Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

The past year has had many ups and downs in my family and friends lives. 
I have spent many hours writing, thinking, crying, laughing, and contemplating my life.
I think part of being a writer is the contemplation.

Thinking, observing, and dreaming.

Life is full of times to face reality, but then a writer dreams.
I love the moments I have in my days that I dream, looking around my surroundings and see them differently, and fully.

I know that this next year will have challenges. I think it’s the way we face and attack those challenges that make life worth living.
Face forward, wide eyed, and attack!

I’m sitting in beautiful Lake Arrowhead, California, in a resort called Bruin Woods. My family and friends are here and we relax, play games, walk around the lake, and really do whatever we want. Today I even took a kickboxing class, so I’m sure I’ll be nice and sore soon. But right now I feel calm and peaceful. I don’t have to cook, clean, do laundry, or help the kids with homework.
It’s pure vacation.
Even though it’s up in Lake Arrowhead, it’s mid-60’s in the daytime, so the fire isn’t lit, but even so, here I sit in front of the fireplace and write. I’m in heaven. And I appreciate it!

My writing journey continues. Last night I finished my most recent revision of my middle-grade novel. I am so happy with how each revision improves the story. It’s many hours of work but the manuscript is so much stronger. Today, I worked further to improve my query and tightened up my synopsis.
I am almost ready to send it out to more agents.
But today, I sit and I dream. I play with my friends and family, and I laugh . . . a lot!
I am so thankful to my family, friends, and to everyone in my life.

My hope is that we all attack life, dream often, find more moments of heaven, and appreciate those moments to the fullest!

Happy, Healthy New Year,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dream On.

It’s my birthday!

Well, yesterday actually, but my computer was at the Apple store so now I get to write.
I was waiting for my birthday to write and post my blog. I wanted to do a birthday blog. 
Yay! Time to celebrate!

But, I hit some snags on the way to my celebration. 
First, some family medical news that threw us all for a loop. Then, another rejection. Yes- a rejection ON MY BIRTHDAY! He didn’t know it but- - Ouch!
So, what did I do? After brunch with my sister and parents, I got in my car and cried. It just felt like too much. I don’t know if I can keep it up. I was worried about my dad. I was upset about the rejection. In other words, I was feeling really sorry for myself. It had been a really tough couple of days.
I turned on my car and the radio went on. There was Steven Tyler and Aerosmith belting out the song, Dream On. Dream until your dreams come true. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

This past weekend, I drove my son and two other 6 year-old boys to a party. That was the funniest 25-minute drive I had in a while. Their giggles, loud talking, and of course, poop jokes were hysterical. After I dropped them off and my ears stopped ringing, I was talking to another mom who had dropped off her son at the same party. We decided to have lunch while the boys were busy. We sat at the restaurant, eating our sandwiches, and actually talked. We talked about family, friends, our childhood . . . everything. She had read my blog and learned that I was a Pediatrician. We met two years ago and she didn’t know that about me. At that moment, I realized how little we know about the people around us. How little we communicate.
The reason for my blog became crystal clear. This is my blog to write about my life, my journey to one of my dreams of becoming a published author, and along the way to discover myself, my family, friends, and everyone who reads this blog.

Let’s talk more.
Let’s write more.
Let’s discover more.
And let’s dream more.

My birthday wish is that we are all healthy, happy, and that we dream until we dreams come true.

Happy writing and Happy dreaming,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Patience is a Virtue . . .but do I possess it?

Is the manuscript ever finished?

Last night I finished revising my middle-grade manuscript for what feels like the 100th time. Everytime I do this I think . . . Done. Complete. They are gonna love it!
Then I edit it again or have someone else critique it and it starts all over again.
Yes, this is, as I have quickly learned, the life of a writer. But each time I do this, labor over a word or feeling, my work gets so much stronger. A change of one or two words could mean a good sentence becoming a moving, feeling, story-altering experience.
So, yes, patience and perseverance are virtues I must posess.

