So, I'm taking this writing class from 'The Novelry' on the classics, and I must say, I'm impressed. It's a 45 lesson class, and I'm 75% of the way through. I have learned so much and am so appreciative of this class.
I'm was not a 'classics' kind of girl in my early reading years. I never really got into Peter Pan, Narnia, The Hobbit, The Little Princess, The Princess and The Goblins, or Alice In Wonderland. However, I did see the Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland movies. That was about it. I remember thinking Alice In Wonderland was one of the freakiest movies I had ever seen and was not watching it over and over again like some of my childhood friends did, believe me. I'd also seen The Hobbit play when I was young and was so bored that I thought it wise to spit on the people below me as we were in the balcony. Yes, a crappy thing to do, but I was insane with boredom—though I wish I could apologize to the people I did this to. Plus, my dyslexia and ADHD got in the way of reading, as I have mentioned before. Some of the classics are written in old English, and that just did not compute in my brain at all. I mean, I was barely hanging on to regular English as it was.
I had to read 'The Odyssey and thought I would lose my mind trying to get through this book in school. There were probably many more books we had to read for school, but I only remember this one in particular because it is considered a classic.
To say I never appreciated the classics is an understatement until now. This class has taught me how to write magical fantasy, much like the classics have been written—especially children's classics—it has also taught me how appreciating the classics is incredibly necessary to help you become a better writer.
I have now read The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, The Princess and The Goblins, The Princess and Curdie, and I plan to read the Narnia series when I can find the time. There are a ton more classics, and although I may never get around to reading all of them, I have a new appreciation for our classic writers.
This class has been the catalyst for an idea I have on a young adult fantasy book, which is way out of the way of my usual style. Now, if I can just find the time to sit down and start writing it, that would be something.
Soooo, my first book titled 'Something Dreamy This Way Comes' was my first attempt at a novel. I launched it on Amazon rather hastily and didn't do a great job of editing it—part of that had to do with my extreme excitement of actually finishing a novel and my ADHD. My impulsivity got in my way, I'm afraid.
Fast forward six years, and I have now written several novels and a couple of parenting books. I'd like to think that my writing has improved with more practice. In the meantime, however, I've taken a couple of writing classes that have taught me loads. I wrote my first novel without an outline, having never taken a course, and it shows.
I decided to rewrite and edit it, and boy, was I green back then. The story itself is good, but I got my tenses all screwed up, and good Lord, I wish I could spell better and had a better grip on commas. My regular comes-with-my-computer spell check doesn't catch everything, I'm afraid. Hence me investing in Grammarly, which catches pretty much everything. There was no Grammarly that I was aware of six years ago.
In rewriting this book, it has been brought to my attention that my style was and has remained playful and funny, even if what I'm writing about may be intense for a time. I have a lot of humor in my two parenting books, which is very different from most parenting books that I have read. They tend to be dead serious, I find. I believe in humor and will probably always use a dash or more of it in all of my writing. I'm just not a serious person, so writing in a serious manner just doesn't feel right.
I'm halfway done with the rewrite and editing of my first book and hope to have it relaunched in the next few months. It's a humorous book about a girl growing up and what that can look like. There are many hard lessons learned, a lot of tripping, falling, and then getting up again. Most girls/women will relate to the words spoken in the book, and yes, there is a thread of truth to it. Some of the portions you will read did indeed happen to this girl, but the book is mostly fiction, well, okay, half fiction, okay, maybe 30% fiction but I'll never tell.
I'm excited to get it back out there. It may never be a best seller but I sure had fun writing it and I hope the readers have fun reading it!
Inspiration is defined as 'the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do with something creative.' I see inspiration all around me every day. For example, my mom inspires me with her unwavering passion to create the most beautiful quilts you have ever seen. She even added a quilting/sewing room onto her house a few years ago. It is the coolest space you have ever seen. She literally has one long wall of shelves filled with more material than a material store, I kid you not. She never stops buying material because patterns, colors, etc. inspire her to create.
My dad is another person that inspires me. He started a very successful company well over a decade ago and even though he has semi-retired, that company is still going strong. My dad is one of the hardest workers I know next to my mom.
I am an avid, okay not avid, more like an addict when it comes to reading. The Professor comments nearly every day that he has never met anyone that reads as much as I do. I read because I love being immersed into another place, time, life, etc. It also inspires me to become a better writer and I am always learning from the books that I read. Reading is some of the best teaching for a person to become a better writer. Words are beautiful and powerful and when strung together in the right way, can evoke a myriad of emotions. I want to be that person that moves a reader, opens their mind up to something they may have never thought about, or opens their mind up about a completely different take on life.
