I am still listening to the author interviews of Jesse Kreiger’s summit and yesterday I got an idea for a book I will write. It will not be a children’s book and not even fiction. I am going to write “Unclutter Your Mind.” I am going to deal with how the condition of our minds can be similar to the condition of our environment and that too much input can slow down, hinder or even stop us from achieving our dreams. So, we need to unclutter our mind the same way we would unclutter or homes, by getting rid of what we don’t need, what is broken, or in our way and organizing what we keep so we can access it easily. Memory problems are also related to having too many and not having them sorted in a way that makes them useful.
We often see comparisons of our brains and computers, (which were modeled after human thought processes). When I put too many programs on my computer, it slows down. And, when I become impatient and try to change commands before the computer has done what I first told it to, it freezes up and does nothing. This is what happens when we can’t make decisions and is caused in the same way. Wandering thoughts will do that to us. If anyone has some ideas or stories about your own experiences you would be willing to share, I may be able to use them in the book.
I am listening to an interview by Jesse Krieger with Greg Smith who founded Thinkfic, a course of training on creating online courses. Just before him, I heard Ankur Nagpal of Teachable.com. This is part of the summit Jesse put together. I missed many of the speakers because I was also listening to a summit of Chandler Bolt’s. I find it too hard to sit and watch videos for more than a couple of hours at a time. Since God controls all things, I am sure that the ones I am hearing are the ones I need most and those I missed would not be as useful for me.
So much emphasis was put on giving something away to get people’s emails and make yourself known, I came up with an idea for myself. From now through July, anyone who buys one of my eBooks, THE HUNTER AND THE DEER or THE SALTY PRINCE can send me the name of a child and what that child would like to be or likes to do and I will write a story for him or her using his or her name as the character. Would you like to get a personalized poem for your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or other kid in your life? If you buy one of my books and send me an email picture of your receipt, with the account information removed, I will write a poem for you. My email address is email@example.com.
I just finished listening to the last of the author interviews on Chandler Bolt’s Self Publishing Summit, but I missed one of them. They were very well done and he asked each author why and how they wrote their first book, what happened after they did and what advice they would give someone wanting to publish a first book. Some of the authors had already been in businesses and the book they published came from what they were already talking and teaching and for others it led to speaking and coaching gigs. There was some advice they all gave and it was about creating a platform, “getting yourself known.” They all shared about how they generated followers through social media and grew email contacts. And they all said to the person thinking of publishing a book, “just do it.”
They shared their own personal struggles with self-discipline and how they discovered methods that worked for them. Some suggested getting up early and devoting the first hour of the day to writing. Some blocked out a day or two of the week to spend on writing. Some dictated what they wanted to say and had it typed and transcribed but did their own editing. Some had someone else edit their first efforts and checked it to be sure they agreed. Some worked with co-authors and each wrote a section. A couple mentioned writing in hotel rooms, one who travels a lot writes on planes and one women goes on cruises and confines herself to the cabin through the cruise to do her writing. It helped to focus in a different environment without the usual distractions they face.
I read a book in which the author says we get inspired when we are moving and I have found that to be true many times for me. I frequently get ideas while I am riding buses or trains. As for setting a schedule for my writing, I am not very successful with that. I often write late a night or very early in the morning, like I am doing now, but getting up early can generate ideas too even though I mostly write about what I would like to get done in the day, or what my scheduled activities are, or what I thought about the day before and do not spend it on what I consider “creative” writing. Often though I come up with a thought I will underline as something to go deeper into or use in something I am working on.
I met with two other ladies at a coffee shop today. I had joined them once before. They are part of a Meet-up group with the above title. At the last meeting I attended there were more than the two of them. We got snacks there, so they would not throw us out, and we sat together, but worked on individual projects. I was working on a cover letter for the last assignment of my ICL (Institute of Children’s Literature) course on writing books for children. I also have to do a query letter for material I sent in for course assignments. I’ll be ready to actually submit to publishers when that is done. I have submitted already, but a critique of my letters will make them better able to interest a publishing house.
I have also listened to more video interviews about how to write and self-publish children’s books and I also plan to go that route again, hopefully with better results this time. My two eBooks, THE HUNTER AND THE DEER and THE SALTY PRINCE have only sold 3 copies each and one set I bought to get a give a reviewer to have her write a review of them. If anyone else would like to review my books on Amazon, let me know and I will get you the download link. The more reviews I get, the more people will find them and buy them. But, I want honest reviews. Don’t say you love them if you don’t.
I began this morning wishing Happy Father’s Day to the best father ever and that is Father God. I also wished a Happy Father’s Day to my physical father who is there with my heavenly Father now. Our pastor’s message today was about God as our Father and a reminder that we are to seek to be like Him, father’s in particular should follow His lead so the mother’s can follow them, as God planned.
In the afternoon I went to the South Shore Cultural Center to hear two short operas, or excerpts of operas by the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago. I bet most of you have not heard of them. I hadn’t either until I went to Lake FX, or it might have been a CAR fair. Anyway, I only got familiar with them in the past two years. They did “The Telephone” by Gion Carlo Menotti and “The Seven Deadly Sins” by Kurt Weill.
