We’re All In This Together…And I’m Grateful

Dear Readers,

This is not a writerly post, but it’s been on my mind a lot.  The global pandemic that is Covid 19, AKA Coronavirus, has stirred up many feelings and emotions for so many of us.  A few of them would be:

  • scared
  • anxious
  • curious
  • tired
  • sad
  • nervous
  • worried

The school closures.  The uncertainty of local businesses.  The stock market.  The sickness.  The lack of adequate testing.  The numbers.  The ability to meet basic needs of families.  It can be overwhelming to think about.  Everyone all over the world is facing this crisis.  No one is immune to this.  It’s a current commonality we all share.

Strangely, I find strength in that.  No one is alone in this.  We are all in this together.

Amidst all of this, I am grateful.  So far, my family has been lucky enough to stay healthy.  And we have loved ones near us who we will check on, and who will check on us.

I am grateful to have family living so close to us, too.  That is no small thing.

I am grateful for the community I live in, for their commitment to keeping people safe.

I am grateful for my school community, for being so proactive in reaching all of our district families, delivering not only instruction during this crazy time, but also meals and services to any who may need it.

It’s heartening to see everyone coming together in the face of a crisis.  People are good.  We need to support each other.

The feelings and emotions going through us right now are real, but we can get through this together.  Neighbor helping neighbor.

This pandemic has everyone working together towards a common goal.  And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

May you all stay safe during this time.

 

Winter Meet-Ups with Bookish Friends, Old and New

Welcome, Writerly Friends!

If you could meet any character in the world, who would it be?  Have they been written yet?  Are you the one to write that character and introduce them to the world?  This post is about meeting up with characters, old friends, and new amazing acquaintances.

As a teacher in the northeast, we are fortunate to have a week-long winter break.  We are nearing the end of that break.  There have been many years when we have taken family vacations to warm destinations with friends, but this is not one of those years.  Even though we stayed home in the freezing cold temperatures, this was a wonderful week!  A week to recharge, a week to relax, and a week to connect with old friends and new ones!

As an agent, this week, I was introduced to some amazing new characters written by some amazing new authors.  New character friends, who I look forward to getting close to in the coming months.  Strong characters, funny characters, troubled characters…they are all new and in my life for the long haul.  These are new friends that I can’t wait to visit again and again.

Additionally, as an author, this week afforded me time to spend with old character friends as well.  I went back and edited through some drafts of my own work.  It was delightful!  I missed Hans, Abigail, Tessa and Will.  They are the very best type of bookish friends…the type of friends that you can pick up with, right where you left off last time.  Fun trips down memory lane abound, which can be relived again and again.

It’s my absolute favorite part of being a writer.  I get to spend time with amazing people and places, over and over again.  Vacations are the very best times for that, and I am grateful for every one.

Question for you:  Do you have any character friends that you can’t wait to spend time with during vacations?  Are they your characters, or other author’s?

Chime in with your response below!  I love to connect with my readers!

Working On Dreams and Goals in 2020!

Image result for goals"

Welcome to 2020, friends!

So much has changed in my life, some, writerly changes, and some others, and this seems to be the perfect time to both reflect, and share some dreams and goals.

Change #1:  I am now the mom of a 3rd-year-college-student!  My 3rd-year-college-student is currently on a dream of a co-op with an amazing company, and living away from home.  That has been a huge adjustment for our family, but I am gratified by how well things are going with it.  It’s beautiful to watch him reaching his dreams.

Change #2:  I am also now the mom of a brand-new-teenager!  My brand-new-teenager dreams of a life with the theater arts.  She enjoys working in the dramatic arts, with theatrical makeup and costumes, and reading magical realism. This has not been any kind of adjustment for our family, as she has always enjoyed these things, but as we are now embarking into the teenage years, I am also gratified at how well things are going with it.  With every rehearsal, she is working towards her goals and dreams, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Image result for dreams"

Change #3:  I am a Literary Agent with Golden Wheat Literary Agency.  Setting that goal, completing the training, and working with clients has been a dream and a passion for me for some time.  As an agent with Golden Wheat Literary Agency, I work with some truly wonderful clients, and I can’t wait to share their work with the world.

