Friday, July 30, 2010

Horse Sense

It started when I was a kid taking riding lessons. Then we got a cute Appaloosa pony named Raisin which my sister and I rode for a couple years. I turned twelve or thirteen and for some reason lost interest in these magnificent animals. We gave Raisin back to her original owners (a happy ending for her) and eighteen years went by with me being horseless. I don't think I ever really forgot this love though. It comes out in my stories. My first novel Thicker than Blood (started when I was fifteen) features a young woman living on a ranch where horses are a part of her everyday life. My second novel also involves the animals.

Now I've started being around horses again, learning what makes them tick, how to communicate with and train them, and how to ride again. As I slowly progress, I'm learning some things I can apply not only to my horsemanship skills, but to life too.

Yesterday I was watching a DVD by a trainer named Mark Rashid. I'm learning a ton from this guy. I love his philosophies and gentle techniques. I heard him say, "It's only a big deal if you make it a big deal." He was talking about your horses' behavior (or your mistakes), but I realized how important this maxim is to life too. How many times do we blow a situation way out of proportion when in fact it really wasn't worth worrying about?

Through horses I'm learning to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy life a little more. It's not all about training and striving for success. There's a place for all of that, but sometimes it's okay to just get on and take a trail ride. Enjoy the scenery. Thank God for what we have. Horses have been a great reminder for me to stop and smell the . . . er, well . . . stop and smell something!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reversing Rejection

I see a lot of blogs about why rejection hurts... but I don’t see a lot of blogs about how to Reverse Rejection.

We all know writing is a lot like dating -- sometimes the other party is just too tied up in other relationships to take notice of the new girl. If magazines are "dating" other freelancers, how do inexperienced writers get their attention (in a good way)?

• Check your connections. See if you can interview an author, musician, or celebrity who fits the publication’s profile. In this case, it’s not your name that matters – it’s the interviewee’s.

• Brainstorm with a freelance editor or experienced writer. See if he or she can help you rework your piece from a new angle.

• Be prepared to pay aforementioned editor or freelancer (unless she’s your mom).

• Be an expert on your topic. If you’re a scuba-diver, you may not be the person to write about youth ministry. Unless you want to draw a drowning parallel.
These are just a few ways you can Reverse Rejection… I’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s worked for you?

And also please feel free to ask us any questions… that’s why we’re here!

Monday, July 26, 2010

We're still here!!

Hey loyal blog readers!

Your Chicks are still here, don't worry. We've had quite a busy summer on our hands and sporadic posts, which I imagine is normal for summertime. Hopefully things will even out soon and we can get back to your regularly scheduled posting ;)

But in the meantime, I'm recovering from an acute sinus infection, Erynn is mooning over her new baby, and summer means traveling and family and vacations and chaos for all! Thanks for sticking with us. If you have any new topics you'd like discussed, please just post a comment here and ask any questions or make any suggestions - and we can try to prepare a new discussion for the immediate future.

Thanks for understanding!! :) Happy Summer!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cheat time

I'm cheating today with a short post, because I still haven't fully recovered from my crazy hectic last week.

But I really want to know the answer to this question so its only partially cheating :)

Fill in the blank. "I can't write today because _________"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Slippery Path

 My toes are swollen, my ears are deaf, and my legs are blue.

No... my husband hasn’t been beating me.

The teenage girls have.

Actually, I’m not sure the police would call it a true beating. Just a class one felony elder abuse statute violation. Or something like that.

I earned these bruises.

As you can tell from the photo, I was thrown onto the ground. Then my body was used in place of skis. (Rough economy these days. Apparently summer camp counselors are now expected to double as sporting equipment.)

My attackers were kind enough to place plastic and soap on top of the rocks, sticks, and thorns – so that when I hit those objects I could do so with much more speed, thereby picking them up in my butt tissue with much more ease.

As you can also see from the photo…

I am somehow still smiling.

I know it sounds insane. But flying down the hill at 65 miles per hour with the wind blowing in my face made up for all the discomfort.

Was I still hurting? Yes. Was I still having fun? Well…

Maybe you can relate.

Maybe you’ve been beaten, bruised, and swollen black and blue by the publishing industry (and in this economy, who hasn’t?).

Maybe your path seems slippery.

Maybe you’ve got more rejections stuffed into your butt tissue than you care to admit. The truth is – we all do.

This is your initiation.

Don’t just fly over the rough spots – learn from them. Avoid them next time.

Hone your craft. Grow your writing.

And enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hip hip hooray, Erynn!!!

So Erynn didn't post yesterday because she had her baby!!!! Congrats to the new parents!!! Their precious son was born at 12:34 p.m. and weighed 7 lbs, 15.6 ounces. I saw a pic, and of COURSE he is adorable like his mama =)

I believe everyone is doing well and fine, but of course prayers are always greatly appreciated with new families! There's so much to adjust to. I will post any updates if I get them. But praise God for a healthy little boy!!

Let's all give Erynn a shout of encouragement and congrats!!

