Tag Archives: Writer Parent

Sunshine Award!

sunshine-blogger-award

Just like the sun coming out after a storm, this award was a happy surprise after a long month of on-again, off-again illness(es). Being sick is horrible enough, being sick as a stay-at-home parent is the seventh circle of hell. I’m sure Dante would have written about it, if he’d been a stay-at-home parent.

It really tests you down to your very soul when you have an ear-splitting migraine and the man-child is running around the house giving some kind of deranged battlecry, waving around the lightsabers you meant to hide yesterday, all to the tune of Peppa Pig background noise.

So having an awesome writing buddy, who not only helps encourage and critique your work, but nominates you for a blogging award (even when you’re pretty sure you don’t know how to blog or when to blog or are just always blogging wrong)–that’s pretty awesome! And drags you from the pit of despair to fight another day. (Or concede to the four-year-old another day, take your pick.)

Thank you, R.Q.Woodward for the nomination! You are a stellar blogger who always has the best writing advice, from writing software to twitter, and you always teach me something I didn’t know I needed to know when I read your posts. I feel very honored to have known you before blogging, both as a student/peer and a coworker (for that one semester, remember?) because someday I’m going to be able to brag about knowing you way-back-when and everyone’s going to be really jealous of me.

SO, the Sunshine Blogger Award, other than being the sun-shiniest and possibly most cheerful of the award family, has a few rules:

  • Post the award on your blog (well, duh)
  • Thank the person who nominated you (because, manners; THANK YOU, ROBIN!)
  • Answer the 11 questions they sent you
  • Nominate bloggers you’d like to give this award
  • Give them 11 questions to answer

Since R.Q.Woodward nominated me, she got to choose the questions (cue dramatic music). Here’s what she asked and how I answered:

Q & A with R.Q.Woodward:

  1. What’s one of the wackiest dreams you’ve ever had?

    Great first question! I have had some pretty off-the-wall dreams, but they are usually action-oriented, not really “wacky”. One that comes to mind had almost the same feel to it as the movie “The Village”. If you haven’t seen the movie, be warned: spoilers (somewhat). Basically, I’d been captured and forced to stay in this colony of people living out their lives like it was the 1800s. Only, it was my parents’ ranch down in Texas where they’d taken over and set up shop. I tried to escape a couple times, but kept getting caught and brought back kicking and screaming (I do a lot of that in dreams…which is SO not me in real life! Haha!). THEN things took a turn for the weird when suddenly people started getting sick out of nowhere. Either someone was poisoning within the camp or there was an implication of spiritual/mystical activity that was causing it. I might have then been accused of witchcraft. I decided to again plan another escape, but woke up before it came into play.

  2. Name your favorite book, movie and TV show, and then tell me which of THOSE is your absolute favorite.

    The book is actually the easiest. I don’t know why, but Mara: Daughter of the Nile has been my go-to favorite. I’ve read it at least ten times, which is a lot for me (I don’t tend to re-read stuff). I’ve heard it decried as being historically inaccurate, but I don’t care. It’s a good story. Ancient Egypt, spies, tomb raiding, what’s not to like?

    Movie is a little harder. For years it was The Scarlet Pimpernel, the 1982 TV version with Jane Seymour and a young Ian McKellen. It’s very dated and not the greatest film quality, but it’s swashbuckling fun. It’s about a disguised Englishman rescuing innocent French Aristocracy from the guillotine during the French Revolution. I’ll go ahead and say it’s still my favorite, though I have a lot of honorable mentions (Sabrina 1995, Pride&Prejudice 2005, Far From the Madding Crowd 2015, Casablanca)

    TV show is almost impossible to nail down. That probably says that I watch too much of it, but I try to just watch shows that I enjoy so that’s probably the reason I’m struggling. A recent one that I watched and was absolutely fascinated by was The Man in the High Castle–an alternate history of what the world of 1962 would be like if Hitler had won WW2. I love that, especially in the second season, the “bad guys” and the “good guys” aren’t as clear cut as they seem. It’s very like real life people and I’m attracted to that kind of story. On the other end of the spectrum: I love Lark Rise to Candleford and Dr. Who.

