Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Death and Dreams (better than taxes, right?)

Today is one of those days that keeps me thinking.  My mom died last year, and today would have been her 48th birthday.  Overall I’m doing all right, but I can’t escape the reality that life is short.  For too many people, it’s far shorter than they ever would have dreamed.  These thoughts have made me, at least for today, into a productive person.  Knowing that I can’t guarantee how much time I will have to accomplish all I dream of, which is a truth we all must contend with, I am motivated in a way that I wouldn’t have believed possible a year ago.

So far, I’ve been keeping up with my blogging goals, and I’m keeping pace with the word count goal that I set for myself earlier this week.  Actually, I need another 50 words or so written in my story before midnight to be absolutely in line with my goal, but given that laundry and dishes are done and my kids are in bed, I should have no issues accomplishing that.

The story itself remains untitled, but that’s all right.  Here I thought I would share some of the details of the story itself.  It’s set in a dystopian future where political extremism from both sides got so bad that America splits in two halves that are separated by a buffer zone.  The two halves no longer want anything to do with each other.  Ideology is so strongly embedded that any citizen of either side that is determined to be a deviant is subject to harsh punishments.  Many end up fleeing to live in the buffer zone to escape persecution.

The story starts with a poem that is recited to young children to scare them away from the buffer zone.  After all no country wants to lose too many of its people.  Here’s the poem.

The godless creature, not even a man,
though locked up, concocted a plan.
This dastardly deed, a violent act.
Written in blood, an irrevocable fact.
He tore them down, and after fled,
leaving behind him a trail of dead.
He ran to the edge and then beyond.
Who here can know what he has spawned?
Tales of wickedness continue to grow,
as he hunts those who dare to go.
So stay home where you are safe and warm.
Do not tempt the dark, the legend, the storm.
The wolf, he prowls, forever a fiend.
He tears at his victims ‘til the bones are cleaned.

Anyway, that’s all I’ll put here for now.  So far I think it’s coming along all right, but I still have a long way to go yet.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Science Fiction Poetry

Strange as it may sound, I wrote this poem hoping to express my love for writing science fiction.  Some may not believe that science fiction and poetry go together, but to be honest, I think its an inclusive enough genre to accommodate just about anything.


With pen in hand and blank paper,
I set out without a plan.
I can only recall that fateful inspiration,
when my need began.

The dazzling lights of darkened skies
lured me into flight.
Always hoping a ship would come,
a dream realized one night.

It landed in an eerie hush,
only a background hum.
The curved surface, round and smooth,
my heart pounding like a drum.

Within it lay the promise
of all the things to see.
The boundless wonders of the universe
finally opened up to me.

With lofty dreams and bated breath
I climbed up to the stars.
Sailing through the vastest sea,
beyond the moon and Mars.

Daring to do that which no others
have yet been able to do.
Looking out before me, I know
that I’ll never have a clue.

Tripping over the edge of the galaxy,
so large, and yet so small
compared to the universe itself.
One can never see it all.

Though in reality I may never leave
the gravity of this world
I will always look out to the sky
and see those fantasies unfurled.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Making Sense of Chaos

Organization is difficult to achieve when you have several different creative projects demanding your attention all at the same time, and I don’t know that the way I organize my writing would be considered organized by any normal person’s standards.  Whew!  Talk about using the word “organize” too many times in one sentence.

Anyway, I have one large notebook that’s divided into five different sections, each section devoted to a single writing project.  I also have a smaller notebook that is now dedicated to the designs I’m developing for my online store.  At least the notebook in question was purchased from my store.  It's a good way of promoting myself and reminding me of what I can do.  The image below is designed by me and is on the cover of the notebook in question, although the joke may be lost on people who aren't English nerds like me.

Unfortunately, the notes for these projects, while located the appropriate sections, are not in chronological or, for that matter, any other decipherable order within those sections.  The rough drafts of most of my novels are printed out and stored in a binder, and the revisions that I’m working on for them are stuffed in there next to the original scenes.  Even then, it can be difficult to make sense of it all, because I can’t seem to get myself to revise in order.  Inspiration hits me for different scenes at random times, and I have a hard time keeping track of my progress that way.

