Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rain, rain go away.

Even this little guy would have been hiding from the rain yesterday. What a mess. Did you see the pictures from Turner Falls? Wow.

I did meet yesterday's daily goal but I still have to make up 1200 words to meet the weekly goal, so I will be busy today.

I don't feel as good as I hoped today, ate a frozen meal for lunch yesterday, with shrimp, romano cheese, roasted garlic on flat bread. Should have been wonderful. Too much garlic and made me so sick. It's really hard to find anything with too much garlic for me, but I did it.

I'm hoping for sunshine today but may have to wait for tomorrow for that sunshine. Now, to the writing business.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Free (Not Really)

Yup, that's me, free as a bird and not writing, at least not fiction. So, I still have 1800 words to write this week to meet my goal, and I'd best get with the program this weekend. Maybe I can get more done this weekend with Lori at her convention although, I can't always blame my distraction on her, when I can distract myself with a good book, the desire to sketch, journal writing, poetry writing, TV, grandkids or just spacing out(wait, that's my job as a writer, stare into space and create things in my head.) That's my story and I plan to get the T-shirt to prove it. If you don't believe there is such a thing, go to The Write Snark and you'll see.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good Old

If you are not interested in nostalgia and hated the ‘Good Old Days’ stop right now. Today, since this is the centennial year, I feel like talking about the old days, at least the old days for me.
I began nursing school in 1959, lived in a dorm that was built in 1892, and used an old, scary tunnel to go across to the main hospital. The OR suites had large windows that could be opened. We used glass syringes, re-sterilized syringes and needles for use again, used metal bed pans, emesis basins and stood up when a physician, nun or priest entered a unit. Our white caps and gowns were starched to the point they could stand up by themselves. We didn’t wear jewelry with our uniforms.
My first job, after I graduated from nursing school in 1962, was at the “old” Mercy hospital that was almost downtown. I worked on a unit that received patients from both the city and county jails. I was a young new graduate but I was a Head Nurse. Thank goodness for three-year nursing schools with hours and hours of direct patient care on all shifts, or I would never have made it. At that time there were still multiple patient rooms, with as many as six patients in one large ward. One vivid memory I have from that time is when a patient/inmate escaped, complete with his red-rubber chest tube and glass drainage bottle. The patient, with chest tube intact, made it by bus into Texas.
I remember shopping at Penn Square for my wedding dress, having lunch at Val Gene’s Restaurant (They played classical music, which impressed me.) and going to a movie. Penn Square was not an enclosed mall at the time. At some point during that same time was a coffee house called the Hungry Eye or I. Don’t have any idea where it was but for some reason it seems like I heard Mason Williams there, but that could be a figment of my imagination. I am old after all.
I worked at Baptist Hospital when it had six floors, was half the size it is now, had one ICU and a code blue team that responded to codes from the Ortho floor to everywhere in the hospital. Dr Zudhi performed ‘open-hearts’, before transplants and his patients received “Tiger’s Milk” and ambulated very quickly after surgery. In between working at Mercy and Baptist I worked at a small hospital in Guymon, Oklahoma, that was around sixty beds total. Half the hospital was staffed with physician’s who were MD’s, the other half with physicians who were DO’s. Never the twain shall meet. The two nursing units, were separate, with their own dedicated DON, Nursing staff, ER and Delivery room. The charge nurse might have a patient in ER with an MI, someone in labor and Med-surg. patients on the unit.
If you too remember the good old days in OKC, Nursing or not, leave a post.
No I didn't make my word count goal for fiction yesterday, too much life and family involvement. Back to it today.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

All Ears

I'm listening. A friend stopped by my blog with sensible advise, "stop whining, start writing, listen to your own voice because that will carry your story and she's right. This is someone who has had three series going on at once and knows what she's talking about, but it is also common sense. I think, as writers, in a lonely business, its easy to fall into the trap of comparing our work to others. When you catch yourself doing that, whether it number of words, skill with imagery or larger than life characters, learn what you can from that person and then move back to your own writing and keep on keepin' on with your own goals. Remember the "button rule"-butt on chair-write.
I'm really excited about being so close to the end of my first draft and can't wait to begin rewrites because I think shaping things will really be fun.
Now on to important news. "What did you think of the new hairdo for the kid on American Idol and did you know that he's the hottest thing among 8th grade girls since Joey from N'sync (who BTW is a pretty decent ballroom dancer.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oh Baby

Watching myself make headway with my writing feels good. But I have to get past the idea of comparing my own progress to anyone elses. When I see other people whip out manuscripts twice as long as mine, and I'm struggling with 70,000 plus words, I'm capable talking myself into an inferiority complex. Also, as I get older, I compare myself to the younger writers and come up on the short end-of-the-stick in my own mind. So, today is positive thinking day and accepting my own accomplishments without indulging in negative comparisons. I'm as young as the image in my head and look how cute that image is.

