Uncategorized, Writers on Writing

My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions

REVENGE OF THE PENMONKEY: Wallpaper #2
REVENGE OF THE PENMONKEY: Wallpaper #2 (Photo credit: curious_spider)

Today I am participating in the TerribleMinds PenMonkey Evaluation. Here are the answers to my writing survey questions:

  1. What’s your greatest strength/skill in terms of writing/storytelling? –> Dialog. The voices make me do it.
  2. What’s your greatest weakness in writing/storytelling? What gives you the most trouble? –> Description. I touched on that just a couple of days ago here
  3. How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them? –> Well, that’s a bit personal, isn’t it? Okay. Well. Finished? Can I count my one completed first draft that I’m still revising? I have several other first drafts that I’m still plugging away on, but that’s it as far as actually “finishing” a book. Unless you count my book of amateurish poems I slapped up on Kindle a while back. As far as other projects go, my blogs are doing awesome. Besides this one winning an actual award (as opposed to a Liebster or something like that,) I have been steadily gathering new readers each week. Continue reading “My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions”
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Writers on Writing

What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

Writer's Block 1
What’s the worst thing someone could say to you when you’re suffering from writer’s block? | Writer’s Block 1 (Photo credit: NathanGunter)

As writers, we know how rare it is for our friends and relatives to really “get” what we do and why we do it. We know they love us and want to support us, but sometimes they make thoughtless comments that make us want to wring their necks. I recently asked my online writer’s group what was the worst “advice” they have received from well-meaning friends and family members. Here are some of the responses I received:

Memoir, Short Story

Born in ’76: A call for submissions

Born in 1976
Go check out my “Born in ’76 Collection” on Medium.com and share your own stories from that era.

I come from a family of storytellers. Whenever a few members of my dad’s family get together, you can pretty much count on it turning into a storytelling session. One story sparks a memory of another until everyone at the table is clamoring to tell their own. Sometimes I wish I had been carrying a tape recorder with me all my life so I could capture those stories of everyday life and put them together in a book.

No matter what year you were born, you probably have your own “growing up” stories that are unique to your age group. My dad’s stories are different from mine. Even though I grew up about a mile from where my father grew up, we grew up in different times. While we share some experiences, each of our stories are compelling in their own way. Continue reading “Born in ’76: A call for submissions”

Essays, Novel Writing

What are you going to finish today?

English: Spiral made of Floppy discs
I have about a million of these floppy discs containing business and management essays from both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business and management. I’m considering editing all of them and putting them up on an informational website (complete with ads to generate revenue.) If only I had a floppy disc drive. | English: Spiral made of Floppy discs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re like me, you probably have at least a couple of projects laying around unfinished. If so, then like me, your major goal for 2014 might just be to get shit done. Seriously.

I get a little overwhelmed when I consider all of the projects I started in 2013 and didn’t finish. I want to finish them all. I want to finish writing my current WIP and the one I started for thesis last spring. I want to revise the novel I completed for the summer writing challenge in 2013. I want to publish everything (even all of those business essays I wrote so long ago that they are sitting around on floppy discs.)

When I think about it, I have many great projects that are not only started, but are also nearing completion. For me, 2014 will be more about completing projects than it will be about starting something new. Although, I suppose actually finishing something will be new for me. HA!

Anyway, it is useless to sit here psyching myself out over the mountain of work I have ahead of me. So why do it? I can only do one thing at a time. So. What do I want to do first? That’s the real question begging an answer. Continue reading “What are you going to finish today?”

Book Reviews

As if Hugh Howey needs more publicity

Hugh Howey's Wool, in the wilds of a brick and...
“Dust” provides a fascinating conclusion to Hugh Howey’s Wool trilogy. | Hugh Howey’s Wool, in the wilds of a brick and mortar store (Photo credit: martin_kalfatovic)

I finally got my hands on a copy of Hugh Howey’s Dust at my local library last week. I didn’t have time to start reading it until Saturday. But once I opened that book and started reading, it didn’t matter what I had time for. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. At the end of the day, I kept trying to put it down so I could go to sleep. I didn’t manage to close the book for the night until after I had read the last page. It was that good.