I guess my approach is more like organized chaos.  Oh well.  Maybe I can achieve more focus and discipline with effort, but I don’t honestly know how much I can improve the state of my notebooks.  Creativity can be messy.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Goals

I’m considering setting myself a goal concerning just how much I write on a daily basis, not counting what I write for my blogs.  It seems I’m doing all right as far as blog content goes.  My stories and my novels need more attention, though it’s difficult to set aside enough time.  If I set myself a specific goal of how much I need to get done each day, it may provide the additional motivation I need.

From now on I will try to make sure I write a minimum of 3500 words per week, which will average out to 500 per day.  Setting the goal this way makes sense, because there are some days where, as a mother, I am busier than others.  Sometimes I genuinely don’t have the time, but on most days, I will make the time.

Hopefully I’m not being too unrealistic.  I’ll revisit my progress later so I have an idea of how well I am doing.

Finding Inspiration

Though I’m not an established author yet (I must continue to say yet because that confidence will hopefully pay off in the end), I still have some advice for anyone who has yet to break through on their own.  The great thing about advice is that everyone can offer it, because it’s a suggestion, not a guarantee.  That being said, I at least believe there’s an element of truth to this bit of advice.

When choosing a scenario to write about, much of your success will be dictated by your passion for it.  A story that engages you, that keeps calling you back because you truly want to tell it, is more likely to find an audience than one that you had to drag your feet to get out.  The audience can tell when you’re BS-ing them with something that you didn’t care about.  Writing with no passion behind it is obvious and is a waste of everyone’s time.

However, passion also isn’t a guarantee of success.  Truth be told, nothing is, but a story that ties into current events at least is more likely to draw attention.  No matter the genre, this holds true.  Readers often want an escape, but they also need the story to be recognizable to them in some way.  They need to feel it somehow ties to the world they live in.

What would I recommend to anyone looking for inspiration?  I’ve found that perusing news articles and watching news programs provides ample inspiration.  Find some news story that gets your blood boiling, either with anger or excitement.  Passion is passion, be it good or bad.  Find a way to weave that event into a narrative.  You can use the event in present time and develop characters that are thrown in the midst of it, or you can extrapolate it and place something similar to that event in the future.  The sky’s the limit (darn it, another cliché, need to be careful with those).

Anyway, happy writing!  Now to see how well I can follow my own advice.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Avoiding Info Dump

The more I read, the more I realize how many ways there are to tell a story, how many unique voices are out there.  In the realm of science fiction, many stories are told in a strictly linear fashion, though certainly not all.  The novels I write are told this way, with only the occasional description of a past event, because it gets too confusing trying to tell such a large story out of sequence and have it make sense to a typical reader.  Maybe I just don’t have enough practice to do this yet.  Maybe there are too many plot threads in my novels to do it successfully. 

With a shorter story, I may have some success.  With my current project, which is still nameless, I want to tell it somewhat out of sequence, using past events to illuminate the present.  I want readers to wonder why the world is as it is, and to slowly discover how it got to be this way as the narrative progresses.  This will hopefully eliminate the problem of info dump.  For the uninitiated, info dump is a somewhat unfortunate term that is a common problem in the genres of science fiction and fantasy.   To info dump means to lump a whole lot of back story and rules of the universe in one large, difficult to read clump.  Ideally, this information should be distributed in a way that makes it feel natural and interesting rather than cumbersome and mind-numbing.

This is an issue I’ve encountered multiple times.  I just want to see what interesting methods I can devise to overcome it, at least on a smaller scale for now.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Point of View

An important part of being a good writer is also being a good reader.  Yesterday I started reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  My inspiration for reading this book comes from a combination of the praise for it I’ve been reading on the internet and seeing the trailer for the upcoming film.

That, and the concept intrigued me.  As a science fiction geek, how could it not?  It takes place in a dystopian future where the masses are kept in subjugation through withholding of vital resources, harsh punishments, and forcing each of the twelve districts to watch as their children are put into an arena to fight to the death.  This is their punishment for an attempted revolt.  Imagine how much worse things could be if they retaliated again?

Anyway, it’s certainly a compelling story.  It’s fun to watch a smart, female protagonist who exhibits exceptional survival skills in a ruthless situation.  At the same time, she struggles to hold on to humanity, and as anyone would be who has endured as much as she has, she has trouble trusting love, an emotion that leaves her vulnerable to another.  The only person she really knows how to trust is herself.  And rest assured, there is plenty of deception to go around in this novel.

There is a strong romantic element to the story, but if anything, love helps bring up some of the most gut wrenching questions of the book.  Is it a strength or a weakness to care for another, even when doing so may put you in peril?  Should you abandon that instinct to protect others to save yourself, or is it better to take the risk of being true to who you are? 

