Good Luck Selling Your House

Dear Person who is trying to sell their house:

Seeing as we are planning on selling in a few months, I have started to look around at potential places to live when we move.  I came across your house for sale on one of the websites, and after browsing through the many photos that you posted, I thought I would just pass on a bit of advice.

1 – Please don’t take a picture of the corner of your room or a section of the wall.  I am sure they are very nice, but I am more interested in seeing the whole room as opposed to just a part of it.

2 – I know over the years you have accumulated a lot of stuff, but I don’t want to see it all piled up on the floor of the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.  It might be a good idea to clean a bit so I can get an idea of what the room looks like without all your clutter.

3 – Please do your laundry.  Showing me a picture of your laundry room with a pile of dirty clothes on the floor and on top of the washer – isn’t going to make me run to the bank.

4 – Please and I can’t stress this enough, please learn how to take a decent clear picture.  It really doesn’t get me all excited to see a fuzzy image of your bathroom or any other room for that matter.

5 – I like a nice kitchen.  If you have a nice kitchen and want me to love it, please do your dishes and tidy up your counters.  I really don’t want to see all your junk.

6 – Open your curtains.  Nothing says stuffy like a dark, bleak room – I look for how sunny the room is because I like sun and brightness –  believe it or not.

7 – Maybe make your beds when you take a picture of your bedrooms – I know, you only sleep in them again that night – but really – a nice clean made bed in the middle of your bedroom kinda gets me excited and I have visions of what my bed would look in that room.

8 – The backyard – OMG  – clean the backyard.  I want to see space, a patio, some chairs anything that makes me feel that I want to sit out there – relax and drink wine – not bikes, broken wagons, BBQ parts, old cars, garbage bags and yes —- more of your stuff.

9 – Not sure how bad you want to sell – but adding a coat of paint in some places might help too – People tend to go for the bright stuff – just saying.

10 – Not having any pictures.  There is nothing worse than seeing a picture of a pretty little house and think – that is perfect only to discover there are no pictures of it.  Makes me wonder what do you not want me to see.

So I found this site on the internet that might be of interest to you.  Take a few minutes and read it.  You might find your house sells a bit faster.  I mean isn’t that what you want?

Tips for selling your home

Sincerely – A future buyer.

 

 

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How Do You Say Goodbye

I haven’t posted on my blog for a while and recently have been thinking about getting back into it.  I thought this would be an appropriate subject to start up again.

Hunter, our yellow lab, came into our lives about seven years ago.  He was a rescue dog, found on a Reserve, skin and bones, whip marks all over his face, teeth broken and missing.  The only thing we knew about him other than the fact he had been abandoned and mistreated was that he had a pellet in his back leg and stomach that were never removed.  Despite all this, we brought him into our home and although he has not been an active dog he has given us seven years of unconditional love and affection.  Regardless of how humans treated him in the past, he never showed any signs of aggression (well expect once with the FedEx man) and always was even tempered.  He wanted to be with us at all times and when I was home, never left my side.  As he got older, arthritis set in making it harder for him to get around.  We had to stop him from going up and down the stairs in the house because that was becoming too painful for him and even the two stairs of the deck were becoming a challenge.  Last night, when I came home, he seemed to have great difficulty walking but managed to go outside to do his business.  After a while, I looked out and found him sitting on a snow bank looking as if he had no idea where he was, his eye was twitching and when he tried to stand, he couldn’t.  I managed to get him in the house, but he kept looking around as if he was lost or confused.  He lay on the kitchen floor and I just stood there not knowing what to do.  My daughter was coming home for reading week and was so looking forward to seeing her Poopy Doop again but I am thankful that she has the opportunity to say good bye.  It breaks my heart to sit here with him today and see him suffer silently.  Regardless, I still think – Are you making the right choice? Will he get better? but then I see him try to get up and walk to the door and he can’t and I know that our decision is justified.

So tonight at 7:30, we will bring our beloved pet to the Vet and say good bye.  We at least gave him seven years of a warm bed, lots of love, attention, good food and many, at times too many, doggie treats.

