The Shadowy Road Not Taken #IWSG #Amwriting

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence,Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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The best way I know to end 2017, is with a famous poem by one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost (1874-1963). Thank you Wikisource, for posting it so that I could share the inspiring words, too.

The Road Not Taken  (1916)
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost deserves all the praise he received and continues to receive for his literary genius. He summarized a common human question eloquently in the above poem.

Which path do I take, right or left, shadowed or sunshine, less or more work?

Then at the end of the beautiful piece, he reflects on his decision, did I pick the right one?

Looking back at 2017, I  set my goals and picked my road. Not that I can say I picked The Road Not Taken, but I did make huge decisions and proceeded to act on them. I obtained many of the goals I set. Some of them slipped right through my fingers. My life has most definitely changed because of each and every one, and I too, sigh, now that I face another new year.

My list in a nutshell:

  • I am honored to have a short story selected and published by this amazing IWSG group and Dancing Lemur Press LLC. The decision came at just the right time for me. I needed a push. It was a beautiful and amazing push I’ll always be grateful for and honored.
  • I attended a writing workshop in KC and met more than a few talented and inspiring authors. I spoke with three agents and drew the attention of two.
  • Where I fell short is the execution. I think I rushed my submission because I didn’t believe when I pitched my story, one of them would actually want to read the whole entire thing—right then. I guess I didn’t believe in myself.

So what’s next for me?

Frost states it perfectly:

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

This month’s IWSG question asks, “As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?”

  • Could I have done something different?
  • Should I have done something different?
  • What am I not doing, and need to do?

We can all say we would have done something different or would have made a better choice if we had a chance.

The truth? We can’t go back. Experience shines the light on our mistakes. All we can do is dust our hands off and be the person or the writer or the dreamer we aim to be.

Happy IWSG Day! I can’t promise the shadows will fade, but I can say if you love it, keep going.

5 Reasons to Love Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts Gang and Thankful Book Blessings #IWSG

Charles M. Schulz did me a fantastic favor when he created the Peanuts Gang and animated important lessons about the holidays. With Thanksgiving a few short days away, my kiddos and I have been soaking in the Thanksgiving and Mayflower specials.

To show you what these thoughtful cartoons mean to me and my family, I’ve asked my kids to narrate 5 thankful lessons they each learned from Snoopy or any of the characters. Here’s what they had to say 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on what matters most, to relax, to focus on the good in who we are and what we do. To give thanks where thanks is needed.

In honor of family and dreams worth chasing, I’m also taking time to thank my Writers Group and Publisher. Thank you to IWSG and always being there to support all of us writers, authors and dreamers. Thank you for all the opportunities to help us grow and give us faith in what we hope to accomplish.

Print ISBN 9781939844361 eBook ISBN 9781939844378 Fantasy Available at: Amazon (US) Amazon (Canada) Amazon (UK) Barnes & Noble (print book) Barnes & Noble (ebook) iTunes or Kobo

My short story The Wheat Witch was picked by the IWSG Contest Judges last January and I’m so honored to have met all the other wonderful authors. So if you’re interested in a great book of stories about fallen heroes and the journey to climb back up, check out Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. My own story shares what I loved so much about the Kansas farmland. It was a magical place for me growing up. I loved my grandparents so much and especially, listening to their stories on the farm in a time before electricity, indoor bathrooms and refrigerators. I still remember my grandmother laughing about birthday presents as baths in the farm animal watering tanks, or the chores before the sun rose no matter the weather, and how church was the center of social life aside from helping the family and maintaining the farm.

Enough about me and my memory lane. Take a moment to check out other lovely books by my publisher at Dancing Lemur Press LLC. You’ll find all sorts of subjects from natural disasters, space travel, religious devotions and even young adult.

 

 

Author Alex J. Cavanaugh, Founder of IWSG

What was the last Schulz cartoon you watched? Do you have another favorite holiday movie tradition? Any favorite holiday books?

Thank you for visiting me. Have a lovely rest of your week 🙂

Working Together While You Write May Boost Odds #IWSG #amwriting

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are:

Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, Rebecca Douglass

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!

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Motivation is an interesting thing. In my direct observation, we tend to have one thing that really matters to us to get us moving and committed to a process. This one thing seems to differ from person to person.

Take for instance potty training.