I could talk about these themes endlessly, but there’s one brief way I want to tie this back to my writing.  POV.  Point of view determines in a very real way the experience a reader will have.  The Hunger Games is told in first person present tense.  The reader goes along with Katniss as she struggles to survive.  There is a sense of immediacy as we experience everything at the same exact time she does.  In this sense, present tense can even dispense with one of the biggest issues first person usually contends with.  If a story is told by the protagonist, we assume they will live since they’re around to tell us.  Yet, in present tense, not even this can be guaranteed.  We also see her emotions as she has them.  We don’t get the benefit of looking back on them and analyzing them with the hindsight the narrator would now have.  We have to figure out her feelings at the same time she does.

The story I’m writing right now is told in first person, but it’s in past tense.  I want the benefit of only being in that one person’s head, seeing the world as he does, but I want to have his more mature insights that come with the passage of time.  I also don’t want the question of whether he will survive hanging over the reader.  My story isn’t about that, but rather about the change he goes through and how he understands his world differently because of his experiences.  Present tense works in many cases, but I don’t think it would benefit me in this particular case.

Yet, I’ve learned to remain open as I write.  Experience has shown me more than once that a writer doesn’t always know what’s best for their story until the end. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mmm . . . Saturdays

Figured I should write a little about my day and how it pertains to my goals.  Let's face it.  Saturday, being a family day, leaves little time for getting work done.  I managed to write about a half a page in my story and did one new design for my online store.  Now I'm writing this.  I guess that counts as something.

Gotta go.  Will write more next time, I promise.  Whether anyone will actually read it remains to be seen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Juggling Writing and Family

Right now I’m working on building two blogs, designing t-shirts and various other fun things for my new online store, trying to finish a challenging writing project, taking care of two kids, and taking care of various household chores such as dishes and laundry.  Whew!

Sleep is expendable as long as I have coffee.

I’ve developed routine that helps me keep somewhat on track with my goals.  I work on my online store while the baby is taking his afternoon nap.  My toddler plays in the same room with me while I work so I can still keep an eye on him.

After the baby wakes up and eats, I put him in his swing and we all listen to music together.  The kids both love it, and that’s when I typically organize my thoughts for my blog posts.  Sometimes I even manage to get them written during this time.

Once the kids are asleep for the night, I fold laundry, which was washed sometime during the day whenever I had a spare moment.  Although I try to do dishes after each meal, it doesn’t always happen.  If they haven’t been done to this point, then this is when I do them.  Finally, I pick up the kids toys.  After that, I settle down to work on my writing project for a couple of hours until my husband gets home from work.

Any other housework I try to get done during the day, and whatever hasn’t been done during the week, is set aside for the weekend.

Busy, busy days.  I’m not perfect, but juggling family while trying to launch a legitimate writing career was never going to be easy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Struggling With Narrative Pace

I plan to spend a good portion of my writing day revisiting the parts of my short story that I’ve already written in the hope of improving the narrative pace.  Given that I usually write novels and not short stories, I’ve always had trouble switching over to the kind of pace demanded by shorter pieces.

I’ve come up with a strategy for dealing with this.  Hopefully it will help.

Step 1: Write an outline detailing all of the major plot points of the piece.  This will give me an idea of whether I have realistic expectations regarding how much I can realistically fit into a short piece.   There’s also the bonus of being able to determine the best order of events right off the bat.

Step 2: Determine about how long I want the story to be.  Having a good estimate of page length or word count should help me as I write by keeping focused on moving the story along instead of getting bogged down by tangents.

Step 3: Decide the most crucial scenes that I want to devote the most time and attention to and write a rough draft of those first.  Once I know approximately how long those are going to be, that should tell me whether or not I have a chance of achieving the desired length with the rest of the scenes written and added in.  If I think it’s going to go too long, then I need to revisit the outline and decide what, if anything, I can cut.

That’s what I’ve got for now.  Hopefully it’ll be a good start.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Idea Overload

I feel I need to acknowledge and address one of the biggest problems I have as a writer.  And before I say what that problem is, I should point out that it wouldn’t be a problem at all if only I knew how to manage it properly. 

The issue is this: I have too many story ideas.

