Out with the Old … In with the New

Last year, 2012, offered so many eye-openers; an emotional roller coaster of sorts. The year began with a kiss to my fiancée and continued on from there with me trying to find new ways of keeping our relationship together for the sake of our daughter. After seeing my fiancée run out of the house many times to go party and hang out with friends, I knew that she was and had been dancing and flirting with other men. It was only a matter of time before she suggested the idea of having an open relationship. She came clean about a number of lies and events that she once thought that I believed; that was sometime around the one-night stand that she went out for, I think.

Now, after nine years of working on our relationship, which has included our daughter for the passed three, she’s unable to understand why I no longer want to be a part of the relationship after the 100th time of her saying: I’m sorry. I can and will change. I feel like I’ve fallen for it too many times already; I know I have. On top of that, I also learned that she’s been spreading lies to her friends and family about me for the passed couple of years, and offered to pay me to move out; though she phrased it as: $1,000 to go start new wherever you’d rather be. With all of the emotional stress of working to save our relationship, trying to teach her how to be a lady and a wife, how to cook, how to play the violin, learn the French language with her… and so much more, also did not work out. Trying to imagine myself with someone new after being with the same woman for over nine years did not help matters.

I’m currently unemployed, which has been the norm for the passed three and half years, at least. I have a few hobbies in mind, and a background in writing. Coming out of the muck of 2012, I’m finally able to write, again; in sentences that make at least a bit of sense, anyway.

For 2013, I have a couple ideas in mind that will likely help with my mental and physical health, that also may turn me into an author of a novel or two, a photographer, and maybe even an entrepreneur.

I will finish reading through my Bible, which I began during 22 hours of Christmas day that I spent alone, contemplating the meaning of ‘Family’. I returned Christmas night soon enough to spend a short amount of time with my daughter before telling her good night and to offer the idea of sweet dreams.

Now it’s the first day of the new year and I have plenty of work to do that will keep me occupied in becoming someone more. I have writings that range from ideas, to nearly finished novellas and screenplays for television series that were canceled shortly after I finished writing them. Still, I’ve been going over the idea of sending them in to find out what the producers and/or chief editor thinks about the ideas, so that I may get some added feedback from a reliable source who knows the industry better than anyone else. It could prove useful.

There are still many blog entries that I have yet to write in order to help my fellow bloggers and fellow authors. I will address several topics that I consider to be of importance, that will offer some insight to your writings, and hope that they prove useful to you and other writers.

Here’s to procrastinating…

Now, back to work.

Wave Good-Bye

Another year has come to an end. It seems that we survived the supposed end of the world that was scheduled for December 21, 2012, though the Mayan calendar ending did not necessarily mean the rest of the world would.

So, we’re all now waving good-bye to 2012 and getting ready to welcome another great year with family, friends, co-workers, and all of our good habits.

May 2013 bring much love, peace, happiness, and fulfill so many dreams that have yet been ignored. Remember to hold your resolutions close this year, as every year before, and work through them one step at a time.

Sing it with me…

Na-Na-Na-Na, Na-Na-Na-Na, Hey, Hey, Hey! GOOD-BYE 2012!

Happy New Year!

Exampled by Professionals

“‘I was replacing the joists in the floor when I noticed a slight depression—it appeared to be filled in with the foundations of the house,’ Colin Steer told the London Telegraph. The discovery has led Sheer to explore the history of his property, located in the city of Plymouth, near the south coast of Devon, England.”

It doesn’t take a professional proofreader to notice the error in the paragraph above. Many writers pride themselves on writing quality fiction, but when it comes to writing nonfiction, the main rule of thumb is to have all of the facts straight before getting the piece published.

In the paragraph above, the article’s author, Eric Pfeiffer, a reporter who blogs for Yahoo! News, decided to switch the home owner’s name with another that had come to mind, likely out of Sheer brilliance. It wasn’t enough to see the owner’s name in the previous sentence, apparently.

This is one of the many errors found in the work of a writer. There are many other errors out there which are just as tragic when it comes to progressing a story, in fiction as well as nonfiction.

As with this error, which was likely unintentionally made, it takes more than spellcheck to get the job of writing — and editing — completed to a result of satisfaction.

It is becoming more common for reporters to simply Vlog (video blog) about an incident, and one of the reasons appears quite obvious.

If you would like to have some proofreading fun, see if you can spot the other errors in this piece of writing.

Full article: Medieval well discovered beneath couple’s living room | The Sideshow – Yahoo! News

In an article by Justin Hyde, for the Yahoo! Autos blog Motoramic, it’s obvious that the appearance of the vehicle likely took value from his writing when he wrote the following bit.

