WHERE’S SPRING?

Seasonal_Festivals

I looked all over for a special calendar and could not find SPRING, so this will have to do for now. As I sit at my desk, I can look out my windows and see nothing but grey clouds, trees waving their branches, and the only sign of spring is the green leaves and green grass. I want to see sunshine, hear birds singing, see and smell flowers in bloom, and know that May Day is just around the corner. Spring seems to get lost between the long winter months and the hot summer months.

Do you remember your ‘Spring Times’? As a child, I remember the opportunity to stay and play outside a little later, watch the flowers peek through the dirt, see squirrels scamper up and down tree trunks, chasing each other and having a good time. And now that we are so close to May, do you remember the May Days? We’d walk up to a friend’s house and hide our May Basket for that special person and run away before anyone saw us.

Guess, Spring Time brings back wonderful memories and yet gives us space to make new memories. Each season gives new hope and ideas to think about and try.

A couple of weeks ago, the Library in my neighborhood, held its first Poetry Reading Night. Great attendance and wonderful poems. I was impressed by all the presenters and their ability to share without any props, like a book, and their words gave music to our ears.

Yeah, I got up, but had to have my poetry book in my hands, my glasses on, and no dancing around. But, it was fun and they plan to do this every so often. Maybe I can get my act together and do this without my book. Doubt it, but hey who knows. So to end this post, I would like to share  MOODS OF MUSIC,

Music opens the windows of the soul creating many moods. Strings of violins being gently caressed sing of intimacy, soft flickering candle light. Rumble of the drums gives a dominating beat to life – slow measured steps or a fast-moving pace. A slide trombone can bring a feeling of melancholy, a sway to the music, a backward trip in memories. Reeds of the clarinet performing jazzy blues mixing the past and present together. Cymbals clashing awakens opportunities yet to be explored.  Moods of music, complacent, invigorating, dreamy. . . Open your soul and listen.

Happy Spring.  Happy Writing.

Patricia

HELP! I LOST MY WORDS

Yes, it has been a while since my fingers crept across the keyboard. I still can’t run them over the keys because I lost my words. Instead of writing, I’ve been on a wild journey. Picture yourself trying to remember where you ‘stored’ something of great importance to you. Why is it we always try the refrigerator last? This time I went straight to the fridge and search every storage drawer, every shelf, and yes, I did not forget the freezer. Nothing but food and containers; no papers.

This led me to the closets and corners of each room. Nothing, but I did get things pulled out and taken to Goodwill, dust bunnies no longer laugh when I open a closet door. Instead they try to hide or race out to unknown places. The extra hiding areas I’ve developed are now empty and again, no papers or words. The only peace I find is reading others words. I became so desperate, I go to bed with a book, and wake up with the same book. Thank goodness, I’ve finished two. The words are familiar, but I still have problems putting them on my own paper.

The book I am writing came to a complete STOP. I”d read everything from beginning to the point of no words and begin again reading the same material. At least I have made some revisions and feel better about those, but it’s not the same as writing new ideas and moving the story forward to publication.

The harder I try to get words out of my head and onto the keys of my computer, the harder it is to remember what word I should use. So, to help me out, I began to take pictures with my camera. I am not a picture taker, but managed to get some decent shots of familiar people, objects, and places that might bring back the words I need on the tips of my fingers and not hidden in my head.

A friend told me to forget everything and not work so hard at nothing. “Go out for walks, hit the coffee shops, and listen to others. No, not snooping, just listen to the words.” And then, she suggested we take in a matinée of a silly movie. I got caught up in the show and never realized I was laughing until the end. Something clicked and I wanted to get home and write. Maybe. But the silence almost destroyed the progress in front of me.

Now, I can once again find words with my CD’s. Music gives me energy, energy makes my fingers move, and soon words appear on the page. That they all do not make sense, so what? The delete key works, the backspace key backs up, and the music keeps playing.

When we stop because of worry or the need to do things ‘more’ better, it freezes our ability to be free. So, I’ve made a promise to myself, when things get out of whack, go for a walk. I’d love to run, but those days are over. My knees told me this, and I follow these requests.

May your weekend be filled with friends, fun, flowers. I am now back on track so see you soon.

Happy Writing,

P E PATTERSON

 

WE NEEDED TO CHECK OUT THESE WRITING RETREATS

ImageWe weren’t invited, but here we are again. I watched as you gathered for your first retreat as a group and noticed – hey we are all together in our age areas. This is great and maye we can add a point or two.

We like the idea of spontaneous visits to a country when you do your writing and critiquing. Sure everyone wants to write, but don’t you want to hear the stories too? Maybe you should add – WRITING AND CRITIQE RETREATS. OOPS, here we go opening our mouths. SHH.

The evening begins and the hostess has set up a Paris writing place. Music fills the air, the wine is cool, the coffee aromas penetrate the small room, and the table is a small iron circle with small chairs. You feel like you are in a sidewalk cafe in Paris. Your hostess has pictures of her trip to France all over her small room and gives a snippet of information about each one.

Then down to work writing and getting the next few pages written or revised. We stand outside and listen. Nothing but the sound of fingers on laptops and no talking. There is something missing – conversation. An evening of writing with your friends satisfies the soul, but what about the quality of writing. We knock and ask if we could observe this Paris scene.

Observe doesn’t happen; instead we begin asking if anyone would read their written words.Startled, the writing stops. “Why?” one lady asked. “We are here to write.”

