Monthly Archives: February 2013

I Gained An Hour and a New Writing Resource

I admit to a bit of jealousy. Every two weeks, I’ve been phone conferencing collaborators on a writing project. Every two weeks I get the glowing report of warm California days and milder Virginia weather. My Minnesotan toes go cold just hearing about their sinful temps.

After all, it’s hard to brag when area schools are closing down due to dangerous wind chills and events are being postponed to allow blizzards to move through.

However, a bit of research this morning made me one happy writer. Because our project is set in a different state, I have been gathering as much info about my setting as possible. Temps. Cost of living. Demographics concerning religion, ethnicity and education. What’s the geography in NE Missouri? Yeah, that’s right. Missouri.

I know what you’re thinking: it doesn’t make a lot of sense for people living in Sunny California, Historic Virginia or Rural Minnesota to place a main character dead center between them. But we did. And so research, I must.

In doing so, I found the most amazing website for writers. Maybe I live in a hole and timeanddate.com is as well-known as a keyboard to most of you, but for me, the wealth of info found there instantly relegated the website to my faves.

If you’ve not seen it, heard of it or used it, I suggest you check it out. At least if you’re writing about–or traveling to–a place far, far away from where you eat, breathe and live. It will put things like sunset into perspective.

Because of timeanddate.com, the green glow of jealousy has receded slightly. After all, I discovered that I have far more summer to enjoy than my California counterparts.

The sun sets on those poor souls at 8:08pm. I, on the other hand, get to bask in daylight until 9:12, thus relishing one hour and twenty-four seconds more sun on June 21st than they.

Somehow, I picture myself relaxing in my poolside garden, surrounded by my family and sipping a cocktail as I bank those precious moments against forty below wind chills and 4:53 winter sunsets.

What would you do with an extra hour? What other  resources are must faves for penning settings outside your traditional stomping grounds?

Curious minds want to know.

Writing Is Exactly Like Heart Disease

My Dear Hubby has a heart defect. All his life, he’s known something wasn’t quite right with his heart–“he’ll never play sports,” said one doctor–“you have no superior vena cava,” said another–“a heart murmur, that’s what he has,” was a sentiment echoed by several other professionals.

Yet, no real diagnosis was ever provided, nor was any believable prognosis ever made. Despite being told he’d never play sports, DH vigorously competed all through high school and works out nearly every day as an adult.

He was never limited physically, though the emotional toll has grown over the years. You can’t hear, “We have no idea what the long-term effects of your condition may mean,” without stressing over your future just a little bit.

Writing carries it’s share of stress, too.

  • Who will love my writing?
  • Who will hate it?
  • What if nobody publishes it?
  • What if somebody publishes it?
  • I can’t self-promote. It’s too scary.
  • I’m afraid to query.
  • I’m afraid not to query.
  • I have writer’s block.
  • I sent my query yesterday and haven’t heard back. Now what do I do?
  • I can’t stand waiting.
  • I. Can’t. Stand. Waiting!

Writers can nearly cripple themselves with fear of the unknown. Like DH’s medical problem, writing has no clear diagnosis or prognosis.

Just because you find an agent doesn’t mean you will get published. And even if you publish one novel, it doesn’t mean you’ll hit the best sellers list. Heck, it doesn’t even mean you’ll be able to complete a second, cohesive manuscript. There are no guarantees in writing.

None.

But there is one certainty.

If you let fear rule your writing, you will never get published.

DH went to the Mayo Clinic this week. After getting checked out by a cardiologist, he finally has a clear diagnosis. He has a rare heart condition that affects roughly .4% of the population. In a way, one of the doctors was right. DH didn’t have a superior vena cava. He had two of them. He’s also 100% healthy and doesn’t have to worry about his ticker unless he undergoes heart surgery for something else altogether.

Imagine if DH’s mom let fear change the course of his life. If she had refused to let him play sports, his heart would have weakened from inactivity. He would have failed physically without even trying.

How do you stay inspired to write? In what ways do you let fear rule your writing? Has anyone ever told you your heart was too weak for writing? How did you prove them wrong?

Curious minds want to know?