Staying Sane (Painting, Sketching, and Crochet)

If there were any questions regarding my lack of recent blogs, this brief paragraph should sufficiently cover those questions – I seem to be out of the woods where an overactive thyroid is concerned. Over the next several months, I will require strict med monitoring. No sooner did I experience relief from all that than my family was hit with the flu. The mother-f’ing flu. My husband brought it home and was the first to go down, I picked it up, and now it is E’s turn.

On to the subject at hand.

I defied some difficult odds in this life. I cannot imagine having done so without some sort of occupation or hobby that didn’t involve a salary, or college credit, as a motivator. At the height of my work intensity, I was logging as much as 60-70 hours a week, (combination classes, paid work, unpaid internships, volunteer activities, and study/research) I still relied heavily upon my hobbies to get me through.

When life got more predictable post-college, well into my career, I still engaged in hobbies.

Hobbies have always served as a release valve for my anxiety. I require mental occupation in healthy forms in order to counter the unhealthy mental occupations that anxiety invokes.

My first love, my first hobby, was and is reading. No surprise there.

My second was crochet, not knitting. Crochet requires one hook-needle and yarn. I learned a few starter chains when I was a kid from my paternal grandmother. Oddly enough, I never forgot it. I made simple patterns while in high school and I started making blankets in earnest while an undergrad. To date, I believe, I’ve made something like 30 full-size blankets. All but one blanket (pictured below) I have kept but I’ve given the rest away over the years. Some I made specifically for folks I know. Other blankets I made just because I was keeping my anxiety in check as my circumstances in life became more stressful (college).

I took a watercolor painting course in college and while I sucked at it, I quite enjoyed its peaceful process. I rediscovered the process intensely about two years ago. I was heavily into home renovations and it was taking a long time – a long, long, long time. Those renovation projects I had tackled myself and I worked on the house several hours a day, several days a week, and I needed to blow off steam. It sucks to put hours and hours into your house only to turn around and see how much left there is to do. My hands were tired most days so I didn’t want to crochet, which is, by the way, one of the best ways to exercise the minor muscles of the hand. I needed a lighter touch hobby and recalled watercolor. This also led to my trying out sketching.

This is just a small sample. I don’t actually know how many pieces I’ve made, but it’s a lot. I favor ink washes and watercolor. Ink adds a little something. I’ve also deliberately cut shapes into the paintings for textural reasons. Some of my “better” pieces I’ve given to family members but I’ve done no real work with watercolor. Again, it’s more to do with what keeps me happily and healthily occupied during my downtime.

My writing, in the past, I’ve described as a hobby and it was. It surpassed the label of hobby with my novel, Ruth. Which, again, I will resume work on come late August when E begins preschool (yay!).  

If I were to summarize, hobbies epitomize  the investment in, and care of, the self. Those activities that we do because it simply pleases us to do so, means they feed something within ourselves that we aren’t otherwise paid to do. That could only be a good thing.

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

Other side of fear, by Cristian Mihai

A Sunday re-blog. What’s on the other side of your fears?
You can read the original article here.

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“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”Jack Canfield

by Cristian Mihai

Let me tell you about fear. It’s poison. It’s poison for your mind. It makes you lose control, it makes you freeze, it makes you take the wrong decision. When you let fear take over, you’re just an echo of your former self. An empty shadow and nothing more.

But we’re all afraid, aren’t we? There’s no such thing as fearless. Even the brave are afraid. In fact, one cannot be brave unless one if afraid…

So… what is there to be had on the other side of fear?

The awful truth about life is that what doesn’t kill often makes you wish it did. There’s great sadness and pain in this world, and we all get our fair share. But, you see, eventually all those things that don’t kill us either make us stronger or weaker. After a while, when the pain becomes but a memory, we have a choice.

We can either decide to become stronger or weaker. We can harden ourselves up or not. The choice is always ours.

But we’re afraid… even when the pain goes away, we’re afraid it might return. Even after heartbreaks heal, we’re afraid someone else will break our hearts again. We might never want to fall in love again. We might want to spend a lifetime behind closed doors, just to be sure, without realizing that loneliness will also break our hearts.

That’s why we need to fight fear, we need to see what is it that we can find on the other side of fear.

All our dreams and expectations. All our ambitions. All the power and the courage and the determination and the discipline we could ever need. All that lies just on the other side of fear.