I have two small children. I started each of them around the same time in their lives, right after they turned two. It started with a goal and a start date. I developed a method which tended to switch rapidly due to an unsuccessful outcome. The routine mattered. But what mattered the most seemed to identify with what each child cared about in order to complete the goal. My son has always been the cautious one. If someone is moving too fast, he’ll tell you to belt up, helmet on and be careful. Rewards work best for him and also knowing he’s helping and not hurting a process.

My daughter on the other hand hears things and understands them. She’s quick to tell you her way and not abide by yours. She has a different set of motivational standards and I had to work a whole new angle, the social group aspect. Everyone in class is already using the potty. Use your buddy and help each other be dry and clean all day long.

In the end the social aspect of working together won, whether it was an independent effort with a group goal or an all out group centered approach, sometimes having the extra accountability might make you set that alarm extra early, roll out of bed, and get what you need to do, even if it’s a small step done.

This month’s IWSG question asks: “Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?”

NaNo is a wonderful thing whether you work best independently with group focused goals, or socially networking the entire deadline committed to a process. I personally, have never taken part in it. I probably never will. But from what I understand it helps support success with the following aspects:

  • Set that Start Date. Turn off the research and write.
  • Define the End Date. When do I need to complete a draft? When do I stop fussing over detail and sentence craft and declare it done?
  • Word Count. How much do I need to write each day? With a hefty start and end date set, word counts seem to be easy to calculate. The next thing to consider is the level of commitment you have to prioritize and get it done.
  • Finally, Group Support. There is a huge network of other writers out there all working to meet the same goals. You’re never alone. And as a writer, I think it’s easy to feel like we are.

So no matter what, if you are or aren’t a participant this year, you’ve probably come up with your own set of motivational tasks to get things done. Mine? Passion, determination and my really great writing partner keeps me focused.

How about you? What gets you up and helps you meet your goals?

Lastly, I leave you with this:

Have a lovely rest of your day 🙂

Celebrate the Small Things: Remember the Greatness of Today #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

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I haven’t written a grateful post in sometime. But this week, I have a lot of smiley moments and I need the gentle reminder to believe in the small miracle of today. I need to remember that today, no matter what happens, we are still making progress of some kind. We are still doing something great for someone, no matter if we recognize that or not.

So what has happened this week and what can I celebrate?

Sunday night, my 5-year cat was clearly ill. He moped around the living room and wasn’t interested in dinner time. The biggest problem? He stopped using the litter box and invented a new strategy to use his personal facilities on top of my washing machine. Needless to say, my heart hit the floor. I knew I had to take him in to the vet the next morning. I also knew I needed to shift his current surroundings to keep him from using the same spot in my laundry room. But I always think of the hardest solution, and when my daughter gently said, “Mom. What if you scoot his box forward and close that door. He’ll still be in the bathroom mom. His food bowl could go right there.”

It was so easy. I couldn’t believe my 7-year old came up with such a perfect solution. I hugged her. I thanked her and mentioned what a brilliant solution to the problem she created, and I was proud of her. My cat was better off for the night too.

Monday, Reading several chapters out of the book Wonder to my two snuggle bunnies on the couch, my heart just beamed for the compassion my kids had for the character in the book. The narrator is a fifth grader with a disease impacting his physical appearance. My kids are such bright little souls and I feel so grateful every day I get to hold them and talk to them about what’s going on in their lives.

Tuesday is piano day. My son doesn’t like to practice, but he loves it when he succeeds. I think we sometimes always begin there, with a really great dream we are scared to act and commit to. What if we fail? But the question is, what if we don’t?

Wednesday, a stranger wants to pay it forward. I receive a phone call at my desk about paying off a student lunch balance. I ask her who, she says she has no one in mind. Just the most delinquent account in the school district where I work. WOW.

Thursday, My honey has dinner ready for me and the kids when I get home. He’s just given me back a good hour of my time. I love that. I love that he jumps in to help. On the writing side? I’ve been working hard on so many great new scenes for my star person book. I can’t wait. I am feeling so good about my characters and the direction it’s taking.

Lasty, today is Friday. My heart is full of small wonders and blessings. I want to hold on to that. I want to remember how lucky I am. I want to say thank you and blessings to you for who you are and what you are striving to do. Smile. Shine brightly.

Last great word of the day …