Archive for February, 2011

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The Joy Of Writing

February 21, 2011

Writing is used for so many different reasons in life. A person can write to express themselves in creative ways. Or to vent their everyday frustrations and anger within negative situations. And writing is a tool that therapists often use, as a therapeutic means for healing, with their patients. Also, writing can be used to protest wrongs within society. Or to cheer up a friend or make someone smile.

There are plenty of ways of writing too. There’s the traditional way, of pen to paper, of scribbling in a notebook or journal. Also “snail-mail”, handwritten letters sent back and forth between friends, relatives, or lovers. In the electronic age, there are emails and cellphone texting. There are forums and social networking sites, where people are writing up a storm to each other in posts. And of course there is blogging, one person expressing there likes and dislikes (or whatever), much like this site. ;-)

There are also books being published and magazine articles being written, in the professional world of writing, everyday.

No matter how or on what form of media a person choose to write, there are billions of people writing everyday. And the reasons for why people choose to write are many. Sometimes the reasons are common, but sometimes not.

My reasons for writing is simple… I have been writing, since the age of nine, when my fourth grade teacher first showed me how to put my words onto paper. I’ve told this story a million times, whenever a person asks, “Why do you write so much?” All I can answer is, I’ve been writing since I was a little girl, I loved it and never stopped loving it, so I continue to do it. It’s a part of me. I have no grand aspirations for it, other than to enjoy grabbing my thoughts and imagination from my head, and splattering them into black and white. It makes me happy and it’s a nice hobby of mine. ;-)

I never wanted to grow up and be a writer, to be honest. Writing has always been something that I enjoy doing, but I had no desire to make into a profession. I wanted (and still wish it) to be an FBI Agent, working in the division of bringing lost and missing children back home to their families. That was the professional career that I’ve always wanted, to work in law enforcement to protect children. But my life didn’t quite work out in that way…

Still, my writing is my solace and my way to express myself. I am “opinionated” and a lot of times people don’t listen to me in person, talking right over me, ignore what I have to say. I write so that my thoughts and ideas are not lost to me. I sometimes come back to this blog, to read over what I had written any given day, to hear myself within the roaring sea of my life. I don’t write for an audience, to gain fame or popularity, or to please the masses. I write for me and maybe to make my friends and family laugh. I can be a ham, if I know they’re reading! Hi, mom! ;-)

I have added this blog to a FaceBook page, not to gain more readers. In fact, I almost backed out of making that page and if I get a bit overwhelmed by traffic, I can tear it down whenever I wish to. I had realized that even though I write this blog for me, me, and me, many others have been visiting for a while now. These are strangers from all over the world and all over the US, as my blog stats reports have it. They are respectful and silent, reading and returning to read, not leaving a comment or making a big deal out of my random posts. Which I appreciate! Loud noises and sudden movements tend to startle this squirrel. :-o

But, I realized that I couldn’t keep this site hidden for long. And the more I try to, the more popular it may become, like a underground cult following of some sort. So, I might as well put it out there a little and make it a little less special! :-p

HOWEVER, I’m still writing this blog for me only. I’m not going to hire proof-readers, change up my usual randomness, or writing patterns to suit an audience. My posts will continue to have some bad grammar slips and stay on my usual rantings, thoughts, and ideas as always. But, the frequency will have to change a bit. Last season, I had a habit of posting here Monday-Friday. And I thought about going back to doing that, come spring, but no.  Even when my muse (my best friend) comes back, I simply won’t have the time to spend writing in my blog as much, because I’m trying to get my life into shape. I’m not getting any younger and I can’t be a slacker forever. So, for some weeks, I may go on a writing binge of Monday-Friday posts. And for some weeks, there may be only one or two posts. Or no posts for a few weeks. It depends on my mood or what exactly I feel compelled to share, at any given moment. So, this blog itself will be randomly written. ;-)

But back to my first point, writing can be a lot healing and self-satisfying. And there is only a few wrong ways of using this tool. It’s important to remember that line from the movie “The Social Network”… That when you write on the internet, what you write is in pen, not pencil. You can’t erase what you’ve expressed and it’s stuck out there for good. So, I try to make sure that what I write is something that I don’t mean or something that I’ll regret later. The opinions expressed here are my true ones and not subject to change.