You never realize how much a dog fills your heart until they are gone. There are so many things I will miss about him.  He was there every night when I got home, wagging his tail.  I knew he was not only excited to see me but it alway meant that when the Mamma came home there was food put in his bowl, or how he used to sit at our feet when we looked at TV and put his paw on our foot as if to say – I’m here pay attention to me, the snores when he slept, the way he would rub his nose with his paws when you would tickle him, how he would always come into the kitchen when I was cutting things up for supper hoping that he might get a piece of carrot or potato.  He usually did.  The times we would have pizza he would always go and sit by Brian’s chair in the hope that he would get an occasional pizza crust.  He usually did.  How he would come and wait as we poured his bag of dog food into the container because he always knew there would be a few pieces that would “accidently” fall on the floor. There always was.

I’m not sure where doggies go after they die, but I sure do hope that where ever he goes he will be able to run without pain, chase balls, have an endless supply of treats and that he can find his brother Chase and play tug of war once again.

Hunter you will be forever in our hearts and like the Xmas tree needles, I’m sure I will still find your dog hair around the house for years to come.

 

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Hurting Your Children With Words

I‘ve been having trouble finding time to sit down and write a blog post.  It isn’t because I don’t know what to write about, heaven knows my mind is just whirling with ideas; I just didn’t know where to start.

While waiting at the airport on our way to our vacation in Ireland, I happened to hear a mother talking to her young son.  The boy must have been around 3 or 4 and very active.  The mother was trying to keep an eye on their luggage as the father waited in line to get whatever information they needed and she was getting frustrated with trying to get her son to sit still.  Finally, out of desperation, I heard her say rather loudly to this young child – IF YOU DON’T SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET, MOMMY AND DADDY ARE GOING TO GET ON THE PLANE BY OURSELVES AND LEAVE YOU ALL ALONE AT THE AIRPORT – DO YOU WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE.  Needless to say, his response was a series of cries and whimpers about not wanting to be left alone including a meltdown on the floor, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

I watched the scene and thought of the old saying – It’s not what you say, It’s how you say it, and I thought about my own life growing up and how now, as an adult,  I have been affected by things said to me over the years.  I grew up hearing things like – If I could do it all over again, I would have gotten a dog – they would have been easier to take care of or get out of my sight, I can’t stand to look at your face. I think the worst comment, which affected me the most, was one made by a family friend.  Now they didn’t say this to my face, but I was told they had said it.  They said I wasn’t a pretty girl, but I had a beautiful smile.  That one little comment did more damage to me as a person than anyone could imagine.  I have spent my entire life thinking I was unattractive, not thinking I was pretty, hating the way I looked.  I never felt like I belonged and even though I managed to hide my sadness with a smile or a joke, inside I hated myself.  I felt like I didn’t matter, I was worthless.  Going through High School was painful, and I spent many a day crying inside.

As I grew older and started thinking about my future, every career choice I wanted to pursue was put down and I was basically told I couldn’t do them.  I wanted to go into Advertising but never got any support.  I wanted to go into Social Work and help people but was talked out of that.  I was expected to follow in another family member’s footsteps.  I didn’t want to, so I went into the only thing I thought I could do – Secretarial.  Although it has been good as a career, it was never my passion.

What is my passion?  Sadly at 58, I am still trying to figure that out.  I have begun writing, something I have always been interested in and it has helped me tremendously in my daily life.  I might not be very good at it, but I enjoy it and right now that is more important to me.

I am sure some of you are thinking, why didn’t you make a change when you grew up.  Well, not as easy as it sounds.    Lacking confidence in myself has been a significant hindrance.  I got married, not really out of love.  There may have been love at the beginning, but I soon realized we were different, but  I wanted the house and white picket fence, and I figured no one else would want to marry me, so I got married.  After that, I wanted to be the best wife possible.  I thought a good wife stood behind her husband and supported him.  So I did. My dreams took a back seat to his career.  I had my children, and that seemed to be the only thing I was good at, so again my dreams and aspirations took a back seat to motherhood.  After that, divorce got in the way and by the time I remarried a man who supported me and believed in me, I felt it was too late.  My husband constantly has to remind me that I am beautiful and that I am smart and I am important.  I fight a battle inside myself every day, trying to convince myself I am worth something.