“But, wouldn’t it be nice if you could hear comments and get new ideas? Sometimes, we need to see our writing and our story from another person’s view point. If you get stuck on a scene, a character’s attitude, or another character wants to take over, wouldn’t this be the best place to hatch out a new angle?

“When you read out loud, you might hear your story in a different tone and is there any conflict there? Or, are there too many conflicts? Do you know where you are going with your story? Is the plot clear and did you start at just the right place?”

We get stares. “We’re sorry for the intrusion,” and stand up to leave.

“Wait,” the hostess hollers at us. “We never thought about all of these questions when we worked together. We are not a group of ‘young chicks,’ and maybe you could help. Would you stay for a while?”

Of course, my friend and I could not resist. Two hours later, a lot of discussion went around the small room: writing, exercises for characters, subplots, and names of characters. “When your ages creeps upward, viewpoints of life change, and yes, we all know a lot more about life than the younger ladies. This is what makes your coming of age novels different than your characters who have faced life, death, loneliness, and still want the passion, tender moments, and love.”

“Just remember, you are here to help each other make their writing the best it can be. Always be polite and critique the writing, not the writer.”

As the hour got later, the women moaned about the workload facing them tomorrow.

“No, what you had this evening was a blessing. Tomorrow is an opportunity to encounter what your character may face. Do this as a challenge and let your writing show your fortitude. Hey, we all can’t fit the same mold, thank heavens.”

“Uhh,” one lady responded. “Would you be able to join us next time at my home?”

The other ladies responded, “please?” One lady in particular extended her hands toward both of us. “I noticed my writing was for the younger generation, and it’s been quite a while since I looked back. I think my rewrite will be in a era all of us know, and this is exciting.”

Since, it is not polite to refuse, my friend and I agreed, keeping the excitement hidden under our coats as we left. “Next time.” Our mission instead of being accomplished, was just beginning. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” and realized we’d said the same thing at the same time. Hey, what are friends for, if not for a friend.

DO YOU ACT BEFORE YOU KNOW ALL THE FACTS?

Audience

As writers, we hear over and over about platform. Have one – Get one – Make one – Do one, and we try to do all we should before we study and do research. Why? Best guess is we want to keep up with everything and forget to take a deep breath and learn.

Maybe, all this hesitation is really procrastination and we are not ready for all the work before us. You do know we have to write and get out book finished. I do not know how I’ll get everything done. I feel swamped.

Let’s take this a step at a time and stop the nerves jumping, the heart pumping harder, and get things under control. No one is ever ready to head into an unknown  project, and this project can determine the outcome of your book. Scary?

Do you know your audience? What audience? No one knows about the book I’m writing. As a writer you need to study your characters and their lifestyles. You know if your story involves children, young adults, mature teenagers, or thirty, forty, fifty, sixty or seventy ‘something ages.’ Go to a library, bookstore, yes even a grocery store that sells books. See who is picking up the books AND notice how they read the back cover. Start your research.

Contacts? Oh? Do you have contacts in radio or television or even the colleges around your area? Research each venue and find the name of one person to assist you. It might be the receptionist, but be polite, considerate and congenial. Ask if there might be a possibility of meeting the person for a quick visit. No,not an interview, at this time. Sometimes a quick face-to-face meeting is a great start.

Stay focused. You will never feel 100 percent ready to promote yourself and your book, but find your focus plan. Do you belong to writers’ groups; have a website; blog; a Facebook page with your profile? Put some excerpts on your blog, throw some spice into your social media, and keep writing, writing, and writing.Read everything you can on publication, as it changes every day. Bone up on the avenues you must travel to keep yourself going forward. Commit your time and energy to your new and emerging business–yes, business. As a writer, you will publish, promote, read, do interviews, and you need to be prepared for all the extra pleasures and pit falls.

You are headed in the ‘WRITE’ direction and your momentum is unstoppable. You have done your homework, you have other people to work with you, and YOU CAN MAKE IT.

Hit the road and never stop.

Blog Getters

You want more and more for your blog. Right? So do I, and I came across some of the old standbys we often forget. Refreshers never hurt.

How often do you visit other blogs and see new ideas? Have you made a ‘guest appearance’ on a blog? Do you leave comments? If you are not in touch with other blogs, why should they venture near yours. You can learn from different blogs and see ways to improve your own.

Have you ever found a topic–new, interesting and fun? You notice the word count on your blog increase and increase and increase. Blogs come in all sizes (word counts). Just double-check yours and make certain extra information does not interfere with your topicl. Make your point and know when to stop.

How often do you post? I’ve heard some bloggers say every day. One writer, I know, finds interesting pictures, from wherever, and writes a paragraph each day on the pic. This brings in fresh new material and great comments. Others make ea h day a “special” day; Mondays are for XX, Tuesdays for XXX, Wednesday, XXXX, Thursdays XXXXX, Fridays XXXXXX and even different ideas on the weekends. (P.S. I do know how to make Roman Numerals, but this was fun.) Most of all create an atmosphere where your readers cannot wait to read what’s up next.

Make certain you leave comments to the blog writer and be courteous. Follow up on comments to your blog. Let your readers know they are important and you are glad they are there to share their thoughts with you.

Link your blog to the social media of your choice. Promote your blog through these links and interact with other bloggers. It is a great blog world and so many topics for dissection and discussion. Enjoy your new conversations and connections.

Be kind and have fun.