Monday, March 26, 2007

News-good, bad, ugly

The good news is that I'm making more progress than I have in months, the visuals seem to help and I'm down to the last few chapters. I'm making my word goal so far.

The bad, writing so fast means I'm churning out things that may not be that good and will take a lot of work the second time around. Lots of bad first draft things going on, but you have to give yourself permission for bad first drafts. That's what I tell myself.

The ugly, I'm not going to reach the overall 80000 words by the end of the book I don't think. However, she rationalized, when I go back to flesh out scenes, cut those pesky unneeded words, add smoother transitions and flesh out scenes with sensory details, I think the words will fall in place. The re-write should be more fun since I'll have the bones to work with, it says in fine print somewhere.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Working so far. Beat my weekly goal by close to 100 words this week. On the other side, seemed to be writing in a fog. Typos every other word, wasn't even drinking wine. But I'm on chapter 25, ready to stard 26. Great progress for me.


I write in scenes. It's especially helpful since I write in short spurts due to time constraints if I'm writing on my lunch hour or something. I've been reading lately and some people seem to plan each scene out in detail, with external goal, internal goal, each thing that will happen in the scene. I don't seem to be able to do that. Now I know the viewpoint character since the book is first person and I know what needs to happen in very general terms, for instance, Tali needs to find out that Keith is Franks illegitimate son. But sometimes, how she gets to that point will evolve as the scene is written. I can do a one sentence scene by scene outline, but that's as far as I can go until I actually begin writing the scene because sometimes the characters decide which direction to go or not to go. I'd lose a lot of good stuff if I got too formal I think.

However, I can see the value, during rewrite, of analyzing scenes to make sure everythings there, in the most effective order with good transitions and details etc. Just how I do it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Day Off

Today is my day off and the sun came out. I met my goal again and got to have coffee, read the paper, journal, draw and generally do what I wanted. A good start to a day. The dryer even got fixed for a reasonable amount. I might even try to get more words done today or tomorrow and beat my current record (999). It is so good to see daily progress and progress from chapter to chapter. I'm trying to be more aware of the scenes I create but not try to go back and edit until I finish the first draft. The second draft will be the fun part.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I just read a chapter from a friend of mine's new book. In one chapter, from the middle of the book, she hooked me. She writes about the Greek countryside and the clash between ancient and modern civilizations, combined with area legend and magic. She adds in humor and great insight into human nature. I'm so intimidated I can't stand it. My books seem shallow by comparison, no cosmic themes etc.

Should we be intimidated by others writing? Does that spur us to greater things or paralyze us into complete inaction? Is it helpful to our own writing when we read the good stuff? I'm still trying to answer those questions.

On the positive side, I'm still meeting my goal-that's the good thing. And it's the first draft, so I can make it better.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Secret

A book was published recently. The author states the book contains the secret to happiness. But, happiness is different for everyone, so I'm not sure about a one-size-fits-all path to happiness. One person might view happiness as having monetary success, another wants fame, many of us want a published book with our name on the front. In fact, I have that. But it's a specialty textbook that will mainly be purchased by hospitals for Infection Control departments. Happiness for me, is having that mystery published, by a company that will pay me. It will be distributed in print and paper copies, to book stores. I will be able to go buy one.

Back to the secret. How many of us have searched for that magic secret? You know the one, it lets you get read and published through no great effort of your own, instant success. Never mind the hard work and learning your craft part of it. We want it now. I admit I'm impatient. I want my book published before I'm in a nursing home and too forgetful to know that I wrote a book.

But, I think practicing our craft, like any other artist, is what will get us there. Also, networking, marketing ourselves and being with other writers don't hurt once the book is done. But, making ourselves write, on a regular basis, take classes, read, see how others do what we are trying to do, that will get us there, or as close as we can get through our own actions. For the rest, we have to trust whatever higher power in whom we have faith. The secret is, there is no secret.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Has nothing to do with writing, or at least not fiction, but does money mean happiness? I watch my single-mom daughter deal with constant money problems trying to raise kids alone. My disabled daughter tries to make it on disability, doesn't work. I try to help everyone but nothing stretches quite that far. So, would money bring happiness? Maybe not, but it could relieve stress in some instances for sure.

