11 June 2011

Contest Entry: A Long Winded Thanks

I know of a contest to win a book. Not just any book, but ONE OF THE BOOKS I think EVERYONE should have in their library, particularly fans of  Diana Gabaldon and her works. Karen over at Outlandish Observations is hosting a contest to give away a Herself-signed copy of  Outlander (20th Anniversary Edition): A Novel by Diana. (For the uninitiated, Herself is the fandom's affectionate nickname for Diana.)

What you need to do to enter the contest: Write a short (no more than 500 words, please!) description of what OUTLANDER means to you. Karen would love to have tons of entries, so for more details and a chance to win, head over to Karen's post! Even if it reduces my chance of winning the book. ;-D

Speaking of my chances, I thought I'd post my contest submission as it does pertain to my writing existence. Enjoy.

A Long Winded Thanks

I don't remember when my best friend recommended I read "Outlander," but it was before the busy days of motherhood, otherwise I would’ve abandoned my kids and husband to read the story. Even on re-reads of the books, I still neglect my household duties. Fortunately, most of the books are available as unabridged audiobooks, so I can perform my wifely/motherly duties AND read the books without too many interruptions. Because no one can have enough Outlander, Claire, and Jamie.

Through Diana’s various communication outlets, I devour any Outlander news, most especially her teasing excerpts on her podcasts, her blog, her tweets, and the Compuserve writing forum. I’ve even joined a few fan groups and read Outlander fan blogs. It’s nice to know what I’m not the only one obsessed over the story.

While I absolutely love Jamie and Claire, Brianna and Roger, and wee Ian, it was learning about her writing process that affected me most.

See, I’m an engineer turned stay-at-home mom. A few years ago, I’d realized that dealing with the ups and downs of raising a family didn’t provide the intellectual challenge my brain needed. I didn’t want to go back into the workforce as I wanted to be available for my kids. I’d been thinking about writing screenplays, yet I didn’t want to deal with film industry politics for the same reason that I left the workforce … my kids.

Anyways, one day feeding my Outlander obsession, I listened to one of Diana’s podcasts in which she described a writing day during the holidays. She related that with the whirlwind of all her children’s activities and family traditions, she’d maybe written eight words the entire day, yet still worked on the story. A little bit here, a little bit there.

I had an “Aha!” moment that made me stop in my tracks. I, too, with my little ones clamoring for my limited time, could write novels during naps and evenings. I could have the best of both worlds — I’d get my brain workout and would still  be available to be there for my children. And one day, maybe I could earn a small income to support my other obsession - technology and gadgets.

Since that day, I’ve taken online courses, participated in three NaNoWriMos, submitted to a writing contest, and continue to chart my own writing career. With perseverance and some luck, I’ll be a published author some day.

This unexpected turn in my life, becoming a writer, came about through a lot of twists, but was heavily influenced by Diana and the stories she created. And as a writer, I have a better appreciation for the work she exerts to create the fantastic world that I lose myself EVERY time I read her books.

So …
Thanks to my best friend for the recommendation,
Thanks to all the other fans for being as obsessed as me, and
Thanks to Diana for creating a wonderful world that inspires in magical ways.

10 June 2011

Meme: Ways to Stay Creative

A little late, but I thought I'd play along with Lynn Viehl's latest meme.

Directions: Copy the video and the list, bold the items on the list that you're already doing, cross off the ones that don't work for you, and star the ones you'd like to try..


1. Make lists.
2. Carry a notebook everywhere.
3. Try free writing.
4. Get away from the computer.
5. Quit beating yourself up. **
6. Take breaks.
7. Sing in the shower. (Fun - but not sure it helps my writing.)
8. Drink coffee. **
9. Listen to new music.
10. Be open.
11. Surround yourself with creative people. **
12. Get feedback.
13. Collaborate. **
14. Don't give up.
15. Practice, practice, practice.
16. Allow yourself to make mistakes. (Mistakes are all I make, as I don't know any different, yet.)
17. Go somewhere new. **
18. Count your blessings.
19. Get lots of rest. (I think I need more.)

20. Take risks. **
21. Break the rules. ** (Need to know what they are first.)
22. Don't force it. **
23. Read a page of the dictionary. **
24. Create a framework.
25. Stop trying to be someone else's perfect. **
26. Got an idea? Write it down.
27. Clean your workspace.
28. Have fun.
29. Finish something.

I'm not the only one to play along. Check out Charlene Teglia's post.