THE END OF AUGUST 2015

Video

images_063August is coming to a quick end. Did I not look at a calendar, or do the days fly by and I do not notice? Knowing me, I’d say I do not notice.  Why? Because life is a merry-go-round, and I want to keep the momentum going. Still, sometimes I have to step off and watch the horses go up and down for a few turns. A breather, you might call it. And I got hit with this at my last SilverSneakers® class. One of the members hollered, “Hey are we going to have class on Labor Day?” Labor Day, that’s next month and the hammer hit hard. No, That’s next week.  They are such a great group, we will probably take the Holiday and be ready to come back refreshed, renewed, rewound.

August came and did its heat on all of us. The humidity hit hard against the body and I can only imagine what the states with such outrageous fires are going through. Now, Hurricane Season sticks its neck out and we have Tropical Storms forming in many different regions.

This made me think of the process of writing. An idea forms, and we wait to see what this idea wants to do. Yeah, even in the middle of the night, these thoughts filter into our sleep. Sometimes, these are the most important filters to trap into our dreams. We are asleep and our subconscious takes control.  There is no censor on these trips, rather our naked nature and we roll with the punches.

I am working on a new book and thought I knew what would happen. Wrong.  My character’s all have different names, the location is out of my control and so are my characters. This all happened one nightmarish night. I woke up in the morning and my bedroom looked like a ‘war’ zone. Guess I was fighting the changes, but then could not remember what changes. No, there were no scribbles on my notebook, because I’d knocked it on the floor before I could scribble. So, I sat at my computer and went to the folder of the WIP (work in progress). What I encountered was nothing compared to my — encounter. I keep plodding in the old file, hoping my dream will return in a more prudent manner.  Life as a writer at times sucks, and then a times shines. We are hooked and never give up or out.

Proof of this is the Trailer of my book, Breaking Point, which is out in printed form. If the ‘gods’ are with me, I will try to have this video added at the end of the post. If it works, the big thanks goes to Carolyn Wren, a Secret Cravings Author, who has given up her time and energy to produce trailers. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

This is what writers do…help other writers. There is no industry in the world that has the help from one writer to another writer, Thank you.

p.s.  video did not work, but challenges are a part of writing. If you would like to check this out, please visit my website at http://www.patricia-patterson.com. I’ll work on this challenge ASAP.

 

 

 

 

WHAT DAY IS THIS?

The OtherlifeThis is the look of my days, not quite night, definitely not morning, and my eyes are red from writing and reading. Sometimes, I feel like there is no in between and it is hard to decide upon AM or PM. One thing for certain, the challenges for each day push me forward into uncharted territory.

This past Saturday, I attended my Georgia Romance Writers meeting and came away with new thoughts, new visions, and new ideas. Why? I was surrounded by writers. Some struggling to keep everything together and some celebrating new books and trying to balance their time and others hitting the blank spot of the brain. I realized none of us have it all together and this made me feel good. Do I like it? Nah. But, we keep surrounding ourselves with other writers and gather support. This is so important when you are struggling with a page, a chapter, a thought, and know you have others you can bounce these thoughts out there and get feedback.

I have found out that writers jump on the wagon and either pull or push you forward. It is the momentum from their hard work that propels new writers forward. Then, it is our turn to do the same to other new writers. Writer friends are friends we turn to in times of questions and they understand our problems. Why? Because, most of them have been in the same situations and managed to break through to publication and above.

Make certain you have life-lines to throw out to all of your writer friends, and they have the same coming your way. Beta Readers, Critique Partners, and Writing Groups are the best life-lines writers have. They may not be perfect, but it is a starting point. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be yourself. But . . . never compare yourself to another writer. We are all different and our needs are different. Keep your avenues open for everyone. Make sure your bridges to others are always open.

My big happening this week, I received my book in print and can hold my ‘baby’ in between my hands. And, it was not an easy birth, but I am busy on two other books. Maybe these will be a little easier to produce. No matter what happens, I will continue to write, write, and write. And you, as a writer will continue to write and write and write. Once a writer, the need to write, share, and publish never goes way. Good Luck to all of you writers.

A saying, I believe in and maybe you will too, is from Eleanor Roosevelt.
“The future belongs to those who dream.”

Happy Dreams. Happy Writing.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

An IdeaThis is a question where no real answer can be found. Why? It depends on the person and the field of creativity they choose.

We sometimes forget about the landscapers, home builders, clothing designers, or photographers. They also go through a creative process.

If you are an artist, your blank, white canvas can be over whelming. In your mind’s eye, you can see the colors and the vibrancy, but the brush held in your hand never moves. You are stuck.