    You probably are starting to see a pattern here, right? My go-to anything is usually historical in some sense. I think out of all of those, Mara is probably my all-time favorite. I’ve often longed for SOMEONE out there to make it into a movie, but then I’d probably be disappointed. (*cough* Ella Enchanted *cough*)

  3. What is the first favorite color you ever remember having and what is your favorite color now?

    Pink (gag me) was my first favorite. I don’t absolutely hate it, but I haven’t liked it for years. Now my favorite color tends to go between an off-white, pale grey or faint blue. Put me in the midst of any of those peaceful hues and I’m instantly relaxed.

  4. Who is your favorite person in the world?

    ME! Ha, no. As cliché as it sounds, my husband. Really, is there any other choice? He’s one person in the world (my son doesn’t count, he’s not an adult and doesn’t care) who I can be a complete mess around and not feel self-conscious about it. He’s there if I need him for anything, my quiet supporter. Plus, I think he’s pretty good eye candy too (don’t tell him I said that).

  5. What’s your favorite smell?

    Tough question! Hmmm… Top 2 are campfire smell and good ol’ vanilla. I don’t know if I could pick just ONE though. And baking bread. Ugh, I’m going to keep thinking of more good ones, so I’m stopping now…

  6. If you had to choose between living as an insect in the Amazon or as a fish in the ocean for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

    Wow, random! I like it. My instinct is to say fish in the ocean (despite all the plastic and crap going on with the oceans right now; though I’ve read some promising stuff on inventors creating ways to help clean them, so YAY!). I don’t really want to live in a swampy, humid rainforest for the rest of my life. Plus, I’ve heard scientists know more about outer space than the bottom of the ocean–I’d love to explore down there and find out its secrets!

  7. Coffee, tea, beer, or wine? (multiple choices are acceptable)

    All except beer. I just don’t like the stuff. When I’m sick or it’s cold outside, or I’m reading/watching British stuff, tea. When it’s a typical day, coffee to start the day and coffee in the afternoon. Wine occasionally in the evenings (especially if I’ve had a seventh circle of hell day from the four-year-old).

  8. How do you like to spend your leisure time?

    What’s that? Ha! In all seriousness, if I get an “evening off” or a “day off”, I usually hang out with my family here at the house and do bits of nothingness. Watch a show with my husband or put together a puzzle or play games with the man-child or read or do a crossword myself. If my husband tells me explicitly, “Go out and relax!” then I usually head to a coffeeshop (usually the kind in a bookstore) and get coffee, look at books, sit down to read and write and just decompress. That’s my ideal getaway at the moment. A few hours to read, write, drink coffee, and maybe buy a new book.

  9. Do you like to hike, bike, or do other types of outdoor recreational activities? (if this answer is a “duh” type of response because of #8, do not pass go, go directly to jail. Also, tell me anything)

    Haha! I do like to walk/hike. We have a small state natural area with a trail JUST down the road from us. I have grown to love it because hardly anyone is usually out there. I used to bike all the time until college, but not anymore (sad face). I used to swim a lot. I used to sword fight (not fencing, SWORD fight, like a complete nerd). I used to do a lot of things before the man-child magically zapped me of all my energy (almost totally kidding, but not quite).

  10. What is one (or maybe two) question(s) you wish I’d asked?

    How come you’re not a famous published author yet, Sarah?

  11. What is the answer to the question you just asked yourself?

    I can’t believe you just asked me that! You’re not supposed to talk about not being published until after you get published, and then you can joke about it. How insensitive of you…

    Just kidding.

    Real answer?  I’m slowly working towards it, but I’m not desperate to be published until I’m ready. When I’m there, I’m there. Until then, I’m content to write for myself a few friends who read it.

