LAUGH A LOT

images_185
 Laughter cures. Problems are more manageable when you have a smile on your face. This makes things look smaller and when problems shrink, life looks a little better. A smile on your face also makes others wonder what you have been doing, or what you are planning. Stop for a few seconds and look around you. This could be at your friends, co-workers, family members or strangers. How many of these people you see are smiling? Everyone has so much stress in their lives, they have forgotten how to smile. No, not the little attempt, but a big lip-smackin smile that covers all of the face, eyes included.
Then you have to be able to laugh at yourself. When this happens, other people will either join in or shake their heads at your behavior. Laughter has a way of helping other people see a different side of life. Even babies enjoy watching laughter and soon are able to do this on their own. They learn their own voice, the wave of their hands, and the happy face of their mother, father, brother, sister, and even the dog. Soon, the baby learns of the noise that comes from their mouths and the fun begins. Giggles are another sound that a baby learns and practices quite often.
As we grow older, we forget about a lot of the practice we’ve had and all of a sudden — no laughter. We become dull, uninterested in a lot of life, and wonder what has happened.  WE FORGOT TO LAUGH. What’s wrong with laughing at every thing we can. It is a healthy attitude that gives us a full life and we are lucky .
Have you ever noticed a pet respond to laughter? They do, just as other people respond to our positive attitudes. You have a new pet and it listens to your speech and mannerisms. Oh, yes they do. When you are happy and smiling, your pet feels the warmth and gives back in their own way. They are attentive and become attached to the routine you established with them. They are some of our best friends.
Still, there is another area of life that needs smiles, laughter and hugs. How about our grandparents, aunts, uncles, or the older generation of our families or friends. Loneliness becomes the better part of their lives and  we can brighten their days with a smile and laughter about ‘the old times.’ When there is laughter, there is no age limit and one size fits all. Do yourselves a big favor and Laugh. Laugh A LOT. Laugh at everything. It’s free, non-fattening, great stomach exercise, increases the lung capacity and makes everyone feel better.
Happy You. Happy Laughing. Happy Times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

PUBLIC SPEAKING – WHO ME?

What did you sayYou hear these words and your voice starts shaking, your knees wobble, and your body feels wet from the sweat rolling around. You are a writer and now you are an author, so suck it up.

As an author, you need to present yourself to the public. Why? To sell your book, get asked to give presentations, be a guest on a program, and be recognized as a great speaker. But, you cannot do this without practice. Fear? Yes, fear is at the heart of all speakers, at the beginning, and probably every time they stand in front of an audience.

Remember, there is no greater speaker than that of an author. Who wrote the book? You. Who knows what the book is all about? You. Who knows about the funny places? You. Who can present the scenes of love, friendship, suspense and frustrations? You.

Now is the time for practice. Volunteer at your writer meetings to give an introduction for another author. No, not you. Volunteer to do presentations at a special meeting. Get yourself up out of your chair and behind the podium or even just  in front of a group with a microphone in your hand.

But, wait. You need to know how you sound with a microphone. Is your voice too loud? Are you speaking too fast, and no one can understand you? Does your voice stay in the same tone, like a monotone and no emotion comes out? Do you slur your words?

So, what do you do? If you have a tape recorder, use it. You can listen to yourself and might not even recognize your voice. Keep trying, and trying, and trying. Are you punching some of your words? Trying to emphasize words to get attention. Vary the pitch of your voice and you will have your audience captivated. Do not forget a pause between some words. This comes when you want your audience to be with you, listen, and feel what you do. You want your audience to stay with you from beginning to end.

What about your body? No, not the size, but what your audience sees as they listen. Are you dressed for the occasion? You need to find out about the type of audience you are addressing: a sports audience and you come in evening clothes? I doubt it. Or the reverse: an evening crowd and you come in your workout clothes? Yeah, I went overboard, but this gives you a chance to think about your audience. You need to invoke emotion and interest through non-verbal communication, known as body language. Facial expressions and gestures are a neat beginning. Eye contact is another very important communication. People in the audience love to think you are looking at only them. Give them your best.