My main obstacle is that I have new story ideas brewing in my mind while I’m still working on another project, and soon that new idea is pushing the story-in-progress to the side.  I can’t let that happen.  I promise myself that I will take notes when new ideas come, and I will allow those ideas to blossom, but I need to continue to work on the task at hand while all this is happening.  This obstacle is better than having no new ideas at all, but allowing myself to lose focus ultimately hinders my progress.

That same issue rears its head when I write short stories that end up growing until they become novels.  I keep thinking of new plot threads, new conflicts, that would fit into the framework of the story I’ve outlined, and soon the scope of the project is so large I have to admit that it’s no longer what I set out to create.

Perhaps that isn’t so bad.  Maybe I need to let the project become whatever it needs to be.  Or maybe I really do need to learn some self-restraint.  This is simply another question I must keep in mind and work through as I keep writing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Racism and Language

Given that today is a day to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all that he worked for, I decided to spend some time reflecting on racism, and racist language specifically.  As human beings, we often fear that which is different from us, even when those differences are only skin deep.  Granted, there are always going to be cultural differences between races, often stemming from socioeconomic factors that are influenced by racism in society, but today we must remember that we are all human beings.  As members of the human race, we have more in common biologically than not, and we can no longer afford the delusion that one group of humans are superior to another.  It’s too dangerous, too divisive.

Now, that being said, one tool used by people who wish to perpetuate racism is language.  We’ve all heard racial slurs, some of which are so pervasive in our culture that I hardly need to list them here.  Now, those words have the power to inflict damage on those for whom they are intended for one important reason.  As a society, we agree that they have power.  Our belief in their power to wound is precisely what gives them that ability.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to diminish the pain inflicted by saying this.  As a child who was frequently bullied, I know how much words can hurt.  I merely think it’s an important point to understand.  If we do, and someone tries to diminish us by slinging hurtful words at us, we can take the power back by refusing to let those words hinder or define us.  Easier said than done, I know, but it’s a step.

However, much of the burden should also fall upon the aggressors.  People can feel the intention behind words.  When an aggressor says a hurtful word with undisguised hurt, it can be terribly difficult to shake that off.  I don’t want people who hurl racial slurs, or other types of hurtful words, to use the excuse “It’s their fault, they’re the ones who chose to be hurt by what I said.”  Yes, we give permission to others to hurt us, but that should not be taken as license to say whatever you want whenever you want to say it.  In America we have freedom of speech, and believe me, I’m forever grateful for that.  However, freedom does not mean freedom from responsibility.  Words have great transformative power, and as such, we have a responsibility for the impact of our words.  When we speak, we should speak carefully.  We should keep the well-being of others in mind.  Civility is the key to making life better for all of us.

Racist language is a problem for everyone, because whether you use it or not, it’s a part of your world.  If you’re not actively fighting to change it and the impact it has, you’re allowing it to continue through passive acceptance.  That doesn’t make you bad, but it does make you responsible.

Friday, January 13, 2012


The more research I do, the more my goals in life scare me.  The odds of achieving success in this field seem more frightening than inspiring.  Yet I can’t let that scare me off, even knowing how much work lies ahead, because I want this so much I can’t imagine not doing this.

I keep asking myself why anyone would want to read anything I write.  I suppose this is a common self doubt that most authors experience at some point.  The main question I have has to be this:  How do I overcome that self doubt, or how might I use it as motivation to spur me forward rather than allowing it to drag me down?

In college I studied both writing and philosophy.  Both were writing intensive, and both required me to ask a lot of basic questions.  In philosophy, however, I think I adopted the wonderful, though sometimes terrifying habit, of asking so many questions that my brain temporarily overloads.  It can be great for the creative process that is storytelling, provided the seemingly endless list of questions can be managed.

I think a key thing that makes a story interesting to readers is raising provocative questions, or setting up a scenario that lends itself to speculation.  The plot should be unique, or the characters should at least be dynamic.  We need to care about the people in the story, we need to genuinely wonder what will happen to them.  And as I write, I continually ask myself how to get to that point.  If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s asking questions.

I just hope I’m asking the right ones.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Fun and Functional Role of Science Fiction

I’m writing this because I’m having a difficult time getting through a scene in the story I’ve been working on.  Maybe the process of writing something else will keep my mind moving in the right direction.  And if it doesn’t, oh well.  At least I’ll have done something else I pledged to do in the meantime.