And if I do change my mind on something, I’ll be sure to post that. But… don’t hold your breath. ;-)

-D

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A Pen For A Sword

February 18, 2011

We all know of that old saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword”. And it’s true, words can be sharpen and used as a weapon. And they also can be doubled-edged, cutting the flesh of the wielder, if one isn’t too careful before speaking too soon.  You wouldn’t grab a sword by it’s blade in order to pick it up, would you? And sometimes in our rush to make a point, to win an argument, or to defend an idea we do go grabbing the sword by it’s blade, without taking care to look first. That said, my rant of yesterday is still very much right and those people were awful… but I also will admit that they may have made a human mistake, so threatened by someone they shouldn’t have been, therefore grabbing their swords by the blade.

And when I think of it that way, I actually feel sorry for them a little. As I had once or twice rushed in fit of anger or trying to push an ill-conceived idea, that I’ve cut my hand instead. I guess this is a hazard that happens to all of us who wield words, from time to time. Even to the best of us of scribes, I’ll add too. Still, I don’t recommend this forum to anyone who is a writer or an aspiring one, whatsoever. Because even though I’m basically giving these people a pass of “maybe they’re not so cruel, but instead made some grave mistake, in their lack of judgement and mature communication”, it doesn’t mean that they would agree. They could very well be just flat out jerks, and I could be giving them more credit than they deserve. =p

But the fact is, I’m not new to writing, by any stretch of imagination. And people who underestimate that fact usually wind up in a “foot in mouth” situation, when it comes to interacting with me. I grew up the tall and lanky, skinny and awkward girl, in Philly. I never was strong or could fight physically, I had so many bullies and was always the target for physical and verbal abuse. So, since the age of nine, I had to defend myself in some kind of way. I chose words. I still got my butt kicked physically, but I still had my wit and pride about me, regardless. My bullies couldn’t take that away from me and nor could they ever win a battle of words against me either.

So when I write, I’m no stranger to using my words as a blade, and it is a finely tuned and well worn weapon. I’ll never be a genus, a weight-lifter, or a pretty model with bodyguards and men willing to use their bodies as shields to protect me from the flaming of others. All I will ever have are my words to defend myself and no, I will not “play nice” with those who aren’t slowing any punches towards me. And that’s that.

But I do know and realize that with every weapon, a person has to take care on how they treat and use it. I’m not one to start swinging around words, out of the blue and willy-nilly, but I will get harsh if pressed. And only AFTER all appeals for respect falls on deaf ears.

But I digress…

In writing that angry and venting post (Yet, highly true account. And I don’t feel that my words were unfair, not at all, in my reaction to the negative situation), I realized something huge. I miss writing my blog and using my words, for all things. I don’t only throw literary punches for my own gain or to defend myself, I’ve also used my words to defend the wrongs and mistakes done against the rights of others, in the current political and social situations within the US. And beside my political rants and political letters, I have used my words in this blog towards healing and encouragement of others also. I have used my words for laugher, of writing humorous anecdotes, and just for fun. I have used my words here to express myself, out of randomness and out of boredom on some lazy summer days.

And because I write for the joy of it,  people like this blog, despite that it’s just one view from one unpublished girl who lives in Philly. My last year stats report from “The Rainpuddle” was a lot flattering, to say the least. I had gotten, 1,300 hits, which is the amount of three 747 Boeing passenger jets. It’s humbling to know that so many people took the time to read what I had to say. :-)

So, I wonder… why did I stop writing here, again? Oh, yeah… my muse, my best friend, went away until the spring and I lost my inspiration to write for the winter. BUT, he is coming back soon, so I had always attended to come back to this blog. My whole idea of writing a novel was just a plan to do something constructive and not mope, while he’s away. And not only did I successfully completed my goal of writing a novel, I completed the goal twice over. Getting the novels published was an impromptu goal, that I threw in on New Years, because I thought it would help speed up my time waiting. And I liked the idea of my best friend coming home to, “Yeah, so I got published over the winter.”, with me giving a pompous shrug and acting all cool about it, “It was nothing.” LOL.

