Are you serious about writing? Do you dream about seeing your name in print - I mean are you willing to do anything to get published?
I don’t want any namby-pamby excuses or complaints about lack of time: Everyone has the same 24 hours to use or abuse. And every writer needs to revise and redraft if they want to refine.
So how do wanna-be writers, who work in the real world, find time to complete these tasks?
It's easy—as murder.
All you need to do is decide whether or not it's important enough (that you love writing so much) you'd actually be willing to kill an old friend:
Or in other words, your T.V.
And here's how to do it (at least every now-and-then): That one program in the middle of the week that you never miss: miss it.
That one cooking class you watch every Saturday: skip it.
That evening news you can't neglect: nix it.
You can find a summary on the internet or during a quick conversation at the water-cooler at work and that extra hour or two you’ve just wiggled into your schedule will come in handy when you sit down to finish your latest project.
There’s just no way around it: the truth is, writing takes time and the best way to make time is to be organized so here are a few ways to get started and some tips to keep you on top of that mountain of paperwork threatening to create an avalanche all over your desk.
1) Keep it Simple; 2) Make a Date, plan some time to write – then do it; 3) Back Everything Up; 4) And last, but not least, kill your T.V.
One of the most important things is to schedule time for the love of your life (writing). Simply make a date with your computer because every relationship needs work. Think of writing as a new-found relationship and you’ll manage to make time for your love. Pencil a small fragment of time into your computer calendar then stick to it. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, two times a week, it will be more than you’re committing to your writing career right now. And, at least this way, you’ll be spending a small chunk of time developing your talent.
After all this time and energy you’ve invested, remember, your work is only as safe as you keep it. So back everything up; it can be an inexpensive thumb drive (also known as a flash drive), CDs, or even floppy disks, but make sure you label your accessories – or otherwise you’ll get caught in that same unorganized boat you were in before.
So next time you're thinking you don't have the time to sit down and write, remember all you have to do is commit murder: "KILL your T.V."
Everyone likes to have a little color. Some people pay a lot of money to get spray-on tans or to fake-n-bake. I should know because I never get more than dark-white, no matter how much time I spend in the sun.
Well, your chicken needs a little color too. One of Chef Adam’s quick tips was to use paprika and tumeric to color your chicken-before you roast it. He said if you rub these spices on the skin of your chicken, it will give it a beautiful yellowish-red color, and no one likes to look at the pasty-white appearance of an untanned chicken. Plus, it will add a little flavor.
Taking a class with a wonderful Chef who taught us tricks, tips and helpful hints was a lot of fun.
I’m not an adventurous eater by any means. My husband, on the other hand, will eat just about anything – but then maybe that’s one of the reasons we’ve been married for over 26 years. I’m not a daring cook either. But after taking this class, I’m going to try a few new things and put my life-long learning to the test.
One of the areas I’ve never been too daring about is using spice, there’s a reason people say variety is the spice of life, so I’m going to try living a little by adding some spice to my love affair . . . with food. Chef Adam had a list of must-have spices that he handed out. These were pretty common spices like salt, pepper, garlic and cinnamon. But he added some unusual spices to his “Must-Have” list and then he let us take a taste-test. I asked him where we could find spices like Ras A-Hanout, Harissa, Za’atar, and Berbere.
He said you probably won’t find them at your local grocery food store but some of the organic markets will have them on hand, like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and New Seasons.
I don’t know that I ever would have run out and bought these spices without tasting them first because spices can be expensive and if you don’t like them, you’re money is going to go to waste.
A few of his quick tips to Spice Up Your Life:
• Grind fresh herbs and spices to give your food a more robust flavor. • Roast your spices before grinding them. • Freshly ground spices will last about six months before losing their flavor • Spices can turn bitter if cooked too long – so patience is a key in cooking with spice. Don’t add spices to your meal until it is at least half-way done. • Dried spices are stronger than fresh herbs – so be careful when you add them to your dishes. • Don’t use more than 3 new spices at one time – at least until you get used to them, otherwise you might be overpowered with the aromas, flavors and spice.
