Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I realize that it's a couple days late, but I still wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Hope you are having as wonderful of a time as I am!

I am thoroughly enjoying this holiday time with my family. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays...and it's especially been exciting this year watching my son (who is now 2 and 1/2 years old) experience this holiday season. This year he seems to have a much better grasp of what is going on, and it's been really fun sharing these special moments with him and my daughter. My daughter is about 16 months at this point and even though she doesn't fully understand everything that's happening, she is definitely having fun, too.

Anyway, I vowed that I was going to stay away from my computer for this whole Christmas break, but I figured that a quick blog post never hurt anyone. :) I'd better get back to my munchkins before they come searching for me. Again, I wish you all a very joyful holiday season!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Julie & Julia

I just finished watching the movie "Julie & Julia"...and I really liked it! Definitely recommend it!

But, in addition to finding the movie quite enjoyable, I also found it extremely thought-provoking. Or should I say emotion-provoking (I realize that's not a word). What I mean is: the movie made me feel both inspired...and somewhat discouraged at the same time.

I'm not really sure why.

As soon as the movie ended, I sat at my desk, looked up the author (of the book that the movie was based upon), and tried to figure out what the reason was for my mixed emotions that resulted from seeing this story. Finally, after not coming to any real conclusion, I decided to blog about it and see if I could gain any insight in this way.

Perhaps the inspiration was in seeing two women who were trying to find their place in the world...and who committed to something that would help them do just that. And then watching how sticking to that commitment required a lot of hard work and dedication...and eventually paid off.

But why the slightly negative, somewhat discouraged feeling? What's the reason behind that one?

Not sure. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm still kind of at the beginning of my journey...I still have a lot of hard work and dedication ahead of me. But if that's the problem, at least I have the possibility of someday experiencing that amazing sense of accomplishment that accompanies the achievement of a hard-earned goal..just like Julie Powell and Julia Child experienced.

I guess this is a situation where I should just focus my thoughts and energy on the inspirational aspect...because I have to admit, it's pretty awesome to see the realization of someone's dreams...and know that it actually happened!

One thing that I can definitely take away from the movie is the importance of setting a specific goal for myself, setting a deadline, and then committing to the achievement of that goal.

Well, it's getting late and I've got a busy day tomorrow, so I'd better head to bed. Like I said, the movie was very thought-provoking for me.

Have any of you seen "Julie & Julia"?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Learn How To Write (And Sell!) Essays

I've been extremely busy (when am I not?), but wanted to make sure that I posted this information for you...

Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell (aka "The Renegade Writers") recently began hosting a series of free teleclasses. So far, I have been able to "attend" both of them, and have really learned a lot from them. (I'm not positive, but I think you can find links to recordings of the teleclasses on their blog.) In addition to learning a great deal from the teleclasses, I have also found them to be very inspiring and enjoyable.

(By the way, if you have not already checked out their blog - The Renegade Writer Blog - I highly recommend that you do so. There is a wealth of information available in their archives, and the blog is constantly updated with new and helpful information.)

The next teleclass they are offering is "Amy Paturel's Teleclass Secrets to Essays That Sell." The class will be held on the evening of December 15th. Check out the Renegade Writer Blog for all the details. Hopefully, I'll "see" you there! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Freelance Writers Don't Get "Sick Days"

Well, the Thanksgiving holiday came and passed...and I am officially exhausted!

Don't get me wrong - I had a wonderful time with my family and's just that there was a lot of catch-up work to do once it was over. On top of that, my children have caught yet another virus, and have been running fevers and throwing up. And of course, they didn't both get sick at the same time - first, my son started complaining that he didn't feel well a few days ago, and then my daughter's just really kicked in last night. So I have a feeling that this is going to get dragged out for the rest of the week. This has definitely been a crazy flu season around here for us...the worst yet, in fact. Hopefully, we'll be done with all this sickness soon!

In short, my computer time has been quite limited as I've had plenty of laundry to wash (due to non-stop vomiting by people that are too small to understand the concept of leaning over a toilet), soup to make, and sad, uncomfortable little munchkins to tend to. These are the times when freelancing can be tough because I don't have the option of a "sick day" from work. I have deadlines, and clients who are relying on me to meet those deadlines.

Another downside of not having "sick time" as a freelancer is the fact that during weeks like this when both of my munchkins are sick, I spend most of my time taking care of them, and any spare time after that is used to complete assignments...which leaves little or no time to spend on marketing (finding new markets for my work, sending out LOI's, writing queries, networking, etc.). And when I don't spend time marketing, I don't have as much work coming in, which will definitely be reflected in my earnings in the months to come.

Although I have to say that despite these disadvantages of freelancing, I wouldn't give it up for anything. In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the few downsides of this business. The simple fact that I get to spend my days at home with my kids is enough to convince me that this is the life for me.