“But after leaving office and some changes in his personal life, Schwarzenegger seems to be exploring the world of high-end machinery again; we caught him earlier thisy month checking out the field at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. ”

Professional writers should know better than to begin a sentence with a conjunction when it comes to professional style and quality, but some just do not seem to mind a bit.

Spellcheck would have been useful here. Unless it also suggested to include the word ‘making’ so readers are not meant to believe that Schwarzenegger left changes in his life, or perhaps that he left his life altogether, it would have only corrected one of the errors shown.

Full article: Arnold Schwarzenegger gets the keys to a $250,000 Mercedes Unimog | Motoramic – Yahoo! Autos

Someone may need to suggest to Yahoo! News, or their blogging department at least, that proofreaders and editors would likely help in situations similar to these. So many other articles have been published with a variety of errors included that it makes it hard to believe that these ‘professionals’ should be considered professionals at all.

Perhaps it is meant to demonstrate that the quality and style of a writer are allowed to be less than professional once the writer has made a name for themselves.

Make It Come Out Write

Ruffled Plain

Subject. Topic. Possibilities. Blank document; paper or otherwise. Do it. Don’t do it. Use that word. Use these, instead. Word it differently. No. Reword it. Now, reword it again. Cancel that. Rewrite it. Erase that. No, don’t erase that! It might come in handy later. Erase that, though. Put that idea here. Put that thought there. Move this. Replace these. Insert here and erase… no, don’t erase; just take it out and put it away.

Writers constantly struggle to get their thoughts onto paper, or into an electronic document that will give them the ease required to look past their mind and into what they’ve thought about. This idea and that thought may both seem like good ideas. Excellent ideas they are, maybe.

Once the words have been written and put down on paper or into the document on the monitor in front of them, these ideas and thoughts seem to clash. Maybe they no longer make the perfect sense they once did. Perhaps, the wrong words were used and others should have been used to give the idea or thought more meaning.

The ideas that come to mind seem wonderful to the writer who is about to write them. They would likely seem wonderful to the reader who would enjoy the time spent to read them, if the writer would ever get around to finish writing them.

Writing takes time. Writing well, sometimes takes even more time. No, good writing does not consist of the overly used editing skills that some writers boast about having; that’s good editing. Good writing comes from some place deeper than a pencil or a keyboard, and it is much more than a single edit will help.

Writing well is more about writing from the heart rather than scribbling notes for a grocery list. Good writing is more than words; it’s feeling, too. In order to write something that is well written, words to describe the object must be used. — Bland. Overrated. Too cliché. — To write well, a heart must be present in order to give the words more meaning than a dictionary can provide.

Description comes in handy. Description is also known to hinder a piece of writing more than it helps in many cases. Description is of no use when the idea will not reveal itself long enough to be written; when the thought creeps back into its dark corner.

Perhaps it’s only the imagination of the writer that makes the writing seem less than worthy. Perhaps, the writing actually is less than worthy and should be crumpled into a ball and thrown into a useful waste basket. Or, perhaps, the world would love to read what has been written, if only it were able to be written.

Words and sentences often express thought. Ideas are expressed this way, too, of course. What happens when the words won’t come to create sentences? — A jumbled mess of thought mixed with confusion and irritation; that’s what.

Writing benefits from emotion. It benefits from idea, thought, consideration, and meaningful words that allow a writer to effectively convey an idea to another, through the use of words. Writing does not, however, benefit from loose hairs resulting from an irritated writer pulling them out. Nor does it benefit from the angst that is likely to arrive upon the third revision of the same piece.

Writing well lies within the writer. To force the words will usually result in what feels as failure, because the piece is not written as well as it could be, as well as it should be, written. All is not lost. After all, that’s why the process of editing was created; right?

Many writers find themselves editing more than they write. Other writers find themselves writing and editing here and there, as it’s needed. The whole point, whether it is in a completely raw form that will ultimately need a few hours of editing or it’s in perfect condition as it’s being written, is to make it come out; write.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

The Little Engine That Could - Become the Little Engine That Did

  • 1. …Try, Try Again.
  • Of course, it’s much easier than it sounds. Anger and fear usually set in as a result of frustration. Anger as a result of the task being thought of as a simple one, and failure was the reward for trying the first time. Fear of not being able to accomplish such a task also makes it that much more difficult.
  • When a combination of the two is experienced, those emotions spark up a slew of others; all of which only blur the mind to make the task seem even more impossible.
  • 2. …Give up and let the dust settle.
  • It’s tempting at times, but to give up means to admit defeat. It may not be possible to win every war in life, but it certainly does not hurt to try. The dust that settles will only cover the initial attempt in part. The memory will remain and history will eventually rear its ugly head to bring about the task once more anew.
  • When the chance is offered, be sure to have the proper tools and skill so that victory will result.
  • 3. …Pay someone else to do it.
  • There are surely hundreds of professionals, if not thousands, who would be more than willing to take your project and make it appear the easiest task in the world. Of course, in order to hire anyone else, payment would be expected at some point during the project, and along with it, victory would belong to another.

