Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Get Healthy Bloghop

Welcome to the Get Healthy Bloghop or at least my post for this hop around blogs.

I can't say I'm the healthiest person on the block, or rather in the bloghop. My eating habits are far from ideal (but what is ideal, anyway?). But I try to keep myself in shape by exercising three times a week.

What I have done in order to keep this goal is I have set certain days of the week as my cardio days and I must go. Bam!

The thing is: If I don't have something to entertain me while I'm huffing and puffing away on the treadmill, stair climber, or elliptical then I won't make it past 28 seconds without burning out. Ok, I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt... Let's say 3 minutes. *Big Smiles*

For this, my entertainment comes from either a Netflix show or reading a good book. Yup, I've become rather talented at holding a book and exercising at the same time. In addition, my watching TV shows or reading a book can be quite entertaining to fellow work outers. Why? I tend to LOL or be on the verge of tears depending on the part of the show or book I'm at.

For instance, the other days I was watching a particularly funny episode of Supernatural--"Yellow Fever"--and I could barely run for the giggles. My legs became all sorts of wobbly, quite dangerous, indeed.

About three months ago, I upped my cardio time from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. I thought my body could use some extra time to build up even more sweat than I already produce. And yes, my face turns a bright shade of red in the process. I think my body had become used to 30 minutes and it started screaming for more. Likewise, my stringy arms told me (yes, they spoke to me. haha) I needed to lift some weights so I began pumping iron twice a week.

Now, if I could just listen to my body with what it should be fed then my world of a body might be a bit more happy. I digress.

Anyway, long story short. Set up a weekly exercising routine and by gum stick to it! Also, know yourself. If you get bored easily, watch a TV show while working out or read a good book;  it'll distract you from the efforts of your exercise program.

Can you exercise while reading a book? What is your exercise routine? If you don't have one, are you willing to start one?

Happy Healthiness!

Writing Jewels

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Getting the Vision

I figured out what is wrong with me the other day... Yes, I eat too many sweets and like to sleep too much and maybe I'm a few nuts short of a fruit cake (or maybe I am a fruitcake. Pft. I'd rather be a piece of chocolate cake. Nom Nom).
No, no, those aren't the things I figured out were wrong with me. This is:
I haven't had writing vision for some months now (I plea the fifth on just how many months that may be). What I mean to say is I've been lacking purpose and an end goal to my words. This is why I haven't been able to sit down at my laptop and crank out chapters upon chapters as I have been able to do in the past.
By golly, I have seen the light and my vision is clear. Hal-le-lu-jah!
Suffice it to say I'm really back because I have some goals churning to be completed. I'm working on how to get there, but the most important thing is that I'm writing and plan to be doing that consistantly.
So, my two cents worth of advice to my writing buddies is:
You've got to have vision or goals for your writing. This method will undoubtedly get you somewhere if it be checking the boxes of your to-writing-do-list or just whatever it is you want to gain from this journey.
Vision rocks and so do you! Hugs.

How's your vision lately?
Writing Jewels

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reflecting upon LDStorymakers Writers Conference

At LDStorymakers Writers Conference on May 11, I sat at tables and in classrooms surrounded by amazing writers. We chatted and reminisced and learned. What a delightful group to be with, indeed. I love being in the company of other writers. We rock and ARE definitely the new rock and roll stars.

I attended many breakout sessions that offered me a wealth of knowledge and opened my eyes to different ways of looking at writing. These topics ranging from character development to self-publishing. The class I took the most from was taught by author and editor Paul Genesse. He provided valuable information about world building.

I've been toying around with a dystopia novel called SPHERICAL. I'm at the point where I don't know how to develop the world anymore without seriously info-dumping--an absolute no no in writing. This course helped writing this book to be less daunting and more manageable.