As a writer, we open a blank page and stare.  In our minds, we know what we want to appear, but our fingers are sticky and do not slide over the keys. Yet, everything we do has a process and this includes becoming a creative writer.

First, you must decide what kind of writer are you? Is writing just a hobby to you or is writing something you HAVE to do, WANT to do, and WORK at becoming the best you can be? This is a crossroad only you can decide. When the passion of writing becomes your inner most desire, you can feel the need to improve and grow. This takes time and patience, and when this wears off, you turn to writing as a hobby. As a writer, you are challenged ever step of the way toward the best creative process for you.

You begin your creative process in learning the structure of writing, appreciate the skills you learn, and overcome the obstacles thrown in your path…frustration. Writing takes practice, more practice, and more writing. There are characters to develop, scenes to create, and yes, strong plots. You must have the conviction to start and complete your story. This is where confidence plays an important part of the process.

As the process continues, you must focus on grammar, sentence structure, story flow, and learn to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. This is where your passion to create pushes your forward. No writer’s block or waiting for the muse, will make you stop writing. However, if there is a missing part to your story or nothing seems to fit right, go have some fun. You can take a long walk, but do something fun and let your stress disappear.

Time is another part of the process for the passionate writer. You are excited to hit the keys and watch your story take shape with each additional chapter. Some writers have the opportunity to write as a full-time job. Others work outside the home and schedule their writing around work, home, and family. No matter where you are, keep to your schedule, because this is your desire and you are excited to be a writer.

If you feel stuck, get yourself out and explore something different. You can try writing at a library, coffee shop, or whatever makes you feel comfortable around other people. Writing is a lonely venture, but you can change this and feel new energy in your writing.  Exercise your body and your mind together on a long walk. You will come back refreshed and ready to hit the keys.

What I’d love to hear from you is YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. WHAT KEEPS THE ENERGIZER BUNNY INSIDE OF YOU GOING, GOING, AND GOING?

POLISH YOUR CREATIVE SIDE

An IdeaPolish? That’s for floors, shoes, silver, tables, and cars, but we cannot hold our creative side in our hands to polish. These are tangible items, but what you need to work on are the intangibles:  imagination, thoughts, brain power. and get yourself outside for a walk or a stroll. No, we are not counting the gym you may belong to, but hitting the sidewalk, the park, or even a walk to a part of town you’ve not seen in a while.

Look around you and sense some of the things you see. Yes, even the mundane, looked at with a feeling of newness, can make your imagination work overtime. Walking, sprinting, and walking slow can increase your blood flow to your brain. When this happens your ingenuity jumps to attention, and you begin to experience a new awakening.

Now, your creative juices are  at full speed, think of some of the usual ways you use everyday items and try to find new ways to change their usage. You will be surprised at how your imagination jumps are the chance to be unleashed. What if you have a tough choice to make, whether in your life or the life of the character in your story. Instead of sitting at your computer getting upset, get up and walk around. Let your subconscious do some of the work for you. Relax, take a deep breath, and listen to your inner-self.

Okay, you have had a creative side polish and your fingers should fly over the keys as your mind bursts with new thoughts. Your imagination is ready to take over, and you let it go in high gear. Just a small break like walking around the block, doing squats in your home, breathing deep, holding, and then letting go will add to the creative polish.  You are on your way to knowing your characters better and not surprised at the decisions they make. Surprise yourself.

POLISH CREATIVITY.   TURN YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS LOOSE.  HAPPY WRITING.

I DON’T HAVE TIME…

images_014Who does, but that’s the point of this blog. I should be doing laundry, making out a new “to-do” list, answering email, anything but sitting here striking at the letters on the keyboard, OR is this what I should be doing and letting other things get done later? I choose this and will not sweat the small stuff, if the dinner salad does not have a tomato sliced in it, or the laundry does not get done until tomorrow. I’m not going anywhere and the jeans I have on are clean, my sweatshirt is clean and warm. Hey, even the coffee pot is still warm.

Yet, there are times we tend to make our “to-do” lists bigger than necessary, and still leave room to add more on at the bottom. Sometimes, this makes us feel important, until we cannot cross off even one item. The more we have to do, the more we can do, right? Not since the last time I looked at my list before the shredder ate everything off the paper.?

Yes, there are always errands to run, appointments for doctors, dentists and other important items, and once these get accomplished, we can write. WRONG. Somewhere down the list, we forgot to enter in our writing time. For a lot of writers, published and not-yet published, this is foremost the important part of our lives. Why? There is no list needed to remind us to write. Writers write and we are the writers. But if you are new to the living world of writers, you might use a big, like huge, colorful sticky on your computer. This will trigger your mind to know what you should be doing.