I look back on my life now, and I get angry. Why didn’t I take a stand, why didn’t I make a difference – Well, when you lack confidence and self-esteem – you just can’t.  You are always second-guessing yourself.

I made sure I didn’t make the same mistake with my children.  They are now in their twenties, and I have continually told them, throughout their lives, that I love them, that they are worth something, that they can do anything they want.  I have told them that  I would never stand in their way of a career, regardless of what they want to do, (within reason of course), and I have told them to reach for the stars and never stop trying and that they are beautiful, and they are special.

As for me, I cope.  Some days are better than others but the words are still in my mind after all these years, and they still hurt, some days more than others.

So parents, think twice before you blurt something out, even though at times it is hard because you are frustrated, exhausted or angry. Words that you say today will leave in imprint for years to come.  They may be just words, but they can cause a lot of damage.

Children don’t ask to be born; we bring them into this world.  So, therefore, they deserve the best that we can give them.  They deserve to feel loved, to feel beautiful, to feel like they are wanted and most of all to feel that no matter what they do, they will never be left alone in an Airport.

It's not what you say; It's how you say it

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Who doesn’t love – Back To School

As summer draws to an end, parents begin to feel the excitement of that wonderful time and I’m not talking about Christmas.  Yes folks, I’m talking about the “B” words.  Back To School.  Yep those three little words will turn even the most patience, gentle parent into a ball of excitement.  After a long summer of breaking up fights, kissing boo boo’s, spending horrendous amounts of money on summer camps and never having any time to yourself, parents rejoice in the thought of being able to sit down and finish their morning coffee without having any interruptions.

Now, I don’t have to worry about back to school anymore but I always remember as a child, the excitement of going to school with a new outfit on or a new pencil case hoping to be the envy of all my friends, not to mention the joy of seeing friends you haven’t seen all summer and bragging about the many adventures you went on during your vacation.  I remember the smiles on my children’s faces as they waited for the school bus, excited to show their friends all the cool stuff they had for school.

I have to admit, I still go through the flyers when they come in, looking at all the bright colorful pens, pencils and paper they now have to offer but am so happy I don’t have to join the mad dash in the stores as parents scramble to fill the endless list of school supplies.

As a parent, I think it is important to start your kids off in the new school year feeling confident and special, but it can be very expensive when you have more than one child starting school.  I found some great deals on Amazon I thought I would share.  Not only are they priced right, but they are colorful, bright and would make any child feel like they are important.





As a parent, we want our child to succeed and how better to do that than to make them feel proud of themselves because after all our children are our future.

Please note that I am using affiliate links and I’ll receive a portion of the sale should you purchase any of these products through the links.

 

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I Write Therefore I Can…

cropped-ID-10098730.jpg    I thought before I zipped up my suitcases and head off to the airport tomorrow for wonderful Ireland, I would post a quick article about my favorite topic…. writing.

Everyone has a story and it’s how you get that story out that will determine how well it does.  Now I don’t consider myself a great writer and  I don’t have a vast library of descriptive words that I fill my pages with.  Personally I enjoy reading a book that I don’t have to have a dictionary beside me just to understand what the author is talking about.  There is nothing worse than starting to read a book only to get half way through it and not know what the heck the author is talking about.

In my constant search for information, it boggles my mind how many websites there are out there about writing.  Everyone has an opinion about something and if you ask ten people how to write a book, you will get ten different answers. What works for one, does not work for another, and that’s okay. Personally, I prefer a very simple approach and these points that I found pretty much sum up how I go about my writing.