If you’re like me, you might be afraid to order a drink because you have a few questions first, like:
• How do you even say the word . . . ? • Is it a beer, a wine or a spirit? • What is the actual alcohol content? • Is it served hot or cold?
And you might even have a few more of your own.
Well, first, Sake is properly pronounced “sah-kay”. But people in different countries might argue and as long as you have a drink in your hand, who really cares whether you say toe-mot-oh or toe-mate-oh . . . ? It still tastes the same.
Next, it is hard to define what sake is although it isn’t a distilled spirit like vodka. Sake is made like beer, from starchy substances, rather than like wine and created from fruit. Sake is made from grain. But unlike beer, sake is never carbonated. So, sake is a fermented drink but that doesn’t make it sound too good. Oh well. . . cheers.
Sake is strong in alcohol content: 14 to 16% compared to beer at 4 to 6% and wine at 8 to 14%. So be careful.
And it is served both hot and cold depending on the type of sake. Premium ginjo along with super-premium daiginjo sake should be chilled to about 44 degrees. Standard sake and Honjozo can be served chilled either way but should not be heated above 130 degrees or the flavor will be lost.
Do you want to go green? What's the best way to do it? How do you do it?
There's probably nothing more green than Greenpeace.
"In 1971, motivated by their vision of a green and peaceful world, a small team of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat. These activists, the founders of Greenpeace, believed a few individuals could make a difference."
I love that quote because my favorite show of all time is It's a Wonderful Life, which shows that ONE person can make a huge difference in the world.
Procrastination: to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.
So, for all us wanna be writer types, procrastination means not sitting down and getting busy typing. We have to set some priorities if we want to meet our goals - whatever those goals might be. So, this is my challenge to you:
1) Set aside some personal time to do the thing you want to do (whether that's writing or not) 2) Then do whatever that thing is. (It's so easy to let time slip by and then it's gone.) 3) Don't set unrealistic goals (but set some goals)
Writing is easy. The hard part comes with revising.
Writing is like daydreaming . . . on paper. Editing is like sitting down to pay your bills. It’s not fun or easy and a lot of the time we hate doing it.
Editing is like searching for lice in your kids’ hair. You have to use a fine-tooth comb. And be prepared for a little nitty-gritty work, which might seem a little distasteful and could even make you a little queasy. But, if you prepare for your editing session like you would prepare for an important date, you’ll be miles ahead of the game.
And, if you add these tips to your writing toolbox, editing just might be a little easier:
• Critique Partners:
Check over your manuscript—carefully—for typos, extra spaces, and grammatical errors before giving it to your critique partners to read.
If you don’t have critique partners, get them. If you write for the children’s market, your local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) will help hook you up with other like-minded individuals and get you into a critique group. This is important because it is difficult to find your own errors. You know what you meant to say and you can read the words the way you meant them without ever noticing even the most blatant errors.
• Computer Software:
Your computer is only one tool in your writing toolbox. Common software such as Word, WordPerfect and others will scan your document for typos, extra spaces and grammatical errors for you, but this is only your first line of defense.
After you have scanned your document for the obvious red flags, provided by your software, you need to read over your manuscript very carefully and then hand it over to your critique partner(s) before you even think about sending it out for possible publication. .
• Critical Questions:
Ask yourself a couple of questions, after you have written your manuscript:
1) What is the topic? 2) What conclusion do you want your reader to draw? 3) What questions do you want the reader to think about, or respond to?
These ideas might help make editing a little easier but, if not, sit down and pay your bills. Then go back to editing, it might not seem so distasteful after that.
Sunday was Father's Day. My husband was born in Denmark. He didn't become a U.S. Citizen until his senior year in high school. So, he wanted to go to the Scan Fair and, like I said, it was Father's Day. So off to Astoria we went.
David Strand from Silverton, Oregon was whittling wooden shoes for the crowd. He let me take a turn.
Then we moved on to find recycled pop cans made into garden art. These airplanes and roadrunners were made out of used soda cans. How cool is that?...
She and Ellen Dodson started out by talking about the importance of critique groups and how to get "hooked-in" with other writers and become a part of the writing community.