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is the editing.  I have blogged about that before, and my feelings on that topic still ring true today.  As an author, I strive to polish and shine my manuscripts, and working my manuscripts until they are ready for submission.  I have a couple of manuscripts that have been placed aside for a bit.  A goal for myself this year is to finally (FINALLY!) complete one book of of my Harbor Bells Trilogy.  More about that in a future post!

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That’s about it.  I’ll be working this year on goals and dreams with my family, my clients, and myself.  What goals and dreams do you have for 2020?  Share them below!  I’d love to connect!

 

 

 

First Draft Writer’s Block? Here’s Some Writerly Inspiration!

Welcome Readers!

Writer’s Block.  Here is the definition, according to my online dictionary:

writer’s block
phrase of writer
  1. the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Writing a first draft is super difficult.  That gem of an idea, that flicker of a character you only saw once in a dream but couldn’t forget, that feeling that shook you awake during yesterday’s meeting that you were sure would provide the fodder for a novel so amazing that it would practically write itself…what happened to all of that?

None of us can escape it.  Writers slip into slumps.  It happens.  And when the slump is over, (it WILL end sometime!) jump back into that saddle and write on.  Write on because you can, and write on because you need to.  Rest assured, we all know that a slump will probably happen again.

And that’s okay, because as sure as the slumps come, they also go. It’s important to remember that.

For those of you who may find themselves in the throes of a first-draft writer’s block, this post is for you!  Below, I have compiled some motivational quotes which I like a lot.  Read on, and maybe some of these quotes will inspire you to write on, as well!

Do any of these quotes speak to you at this part of your writing journey?

What other quotes or notions have helped you get through writing a first draft?  Please share in the comments!

My Writerly Welcome for 2018!

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Hello, Readers!

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is almost over, but it is.  The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years always pass with a fury around here, reminding me of a certain holiday fave:

5 Holiday Gatherings

4 Family Birthdays

3 Winter Concerts

2 Events at Daughter’s School

Then, One Day til it’s Back To School

 

The fact that I am a music educator by day has a lot to do with the feverish pace of this season.  Report cards, concerts at school, rehearsals after school, etc, mean that the already hectic, but festive, season is all the more so.  I admit to the neglecting of this blog during this time of year, but sometimes it can’t be helped.

However, it also affords me time for reflection on 2017, and goal-setting for the year to come.  Thoughts of my hopes and dreams, and realities which are just on the horizon.  I can finally see from where I stand today, and that is a glorious feeling!

It’s going to be a big year, I think, for me as a writer.  My Contemporary Time Travel, WORDS IN THE WINDOWSILL is due to be released sometime this year.  My agent is working with me on #PrisonBreakADK to get it ready for submission, I am “this close” to finishing up Book One of my Harbor Bells Trilogy, and I have yet another novel idea just begging to be plotted out (When the idea for it came to me, it woke me from a dead sleep, insisting I write it down).

I literally cannot wait to see where this year takes me.

Happy New Year, everyone!  Do you have anything coming along in 2018 that you are excited about?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

How I’m Keeping My Balance…NaNoWriMo Style

 

NaNo 2

Welcome, Readers!

First, the good stuff!  It’s NaNoWriMo!  Congratulations to all who have started this journey for the first time,  and a loud “Hazzah!” to everyone who finds themselves back in the throes of NaNoWriMo for a repeat adventure. It’s daunting.  It’s difficult.  And completing it is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever accomplished in my life.

Now for some tougher stuff:  It’s mid-November.  Mid-NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t added to any word count of anything in two weeks.  (You read that right…Not a new word in November…)  I meant to jump right in on November 1, but I just couldn’t.  Sometimes things happen beyond your control, though, and that’s just life.  I am thinking about balance today, because I refuse to let the entire month go by without a word for my characters, or a plot point being reconciled. This post is meant to be as much of a NaNoWriMo pep talk for you as it is for me.

balance

How can I make it all happen?  And if you are at a point of this crazy writing month where you haven’t met your writing goals, how can you?  Well, for one thing, realize that the month isn’t over.  Any writing you do toward your goal is a step in the right direction.  Personally, I have to stop looking at the calendar thinking that there is no way to succeed at this, when the reality of it is, that even attempting NaNoWriMo is an incredible accomplishment.