I said I would be blogging more regularly again, so here is another post. Today I was downtown at the Cultural Center to see a workshop of a one act play by Spartan Theatre. They have been doing these for several weeks now, but this one really hit home. It was about a man meeting a boy on an El train and revealing in their conversation that he had always wanted to be a writer but had let rejections discourage him and now he was an assistant manager in a book store, but not happy with his job. The boy encourages him to not quit his dream and he starts writing again. That was what happened to me too, but I did not go back to writing in a real way until I retired.
Now, you may wonder what that has to do with the title I gave this post and I will tell you. I was in the Metra Station waiting for a train and they were delayed, but I did not know why. When I got off at Cheltenham, I found out why they had been stopped temporarily. There were about a dozen police cars at 79th and Exchange and yellow crime scene tape across the street and sidewalk for a two block radius. Many police were out walking through the area. There were three ambulances, so I could tell something serious had happened. I saw one man with his leg wrapped up being taken to an ambulance and when I asked a policeman how many people had been shot, he told me four. So, the protection was that I was not there when it was occurring. If I had been, I could have been a victim of a stray bullet, which some of the four might have been. So, the Lord protected me by not letting me be there at that time.
I could have been if I hadn’t stopped at the Cultural Center to talk to one of our Senior Clown Troupe members who has not been coming to our classes or rehearsals for about a year. I had not seen her and was wondering how she was. Fortunately, she is as well as before.
I was looking for some information which I knew I had written about on my blog years ago and I was surprised to find that my last blog post was last year. That is much too long ago. It looks like I had nothing to write about, but I have been keeping busy and I’m still trying to get published. I’ve had more rejections (including one yesterday). I am waiting for responses from a contest I entered and a publisher I submitted a children’s book manuscript to. I have also been listening to some great author interviews with Chandler Bolt’s Self Publishing Summit.
Other things going on in my life were the death of my two parakeets. They did not die at the same time but both died this year. I have not gotten another bird yet but I probably will. I even picked out a name I may use.
I will be having cataract surgery in my left eye in July. I see nothing but blur through it now and I have been having trouble doing some things. Threading needles was always hard but it is impossible now without a needle threader as an example. It is hard for me to tell where the edge of steps are, so I have to be very careful going down stairs , especially very short ones with no fluorescent strip or something to differentiate it from the ground level.
I continue to sing in our church choir and participate in it’s activities. We will have a Vacation Bible School in the evening next week and our picnic will be on next Saturday. Every second and fourth, (or fifth) Sunday, there is a dinner at church and we have an afternoon service. Sometimes our own lay ministers preach and sometimes we have guest ministers.
At the senior center downtown, Renaissance Court, I sing with the chorus. Once a quarter we put on a concert and next Friday, at 1:30 is our Summer Concert. I am also a member of the Chicago Senior Clown Troupe. The clowns have a class one day a month, with professional clown Karen Hoyer, who teaches us clowning skits, and how to do make up and costumes. We rehearse skits one day a month with our head clown, Elisha Walters, who schedules our gigs. Usually we go out to a senior living facility, hospital, or senior center two times a month to put on a short performance of skits or just to greet people at an event.
So, there is a brief update of what I have been up to and I expect to write more regularly again so I hope you will read what I post and comment, if you so choose. Hopefully, I will have good writing news one day.
Another writing group which I take part in is called “Write Chicago!.” It is a group of poets. We don’t have weekly meetings, but when we do meet, we go to a place in the city or suburb such as a museum, zoo, etc. We spend some time looking at what is there and sometimes have guided tours through the museums and then we write poems about what we notice. Yesterday, we went to Navy Pier. Here are some pictures I took with my phone and the poem I wrote.
People of every race and tongue
From very old to very young;
Everyone seems so engaged
With shops and rides and places to dine,
Some of them even selling wine.
Screams are coming from a swing.
A black bird has red stripes on its wing.
I have been going to meetings of two writing groups. One called “Soon to be Pretentious Writers” meets at the Harold Washington Library every other Saturday. The facilitator gives us a couple of topics to write a warm-up about and we share them or something about them. Then, we go through the library and pick out books that catch our attention and write about them. We spend more time on that. We share in a small group and then with the entire group. But no one is pressured into doing it. Here is a poem I wrote based on just the titles of a couple of books that I chose. I dedicate this to our governing authorities.
I’M NO FOOL!
Only idiots believe what they’re told,
They are those who are easily sold
On any new upcoming fad or craze
Not considering that they’re just a faze.
Doubters seek proof, they question why
Some people are quick to believe a lie
Show me the truth of what you say.
Don’t think I’ll believe the games you play.
I enrolled in the AWAI (American Writer’s & Artists, Inc.) Accelerated Copywriting course and joined the PWA (Professional Writer’s Alliance). I will be learning to write good advertising copy and in my profile I specified that I will be specializing in Christian and self-help. So if anyone knows of a copywriting job opportunity, please let me know. Thank you.