Monday, January 31, 2011

Live Like You're Dying

If you have been following this blog these last couple of weeks, you will know that I recently started working out, more specifically, SPINNING. 

Yeah, about that.

The whole idea behind exercise is to prolong our lives by making them healthier, right? We eat well, we exercise, we live longer...and so the story goes. Well, I've decided that it's all a big trick, see. 

The only reason that eating well (a.k.a. eating food that has no taste because all of the fun has been taken out of it/off of it) works is because the food looks so pitiful on your plate that you DON'T WANT TO EAT IT. Wow, I've lost five pounds already.

And exercising (a.k.a. doing something excruciating and foreign to your body for an hour's time)? Yeah, the reason exercising feels so good is because you are pushed so hard that YOU THINK YOU MIGHT DIE, and then when you don't? HEY LIFE IS SO BEAUTIFUL! WEEEE! I THINK I'LL DO A CARTWHEE -- OH NO! I PULLED MY HAMSTRING!

Dear Healthy People,

Tell me it gets easier.



*Image courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writer Resources

Hey, Gang.

Just popping in here between picking up groceries, dog poo, and kids from school (I know, you're jealous) to bring you some great links for writers. If you're not on Twitter, you really should be, if for no other reason than to follow Jane Friedman (@JaneFridman) and Elizabeth S. Craig (@elizabethscraig), two great writers who are also amazing at compiling writer resources. On that note, these are two links that I came across this morning that I wanted to share via these wonderful ladies.

There Are No Rules - Master Recap of 2011 Writer's Digest Conference by Jane Friedman (I don't know about you, but I would've sold my children, if it were legal my right arm to be at the Writer's Digest Conference this year. With this helpful compilation, it kind of feels like I was. You know, without all the awkward bumping into agents in the bathroom and whatnot.

The Writer's Knowledge Base created by Elizabeth S. Craig (and her software engineer friend, Mike Fleming), a search engine that is geared specifically to writer inquiries. Take that, Google!

Hope these are helpful to you. Just another reason social media is becoming more and more valuable to writers (especially unpublished writers!).

Have you come across any helpful Tweets today? Feel free to share them in the comments.

*Image courtesy of Google Images

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mad Men...Crazy Women

The hubby and I have been watching Mad Men on DVD over the last couple of weeks (it all started with Atlanta's spectacular snow debacle, which kept us inside for a week straight), and we are completely hooked. The writing for this show is spectacular, and I absolutely love seeing what life was like in the '60's.

Everything seemed so glamourous back then: the smoking and cocktails and wearing of gloves and pearls. I actually laughed out loud last night as the daughter of Don Draper (the main character played by the delicious perfectly adequate Jon Hamm), who couldn't be more than 8 years old, played bartender for her parents. I can't imagine asking my son to pour me a glass of wine (I wouldn't), but I do like the idea of my children CATERING TO ME for a change! And of course, women are treated like property instead of actual people (putting up with cheating husbands and practically raising their children alone), but I do like that it was more acceptable for a woman to have some meat on her bones. Hooray for curves!!!

What do you envy about days gone by? Is there a particular era you would've liked to have lived in?

*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Friday, January 21, 2011

There's Another Mean Girl, And Her Name Is Twitter

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you already know that I received a rather alarming suggestion a few days ago. If you don't, then I'll give you a recap. Apparently, Twitter thinks I need to lose weight:

See that first suggestion? When I saw it I almost dropped my doughnut apple. Twitter thinks I need to follow Weight Watchers?! When did you get so judgy, Twitter? Why can't you just "like" me and ask me if I want to be friends with people like Facebook does?

I don't do diets - never have, never will. Don't tell me NOT to eat a certain something, because I inevitably will...a lot of it. I'm a rule breaker, remember? But exercise? Exercise I can do. So I decided to take a spin class because I'm a masochist it seemed like the cool thing to do.

"What'd you do today, Beth?"
"Oh, me? I went to spin class. I spin now. Yep, I'm a spinner."

In all honesty, I did the spin class because I enjoy being yelled at directed when I'm working out, and since I can't justify spending the money on a personal trainer, I found the first class available and went in.

The first thing I noticed was that the class was being led by a woman who, I kid you not, looks like Halle Berry on steroids: she is gorgeous and TOTALLY ripped. Gorgeous + totally ripped = I'll have what she's having. Second, WHO IN THE WORLD designs these bike seats? Could they not just add a little more padding so that we're sitting on an actual seat rather than something that looks like the Batmobile? Think I'm kidding?