Anyway, here are some things I learned:
  • The world is one of the most important characters. Paul said this is crucial in sci-fi and fantasy; I think this advice can lend itself to other genres, too.
  • Only bring up information about the world if it is absolutely necessary to the scene.
  • Draw a map of your world--it can help you to visualize it for development purposes.
  • What you write should make your readers love the world just as much as Tolkien's readers love(d) Rivendale and the Shire.
  • Think of your world as a living being, like one of your characters.
  • The setting can be shown through the characters thoughts and feelings.
  • Never, ever give rote descriptions that go on and on for pages. Tolkien did this but he could get away with it. It is more difficult for modern writers to get away with it. 
  • Make sure there is a connection between your character(s) and your world.
I came away from this breakout session eager to bring life to SPHERICAL and my other works. However, I was inspired to start working on a New Adult piece I've been stewing over. We shall see...

What I like about writing conferences is how revitalized I feel afterwards. I think it is the powerful boost of energy found within the participants and being enveloped around talk of writing that perks me up. It is such a strength to be a part of such an amazing group of people.

I also learned a bit about self-publishing which sounds rather intriguing to me at the moment. The gears in my brain are a-turning, that's for sure. :)

What have been your experiences at writers conferences? Did you attend LDStorymakers this year?

Writing Jewels

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bono's Birthday Bash

I'm going to show off my U2 fan-dom geekiness right now with a picture...

I want to declare my devotion to U2 and the front man of this awesome-beyond-this-universe-amazing Irish band by saying:


I hope you've had a lovely day. I sure hope all my followers have had a blast of a Bono's birthday, too!

Cheers and I'm out!

Writing Jewels

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

And Then Came the Renovation. Yet, the Memories Survived.

I live close to where my grandpa used to live when he was alive. On Sunday, I was near his old neighborhood, so I decided I would take a trip down memory lane and do a drive by looking. Yippee! A truck load of memories happened at that precious house; it would be nice to see it again. I miss my grandpa so very, very much. He passed away when I was probably 11 or 12 years old, so it's been a while since I've seen him.

So, my little drive by looking took a turn for the worse. No, I didn't get in a car accident or have one or all (that would have been worse) of my tires go flat. I didn't hit a mailbox or a dear hit me; yes, hit me... refer to an episode of Gilmore Girls. My red Toyota tread its way down the steep decline to his house. Yes, his house.


I didn't recognize it at all. Seriously, it had been defaced by the renovating mobsters of its new owners. Didn't they know it was my grandfathers and there were memories associated with its facade? Apparently not.

*stomps foot*

This got me thinking: Does someone (me) really have ownership to something that is no longer hers (well, my grandpas)? In this case, I emphatically say no while pouting with disappointment.

I'm being totally melodramatic, I know. It was disappointing, though.

But now that I'm writing this post, blabbing on and on, the fact is the memories are still there--in my mind, in my heart, in my precious past. I can still visualize the large patio overlooking Salt Lake City Valley where we would watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. I can still smell the musky, soapy sweet aroma permeating the interior of his home. I still remember sneaking Kraft cheese slices from his old school brown fridge. Games of UNO while a bunch of us sat around his large, oval dining room table. And the weeks on end I spent sleeping over at his house during the summer. Finally, the evening I visited him as he laid still with haggard breaths in his bed--the night he passed away, the night I said I love you to him for the last time in this life.

That's all that matters even when things have changed and time has sped forward. I still love my grandfather more than I could possibly communicate via the written word. And I can still reflect with fondness on the amazing times I had with him. His house, okay the new owners' house's appearance doesn't change anything. It is just a house, not the invaluable memories planted in my mind forever.

Anyway, thanks for reading my ranting.

Have you ever had an experience similar to mine? Have you seen the Gilmore Girls episode I made reference to?