I would love to hear how you manage to get your work done when you have sick kids at home. Do you just do the bare minimum of meeting deadlines as I do or are you able to squeeze some marketing in, too?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful holiday. :)

This is one huge benefit of being self-employed - having the ability to just take the rest of the week enjoy that hard-earned opportunity.

See you next week!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Busy Week Ahead


Hope you all had a relaxing weekend. Mine was absolutely wonderful - full of enjoyable moments playing with my kids and hanging out with my hubby. It even started to feel "holiday-ish." :) Down here in southern California, we don't usually get much of a winter. Thus, it was very exciting when we had a big drop in temperature...we even were able to light up our fireplace. In a nutshell, my weekend was almost magical, with firewood crackling in the living room, Christmas movies constantly running, much dancing with my munchkins, and even a few quiet moments of reading by the fire. :)

Just checking in to let you know that my week is already packed full of things to do even though it's barely begun. On top of several deadlines keeping me busy, I am taking an eight hour drive with Hubby and the kids to go to a very dear relative's funeral. Did I mention that we're going mid-week? Needless to say, there's a lot to be done, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to manage it all. (Maybe I'll glean some great productivity tips out of this frenzied week. :)

I had some great post ideas planned for this week, but I just might have to put them on hold until at least the weekend. Anyway, I hope that you all have a productive and rewarding week!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Job Boards

Do you ever search writing job boards for work?

It's become part of my regular routine now. But I have to admit that I've been getting somewhat frustrated with it, lately, since most of the jobs that I hear back from don't really sound legitimate or the pay is ridiculously low.

In fact, I decided yesterday that maybe I was wasting too much time on something that never really seems to pay off, so I decided that I was not going to check out any job boards today.

Well, lo and behold, when I checked my email this morning, I had a perfect and well-paying gig (that I had found on a job board) just waiting for me!

Anyway, moral of the story: Never say never.

Although, I do think that it's important to keep track of how much time you actually spend searching for work on the job boards, and then how many gigs you actually get out of the deal. Doing so will help you in determining whether it's a good investment of your time.

If you do find it worth your time to look through job boards for work, here are two that I recommend:

1) Deb Ng's Freelance Writing Jobs Network
2) Anne Wayman's About Freelance Writing

I'd love to hear your thoughts on finding work through job boards. :) Do you think it's a worthwhile venture? If so, how much time do you spend searching?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finding a Balance

It's already ten days into NaNo, so I'm sure that some of you have been typing away and are now seeing some great results. I'm jealous. I sooo wanted to participate in NaNo this year, but when I actually sat down and figured out my time, I decided that I should wait until next year, especially because Hubby and I are reallly trying to save up for a house right now. In this effort, I have been scouring the job boards and attempting to focus more on copywriting to bring in the extra income. So far, so good.

The only downside is that I've been spending so much time working that I haven't had nearly enough time for my kids. It can definitely get hard trying to find that balance between work helping your family and then work actually taking away from your family. Oh well, I guess that's the life of a freelancer, I suppose.

Anyway, long story short: I didn't do NaNo this year, due to time constraints. I'm sure it's an amazingly difficult, fun, and rewarding experience, and I can't wait to join in next year! How is it coming along for all of you?

(By the way, I've let all this extra work get in the way of blogging and tweeting. So I am determined to work out a better schedule - even if it means having to cut out a little of the extra work - so I will see you all again soon. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Hi All!

The last few weeks have been so hectic around my home that I haven't really been able to squeeze in any time to twitter or blog...

but I'm thinking about doing something really crazy.

I'm considering signing up for NaNoWriMo!

This sounds crazy, I know. But I think that it just might help me to find some steam and get rolling with my bigger writing projects.

I also figure that if I can get into a good habit of writing for a specific amount of time every day in November, then hopefully I can continue that habit long after the craziness of NaNoWriMo subsides.

My main concern is that I will spread myself too thin by attempting such an enormous feat. At the same, though, I think that it could be the exact outlet that I need. No to mention, that it would be great practice at setting and reaching writing goals.

Anyway, I'm still not positive whether I'm going to do it, but I will definitely let you know if I sign up.

How about you - are any of you thinking about signing up for NaNoWriMo?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sick, Tired, and Writing

Hey Fellow Writers!

I'm just making a quick stop by my blog to let you know that a nasty cold has taken my house (and most of its' occupants) by storm. Coughs, runny noses, fevers, headaches, and stomach aches are currently plaguing me and my children. Hubby somehow avoided it. Go figure!

(Just a side note: have you noticed that mom's NEVER get sick days? Sure, we might get sick all right, but we don't get to stay in bed all day with someone serving us soup and hot tea. Instead, we're up at the crack of dawn, changing diapers, and doing all that's involved in caring for munchkins. Not that I'm complaining...just thought it might be good to hear that there are others in the same boat.)

