Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I see shoes in your future...

A fortune teller once told me that I'd be surrounded by shoes one day. No, I'm kidding. I've never been to a fortune teller. Well, unless you count the one when I was at my husband's high school reunion. She told me I would have one child and always wish for more. Huh? I already had three. Not very reliable. Okay, so I'm not one to believe in fortune telling, but I do get a kick out of horoscopes. They are typically so off mark that I get a good chuckle. So,when my blogger friend Kathryn Megendie pointed me to a writer's horoscope, I couldn't resist checking it out. I'm so glad I did because I found a website with a wealth of information. It offers all the latest publishing news, as well as writing contests and opportunities, not to mention the horoscope (you know, for entertainment purposes). So, go check out Writer's News Weekly. On another note, my post from yesterday seems to have been slightly misunderstood. I talked about the importance of taking a break from blogging when needed and mentioned that I would be taking a break soon. Judging from the comments, most of you thought I meant I'd be taking a break now. What I meant was next week. But, now that you all mention it, I think I'll start my break tomorrow. After all, my writer horoscope said something about that. :) I'll be around visiting today, but after that, I'll be on a little vacation for a week or so. Hope you all have a good one!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Love Hanging Up My Shoes!

If you've been around here long enough, you know that from time to time I take breaks from blogging. I refer to these breaks as "Hanging Up My Shoes" time. Over the past few months, I've noticed an increase in people taking breaks from blogging. At first, I thought it was because of summer, but now that summer has come and gone, I realize that there is more to it than that. I think that the majority of the people I follow have been blogging for a while and they're burned out on the whole thing. I totally understand this feeling. I've been there more times than I count. That's why I take frequent breaks. There's nothing wrong with stepping back from the social networking chaos and focusing on other areas of importance. I plan on taking another break soon. So, my Tuesday Tip this week is to take a break from blogging (or any other social networking) when you need it. Otherwise, you might end up letting it go completely. What about you? Do you ever take breaks?

Monday, October 11, 2010

High School Football

It doesn't get much better than that, does it? Okay, at least around here it doesn't. I've got two in high school and one in middle school. That's what they do on Friday nights--go to the game. I joined them this past Friday. (Well, I didn't exactly join them because they would never allow that, but I did go. I just sat really far away from them, and they pretended not to know me.) I went to watch my daughter perform with the dance team, but I also figured it would be a great research opportunity. You know, watching teens in their own element and all. Some of you will remember a similar post from last fall about the same topic. Last time, though, I went to get a feel for the atmosphere, for descriptive purposes. This time, it was all about the people. You want to know what I discovered? Teens aren't much different than when I was one of them. They, of course, didn't know anyone was watching them, but I was soooooo watching. Great fodder. Great fodder. That's all I have to say. Anyway, that's beside the point. What I'm trying to get at is the topic of research and how important it is. This past week I read a post (please forgive me because I don't remember whose it was) about watching T.V. for research. I do that on an almost daily basis. For example, I watched hours of Wizards of Waverly Place today. Yeah, sad, I know. Some days, I find myself parked on the couch watching Degrassi while my kids are at school. And don't forget about Vampire Diaries. So much great research material out there. Besides T.V., there's also Google Earth. This is one of my favorite research tools. I've heard it said that you should write what you know, but really, I can pretty much know any place like the back of my hand if I take a stroll down Main Street with Google Earth. I've been known to spend hours doing just that. So, call it guilty pleasure if you must, but I prefer to call it Research. What about you? What fun methods of research do you practice?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Don't Kick The Messenger!

In fact, you should be thanking him (or her). In honor of Friday's Fluff, I'd like to give a big shout out to critique partners everywhere. It isn't easy being honest, especially if it's negative, but that's what it takes. Wouldn't you rather hear the truth than a fluffy bundle of lies? I know I would! I've had several crit partners over the last year, and I am so thankful for each and every one of them. They pointed out my dreaded faults with a kind honesty that I will appreciate forever. Don't get me wrong; there were times I felt like kicking them because they just didn't get it, but in the end, their feedback made me think. I'm a better writer because of them (you know who you are). So, instead of kicking your crit buddies, take a moment to thank them. They deserve a little Friday Fluff! Where would you be without them?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's In A Name?