In my first blog, I wrote about the end of the innocence, sending my first queries. My writer friends told me, start slow, only send a few, if you get rejections, (oh, wait, when you get rejections) it might mean changes need to occur either to my query or my manuscript.
Well, I am strong enough to admit, I am no longer innocent.
I am starting slow, but did get a couple of rejections, and boy, do they sting. They knocked the wind right out of my sails, that’s for sure. And, did I cry? Of course, I’m a crier you know.
My friends and family are always so supportive. But this writing world is a strange beast. Those same writer friends said it’s okay. This is a long process of many ups and downs. Ride the wave, enjoy the adventure, and of course, grow thicker skin. Even after medical school, residency, being a working pediatrician, and now motherhood of three kids, I have still yet to figure out how to do that. 
But, after all, if I don’t love the writing/rewriting and querying process, why am I doing this in the first place?

I visited my first writing teacher, Barbara Bietz, author of Like a Maccabee and all around beautiful person, at her work at Chyten Educational Service. She was the woman who opened the incredible world of children’s book writing to me. I showed her my first rejection email and she smiled, gave me a big hug, and said, “Welcome, you are now an official writer.” And I’m sure I’ll be official many times over. But each time, I must stand up, wipe my (probable) wet eyes, and continue on with the process.

A few days ago after my second rejection, I was feeling pretty down. I love my manuscript- what are they not seeing? My writer friend, who has been going through this querying rollercoaster for some time, got the email that dreams are made of. An agent wanted to talk to her! She had all but given up on this novel and was now knee deep in a new one. But, this agent saw in her manuscript what she had seen all along. He loved it and he wanted to be her agent! What a feeling. And just what I needed. Success! Not mine? Maybe. But the process, the heartbreak, the blood, sweat and of course the tears, it’s all worth it when you do what you love! So at least for now, I will live vicariously through my friend, Robin Reul, (Congrats!!) and work, write, improve, dream, and enjoy (at least most of the time) the process.

Happy Writing and have a wonderful day,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Kind of Reader Are You?

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
    Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

How do you read?
I read with abandon.
I become the book, entering the world that author created fully and completely. I open the book and begin the journey as if I am the characters.
If I want to or not.
I can’t help myself.
I laugh out loud when it’s funny, and cry real tears, (just ask my husband,) when it’s sad, or sweet, or sentimental. I’m a crier, so even when things are very happy, tears of joy fall copiously from my eyes.
I love to be transported, to visit a new world for a few hours.
There is just one problem.
Once I start, I can’t stop.
I must finish the book.
I tell myself, one more page, which usually means three or four, or 100 pages, depending on how late it is and how great the novel is.
So, what kind of reader are you?
Are you a “chapter a night no matter what” reader?
Or, are you a “read a page or two than fall asleep” reader?
Or, are you a “need to devour the book” reader?
Or worse, are you a nonreader?
I know some nonreaders. Life, time, daily activities get all their time. Or maybe TV is their thing.
But, books give you so much more. They force you to dream, fantasize, and even, dare I say . . . think.
You have to do some work. And that is why reading takes you away.
Read what you write. Read what you love. Read fiction and nonfiction.
Read, learn, and dream.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
    Groucho Marx
That made me laugh, sorry, how’s this quote?
“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of the past centuries.”
 - Descartes

Laugh, cry, feel, and enjoy a good book,
Happy Thanksgiving,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inspiration: Where do you find yours?

The definition of inspiration: an inspiring or animating action or influence.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Albert Einstein.

Everyday I try to walk my 12 year-old golden retriever, Wally. Not only does he need it and expect it, I need it too. He is getting older so we only walk about 4 blocks, but during those 4 blocks, my mind relaxes, lets go. I see things I wouldn’t normally see; a lizard sunning itself on a rock, a bird gliding with the wind currents, and the many different greens in the grasses, trees and bushes to name a few. This is a time in my day that I feel inspired.

As I wrote in my last blog, Lin Oliver said to take lots of showers. The running water, the feeling of calm, or the lack of inhibition, for any of these reasons, many of us think of our most creative ideas in the shower. I have to wonder, how many writers have ran out of the shower soaking wet in fear that the idea will leave their head before they had the chance to realize it’s full potential.

I also get inspired as I’m drifting off to sleep. That’s when I reach for my notebook and scribble in the dark, my wonderfully brilliant idea. The next morning, I can sometimes even read it!

There are so many ways and places to feel inspired. Read books, blogs, magazines, anything. Listen to music, view beautiful art, or go to the beach or a park and just sit and listen to the world around you.
Whatever works for you on that day, find it and do it.

So in the words of Mark Twain:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

In other words, be inspired.

Have an inspirational week,