Anyway, we've been downing lots of water, juice, and soup. At first, I was trying to just wait it out, but have now decided to schedule doctor appointments for us all, in order to kick this thing with some antibiotics. So, hopefully, we'll push this nasty thing out of our house by the end of the weekend. (I figure if I stay optimistic about it, there could be a chance that it will actually happen.)

So, now that I've shared the yucky details of this week in my life, I will say that one good thing is that I've still managed to get some writing done. Not as much as I would like to, but still a good amount. I submitted a few articles, followed up on some submissions, and caught up on my emails. I think I'm going to take tomorrow and the weekend off, though. Some rest and relaxation might be just what's needed in my household right now.

Hope you all are not catching any of these colds that are making their way around! If so, you have my sympathy. When you or your family members get sick, do you keep up your writing? If you do, could you share any tips on how you manage it all?

Have a good weekend...and stay healthy. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time To Write

In light of my recent posts about finding time to write, I thought I would share this awesome quote that I just read over at Erika Liodice's awesome blog, Beyond the Gray:

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

-H. Jackson Brown, Jr., best-selling author of Life’s Little Instruction Book

Saturday, September 26, 2009

10 Minutes of Writing Significantly Increases Productivity

I've been trying to sneak in an extra ten minutes of writing every day...and am very pleased with my results. Even with a measly little ten minutes out of my day, I have the possibility to start preparing the bones of an article or essay, add a scene to my screenplay, prepare a revised version of a rough draft of an article, or even just write a cover letter for a WIP.

The one downside that I've encountered in this endeavor is that I have to give up doing something else in order to have those additional ten minutes for writing. This means that I've missed out on participating in the giveaway on the WM blog for a couple days, have not done much tweeting in the last few days, and have had limited FB time.

While I know that tweeting less and giving up FB for awhile could actually be really helpful in increasing my productivity, I really enjoy participating in the WM back to school giveaway and hate to give it up. (Not to mention, that I've learned A LOT through participating, and have stumbled across some awesome blogs that I'm now following.)


I've decided that it's as simple as this: Get up 10 minutes earlier.

Backup plan (in case I hit the snooze button): Give up Facebook that day.

Problem Solved....Ta Da!!!

Have I mentioned that I am NOT a morning person? But even I know that getting up 10 minutes earlier than usual won't kill me. And knowing that it will significantly increase the amount of work I finish each day provides me with the motivation that I think I'll need to roll out of bed.

That sounds reasonable, don't ya think? I'm going to start on Monday, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Best of luck in achieving your writing goals for the week!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A 10-Minute Daily Dose of Writing

After choosing the title for yesterday's post, I thought about how much time I actually spend NOT-WRITING...even when I am sitting at my desk during periods of scheduled "writing time."

Then I read this article, which got me thinking...

I realize that much of my work time is spent handling the various aspects of my job as a freelance writer (including: market research, networking, and administrative aspects, to name a few), with very little time left over for writing.

So what would happen if I set aside just a little more time (even if only 10 min) for actual writing each day?

Just guessing here, but I would almost bet that my daily word count would shoot through the roof.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to add an extra ten minutes to my scheduled writing time, and make sure that I actually write during those ten minutes...and just see what happens.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Time to Write

Life has thrown some unexpected twists in my path recently. Some small and some far too big (and scary) for my liking.

The biggest thing is that my mom has been in and out of the hospital for the last ten days. When we initially took her in, she was on the verge of having a heart attack. Fortunately, we got her there in time, and a heart attack was avoided. Nonetheless, this has been a scary and difficult experience (especially after having lost my dad just five years ago). I am not ready to lose another parent.

I am exhausted beyond belief, so I'm going to make this brief and call it a night. Obviously, with my mom's present state of health, my writing has been put on the back burner. But as soon I get back into the swing of things, I'll be in touch....probably in a few days. I just wanted to check in with everybody and let you know what I have been up to. See you soon!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When the Muse Disappears

The long weekend was a welcome break to get some rest, have fun, and spend some quality time with family. It sure went by quickly, though! Now it's back to work...but I'm having a slight problem.

I. Can't. Focus. At. All. (A few days away from work, and my brain has already turned to mush.)

So what to do?

Well, it's simple really. I am a I need to sit down and write.

Since I was thinking about this and struggling with it right now, I thought I'd share my tips (for staying motivated) with you.

Sure, it may be a little difficult to start, but usually getting started is the hardest part. Just sit down and put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

Sometimes it helps to try mixing it up a bit - work on an article that I find really interesting, or conduct an interview, or even follow up on submissions. Or maybe write a blog post. :)

If that doesn't work, try taking a ten minute break, and play with the kids. Be completely in the moment and totally focus on them. Then, go back to work. Usually, a quick break leaves me feeling refreshed and sometimes even sparks some new ideas.

Another option (that almost never fails) is to get up and stretch for a few minutes. Take a quick walk or even do some jumping jacks to really wake up and get your blood moving.