Even if you have fifteen minutes, you can write. You might read over what you wrote earlier, do a touch-up to a few words (better known as a revision). Or, you might get in the mood with ‘Morning Pages.’ Remember The Artist’s Way and the morning pages? These pages are for no one but you. You can scribble, draw pictures, develop your lovely lady or find ways to make hero a great villain and likeable at the same time.

What helps a writer is to establish a routine, but make certain it is not chiseled in stone. Another idea is to write even when you don’t know what you will write. This is one of the best ways to begin and follow your heart with words. Writing every day sets the pattern of a writer, but writing every day at the same time helps your writing become more efficient. Sure, we stumble along the path and when that happens, step back, take a deep breath and think small. You are not sitting down to write the complete manuscript at one time, rather scenes of the manuscript.

And, be prepared to write and write and write. Sometimes garbage fills the page, but before you delete or cross through, keep your writing just the way you put it on the screen. You never know when these words may be just the ones you need at a certain scene in your manuscript. Remember, writing is never finished until you add “THE END” to the last page, and then you may make many more changes again.

Happy Writing Every Day. Happy Morning Pages. Happy Garbage Writing.

JUST WRITE

HAVE YOU HAD LAUGHTER THIS WEEK?

WheeeeeeSmile at yourself. Smile at others. Smile at nothing. Did you know that smiling uses all the muscles on your face? Try smiling at yourself in the mirror and notice the difference in your expressions:  eyes sparkle, cheeks puff out, lips turn upward, only to mention a few muscles. Okay, you’re still looking at yourself in the mirror. You feel better, happier, and the problems of the day do not seem as great. Okay, now frown at yourself and all the happiness goes out of the person in the mirror. The feeling of drowning in your own body makes your breathing shallow, your heart beats a little faster, and all the problems of the day wrap around your neck. Step back from the mirror, turn around a couple of times, and then check the face in the mirror with a smile. A happy face equals a happy you. A happy you and you are in charge of your stress. Add a little bit of laughter and your tensions relax and your whole body feels the change.

Take a deep breath, then another, then another, and soon you can feel the tension slip out with each exhale. Practice this and enjoy this deep breathing and soon it will become a part of your daily life.

Taking good care of yourself,  relaxing, and enjoying life leads to a better and healthier you. And the best part is laughter. Laughter shared with yourself is great, but imagine laughter shared with friends. The cost is nothing, but the rewards are plenty. Do you know laughter boosts the heart and helps reduce the stress? Stress has a way of working its way into our lives and we don’t recognize this until it affects our health.

Laughter also improves our brain functions. We are able to retain information longer, enjoy our daily functions better, and why not? Laughter is contagious. Share your laughter with all you meet:  friends, strangers walking down the street, or driving in the car next to yours. You will find they smile back and don’t even know it.

Laugh at nothing and you will find this is a contagious, healthy, way to share something someone may never get today. Make laughter your signature, whether at something silly or yourself. You will feel SOOOO good.

Happy you. Laughing you. Happy writing to you.

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.

CREATIVE CHALLENGES

energyDo you have them? Do you ignore them? Do you not believe in them? What do you do with them?

A lot of questions with no set answers. Why? Because every writer has their own version of creative challenges, and it start at the beginning…or does it?

What if you were to start writing the ending and then travel back to the beginning? Would your story have a different ending or a different beginning?

How many of you remember or saw the movie, The Spanish Prisoner? What did you decide after seeing this film. It could be anyone of us out to play with the possibilities of capture or secrets.

Then the movie, Memento, pops into my mind. Was the guy crazy? Did he really kill his wife? Or did he watch his best friend commit the crime?

This is a challenge to all writers:

Start your story at the end and create as you travel backwards to the beginning. This makes for a different type of writing. You have the ending, but how did this story begin?

The ending hits your heart and soul, but why? Dig deeper and see where you came from and then stop. Let all of these scenes into your head and fingertips. Your writing will take you back to the beginning at a slow pace. You will see and feel everything in a deeper way and a more vibrant color, than starting at the beginning and going to the end.

Confused? Yeah, a little. Okay, start a different way. You write down the first scene that comes to your mind. This is the story you want to write. You know the characters, who will be in your story, their lifestyles, their loves, and their secrets. It is a beginning, but as a writer you feel empty. You plot your scenes and know there is something more, but what? The ending must come first. So you begin at the end, and this is a summary of my thoughts, at this time:

“Stop. You cannot close the casket. She is not dead. I just talked with her and she needs to tell me more about the argument.”

“Ma’am, she is dead. There is no chance for error.”

“Then, why do I hear her pounding on the casket lid?”

People quiet. There is no talking, no noise, no cranks of the equipment to lower the casket further, but there is no sound.

“Shh, I hear her talking.” The casket lid opens with a slight push, and her gloved hand slips into the open space.