As it stands, I’m still putting off publishing and may never pursue that goal again in the future, but that’s fine! Sure, these jerks of the forum rattled me… but in a different way than just dashing my confidence. I now see what happens when a person forget what writing is really all about (and common human decency too) and I’m afraid that if I keep chasing the publishing path, I may end up like them… jaded and clueless, the light of the real reason for writing all snuffed out. And that’s scary! :-(

Besides, I don’t NEED it to be cool in the eyes of my best friend, other close friends, or family. It was just a simple “want” to be published, not a need, so I’ll live. :-)

I love to write and it’s a huge part of me. And so, I think I’m going to focus on doing what I love to do here. And I have never really advertised this blog, only checking off that little box that’s default for all WordPress blogs, to add this blog to Google’s directory. But that’s it.  Which makes it more awesome that three passenger jets full of people have found my site on their own and liked it, this obscured little blog on the wayside.  Maybe I will list this thing on a FaceBook advertisement page, someday soon. It’s free and easy to do, so I have nothing to lose there. =p

Anyhoo, I am glad that I have remembered what is important, before I ran off and got a swell head and jumped into a corporate world of back-stabbers, highly jealous and snobbish weirdos who feel threaten of other writers, and money-driven maniacs who have forgotten the heart within true writing. Keep in mind, I’m not speaking about the three kind people I met on that forum for a brief second, the two older gentlemen and one cheerful woman who’s a contemporary artist/writer. I do wish them luck in the land of the snobs, if they decide to stick around that sickly forum.

But for me, writing is not about the bottom line, dollar, or cents. Writing is an art-form and comes from the heart, and there is no “one size fits all” tag on what forum or format good writing should come in. The box is just a box, but what’s inside it is what matters the most. And all REAL writers know, feel, and live this. :-)

-D

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I’m Not A Lamp Post!

February 17, 2011

The problem with forums nowadays is that anyone can own them, anyone can be a moderator in them, and anyone can join them. I use to be an avid forum-rat, enjoying many forums in my hayday, back before social networks came to be. And no matter how much I complain about the issues within social websites, I believe that forums are now ranking higher on the list (above even MySpace or Tagged) for cesspools of socially inept people. In other words, the freaks and weirdos… but not the quirky and charming kind, the  “still living in mother’s basement” and “cats missing in the neighborhood” types. And sadly, WritingForums.com is no different. :-/

I joined the site, after reading someone’s nice post in Goggle passing. Since I was trying to get my novels published and was feeling a little overwhelmed (which was the title of my post there, btw) with self-doubt, I wanted to find other writers to speak with and maybe gain some answers to some questions. Simple, right? So I joined and asked about the conflicting sites I had seen around. Some sites had claim that self-publishing is bad and some sites say it’s good. Some sites claim that you get no rights with a publishing house and more with self-publishing, and some sites say the opposite. And one site said that a story synopsis should be fourteen pages, when really it should one. So, I asked them simply which was true or not. A very simple question…

Instead the moderator replies without answering my question, just listing how to write a successful query letter… which I have done and knew that much, months before I ever found this cursed forum. But he added in some encouragement of “don’t give up”, so even though he didn’t answer my initial question, I did thank him for taking the time to post what he did, and stated that it had at least confirmed that I wrote my query perfectly enough. Even though he told me nothing new, I was nice enough to thank him for taking the time to reply.

Then a second person actually replied with answering my questions, which I really thanked him for his time and helpful reply. But in this  guy’s questions towards me, I mentioned that I wasn’t giving publishing a try with an agent. Not at this time. I’m not Pro-Agent, by my own personal choice… and even if I got nowhere in the publishing world without one (which I know for a fact is a myth, plenty of writers get published without an agent), this was the way I was going to do it unless proven otherwise. Anyone who knows me, especially my readers here, know that I’m a very stubborn woman and must try things my way first and not follow the herd. I am not a sheep!

