To Speed or Not to Speed; the Journey Towards Publication From a Newbies Perspective

Example variable speed limit sign in the Unite...

Example variable speed limit sign in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have nothing against the color blue, except when it’s flashing in my rear view mirror and I get to be intimidated by my counties finest. It’s the gun that gets me every time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a law-abiding citizen most of the time. It’s just that sometimes, when I’m driving my Kia, I think I’m driving an Escaladewith eight cylinders and attitude and I break the speed limit. No, I’m not going sixty in a thirty zone, I go over by five or ten miles an hour. It’s really because I’m bored, and a little rebellious, as though being a law-abiding citizen is something to chafe against. So, I am hyper-vigilent, looking for the cruisers and motorcycles that would make me have anything but a nice day. What does this say about me?

Is becoming a writer like driving your car? Do you chart a path of safety, clocking in at a pre-determined speed, careful not to break rules written and unwritten? There is so much traffic, and everyone is jockeying to get to the same places. And everyone is going at their own speed. On this road, there are no police, just a lot of gate keepers and toll booths that will alter your destination time and time again. On this road, I am not bored, I am anxious to get to my destination, the hell with the traffic, the gatekeepers. I want to get to the destination, but I really don’t want to drive. But you say “Getting there is half the fun”. That may be, but I have waited a lifetime to be in the driver’s seat. I am tired of waiting, now that I’ve made the decision to drive, to write.

Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard writers have to work to get published, to make a life writing. I know you have to pay your dues and work your way up in the craft. I know it takes time and persistence. I guess I just want my break to come sooner rather than later. Is that so bad? Of course I know I have to do all the things writers do, indeed I have to write more. But this road is filled with dreams, and sometimes the dreams get in the way of the work. All my life, I did not believe that I could be a writer since I did not go to school for writing. I know, very limited thinking. I thought that is what it takes to be a writer. But I am finding that while it certainly helps to have the paper behind you for moral support, you really only have to do two things to be a writer and that give yourself permission and then you write.

Getting published is part of the highway I’m traveling on.  It requires diligence and patience and  humility and bravado, (Yes you can have both at the same time.)You have to want the public destination that has your name on it for all to see, and you have to be willing to listen to those who are already at their destination and who are directing you. Bravado and humility. So, I do desire the public destination. I aspire to having my name appear before readers. Yes, I want recognition for my efforts. And I want to be wise about it, so all these other writers who are willing to share what they know are important to me. I want to know what they know. They are guiding my ride and are making me adhere to the posted speed…steady as she goes.

Before being published, (dreams getting in the way again) I have to find my voice. Sometimes when I write, I am inspired and the words flow and the piece comes together and it’s a very a good thing. It makes me happy and the experience is much like being a conduit for the act of creativity, the inspiration takes over and you simply are along for the ride. I love it when that happens. More often than not, I am working to make the subject interesting, to make the words spill onto the page coherently. This is what being a writer is all about. Writing with the inspiration, and writing without it. But always writing.

To be known to others that I’m a writer means jumping in headfirst to social media. Now my ride is feeling a little out of control. The newness of it all. Finding out that I’ve made some mistakes branding myself. Coming to terms with the fact that I am promoting myself as a product. I used to be in sales, and I can sell ice to Eskimos, but that was with someone else’s product that I believed in, now it’s all about me and I have to believe in myself as much as I believed in other people’s products. So, I tweet a little, I blog, and I write a lot. I read even more, always seeking guidance and directions from others. I don’t know squat and I am learning. The ride is still scary.

I will leave my lawlessness for when I’m behind the wheel of my car. For my writing I’m choosing the speed-limit-adhering directional wisdom of others who are making a living writing. The highway has many curves and turns and potholes. I plan to arrive at my publishing destination wise and grateful, and none the worse for the wear. Just because there are potholes doesn’t mean I have to drive through them. Avoiding them is acceptable on the journey. But there doesn’t seem to be a police presence on this writing highway, no flashing blue lights to ruin your day. But then again, this journey is just beginning. I think I may change my view on police once I work with some editors.

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Book Review: Weight Loss Boss by Dave Kirchhoff

Written from a man’s perspective, Weight Loss Boss is Dave Kirchhoff’s story of weight loss and maintenance as well as his career with Weight Watchers as their CEO and lifetime member. He describes his struggles with food and exercise and the battle he had losing his weight. I think it interesting that Weight Watchers hired him when he was overweight. I have to admit, I like a man who is in touch with his emotional side and is self- aware. Kirchhoff writes about his reasons for eating as well as telling the story of how he has been a lifetime “sneaker” of food.

Since I am in the battle myself, I thought I could use the encouragement from the book. I have to say, it is encouraging. Once you get past the resume that he expounds upon, the book is informative and easy to follow. He lists nerdy facts and research that you know an organization like Weight Watchers is privy to, (WW doesn’t spout all the technical stuff at you, preferring to keep the approach user friendly and simple)so I may not be one for statistics and research, it was heartening to know that the program is backed by science.

I wanted to experience a man’s perspective on WW, and I think he did a good job representing his gender.  While none of the WW information was news to me, I’ve learned most of it from the online program and by the forums, I still derived information from the book. For me, it’s the exercise that is posing the biggest challenge, and he shows you how much he programs into his busy schedule, something for me to strive towards.