Healthy snacking also helps me to stay energized. As a chocoholic, it is SO difficult for me not to gorge myself on unhealthy food choices, but I notice a huge difference (in my ability to stay awake, stay focused and write as well as in my productivity) when I incorporate more whole grains, fruits, and veggies into my diet.

Lastly, but quite importantly, drink plenty of water. Becoming dehydrated can make you extremely tired and can make it difficult for you to focus. I keep a water bottle on my desk at all times, and make sure that I get in at least eight cups of water every day.

Well, I have an article to finish (one that I've been putting off for far too long!), so I'd better get back to work now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Living a Life Full of Miracles

I subscribe to C. Hope Clark's Funds for Writer's Newsletter (which I highly recommend!). This quote is in the current issue, and I just thought it was so good that I had to share it:

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as
though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though
everything is a miracle."

-- Albert Einstein

As a mother and as a writer, this rings too true!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Operation Potty Project

Just checking in to say that I'm still here. I haven't had much spare time in the last week because I'm in the process of potty training my 27 month old son, which has been tough and not very successful.

However, I have been making time to participate in the Writer Mama back to school giveaway. I participated in it last year, and learned so much from it. Also, it's a great opportunity to meet other writer mamas. I've stumbled across some awesome blogs and websites through the giveaway. So if you're not already participating, you should definitely check it out!

I will try to get back to posting soon, but until then you should be able to find me at the Writer Mama Riffs. See you there!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Participate in the WM Back To School Giveaway

For the third year in a row, The Writer Mama, Christina Katz, is giving away thirty books in thirty days. All you have to do to participate is answer the question that Christina will pose daily. One lucky winner will win each day. There is no limit to how many times you can enter. The drawing is for U.S. residents. You don’t have to be a mom, but of course, the event is created with moms in mind, so please tell all the writer mamas you know! See ya in September at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored."

Earl Nightingale
1921-1989, Author and Radio Announcer

Friday, August 14, 2009

Write Often = Write Well

Just read an interesting "tweet" on twitter that I thought was worth posting:

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.
RAY BRADBURY@advicetowriters

Good advice! I think there should always be more of a focus on quality than on quantity, but I think that it is very true that the more you write, the better you will write.

For this reason, I recently decided that, no matter what happened in my day (pending a real life or death emergency), I will always write at least 500 words each day. (I realize that 500 words is pitiful, but I figured that if I set a small goal, I might actually stick with it.) Since deciding this, I have seen some real benefits, especially because once I get started, it's pretty easy to keep going.

I must now get back to work, but will you leave you with a final thought.

If you want to be a good writer, you have to write. A lot. And often. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Growing Up

Yesterday I celebrated my baby girl's first birthday.

My husband and I planned a small party at home with a few friends and relatives. Everyone had a fun time, especially Baby Girl. Actually, to be perfectly honest, my 27-month old son probably enjoyed it the most. He was adorable, wearing a party hat, singing "Happy, Happy, Happy Birfday" to his sister, helping her blow out her candle, and assisting in opening her gifts. It was a perfect day.

But it was the craziest thing...looking at my baby (who was sitting in her highchair with cake all over her face and smiling a big, toothy grin), I felt overwhelmed for a moment. I was feelings of gratitude for being blessed with my beautiful little girl, sadness that all her grandparents weren't there for her first birthday (hubby's parents couldn't make it, and my dad passed away several years ago), and a little bit of fear - fear that time is going by too quickly.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but for a moment, I truly did feel afraid and a little sad. I don't want time to go by so quickly. These are such precious moments, and I don't want them to go away.

But then, I got hold of myself and realized a few things. I realized that I had felt that same fear before. I had felt it on my son's first birthday, too. On his birthday, I had wished that time could just stand still and I could live in that moment forever.

I now realize, though, that if that wish had come true, I would not be celebrating with my precious daughter...because she would never had been born. And I wouldn't give her up for anything in the world.

So, I guess the only thing to do is to cherish every moment that I get with my babies...because time does go by quickly, and if I waste time wishing to stay in one particular moment, then I would miss out on many more precious moments to come.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Productive Writing

Yesterday I learned an important lesson. Let me spell it out for you: P.R.O.D.U.C.T.I.V.I.T.Y.

Yes, I learned about the importance of productivity. Bear with me for a moment and I'll fill you in on what happened. My family and I were house-sitting for a relative recently, and were kind of on a mini-vacation. It was great - totally relaxing and just what we needed. But then we came home, and it all kind of hit me at once - all the writing projects that I left behind for the week, my husband's homework had piled up (he's currently in a Master's program), as well as laundry, cleaning, yard work, etc. Trying not to get overwhelmed, I created a To Do list, and then proceeded to tackle each item on the list in order of importance.