As I know I’ve mentioned before, I write mostly science fiction.  I do this because, as a genre, it offers the most exciting possibilities for me as a writer.  I can place my story wherever and whenever I want.  I have the freedom to create any world I want, and through character interactions with that world, the plot unfolds, entertaining me as well as my audience.  Granted, my audience is small at this point, but I can only take it one step at a time.

Now, many people aren’t willing to give science fiction a chance.  I’ve heard people say that it’s stupid because it doesn’t deal with real people or real problems.  That simply isn’t true.  The opportunity to use a fresh environment with characters developed in the context of that environment enables me to take problems I’ve seen in the world, which often inspire me to write in the first place, and get a new perspective on them.  When I analyze an issue through the eyes of a character I’ve co-created with the world I placed them in, I often find angles of the issue that I hadn’t previously considered.

And, I admit, science fiction is also fun for me.  I don’t see a point in writing something that I wouldn’t enjoy.  Life is too short for that.

Currently, my writing is inspired by the real-world environment of political extremism I’ve been seeing lately.  With the political arena heating up with angry rhetoric, it seems to me that politicians are spending half of their time painting themselves as the opposite of the other side.  I fear that we’re getting away, at least in some cases, from the real issues as we get more mired in the political blame game.  That extremism and anger is what inspired me to write this current story, which is set in a future where both political extremes have become so angry and powerful that they’ve literally destroyed America by splitting the country into halves, which are separated by a neutral buffer zone.

I’m not writing this because I believe such a thing will happen, but instead because I want to speculate about what each extreme would look like, and how that kind of world would adversely impact people.  It seems to me that unbridled extremism can be a very dangerous thing.  In a world like ours where everything is so uncertain, I think these kinds of speculations are a good thing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beginning of the Year Goals

Okay.  This is accountability time.  I need to make a list of goals for myself that may be easily referenced, both by me and others who can give me the “polite” reminders I need, so I can’t avoid them.  Let’s face it.  It’s easy to become neglectful of your goals when you’re the only one who knows about them.  I also refuse to call these New Year's resolutions, because that label seems to be the kiss of death (cliche phrase, sorry) for most people.

Goal #1:  To finish writing the short story I am currently working on by this time next month and to self-publish it online.  I am considering this option because I’ve heard about successes from friends, and it can take forever to be accepted for publication the old fashioned way.  I am also planning to go this route because I want to see how it works before I even consider doing this with the novels I’ve written.  Those longer works are much more important to me due to the years I’ve put into them, and I want to have a good idea of my options.

Goal #2:  To write a new blog post as often as possible (minimum of 5 posts per week), no matter how many other demands I have in my life.  This has to be an important part of my writing goal, because by doing this I can prove to myself that I have the discipline it takes to be a good writer.  It may also help me with networking, which may prove critical in marketing the fiction I write.

Goal #3:  To complete revisions of the novel I’ve been working on and submit it for publication by the end of this year.  The method I use remains to be determined, but one way or the other, it has to get done.

I reserve the right to add more goals to this list at any time, but I personally revoke my right to eliminate any of them.  I cannot let myself chicken out (cliché, I know) on this one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thoughts on Politics and the Power of Words

As I sit here, tracking the results of the New Hampshire Republican primary, I can’t help but meditate on the power of words.  I live in Iowa as well, so the caucuses of a week ago are also fresh in my mind.  As a registered Independent and obstinate person who cannot agree enough with either side to affiliate myself entirely with one or the other, I find myself in a great position.  I don't have worry about the pressure to adopt the rhetoric of any party.  I have the freedom to pick and choose.  However, I won’t claim to be immune to the rhetoric flying around.  Let’s face it, even the most intelligent, savvy people find themselves susceptible to it from time to time. 

The speeches, constructed from carefully selected, emotionally charged words, are a crucial part of one of the longest, most expensive, and grueling job application processes in the world.  Yes, we can look at a candidate’s prior record to get an idea of who they are and what they believe in, but let’s be honest.  While many politically active people care enough to put in the time and energy to conduct this kind of research, most citizens make their decision based solely upon a candidate’s performance in a debate or a speech that they found particularly moving.  Words can be crafted to paint any facts in a new light, or to obscure inconvenient, potentially damaging, truths.  That is the nature of politics, and whether we like it or not, language itself can be very political at times.

