Tuesday, 14 August 2012

It's The Little Things

Yesterday, I posted about the problems with being a writer. The biggest problem being, that you actually have to write and that isn’t always easy. I’ll admit, I was having an off day … the words wouldn’t come for love nor money. Rather than step away from the computer, I plugged away at it and got nowhere.  This morning, I wrote for an hour and have already reached my minimum daily word count. Go me. (Now I'm off to work for a couple hours and shall write more when I get home.)

Whoa! Wait! That isn’t where this post was supposed to go.

The little things. I was going to talk about how the little things can change your day around. How they can turn your day from clouds to sunshine. 

Have you ever had those days when you wake up just itching for a fight? Every now and then I get up on the wrong side of the bed and spend the day stalking around looking for someone to kill. (Metaphorically speaking.) I think it must be the result of stress related dreams. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a girlfriend about how grumpy I was. She invited me over for tea and cookies to unwind. (Yes, food is the way to my heart.) When I got there, she had popped out to the store and bought me flowers. Aw! How sweet is it to have friends like that? It really did make my day better. Thanks K. 

After I made my ranting post yesterday, the Spawn (as I call my children) called me to cheer me up. I guess she was bored at work and was surfing the web. Up to that point, I didn’t even know she read my blog, guess I better watch what I write from now on. Anyway, she said, “Aw, you sounded sad and grumpy in your post, so I called to cheer you up.” How sweet is that? Gotta love my kids. Thanks W. 

Last night, I was chatting with a friend. When I told him I was grumpy and bitchy, he went out of his way to cheer me up and make me smile. By the end of our conversation, I was feeling much better. What a special treat when someone cares enough to take the time to make you smile. Thanks G. 

It doesn’t take much to turn a bad day around or to turn my frown upside-down. A couple kind words, a phone call, or maybe a kick in the pants. Thanks to everyone who makes that effort! 


Monday, 13 August 2012

Random Thoughts From The Day to Day Writer

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote a lot of stories as a child. I never showed them to anyone; nor did I save them. I would write little stories to entertain myself and then destroy them before anyone could find them and comment on them. I lived in fear that someone would read them and laugh at me. (It isn’t easy to show people what you write. It’s kind of like exposing your heart and soul.) I took a hiatus during high school, but once I started at NAIT, I picked up writing again. I tried my hand at poetry, short stories, sci-fi, and romance … okay I tried to write just about anything. At university, I applied to take a creative-writing poetry class. They get about 500 applications for 25 spots and I was accepted. But alas, I got pregnant and had to leave school. I sometimes wonder how my writing would have changed if I had taken that class.

While I was pregnant, I thought writing children’s books would be a good idea. I still do, but alas, I cannot draw to save my life and picture books require … well they need pictures. J

Raising kids is time consuming, even for a stay at home mom and I found almost no time to write until they were well into elementary school. That’s when the real writing started. In five years, I wrote at least seven or eight novels and started countless others. A lot of them even managed to find their way to publishing houses and back again. I had a lot of rejections, but it didn’t kill the urge to write, I just kept on plugging away at it.

Well, I did until we moved to our current home. Then the urge to write fell by the wayside for a long time. I’m not sure what was going on in my head, but the ideas simply weren’t there; maybe because I was venting my creativity through quilting. I’m still quilting, but the ideas for stories are coming hot and heavy again; so I write.

I’m not sure how I can explain the urge to write. Something drives me to put words onto paper. A lot of time what I write are just snippets. Partial scenes, bits and pieces of dialogue, plot ideas … incomplete thoughts that seem to need to find a home besides in my head. Occasionally, these ideas will make their way into a story that they were never intended for.  (I wrote a great break-up scene out of the blue one day. Last week, I discovered that it fit perfectly into one of my works in progress (WIPs). Woot woot!)

I don’t write because I have some altruistic urge to entertain people. (Of course that would be a nice plus.) Nor do I write because I want to be rich and famous; okay maybe that is part of it. *sneaky grin* I write because the ideas that come to me nag at me and irritate me until I write them down and purge myself of them.

Writing isn’t easy. Anyone can come up with a basic premise and scratch it down. But to invent a grouping of characters and make them interact with realistic personalities and a storyline that is interesting and believable can be quite taxing. There are days when the words just flow like water, but for me those days are rare. Usually I sit at the computer and stare into space, metaphorically banging my head into the desk and wishing the words would come. Some days, the words come easily but when revisited the next day, or during the editing process they turn out to be shit and have to be rewritten or deleted altogether. Other days, the words don’t come at all.

I strive to write 1500-2000 words a day on a current work in progress. That doesn’t count blog posts, emails, twittering or facebooking. It definitely doesn’t count new ideas or snippets that had to be written but are unrelated to my WIPs. If I am persistent and lucky, I get these words and they are good words. If not, I try to write extra the next day. On those days when the words won’t come, I force myself to write something. Anything. Stilted sentences, disjointed scenes, emotionless fights … I’ve created just about every kind of crappy prose ever witnessed. Later, I delete those words, unless during the process of forcing it they have turned into something worth keeping. I do this because I have learnt that sometimes forcing the brain and fingers to work often jump-starts the creative process and after a while the brain hits its grove and the words come.