The good thing is that I did get a lot done. The not-so-good part about it is that I felt bad for not spending much quality time with my children. In fact, I confess to allowing too much TV time for my munchkins while I tapped away at the keyboard yesterday. Usually, I schedule my writing projects for the kids nap times or after they're tucked into bed at night. When the occasional crunch time arrives and I absolutely have to work when they're up, my hubby earns his Father-of-the-Year award by handling EVERYTHING, including cooking, cleaning, and playing with the kids...mind you, this is after he comes home from a long day's work.

Unfortunately, it was crunch time for me yesterday...but it was crunch time for hubby, too. He had two major assignments due by Monday morning. Long story short, we made it work by taking turns playing with the kids, and then getting Grandma to come babysit for a while.

So you're probably wondering what the point is of all this. Well, here it is: while I was furiously typing away on my keyboard, wishing that I was spending my Sunday afternoon laughing and playing with my son and daughter, it occurred to me that if I changed just a few things in my usual routine, I wouldn't have to be missing out on time with my kids. For example, spending just 10 minutes per day on Facebook takes up more than an hour of time every week. Knowing that I was going to be on a mini vacation and let my work build up, I could have planned ahead and cut out Facebook time during the previous week, which would have meant at least one hour less that I would have to spend working on my weekend.

This got me thinking, and I realized that latelyI have not been nearly as productive as I would like to be. So I came up with a few ways to help increase my productivity:

  • Only check Facebook once a day.
  • Only check email three times per day (morning, noon, and before I wrap things up in the evening.)
  • Set aside a specific amount of time for research, and stop when that time is up (this will prevent me from wasting time surfing the web when I already have the research I need to complete the article.)
  • Schedule "writing slots" in my day, and stick to them.
  • Start each writing slot by writing (not getting online, checking email, or researching.)
Today is my first day of implementing these productivity strategies, and so far it's working great. Do you have any tips for remaining as productive as possible in your work? I'd love to hear them!

By the way, check out this post over at The Renegade Writer Blog. It's all about the importance of productivity, and it lists some interesting productivity tricks that might work for you.

Well, my blogging time is up, so it's back to work for me now. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Working Writer

It's been awhile...

Don't think this means that I've been slacking off....on the contrary, I've been busting my chops! I have been writing like crazy, studying the craft of writing, setting up my website, researching potential markets, networking, submitting my work to regional parenting publications, searching online writing job boards, and applying for online writing jobs. I've been hustling like I've never hustled before!

And you know what? It's starting to pay off. I am learning ways to improve my writing. I'm getting into a better rhythm. I'm finding markets to which Ican sell my work. I'm making some great friends and finding a real support system. I'm actually getting published. Who ever would have thought that after all this hard work, I would actually get to reap the benefits?!

Granted, I'm nowhere near my target monthly income goals...but it's a start. And you gotta start somewhere, right? So I guess it's definitive now. I am a writer. Yay!

But the crazy thing is, now that I'm finally doing what I set out to do, I don't really get to take a break. Instead, I'm trying to figure out ways to work faster, get more done, and still find time to enjoy my days with my hubby and kids. In fact, that's been the hardest part, lately -deciding when to stop working and just have fun with them. I'm actually at the point now where I feel guilty if I'm working because I feel as though I'm losing out on precious time with my babies.

I just keep telling myself that it's not forever, that soon I will be established enough in my career that I won't have to spend SO much time away from my children. That's my goal - to make enough money from writing so that we have enough, but not so much that I lose out on time with my kids. After all, that's my whole motivation for all this hard work - to help take care of my family. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to write...but writing for fun and writing to bread on the table are two different things for me right now....because I could do fun writing in my spare time whereas I have to continually carve time out of my day to do work writing.

I now have to get back to a project, but just wanted to touch base (let you know that I'm still alive), and say that there's no doubt about it - I am officiallly a writer. :) Good luck to all you other writer mamas out there! One thing I have learned, lately, is to keep setting small goals for yourself, and before you know it, you will have accomplished great things and be one step closer to your destination.

By the way, if you get a chance, could you check out my website and let me know what you think? Thanks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

"How far you go in life depends on you being tender with
the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with
the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong.
Because some day in life you will have been all of these."
-- George Washington Carver

Monday, June 1, 2009

Living and Writing about it

A few days ago my husband came home from work looking quite downtrodden because someone at his work had jumped from their building. It's a large company, and my husband had never met this man who took his own life. But it didn't matter that he didn't actually know him. Maybe it was just the proximity, but the fact that he was in the same building with this man, who clearly needed help, upset him to no end. He could have walked past him that morning and not even known it. Maybe he could've smiled and asked him how his day was going. Could it have made a difference? Who knows? We never will.

But it really made us think about a few things.

First, we are very blessed to have our families, faith, and friends. Although things can seem pretty tough sometimes, we still know that we are very fortunate. Be grateful for all that we have.

Second, it is important to remember that our actions can affect others. Who knows if anyone could have done anything to help that man on that terrible day, but what if someone could have? Why not treat everyone as we would want to be treated? It's really not that hard to do. Sometimes it just takes a little more effort on our part, but at the end of the day, we're much happier when we can say that we did our best.