I’ve always wanted to go to the United States and forge a better future there. Ever since I was six, actually. I never even traveled there, mostly because I was afraid of the visa requirements. Or the fact that I’d fail. I just wanted to fight a sure battle, but no one could ever guarantee me that. No one ever will.

And I’ve filled the ocean that lies between Romania and the US with excuses, endless scenarios, and fear. I’ve thought about it, over and over again, and decided that it would be best to wait. Living in a foreign country, all by myself, seemed like too much. Just the thought that I’d need to go through a lot of trouble just to arrive at my destination seemed impossible.

I’ve never even been on a plane.

But…

There’s one thing about me that I never lost, one thing that I didn’t learn or mimic from others. I want things so badly that I’d be willing to do anything to get them. When I decide that it’s time to do so, I don’t let anything stand in my way.

I did the same for writing. I wrote on and off for 8 years before finally deciding that I’d better man up and write more and more stuff. And finish stuff. And get stuff published.

There are no impossible journeys in life. Only journeys we’re too afraid to even start.

I used to think that I couldn’t function properly without smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Stress and all that. I’d say that I couldn’t even write without cigarettes. But it’s been two months since I quit.

Now I know that life’s all about being afraid and doing it anyways. In fact, fear should motivate me. It should drive me to act, to try my best, to try to solve problems.

I don’t want to spend a lifetime dreaming about an ideal future. I don’t want to wish for it to happen. I want to make it happen. Because no one else will do it for me.

And that makes all the difference.

The world is never against you. The world does not hate you.

You’re just alone. You and your dreams. And it’s entirely up to you to make them happen, one at a time, before it’s too late.

Because the most tragic thing that could ever happen to you is to realize that it’s too late.

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

Hooking the Reader with a Killer Opening to Your Book, by Helena Fairfax

A Sunday re-blog. Cuz we could all benefit from a killer opening.
The original article can be found here.

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by Helena Fairfax

This is another topic that has made me take a good look at my own writing. My first thought is that it’s vital to have an opening that hooks the reader. Some people say a killer opening is even more important now, since online stores like Amazon have a facility to “Look inside” the book, or to download the first few pages as a sample.

They say readers have too much choice and a short attention span, and we have to be hooked immediately or you lose us. But I think back to the days when there was no Amazon and I could only obtain books from bookshops or libraries. I used to do exactly the same thing before choosing a book – check out the blurb, and then have a read of the opening to see if it grabbed me. If I wasn’t hooked, I put the book back.

Stories have always had to grab the reader from the opening. That’s exactly what a good story-teller does. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic opening, with bombs or car chases. It just has to set up a scene that makes the reader think, ‘I wonder what happens next?’ I expect when cavemen sat round the fire telling stories, they always began in a way that would grab their listeners’ interest.

I’ve also heard people say that writers now can’t afford a long, meandering description for an opening, which books used to have in the past. But I struggle to think of any classic novel that doesn’t begin with a great hook. Charles Dickens has some brilliant openings. I think of the convict Magwitch grabbing Pip in the foggy cemetery in Great Expectations, or of the grizzled father and daughter on the Thames, trawling for bodies in the opening to Our Mutual Friend, and the girl’s look of dread and horror. A long while ago I wrote a post on great openings in fiction. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can find it here (and see if you can guess them!)

A while ago, too, I wrote a post called Let’s Start at the Very Beginning for the website Romance University on the subject of creating a great opening to a romance novel. It goes into writerly detail on “the inciting incident”, etc, and expands on the things I’ve said in this post.

As for my own books, I write and write and re-write my openings time and time again until I feel that a) I have written something interesting enough to hook the reader and b) the book is starting with something relevant to the story – i.e. not just a gripping incident for the sake of it – and c) I’m starting when the action starts, and not with a lot of backstory.

Over the summer I’ll be releasing a short story I wrote for an anthology. The story is called Come Date Me in Paris. Here’s how it opens:

Alice stood outside the door to her neighbour’s apartment, trying to quell the queasiness in her stomach. It was Saturday, and Edmond had been cooking his usual weekend breakfast. A delicious aroma of pancakes, crushed blueberries and coffee drifted through the door. It should have been a comforting smell – a smell that conjured up leisurely mornings dressed in pajamas, immersed in the pages of a book. Not this morning, though. As soon as Alice thought of cooking, she thought of what she was about to let herself in for, and her insides turned to mush.

She raised her hand, ready to knock.

