A Writer's Journey through the Maze of Life

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I'm sitting here typing this as I wait for the mail. It's the highlight of my day, especially when there is an SASE from a contest or an editor in the stack of junk mail, catalogs and bills. Waiting vs. working. Waiting for that reply that takes weeks or months can be frustrating. The daily trudging to the box to find nothing is disheartening. And then. . . and then. . . IT arrives. My heart beats a little faster as I worry the envelope. It is good news? Or another rejection? It's like being in a game show awaiting the right answer. Do you feel this way too?

Do you get happy when it's good news? Or there is check enclosed? Do you do a little victory dance? Do you slack off and wallow in your winnings?
Oh, rats! Another rejection. Damn, I thought it was so good. Do you wallow in pity? Do you read your work over and over questioning where is this bad? Good? Couldn't they give me a clue with a remark or two! Do you give up on that piece/ms? Or do you feverishly rework it? Or do you let it set awhile and go back to it later?

There is nothing wrong with any of these responses. The key is you must never give up, never stop working. You can throw it in the circular file if you really want to, but you must begin something new then. And you must realize two things: there is more competition out there than ever before and rejection is selection. Let me say that again: REJECTION IS SELECTION. It is not personal. It does not necessarily mean your work is not good. It means xyz (the judge/editor) simply didn't care for it. So, don't get dumpy. Send it to someone else. Keep sending it. There is a judge/editor out there that will SELECT rather than reject.

Thursday, January 20, 2011





ObamaNet - Government issued Internet ID card required for all AmericansThe government will be able to track every web site you visit, every keystroke you send, every purchase you make, every blog comment, and every Facebook and Twitter post.

Dear Member,The Washington Times is warning that the White House cybersecurity adviser and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke are drawing up "ObamaNet," President Obama's mandate for what amounts to a national ID card for the Internet.President Obama wants to establish passwords for every citizen to centralize your personal information. Instead of logging onto Facebook or one's bank using separate passwords established with each individual company or web site, you will be required to use the government-issued password.According to the Washington Times, here are the problems with "ObamaNet":* The government will be able to track every web site you visit and every keystroke you send on your home computer.* The government will be able to track every purchase you make and every deposit and withdrawal, and gain access to your electronic health care records.* The government will be able to track every blog comment you make, along with every Facebook and Twitter post.* The government will be able to create lists of your friends and acquaintances and lists of all your political affiliations, political donations, club memberships, hobbies and interests.* It's impossible for the government to make this system 100% secure (remember Wikileaks?), meaning criminals would need to steal only one key to unlock a vast amount of your personal and financial information.Although the White House will tell you it is a voluntary program, the government "voluntary" programs too often end up becoming mandatory. See Web I.D. = more gov't control.TAKE ACTIONYour elected officials can stop President Obama and the Federal government from prying into the personal lives of American citizens.http://www.facebook.com/l/3da37g1xDIuP8rXkeatDH8twOnA;www.capwiz.com/afanet/issues/alert/?alertid=22937536&type=COEmail your members of Congress today, asking them to issue a public statement in opposition to President Obama's plan to issue government-based Internet ID cards.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A 12 Step Program for Writers

Is this your desk? Or are you one of those people with a place for everything and everything in its place? After looking at a fellow writer's post about being disorganized I came up with the following suggestions:

  • We all know we should keep file folders, but sometimes they become bulky. Have a seperate folder for each manuscript you are working on. If the project involves research, make a seperate folder for that, if it involves newspaper clippings, odd notes, pictures, etc. you may want a seperate file for them, then all folders that pertain to that particular manuscript are put in a pendaflex file.
  • If you cannot read a note you kept, throw it away! If it is outdated material, throw it away!
  • Business cards are easily lost. If you prefer to keep business cards you should buy a binder, with plastic sleeves for the cards. However, every year you should weed these out. It may have been a great restaurant, but if you're not going to be back to St. Louis (or wherever) within the next year or two, throw it out! Business contacts can be tricky. I suggest keeping the card for a year. If you need to call that person, best check the Internet or White Pages for any changes. If you haven't contacted the person in 2 years, chances are you never will. Toss the card.
  • Hopefully you have a filing system. File. File. FILE. You only need your current WIP on your desk.
  • Have reference books nearby. It's a pain to have to stop and go into another room to look something up. BUT, don't keep those reference books on your desk. Hopefully you have room for a bookcase (whatever size) near your desk
  • Things won't seem as overwhelming in you keep your desk neat and clean. Small organizers like in-baskets can be used for each project you are working on, small dishes or tins (I use an old tin Band-Aid box) can be used for paperclips. Store pens and pencils in a cup style container (in fact, this frugal writer does use an old, cracked plastic glass). Put envelopes in appropriate sized plastic bins and within easy reach.
  • Have a bulletin board close to your computer where you can post notes, ideas, stamps, etc.Or better yet, get rid of those pesky Post-Its that keep getting lost. Use a notebook for messages, notes, etc. and date each page. Also keep a calendar on the board so you can write in appts., the date you sent off a manuscript, etc.
  • If you need a larger area to keep track of manuscripts, create a tracking method folder. I use a sheet of copy paper, divided into the following columns--date submitted, publication/contest, ms. title, cost (this is opt. but can include contest fee, stamps, etc), regular or e-mail submission, acceptance, money received, rejection, comments.
  • Keep a folder or a shoebox with all receipts for tax time.
  • Get rid of old e-mails that don't warrant your attention/reply. Think you just have to have them? Create folders for them. But then see how often you actually go through the folders. Chances are you won't. So, toss those e-mails!
  • Here's one I may never get the hang of: Don't collect pens. Why do you need so many pens? Throw them all out except for two or three. If it doesn’t have a cap, toss it.
  • Writers notoriously grab up freebies at conferences whether we need them or read them. Avoid taking them just because they’re free or if you just can't help yourself, vow to look it all over within 48 hours and scrap it afterward. Since that's wasteful, why take it in the first place? Train yourself to take only those business cards or info that will be of immediate use to you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


A friend sent me this picture. Roses in the snow! Not only is it a beautiful photo, but it proves beauty survives adversity. What does that have to do with writing? Nothing. But it does have something to say about writers.

Writers bloom when they write. Writers are almost driven to write much as a flower is forced to bloom. However, just as some flowers just can't push themselves up through the soil, some writers just don't ever grow. It depends upon their nurturing. Since writers are basically loners (at least when it comes to their writing) their nutrients are things of their craft: quiet time, the Internet, blooks/libraries for research, contacts, conferences, contest wins, publication, etc.

Writers adversity: no time, squawking kids, demanding spouses, travel, meetings, vet appoint-ments, telephones ringing, company and a thousand and one other little things that infringe on writing time.

Yet the truly dedicated writer continues through this "adversity" of infringements to blossom with a story, article, etc. It is only those who never try or that do not stick with it that wither. As 2011 has arrived, are you blossoming or withering?