After explaining the importance of being involved with other like-minded people, Dawn introduced Linda to the nearly sold-out audience. This was actually a free event put on by the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). We wanna-be writers had an amazing opportunity to network, listen to Linda Zuckerman and then party at an in-door picnic.
She said that writers should start each book by writing with a character in mind – not an idea. And don’t try to write a best seller to gets lots of money. Instead write your story. Don’t try to write for trends.
For example, don’t think “bears are the new dinosaurs” and then try to tell a story with bears in the book.
People might think fiction is easy to write but Linda explained that fiction requires an intelligent design. Every writer needs to get inside their characters.
She recommended asking yourself a couple of questions while you write:
1) What does the character want? Or, in other words, 2) What is the goal that the character is striving to reach?
When you know what the character's goal is, remember you will need to throw obstacles in the way. But in the end the main character must resolve the conflict him or herself and hopefully grow and change along the way.
She also explained that there are two plots to every story:
1) Action plot – such as a girl has to babysit her brother; 2) Emotional plot – The girl thinks her father hates her but loves the little brother she has to watch.
And these two plot lines must work together to create the story.
The part of the picnic I enjoyed the most was when she read first pages and gave some direct feedback. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.
Linda Zuckerman finished up her talk by promoting the SCBWI. She said the organization provides opportunities to connect with other writers while providing priceless information.
Scientific American has an interesting article in their July issue. It talks about Scientists turning agricultural leftovers, wood and grass into biofuels.
I wonder why it wasn't a larger factor sooner - but "better late than never".
I think it's a great idea. Instead of subsidizing corn for food, we could subsidize a new source of fuel. Wouldn't it be great to be less dependent on foreign sources for oil while helping out farmers at the same time?
The article says that "once the total emissions of growing, harvesting and processing corn are factored into the ledger, it becomes clear that first-generation biofuels are not as environmentally friendly as we would like them to be."
However, second generation grassoline is a much better option. We just need to keep looking and working to develop and discover new options.
My son 'tooned another sustainable-superhero from www.ECOwomen.net, which is a group of earth-friendly gals who I blog with. My son is going to toon us all. Being Earth-friendly can be more than FUNctional.
Now on to more Earth-Friendly news:
My daughter and I used to own horses. Back then, being "green" was not a good thing. It meant the horse and "maybe" even the rider was a newbie and the horse wasn't ready to ride - at least with any measure of safety. When someone said, "She's green." It meant the horse wasn't trained and/or experienced. So, being "green" was a bad thing. But things change.
And it's Not so any more. Green is good!
IT’S OFFICIAL! Master Gardeners are back in the city!
They will be staffing a table at the Portland Farmers Market in the King Neighborhood,
Sundays from 10am to 2pm.
So this is your chance to enjoy a little free-advice. And, come on people, free is a very good price. Come prepared with all your hard horticulture questions.
For all you green people out there in P.O.: The Portland/Vancouver Redirect Guide is a fun link to finding environmentally sound local businesses:
I want to be a continuous learner, to study a foreign language, learn a new craft, question, and always ask What if?
Leonardo was a continuous learner, "Just as iron rusts from disuse, and stagnant water putrefies, or when cold turns to ice, so our intellect wastes unless it is kept in use."
I don't want to let my brain rust or my thoughts putrefy.
One way to be a lifelong learner is to sharpen your question-asking skills. Leonardo believed in asking the simple questions that educated people might overlook.
He wrote, "I ask . . . Why is the sky blue?"
We should all follow in DaVinci's footsteps by keeping little notepads where we ask What? When? Why? How? and Where?
And one EZ way to keep learning is to acquire a new hobby. I'm making a list of hobbies and going to ask myself:
1) How much time can I devote to this? 2) What resources will it take? 3) What is my ultimate goal? 4) How will I benefit from this hobby? 5) What might get in the way? 6) Who do I know who can teach me, mentor me, help me?