One of my favorite things about Hugh Howey is the way in which he shot to fame. He basically self-published a short story, then went on about his business and forgot about it. Then one day, he realized that short story was a bestseller. He rushed to write a few more stories to capitalize on that interest. Those first stories later became the Wool omnibus that is now being published around the world. Continue reading “As if Hugh Howey needs more publicity”

Education, Essays, Novel Writing

Make teaching and learning part of your writing process.

The Longman Writer: Rhetoric, Reader, Research Guide, and Handbook (8th Edition)
This semester, I am teaching out of The Longman Writer: Rhetoric, Reader, Research Guide, and Handbook (8th Edition.) You can buy a copy here.

This semester, I am teaching one section of English Composition I at my local technical college. This is not a course I particularly care to teach. The first semester I taught it was a disaster. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I definitely didn’t know the material well enough to teach it. It was a horrible experience for everyone involved. This semester, I finally feel like I kinda know what I am doing. And it’s having a positive impact on my writing.

Tuesday was our first day of class, and I killed it. I was well prepared, I knew what I was talking about and best of all, the students were engaged. I left class that afternoon thinking, “Where the hell did that come from?” Continue reading “Make teaching and learning part of your writing process.”

Poetry by Mandy Webster

Less | An Original Poem

And to go with my poem: A picture of my car (the blue Equinox,) which came this close to being totalled a couple of days ago. The truck that hit it totalled 2 other vehicles, but my car got away without a scratch. Someone was watching over me that night!
And to go with my poem: A picture of my car (the blue Equinox,) which came this close to being totalled a couple of days ago. The truck that hit it totalled 2 other vehicles, but my car got away without a scratch. Someone was watching over me that night!

Here’s a little poem I wrote a while back. Thought you might enjoy it:

Less

I wish I had less,
could pack everything I own
in the back of my car
at a moment’s notice,
blocking the rearview mirror
so there’s no looking back
Places to Write, Uncategorized

Places to write: TreeGhost General Store and Café, Hubertus, WI

TreeGhost General Store and Cafe located in Hubertus, WI.
This was our table for the day at the TreeGhost General Store and Cafe located in Hubertus, WI.

Saturday, my writer friend and I trekked out to Hubertus, WI, located at 5241 State HWY 167 (Holy Hill Rd) to spend the day writing at the TreeGhost Café. TreeGhost is conveniently located within minutes of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, at Holy Hill, and is an excellent locale for those of you who would like to do some sightseeing before or after you write.

Locally owned and operated, TreeGhost offers service you just won’t find at any chain café. When we arrived, we were personally greeted by Kevin, the owner. Kevin made sure we had everything we needed for a productive day of writing and wasn’t satisfied until he made sure I was able to get my laptop online. Continue reading “Places to write: TreeGhost General Store and Café, Hubertus, WI”

Relationships, Truth, Written Communication

I love stationary

butterfly stationary
This is the stationary I purchased on my latest trip to B & N.

While at Barnes and Noble the other day, I spent a large quantity of time in the stationary section. I love stationary. While it doesn’t make me happy (that would be silly,) it does give me an intense feeling of pleasure to consider covering a piece of pretty paper with a good, old fashioned, handwritten letter.

I can spend as much time choosing stationary as I spend choosing a book to read. I have to get it right because I don’t write so many letters these days. Before the internet, both of my grandmothers used to send me cards and letters on a regular basis. When I was in the military, getting mail was one of the highlights of my life. One of my grandmas has since passed away, and the other still sends cards. But it’s been a long time since I have gotten anything but bills and junk in my snail mailbox. Continue reading “I love stationary”

Writers on Writing

Coming soon: Wannabe Writer Wednesdays

Wannabe writer wednesday Wordle
Join us for Wannabe Writer Wednesdays.

Okay, so yesterday I put out a little teaser about a new blog thing I want to do. It’s called Wannabe Writer Wednesdays, and the goal is to highlight writers who are in the same boat I am in. In other words, I want to interview writers who either haven’t yet published anything or have published next to nothing. I want to highlight the wannabes like me rather than the already famous.

Why would I do such a thing? Well, several of the blogs I follow interview writers who are already publishing. These are usually writers who are marketing a newly released book. While I enjoy reading these interviews, and have even learned a thing or two from them, I think it would be equally interesting to read about writers who are still in the wannabe stage. Misery loves company, right? Continue reading “Coming soon: Wannabe Writer Wednesdays”