Writing Jewels

PS: I have decided never, ever to renovate a house. Why? Because one day some poor girl will do a drive by looking, and her heart will be dashed to pieces because the house doesn't look the same anymore. And that's all I have to say about that with a little bit of sarcasm added in the mix. :D

Friday, May 3, 2013

I Amaze Myself Sometimes

Here's my recent moving stories:
In the span of a year and a half, I have moved 4 times. Yup, that's a couple too many times, for sure.
Move #1: To get me out of my parents' house. I had lived there for far too long in order to pay off some debt. Did that happen? Uh, I plea the fifth.
Move #2: I needed cheaper rent, plus my lease had ended.
Move #3: I was offered a job in Salt Lake City, Utah, meaning my commute was a little over an hour. Gas prices were kickin' my pocket book's butt, so the move was out of necessity to keep me from donating plasma or something totally make-me-pass-out worthy.
Move #4: My roommate and dear friend moved to Germany (pouts) and our lease had ended. I wanted to stay in the area, so I moved just down the road to where a ton of people I know live.
I'm getting really good at packing, moving, and unpacking. Woot!
Move #4 was interesting in that I had to be out of my old apartment by April 30, and the girl that was moving out of my current apartment couldn't get into her new place until May 1. That meant that my stuff and her stuff were in the same place for a day. Talk about massive chaos. It all worked out well, though. Phew!
I took the day off from work on Thursday and dug into the mess of boxes. I would have gone completely bonkers mad if I hadn't have done so. I'm sort of OCD about having my things in order.
This is what my bedroom looked like to begin with:

This is what it looks like now (Zen):

And I did this all in maybe 10 hours and that includes some deep cleaning and putting away my kitchen junk (ok, junk food). Do I win the best unpacker award of the century or what?
And yes, that is a pillow with a picture of Bono on the front. Lance Armstrong graces the other side. (G-rated totally, I promise) My good friend made me it as a birthday present a couple years ago. And yup, I own a banana chair, too. :) I am definitely awesome. You totally want to be my BFF now, don't you?
Well, tell me about your moving stories? How fast have you unpacked? Well, I have to admit I don't have a ton of stuff, and I am just one person. I don't have a husband and three kids' worth of crap to unload. I have it a bit easier than some. 
Writing Jewels

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG: Thou Shalt Not Covet . . . Other Writers

With the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge completed, I am back to my normal blogging schedule. Well, whatever that is going to be--still figuring it out, bear with me. :) Today is the first Wednesday of the month. What does that mean?

Insecure Writer's Support Group! Yay! On to the post...

I listened to the book "The of Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible" by A.J. Jacobs. There's a part in it that totally relates to me, possibly to all writers, and most assuredly to everyone in the world who is creative, or Homo sapiens, for that matter.

The part of the book discusses the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Covet." Or for this post's purposes, coveting others' writing. Or publishing deals. Or they write better than you. Or they appear to have more energy than you; therefore they can pop out 50 books in a year. As opposed to your one, if that. Or that they smell better than you, have better looking teeth than you, have prettier fingernails than you, are more fashionable than you. Or...

Suffice it to say: THE LIST IS NEVER ENDING and is nonsensical and irrational at best.

So this post is about: Thou Shalt Not Covet . . . Other Writers.

I can't speak for other writers, but I'm assuming you (ok, all writers--you know who you are) have coveted other writers. Just raise your hand. I admit it, I have! I will continue to, I'm sure of it, even if I am happy for their accomplishment.

But, I think we should step back and realize that, by golly, you are the best person to write your book. I am the best person to write my books. Yes, others might be farther along than you or better at a laundry list of writing skills, but it's the journey that counts. And I am glad for the journey. It has been a ride never to forget. I'm not done. We will get there, wherever there is. And life is good.

Here's a method that has helped me: I read a couple chapters from one of my books that I'm not currently working on. It helps me realize that I really am good at writing. Stepping away from a work in progress distances me from my critical nature toward it. Delving into just a brief part of something else, without critiquing it, helps. It gets me back in the game and a positive mind set.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you ever coveted other writers? What has been your I-need-to-cool-down-and-realize-I'm-a-pretty-darn-good-writer method(s)? How can we get over feeling like we suck because another writer got a publishing deal or agent and you didn't?

Writing Jewels