Tag Archives: writing help

Out With The Old…

New Nook!

New Nook!

Changes!

In one month we:

  • downsized to a condo.
  • became empty nesters.
  • I had rotator cuff surgery.

One of the perks has been “letting go” of my office and Mac G4 for the nook and iMac (pictured.) My only regret is that we didn’t do this sooner!

Learning Curve

I wear a sling 24/7, and since I’m not left-handed, life has slowed down. Add to that trying to learn new software and there are days I feel I’m not progressing at all. But I am, just at a snail’s pace. Too bad I’m a hare!

Writing 

I’ve always been a Microsoft Word guy but I’m rethinking this choice. I’m not about to shell out huge bucks for Office when all I want is Word so I may just opt to use Pages that comes on the Mac. From dabbling with it, I think it will do everything I need. Which gets me to my question…

What do you use?


Missing You…

BWD Kitchen

One of Tom’s remodeled kitchens

I’m taking a break from posting about writing books in order to jot about something of more importance.

Friendship.

I didn’t know Tom that well (not his real name,) but we immediately connected. Perhaps it was because we were both retired dinosaurs from the music biz; he, the drummer, and I, the bassist. Maybe it was how we were wired: artistic, perfectionist men prone to depression.

Funny thing is, I didn’t realize Tom struggled with depression until I was at his funeral. As friends and family paid homage, the topic was discussed, and I quickly realized that those closest to Tom were unaware of how dark his last days were. Suddenly, depression wasn’t a laughing matter.

To this day, I’m still shocked Tom took his life. As a designer, he was stellar. Take a look at the picture above. Pure artistry! The man was winning awards left and right. In regards to business, he was professional, expected the best, and delivered beyond a client’s expectations.

And yet, he was troubled.

His wife called me the other day to get tax information. Pain still tinged her voice. Christmas must have been hell. I did my best to console her without reopening wounds. I offered her any business help I could and told her I would continue to pray for her, their son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. Not much of an answer to one with so many unanswered questions. But I had to say something. I had to connect.

Like most survivors of suicides, I wondered if there was something I could have done differently to save Tom’s life. Did I miss the sadness behind a joke? Was his serious demeanor due to business woes or something worse?

To be honest, I know there was nothing I could have done. Our relationship was only business and we’d only known each other for a few months. Judging by the comments after the funeral, no one saw this coming. And yet, I still wonder, and wonder, and wonder…

So what’s my point?  If you’re like me, my life is way too fast. I spend too much time maintaining shallow relationships on social media only to discover I’m loosing touch with my humanity, as well as my real friends.

So this morn, let me prescribe the following…

To those of us who struggle with depression, step away from social media and go have coffee with a friend. Listen to what they’re saying, to what they’re not saying, and then share your heart.

Laugh. Cry. Smile. CONNECT.

For those of you who don’t battle the “black dog,” get out of social media and go have coffee with a friend. Listen to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a phone call to make.

I need to have lunch with a friend.


Still Alive

I blinked.  At least that’s what it feels like.

Life this summer has been crazy which is why I haven’t posted in some time now.

The primary reason is that I’m focused on the notes from my publisher per Tears of Min Brock.

Say good-bye adverbs.  Say hello “show don’t tell.”  Add some back story here.  Toss in character depth there.  New cover to ponder, proof, tweak…

I hope you’ll be patient as we remodel; it’s taking a wee bit longer than anticipated.  I’m biased, but I think it will be well worth the wait!

Gotta go…characters are calling!


Perception, Reality, and the Eagles.

Back when I was a touring musician out of Nashville, I had a funny experience in which perception wasn’t reality.

Our custom tour bus was parked one morning in a shopping mall.  Needing breakfast, I donned shades, ball cap and joined a fellow musician for the short jaunt across the parking lot to McDonald’s.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a couple making a bee-line for us.

“Please!” she waved, “Can we get your picture in front of your bus?”

We hadn’t showered, were groggy and thus were totally bamboozled why this woman would want a picture of two scraggly  musicians.  Nevertheless, we shrugged and posed arm-over-shoulder as she snapped away.

Thanking us profusely, she jogged off with her husband, giddy with excitement.

“What was that all about?” my friend asked.  I glanced over my shoulder at our tour bus.  Air brushed in large letters across the back side was, “Hotel California.”

I burst out laughing.  “She thinks we’re the Eagles!”  We laughed all the way to the golden arches.

In marketing one’s product, whether it’s a book or an idea, you want the public to “see you” (perception) in a way that makes you larger than life.  After all, you need to stand out from the pack.  Take the story I just shared.  The fact that this poor woman has our picture pasted & labeled in her scrapbook as, “The Eagles: On Tour!” isn’t our fault.  It’s actually hilarious!  Does she point me out as Joe Walsh?  Don Henley?  But I digress.  The point is this: We didn’t lie to her (she never asked us who we were!) nor did we falsely promote ourselves.  She merely perceived us to be someone else based upon our image (i.e., tour bus, logo, etc.)

So as you begin the process of selling and promoting, don’t worry if people misunderstand or perceive you as someone you’re not.

It may be the very thing that will help you succeed.  Who knows, maybe you too will be an Eagle!

 

 


New Baby!

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Right now, my friends and family are FREAKING OUT!  “They’re PREGNANT?”  “He’s in his fifties!  How’s that even possible?”

Rest assured, folks, that the “new baby” is merely allegorical.  As a writer, I’m always striving to grow, and one way I do this is by increasing my vocabulary.  So when I discover a new word, for me, it’s like having a new baby (only without the stinky diapers, 3 A.M. feedings, and subsequent college tuition.)

If you’re still reading this, then I have to assume you’re a writer since everyone else thought:  “Oh, this isn’t about a baby…”  “Oh, it’s not about sex…”

So let’s continue…

Recently, I uncovered a plethora of gems in a fantasy I was reading and added them to my Excel vocab worksheet.  Geeky?  Yep!  But I’ll be the first to admit where I’m weakest (vocab/grammar) and need to improve.  Plus, with the spreadsheet nearby while I write, I have a handy tool and resource at my fingertips.  If not, I tend to use the same tired word or phrasing, which is boring, and if I’m bored, my reader has to be too.

So when I discover a new word, especially one that sums up several words, I get excited.  Honest, I really do!  And you can bet your booty I’ll have these new tots dressed and ready to go, anxious to insert them in a page and watch them help my story grow up. The trick, of course, is to not be the obnoxious parent who shows off baby all the time!

So what tricks of the trade do you use?

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