My hilarious friend, Angie, suggested that I buy some of those spandex pants with the padded butt that they make specifically for cyclists, and I agree that in theory that that would make my spin experience far less painful. However, it would also make my butt look even bigger! I mean, what would Twitter say?

Despite hobbling out of that first class with Gumby legs, I really enjoyed it and am planning to do it more. Maybe then Twitter will suggest I follow @herehaveatwinkie or @youshouldreallyeatsomething. (I made those up, they are not actual Twitter accounts!)

Happy Weekend, everyone.

*Bike Seat and Batmobile Photos Courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Plotting and Scheming

It all sounds so devious, doesn't it?

So I'm working on Book #2 and since Book #1 was such a train wreck when I finished the first draft exercising the Pantser Method, I've decided this time around to try the Plotter Method (to find a great explanation for the pro's and con's of each, click here - thanks, Roni!) even though I feel like it goes against my creative grain. In order to grow as a writer we have to be willing to try things we might not normally be inclined to try, right?

Naturally, I remembered bits and pieces of information about plotting from my high school English classes (Hi, Mrs. Groves!), but I wanted to go a little bit deeper so I picked up a few of the plotting books that I had on my bookshelf. James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure is the one I keep returning to for mechanics and ideas, but the most awesome advice with regard to plotting that I've gotten (and how horrible is it that I can't remember where I read it or heard it!) has been to write the synopsis first. Some people might freak out at that idea, but to me it just made sense. It also saves you some of the headache at the end from having to summarize your entire book into a few paragraphs - you've already done it!

Another thing that I really enjoy doing is creating my characters first. Fortunately, the main character for Book #2 is a character that was introduced in Book #1. This time, obviously, I'm fleshing out that character more, and Jody Hedlund has a great Character Worksheet (it's FREE!) that I have begun using to do just that.

What are some of your favorite plotting tips? Feel free to add any resources that you've found helpful in plotting your story too!

Happy Writing!

*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I've Been Known To Do This

Remember how last week we had a snow day that turned into a snow week? Yeah, that was fun, wasn't it? Turns out a week of children being off from school turns a mother's brain into complete puppy chow (and speaking of puppies, my dog survived last week, too. Just in case you were thinking of calling Animal Control on me...justifiably). So, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and realized that it is Tuesday, not Monday. The MLK holiday combined with the snow week completely threw me off.

So. Away we go.

One of my absolute favorite (and hugely popular) Mommybloggers is Heather B. Armstrong over at You can always count on Heather to be incredibly transparent about her life as a wife and working mother. I respect and admire her most for her posts dealing with her struggle with postpartum depression. However, I ADORE her, because she makes me laugh...almost every day. I will warn you, her language is often colorful and her (liberal) politics are not exactly my own, so if you're sensitive to those elements, proceed with caution. But her post today, "I'd totally be a groupie," is one of my new favorites. It's a must-read for you parents out there.

That's right, Mommy Monday on Tuesday. I'm thinking of making it permanent. Any blogs you've found that you are loving right now? Feel free to share in the comments. I'm always looking for new reading material, you know, since I have SO MUCH time on my hands. ;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Little Bit of Perspective

I was fully prepared to post a rant today about how crazy this last week has been having the kids home from school due to snow (and it has been, trust me). But with all that's been going on in other parts of our country and other parts of the world, I can't help but be grateful. My children are safe, unlike 9 year old Christina Green, who died due to senseless violence in Arizona. My house might be covered in snow, but it is not under water like many of the homes in flooded Australia. We have not once lost power, we have been able to go to the grocery store, and we've had some really good family bonding time. Yes, it's been crazy, but I am grateful. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Kind Word Spoken

A Kind Word Spoken
by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

A little word in kindness spoke,
A motion, or a tear,
Has often healed the heart that's broken
And made a friend sincere.

A word, a look, has crushed to earth
Full many a budding flower,
Which, had a smile but owned its birth,
Would bless life's darkest hour.

Then deem it not an idle thing
A pleasant word to speak;
The face you wear, the thought you bring,
A heart may heal or break.