So far today, I’ve been staring at this keyboard for four hours and have written NOTHING. Not one freaking word. It makes me want to scream in frustration. My current WIP is scheduled to release Sept 15. I have four short scenes to finish before edits begin. I will edit it three of four times myself before I send it off to my talented team of editors. They will slash and hack it apart. I will repair and re-write then re-edit and start formatting for publication. Somewhere in all of this, I have to hire a cover designer and help her bring forth the image I want to portray on the cover (not that I have any idea what that is.)  So really, I had best get my ass in gear and finish those scenes. I work best with a deadline which is probably a good thing.

When I was younger I had big dreams of writing a best-selling novel and earning millions of dollars. People would want my autograph. Back then, I had no idea how difficult the writing process could be. I still fantasise about travelling and writing. Someday I’m going back to London to stay at the Grand on Trafalgar and spend my days sipping coffee and writing in Trafalgar square.

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Stages of Seduction: Attitude

Today, I’m talking about sexual attraction and attitude.

Have you ever wondered why some people attract you and others don’t? I know I have. I’m not talking about looks here. Think about that one person you know that is average looking, or even nothing special, that you find compelling or attractive or irresistible. What is it that makes them that way? Why do they stand out for you? 

I have been trying to understand how attitude plays into sexual attraction. With this in mind, I have been man watching and woman watching. (I can be a very naughty girl.) I got to studying a group of men and wondering why some of them intrigued me and some left me cold. They were all reasonably attractive, clean cut, decently dressed and well groomed, so that wasn’t it.

So what was it? Finally I decided that it had to be their attitudes that were influencing me. One joked and laughed a lot but was quite crude and critical. The most physically attractive of the group seemed downright grumpy. Scratch both of them off my list. (Please no lectures on being understanding of another man’s troubles. That is not the point of this post.)

Number three stood quietly to the side with a big smile on his face, clearly enjoying what was going on around him. The forth spent time talking with different people, moving about the group and interacting with everyone. The third and fourth guys were quite attractive to me.

There were others in the group, but none who stood out as either appealing or unappealing; they just kind of blended in. In a nutshell, it was the attitudes that drew me in, repulsed me or didn’t affect me at all.

This brings me around to the other side of the equation. I consider myself to be an average looking woman. Not stunning, not ugly. I’m short and my body is … squishy; somewhere between thin and obese. (Luxuriously upholstered I’ve been told. LOL) I try to be a nice person and smile as much as I can. I’m no Laughing Lisa, but neither am I a Negative Nelly. In terms of brains … average. I’m pretty much all around average.

Okay, so how to go about discussing this without sound all self-important, stuck-up and vain … okay there is no way so I’ll just forge ahead and damn the critics. I think that other people find me attractive.

I dated a lady once. (Oh my god! Yes, I have dated women. Deal with it.) She told me that I had something special, something she couldn’t put her finger on, but something that she found crazily attractive. (Kind of makes me wish we hadn't lost touch.) My husband tells me that I draw men like moths to a flame. (But who believes him? He has to say nice things about me. ) J

I admit that I have a lot of male friends. Guys I meet through one thing or another just seem to like keeping in touch with me. They are not boyfriends or lovers. Just friends. Platonic. Basically they are like girlfriends with dangly bits. (Okay. I know I’m gonna get some flak for that one!) We talk about a lot of things. They tell me they wish their wives/girlfriends were more like me. They tell me that I am nice to talk to and that my attitude makes me special; it makes me stand out from other women. I’m sure some of this is “the grass is always greener” but it can’t all be wishful thinking.

My friend HD and I have been known to lady watch together. We discuss what we see, what we like and what we think about them. We kind of compete to see who can spot the attractive women first. He is often quick to compare women and say he prefers one over the other because she seems more pleasant, or less stuck-up, or happier, or smiles more. We have talked a lot about attitude.

He has said (I’m paraphrasing here from a number of conversations) that what makes a woman SEXUALLY attractive isn’t her looks, her size, her brain, her clothes, or her make-up; it is her attitude. He claims that sexual attraction often lies in how she treats you, how far you think she’ll go, what she’ll do for or with you, and how much of her attention she will give you. Will she participate or be passive? 

Okay, so was there a point to this rambling post? I forget. Sigh. 

Oh yeah! Keep your eyes open, watch people’s attitudes. But more importantly watch your own. What attitude are you projecting? Is it the one you want to project to others? I know that when I want to seduce my man, how I act, what I do or say influences his reaction. All men want that naughty girl in their bed; the one that will do or say anything to fire him up the one that is happy to see him and be with him. They want the women who participates fully and isn’t shy about sharing her needs and her pleasure. I don’t think women are any different. Certainly I have more fun when hubby is into it fully and is not distracted by life. The more fun he is having, the more fun I have. The more fun I have, the more fun he has. It is a delightful circle. 

So go, be free….shape up that attitude and become the sexy person you should be. See if it doesn’t draw potential partners to you like the proverbial moth to a flame.