A goof-up? Hey, we all mispronounce words, forget some words, and the best recovery is to acknowledge them and laugh at yourself. Your audience will laugh with you. Be sincere and honest.

Now, that you have done some practicing at home, in front of a mirror, and practiced, practiced, and practiced, it is time to take you and your book out before a live audience. Most of all, have fun with your time before the audience. They will feel part of your presentation and you will find yourself with new fans.

SPEAK UP.  SPEAK SLOW.  SPEAK YOUR BEST. PROMOTE YOUR WRITING.

o

CHANGES – NO NOT AGAIN

Lost ConfidenceYes, you read the title right. How many times do we make changes in our daily lives? No, forget about the little things that drive us crazy, but major hurdles to climb or jump over. Deadlines are changed and never forward, always yesterday. If you are writing, you know the ones where the edits were due and you still have one more chapter to go through.

What about passwords?  I could write a book on passwords and their strengths, but who remembers all the letters, caps, numbers, the %%% and then the &&&, and then the oops, forgot to lock the number key. Yes, we all have to make certain our lives and our work is secure. Yet, there are days I feel like a machine that is half-broken and can’t remember where I was or where I need to start. Hey, maybe I finished and…

Yet, one thing I learned, there is so much more to be learned. Learning is one part of life that never stops and this also involves change or changes. Ya, gotta learn to roll with the ball and go around corners, curves, cut your own way, and yes have fun. I took a good look at the picture and decided PUG would be his name, gotta love that tie. You can’t tell if he is disgusted about wearing the tie, or just in one of those “so what moods.”

Moods are indicators of changes we hit along life’s highway. Angry does not get us to the next mile post. Impatience has a tendency to increase the anger, if we can’t get something like now. Do some of these things come to you through your characters? Here we are writing and need to give our protagonist or antagonist something to bring a surprise into our scene. Well, here is your chance to bring out all of your ideas on change and changes. Try them on your characters and see how they fit.

Before long, you will laugh at some of the things you are asking of your characters in trying to put them through so many loop holes. Yet, we do the same things to ourselves every day. Why be serious all the time. Laugh, Have Fun. Pretend. Give yourselves day off from all the changes. Then go back and you can change your characters’ personalities. Let them have fun too. Lighten the atmosphere. If they want to be eccentric, maybe that is just the point you need to make in this scene.

Changes will happen every day, several times a day, but you do not always have to make them. Changes are possibilities arising out of complications. Make sure you need to change, want to change, and give yourselves time to make changes, even give this time to your characters. Maybe the ARC is not happening for them or you. Don’t push the scene. Instead be like PUG, just stretch out and watch what happens, with or without the tie.

Happy Changes.  Happy Contemplations.  Happy Writing.

Are You Lazy or Relaxed?

Two friends“Hey, Patricia’s back and what a way to start out, but I’m not going to answer that question, are you, Edna?”

“No way, but you know she has the strangest ideas, maybe we can get an insight on this, Ethel. Let’s see what she has to say.”

Got you on that one, right? These two words mean so may different thing to so many different people. Just because you are sitting and staring out the window, could be your way of getting your thoughts together, making a list of chores for the day, or planning the next novel in your head. Then, it might mean you have done all of the above and want to take a few moments to relax, happy to be ahead of the ‘eight’ ball.

Remember, way back when, ‘idle hands make devils hands,’ or something similar. You need to keep your hands busy and stay productive. This will keep you out of trouble, and we more or less believed.

But these beliefs belong to both non-writers and writers. In either area, stress is bound to hit both and in this blog, we will not distinguish but make a combination of  both areas.

Stress, we get it in the news, at work, through emails, or by word-of-mouth. The smallest thing appears huge and we let this take over our lives and our thoughts. This would be a good arc in a story, be we are not characters in a book. We are real, live people. Yet, when we decipher these small thoughts and think about their hold on us, it can be comical.