Now I'm working on fiction which may or may not ever bring in much, if any, money. A lot of time spent on something that might not pay off. Is it worth it? Depends how you feel about working toward your dream. Dreams count. My son has a dream of having his karate school not only be self sufficient, which it is now, but having it support him and his family to the point he doesn't have to work on the side. He's been working hard for this dream for a lot of years, but its working. My daughter is working toward being an RN, supporting the kids without as much struggle. My dream, holding my published book in my hands.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Stars Etc.

No writing for the weekend except in my journal. Lovely couple of days in Texas North country. The sky became a thick blanket of sparking stars like you never see in the city. A half mustang, half paint pony showed off for us in the back pasture. Swallows danced their weaving flights and the sun warmed the deck. I had a grandchildren fix. Watched an entire football team of boys, mothers, daughters and friends play tackle football with total disreguard for potential injury or grass stains and it was wonderful to see. Not too many wildflowers blooming yet but a pretty drive through the Arbuckles and Texas countryside.

Watching a committe of highly educated people try to begin a rather simple project and facinated to see how complicated it can become. I think we have to be careful with our writing that we don't make it happen by committee. I believe in feedback and critique, but at the same time, first drafts are good for getting it down and then you know your characters the best and how they might react. The author is the final decision maker. You have to follow your own instincts and not let others change the story to the detriment of the story. If you make the characters true to themselves and their own real life, then it will work.

My opinion for the day. Now to work and keeping the momentum going.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Short post. Leaving for Texas. Happy I made my goal yesterday. Will enjoy kids fix, country fix and time with my daughter. The renewing thing. My friend, Rinda was all set to pitch her book to an agent this weekend. Agent got stuck in a snow storm but Rinda now has a finished first draft-Snoopy Dances.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Best

In healthcare there are what we consider Best Practices. Those things you do that result in the best outcome for the patients. Things like always giving an antibiotic within 1hour of the incision time for major surgery to prevent infection.

What are best practices for writing? Everyone seems to have different ideas. Some outline, some don't. Some write every day or not. One writer will whiz through to the end of a first draft without editing while another will edit everything to death as they go.

We seem to have a fly by the seat of your pants kind of profession here, with rules that are made to be broken. For everyone who queries one editor at a time, there is that person who sends out multiple manuscripts at once, in spite of guidelines and sells. The only rule I can find consistantly is that there are no rules except possibly the one that says hard work works or the 'button principle' (Put your butt on the chair and write.)

Made my goal yesterday. Yay. Off to Texas tomorrow.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Have you noticed that you seem to fill whatever space you have? If you have a cubicle, you fill it up, an office, it fills up, an apartment, into a house, stuff accumulates. Downsizing, now that's a different story, do you look forward to it, enjoy clearing the clutter, or does everything feel essential, whether it really is or not? I remember moving out of the house I'd lived in for twenty years, relocating to a new city, in an apartment. Traumatic because I'm a pack-rat. I nest. Now my office is cutting their overall space in half and everyone will be sharing offices, less space plus another person. Lots of angst.

We do the same with words, fill up the space we are given. Even if it's difficult and its a struggle, over time we fill it up. With writing, however, for it to be effective, we have to pick and choose at some point. Right now, I'm pulling out every word I can. I want to meet that word count. But on the next draft, words have to go so the story can fit in the best space possible. That means cutting loose favorite phrases in the name of clarity and tight writing.

For now, I'm happy to be meeting the word count and will continue to fill my 600 word space each day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Supposedly OJ's book is up for grabs again. What exactly does that say about America, the state of publishing and media in general? The fact that they are willing to publish the book and the implication that we, in turn would buy it, horrifying. If the man actually killed his wife, look what we are encouraging, and if he didn't, would he be willing to speculate on something so horrific?

Responsible journalism??? Truth in writing?

I feel as writers, we have to be truthful. I write fiction and nonfiction, but even fiction has to ring true and there are things I might draw a line at writing (I'm not talking XXX here.) I'm talking take other people into consideration and don't hurt them on purpose with what you write unless the story is so important to you that it has to be told that way. Then you have to take responsibility for what you write and the consequences.

All right. I made yesterdays goal, feel like the story is on a roll and will get off the soapbox once again. Keeping the words flowing seems to generate more words so far.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Saving the Light

I love having it stay light longer. I hate getting up earlier because when I go to bed earlier, I can't go to sleep. Then in the morning I can't get up. I might adjust, but then again I might stay grouchy for the rest of spring. In spite of that, I met my word count yesterday.