‘Come on,’ she cajoled herself. ‘How hard can it be? A man who can cook like that isn’t going to bite.’

I’ve rewritten the start to this story several times. Hopefully it now starts in a place that will leave the reader wanting to know what happens next, and that it starts in the place where the real story begins – with Alice meeting Edmond.

The opening to a book is crucial, but…sometimes writers focus on the opening, and then let the rest of the book either drift away or rush towards an unsatisfactory conclusion. It’s not just novel writers who do this. How many times have you watched a film or TV programme – sometimes a whole TV series – and been massively disappointed in the ending?

Writers have to keep that momentum going and keep the reader turning the pages, but they also have to have an ending that delivers and that the reader feels satisfied by. Since I write romance, it’s obvious how my stories are going to end, but I like to make sure they end in a way that’s totally uplifting and gives the reader an “aah” feeling, instead of just fizzling out.

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

Panic Attack / Thyroid Storm

This past week, I’ve experienced a slew of medicinally induced panic attacks (PAs).

I’ve written a blog addressing my generalized anxiety disorder. I did not discuss my experience with panic attacks simply b/c the two are not mutually exclusive. Having anxiety disorder does not guarantee regular PAs. People who experience PAs do not necessarily have issues with anxiety. There are literally two criteria needed in order to have a PA: panic (thought) and hyperventilation (physical). I’ve known persons with differing disorders, to addicts, to garden variety life-stress types who have had a PA.

On June 25th, on a 1-10 scale, I had a 6.5 PA.

I am a non-trigger type. Every PA I’ve ever had was non-trigger specific. In the past my PAs were a result of anxiety build-up, concerns I was not addressing. So…it was much to my surprise when it out of no where, at age 36 and perfectly capable of addressing my problems before they get the better of me, I ripped into a PA without warning.

I examine it, I think on it, but I can’t understand why I had a PA. It had been years since my last one and just could not understand the origin of this one.

July 1st, I had a scale 9 PA. EMS had to be called out. It was the first time I had a PA in public too. I always had that reassurance in the past, in my college and teen years when my PAs were more common, that the attacks occurred in private. I was out that Saturday morning, having breakfast with my family at our favorite place, Kerbey Lane, and not long after placing our order, I went into full PA.

Symptoms of a Panic Attack

  • Racing thoughts of panic – increased by the fact that you know you’re panicking.
  • Shortness of breath – this is more severe than it sounds. “Shortness of breath” sounds easy but it’s essentially what triggers hyperventilating as shallow breathing causes you to only take in carbon dioxide.
  • Hyperventilation.
  • Lightness of being – this is a feeling of disconnectedness. It’s as though you aren’t tethered or grounded. For me, it feels like an absence of mass, as though I’m not a solid person and I’ll fall if I stand up. This is due to the lack of oxygen.
  • Tightening of the chest.
  • Shakes.
  • Involuntary muscle spasms.
  • Sweat.
  • Hot or cold sensations in the extremities.

Countering Panic Attacks

First, and this is priority, correct your breathing. You can counter and even lessen the severity of an oncoming PA just by correcting your breathing. REMEMBER – panic is the thought, but it’s shallow breathing that triggers hyperventilation. Hyperventilation causes nearly all the psychical symptoms of a PA.

  • 5-3-7. That’s the trick. Inhale through your nose by the count of 5, then, hold that breath by the count of 3, and finally exhale through the mouth (through a pursed whistle shape) by the count of 7. The count will keep the panic thoughts in check (mental occupation) and this breathing rhythm will keep you appropriately oxygenated.

Stand up. It may seem contrary to the feeling, especially if you’ve been hyperventilating, but standing up and forcing yourself to concentrate on standing and staying upright is actually helpful.

  • I was recommended to take it a step further and jog in place. Let me tell you, I do jog in place and it works. The extra movement forces a more correct breathing pattern – it’s all about the breath, I’m telling you.

Gripping. Get something in one or both hands and grip it. This helps counter the lightness feeling. A strong grip grounds you and brings you to the present.

  • If it’s available, try gripping an ice cube. The discomfort a piece of ice causes is both grounding as it is mentally occupying.

Keep telling yourself the panic is in the mind, all else is a matter of breathing. You can get the physical manifestations under control if you can get your breathing under control.

It’s hard to believe that so much comes down to breath. But then, think about it, in an emergency, nearly the first question asked by anyone is, ‘are they breathing?’