The inspiration for several of my books have been some of the things I have managed to 'survive' throughout my life. You may ask, "Survive?" Yes, survive as my life has not been as easy as it may appear. I take snippets of my life and string them throughout all of the books I have written so far, though this is about to change in some of the new books I have ideas about writing. I also sprinkle in the various life patterns of some of the stories that other people have told me or that I have heard on television, social media, etc. I have heard it said that writers are story thieves and I now know what that means.
Inspiration is all around us all of the time, we just have to stand still long enough to drink it in, mold it, make it our own, and then write about it.
One of the hardest parts about being a writer is getting those rejection emails that say something to the effect of, "Thanks for your query but your project is not what we are looking for." Sometimes, well most of the time actually, you get nothing back meaning, "No thanks and I don't have time to let you know that you have once again been rejected."
I once had a literary agent email me back with yet another rejection but he had the decency to actually give me some tips on my book. To get any sort of feedback is absolutely unheard of I have discovered so this was a very rare occurrence and you better believe I took his advice. I wish I could remember who he was as I dumbly misplaced his information and could have sent him some of the other books that I have since written.
I was on a vacation getaway with the Professor this past weekend, and I got another rejection email-don't ask me why I checked my email while on vacation. I told him about it and he immediately walked over to give me a hug telling me how sorry he was. I've been rejected so many times I have lost count but each time I mention it to him, he always takes the time to give me a hug. He's just sweet like that.
Now, a writer's only saving grace is in the world of self-publishing, which I have done with all of my books. However, there are millions of people doing this so trying to get your book to be on the top of the downloaded or purchased list is incredibly hard.
Each month, however, I end up with a royalty payment. Now, it may only be fifty cents but by golly, someone wanted one of my books and read a few pages of it so yay!! The most I ever made in a month was $100. That was shocking to me but man was I proud.
I am one of those lucky and blessed people that have accomplished almost everything I have set out to do in my life so this rejection stuff is a bit new for me but so commonplace in the world of books. I'm not sure how many times JK Rowling was rejected or Steven King but I know they had some rejection, which just floors me. Now, I'm no JK Rowling or Steven King, they are masters of their craft but I push on writing, learning, reading, and writing some more. Even though I am rejected, I will never stop writing, it's a part of me that I just can't stop and I don't ever want to. Call me crazy! :)
I get asked all the time why I read so much, why I write any chance I can get, and why I'm always taking classes or reading books on becoming a better writer. The fact that I do all this will come as a shock considering my painful beginnings.
As a young girl, I was horrible at school, especially reading and math, however, I excelled at PE, recess, and lunch, haha. I was so bad at reading and math that I ended up in special ed, what they called it back in the '70s. Because of this, reading was very painful for me. Not only was it incredibly hard, but it was shrouded with a certain amount of shame as I was the only girl in special ed at the time. Don't even get me started on my seriously lacking math skills. What's ironic is that my dad was a mathematician of sorts and I have no idea how he managed the patience it took to sit down and try to explain it all to me, especially word problems. Kill me now on those damn word problems. Who came up with mixing words with numbers anyway?
Years later, in my late 30's, I shockingly discovered that I had dysgraphia and dyslexia. This would explain why math was a foreign language to me and why reading was so dang hard it brought me to tears most of the time. Here's the thing, even though I was awful at math and reading, I could always tell or write stories, even if my spelling sucked because of dyslexia. I wrote several stories as a young girl and one of them won an award at my school, which was shocking considering but storytelling is different from reading, even if the words coming from brain to paper are spelled horrifically wrong.
As I got older, my brain figured out how to read, I still suck at spelling, but my reading skills have taken off and I can be found reading just about every day. My husband, who I lovingly call the 'Professor,' is floored that I can read a 300-page book in one day and pretty much do this daily.
Writing came later and anyone that has read my rough drafts can tell you that I still don't play nice with spelling and those dang commas. Luckily for me, math is not on my radar as I am a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and that doesn't require high levels of math, thank God!
So, I guess the answer to why I read all the time, write whenever I can, and am constantly learning how to be a better writer is because now that all of the pieces have been put together about how I am wired, I am very proud that I have been able to overcome what was once painful for me. I have always been a good storyteller and dyslexia didn't get in the way of that so that makes me thankful. I am also thankful for the crutches that serve me so well such as spell check, Alexa, and Grammarly. Someone is definitely watching out for me. My advice to anyone trying to overcome dyslexia, specifically, is just keep trying, your brain is very versatile and adaptable and you will get it figured out!