But there is always hope, and hope may appear differently than you expect.  A few years ago, our local arts center held a series of NaNoWriMo workshops.  We were all different people, some with day jobs, some retirees, others who were just there to see what NaNo was all about. That was my second NaNoWriMo, and the year I began to work on my novel, WORDS IN THE WINDOWSILL.  During those workshops, our instructor gave us lots of exercises to help us along.

But no writing time to speak of.

The activities she walked us through approached writing a novel from different angles.  For example, we did a lot of sketching, map-making, TV interviewing, role playing, and other things to get us to know our characters and our story on a deeper level.

Some of you might be thinking this is how everyone writes, but not me.  To tell you the truth, until the workshops concluded at the end of November, I hadn’t realized how those activities helped me reach and surpass my 50K goal.  Up until then, I was worried I was wasting precious time.

It’s those other activities that I am going to rely on when I can’t actually do the writing part.  I may or may not reach 50K new words this year, but for me, and this is the balancing part, NaNoWriMo is more about fleshing out a good story.  That’s how I plan to measure my success.

So from here on out, if I can’t actually write words into a chapter of my current Work In Progress, I will be planning it in creative ways.  I need to know my characters as well as I can, so that when I do have the opportunity to write, I can make the most out of it.

The good news is, my head is in the right place for success.  And that novel I was working on during our local NaNoWriMo workshops?  WORDS IN THE WINDOWSILL is due to be published this spring with REUTS Publications!  I don’t think I need any more motivation than that!

I hope I have encouraged you to keep yourself going through NaNoWriMo.  It’s really tough at times, but you can do it!  Dori Just keep writing

How do you plan to keep your balance through this month?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Summer to Fall: 2017 Roundup

summer to fall

Hello Readers,

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s the end of August already.  As a teacher, my life is scheduled based on a calendar that has very little fluctuation each year, and my writing life fits within that calendar as well.  As the month of June ticks by, I make plans for what my writing goals will be.  I sketch out a schedule, (which I follow pretty well), which includes writing time to reach those goals as well as other goals.

This Summer, my goals were lofty and numerous, but I am happy to say that I feel as though I was successful reaching those goals and more.

Incomplete

In June, I completed my draft of Misty Dawn and Violet, which had been in a state of “partially done” for a really long time.  Long story short, when I get an idea for a story, I stop everything to get it started.  Needless to say, I had a number of partially finished at the start of this Summer.  In June, Misty Dawn and Violet made it to completion in June, and is in the hands of my agent!  It is a humorous romp of a story, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

July brought with it several new experiences for me and my family.  My daughter, who is ten, got involved with a local theater group.  For two weeks, she rehearsed for three hours a day, and at the end of that they performed Cinderella Kids.  Fantabulous!!!

Additionally, the month of July provided me the opportunity of a lifetime.  As you may know, I had been working on a novel inspired by the prison break that happened in 2015.  It was a very scary time, and even though I knew I had to write because of the event,  it actually took a while for me to get to a place within myself to get it all out.  That novel had been sitting in the “partially done” pile.  On July 22, I had the opportunity to audition for Ben Stiller’s Showtime Mini-Series, Escape From Dannemora!  So that was awesome…  Auditioning for the mini-series was a highlight of my life, and it was just the inspiration I needed to jump back into writing #PrisonBreakADK.

times square

August came, and my son was preparing to head off to his freshman year of college…away from home.  Before moving him onto his campus, we took a family vacation to NYC, which exceeded all of our expectations.  Central Park, Times Square, The Zoo, Stomp, 5th Avenue…there was inspiration around every corner.

It was during that trip that I discovered the magic of train travel.  With #PrisonBreakADK nearly complete, I was able to work comfortably on the train as we chugged down the tracks to Penn Station.  I don’t know how to explain it, but there is something romantic about train travel, and the process of writing, in itself, was such a beautiful experience.  I highly recommend it.  I am happy to report that #PrisonBreakADK has moved from the “partially done” pile and into my agent’s hands.

 

Now, Summer is nearly over.  My son is all settled into his college life, and all is well.  I will be welcoming a new crew of band students soon, and I will create a new schedule for my writing life that will fit into my teaching life.  Little by little, I’ll whittle away at the next project on my “partially done” pile, The First Harbor Bell.  If all goes well, I will be able to send it to my agent by Christmas.

completed

Let’s connect!  How was your Summer?  Did you meet any writing goals?  Please share them in the comments below!