If at first you don’t succeed and you would like to try again, release the negative emotion that has built up to begin with a clear mind. Remember that failure is a reward in itself, because it shows you that it’s time to sharpen your tools and increase your skill; to ultimately make you a better person.

Yes, someone else may be able to do the project that you have setup better and likely even quicker, but as the proverb reminds us: If you want something done right the first time, you had better do it yourself. Along with knowing that the project was completed to your approval, you’ll also enjoy the satisfaction of having completed your goal.

Image Source: Cliff; used under the Creative Commons Licensing.

How Times Have Changed

A reflective look to the past will show many things. Emotions and ideas that were ventured and lost or won, along with thoughts that came to fruition or simply remained as thought. The only true constant that will stand the test of time is change itself. Change is everywhere; not just lying on the sidewalk or in one’s pocket.

If you take a look at a few phrases you’ll surely notice the changes that have been made along the way. Such a phrase, for example: Go play. Though this phrase is short and quite simple, when someone was told to go play twenty years ago, the person usually had to step outside in order to do so. The phrase did not mean to sit down with some hand-held electronic device and begin screaming absurdities due to a complex level, or at persons who are likely hundreds of miles away.

Another such phrase: Get stoned. If you look around the world that we live in today, you will notice advertisements everywhere that suggest everyone should smoke it up and live the high life; even if the high life isn’t necessarily the best option. Years ago, the phrase had more of a punishment type of meaning. To ‘get stoned’ actually meant that someone, or many people, stood along a brick wall while many other people threw stones at them. This type of punishment usually lasted until the death of the guilty parties.

Many years ago, it was quite the norm to walk about and call your neighbor ‘gay’, or make a suggestion to have a gay meeting. This gay meeting was usually just a bunch of friends getting together to discuss the everyday wanderings of life, chit-chatting about everything under the sun; enjoying time spent with friends. Now, if you walk outside and call someone gay, they have the legal right, according to some, to serve you with a subpoena. Now, the term that was once another way to express happiness or the joy of life is known as an insult. Or, as is the case with homosexual couples, to announce that a person is partnered with a person of the same gender.

Years ago, neighbors would come together to help one another raise a house. More recent days have shown us that some mothers and fathers aren’t willing to raise even their own children. While it was once fun to go to a drive-in, the most recent drive-ins that have occurred were due to texting while driving.

Not too long ago, if you suggested that someone ‘get educated’, they would have likely run to the local library in order to find information about the subject in question. These days computers are everywhere. So, if you suggest someone get educated today, they’re likely to offer some crude comment in return, then post their comment on a social-networking website for everyone else to see. Nevermind the searching for information; disrespect is such hard work in itself.

Sundays were cursed by the masses since all stores were closed. Church was open to everyone willing to attend. Neighbors knew the names of their neighbors and often shook hands with them on a regular basis. Help was offered and accepted more willingly. Of course, that time was before business meant staying open on Sundays in the interest of earning more money; churches decided it was best that they remain open four to five days a week for a bigger congregation; neighbors began putting bars on their windows and doors; and before help was turned into some sort of innuendo with a hidden agenda.

The times sure have changed since family and respect were the most important things discussed at the dinner table. Now, it’s even too much to ask for a regular conversation using spoken words; everyone with their electronic devices, thumbs ready to type out an illiterate request for the delivered meal to be brought into another room of the house. What’s worse than receiving a text message in a mixture of letters and numbers? — Knowing that so many companies and people encourage such behavior.

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m wise enough to know that the values of life haven’t changed that much over the years. Honesty, respect, and trust are still highly regarded by some. So, the next time you sit down grasping your electronic thing-a-ma-jig, ask yourself if you would want to be known tomorrow as the person you are today.

Rounded Update

Yes, I’ve been quiet for the passed week. I’ve been working on research and writing that I plan to share with all of you just as soon as I get it finished; and no, it’s not of the stories that I have been working on, unfortunately.

Since setting myself goals for the month of August, I’ve decided to take another look at blogging and how I can help to make a change for the better. One of my goals being ‘better quality posts’, I have been doing a bit of research before writing from experience and the little that I had read on the subject that I’ve been writing about.

Writing is still happening behind the scenes; in research, notes, short stories, and ideas. I’ve taken enough notes and done enough research (I hope) to work out a few articles. I will post them as soon as they’re complete.

I’ve also been working on my juggling. I’m still at three tennis balls, but I’m able to juggle four with limited ability. The tricks available to three-ball jugglers are quite something.