And, this brings another part of our lives we sometimes forget–LAUGHTER. When was the last time you had one of those ‘good belly laughs.’ You know the kind where you laugh, giggle, double over with great guffaws, the eyes water and tears run down your cheeks? What? You don’t remember? Why not? Better yet, when was the last time you laughed at yourself? Oh, come on and confess. We are humans, who do stupid things to ourselves. I for one have a tendency to take off my glasses and not remember where I put them. I’ve even located them in the refrigerator, along with the keys to the car. With the world-changing minute by minute, the need for more speed under our fingers (like right now) becomes intensified. Stress builds and is taken to another higher level. We’ve been programmed to get more done, and then that is not enough, and we stress out.

What do you do when you get this amount of stress in your life? Here are some ‘off the cuff’ ideas, but I want to hear about yours. Watch a movie on DVD in the middle of the day. Read a book for enjoyment. Forget making the bed. And with good reason, you’ll crawl into it again at night. Sure, these are simple ideas and for some people this would be the breaking straw.

As writers, what would you have a character do in your writing that is completely out of sight? Would this be something you want to do, afraid to do, and give the task to your character?

Think about these ideas and PLEASE let me hear back from you. There is no doubt, we would make all of us laugh, de-stress us for a few minutes, and let the endorphins of laughter seep into our bodies and minds. We’ll catch more on the next blog and get this ball rolling so we can laugh, dance, write, and be the best we can without any stress.

Happy Relaxed You. Happy Lazy You. Happy Writing.

the car.

IT’S A NEW YEAR

Fuzzy Armed HugHappy New Year to all of you. Yeah, it’s getting that time of year  when we look back and think about the ‘IF ONLY’ parts of our lives. To be honest, that is exactly what they are, the past thoughts we did not complete. Ahead of us are the new avenues of a New Year, and we start making our lists or resolutions. These will soon turn into the ‘IF ONLY’ parts again and again.

Let’s do something different this year and look at all the opportunities we have each day to enjoy. Resolutions can make us feel like failures, when we do not accomplish each one we write down. Opportunities are spontaneity reactions, unplanned surprises, accidental choices, and make us feel alive.

A walk in the sunshine is an opportunity to view our neighborhood, wave at neighbors, and walk with a friend. Helping someone get something from a high shelf in a store is a great opportunity to realize we all need assistance at one time or another. Opportunities include smiles to a stranger, a good belly laugh between friends, a good book to share and look forward to discussions about the story. This is your year not to make  a list of resolutions and become an active person, not just an observer of life.

Bucket lists are great for the soul, mind, and fun. These are things you’d like to do, places you’d love to visit, new adventures to think about, and opportunities to learn something new. The list here can come from pictures in magazines where you visit in your mind and enjoy the adventures. All you have to do is look around your own city and find out what is happening. A trip to a museum, taking your lunch to a park and eating on a picnic bench. People watching at an ice cream parlor, outdoor restaurant, or the local coffee shop. Who knows, maybe this is the year you take your pen and tablet with you and jot down your own thoughts.

Remember to enjoy life, be active share and you will be happier this coming year. AND, do not forget to give a big hug to someone, no not the bear squeeze, but the fuzzy-armed hugs that make you feel warm inside. Look at the picture and you will have a hug from me.

HAPPY HUGS. HAPPY NEW YEAR. HAPPY WRITING.

DOES YOUR DIALOG SPIT FIRE?

ImageYes, you can make your dialog spit fire without burning you or your reader. You do this through your characters and their actions and your imagination. Go to the scene where you need the dialog. Read before and after these scenes. Get your mind wrapped around the tension, the happiness, the sadness, or the love.

Are you in the scene with your characters? Then let the words flow. Do not pay attention to hitting the wrong keys. Just write. You can clean up your work after all the words flow from your head and heart. Feel the conversation. You may find yourself writing a different scene than what you thought you needed. Why? Because you are in your character’s head and they have more ideas than you ever imagined. Pump up your writing juices and see what spills over onto the page.

Then make the dialog fire burn brighter. Instead of writing this time, read what you have written. Can you feel the fire? Can you see the fire between your characters? No? Now, you can have fun. Be each of your characters and act out their conversation. If this makes you nervous, check out a couple of movies from the library or go to your own video library. Watch for the dialog and conversations. Look at the movements between the participants talking. Forget the lips, at this time, rather check the way they stand, slump, bounce from one foot to the other. See their facial expressions. How do their eyes focus? What happens to the eyebrows? Take notes. Where are their hands? Do they shake at one another, or can you see the fingers tighten into fists. Does one person dominate the conversation or the other person back up?

