Archive | May, 2013

Little white lies.

30 May

I’m back! Sorry, I’ve been away. I’m sorry. I’m sorry!

Well…let’s get to it.

You know how women lie about things? Men, I’m sure you’ve heard a few of these gems.

“Which of my friends are hot? It totally doesn’t bother me!”

“Tell me more about your ex-girlfriend. It totally doesn’t bother me!”

“You don’t need to get me anything for Valentine’s Day. It totally doesn’t bother me!”

Alright ladies, we can be known to lie about these things. Probably lying mostly to ourselves when we say ‘it doesn’t bother me.’

But men have their own little lies too.

“Honey, join our softball league. What, you’ve never played softball? No worries baby, it’s not competitive.”

Total lie. Men don’t know how to NOT be competitive. We all remember those guys in high school P.E. who took ping-pong just a little too seriously. I see that glimmer in their eyes when one of our teammates hits a home run; that flinch when someone on our team makes an error; that hopeful look on their faces watching our outfielder under a fly ball; that grinding of their teeth when the other team bats two home. I mean, come on, how can a group of guys who have been playing sports their entire lives, most through college, not want to win? I’ve got some breaking news: you ARE competitive. Even at beer softball.

Now, I’m not saying I’m not competitive, but man it sucks trying to be competitive at something you’re not really good at…

Honestly, I’m actually enjoying softball. Our team is made up of our friends, we are sponsored by a bar, and we are drinking on the bench during the game. And we’ve been rained out like four times, so there’s that…

So, boys, when you get angry about our little white lies, remember that you have some of your own.

What other white lies do men and women tell?

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The deadline.

9 May

I miss my grandma. She was a sassy, secure chatty cathy, and I loved her dearly. The daughter of a Polish immigrant, she always had fascinating, and sometimes priceless, insights to share.

This little slice stuck with me the most. “Oprah says try different jobs. Experiment with what you want to do professionally, but by the time you’re thirty, you should be on track to what you want to do.”

Man, did she love herself some Oprah. She also told me she would leave my grandfather for Paul Newman as soon as he came for her and that a woman can never be too tall, too thin, or wear too much beige.

But back to the Oprah advice.

Thirty. It’s a checkpoint where you are supposed to evaluate what you’ve done so far and judge yourself accordingly. The day you turn thirty, you can suddenly look back at your twenties and define the decade. If I had to define my twenties in one word it would be wrinkle-free. Just kidding (and technically that’s two words, hyphenated).

But my twenties were certainly an adventure. The journey kind of looked like the Candy Land game board. I lived in eight different cities full of ups and downs and twists and turns. I also spent a lot of time at the career buffet (what, you don’t remember that spot in Candy Land?). I tried this and that. Sometimes, things seemed good in a small serving, but not so much as the entire meal. I’m not very adept at understanding things until I try them out for myself (which is all well and fine until you feel like a grown ass woman who thinks she wants to be an astronaut one week and an opera singer the next). For those of you whose first sentence was, “I want to be a (insert lawyer, doctor here) when I grow up,” and now, you are actually (that thing), this may not be making a lot of sense to you…

This Sex and the City quote is a nice punctuation to this piece. (it also makes me feel better about myself and probably dates me).

“Maybe mistakes are what make our fate…without them what would shape our lives? Maybe if we never veered off course we wouldn’t fall in love, have babies, or be who we are.” – Carrie Bradshaw

Most importantly, Grandma, I hope you know that I want to be a writer and that’s what I’m doing! I made the deadline. 😉

Conference/Life lessons.

1 May

I attended my first writing conference this weekend!

…and I AM RE-ENERGIZED!!

What can I say, I am easily motivated. 🙂

This weekend really brought about the positive writing vibes, and I think it was largely because of the nice reminder that other writers are out there. Writers who have good days and bad days. Writers who get writers block. Writers who are going through the same thing I am. I have a pretty strong need to connect with others, so it was exciting to talk the talk with people who speak my language.

And believe me, there are plenty of writers out there. I heard a statistic from who knows where that hundreds of thousands of people query literary agents each year. What does that mean? Well, that means that aside from all the established authors already out there, 100,000+ new ones reach out and say, please help me publish my book. And of course, this doesn’t include the thousands and thousands who are self-published. Does this sound scary? I guess if I really sit and think about it, it does. But what will that do? Provide ammo for the “it’s too hard to even try” outlook? To be honest, the competition doesn’t deter me. It kind of makes me hungrier for it. Maybe I’m delusional, but MAYBE I’ve finally found my calling. Let’s just go with the second one.

Overall, I learned a lot at this conference, but I also felt like I was on the right track, which, I have to admit, was validating.

My Conference Lessons that can double as Life Lessons:

The first two sentences in my book better kick ass = First impressions are important. 

We had three agents reading the first 4-5 pages of manuscripts at random. As soon as they would have stopped reading “in real life” and moved to the next, they raised their hand. Let’s just say the hands went up quickly. But, let’s be real. They don’t know you. They have no vested interest in you. This is their only impression of you, so make it good! The same really can be said for many of your daily interactions.

Be authentic = (yeah, this one pretty much directly translates) Be authentic.

We had a great speaker who was, you guessed it, authentic to herself. You should be authentic in your writing and authentic in your life. Guess what, you aren’t someone else, so stop trying to be. I’m glad this has become much clearer to me in more recent years.

An agent should do more than just sell your book = Use the principles of marriage for business partnerships (see below for clarification).

After this weekend, I have a much better understanding as to the partnership a writer should have with an agent. I want someone who can manage my career and be in it for the long haul. I just keep thinking about finding someone I will connect with, who “gets” me, and who will be with me for the whole journey, and that makes me think of my husband. I obviously don’t completely equate the two, I just see some crossover, come on…

If it sound like writing, re-write = If your gut tells you something is off, listen.

There are sentences in my book that just don’t feel right. If they take me out of the story, that’s not good. If I’m too focused on the words themselves, that’s not good. I think this is pretty applicable to real life. It’s like, “This milk smells funny. I probably shouldn’t drink it. But maybe I should still try it, just in case.” NO! DON’T DO IT!

I will need to use some psychology to survive the publishing journey = You can also use psychology to survive life! 

I attended a session all about the ups and down of the publishing journey, including, but not limited to rejections and bad reviews. It was taught by a clinical psychologist who talked about methods to deal with rejection from literary agents and publishers and scathing reviews on the interwebs. I am a big proponent of therapy, so I think this is also a useful tool in life. Asking yourself questions like, “Am I thinking about this in an all or nothing way?” “Am I only paying attention to the negative?” “And am I about to verbally attack a reviewer online?” Yes, this happens. You should Google ‘Authors Behaving Badly.’

When querying, it can help to describe your work as “blank” meets “blank” = Do you want your life to be like “blank” meets “blank?”

I’ve heard this advice before, but when querying your novel, it can help to tell the agent, my novel is Romeo and Juliet meets Paranormal Activity. Not my novel and not a great example, but it gave me a funny visual. I pretty much want my life to be Clueless meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I mean, how fun does that sound??

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