Anyhoo, this is when all niceties went out the window and it sparked a free-for-all argument of people arguing that I was throwing away my efforts and works, dooming myself to a life of obscurity without an agent. Plenty of times, I kept saying, “Fine, I may be wrong to go without one… but it’s my choice to make. Besides, if things get rough without one, then I can always hire an agent later. But for now, I want to try this alone.” And instead of letting it go at that, they kept pushing and pushing, insisting that I was stupid and dooming myself this way. Hmm… Stephen King is anti-agent and doesn’t have one, after being screwed over by them in the beginning of his career. Even to this day, he’s agent-free and doing just fine. Not to mention other authors I know of who are published without agents… and also huge publishing companies, like “Daw Books” who have it printed on their site, “You don’t need an agent to submit queries or manuscripts”!

But obviously, these forum people were very Pro-Agent and now they weren’t so nice anymore. They then tried to go at the angle of convincing me that I’ll not make any money, without an agent. Well… I bet you all are laughing at this point and thinking, “Gee, they don’t know Dani very well, do they?” I’m not one to care about riches and that’s not why I write. If I wrote to get rich, this blog and others I have written wouldn’t be posted. My writings here would selfishly be horded into a self-help book (as this is the current hot market these days) and I could easily sell millions of crappy books filled with only my common sense views on life, if I cared about money. :-/

So, I repeated a lot of times, that I don’t write for the money. My motivation for getting my books published was strictly to prove to myself that I’m not a crap writer. And to hand out copies to my family and friends. And why did I have to say that I’m not writing for a paying career for? This is when the biggest freak of all stepped forward with this post:

Hi Dani,
At the risk of beating this horse to death again, it sounds to me like you want two things: 1) Publication (and all the adoration, credit and notoriety that goes along with), and 2) no strings attached. You’re not the first! The problem lies with the business model of publication. The people who produce books are in it for the money. Even if the authors they represent are not. It’s going to cost them some serious money to print up your masterpiece. Then they’ll have to convince the world (somehow) that you are the next JK Rowling. That’ll cost a fair bit in the marketing department. Then there’s distribution, overhead, blah, blah, blah. In short, you are asking a for-profit business to spend MONEY on your gold-mine idea.
In return, you want nothing. More specifically, you’re offering nothing. No rights, no futures, nothing. I think you can see, from a business perspective, where this is going. (That’d be ‘nowhere!’)
From what I have read of your intentions and desires, I believe your best bet would be to publish your story on your blog. If you want a wider audience, print up a hundred copies on your printer at home and take them to the airport. Leave them in an easily accessible location (on top of the newspaper racks) where they can be self-distributed. Money doesn’t matter to you? Good. You’ve just taken full responsibility for the costs of production. Want to protect your idea? Good. Copyright it and send it out into the world. Need and want more protection than that? Then buck up and live in the world that the rest of us have to. Give and get. That’s just how it works.
HOWEVER, if you are successful at breaking that sticky little paradigm, you can sell your experience for a cool million! And we’ll all buy the story!
Best of luck!

Now, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back! Not only was he way off and not reading a thing I had posted, he didn’t make sense in his slew of insults… as not having an agent and not caring about money means that the house WINS… they get their rights and because I’m not picky, they don’t have to pay me a butt-load for my work. Unlike with agented writers, where the agent’s job is to make sure to squeeze every last red cent from the publishing house as they possibly can!

And here I was, expressing that I wished to try things my way, already alerting everyone that I wasn’t out to make a quick buck, and that I was feeling a tad overwhelmed. Did I get any good tips, help, encouragement? No… Instead, I get this from someone I didn’t know and they didn’t know me from adam. So… I went off. I posted that I felt like I was getting snow-job by everyone, on my choice to not rush out and hire and agent, where the publishing houses themselves said that I didn’t need one. And if it came to signing contracts with publishing houses, IF the publishers liked my manuscript and wanted to market it, I can get a lawyer to do that… not necessarily an agent. But, if in fact I would get nowhere without an agent, I would break my pride and hire one… but that wasn’t enough for these people. It was their way or the highway, even though it’s not their work in question. I pointed to everyone and asked, “ARE ANY OF YOU PUBLISHED?”

It was a very valid question, because I was getting the feeling that everyone was talking big here, about agents and the like, but really haven’t made it far in publishing themselves. If they had, why did they have so much time to spend on a forum online and not off writing books? Or living it up, with having agents who make millions for them? Wouldn’t they be too busy to comment right away to every reply I posted, in the matter of seconds, just to bicker and to be SO very condescending towards me? So chances are they are not published themselves, but paying agents, and it’s not working out for them.

