, but wasn't sure if they were real problems or just the general "this sucks" that most writers feel when they read their own work.

It…

Protecting Your Project

Protecting your project when you're creating is imperative. It's amazing how random people (and those close to you) can mortally damage an idea by an off hand comment if you haven't learned how to protect your baby. I've had several projects that I had to shelve because I hadn't yet learned to how to keep them safe. I still occasionally have a twinge when an arrow comes from an unexpected person though they no longer kill off an idea, but I might have to take a few days to shake the comment off before I can get back to that bright and shiny creation.

I've gotten to the point that if I'm actively writing something I don't even refer to it by it's title. If someone asks what I'm working on I'll be as evasive as possible, referring to one project as my YA fantasy and another as a space opera. Most people, those casually inquiring, will just nod and move onto another area of conversation. Closer friends or those who seem to want to ferret out if…

Have You Recovered Yet? or Happy Holidays

So, for those of you who do Christmas, did you have a good one?

For the last two years we've cut back a lot in what we've spent during the Christmas holidays and Christmas itself. This year was a little harder with a 10 year old and a 3 year old, but surprisingly I found they were perfectly happy with how little was spent (and they got). I focused on just getting the top two things that they wanted (which none of them were very expensive) and they were each thrilled Christmas morning. I filled up the tree (well, just added a few more presents under the tree) by purchasing inexpensive craft kits from a friend's store (so they got some extra stuff and I helped support a local business). A lot of my friends were doing similar things to keep within their own budgets. I'm sure some stuck to their budget while others ended up spending more than they intended. I have been one of the latter for the previous five Christmas', I think, it could have been even longer. Each ye…

Classes and Workshops

Yep, I'm up way too late tonight. To much chocolate and sugar today - can we say I love this time of year! Anyway, playing around with my blog format, because what else am I gonna do. :-) And I got to thinking about my last blog post, I might have given you the impression that I didn't like writing classes and workshops.

Now, it's true that I've had my share of writing classes that didn't exactly encourage or inspire great writing, but I have also taken a whole bunch of classes that did. You could say that I'm a class junkie, because I am. Oh, how I love a good class or workshop. I've always found I write better on deadline (and not my own internal deadlines - those don't work at all) and I love to learn new things.

I was lucky enough to discover Charter Oak State College when I was looking to finish up my BA and I'd decided that I wanted to do it in writing, but alas there was not a single university within close driving distance where I lived that…

Critiques & Classes

Wow, I got my first follower. LOL.

I am about to embark on the journey of a critique partner and/or group. Yes, I finally signed up for it with not one, but two of my RWA chapters that offer this service to their chapter members.

It's funny, I have friends that swear by their critique partner and groups, and then I have friends that have had bad experiences with them. I'm on the latter end. I survived, yes survived, my way through several college and university creative writing classes. These classes did not make me in any way eager for the concept of sharing my writing for the purpose of critiquing.

To put it plainly, the classes were brutal. Sometimes the teachers would allow it and other times the teachers would attempt to curb it, but there was always this level of meanness in the classes. Not from everyone in the class, there were the few students (or maybe there were more, but the meanies overshadowed the good ones) that did their best to provide thoughtful critiques of …

One Writer's Journey

Here I am again in the blogosphere. I've been blogging related to my book, Horse Schools, over the last couple of months and have had to hold back because there was something I wanted to talk about that in no way related to horses, colleges, or searching for a school. So, here I am with a brand new blog, isn't it pretty? Well, as pretty as it can be till I personalize it a bit, but I'll save that for later.

I've been thinking a lot about my own writer's journey and being a homeschooling mom and how the two coexiste. I've found that an extremely productive day for me usually means that the school work for my ten year old gets put on hold (which she loves LOL) and my preschooler spends most of her day doing all the things a "good" mom isn't supposed to let her do all day. But a productive day with my girls, we get all of my ten year old's school work done for the day, I spend what I'd consider quality time with her and my preschooler, that ty…