Tuesday, June 28, 2016

No Sabotage Ten

Ten Ways Not to Sabotage Your Writing Time

Calm: The best mood to be in when you do any work is calm and focused, so get yourself to that state before you begin work. I do this daily with morning meditations, and I also have a mental ritual I do before every writing session to dispense with distracting feelings. Think of it as clocking in to your writing job.

Check Weather: If you live in an area like I do with unruly weather, check the daily forecast. I use Weather.com to look at the radar map and see if there's any time I might have to stop writing due to thunderstorms.

Clear Out the Cobwebs: If you're thinking about something else while you're writing, you're fighting a mental war on two fronts. End the battle by clearing your mind of everything except what serves your story. I do this by journaling, so I can get all those other, non-writing thoughts out of my head before I begin work.

Comfortable Outfit: I am amazed at all these writers who say they work in three-piece suits, full make-up, etc. If that works for you okay, but personally I work better when I'm dressed comfortably. My standard writing uniform is a large T-shirt, leggings, and soft socks. I put my hair up to keep it out of my face. Occasionally I wear some of my old scrubs, too.

Electronics Off: If you can't stay off your smart phone, shut it off and put it out of reach. Same goes for the television, stereo, e-book reader, video games and any other distracting electronic device. This is your work time; use only the computer on which you're writing (exception: if listening to music helps you write better, turn on the stereo -- but try to keep it low.) Also, stay off the internet.

Goal Set: Have a clear idea of your writing goal for the day. You can go with a wordcount or number of pages. Time also works -- such as committing to writing for two hours (and take breaks!)

Healthy Snack: Working while you're hungry can be distracting and make you cranky, so have a light, healthy snack. A banana or an apple always does the trick for me.

Hydrate: One of the healthy habits I've gotten into is drinking a glass of water before I start writing. There are two reasons for this -- it keeps me from wanting to make some hot tea while I write (making it is the distraction), and it forces me to get up and take a bathroom break after about an hour.

Physical Therapy: Limbering up before you sit down at the computer can make you feel better, increase blood flow and help your overall health. I do my stretches, which are simplified yoga moves, for a few minutes before I begin writing. I also do stretches on my writing breaks. For those of you who are in better shape, here's a ten minute workout for desk workers.

Save Everything: Before you start writing, back up your previous work on a memory stick or other autonomous spot. Also make a mental note to continue to save your work at the bottom of every new page you write. It's a good habit to get into, and if anything goes wrong during your writing session, you won't lose anything.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sub Op

Fuzzy Hedgehog Press has an open call here for their upcoming Beyond the Hedge Volume 2: Chimeras and Phantasms antho: "The theme of Beyond the Hedge Volume 2 is “Chimeras and Phantasms.” What is the difference between dream and delusion, and how does reality differ from either of those? Are our flights of imagination wondrous or sinister? Show us visions of the past that rock the present. Show us visions of the future that reshape our perception of the modern world. Show us that “reality” itself is suspect. Show us your imagination’s strangest chimeras and most mesmerizing phantasms.

Specific Guidelines:

SUBMISSIONS OPEN ON JULY 1, 2016. You may submit before this date, but we will not be reading submissions until July 1. Submissions will close on November 30, 2016 or when filled.
Follow all of the general guidelines above.
Submissions must be 1,500 to 10,000 words in length.
The overarching theme of your story should fit with the theme of the anthology described above.
Use the following format for the subject line of your email: “Beyond the Hedge Submission: [Title of Work] by [Full Author Name]”.
We do accept multiple submissions, but please no more than three submissions per author.
Submissions will be read in the order they are received."

Payment according to Ralan.com is "$20 +3 copies"; no reprints, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Off to Write



I'm unplugging today to finish up a project for one of my clients, so there will be no Just Write today. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Head Go Boom

I'm sure you all remember that post I wrote when a reviewer on GoodReads gave a possibly psychic review for Forget-Me-Knot, a novella I never wrote. The listing is still up (click here to see the idiocy) and currently has 16 ratings and three reviews. For a story I never wrote. Sigh.