‘He is here. Find him.” Her voice comes out sure and strong. The lid closes again, and her voice is quiet.

Okay writers, start your story backwards from this point and work your way to the beginning. A love story backwards. A mystery with the death before the why.

Have a great time with this scenario and let your thoughts push your writing into another depth.

HAVE FUN. WRITE BACKWARDS. EXPLORE NEW DEPTHS. HAPPY WRITING.

What Is An ISBN Number?

images_005Just so you will know, I wrote this piece back in 2012, and I’m using this again. Look at all of the books in the picture and then wonder about their ISBN numbers. What are they, Where did they come from? What do these number represent? Let’s find out.

Have you noticed a group of numbers on all books? They are there for a purpose: for you, the writer and the publisher. This number establishes and identifies one book title from another. Booksellers, libraries, universities, and a whole lot more of people in the publishing arena use these specific numbers.

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, which used to be a ten digit number until 2007, when the numbers increased to thirteen. Let’s take a look at the old “10” number and the new “13” number. Grab yourself a book from your shelf or go to the library or a bookstore.  The ISBN number is found on the inside of the book where the information on the publisher, copyright, all rights reserved exist and again on the outside of the back cover.

The first digit gives the origin of publishing – 0 – equals English, while another number equals a different country. The next six numbers identifies the publisher and the next two numbers identified the title or edition. The last digit validates the ISBN number. There you have the 10 digit ISBN.

In the 13 digit ISBN number, you will find this in the same area inside the book and on the back cover. The only addition is a three digit number instead of a zero. This three digit number will have 978 numbers represent a group or country.

However, if you go through the traditional publishing avenue, your publisher will do this for you with their publisher numbers. If you self-publish, go e-book, you will need to do your own work, but some independent publishers will handle this for you. However, you need to know if your book is published hardback, paperback, e-book, etc., each will have their own ISBN number even though it is the same title, but a different type of publication. Once you use an ISBN number, you cannot use it again.

You might also want to have a bar code, which is a requirement for many sales publications.

What do you do if you have some 10-digit ISBN numbers and need them in the new 13-digit? Go to Google on how to convert from a 10 to a 13. Another avenue is RR Bowker. Once you have your ISBN numbers, you need to let RR Bowker know and submit your title information, and register with RR Bowker.

Okay, lots of information, but have some fun. Go through your books and study the ISBN numbers. Your book “A” published by XXX publishing, and study the numbers. Then your book “B” published by XXX publishing and this has different publisher identifier numbers. What? Check again. XXX publishing may have different entities.

Have fun. Study. Learn. Enjoy. Do not forget to write. This is what will get your book finished.

Happy Writing.

BREAK YOUR OWN RULES

ASAPDare to do something different. If this a heart-stopper, then start off small.  Deposit all of your burdens that do not let you travel light into the trash. If you carry them around with you, your travels will be forgotten and you’ll still be at the same point tomorrow as you are today.

Let go of lists. Oh . . . they carry me through the day and keep me on track, and I ask, “track of what?” No, they do not carry you through each day, they slow you down. Play moment by moment today. Enjoy the present. This is the only time available as yesterday has disappeared and tomorrow is not part of today. Do not get hung up on what might be. Life can change in an instant.

As writers, we make things happen to our characters. We give them mountains they may never climb to the top, and then we can either let them fall down or have the handsome hero come to the rescue. We play with our characters and watch them laugh, smile, cry, run to or run away from something. Much like our own lives.

Look all around and enjoy what you can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste. Use all of your senses, some we have a tendency to stick back in a corner, but not today. Pretend you are your own character and write from her or his point of view. How does your character react to the sun on her face? What about the wind and rain beating down on his clothes, as he forgot the umbrella? Take your characters on a trip. This is the one you’ve wanted to travel and never found the time. Well, you have all the time you need, since you are breaking your own rules. Use your characters to fulfill your dreams of going to the highest mountain peak, the bluest ocean, brightest place you imagine, and there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

I found the notebook with ASAP and used this as a starting point. If you or your characters are always rushing around, where does the comfy part of life fit? Sure, there are things that need to be completed in to certain time frames, but remember to adjust these times and use some of the hours for play.  You and your characters will be happier, more contented, and you will have them jumping off the page into the lives of the reader.

You want to have dinner for breakfast, break your rules and enjoy a new kind of breakfast. Turn your day inside out and bring your characters along with you and watch a new story develop right before your eyes. Have you ever thought about sleeping all day long and using the night for your day?

This is your time. Do something different. Explore with out explanation. Run with the wind. Smile at everything and everyone for no reason. And LAUGH.

Happy Day. Happy Characters. Happy Writing.