Don’t you wish it was this simple:

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Things to Keep in Mind

  • THE WORST, and I mean THE WORST that can possibly happen to you, is you pass out from the lack of oxygen. Once you are unconscious, the body self-corrects for you. You will not die. You will wake up.
  • The severity of the PA can be lessened, even completely countered.
  • After the PA, you will be tired. Your fight/flight response was triggered and now your brain and body have been flooded with adrenaline. Your PA may last 5 minutes or half an hour, but you will feel as though you’ve run a marathon after the fact.
  • Your brain goes jelly. It may be difficult to keep your thoughts in order immediately after the PA.
  • If you experience PAs regularly, you should strongly consider taking up cardio. You learn to breathe better while managing stress at the same time.

Thyroid Storm

But here’s the thing. After July 1st, my body was shaking regularly. My chest felt flighty, like I could go into a PA at any moment. For the next several days, I was a twitching, nervous wreck. I stopped driving, I stopped exercising. This wasn’t about a panic attack anymore.

Thankfully, I had my sister on the phone relaying all my non-regular reactions to these current PAs. She said, no Christina, get your meds checked.

Oh shit. My thyroid medication.

I had lost a lot of my hypothyroid weight and my prescription for treatment was very high. High for someone with a higher weight.

And the penny dropped.

I put in an emergency call to my thyroid manager and told her what was going on. She ordered a blood draw to be done the same day. With uncontrollable hands, I somehow managed to download the Uber app (recently back in business here in Austin, thankfully) and in less than 5 minutes, I and my 4-year old were loaded into the car and on our way the nearest blood pathology clinic.

The next morning, my provider told me I was experiencing “thyroid storm,” a lethal reaction to excess hormone in my system. My most recent weight loss had tipped me into the danger zone. I nearly fainted onto the sweat soaked examination bed.  My hands and feet were shaking, I was drenched in sweat, and I could barely keep two thoughts together.

Thyroid storm is usually associated with people who have hyperthyroid. But it is possible to be medicinally induced via prescription meant to counter hypothyroid.  No matter how it occurs, thyroid storm is very lethal. I narrowly avoided hospitalization or worse.

If there’s anyone out there who has hypothyroid disorder, assuming you are receiving a Rx that contains the T3 AND T4 hormone, and you begin to feel something like a PA as I’ve described, you need to see your thyroid manager.

Currently, I’m 3 days off my Rx and then I will resume a half dose regime…and I’m tired as hell. My body is exhausted. My brain has been repeatedly washed in panic and fear for nearly a week. But I’m here and a little more knowledgeable. You think you got your disorder in control and then come to find, there is still yet more to experience on the roller coaster you thought you knew so well.

“And there is only one thing we say to Death: ‘not today’.” Syrio Forel, Game of Thrones

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

PS – On a note of self-pity, I’ve been coffee free for 4 days to reduce the jitters until I’m better, and I gotta say, it sucks.

Bone Witch – Book Review

A Sunday re-blog. This review disrupted my current reading list…in a good way 🙂

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Bone Witch – Book Review, by Rin Chupeco.
You can find the original blog piece here.

Bone Witch (2017, Sourcebooks Fire, Young Adult Fantasy) by Rin Chupeco

When I finish a book and review it, I also post on sites such as Amazon and GoodReads which gives me a chance to see what other people are thinking about the book too.

If I really love a book, I’m always eager to check out reviews and see if everyone else loved it as much as I did.

So after reading Bone Witch, I rushed over to GoodReads only to discover most reviewers did not enjoy this book. I was so confused, how could someone not love this book?

It’s beautiful and sweeping and wonderfully told, but many thought it was too slow and that nothing really happens.

Hmmm….

I still think it’s fantastic! I was a little disappointed in the ending but it’s part of a new series so that will likely be cleared up in the sequel, and I don’t like to give spoilers in my reviews so I can’t really explain why the ending was disappointing. Sorry, guess you’ll have to read the book. : – )

And now, my review…

From the publisher:

“Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.”

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Review:

Bone Witch, written by Rin Chupeco, is the first book in what promises to be a brilliant new fantasy series. The world-building is exceptional as the reader is immersed in Tea’s world where asha’s wield extraordinary powers and are both revered and feared. As Tea evolves from a simple, country girl to a powerful asha, the story introduces a cast of unique and entertaining characters. The descriptions of the asha’s outfits can sometimes be a bit drawn out, but overall the detailed descriptions only serve to make the world more real.

