Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Making Writing a Habit

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting in the habit of it. I used to start at least five -- often six, and sometimes even seven -- days a week off by sitting down in front of the computer, opening Word, and writing. I didn't think about it, didn't make plans for it, I just did it. I took breaks during the day to be a mom and a wife, but when I managed to gather a little free time, right back to the computer I went.

It stayed that way for a long while, until I found out my mother had cancer. During the months of caring for her, writing was the last thing on my mind. After her death, writing still stayed out of reach. It took me more than a year to find my way back. By then I was our of the habit, and it was a battle every time I sat down in front of the computer and tried. It took months to get back into the flow -- into the habit.

Working as a full-time freelance for years after that should have made the habit of writing one that I couldn't break. But instead, it seems to have made it more breakable. When I stopped freelance writing, suddenly there was no weekly deadline, no editor watching and waiting for my words. And somehow writing non-fiction just didn't feel the same as fiction.

Getting back into the daily writing, the fiction writing, has been a war, and I've lost a lot of battles along the way for many reasons. It seems like just as soon as I'm doing well, something else happens to throw me off. And since the habit isn't set in yet, it's easy to throw me off. Even with really little things like not feeling well or extra stuff to get done during the week.

I'm not giving up though. I know if daily fiction writing was a habit I had for years, I can make it a habit again.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hurricane Ivan Is Gone

I'm here. :-) No harm done. Well, a little. :-) Like too much money spent and almost the whole week of hubby's vacation wasted. But we're okay, the house is here, the cars are okay, and right now after some of the things I've seen for others, I feel like we've won the jackpot here.

We spent a lot of time on Monday and Tuesday running from store to store, trying to find enough bread, ice, peanut butter, water, batteries, those kinds of things. In between we kept watching the local weather, and watching Ivan come right up for us. I wasn't sure if we should stay here or run, for a lot of that time. They kept saying he was going to get really close, but that at the last minute he was going to turn and go for AL. I just kept thinking of the other times they've been sure one was going to turn or wasn't going to turn, and it did just what they thought it wouldn't do.

By day break yesterday morning I had decided we would stay for sure. Before noon things began to look even better as Ivan took a few jogs to the east. He had stopped coming west at all, and seemed dead set on going mostly north, which would put him coming in on the MS/AL state line. I'm right on the LA/MS state line....which is close, but the weather people said we'd be fine here. We kept our eye on the news -- they were doing weather reports around the clock on our local stations....for us that means New Orleans even though it's nearly two hours away.

In between watching the news we did a lot of work in the yard, getting everything picked up, put up, or tied down. (Everything now has to be put out, taken down and untied.) :-) The only people they asked to leave from our town was those in trailers and unsafe type housing. Almost everything in town shut down by four yesterday, big windows were boarded up, and we were all waiting. Sitting and waiting and wondering isn't a great thing. :-)

The wind was picking up some by around seven. At nine they put a curfew into affect, not allowing any one out on the roads. Things didn't get too bad until around eleven. By midnight we could hear transformers blowing here and there, some tin giving way, the snap and pop and thud of limbs once in a while. The wind stayed pretty high off and on, getting its worse probably around two or three this morning. There were still some pretty good gusts around until about noon today, even though Ivan was long gone. Things ain't bad though, and we've been through much worse . :-) (Okay, so I sure could use some more sleep--a lot more.) :-) If that's the worse thing I've got to complain about, then I'm doing great!

Now if Ivan hadn't made that turn....well, things wouldn't be okay. I feel so sorry for those in MS, AL, FL who weren't so lucky. Not only were we lucky that Ivan turned, but we were on the good side. Yes, a hurricane has a good side and a bad side. :-) The winds and rains didn't reach out as far on our side, and there isn't the same flooding and danger of tornados. On top of that, we had dry air feeding in from Texas that kind of ate up some of Ivan from our side, and really saved us even more. I wish everyone could have been so lucky!

There are some trees down in town, limbs and leaves, that kind of thing. But it seems most have little to no damage at all here, and power and phone, even cable. :-) We only lost power twice, and only for a very short time. Like I said, most of us in this area, all the way down to New Orleans, were really very lucky this time. And maybe now it'll be a very long time before we have to worry about another hurricane, especially one that is a category four or five -- five being as bad as they come. Well, guess I better get outside and start putting the lawn chairs back out, cleaning up the yard some, putting my plants back out, that kind of stuff. Boy am I'm grateful that I have that kind of stuff to do today. So many others probably woke up to a much different world this morning.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Contest Scores & Helpful Comments

I got my contest scores back yesterday on Read My Mind. I missed the finals by only a few points. I don't know if that makes it better or worse. (Smile) I got one great judge who gave me almost a perfect score. No, don't laugh. (Smile) She wasn't great because she gave me such a high score. She was great because she really put a lot of effort into judging my pages. She made comments on every thing she liked and every thing she didn't, then even explained why she didn't like something or why it didn't work. I hope I'm half as helpful when I judge as she was. Some of her comments made me feel good about my writing, and I needed that right now. The couple of things she found problems with really left me thinking. Hopefully my story will be better because of the time she spent on it.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

My First Blog

Seems I'm kind of coming into this blog thing a little late. I've seen them on so many websites, and kept thinking how neat it would be to have one...but...well...you know how we all put things off.

This morning I decide to stop putting it off. So here I am. My blog is all set up and I'm writing my very first post in it. Now all I have to do is think of interesting things to talk about. Hmmm. That might be a tough one. (Smile)