I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Friday, October 30, 2009

Visualeyes 2

If you had the choice between pouring over a bus schedule for departure times to coordinate your errands for the day or jumping into a car and driving to do the errands, which would you pick? That's a no-brainer, right? I've got to say that even though I know I need to perfect my bus/train skills, I still find myself jumping into the car. There's a voice in my head that says, "Hey what are you doing? You shouldn't be driving!" but another voice, the one that likes to rationalize things and make excuses for why it's okay to do something, says: "But you can't carry this furniture and all this other stuff to Goodwill by going on the bus. So just make this quick trip, using side streets, not the expressway, and it will be alright." It makes sense to me. Yeah, right.

The problem is I could rationalize just about anything as a way to use the car because letting go of it is really hard. Harder than I imagined and I was imagining it to be pretty awful. I realized I wasn't handling this transition well after I bought 2 bags of Halloween candy [no kids in my complex and never had a treater in 15 years living here] and ate it all.  Not in one day of course, but it sure didn't help the blood sugar any.)  Hmmm... sounds like a touch of depression to me. Funny how that can creep up on you.

So what should I do about this? I can't change the fact that the driving needs to stop. But I can change the temptation of having the car calling to me. I have to get rid of my car. Geez, the idea of that makes me shudder yet I know myself well enough that eliminating temptation isn't a gradual thing. I just have to make a complete break. Oh-oh, there goes that voice in my head pleading, "No, you haven't been without a car of your own for over 30 years!" [Now before you start calculating and thinking I can't add correctly you should know that I got my first car at age 21.]  I have a nephew going off to college next year and I thought I could give him my car. My sister and I planned to drive the car up to Massachusetts in June when her kids were out of school. That means the temptation sits in front of me for 8 months. I now know that I can't face it that long. Since my sister can't come get the car now and there is always the possibility of driving through snow once you pass October and head to the North, I started exploring auto carriers. That's worth a blog post of its own! Then to add temptation of a different sort, a friend told me that she and her husband would like to buy my car because it is newerthan hers and has less miles. That would solve the problem of transporting the car and get it out of my sight. But I did offer to family first. A dilemma that I have to mull over. Care to share your thoughts with me on what you would do?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Write From the Soul 2

Writing, by its nature, is a solitary endeavor. Yes, we share our words with others, either for critiquing purposes or to tell them a story, but the bottom line is we tend to write in isolation. I don't know about you but for me, too much of that isolation leaves me uncertain sometimes, about the quality of my work. That's why being in several writing groups is important to me. First, I have my local writers' group. We are all very different people and yet those differences are exactly what make us work well together. We all start from a unique mind set and our perspective shapes our view of each others' stories. So differences = wonderful creative insight. My other writers' group has even more diversity. We live in all over the world. This, obviously, is an online group. The group ranges from picture books authors to young adult/teen authors, from college students to those with families/kids and to retirees. I'm finding that our cultural differences shape our perspectives on writing as well. Mostly, I find that all the members in both groups become a fabulous support network; encouraging more and better writing, celebrating achievements large and small, and being an extended family of sorts, to help face life's challenges. (And my life tends to be full of challenges so I'll take all the support I can get!)

In keeping with the theme of "support networks" I'd like to give a few thank you shout outs. Thank you to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators http://www.scbwi.org/ or "Skib-wee" as I call it. It's the friendliest, most giving organization and group of colleagues one could ever have. The web site offers a wealth of information and  is a must-know-about for children book authors. Thanks also go to the regional chapter of SCBWI called "Southern Breeze" spearheaded by Donna Bowman and Jo Kittinger. Sometimes local chapters of an organization pale in comparison. Not Southern Breeze! Each state is divided into sections with local people to contact about events, meetings etc. Emails are always answered promptly and the information is accurate. It's like having a human search engine at your fingertips! So thank you also to the local contact people who help keep us informed. If you live in GA, MS, AL check out their site http://www.southern-breeze.org/
The last part of the support network has to be the many fantastic blogs that are available for all to read. I can't even begin to tell you all the tips and "how-tos" I've picked up from bloggers. My favorite to date is Shelli Johannes-Wells and "Market My Words" at http://www.faeriality.blogspot.com/. Shelli is full of personality and shares great marketing ideas. (For those of us who find marketing has a B-I-G learning curve, Shelli's advice is unparalleled.) Can you tell I'm a fan! Whatever your interest, there's at least one blog out there you can read. Go find it and enjoy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Visualeyes 1

This week has been challenging yet successful. I ventured out on the MARTA bus and train- with an encouraging friend- to see if I could make it to several doctors' offices all located in the same medical center. Amazingly I did!. The only down side was the amount of time it took. If I drove there, it would take 15-20 mins. Between waiting for buses, then the train, walking from the train station over to the actual building...90 mins. It was a smack-you-in-the-face reminder that going places will probably require 3x the amount of time. [heavy sigh...] I've always been a multitasker. Well you had to be when you taught 25-30 young children.And it wasn't uncommon for me to plan out 6 errands in one trip and then remember 2 more that could be added on. That time is done. While my planning skills will still be useful, they will now spread the activities over days because there's just not enough daylight hours this time of year for me to pack in the errands and have to wait for buses or trains.

I should be glad I don't have to rush around anymore. After all, I AM retired. Nah. The reality is that I'm not that former Type A personality because I can't be, not because I chose to be. I want to open the window and scream "It's not fair! I don't want to give up my independence!" (I know, shades of the movie Network.) But who said life is fair? And for that matter, who said I had to give up my independence? Yes, I can no longer be SPONTANEOUSLY independent; now I have to plan my activities. But if I'm still designing and selling my jewelry, still doing my grocery shopping, still going to work out, still writing my books, still meeting friends for lunch or dinner, am I any less independent? Hell no!! So the trick is to change my mind set, to accept that planned independence is as good as spontaneous independence. Yeah, that's a work in progress. But being the stubborn woman that I am, I'll get there. (Sooner rather than later, I hope!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Write From the Soul 1

Okay, so I'm a day late for my Tuesday post!
Do you ever have those days when you have several story ideas percolating at once but you don't know which one to work on first? If you try to work a little bit on each one, there's no cohesiveness and you, well I, feel scattered. But choosing just one to work on feels like picking one of your children to get all  the attention. So unfair! As a result, none of the stories get your full attention. What a waste :-) So there you have the reason I missed my Tuesday post date; all the "story children" were vying for my attention, I was trying to accommodate them all, and then it was Wednesday! I think I'll just throw their working titles in a hat and pick one. Anyone have a better idea?