Third, don''t be afraid to tell people how important they are to you. Every now and then, just make to express your gratitude for somebody. It's as simple as saying, "thanks for being there for me," or "I love you," or "you're awesome, Dad." You never know the difference this could make in someone else's life.

I know this all has nothing to do with writing, but I thought it was so important that I had to share it anyway. Besides, isn't that part of being a writer - using words to express the important things in life and come to a greater understanding or deeper knowledge of them?

I will say one final thing. Seeing my husband's heartbroken look, pondering how that man's family must feel, imagining how he must have felt, all brought me to this realization:

Life is a gift; don't take it for granted.

Yours or anothers. It can be gone in an instant. Several years ago, my dad died, and I felt what it was like to lose someone you love. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced, but from that experience I learned that it really is important to live each day to the fullest. Don't let opportunities slip by because you might never have them again.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Working Away

It's been a while. Where shall I start?

Well, since I left off with my announcement of participating in the 2009 Script Frenzy event, I guess I'll pick up from there. Are you surprised to hear that I failed in my attempt to produce a full screenplay within the span of one month? I didn't think you would be.

But the good new is - I actually started to make some real headway with it. For the first time, I finally sat down and actually started typing, and before my eyes, a story began to play out. It was amazing! Really, I know that I sound like a nerd, but it was very exhilirating! I think I've found my calling.

It was so awesome to see my characters come to life, and to create a whole world for them. My only complaint is that the amount of time I have to spend working on it is so limited. Oh well, at least I've really begun the journey now. Hopefully, it won't take me too much longer to finish it.

One of my biggest time-killers lately has been some ghostwriting projects that I've been doing. I know that it's a good investment of my time, but it kind of stinks to spend so much time working on projects and not get a byline. Although, I suppose this is motivation to get a little more aggressive about sending out submissions so that I can build up a better portfolio.

In addition to working on the screenplay and ghostwriting, I also signed up for Jennifer Applin's Writing for the Web class. I'm now starting the third week of the class, and have already gained a lot of valuable information from it. I'm hoping that this class will really help me to reach my writing goals that much quicker. As always, I'll let you know how it goes. :)

In writing this, I'm realizing that I've been quite a busy beaver these days! Well, I guess that's a good sign...moving forward is good! I am now going to cut this short so that I can polish up an article and send it out. See ya soon!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Script Frenzy

Even though my profile states that I love movies, I don't think I have mentioned my fascination for screenwriting. I guess it makes sense, though, that a writer who loves films would be interested in screenwriting. I have actually been studying the art/craft of screenwriting for almost three years now, and have learned quite a lot. In fact, I've learned so much about screenwriting that I have kept myself from actually starting the writing process...because I am now afraid that my writing is not good enough to craft a decent screenplay.

The problem is: even if I'm not a great screenwriter, I still relish the thought of writing a screenplay. So...I've decided to give it a shot anyway. After all, I'll never know unless I try, right?

I am so determined in my screenwriting effort that I have joined Script Frenzy. Script Frenzy is a really awesome way to stay motivated in one's screenwriting efforts. The goal is to write 100 pages of a script within one month. It takes place every year, starting on April 1st. If any of you other writers join Script Frenzy, add me as a friend, okay? You'll find me as "writer-mama."

I suppose it's important to mention that from all I've learned about the screenwriting process, it's extremely unlikely that someone can do justice to a screenplay by scribbling something out within one month. However, I have put an enormous amount of research and thought into my screenplay, and think that I have reached the point where it is important to start writing. This is where Script Frenzy comes in because I think that even though quality work will not be turned out in a month, at least I will have something to work with. So after much ado, I am writing my first screenplay. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sleep-deprived Mama

My obvious sabbatical from blog posting reveals that other aspects of my life have held my pretty much undivided attention for a while now. While I wish that I could say I have been off on a carribean cruise or a family vacation, that is not the case. Instead, parenting has demanded my and night. So keep in mind as you continue reading that this is a sleep-deprived mother rambling about her sweet life...and try to cut me some slack, since my children haven't.

Okay, with that being said, I already feel a little better. Things have been pretty trying, though.
For example, within a span of two days my hubby's car broke down and our refrigerator ceased to work. There goes the tax return money that we were hoping to use to cushion our savings accounts. Oh goes on.

Did I mention that my 7-month old daughter is teething so bad that she is absolutely miserable...and can't relax enough to fall asleep? No naptime. No bedtime. Just me and hubby taking turns rocking my completely uncomfortable little princess.

Baby Girl isn't the only one having trouble sleeping though. Her 23-month old Big Brother has begun waking up about 4 or 5 times a night now. Unsure of what was causing these night-time wake-ups, I immediately scheduled a doctor's appointment. That's when the car died. Now, I have a car that does not run and a child that can't sleep.