So, to that nut-job who started off with the comment of, “I don’t want to beat a dead horse” (which usually means that maybe you shouldn’t do so then, not push forward with beating a dead horse anyways), I called him an “asshole” and a jerk. And said, “I’m a human-being, not a lamp post!” I pointed out, that even if he believed that I was doing things ass-backwards, how is berating and belittling me going to make me see things his way? And how was that constructive and helpful to a young woman already in a overwhelmed state and just looking for some advice?  Not on agents, mind you… but simply on if a story synopsis was fourteen pages or not and so on!

And guess what… the Moderator deleted my post and banned me for “flaming”. So, I’m the flamer for trying to stand up for myself and not taking the crap that people were tossing my way? Is it just me or is this forum a lot bias? And to add insult to injury, the first guy who started the wave of arguments in the first place, wanted to “warn” me that an injury lawyer is different from a literary lawyer. Because, I had mentioned that I had a family lawyer that could handle writer’s contracts for me, he had assumed that it must be a injury lawyer and not one who’s expertise is in business contracts and making sure that his client doesn’t get screwed and is given ample rights and money deserved. And that’s a tad racist there, I think. Because these people didn’t know me from Adam, but I did post my real picture there, and I kept getting hit with negative assumption after assumption. :-/

Even though a few agreed with me and said they understood my angle of it. But their pictures was of a different color than mine. And no one seemed to argue with them, but just kept addressing me.

Still, racist or just jerks… I got disgusted with publishing now. If the queries I had sent last month, come back with a positive, I will follow through with it. But if not, I don’t plan to send out anymore queries. I’ve lost my drive for it now, a lot discouraged. So, here’s a warning to all aspiring writers out there… skip this forum. It’s a lot damaging than good. The people of this forum love to start fights for entertainment, many are snerts and don’t give constructive criticism or advice at all. Joining that site will only result in being discouraged, insulted, used for sport by  “writers” trying to flex their condescending-snarky writing styles, and if you fight back with one swear word the Mod will ban you for it. :-/

-D

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I’m Still Here!

February 8, 2011

I know that I haven’t posted here in a while, but I’m still alive and kicking. The world hasn’t gotten rid of me yet! =p

I have been working hard to get the attention of publishers, for my fictional book. And also writing a sequel to my first book… there may be a third book written soon, within this writer’s storm that I’ve found myself in. I’m not sure yet. But it would most definitely stop at a trilogy. I don’t enjoy dragging a story out for more than a moment, personally. So, if I feel the need to write a fourth novel, then it would on another topic and with new characters altogether. ;-)

Also, I have been writing another blog lately… but it’s more on my spirituality, and way different than with anything I write here. The Rainpuddle is for my randomize thoughts, likes, rants and raves, and in whatever mood I feel at the time. My spiritual blog is on the topic of Paganism, especially Wicca, and there are no political arguments or rants there.  Yes, I will share it’s link here for a shameless plug and for the curious. But please note that it’s not a requirement to learn about my religious path or to read that blog. And if you don’t have an open mind about different religions, in general, you won’t like this blog! So don’t bother to click the link, if you’re not interested, thanks! And no, you won’t get spiritual “cooties” for checking out the site, a Pagan never tries to convert or believe in converting. So, this site is for the purpose to educate others on what the religion means and for me to express my spiritual side only. The site is: Finding My Light

Besides getting in touch with my spirituality and writing novels, over these winter months, I’m also starting some self-improvement “projects” in my life. I have been tossing the bad people out of my life, over the winter, and making room for more positive people to move in. Also, I’m learning to lean more on my strengths and to speak up for myself, not just sitting there and taking crap from others. The end result is, I feel a lot more well adjusted these days, with less mental and spiritual clutter dragging me down.

But for me, the self-improvement never ends. It’s a project that I am constantly working on, though in certain seasons I seem to work the hardest in trying to achieve a balance in all aspects of my life. And winter has been a firestorm of change for me, which isn’t too shabby. ;-)

Well, that’s all folks, until next time. As always, thanks for reading! :-)

-D