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Get an idea. You need to get the idea, or else you won’t have a book at all. So when you’ve got the idea, look at it and think, “Could that make the book I have been dreaming about?”. Look at it very closely so that you can get more ideas about the book. Turn it around, see what it’s like at the back and the front and see the blurb and the pictures if any are in the book.
Write down your idea. You also need to write down your goal for it and a few things about what you want it to do. How long do you want it to be? How long is each chapter? What names for characters will you be using? Who will be reading it? Will you have chapters? What genre is it? Will it be told from a character’s point of view, or from the view of the author? There are lots of things that factor into your final story.
Now you’re ready to write. Get out a pen and some paper, or type on the computer. Writing the first chapter is very important. Write it carefully, as it could be the most important piece of the book; people often find a new idea around the second chapter. You should put this down in another document named ‘ideas’. Try to think of ideas throughout your day. Make sure that you write.
Space your story out. Keep writing but keep record of how many pages you’ve got in a chapter. The usual fantasy story would have about seven computerised pages a chapter and 250 pages in the book, with roughly 5/6/7 chapters. That should stretch your story out nicely.
Once you’ve got your story done, look over it twice yourself. What do you think. Whatever you do, don’t compare it to professional authors books, because those authors have a lot of experience. If you show friends or family, they’ll probably tell you it’s great. A good idea is to email your story to a friend and say that an author named Teddy Fitzgerald, who lives in Bulgaria, wrote it. It’s just so mad it just might work..
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After that it’s up to you whether you want to self-publish  or find publisher.  Whatever you choose, be proud of what you did.
Enjoy and Happy Writing
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So You’re a Writer….

Having just entered into this wonderful new world, I am constantly reading and learning new things every day.  No- I am not an experienced writer by any means nor do I really think I am very good.  Plain and simple, I just like to write.

So in my search to learn how to write the next best seller, I came across some great sites that have helped me. One of the most important things I have learned is you have to have a plan.  Before I discovered this, I would sit down, start writing and words would flow but then I would lose track of what I was writing about, things would get jumbled and I would give up.  Now, I get an idea in my head, write down a few paragraphs about what my story will be about, make a list of the characters I want involved in my story, then I break it down into chapters.  I try to follow this as much as possible and some chapters are easier to write than others.  I also find that sometimes when I am writing a chapter, I will have a lot more to write about and ideas will come to me as I write – But that is okay.  If you have an idea as to where your story is going, that is half the battle.

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Will I ever be famous – doubt it, but at least I am having fun trying.  I thought I would share a web page that I have found useful along my writing journey.  It has really helped me.  Everyone has a story inside of them, you just have to get it out.   Happy Writing.

10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book

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Step Up Parenting

Schoolchildren (14-16) having paper fight in classroom

Wow – it has been a while hasn’t it.  Sorry about that.  Have been a bit busy with, for want of another word, Life…  There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do the things I want to do.  Between, working, writing, planning, summarizing, editing, cooking, cleaning, being a wife, and mother and trying to slip in a few extra minutes to myself here and there, days are definitely not long enough.  The great thing is we are leaving for our vacation in a few days, and I can’t wait.  The green hills of Ireland are calling me.  It’s going to be fantastic.  Just me, my hubby, no work, no phones, and no kids…Just Us.

So, other than promising to write in my blog more,  there was a situation this past week that involved my daughter, that got me thinking –  there is a Rant needing to get out. She is 21 and away for her 3rd summer working as a Sous-Chef at a summer camp.  I am pretty proud of her.  After graduating from College in the Baking and Pastry Arts Program 3 years ago, she has decided that this is not the career she wanted and made the decision to go back to school in the fall in an Animal Care Program so she can work with animals, possibly in a zoo or in wildlife conservation.   Anyway, I digress.  The reason for my post is to talk about parenting these days. I have raised two children, and I taught them that they must work hard to get anywhere and most of all they must respect people, especially people of authority.  Two summers in a row now, my daughter has had summer students come up to work at the camp.  They are around 16-17, fresh out of High School and the degree of maturity and respect are definitely lacking.  My daughter has told me about several situations, where girls have bullied other girls in the kitchen, where my daughter and the Chef have had to speak to them several times on their attitude in the kitchen, where they talk back to those in charge, give attitude, roll their eyes when told to do something, give attitude when reminded of chores they have to do and basically talk about people behind their backs.  I am a firm believer that teenager’s actions reflect their home life, and I have to scratch my head when I think, what are parents doing nowadays.  Are they so immersed in their cell phones or their lives, that they let their children run free?  What ever happened to being punished when you spoke back to someone?  That you respected a person you knew was your superior, and  made sure the job was done to the best of your ability, whether you liked it or not.