The story is told from the perspective of Tea and from the perspective of a Bard who has sought out Tea to hear her story. The story unfolds as Tea recounts her rise as an asha to the Bard. The story goes from present day to the past as the two storylines build and the reader begins to anticipate that Tea will reveal what happened in her past to bring her to where she is now. This gives the story a page-turning quality and even though the plot is somewhat slow, the writing and characters are sure to keep the reader engaged.

A beautiful, epic tale with strong female characters that will be enjoyed by teens and adults who love fantasy stories.


Thank you to Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire for a reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

How to Work With Beta Readers

A Sunday re-blog. You can find the original blog piece here.

How to Work With Beta Readers,
by Hope Ann

There is no one secret to producing a good book. Hard work, patience, more hard work, dogged determination, and did I mention hard work? Yet it is so worth it. And, the more I write, the more I value one particular asset every writer should have.

Beta readers!

Beta readers are wonderful. Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are other writers. Sometimes they are people you’ve never met before but who have signed up to help you. Whatever the case, they provide an excellent new look at your own work, commenting on points you’ve missed because of your closeness to your story. If there are problems you are trying to ignore, they will be quick to point those out too.

Grammar, plot, characters, awkward wording… everyone is different, and each beta reader tends to focus on different aspects of your story and will find different things. Together, they help smooth and polish your story to a great degree.

I first started writing, I didn’t even know of the term ‘beta reader’. I had help, but to me, they were friends who were helping with my story as I helped with theirs. Together we improved each other’s work. While I still beta read for friends, and they for me, I now reach out to other readers and get as much aid and new eyes on my story as I can. Without beta readers to provide feedback, I would be lost.

A writer can find beta readers in a number of ways.

The first place to look is among friends. You may have some friends (or fans) who enjoy your work and who are willing to correct your book for the mere chance of reading it. There are other friends who may be writers, and you can arrange a swap of manuscripts, each correcting the other’s work. And you can simply ask.

If you are in a writing group, tell people what you are looking for and have them contact you if they are interested in helping. Create a form people can fill out (Google Forms is great for this) and post it on your blog and Facebook with a blurb about your book. You might be surprised at the number of people who want to read your novel.

There isn’t a set number of beta readers one ought to have: anywhere from five to twenty, as a general range. If you can’t interest anyone, there are writers who hire themselves out as beta readers, as well as professional beta readers you can hire on places like Fiverr. But generally, it’s not hard to find a handful of readers among your circle of friends and acquaintances.

Once you get your beta readers, you must loosen your grip about your manuscript and let people actually read it. Depending on the length, you may send the whole story at once, or in pieces. I prefer sending a novel in parts both because I can correct it easier in smaller chunks, and because it forces the reader to correct a section before finding out what happens next in the story.

At this point, I’ll create an Excel sheet, or a chart of some kind, with the names of all the beta readers, their emails, when I sent them a particular part, when I got it back, and when I corrected that part myself. It helps keep everything in one place, especially when you have a large number of beta readers.

Now remember, unless you are hiring these beta readers, they have a life of their own. I have had numbers of stories beta read and there are two main things I account for when beta readers sign up to help me.

Firstly, I consider how long it would take to beta read a story, then add a few weeks. Then I expect some beta readers to be late. Because life happens. Some readers might whip through your story and have it back in a week. Others might take two or three months. If you do need your novel back in a particular timeframe, encourage everyone to send what they’ve corrected to you by that date, even if they aren’t finished.

Secondly, there will normally be a small percentage of beta readers who end up not getting back to you. This is nothing against beta readers because I understand that things get busy. Just expect it. If everyone sends you your manuscript by the deadline you set, that is great. If not, it’s nothing to worry about. It happens.

Eventually, you start receiving feedback. I like to correct my novel as I get comments back. The cool thing about beta reading is that everyone picks out different things. Five beta readers can go over the same page and pick out different spelling, grammar, or plot mistakes. Together, they are a powerful force.

And there is something you might start to notice. Beta readers can disagree among themselves (unintentionally, of course, since they don’t know what the others have said). Some love a particular part. Others think it could be changed. Some love a theme. Others don’t quite get it.

It is important to approach beta reader feedback correctly. Remember, one book isn’t for everyone. There will always be some people who don’t quite care for a style or idea. There is nothing wrong with this. Take each beta reader’s comment into careful consideration, but they are not Gospel truth. You can keep the thoughts, or decide they aren’t right for the book, or pick and choose what you like. Now, if everyone is agreeing that something is a problem, then it likely needs some help, but otherwise use what comments you can and don’t feel bad if you don’t agree with all of them.