A lot, I suppose! Everyone knows Converse, right? Writers struggle with this every day. Do they go by their given name, or do they invent a pen name? For each of us, different factors play into that decision. Maybe we are writing something that we don't want our families to know we wrote, perhaps a memoir or erotic romance. Or, maybe, we are writing in a different genre than we usually do. Or, in my case, our given name is so boring that we are afraid no one will buy our books. Seriously, how lame is "Susan Mills"? See what I mean? Okay, I'm still not changing my name, but I'm thinking about it... Whatever the reason, pen names are an issue that every author needs to think about. I recently received an email from Enna Scott. I have no idea the true identity of this person, but she (or could be he) asked fellow bloggers to spread the word about a new blog, under a new name. Go visit Enna Scott and support a fellow author in his/her decision to use a pen name. Maybe you can help me figure out who it is while you're there. Anyway, these are my Thursday Thoughts. What do you think about pen names? Have you considered using one? Or are you so excited to see your name on the spine of a book that you wouldn't even think of it?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Dangers For Writers Everywhere!

Today is Wednesday's Websites day here, and boy, do I have an important one for you. Writing... normally considered a safe profession, right? Well, according to CBS, we are all in danger! Check it out here. Yeah, apparently, writing is just as dangerous as fighting fires. So, next time you put that laptop on your lap (isn't that where it's supposed to go?), think again. You might be putting yourself in some serious danger of Toasted Skin Syndrome. First, it was microwave popcorn that was bad for you (this made me sad). Now, laptops are bad for you? Seriously, what will be next? What will be left for us writers? Okay, I'll survive without the popcorn, and I can put a pillow between my legs and the laptop. I'll quit writing, though, if they tell me coffee is bad for me. Oh, wait... they already have, and I'm still alive. Any funny warnings you've heard of lately?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Come On In!

But please leave a comment. Otherwise, I might not be able to return the favor. Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed a few more followers in my sidebar. Most of you have a link connected to your picture, and a good number of you who don't left a comment, so I've been able to come check out your place. Some, however, don't have a link, and haven't left a comment. This leaves me without a way to come visit you. So, my Tuesday's Tip is this: when you follow a new blog, leave a comment. That way the person you follow can reciprocate. Blogger can be touchy, and sometimes, just following won't do the trick. I have a lot of other bloggerly tips, but I'll save them for later. I wouldn't want to overload you with my sometimes useless opinions, now would I? At any rate, I welcome all of my new visitors, and I can't wait to get to know you! Anyone else out there struggling with this issue? Followers are spectacular, but don't you want to be able to follow back?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Daily Exercise

It's so good for you. I've been struggling lately, though. Life just doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me on this. Okay, in all honesty, I'm making the choice to do other things rather than exercise. Not good. Not good at all. Same thing seems to be happening with writing. No matter how many times I promise myself that I'm going to write a certain amount every day, I still fail to follow through. I even had a little motivation last week with Patti Nielson's experiment. Didn't help. I made bad choices. I had plenty of time to write. In fact, I could have written for eight hours a day if I wanted to, but I didn't. It made me stop and think. Why am I not writing more? Then it occurred to me. I needed a break. I feel refreshed now, and I'm ready to start a new week, hopefully filled with exercise and writing (two of my all time favorite things). Ever been there? I'm guessing you have, but please do share.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Comfort Shoes

After watching the weather forecast last night, I decided it was time to get out my favorite slippers. Am I a fan of cold weather? No, but I do love my slippers. I can't wait to wear them again. Almost as much as I can't wait to send my first page to Angela Ackerman for her feedback. Yes, you heard me right. I was one of the winners in her contest. It was like getting a brand new pair of Ugg slippers. (Okay, between me and you, I was hoping for the three month mentorship, so it was more like getting an off-brand of slippers, but still.) In the spirit of Friday Fluff, I wanted to give a big shout out to Angela for her generosity in prizes for this contest. I'd also like to congratulate all the other winners. So, whose feathers would you like to fluff today? You owe anyone a thanks? Remember, we're all in this together. That's the beauty of it.