QUESTION AND THOUGHT FOR YOU: What hobbies might you want to take up? (Please add them to the comments section)
That was my impression after reading Me Talk Pretty One Day and I thought it even more after Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and then I was sure when I read When You’re Engulfed in Flames but I'm convinced after hearing him holler, "Obama! Obama! Obama!" as he talked about politics in America and France, on Wednesday night--in person at Powell’s--in Beaverton. The guy is a quick-wit, who can think fast on his feet while getting the audience to applaud and laugh, even while standing for hours in an over-crowded bookstore, waiting . . .
He said he didn’t like pictures, or I would have some for this post. I love to take photos but I wanted to respect his wishes, since he was sharing his stories and reading to us—for free. Of course I had to buy another one of his books and then I waited like an hour to get it autographed. Now, I have an autographed Sedaris book. :)
It was a fun night but when I got home I was so tired and I wasn’t even the one up in front of the audience—one can only dream.
DON'T FORGET JUNE 21ST IS FATHER'S DAY You have about one week to think. . .
So you wanna get Dad something special? Not another tie he'll stuff in the back of his drawer until spring cleaning in 2012. This year give him something he'll really enjoy and go green at the same time.
Take Dad out for an afternoon of golf on the greens. And, if you can't afford 18 holes on a course, what about the putt-putt variety . . . ?
Father's Day is really about showing Dad you care and what better way to show you care than by spending time with people you love?
And, if you don't like golf, what about buying Dad something he's sure to use - like a pair of socks - or how about three? These socks are sustainable and made from bamboo. Check them out here. For about $10.00 you can get Dad a renewable-source sock.
And, if that's too much money, what about making a meal for the good-ole guy? You can cook an old fashioned BBQ of chicken, or hotdogs and hamburgers and show him you love him by filling his belly and letting him rest his feet.
Remember everyone has to eat and this way, you'll be killing two birds with one stone, so it might as well be a chicken. If you cook a wonderful meal - that's a gift. And the second part of that gift is that Dad doesn't have to stand over a hot grill on his special day.
These are just a few ideas of how to celebrate on the 21st with your Dad. If you have other ideas, please post them in the comments section.
When I was young I had a dream . . . or really it was more of a nightmare. And I had the same dream more than once.
I'd fall asleep and, in my dream, my family would gather around me and take off their masks. They'd finally reveal who they really were, which was usually an alien or a monster. I make it sound like my family was horrible-they weren't. I don't know what that dream meant but it was scary.
But what's REALLY strange about that dream and how frightened I was of masks, now-after I've grown up, my family is very "into" masks. We have them hanging all around the house.
Jake did this tiger when he was in middle school, Luke did the anime-guy, and Kara did Mickey. I don't know if you remember the death masks I posted a while back but we have those hanging around too.
So, what's on your wall? And, which mask would you wear?
Gloria Steinem had the foresight to say, “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.”
But, I say, “Marriage and a career – sheesh—that’s nothing, try adding kids into the equation.”
Pru, Piper, and Phoebe can’t even compete with most Moms because it takes more than magic to make a good Mom.
Sometimes I think I’m living the easy life, in this world of high technology where everything is right at my fingertips. But as I travel down this overcrowded information highway, using my Blackberry, mapquest, and gps, somehow I’m still lost.
No electronic gadget can make parenting EZ and even with so much help right in my hands, it's that four-letter word that keeps running through my head:
T. I. M. E.
Maybe it’s because becoming a “Mom” doesn't come with a handbook and there are no rules. What other job offers no training, has you on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and doesn’t even provide a bathroom break . . . ? There's no pat-on-the back here and this one job offers no financial incentive to compel a person into this chaotic career, no motivational paycheck, commission, or bonus at the end of the month.
Instead this career calls for extreme patience because there are a few unwritten realities of parenting, which I will willingly point out for any unsympathetic people out there:
1) Cranberry juice never spills on linoleum; 2) A child only falls down and rips his pants - when he’s dressed in his Sunday best; 3) Kids never spill anything on a dirty floor - somehow - they always wait until it’s just been mopped, swept or vacuumed; 4) Children are never thirsty and don’t have to go to the bathroom until after they’ve been tucked into bed; 5) Children only complain about their earache after the clock strikes 5:00 p.m., when the doctor’s office closes; 6) Children always remember to tell someone they need a disposable lunch for the fieldtrip, as the school bus approaches the house; 7) Children will make sure you get the picture order form - the morning pictures are scheduled to be taken which just happens to be two weeks past the time he needed a haircut; and last but not least, 8) On vacation, children never have to go to the bathroom unless the nearest rest stop is more than fifty miles away.