Finally, and this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, treat your beta readers with respect. They deserve it. They have gone over your story, helping you improve it, just for the sake of reading it themselves. Make sure to thank them and maybe even mention them in your acknowledgements.

If you haven’t had beta readers before, don’t hesitate to find some. Once your novel is finished, but before you plunge into detailed polishing, send your book to beta readers for feedback. You won’t regret it.

Alternately titled “Indy e-Con: The Value of Beta Readers.” 

Guest post contributed by Hope Ann. Hope is a Christian fantasy writer and the self-published author of Legends of Light. She has been writing for over five years and enjoys retelling fairy tales, creating worlds, making fun of clichés, and blogging. You can claim a free copy of her Beauty and the Beast prequel here.

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

3. Writing only about writing would be boring AF.

“…only a few words today, and indeed with pencil…” – The Beethoven Letters

Why don’t you blog on the writing process more? I thought you were a writer?

I have not been bombarded with the question (openly) but I feel the lurkings of the unspoken inquiry surrounding nearly every blog I post.

Yes, I am a writer. The difference between a writer and an author is publication. Duration and quality as quantifiers for being labeled a writer are subjective.  There are published works in current circulation that cause you to smack your palm to your forehead and wonder, ‘HOW? HOW IS THIS PERSON AN AUTHOR? HOW HAS THIS PERSON BEEN PUBLISHED?’

On the flip side of publication disbelief, there have been and will continue to be those novels that are considered literary masterpieces, turned down by countless agents and publishers decades before. That’s why time and style are subjective qualifiers for being considered a writer. Therefore, one is either a published author or a writer. Because I actively write, and am not yet published, I am a writer.

Yes, the overarching theme to this blog is dedicated to discussing writing, the experiences (professional and unprofessional), the processes and more. I have and I will continue to do so, but…

1. At the end of the day, this blog benefits me so long as I am practicing my writing skills. That being the case, I’ll write whatever I want.

2. This blog is also essentially a tool. As I discussed in, I believe, my second blog ever written, social media is the new platform for writers to get recognition. I cannot tell you how much I deplore that fact as the attention should immediately go to the work I’m submitting and not my online persona, (which could be complete and utter bullshit wherein I say just about anything to get a lit agent’s attention) but whatever. Blogging and the like has become the norm for would-be authors so I play along.

3. Writing only about writing would be boring AF.

4. Those of you who know me personally know I’ve had to put my work on the back-burner. When I was actively working on my novel, my then 3-year old, E, was still taking naps. She doesn’t take naps anymore. I also used to place my toddler in part-time daycare. Between naps and part-time care, I got roughly 8-10 weeks of uninterrupted time to write. Man – those were the days. Beginning in August, my daughter’s preschool will cost us a little over $600 a month. I made the decision to stop using daycare, even part-time, for reasons of obvious financial sanity.

All that said, I have made no current endeavors to give my novel the overhaul it needs. The inquiries too. I need time, I need quiet, and right now, I have neither. With preschool comes delicious, gorgeous freedom. Until then, I consider myself fortunate to knock out a blog or two during the week.

As we speak, E’s toys occasionally streak past me as I’m doing my level best to get this blog out-the-door, and hopefully written in a way that’s considered passable in the English language.

“You can read anywhere, almost, but when it comes to writing…most of us need a place of our own…and it really only needs one thing: a door you are willing to shut. The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business.” – Stephen King

ArmedWithCoffee.com
Austin, Texas
@gnrmuggle

Why Pinterest May Be The Greatest Website For Writers

A Sunday re-blog. Pinterest: more than recipes and holiday decor ideas.

A Writer's Path

by Teagan Berry

There are countless social media sites out on the internet, each of them offering us different means to share our thoughts and life with other people. For authors, social media can help us out in many different ways. Book promotion, connecting with fans, networking with other authors… and that’s just to name a few.

A little while ago I was introduced to a site called Pinterest by a fellow author and let me tell you, I will be forever grateful to her for it. In this post, along with another one I shall be putting up in a couple days, I hope to give you a few reasons why I believe Pinterest is so useful for authors. Right now, I’m going to focus on the private side of Pinterest, and what it can do for you and your specific writing.

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