I say this because I have strong feelings about the state of politics these days.  What can I say?  The division in this country seems to be larger than ever, and I find myself inexorably trapped in the middle of two diametrically opposed sides.  As the two drift further away from one another, driven by animosity and fervent belief in party dogma, we see that division portrayed through bitter words.  Issues, framed through carefully coined terms such as “pro life” vs. “pro choice,” illustrate with clarity what each side believes is at stake.  And as political attitudes evolve, we can see how the evolution of the rhetoric has directed it.  After all, in a nation where people are looking for a way out of economic difficulty, we’re seeing the word “moderate” devolve into a nasty word, at least as far as the GOP is concerned.  Even putting  my own political beliefs aside, I can’t help but find this fascinating, and terrifying, at the same time.  Words can be a wonderful beacon of civilization.  They can be art.  They are capable of portraying, and perpetrating, the best and worst that humanity has ever known.  It’s all in the hands and motivations of those who wield those words.

As a writer, I can’t deny that I live in awe of that power, and I hope that I can do well with it.  I want to live up to the responsibility that comes along with language.  And I also hope that people read, and watch, the world around them with a critical eye.  Sometimes you should allow language to move you, because being swept away by beautiful words can be a wonderful thing.  Yet, in the public arena, we need to be careful, because that kind of unquestioning submission can be extremely dangerous.

A Story is a Puzzle

I swear, I cannot just sit down and write a story straight through from start to finish.  When I have an idea for a story I want to tell, I see it in segments.  Little moments in time play out in my head, and I learn about who my characters are by seeing how they react to a certain critical moment.  From there, with this knowledge, I wonder about who they are and how they came to be that person.  What life events shaped them?  Then more scenes spring up in my head like weeds, often growing out of control.  I have to prune them back, shape them so that I have a chance of managing them.

For me, writing is like putting together the disjointed pieces of a puzzle, but the pieces don’t quite fit when I put them on the table.  I have to arrange them in a way I think looks right, then sand the edges until I can get them to fit together.  And even then, characters and situations in the fragmented narrative resist alteration.  Somehow, from me they have gained an identity and momentum all their own, and though I strive for some kind of control, I soon realize that I have lost it and merely need to hold on for the ride.

Why can’t this be easy?  I have so many ideas I don’t know where to start, but it’s a long way from a mess of a rough draft scribbled in my notebook (and yes, weird as it is, I write my first drafts out by hand in a well-worn notebook)to a finished product.  And like most writers, no matter what I do and how much I revise, I always feel like it isn’t ever quite right.  I guess it's a reality I just need to get used to.

Monday, January 9, 2012

So . . . Why Do This?

Here I am, an aspiring writer for the majority of my life.  I wrote my first novel when I was 7.  It was 120 pages of rambling mess, but it was a beginning.  I haven't stopped since, though I have yet to be paid for doing it.  Instead I've worked jobs that I don't like, telling myself that I can leave when my writing career takes off.  Well, I'm getting tired of waiting for that day, so it's time to light a fire under my seat and really give this thing a shot.

I am also a mother of two boys.  One is almost 3, the other is 8 months.  The two of them frequently drive me to the brink of insanity.  At least I say that until I remember that, as an aspiring writer (of science fiction no less), a great many of us were never quite right in the head to begin with.  Anyway, that hardly matters.  I love my family to death, and because of that, I feel I need to make this career path work, for them and for my own sanity (or lack thereof).

So, hopefully this blog will give me a chance to keep my writing skills sharp, rant so I don't have to let all my frustration loose on my poor husband (though I'm sure he'll still get some of it), and hold myself accountable for everything that I promise myself that I'll do regarding my writing.  After all, when  there's a public record, it's harder to lie to yourself.

Since I want to do this in a serious way, I took some time in choosing the title for this blog.  As any writer knows, titles mean everything.  You have a few short words to persuade a potential reader to take time to hear what you have to say.  People value their time and money enough to be cautious about this.  As an aspiring writer (meaning my income is meager at best at this point) and frenzied mother, I can understand this. Anyway, I selected the title "Writing Off the Edge" because I often feel like I'm writing myself off the edge with frustration.  The creative process is a tricky thing.  My stories often don't come out on the page like I wish they would, and it's my job to make them work.  Sometimes they refuse.  I also like the idea of going outside convention when you can, though I can't say I always do this successfully. Sometimes coloring outside the lines, or writing off the edge of the page, can be frightening, but when it's done well, it can be very rewarding.

Well, that's my spiel.  It's the new year, which means I have a resolution to uphold. Time to get back to that story I'm working on.  Well, after I feed my kids dinner, anyway.