This past week, the camp has had to let two girls go because of bullying and attitude and apparently before they left they bad mouthed the Chef and my daughter to anyone who would listen, including writing a two-page letter to the catering company filled with lies about the kitchen. Like who does this? Where do they learn this behavior? Their parents come and pick them up with no questions asked. If that were me, I would want to speak to someone to find out what took place. There are two sides to every story. I have never been one to think my children are perfect or have I ever let on that they were. Whenever there was a situation that involved them when they were in school, I made sure I listened to both sides, and I can usually tell when my kids were lying to me. If I felt my kids were being treated unfairly, I would say so, but if I knew my kids were at fault, they would be punished, and I made sure they never did it again.

Parents get off your Asses and start taking charge. Stop trying to be your kid’s friend and man up….be a parent. These, rude, obnoxious, disrespectful bullies that you are raising are our future. Are these the type of people you want to unleash into society?

Personally, I want people to talk favorably about my children after they have left a workplace and as a mother, hearing good things about my son or daughter, is what makes me know, as a parent, I did a great job.

What about some other parents out there. What are your views on how children are raised these days?  Would love to hear them.

Until then…..Keep Writing.

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I Finally Did It

I wrote a book.  It might not be perfect, but it is mine – all mine.

I have been ghostwriting Amish Romance Novels for quite a while now, and my husband told me I should think about doing my own book.  I kind of laughed when he first mentioned it thinking – Yea no way I could ever do that. Then I started doing some research on the popularity of Amish Romance and found out it is HOT.  Women love these clean romance novels. So by doing my searching, I then found by accident, the books I had been ghostwriting and I started reading the reviews.  Now the author changed the names and added a few details to the books but the story is mine, but the reviews were all 5 stars so it really got me thinking.

Long story short – I did it.  Not sure where this will go, but it has opened my writer’s gate and the floods of ideas are coming faster than I can handle it.

https://www.amazon.ca/Amelia-Part-1-Two-Brothers-ebook/dp/B01I3TX41Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467981035&sr=8-1&keywords=Leah+Miller

 

 

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Today’s Interview is with …..

James McHarg.  I had the pleasure of having an interview with James McHarg,  an up and coming new Author.  We worked together for several years and our days usually started out with coffee in his office chatting on a vast array of subjects.  When he retired, he was greatly missed.

One of the things I found out about him during one of our many morning conversations,  is that he loved to write and planned on pursuing this skill upon his retirement.  Well, he did exactly that.  He published his first novella which was a thriller titled Incoming Call and it was released world-wide in the fall of 2015.  Following that, his second suspense novella, Sins of the Past came out in May 2016.  Both wonderful reads I might add.

I admire him very much.  Most people have dreams that they never fulfill and live the rest of their lives with regrets.  We learn from people like Jim so I thought it would be  a great opportunity to ask him a few questions about his experiences and share with everyone.

So without further adieu, I give you my Interview with James McHarg.

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always had an interest in writing and penned a couple of short stories when I was in my twenties, mostly just for fun. At the time, being a shy person, I didn’t dare consider publication. Life went by, and, preoccupied with all that goes along with it, I didn’t pick writing up again until I retired.

  1. Where do your ideas come from?

I’m fascinated by ordinary people who find themselves plunged into extraordinary circumstances. For that reason, my story ideas tend to spring from every day events. From there, my imagination conjures up an unusual twist, putting the unfortunate protagonist in situations that would threaten the sanity of most people. The real thrill for me comes from creating that seemingly real person and discovering how he or she reacts to the surreal stuff I throw at them.

  1. What genre are your books and would you consider any others?

So far, I’ve written stories in the horror, thriller, mystery, and sci-fi / fantasy genres. For my next project, I want to pursue the mystery / suspense genre further through a planned sequel (a full-length novel) to my most recent novella release, Sins of the Past.