I Nominate…

I am not the best at blogging (the reading or writing of them; in fact, I wrote a post about it), but there’s one blog that I’ve followed since the beginning of the beginning of thinking about blogging. Because of that, I’d like to nominate Tina Bausinger! She’s someone who once went to a humble writer’s group when we were both still junior college students with creative writing dreams. Since then, she’s become a published author (yay!) as well as becoming an English teacher herself.

Here’s my 11 questions:

  1. What inspired you to start writing?
  2. What’s your favorite food?
  3. Dogs or cats or both?
  4. Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?
  5. What are your hobbies outside of reading and writing?
  6. Dream vacation destination and activities? (no financial restrictions–this is a dream)
  7. If you had to pick ONE author to read for the rest of your life (only his/her books), who would that be and why?
  8. Where and when are you the most productive in your writing?
  9. Favorite TV show or movie that’s based on a book?
  10. You find you can time travel once to any point in time: do you go to the future or past? If the past, what time period or year? (you return to your own time after the visit)
  11. City or country? Which specific city or countryside? (ex: San Fransisco or mountainside valley, etc.)

Happy blogging and I’m looking forward to your answers!

To those reading: have any random questions for me? Ask me in the comments below! (I dare you)

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February Wrap-Up

February always seems to go by too quickly.

But of course, you say, it’s the shortest month of the year.

Yeah, but I always forget that.

February 1st always kicks off with me going, “Oh, crap” and hurrying to make birthday plans for hubby. Early-in-the-month birthdays always sneak up on me. You don’t expect them because you’re off in a totally different month until BAM! You flip the calendar over, and there they are. (Flip? Does anyone besides me have an actual paper calendar anymore? I guess it’s more of a swipe on a phone. Or a tap. Anyway…) I dislike these early-in-the-month birthdays for exactly this reason. Not that anyone can help having one, but I always forget to plan for them (sorry, mom)!

This year was a biggie for hubby, too. The big 3-0. Three decades of life. And I had almost zero plans for it, right up to the day of. How could I not have something planned? Well, my husband doesn’t really like parties, or surprises, or gifts, or cake (basically, anything that’s normally associated with birthdays).

But I couldn’t do nothing. You only turn 30 once, ya know? Thanks to brainstorming with  writing bud, we managed to come up with a plan: a 30-clue treasure/scavenger hunt around the house that led to his birthday gift (a board game that I remembered the DAY OF  that he’d mentioned liking; yes, it’s that hard to come up with a present for this guy).

If you’ve never thrown together 30 sappy-rhyming treasure hunt clues in half a day, you haven’t truly lived, my friend. (And then hid all the clues, rushed off to Toys R Us to get previously mentioned gift, and finally sped home JUST before he got home from work so that the treasure hunt was waiting for him once he walked in the door.)

Of course, a smart person would have planned it out ahead of time, but what can I say? I like to live my life on the edge.

Next in the month came Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and before I knew it, it’s suddenly the end of the month!

This month, my son decided it was time to start really learning how to read, my nutritionist friend challenged me to join in on a group diet/challenge she created (appropriately coined, “Love Your Guts”), I picked up cross-stitch for the first time in years, and I’ve made it back in the gym at least a handful of times.

Oh, and through all this, I’ve been working on the new writing project I mentioned in my last post. And other than worrying that it’s not YA enough, I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out. More of that to come in future posts!

I feel a little stretched, but overall, it’s been a good month.

How was your February?

P.S. Treasure hunt was a hit! Definitely something to do for the impossible-to-plan-for birthday person in your life. 😉

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Imperfectly Perfect

IMG_20141111_223646781.jpgMy brain is on the fritz and my hands are killing me.

But let’s move on past the usuals.

It’s week 1 1/2 of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I’ve got just over 22k words down. Tonight, I might make it to the halfway point at 25k. Maybe.

It’s been a bit of a rough ride.

