No Room for Doubt

Do you ever spend hours, days, weeks pouring your heart and soul into your writing only to go back, read it and think, “Oh my God, what was I thinking? This is crap. I have no talent. No one will ever want to read this.”

Well, guess what? You’re not the only one!

I love to write. I love the creative process and making the story come alive on the page. For me it is not just the destination (the finished story), but also the journey getting there (developing characters, and hammering all of those twists and turns into place). But I often find, especially during my editing process that doubt creeps in. I start wondering what the heck I’m doing. Wondering why I ever thought that I could write a book.

Recently, while going through one of these moments, a friend introduced me to a new type of encouragement…
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Why Can’t Weeds Be Flowers?

 

Looking at life through the eyes of a child, I’ve learned to see the possibility and joy in the small, everyday things.  To search for the magic.  To believe in the magic.  It’s only as we grow older that innocent wonder abandons us.  Or do we abandon the wonder?

I remember my daughter running to me on stubby little legs with a fistful of dandelions.   Her wide smile split her face and pride glimmered in her eyes when she handed me those beautiful flowers.  To me, they were weeds.  To her, a glorious find.   Since I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she’d just handed me a bunch of weeds, I thanked her and put them in a bud vase on the kitchen counter.

But something strange happened.  Every time I washed my dishes or felt the urge to gripe about cleaning the counters, those weeds stopped me cold.  Stored forever in my mind will be my daughter’s smile.  Granted, they weren’t long-stemmed red roses, but they…
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Presenting Barry Mouse and Mary Mouse

A few weeks ago, I visited my parents and stumbled across a short story I wrote in the seventh grade. Behold, “The Mice,” complete with illustration:

One day, two mice, Barry Mouse and Mary Mouse, looked out their home in the wall and saw a great, big piece of cheese. “That cheese is as good as mine!” Barry Mouse exclaimed. “I have wonderful reflexes, and I’m a natural athlete!” “Not so fast,” Mary Mouse interjected. “Maybe I could get the cheese before you.” “Yeah, right,” Barry Mouse said sarcastically. “You’re just a girl! How could you reach it before I? I, the magnificent; I, the strong; I, the superior athlete. That piece of cheese is going to taste so good! It’ll be simply delicious! And why should I share any with you? I’ll get it myself without any help from anybody…” Mary Mouse was sitting there, eating the…
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Writing Right Where We Are

With laptops at our hands, it’s easy to write almost anywhere. I’m writing this post on my living room couch.  It’s not my favorite spot, but it’s where I am this evening.

Do you have a favorite spot to write?  I’ve had several.  In my first house, I wrote in the back bedroom.  I had a view of the forsythia bush planted against the fence, and loved watching its changes through the year.  My second house had a view of a suburban street, beige walls and very ugly blinds left behind by the prior owner.

I’ve also written in a nice, private study with a view of the front yard and the court where we live now.  I earned my Master’s Degree in that downstairs study.  It was quiet and private, a professional space I shared with my husband without problems. Then my son entered a private high school and that was the end of the study! …
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Operation Real Life Romantic Men

We write and read about them.  They give us goose bumps, make us giggle, confound us and astound us.  Sometimes they take bullets for us and sometimes they just enjoy watching us sleep.  But these are, after all, fictional heroes I talk about.  And at the end of the day, a girl’s gotta know that there are real life great guys out there who are doing their best to live up to these extremely high standards we lady writers have set.  I am extremely pleased to share a few instances of “friends” who have recently had run-ins with some living and breathing romantic men. 

According to one friend, a sweet guy spied her at the local store and worked up the courage to ask what tanning lotion she used so he could get some too since she had such a lovely tan.  And then went on his way.

Another friend reported earlier this month that while standing on the…
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BFF = Brave Fiction Fan

Think it’s hard being a writer? Try being the best friend of a writer! My BFF, Danielle, reads everything I write before anyone else. She is joining the Waterworld Mermaids today to give us her side of the story.

Brief History: D and I have known each other since we were five years old, but we’ve been BFFs for the last 16 years. I live in Arlington, VA, while D is up in Pittsburgh. We have many differences, but we do share the same sensibilities regarding tanning (always wear SPF), Nora Roberts (we heart her), Pittsburgh sports teams (they’re awesome) and the movie Newsies (yay!).

Warning: D and I have a tendency to be silly and go off topic. Enjoy!

Kerri: Do you know we’ve been BFFs for 16 years? BFF: OMG, we are that old already? Those years have been filled with some crazy times, haven’t they? Kerri: IKR! When did…
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#&*$%@$ Day Job!

I know, I know . . .  potty mouth.

But, lately I’ve been very frustrated with the amount of time my day job is taking away from my writing life.  Now, I love my job and it is very fulfilling – I’m an attorney for U.S. Navy and you couldn’t have a better group of clients.  And, this working thing isn’t new. I am not independently wealthy and while my husband is a few years older than I am – he’s no Sugar Daddy. (Although I hear that “the Hef” is now available and apparently has room at the mansion and rockin’ party already planned and paid for)

So, when I began down the path of publication and took this compulsion to write seriously, I always had to work it around the day job.  I write in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed and I can usually get in a good 2-3 hours before my comfortable bed beckons from across the room. And, sometimes I can squeeze…
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Be a Money Honey

The last few weeks have been crazy. Everything has centered around my debut novel, Up a Dry Creek, coming out today. Yep, today. If I wasn’t so freaked out I’d be having the time of my life.

However, reality yanked me out of my debut novel euphoria on Friday. There I was typing away when my computer made a sound I hear multiple times a day – a sweet little bing accompanied by a calendar reminder box. June 15: Pay Estimate 2011 Taxes. Ugh. Talk about a buzz kill.

So let’s talk money. More specifically taxes.

First off, know that none of this is meant as professional advice. I am not now nor have I ever been an accountant – trust me, one glance at my checkbook and you’d realize how true that is. However, I’ve learned a few things the hard way that may make paying the piper a little easier for you.

Writing is your passion, your…
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Love, Comma, Yours Truly

“Know the rules, so you know how to break them properly.” –Dalai Lama

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Depending on the time of day and the amount of alcohol involved, writers can go on for hours debating the differences between “voice” and “style.” As a part time copyeditor, it is my job to recognize an author’s style…and then not mess with it (unless it conflicts with house style–just like in poker, the house always wins).

One of the elements unique to each writer’s style is the comma.

Commas are used for lots of reasons. They can be used in lists of one thing, two things, and a third thing. They are used when addressing someone. They are used when interjecting a thought into a middle of a sentence. Most commonly, however, they are used to designate a pause in the rhythm of the text.

Most commas are legal. I feel confident in saying that because…
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Resumes and Synopsis . . . So Much Alike!

I will have to say I haven’t had time to get on-line as much as I would like to lately.  Recent situations in my ‘real’ life have interrupted much of my normal routine.  Having had a rough 2010 with my hubby laid-off (he has a solid job again and I thank God every day) and the economy the way it is, we’ve had to accept the fact I can no longer be a stay at home Mom in which we’d both agreed to eighteen years ago when my oldest was an infant.  When my second daughter came along 3 years and eight days after the first, it didn’t make sense to work just to pay for daycare.

Now that the oldest is in college and the youngest is two years away from high school graduation, it’s time for me to beat the streets of the job market.  Years of volunteering and various jobs from home (everything from in home party sales to helping my father-in-law with his insurance company) I’m now…
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