Crumb by Crumb

Kale. On my keyboard. That is my life.

I woke up this morning to two of my life passions.

1. Writing—duh.
2. Deep fried vegetables. Is there any other way?

Without my contacts on, I first thought the object was a spider, which would be fine with me. I like those little suckers. But no, upon further examination I found that it was small piece of the oh-so-delicious deep fried kale I engulfed for dinner last night.

It got me thinking about my life and about the lives of my all my writing buddies who are also trying to pursue this crazy dream.

We write. Word. After. Word. Every single day, or at least as many days as we can. And on those days when we aren’t writing, we are thinking about writing—characters, connectivity, the next word.

Day in, day out, we torture ourselves on this manic depressive ride.

Can’t get the scene right—I suck!

Figure out that plot hole—yes, I am a goddddddddddddddddd!

Yesterday, I read an article that said if you want to write, quick talking about it, and get your butt in the chair. Which I already knew, thus the kale.

So to everyone out there who is pushing forward on what sometimes feels like an impossible task, here’s to you. (Holding up my coconut water.)

It ain’t easy. That’s fo sho! But’s it’s you and your contribution to this life.

And that’s beautiful.

typing

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Zzzzzzz

“Novels begin not on the page, but in meditation and daydreaming—in thinking, not writing.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

Ha! I knew it. Daydreaming—the backbone of my craft. For as long as I can remember, I’ve allowed my mind to slip away from the current conversation (especially if I was in trouble) and drift off to other lands, lands where I could fly, lands where everything ended on a happy note.

Delusion? Some might say. But according to Ms. Oates, I was preparing. I was creating.

So, if you’re like me, the next time you’re caught napping or mentally wandering, no need for apologies. Simply say, “Hey, I’m working here!”

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Freak Flag

Trends. We’ve all heard it. Don’t write to the trends. Be unique to yourself. Let your freak flag fly. Okay, so, I added that last one, but I think it speaks the message quite well. Let your you shine through.

We all have our areas of special interest: collecting coins, playing the kazoo, scrutinizing commas. (Hey, no judgments!) Whatever it is you love to do—do it, write about it, create lyrics for it—live it. No need to worry that no one will share your obsession with pickles or your fascination with six-legged giant bugs who live exclusively on an island in the South Pacific. (I know, cool, right?)

Not everyone will get it … but some will.

Here is a clip of a dancer who definitely followed his passion. He didn’t worry about the current dance trend, he created his own style, which I’m sure included endless hours of standing in front of the mirror isolating particular muscles.

Not your thing? No problem. But his results? Genius.

Enjoy the clip, and, after you’ve wrenched your back trying a few of his gastric pumps or magical foot slides, don’t forget to dig into your own chest of uniqueness.

Wear your differences loud. Wear them proud! Yeah, baby!

Gangsta

Rejection. Yes, we’ve all faced it, but if you are like most people, you do what you can to avoid it. Not so when you are submitting to agents. Writing is very subjective. Finding that particular agent for your particular project is an experiment in patience—and self-esteem.

For every yes you get, you’ve most likely received dozens, sometimes even hundreds of no’s. So how do you push forward and keep your head in the game? For me, I have a few tricks.

The first—surround yourself with positive people. There are certain people in this world that have that special light. Find them.

The second—relax, trust, and work your butt off. You can’t get that coveted yes on a wish.

And the third—find ways to pump up your spirits. Here’s a short clip that has recently become my new anthem. No, it’s not related to writing. No, it’s not found in any technical book, but I promise, you watch this thing a few times, you’ll be sauntering all over your house like the gangsta you know you are.

Baby Steps

Once again, the ideas for my newest story started off like a fireworks display only to, once again, putz out like a car void of gas. But rather than fret or mope, I’m following in the footsteps of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Bill Murray.

Yes, that Bill Murray. And no, he doesn’t know he’s my friend.
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As far as the path he took? It was simple–baby steps. Do what you can can do, one step at a time. It’s from the 1991 movie What About Bob? In case you’ve never seen it, see it. Not only can my bud, Bill, crack you up with a simple nod of his head, but the advice he follows pretty much holds true for any goal.

Enjoy the clip. Happy stepping!

Tasty Inspiration

Anyone who has ever met me knows how I feel about writing and eating.
The two go hand in hand. That’s why whenever I discover a new treat, I
feel it my duty to share it with you. So get ready. Here goes ….

Eggnog cookies. Bam–take that!

That’s right. Eggnog. It’s like the cookie fairies took the simplicity
of sugar cookies, the cinnamon deliciousness of snickerdoodles, and
combined them with a touch of holiday magic reminiscent of wrapping
presents and singing carols.

I usually hold off on sweets, preferring the salt drip of the chip,
but there are just some things in this world too delectable to resist.