I went to a pastel society meeting last night and we saw 200 of the works submitted to the Pastel Society of America show in New York. Art is just as subjective as writing. Some things the judges awarded, the rest of us were going "huh?" Some spectacular things didn't get awards at all. Amazing. Some made you say "And why am I trying to paint anyway, I'll never be that good." Others gave you hope because you knew you had done something at least that good.

Keep writing anyway. You know who you are.

Monday, March 12, 2007


It's kind of murky and foggy this morning. Kind of matches my mind on daylight savings time. Love the longer days, hate getting up earlier as I'm not really a morning person and it requires me to go to bed earlier, I'm more of a night owl and don't really like having to go to bed early.

The fog seems to be a metaphor for the murky state of public information, lack of access, in this country and state. People are just not educated, especially those working in government, that there is truly access to anyone for matters of public record. The these educated government employees will say, "I don't want to give you access because I don't know what you will do with the information." It doesn't matter. Can we say 'public record'. We won't go into the newspapers and their biased covereage of the news.

My short rant for the day. Can we say 'Carol the liberal.'

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weekend Fun

Beautiful Saturday. Rainy sunday. A weekend full of busy busy. Saturday met with the critique group and got great suggestions, had sushi, window shopped. Even managed coffee on the patio.

Sunday, had a board meeting. The politics and posturing among members of any group is always amazing. People and their egos, their self-esteem issues sometimes will make it difficult to get business done.

No real writing but writing involved stuff. More manuscripts to file for conference. One friend is branching out into family owned business from several years of secure salary, talk about change.

As long as I meet my goals before I leave for Texas, I'm OK. What if I finished 24,000 words before conference. I'd almost, finally have an almost finished manuscript. What a thought.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


It's Saturday and I should be able to sleep later but my body thinks it's time to get up. It will not be that way tomorrow when I'm forced to get up at the crack of dawn by daylight savings time.

Does anyone else think it's kind of stupid to try and fool ourselves by setting the clocks forward? My daughter used to think the sun did something funky each year that made it stay light longer all of a sudden. She was shocked when she realized we did it to ourselves on purpose, voted to get up earlier so it would seem as if it were staying light longer.

This weekend is full, everyday, at least I made my 3000 words for the week so anything I get done is gravy. Inbetween board meetings, Ink meeting, Deaconess meeting, I'll see what I can do.

Made time for a movie, "Man of the Year" and liked it, but I like almost anything Robin Williams does.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Did it again. Five days of writing 600 words a day. The first time in months that I've managed too write 3000 words in a week.

I posted a picture of the neighborhood, as in Cuchara, CO, racoon that visits the deck at night. I go with writer friends every year. We write, shop, laugh, write shop. We recharge and have fun. Support each other as we try to each survive our own writing and life struggles.

Socialize with other writers who can help you realize that we are not alone,but we are a community.


This house has a GI Bug. Made my count yesterday. Today remains to be seen considering how I feel. However, it is my day off so I should be able to spend some time at it if I can sit up.

I made it again yesterday and feel good about that. For the week, that's 2400. A good thing. I like those good things when they happen.

Keep you posted. Oops, sorry. That's pretty bad. It's the bug talking.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Goal

Meeting the goal feels great. Not getting enough sleep will hit me tomorrow when I have to get up for work. Thankyou for the new job with every other Friday off. I love you OFMQ.

Writing was late tonight due to unavoidable circumstances. I do like meeting the goal. It's that virtuous feeling, as if you exercised, or walked or passed up that piece of Godiva chocolate. Well of course, I would nver pass up the chocolate. Just have to keep the momentum going and not let life slow me down. Must remember to take the alpha smart when I go to Texas so I can keep the goal going, even if I don't post.

The warm, sunshine makes me want to be outside writing or reading in the warm sun. Must have coffee outside Friday if it's warm enough.

Privy to Murder

Did I tell you about the book around which this site revolves? No? Well, there is this woman with two children, a husband who not only leaves her for another man and kicks her out of her own house because he fears her psychic gifts will harm his law practice. Not only is she stuck living with her crazy mother, she is stuck with a nasty ghost after a murder occurs in the small Texas town.

It's fun, fiction and some days like pulling teeth to write, even with a semi-detailed outline. But I love doing it and will march on with the help of my friends.