I realize that I sound like a totally self-involved person that is just ranting about her problems. I guess that is exactly what I am doing. But in my defense, everything seems a lot harder to deal with when you are sleep-deprived.

Now is the time to say, though, that just as there are downs, there are also ups. Those sweet, wonderful ups. Baby Girl's two front teeth finally broke through. Not only is she back to her congenial, well-rested self, but she now has the most adorable toothy grin. My son has started sleeping much more like his normal routine again. Not completely back to normal, but it's getting there. (FYI, I'm still going to ask his pediatrician about his nighttime wake-ups, as a precaution). When I told my brother that our refrigerator no longer worked, he knew exactly how to fix it. Finally, when my friend heard about the car, he showed up the next day to "take a look at it." It works fine now. I will eventually have to buy a new starter, but it could've been much worse.

This just goes to show you that Life might throw some challenges in your path, but it also sends you just what you need to deal with them. My brother, my friend, my baby girl, and my little boy all helped me to realize that my problems really are quite small, and the wonderful people that I am so blessed to have in my life make the journey worthwhile.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stepping Back

Now that I have completed my first writing class, Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff, I had intended to write a post about it...but that's going to have to wait. At the moment, I probably couldn't do it justice because I just have so many other things on my mind. For now, I'll just say that it was a really great experience, and I highly recommend taking that class. But more on that later.

I have had A LOT going on in my personal life recently...and today it reached a climax. It all got to a point where things just seemed like they could not get any harder than they already were. So what did I do? I packed a diaper bag, grabbed some coats, and headed to Disneyland for the day with my hubby and kids. (We already have annual passes, so it didn't cost us anything to go today).

And you know something? It really helped! My mom always said that when things got rough, sometimes the best solution is just to take a step away from it all for a moment. I think that obviously this advice does not apply to every situation, but in some, it really does help you gain some clarity.

Just for the sake of doing so, I have to mention that I truly, truly love my family! And you know, when it comes down to it, I really don't have all that much to complain about. Because I have my incredibly wonderful family - the most incredible gifts that anyone could ever ask for!

I realize that this all sounds pretty random, but it's just stuff that I really need to get off my chest. I promise that tomorrow I will pick up my pen again and get back to "being a writer"...but for tonight, I just need to be a woman expressing herself through writing. Lately, I have been so focused on meeting deadlines and following a schedule, that I have kind of forgotten about writing just for the sake of doing it. In my case, this is a big mistake because writing has been an outlet for me since I was a little kid. Since I forgot about "just writing," so much has gotten bottled up inside, which is really a shame...because it could have provided inspiration, and I could have focused all that energy on more writing.

Anyway, taking a step back today did give me some insight...

There are things that I truly love in my life, and I cannot take them for granted. It's important to take the time to find enjoyment in daily life, whether it be family or work-related (a.k.a. writing).
Really living your life is the greatest inspiration for writing. So if I want to be a good writer, then I shouldn't always be at my desk. By the way, these are just a few things that I learned. Try taking a step back'll be surprised at what you see!

Monday, February 9, 2009

SO much to do!

Like always, life keeps going and I am running to catch up with it. For some reason, I just can't seem to get everything done the last few days. Laundry gets washed, but not folded. If I finally get around to folding it, there's not much likelihood of its making its way into the dresser drawers. This is just one small example. 

It just seems like so much is going on, there is no way to keep up! My husband is in the middle of possibly switching jobs, and that's a little nerve-wracking, especially with the way the economy is right now. Also, my baby sister just announced her engagement a few days ago! This one totally blew my mind - my little sister is getting October. Well, I think it's going to take a little while for that one to sink in. Don't get me wrong, both of these big, life-changing things could be very positive things, but they're still big. Sometimes I just need a little while to adjust, I think. Oh well, we're keeping our fingers crossed about the job switch and we're excited about the upcoming wedding. 

With all of this going on, you would think that I would have more than enough material to write about...but for some reason, writing has been particularly hard for me this week. Maybe it's just all the rain. When it pours down here in SoCal like this, I always just want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. Maybe I'll get better about substituting my book for a notebook, and start enjoying my writing a little more. Who could happen. Actually, some days I really love writing...I think I've just been in a lazy mood, lately. 

With this being said, though, I still have been meeting my deadlines with my WPSS writing class. I have been learning so much from it, and am still really enjoying it! This week I have been working on my first How-To article. I will post more on that later, though. Well, it's back to the laundry for me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting in the Way

Hectic as things have been around here, I am proud to say that I have actually continued working ahead with my writing! In fact, I have written my first list article, and if I do say so myself, I think it's not bad at all. 

Although, I have to admit that I have noticed a way of thinking and acting that has been holding me back: I start something, realize that it's not as good as it could/should be, and decide that I can't move on until I perfect it. When that happens, I usually end up frustrated because it never seems to reach the level of perfection that I am aiming for. I realize that I just have to keep on writing and cannot stay working on that one piece forever...after all, practice makes perfect. I know that the more I continue to write, the better I will get at it...but it sure is frustrating sometimes. Anyway, it was good that I noticed this recurring pattern because now I have at least acknowledged the fact that I am holding myself back by doing that, and I now have the opportunity to get over it, and keep moving forward. 