You could ask my friends. I made a batch for them last night. But it
wouldn’t do you any good. I kept them. Just for me. Me and my
manuscript. And can I say, I am very happy about that decision.

You see, I started writing a new book last week. Between outlining,
creating, and drafting, let me just say, I need these cookies. Not
want. NEED.

So the next time you seek some tasty inspiration, go ahead, indulge,
and, if you do, stop by. It’s the season of stretchy pants, and I’ve
got a good two months left on this story. 🙂

Not So Accidental Blog Tourist Hop

Last week I was tagged to participate in Crystal Collier’s Not So Accidental Blog Tourist Hop by the talented author/illustrator Kim MacPherson. I’m thrilled to be a part of this community and thank both of you for encouraging these connections.

This is Kim. Be sure to check out her page in case you missed it. She’s awesome. KidLitDish.com
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Now, onto Kim’s questions for me.

1. What am I currently working on?

Well, since you asked, I am currently working on driving myself crazy. A few months back, while finishing my MG novel POPCORN BRAIN another idea came to me in the form of deer pellets.

–Woah, back up, deer pellets you say? Yes, it’s true. I was walking in the park with my sweetie and came across a small cannonball pile of deer pellets. It reminded me of an incident I had with a burnt bellied fisherman, a rusty hook, and an insensitive attitude towards nature. And just like that … spark.

Now as I edit, rewrite, and try to market POPCORN BRAIN, I’m scratching out the first draft of this other story which for now I’m calling MY OTHER STORY.

Working on two novels at once is like riding a manic-depressive bicycle. Euphoria. Devastation. On top of the world. Low to the ground. But all-in-all, it’s a thrilling ride. Although it wouldn’t kill me to take a break every once in a while and wash my hair. But hey, that’s a different story.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The only thing I can say to that question is my work brings me with it. My cp partner, Tosha Sumner, said my style is humorous and/or poignant with a humorous flare.

To that note, you might find me singing at the top of my lungs from the center of the page or sitting covertly off to the side, whispering about the beauty that surrounds us.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

First off, I have to write. I’ve tried not writing. Doesn’t work for me.

Secondly, I seem to find humor in the oddest places, whether appropriate or not—sorry Mom, sorry former teachers, sorry clergymen …. To me, humor is the brainchild of emotions. And those underlying emotions are dripping with dialogue and story.

Thirdly, somewhere along the way I fell in love with grammar. It certainly didn’t happen in high school—college either. But now a well placed comma is like an old friend: comforting, wise, and full of clarity.

Lastly, I’m a professional snoop. Always have been and, from what I can tell, always will be. Just ask my family.

One of my greatest childhood memories was camping out behind our red, blue, and green checkered couch (terrifying visual, sorry) waiting for my sister and her date to make their big move and lock lips. I crouched like a lion, quietly gumming my generic cheese puffs, and waited until the awkward banter stopped and the even more awkward silence commenced. And then, as the sound of spit filled the air, I sprung up, arms over my head, shouting my oh-so-clever, “Boo!”

Call it training, because to this day I listen, I notice, I pay attention. Yes, I may act like I’m not, but I am. That’s part of being a snoop. I can’t help it. People are fascinating. And so I drink it up, let it simmer, and then pour it out on the page.

In other words, I was born to write.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

All my stories start with a small spark, like a ladybug landing on my shoulder. It’s there lingering in my brain, and, before I know it, I’m blasting through notebooks, sticky notes, napkins, etc… writing ideas and making connections.

Then comes the outline. In the past, I didn’t use outlines. It was basically me sculpting blindly. Definitely fun, but in the end my product suffered. So now I outline the beginning, middle, end, and a few important steps along the way, then leave it alone, allowing me to do what I do best–dance in the daisies.

So there, that’s me. Now on to the next two stops on this blog tour.
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Up first, the amazing award winning author, Tosha Sumner.

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Forever optimistic and easily amused, T.L. Sumner is inspired to write magical stories about strong, athletic young women fulfilling their dreams. She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s in business from Villanova University where she ran cross country and track on a full athletic scholarship. She dreams of moving to Asheville, North Carolina, but for now, lives in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains with her husband and their two young children. Aside from writing, T.L. works in healthcare information technology, enjoys running and being the number one fan for her kids’ sporting events. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Romance Writers of America, including the Young Adult (YARWA) chapter. Her first novel won the MORWA’s Gateway to the Best Contest and was a finalist in the Windy City RWA Four Seasons Contest.

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And last but definitely not least, the wow-your-socks-off illustrator/author, Shanda McCloskey.

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Shanda McCloskey is a wife, mother of two girls, illustrator, and writer. She’s known for a long time that she wanted to illustrate books, but once she got caught up in a writing group, she realized there’s almost nothing cooler than doing both! Shanda blogs about life and art at ShandaMc.com.

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