The first few days, nothing “felt” right. The scenes, the descriptions, everything tasted about as delicious as dried-out cornbread. It was equivalent to the feeling of having a child comb your very tangled hair or waiting in a line all day at the DMV.

Some of it was necessary, some of it I just had to get through, but I’m sure that I’ll be chopping some of the scenes when I read back through it.

And that’s okay.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about perfection. It isn’t about having a literal novel to publish at the end of things. (Although, I’m sure there are some fantastic writers out there who *could* do that)

It’s about challenging yourself and pushing through the dry spells and empty brains.

It’s managing to get in those extra words around regular life stuff that you can’t avoid.

It’s stopping every five minutes because your 4-year-old needs someone to come wipe  for him. (just being real, here)

It’s going to a write-in and meeting people like you who love to write. People who you can talk about your story with and their eyes don’t glaze over after the first couple sentences. People who are more experienced and write faster than you, but that’s okay.

It’s this great big enormous challenge to just get out (or stay in) and DO this thing that we all love! Together, through the magic of the internet, through long-distance writer buddies, through our local writer groups, through ourselves.

We are NaNoWriMo and we are imperfectly perfect.

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NaNoWriMo With a 4 year-old

So, NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of days. What is that insanely long acronym, you ask? National Novel Writing Month—a fun challenge for writers to motivate themselves to stop procrastinating and just write. And not just write whatever write. Write 50,000 words, write. That’s a lot of write(ing).

I’ve successfully done it in the past, but this year is going to be different.

This year, I have a writing buddy—yay! I’m so excited to have someone else I’m actively writing alongside. Someone who’s already been so supportive in getting me to write again. We are going to rock NaNoWriMo, I know it!

But there’s someone else in my life who is going to make things a lot more complicated this year, because he now doesn’t want to regularly nap. My 4 year-old.

Which means I’ve had to do extra preparations as I’m getting ready for the challenge. And as I got to it, it started sounding like I was doing something else.

So I decided to document the hilarious parallels. Enjoy and laugh and facepalm with me!

Preparing Yourself for NaNoWriMo with a 4 Year-Old…or…

Negotiating with a Drunk Friend

You decide.

“Will you be okay if I leave you here for five minutes?” Will he? Or will you come back to a destroyed couch…and missing culprit? 99 times out of 100, it’ll be the latter.

On the off chance he does decide to take a nap, make sure to have snacks and water handy when he wakes up in a super grumpy mood. Also, make sure to send him to the toilet first thing. Or you will regret it.

“Please don’t take off your clothes right now.” You’re trying to write. He is trying to strip. And you’re in the middle of a Panera.

It’s time to go to a write-in, but, “Where are your shoes? WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES?!” It’s a redundant question. You know where the shoes are. They are in the toilet.

“No, no. Let’s keep the drink away from the computer.” Because, let’s face it, it’s going to be spilled at least once before it’s empty. And you don’t want your 49,999 words to end up as a casualty.

Pointless arguments are the norm, but get ready for those too. “Nope, you can’t use the TV remote to unlock the door…It just isn’t going to work…Okay, you can go ahead and keep trying, I’m going to be over here writing…” (Cue the tears.)

Which brings us to: Random meltdowns. The cap won’t go back on the water bottle, the wrong song starts playing on Pandora, and the world has suddenly ended. Just like your writing momentum.

But not to be underestimated: the SILENCE. You’ve been typing for ten minutes without an interruption when suddenly you realize it’s TOO QUIET. Either fortune has smiled down on you and your companion is passed out somewhere, or you have something very VERY bad in store. There is no in-between.

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This is what happens when “The Silence” comes. It’s not just a Dr. Who reference, y’all. It’s a real epidemic for parents everywhere. And no, those stickers will NOT fit back in the box.

Okay, all you writer parents (or drunk friend caretakers) out there, what are you doing to prep for NaNoWriMo? I’m going to need all the help I can get…

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