It's tough sometimes to be a writer. Anyone who has gone through the long and arduous process of querying a manuscript will tell you - it's TOUGH sometimes. Anyone who has gone through a second and third (and even a forth) round of edits on their manuscript will tell you - it's TOUGH. Anyone who has tried their hand at freelancing only to face rejection will tell you - it's TOUGH. Even just keeping up with something like this, a blog, can be tough sometimes.

So when you receive the slightest bit of encouragement, it feels AMAZING. When you get just the tiniest bit of approval, someone to say, "Hey, I like your writing," or "Congratulations on..." whatever it is, IT FEELS GREAT.

I got that today, from a very sweet friend of mine from college (thanks, Shanna). Sometimes it only takes a few kind words to heal a soul that has been a little bit bruised by life's ups and downs. 

So first, I want to say thank you, readers. Thank you for showing up at this crazy place week after week and reading, commenting, and encouraging me. Thank you for making me feel less alone on this journey of writing (and parenting!). I do hope that you are encouraged here, through laughter or otherwise.

Second, I hope you will take the time to thank the people who support you, and then go and find someone else to share the encouragement with. You never know whose life you might touch at just the moment they need it.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I apologize for the late post today, friends. We are having some crazy snow here in Georgia and I have spent the majority of my day playing in it and mopping up after it. So the tally for today is:

Times I've fallen on my butt: 2
Times I've wiped runny noses: 347 and still counting
Loads of wet laundry done: 5 (Funny story, that. Last night my husband SOMEONE flushed the upstairs toilet, which decided it did NOT like that at all and overflowed onto our bathroom floor for some time. Well, it leaked down the wall and out onto the floor in my pantry downstairs. ON THE COLDEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR. Super. This morning all seems to be alright, no buckling wood floors, but then again, once the ice melts outside we might be in for it.)
Yummy meals cooked in the CrockPot: 1
Dogs I've nearly murdered: 1

Rinse and repeat, we have another snow day tomorrow!

What's the weather like where you are? (If you live somewhere sunny and warm then LIE TO ME!)

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Women Want

My friend Meg sent me this to me in an email and I thought it was too funny not to share here.

Happy Weekend, everyone. And by all means, have some wine. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reading and Writing...No Arithmetic Please!


I've got a few books I'm reading at the moment that I can't seem to put down, and I love that feeling. However, it has created a problem with my writing, because I'd much rather be reading. In an effort to get more writing done, I'm attempting to make reading my reward for finishing my writing for the day.

Do you writers ever get caught reading more than you're writing? Do you think this is helping or hurting your craft?

*Photos courtesy of Google Images

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Not To Look Punched in the Face

Welcome back, Internet. I missed you. Happy New Year, btw. You look really good, did you know that? Have you done something different with your hair?

So...I don't do resolutions. This denial of resolve has worked for me, because I don't need the added pressure to lose weight, or be more motivated, or whatnot. I'm kind of an anxious person to begin with, and resolutions feel like a prison of my own making. Anyone else feel that way? Like you're setting yourself up for failure? I mean, I'm a writer. Isn't that enough???

My "I refuse to be resolute" plan only becomes a problem after Christmas, when everyone starts TALKING about their resolutions. Hey, Beth. Got a New Year's resolution? And then I have to have that awkward conversation while the Type A idiot who loves to make themselves look superior to everyone person who asked me gets to look all sympathetic and "Oh, poor you" because I don't resolve to DO anything. I am superior in my mediocrity, thank you very much.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I like to set goals. I think that's a healthy thing. But for some reason, calling it a resolution makes me feel like if I don't live up to it THE WORLD WILL EXPLODE. Oopsie, I forgot to count those calories at lunchtime, everyone duck and run for cover!

So to satisfy the resoluters (is that a real word? If it is, great, if not, I'm going to use it to check off number four on my list!) out there, here's a short list of my projections. My hey-that-would-be-cool-if-it-happened items. My maybe-if-the-kid-sleeps-all-night-I'd-have-the-energy-for-this list:

1. See my book agented/published
2. Lose some weight/find some muscle tone (a.k.a the kid is almost four - time to get rid of that flabby middle and stop blaming the baby)
3. Figure out how to do a smoky eye without making myself look like a raccoon and my husband look like a wife beater.
4. Make up a new word.
5. Be kinder, gentler, more patient, and loving.


Are you a resoluter? What are you resolving to do this year? It's okay if you're not - this is a safe space ;)