Once I figured out the Reverse Cascade, I was able to get the hang of ‘over the top’ throws well enough to work on Tennis (also referred to as ‘Fake Tennis’) and Real Tennis. The over the top throwing also opened up a new view at juggling and brought on the interest of attempting other tricks. The Half Shower is such a trick that requires an over the top throw in order to figure out; and the Shower, too.

The Yo-Yo and the Oy-Oy, along with the Machine, I haven’t really practiced much. I’ve been working on linking the tricks together, juggling two balls in one hand in both directions, and picking combinations that work well with one another. The Machine is still a bit out of my range at the moment, but I will slip back to practice it every now and again.

A technique known as ‘Claws’ – to grab the tennis balls with an over-hand catch – is also something in progress. I’ve managed to learn it more successfully with my right hand, while my left hand wants to play lazy and occasionally drop the ball.

I have accidentally done the Shower and the Windmill a couple of times, but have not yet figured out how to do them on purpose. I’m practicing and working on getting them, though. Juggling really helps when I feel that my writing just isn’t at its best.

When I feel cramped and need some room to explore my thoughts, I’ll take to juggling for a while. I’ll run through a combination of tricks that I know how to do. Then, I’ll attempt a trick that I’m still learning before I go back through a combination of tricks. After that, I’ll sit down for a breather to see what I can get written and what more I need to work on.

I’ve found that having the activity available as a way to vent when I just can’t seem to get the words to flow usually helps quite a bit. Maybe it’s the flow of blood rushing through my body, able to make it to my brain. Perhaps it’s simply the action of itself that gets everything working, again. It could be a mixture of the two or something altogether different. That’s a problem I haven’t begun working on too deeply yet; perhaps another time.

If you’re interested in watching the tricks that I named above to see how they look when performed, visit JugglingJoe1026 on YouTube: 3 Ball Tricks Encyclopedia.

NaNo What–O?

If you cruise the internet in search of ideas for writing and other information, chances are good that you’ve stumbled upon the mention of NaNoWriMo at least once. At first, it may look like just a bunch of letters thrown out there, especially when it’s written in lowercase: nanowrimo. Whichever way it’s written, it still means the same thing: National Novel Writing Month.

So, when is this novel writing month? November.

According to the NaNoWriMo web site, “National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing” in which writers from around the world partake in a thirty day writing event with the ultimate goal of reaching a personal quota of 50,000 words or more.

There were a total of 256,618 participants for 2011. Out of those who registered, 36,843 writers crossed the threshold of the word count set at 50,000. Don’t allow this little bit of news to trouble you, though. You could very well be one of those 36,843 who will cross the finish line this year, or help to increase the number for the 2012 event. Of course, you won’t know unless you sign up and join in the fun!

If you would like to take part, the first thing you need to do is stop by the NaNoWriMo web site to enroll in the program. For more information, be sure to stop by the How NaNoWriMo Works page for a better understanding of how the event flows.

Aspiring young writers are welcome to join in the fun by registering for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. This month-long creative challenge for children and teenagers offers each of them a chance to converse with other young writers, gain insight from established authors, and take on the experience of being a participant of a challenge of their creativity that they will not soon forget.

The Office of Letters and Light brings so much more to the world of writers with other programs that inspire the creativity in writers of all ages. With a variety of writing challenges and getaways that include lots of time for writing and sharing ideas, it should come as no surprise that they offer much more fun stuff.

Pep Talks that inspire creativity, Web Badges to display on your web site or blog, and a Word Count Scoreboard are just a few of the many fun things available. Whether it’s help with NaNoWriMo you are after or you’re searching for new and inspiring ideas, the forums are surely one of the best ways to find like-minded people who want you to succeed just as much as you do.

With all of the writing events and support offered from The Office of Letters and Light and from so many other writers, there’s just no reason not to jump into the fun and start writing!

Web sites for more information:

Goals Set for August

Seeing that many other writers are setting goals for themselves, I’ve decided that I want to participate and set a couple goals for myself as well. Of course, I’ve never really been good with setting goals and keeping to them, but by the end of the month, I want to be able to feel good about what I have accomplished, or sit back and laugh at myself for having not accomplished them.

Seriously though, I will work toward these goals and try my best to achieve them. Since I am still unemployed, they shouldn’t be too much trouble to keep to, though I still have my doubts.

  • Better quality posts; each of which offers some kind of informative edge or insight.
  • Five posts that are not personally inclined, nor personally benefited from, that include images.
  • Four entries about writing, to help along fellow bloggers and fellow writers.
  • Make a short list of achievable goals and share on WordPress.

Okay, so I cheated on the last goal, but at least I have one of them completed. Now, I just have to worry about the other nine posts, at the very least, as well as offering a better quality of post each time that I sit down to write about ideas.

To make it a little tougher, I’ll toss in one that I’ve been considering for the passed couple of months…

  • Submit at least one article or short story for consideration to be published.