In addition to my enlightening moment of self-realization, this past week has been extremely every way. Both of my babies are sick...the worst they've ever been. On top of that, my husband and I have also been sick, which means that when I'm up all night with uncomfortable, coughing, sneezing, crying munchkins, I am also coughing, sneezing, and sometimes feel like crying. But I am relieved that they are finally starting to look a little better (a week later!) Hopefully, the end is in sight! 

All in all, I think this has been a good week for me. It's kind of funny, but it seems like the more I do, the more I can do. Sounds ridiculous, I know. But what I mean is that some days go by where I feel as though simply playing with the kids and getting meals on the table is all that I am capable of. But then there's days where I am determined to do that and get the laundry done, pay the bills, and finish some writing projects...once I make that decision, suddenly I get everything done and more! Not always - believe me, there are days when I definitely fall short. But sometimes...and those days are really great!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Start Writing Tips

So I am now in my second week of the Writer Mama's WPSS class.  Everything is going well. I think that Christina Katz is a great writing teacher and am just so excited that I am able to take one of her classes. She makes everything so do-able, providing practical steps to success as a freelance writer...and in my case, as a work-from-home mom. 

Last week, I learned about writing tips. They're quick, short, and really quite easy to write. So I can proudly state that I have now written and submitted my first tip to Parents magazine. Whether or not they accept it is a different story, but I am nonetheless quite proud of my small success. 

Also, I have to mention that while some magazines pay for tips, some do not. I know that Parents has previously paid $25 for tips, but in the most recent issue, it does not mention the $25 payment. So...if and when I find out whether they are still paying for tips, I will let you know. 

If you want to learn more about tip writing, just study a recent issue (and a few back issues, if possible) of some of your favorite magazines (or any magazines that you are interested in writing for). Study the style, tone, length, and subject matter of the tips, and then try drafting some of your own. Make sure to write the tip to fit the magazine. After writing your tip, try submitting. You just might get a call or email from an editor. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, at least. 

One great source for learning more about tip writing is Christina's book, Writer Mama.  

Good luck with tip writing! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Still Here

Hiya Writer Mamas!

I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here...I've been working away and will soon post an update on my progress. I think that taking this writing class was exactly the motivation that I needed to finally start submitting! I can now say that I highly recommend taking a writing class to any aspiring writers.  Well, back to my homework.  I'll be in touch!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Taking A Writing Class

Things have been so hectic around here that I haven't actually taken the time to just stop and think about my progress from last year, let alone set goals for this new year. I will do that soon, though. Just not yet.

I have decided, though, to take a writing class - something that I think will be extremely beneficial for my writing career. I have been wanting to take the class for a while now, but have only hesitated because of the cost and because I wanted to make sure that I took it at the most opportune time. 

I have begun to realize that the perfect time will never come because life just seems to get busier by the day. And as for the cost, I did have to budget and save for a while, but I'm sure that it will be well worth it. 

My first class begins tomorrow and I am SO excited to begin! Christina Katz, the author of Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal, teaches the class via email. I have learned so much just from reading her book, Writer Mama, that I can't wait to see how much more I can learn from taking her class. 

The class is called Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff (for Moms). From what I gather, Christina focuses on teaching the basics of writing "short and sweet." This sets a good basis for any type of writing that I may want to pursue in the future.  The way I see it, if I can start small then maybe I can finish big.  So for now, I am beginning this new year with anticipation, looking forward to seeing how this step will help me advance on my journey as a writer mama. Wish me luck! I'll post updates on my progress in the class. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year

I'm only two weeks late in wishing everyone a Happy New Year! The holidays had me so busy, and then the holiday aftermath (i.e., taking down the tree and decorations, cleaning after all the relatives went home, etc.) was enough to keep me occupied for the last week and a half.

Have you noticed that kids make the holidays so exciting...and busy, hectic, a little stressful?! Not to complain, but just getting ready to go to our family's annual Christmas Eve party was a whole feat in itself - we showed up more than two hours late! While saying this, I have to mention that last Christmas was SO amazing because we had our son to share it with...and this Christmas was even more amazing since we had both our son and our daughter to share in the joy of the holiday! 

I do think it only fair though, to say that the whole holiday experience is SO different when you have kids than it was before them. In all honesty, children, or in my case, a toddler and a baby, make the holiday experience so meaningful and just plain wonderful that I wouldn't dream of having it any other way. BUT believe me when I say that it is with a small sigh of relief that I put away the last of the Christmas decorations. 

Now that the holidays have come to a close, I have decided it is time to hit the ground running and get back to work. Good luck as we embark on the journey of this new year!