  1. How long does it take you to write a book?

The short answer is: Longer than it should. The longer answer: Between sports and recreational activities, limited keyboarding skills, a propensity to be easily distracted, and interruptions by life in general, I somehow manage to put words to the page … well, not as often as I’d like. To use a specific example, Incoming Call is a 78-page novella, and it took about 18 months to finally decide I had a marketable manuscript (draft 6 being the final version). By the way, I’m also a bit of a perfectionist.

  1. What type of research do you do for your books?

I can sum that up in 2 words: The Internet. I’m always substantiating my facts by searching the web for encyclopedic data, watching instructional videos, using map sites such as Google Earth to verify location information, and even viewing images to help with scene / character / structures and buildings descriptions. For example, the scene where Maggie enters the church in Incoming Call – I viewed many photos of old churches, which provided the inspiration for me to write that particular description.

  1. When developing your characters, do you base them on anyone you know or are they fictional?

I’d have to say a mashup of both. I often pull bits and pieces from real characters I’ve met in my lifetime and then add my own subtle nuances and quirks to make the characters both as believable and as interesting as possible. Of course, resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. (My lawyer made me say that.)

  1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I learned that writing is not as easy as it seems, that it takes a great deal of patience – which, by the way, I never thought I had – and that my wife is the best editor, promoter, and all-around supporter / ego booster a writer (and husband) could ever hope for.

  1. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

When I first began this writing hobby, I decided to take a course to learn more about the craft. The best piece of advice I can offer, I’d have to borrow from the writing instructor: Read. Read as much and as many different genres and authors you can get your hands and eyes on. And don’t just read, view each word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter through the eyes of a writer. It takes longer for me to get through a book because quite often I find my mind wandering to whatever writing project I’m involved in at the time.

Having said that, take what you’ve gleaned from your reading experiences, and simply use your own voice to adapt these learnings to what suits your writing style and personality.

  1. What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s definitely the characters. If readers don’t relate to, or care about, the people in the book, why would they care what happens to them?

  1. How do you deal with writer’s block?

Um… Can I come back to the question later? Maybe after I take a walk to clear my head, distract my brain with some TV sports, do a little reading, or grab a snack.

Bonus Questions:

If you could have lunch with a famous author, who would that be and what would be your most important question you would want to ask them.

I’ve always been a big fan of Stephen King. I think having lunch with him would be an informative and fascinating experience (maybe even a little spooky). I’ve always been in awe of his ability to write so prolifically. I suppose I would ask what his secret is to finding the time to craft so many great stories throughout his lifetime? If I could also ask him one bonus question, I’d like to know if he still gets the same charge from writing today that he did forty years ago?

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You can purchase James’ books at the following links:

Incoming Call 

Amazon (Kindle & Paperback) – https://www.amazon.ca/Incoming-Call-James-McHarg-ebook/dp/B01C68VXL8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1465847258&sr=1-1

 Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/incoming-call-james-mcharg/1123520245?ean=9781329655973#productInfoTabs

 Sins of the Past

 Kobo (The Kobo eBook can also be found on Chapters – Indigo) – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/sins-of-the-past-14

 Barnes & Noble (Nook Books) – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/sins-of-the-past-james-mcharg/1123783988?ean=2940153224695

 iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1112662104

 

 

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Writing – Finding your Niche

cropped-cropped-mom-write-e1457650254439-1.jpg  So I have been unhappy with my blog the last little while.  Well maybe unhappy is not the right word because I was actually happy with it,  let’s say I was unsatisfied with it. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere.  I have been reading lots of articles about blogging and from what I understand, to have a successful blog you must find your “Niche”.  That one little thing in your life that you are good at, passionate about and can write about continuously.  My blog originally started off as just a way for me to write and get over the fear of putting words to paper but I found I soon became bored with that.  I wanted to find my Niche – so with much soul searching I have come to the decision that my blog will be about writing.  My experiences, my frustrations,  tips and tricks, interviews and other such articles. Writing is something I have always enjoyed but never did a lot of.  I had all these stories floating around in my brain, toying with me but every time I would sit down to write they would play a annoying game of hide and seek in my brain.  It wasn’t until I found a site for freelance writers that the words started to flow and the stories have come out.   I have been ghostwriting now for a little under a year and have been really enjoying.  It has allowed me to come out of my shell, gain my confidence and let my imagination run wild.  I may not be the best writer but I am learning and getting braver and braver.  As with anything they say research is the key and I have been doing quite a bit, bookmarking websites, pinning pins on Pinterest  any article or information I have found on writing.  There is a plethora of information out that which at times can be overwhelming.  One particular article I read I found very interesting and helpful.  It was an article by Stephen King who is well know in the industry.  I thought I would share with you, because everything he says makes perfect sense to me and it might help someone else along the way.

1. Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible.

If you’re just starting out as a writer, your television should be the first thing to go. It’s “poisonous to creativity,” he says. Writers need to look into themselves and turn toward the life of the imagination.

To do so, they should read as much as they can. King takes a book with him everywhere he goes, and even reads during meals. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” he says. Read widely, and constantly work to refine and redefine your own work as you do so.

2. Prepare for more failure and criticism than you think you can deal with.

King compares writing fiction to crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub, because in both, “there’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.” Not only will you doubt yourself, but other people will doubt you, too. “If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all,” writes King.

Oftentimes, you have to continue writing even when you don’t feel like it. “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea,” he writes. And when you fail, King suggests that you remain positive. “Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”

3. Don’t waste time trying to please people.

According to King, rudeness should be the least of your concerns. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway,” he writes. King used to be ashamed of what he wrote, especially after receiving angry letters accusing him of being bigoted, homophobic, murderous, and even psychopathic.

By the age of 40, he realized that every decent writer has been accused of being a waste of talent. King has definitely come to terms with it. He writes, “If you disapprove, I can only shrug my shoulders. It’s what I have.” You can’t please all of your readers all the time, so King advises that you stop worrying.

4. Write primarily for yourself.

You should write because it brings you happiness and fulfillment. As King says, “I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

Writer Kurt Vonnegut provides a similar insight: “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about,” he says. “It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”

5. Tackle the things that are hardest to write.

“The most important things are the hardest things to say,” writes King. “They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings.” Most great pieces of writing are preceded with hours of thought. In King’s mind, “Writing is refined thinking.”

When tackling difficult issues, make sure you dig deeply. King says, “Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground … Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world.” Writers should be like archaeologists, excavating for as much of the story as they can find.

6. When writing, disconnect from the rest of the world.

Writing should be a fully intimate activity. Put your desk in the corner of the room, and eliminate all possible distractions, from phones to open windows. King advises, “Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open.”

You should maintain total privacy between you and your work. Writing a first draft is “completely raw, the sort of thing I feel free to do with the door shut — it’s the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts.”

7. Don’t be pretentious.

“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones,” says King. He compares this mistake to dressing up a household pet in evening clothes — both the pet and the owner are embarrassed, because it’s completely excessive.

As iconic businessman David Ogilvy writes in a memo to his employees, “Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.” Furthermore, don’t use symbols unless necessary. “Symbolism exists to adorn and enrich, not to create an artificial sense of profundity,” writes King.

8. Avoid adverbs and long paragraphs.

As King emphasizes several times in his memoir, “the adverb is not your friend.” In fact, he believes that “the road to hell is paved with adverbs” and compares them to dandelions that ruin your lawn. Adverbs are worst after “he said” and “she said” — those phrases are best left unadorned.

You should also pay attention to your paragraphs, so that they flow with the turns and rhythms of your story. “Paragraphs are almost always as important for how they look as for what they say,” says King.

9. Don’t get overly caught up in grammar.

According to King, writing is primarily about seduction, not precision. “Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes,” writes King. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.” You should strive to make the reader forget that he or she is reading a story at all.

10. Master the art of description.

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s,” writes King. The important part isn’t writing enough, but limiting how much you say. Visualize what you want your reader to experience, and then translate what you see in your mind into words on the page. You need to describe things “in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition,” he says.

The key to good description is clarity, both in observation and in writing. Use fresh images and simple vocabulary to avoid exhausting your reader. “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling,” notes King.

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