Yet educated people actually choose this occupation. And, when they finally are initiated into this sisterhood of the traveling or “elastic waist-band” pants, they happily celebrate the onslaught of morning sickness and nightly trips to the toilet with a party – called “a shower”, which they gladly share with a bunch of other women.
And, what could be worse, with all that extra weight to hide?
Adults go to great lengths to celebrate this event – correctly called “labor”.
Parenting is like playing in the stock market – it’s all about patience and long term investment.
With such a simple goal and no rules, it should be easy - right?
I’ve heard it said, “Parents just need to set limits.” What people don’t realize is that sometimes the limits need to be on the parents – not the kids.
One thing is for sure: Parents need to practice a little discipline, and give themselves a “time-out”. So take a hot bath, go for a walk, or just sit for ten minutes and do . . . nothing.
I am joining forces with a group of ecofriendly cyber-women who blog about ways to help protect the planet from pollution and waste by recycling, reducing and reusing.
We are ECOwomen Protectors of the Planet and you can visit us here.
My super secret identity is Green Queen or GQ and I will post on the fourth Friday of each month and my first post will include an interview with Certified Master Gardener Diane Cooper. So, if you have any gardening questions you'd like answered, please leave them in my comments section. I'll try to get as many answered as I can.
The Rose Festival has been an annual event here in PO for over 100 years. And the Royal Rosarians have learned a lot over the years.
It begins when the City selects a Court of Rose Festival Princesses. So any girl attending one of the local high schools can actually become the Queen of the Court.
Every high school selects their own court, and a Rose Festival Ambassador (or Princess) is selected to represent her school. From all the ambassadors a Queen is selected to Rule over the Festival-it is a young woman's dream come true. And to top off the journey, the Queen also receives a scholarship for college.
This is a celebration of many things but one thing Portland is famous for is being the City of Roses.
But this is more than a celebration of flowers. It is also a festival of floats. The Grand Floral Parade is June 6, 2009. This is a festival of ships and a festival of fun. There are carnival rides and games along with craft displays and exhibitions of talent. But, I've only begun to describe the fun to be had and the food to be tasted - like corn dogs and cotton candy.
This weekend is the end of Fleet Week here in Portland, Oregon. So, if you're anywhere near Portland this weekend, come down to the waterfront and check it out.
We're all spending more time outdoors and some of us love to be in the garden. I'm one of those people who loves to plant in the spring and fall, and . . . I just love to plant things and watch them grow. But then the pests come and attack our happy home--um, garden.
A lot of people run out and buy Round-up, or some other products to help them destroy unwanted guests, like Ivy, or aphids. But I try to look for organic alternatives, like spraying soapy water on my rose bushes. But some things aren't effective enough to cure all the problems in the flowerbeds.
But I've found a helpful link, and you can check it out here. It's called Alpha Ecological. And who wouldn't love a company called 1-800-Say-Frog. . . ? I haven't tried it-yet, but I'm going to look into it a little more. And, if you know anything about this company, please post your comments and lend us all a helping hand-in the garden. :)
Writers love to describe things: scenes, people, places. It’s no wonder we get carried away sometimes and over qualify our descriptions.
I thought I'd share my list of 7-deadly sins to boring writing:
1) Rather 2) A little 3) A lot 4) Seemed 5) Only 6) Slightly 7) Just
These are words to watch out for and then, when you find them in your writing, cut them. This is one time you don’t want to reuse – instead, recycle and reduce your word count by eliminating these unwanted words.
Here are a few more to watch out for:
8) Almost 9) Nearly 10) Sort of 11) Kind of
I hope this helps you find ways to watch your “word” weight and cut down on your waste
Thanks for visiting my site. "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." DC Talk