I would say get the book if you are in WW or are interested in WW.  If you are looking for diet tips, not so much as there aren’t a lot of chapters devoted to tips. There are other ways of getting that information. Since men are the minority in WW, it is nice to see a quality publication be available that may bring more men to the fold. His blog http:/ManMeetsScale.com  is great to follow, very informative. It is important to note that the profits of this book are going to charity.

If you read it, come back and give your opinion…I’d love to hear what you think.

 

Memorial Day 2012

It’s a pretty vivid memory, getting the shiny red poppies when we went to the city in May. I was very young, and I did not know the money went to helping disabled veterans, and the poppies were to remember the fallen veterans that died in service to our country. I just liked the flowers that lasted a long time even with my intense playing. Later, Memorial Day was for me what it is for many people, the beginning of summer and marked by barbeques and last days of school. Ignorance is bliss.

Later in life, with years of maturing providing insight lost on the young, Memorial Day’s real meaning was made known to me by my father, a WWII veteran. He spoke of his work in the war, but not about fallen comrades, but I’m sure there were many, given the casualties of wartime then. I saw on the news the wreaths being placed on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, so somber and militarily precise. The ritual spoke volumes, the words my father never spoke were contained in that moment of honor.

Memorial Day started in the 1800’s after the Civil War in both the Union and Confederate cemeteries. It was first ritualized by freed slaves called Freemen marked the day in Charleston South Carolina on May 1, 1865. Over 200 Union soldiers were buried in unmarked graves, and the Freemen honored them for their sacrifice. Since the casualties were so severe for both sides, cemeteries were memorialized both in the North and in the South by groups such as the Women’s Relief Corps, The Ladies Memorial Association and the United Daughters of the Confederacy brought flowers and flags to the cemeteries that were the resting places of soldiers from both sides. The day went from speeches of outrage at the atrocities the opposing side committed to recognition of the United States place keeping freedom in the world.

Now, I struggle not to be righteous and tell off all the hedonistic secular people frantically shopping for food and drink for the summer commencement parties that Memorial Day is not a happy day. Do not wish me a Happy Memorial Day. Where is the solemnity and respect for the dead? Where is the appreciation for the supreme sacrifice that makes the freedom for the party possible? Is the parade as well attended as the St Patty’s day parade?  I want to scream it from the rooftops how wrong this lack of respect is. But I stay silent, anger festering inside me followed by a sense of sorrow. We are so indebted and many do not care.

What I would like to see a return to Memorial Day falling on May 30 every year, and abolishing the three day weekend that has been responsible for the lack of remembrance and solemnity appropriate to the day’s significance. If signaling the beginning of summer is so important, then make an official day to commemorate it by itself.  I’m not opposed to a party and to summer; I just don’t want it diminishing Memorial Day.

What do you think about Memorial Day? Do you honor the dead on this day? How?

Doing what we find uncomfortable is necessary for growth whether you are a writer or not. Kristen is spot on with this post. I share it with you and hopefully you will get inspired to get uncomfortable. It’s so empowering!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

It’s a Purrgenomic Keyboard

I’m back! Just so you guys, know, I really missed you. Before we address today’s topic, some industry news. Months ago, I wrote a post Bracing for Impact–The Future of the New Publishing Paradigm where we talked about the problems with the publishing industry and I even offered some solutions to the indie bookstores’ problems. Stop fighting digital and get creative—pair paper and digital sales.

Then, two weeks ago, I wrote a post declaring that Big Six Publishing is Dead. In this post, I pointed out that Amazon would need to get its Kindles into a physical bookstore to survive. B&N stores had Nook, Target was partnering with Apple for the iPad, Kindle would HAVE to get its tuchus in a store because there is something about putting your physical product in the customer’s hands.

I said we should not be surprised when Amazon…

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To Drink or Not To Drink?

We hear it all the time and read about it at every turn; Drink lots of water for good health. Why and what kind of drinks should you drink? The body is 60% – 70% water and it needs regular consumption of water to offset water depletion such as:

  • Body therapies like massage and chiropractic treatment
  • Bodily functions like skin evaporation, Breathing, Waste elimination
  • Chronic Pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast Feeding
  • Exercising
  • Working Outside
  • Drinking coffee/soda

Water flushes toxins out of system and transports nutrients throughout the body.  It keeps moist areas hydrated. Water helps with weight-loss by making you feel satiated. It also helps with concentration.  But how much water is necessary? The Mayo Clinic recommends for men three liters or thirteen cups, and for women 2.2 liters or nine cups. What about the eight eight oz. glasses a day. That works out to 1.91 liters which is close to the Mayo Clinic’s recommendation and is easy to remember. But there are debates as to the validity of these amounts with detractors recommending about half this amount.

Besides water, there are other fluids that have been touted to improve hydration.  Lemon Water: adding the juice of one lemon to water contains 8 grams of natural sugar and carbohydrates and potassium.  Coconut water: High in potassium (twice the amount found in a banana) and low in salt which doesn’t make it ideal for use after exercise.  Sports drinks contain minerals and sodium which mimics blood better in the stomach and thusly is absorbed quicker into the bloodstream, bringing hydration to the entire body whereas water can go to quickly through the stomach and to the bladder, bypassing most of the body.

How much to drink and which form of water is a personal decision, but no matter which or what amount to drink should be approached with moderation, except after strenuous exercise.  The eight glasses rule is a good gage of the amount to drink and maybe a mix of waters would be the best choice. The important thing to remember is hydration is a daily event, and there are factors that alter the amount of water necessary. Paying attention to this will help keep you from dehydrating. Drinking water that tastes good to you will help you drink more and keep to a good regimen of hydration.