PS - today my Little Miss is turning 2! Happy birthdays abound this week!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What I've Learned from Joan of Arcadia

I'm a little late in discovering this tv series, but so far (after watching the first season) I'm really enjoying it. Sure, some of the theology's a little off (and I could do without some of the teenage romance angst), but it's still refreshing to find a show that values family and God.

The story revolves around teenage Joan whom God begins appearing to in various human forms. He gives her simple assignments which she at first eschews. It's a little hard to wrap her mind around God appearing as a trash truck driver or a hot guy at school. God just shrugs. She has a free will, and he can't make her do the things he asks. Of course, she's a good kid and does eventually obey. For the most part.

But this isn't a commercial for Joan of Arcadia. What struck me after watching one episode in particular (I believe it was "The Fire and the Wood"), was something God said to Joan. She didn't understand how her getting a job at the local bookstore or joining the AP Chem class had anything at all do do with, well, anything. What difference did it make?

God then explained reality strands. Joan did something that affected somebody who then did something that affected Joan who then did something to help somebody else, and on and on and on. What God was saying to Joan was you do what God asks because He asks, not because you can see how it'll all pan out. Later, you might see it, but even if you don't, God does. He knows how something that seems inconsequential to us can vastly affect a life.

I thought that was a really cool explanation. It reminded me how I need to listen to the still small voice of God (since that's how he most often speaks to us) and obey it ... even when I can't see what difference it could make.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kickin' Procrastination to the Curb

Sorry I missed y'all last week dear Scribble Chicks' readers. I was en route from St. Paul to Dallas for Will and I's big move and was probably somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma when I would've normally posted.

Can I just tell ya that I definitely know I'm back in the South? Not only is it about 1,000 degrees, but I'm already sporting a slew of bug bites, big, frizzy hair and yes, a farmer's tan.

It's all very attractive, I tell ya.

But despite my maladies, I'm happy to be back. Not only have I spent some quality time with Will for the first time in a month, but I'm back in a place where complete strangers call me "honey," and there's fried chicken readily available, well, everywhere. Now if I could just get the movers to actually bring us our stuff, then I'd really be in business.

While in the midst of transition, I've found myself procrastinating quite a bit when it comes to my writing. In fact, in the midst of penning a new scene for my next novel, I stumbled upon a very funny article about the art of procrastination. I have to say that I can relate to this all too well, how about you?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Support - and I ain't talking 'bout pantyhose

We are writers. We all need support. (Maybe Erynn more than others right now because of her pregnancy...just kidding Erynn! haha. I loathed anyone who even suggested I needed support hose when pregnant. I was like, seriously, I'm this uncomfortable already, my feet are swollen to the size of watermelons and you're suggesting I vice up my legs? No thanks!!)

Anyway, I digress.

We need support. From fellow writers, from our friends, from our family, and from our spouses/significant others.

Do you get the support you need?

I remember when I attended my first writers conference. I was 18, and it was in Texas at a ClassServices conference. It was nonfiction writing and speaking focused, but author Gayle Roper taught a small fiction class for those interested, on the side. I gobbled up her every word and we really connected during that class. She's actually the one who introduced me to the ACFW and has cheered me on along the way in my career. But that weekend, I remember Gayle telling me that it was going to take a special man to support someone like me, someone with the dreams I had, someone willing to stand in the background and be a silent partner while the spotlight of my career eventually shone only on me.

Thankfully, I found that man.

But I know a lot of other writers don't get the support they crave from their family. So what do they do? They turn to their friends, hopefully, and other writers. No one understands us like a fellow mutant speciman... I mean, writer. :)

So build your support system. Follow blogs of writers and build relationships with them. (us!) Join book clubs in your town, join writer's loops online (like the ACFW! and make an effort to be a part. If you immerse yourself with other writers and get that support, you will have the strong foundation you need on the days you feel like cracking! It's too easy to get depressed and tempted to quit when we feel all alone in our efforts. Find those writing accountability partners and get to writing. KEEP writing.

And if your hubby or boyfriend or wife or girlfriend or family doesn't really understand, that's okay. Give them a break. You might not love their hobby of motorcycles or rock climbing or stamp collecting or sock sorting, but you love THEM. And they love you.

Time will prove to them your dedication to this "hobby" - that really isn't a hobby to most writers anyway. It's a calling, a commitment, a desire that must be fulfilled just like breathing or eating or drinking.

So eat. Drink. Breathe.

And for heaven's sake stay away from the pantyhose!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Shortest Post in the History of Scribble Chicks

I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July yesterday! I love the 4th - I love how everyone gets all patriotic, I love the fireworks and I love the barbecuing. :)

My official due date with Baby N is on Friday - soooo you can imagine I'm not too focused on anything else right now! :) I can't believe that he's so close to getting here! It's both extremely exciting and completely terrifying at the same time.

So, with that in mind, I thought I'd leave all of you with a little Monday laugh instead!

Have a great week!