Good Bad Continued

I went to the site that had posted my story, Jaws. The woman who had posted it did attribute it to Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, me and Amy. She had not posted since last fall and evidently did it as part of a school assignment for a college. She had no email address and it wouldn't let me post on the site. I think it's a lost cause but oh so frustrating because for every one you catch, you know there are many more out there that you failed to catch.

I don't even mind sharing, just ask me first. I think Jaws deserves the exposure, but people, do it right.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
48,279 / 80,000

First the good. I reached my goal today, plus a little more. A good thing. The bad thing, I found one of my stories from "Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul" posted on a blog without my permission. How about copywrite infringement? The ugly? It makes me mad when someone steals my stuff. You put everything into your writing and there are people out there who just ignore the fact that you sacrificed time and who knows what trying to learn your craft.

Like my writing today, not a masterpiece, just a first draft effort, but I worked hard at it. It is mine and full of me. Just so frustrating.
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
47,600 / 80,000

I made my word count yesterday. Yay. The hardest thing is to keep going and writing even if you are not in the zone, just to get first draft stuff done. I am determined to get this book done and then start re-writes. But an entire manuscript will make it so mucy easier. Now, if I can get away from that critic in my head that tries to mess with my progress. Who's the critic in your head, you mother, ex spouse, yourself? How do you make the critic go away?

Monday, March 5, 2007

Sunday, Sunday

A late night trip to the ER Sat. night with my daugher, Lori, made Sunday, half of it, a bit of a waste since I slept way late. Had coffe, read the paper, did grocery shopping, filed contest manuscripts, had my son and grandkids over for dinner and etc. Just life, no writing fiction. But life has to happen too.

And Journaling is writing, even if you only talk about the birds outside the window, or the fact that ER nurses and docs seem to think all frequent fliers are equal and if you come in with a migrane that causes a seizure it's no better than an addict with a headache coming in for a Demerol fix, but that's another story.

Today I will write fiction, and pay bills so I'm not hauled off. We're supposed to have warm and sumshine this week so that should motivate me. I can't wait to have Saturday and Sunday coffee out on the patio again, nature up close, my favorite. I will reach the word count today.
Carol *A look of determination in her eys as she wastes time on the internet.*

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Contests-My Rant

Just a word on contests. I get to do this because it's my blog. If anyone enters a writing contest, read the rules. Pay attention if they say. If it says use the official cover sheet, don't make up your own. The idea of most contests is to allow beginners to learn how to turn out professional work, so do the basics. Double space. Use readable font. Number the pages. Do what any editor would expect. The contest in which I'm involved, didn't spell out the fact that pages in a manuscript need to be numbered. But, if you ever meant to have an editor read a manuscript, they would say over and over-NUMBER THE PAGES. Would you do less for a contest in which you wanted to win?

I'm seeing adults refuse to take responsibility for their own mistakes and blame everythng else, someone told me wrong, the rules weren't specific enough, it shouldn't apply to me because... If you enter a contest and are disqualified, this is not the loss of a six figure income. It's a minor disappointment and just means you failed to take care of a detail. It is not the end of life as we know it.

OK, I'm done. Back to writing. I made the work count yesterday, today will be harder because it's full of family have to things, which is why I set a goal of 600 words, five days a week. Did I make that total last week? NO. Will I next week? Maybe with the world watching, or at least the few people who read this, I will.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Confession Time

Speaking of confessions, I have written a confession story and been paid for it. Fun fiction. I have had two stories published in anthologies, "Jaws" in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, and "Lake Fire" in Sacred Fire. I have another story, "Chimes in the Snow" under consideration for Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul II. Now I'm trying to finish the first draft of my novel, Privy to Murder. Since I work full time and help my daughter when she has emergencies with her seizures, I set myself the wimply goal of 600 words a day, or 3,000 words a week. Now there are writer's out there who will write that much a day. But I wanted a goal that I can reach. I believe in not setting myself up for failure. My confession is that I have set up a blog to keep myself accountable but forgot to say what my goal is.
So-600 words a day, five days a week, or more....

New Blog

I'm entering the blog world as an experiment to see if I can use this forum to talk to other writers and post my daily word-count of lack-of in order to motivate me to finishe my novel's first draft. Kind of a Word Watchers instead of Weight Watchers. Public humiliation if I don't work like I should.

Will the blog prove to be a distraction, or too much work or boring even to me. We'll see how it goes. I'm hoping for FUN at Carol's Ink Spot myself.

Carol *grins picturing this old lady navigating the web.*

Blog Archive