Funny, right? I've tried to be a good sport about it, too. Until yesterday, when I got a very real, serious offer from a European publisher for the translation and publication rights for Forget-Me-Knot.

I thought exposing the fake reviews would shame the host site into taking down the phony listing. Hasn't happened in the two years since I wrote that post. So now I have to persuade the pinheads at this site to take down the listing for real. They wouldn't take down my blog content even after they agreed to, so I'm not especially optimistic.

Any advice from you Goodreads-savvy folks out there?

Updated: My thanks to those who offered helpful advice. Due to the large volume of trolls who have been trying to use my blog to vent their spleens, I'm now shutting down comments. For more information on my comments policies, please see the About PBW page on the sidebar.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Journal as Dress

To wrap up journaling week, here's a video showing how Ruth Rae journaled in a very unusual way by stitching poems on fabric, and making it into a dress. I love that she hid some of her journaling in the inside of the garment, too (background music):


red thread journal dress from ruth rae on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Journal as Whatever Works for You

My seventh and final journal entry to be posted online is uplodaded (click here to view the .pdf) and it definitely demonstrates how obsessed I am with sewing this year. As July grows closer I'm bubbling over with ideas on what to do during my for-fun sewing month. I also hang onto my patience for the delivery of Anne Frasier's newest release, The Body Reader, confess to my secret affection for squirrels and talk a little about what this experience has been like for me. I'll have a lot more to say about that when I don't have to post online what I write in my journal.

It won't be negative. It's true that I am a pretty private person, and it's always a challenge for me to open up to anyone outside my immediate family. That said, this was a positive experience, and not just because of the absence of spitting pinheads. I went through a brief but pretty ugly crisis, and kept my cool. I came up with some fun ideas for my summer projects. I celebrated very ordinary things that are special to me. My journal is the paper version of the everday me, sloppy hand writing, silly sketches and spelling mistakes included. I don't have to be the pro writer or PBW or anyone else in my journals. You can't believe how relaxing that is when you have that for yourself.

I know I won't convince everyone to start journaling, but I hope some of you will give it a go. No matter where you are in your life, a journal can be a companion to your experiences. It can preserve some of who you are for future generations. It can be your secret art studio, idea library, and writing work desk. Or it can be a place where you can sort out your feelings, focus on things that enrich you, and dispense with what you don't need in your heart or your life. Your journal can be whatever you like, and that's the real beauty of journaling. You tailor it to whatever works for you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Journal as Edition

Got the latest journal entry scanned and uploaded (click here to view the .pdf) which talks about work, my weight-loss project, birds, poetry writing and an attempt to grow some lychee seeds. I also have some shots of that spring we visited on Father's Day, and a very bare bones sketch of a quilt I want to make out of vintage fabric.

Making a cover for your journal can be as easy or as challenging as you want it to be. I make or remake a lot of my covers because it's fun, and it adds another personal touch to my journals. Often I buy discounted journals with battered or tattered covers specifically for the purpose of recovering them; I not only use them but I often give them as gifts to family and friends who journal.

Here's a purchased journal from 2011 that I embellished with some interesting ephemera and a scattering of flat-backed crystals:



My friend Kathy Uhrig from Strange Notions made this journal, which she recycled from an antique composition book. I love how she used lace as well as paper elements for the cover:



I found this quilted journal slip cover at the annual county quilt show:



Earlier this year I showed you how I covered a composition book with a wallpaper remnant, which is about the easiest way to recover a journal. I've also made journals with unique covers, like this watercolor journal with a mini wool penny rug as a cover. If you sew, here's how I make quilted journal covers.

I also invest in covers made by others, especially when I want to give a journal as a gift. My favorite journal cover artist is Sonya Benson, who has a lovely variety in her Etsy shop SonyaBensonQuilts. Here's one of her beautifully crafted quilted journal covers:



The listing for this cover is here, so you can see the inside and how well-made it is. When I want to give a writer friend a special journal I usually buy one of Sonya's covers, as they're always perfectly sewn and quilted, and fit precisely. I also like the fabrics and colors she works with to make her covers.