Now be prepared for more fun. Put two hats on and become both characters. In the comfort of your own home, do the scene and include the conversation. Get into your improve actions. This is a heated argument, remember fire in dialog, and go for the best you can do. Yell, scream, stamp your feet, feel your body tighten, your shoulders tense, can you feel your face take its smile and replace it with contempt? Okay, you don’t want an argument, so choose what predicament you want for your characters. If this is a love scene, watch how different your improve actions become.

Practice. Practice. Then . . . write, write, write. Sure you will have revisions, but when you get the words, actions, expressions into your dialog, stand back because you will feel the fire. Please do not throw anything. You can picture this, but some practices must remain in the mind.

Happy Writing.

JUGGLING YOUR DAY

Two friendsHere we are to welcome you to June 2013. Never thought we’d get this chance, but we find at the circus, they know what they are juggling, how many pins, bottles or whatever they are using on a certain day, and they know how many will come down.

We are talking about lives, people, activities, the famous ‘to-do-list,’ kids, families, hobbies, and most important our writing. Let one of those circus people handle this for 24 hours and see what happens. They’d head straight to us for lessons. So, we decided to share a few of our tried and true tips with you. Hey, some may work and some may not; you and only you can know the answers.

As a writer, we are creative. We create stories, characters, learn to elaborate a lot in fiction, so what happens when we find ourselves buried under stacks of dirty clothes, a broken washer, a crying kid, a nervous husband, who can’t find the other sock, and a deadline on our book?

We Juggle…… with the phone in hand, we call the service repairman about the washer, search through the correct drawer for the missing sock, hand the kid a Oreo cookie, and turn on the computer. See – simple. Well, maybe not quite this simple, but we do know how to get organized and get things done.

Get hubby off to work with matching socks, feed all the kids still at home, before the school bus arrives, throw the dirty clothes beside the washer that decided to take a break, and have a cup of coffee. The school bus comes, and if it is summer time, you shove them in the car, drop them off at a play center or have ample materials at home to keep them busy. If the are old enough, they make their own beds. Gotta learn sometime. If they are in the early stages, they won’t know if the beds are made or not. Just throw the covers up and bingo – a made bed.

The dirty clothes are no worry. Why? Until the service repairman makes an appearance, there is nothing you can do. Remember, your computer is on and waiting for your fingers only to caress the keys with wild characters, and a deadline looming over them. So you get the kids settled, toss the dishes in the dishwasher, hoping it still works, and then you pull your creative side out of your head. Your fingers are flying by on the keyboard and you feel all the tension around you disappear, except on-screen.

All of the morning jolts have not damaged your ability to create. In fact, you feel more alive with all the chaos around you than the quiet, drab, times you’ve tried to write and nothing came from your head to your fingers. You have 2,000 more words for today’s session, and then……cries from the living room, the TV blasts, and another challenge of who gets to watch what. No, they are now in the kitchen and you hear the refrigerator door open and close and……”You dropped the jar.” “No, you did.” So you put on your referee helmet and approach with caution. Strawberry jam covered part of the floor, and the peanut butter jar the other half. At least they both came in plastic jars and no glass splinters sparkled. “I hope you both wanted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, except there’s no bread.”

I got the stare of doom from both of them. “But, you can lick up the strawberry on this side, then crawl to the other side for the peanut butter.” The stare of doom turned into a ‘she’s lost it,” and then huge giggles. “I scrubbed the floor last night, so let’s have lunch.Afterwards, you can let the dog in and whatever is left; guess who cleans up. I have a few more hours at the computer and better see a sparkling floor.”

A lesson taught. A lesson learned, and I got to finish my 2,000 words.

See juggling can be fun. Lighten up and roll with the punches. When this happens, we find more energy, better relationships, and a whole lot of fun. And, you thought we are just two ole ladies – think again. We have lots of ammunition and whatever happened to humor? Stick with us and you’ll learn all over again.