Do you see those exclamation points in the title? I've been 'accused' of using too many. I can't help it... I get passionate when I write. It's true, in my picture book manuscripts, I do need to cut back on them - but here? Hey, I'm excited!
I LOVE to WRITE!!! (I guess you already knew that, right? After all, you're reading my blog - thanks by the way!)
But seriously - I've been doing this since grade school, so yeah, I guess it's totally natural that I have a blog. And I've been really excited (and overwhelmed) by all the changes I've made here. I moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog on wordpress.org. That transition went somewhat smoothly....somehow three followers got lost in the shuffle - but 231 remained strong (thank you!) and I was able to message the ones who did not get transferred to give them the news.
In addition, I've put the blog on a Facebook page to encourage more followers, make it easier for some to stumble upon me and to make it easier for some who would rather follow blogs thru Facebook than get sometimes daily emails in their inbox. Don't forget there's also the Bloglovin' button too for the same reason! So part of the reason I'm writing this post is for those new followers - to get what it is that I'm doing here - and partly because - well, that's the idea I came up with and so here it is:
WHY DO I WRITE???
Writing, for me, takes me away into another land much like reading a book does. Only this time, it's MY LAND. It's whatever land, real or make-believe, I want to be in at that moment. Whether it's remembering (on paper - or well, a computer screen but yes, I do often use paper for the first rough draft!) something from this morning, yesterday, last week or thirty some years ago (yes, or MORE...) or whether it's writing about something I'm doing or learning about... it's putting my mind in a place I want to be. And to me that is magical like the places I read about - a 'little house in the big woods', the Hundred Acre Wood or River Heights.
It's an escape in a way - because when I'm deep into writing, much like when I have my nose in a book - there's a lot that can go on around me without notice. My oldest son has finally learned to actually have me look AT him, before speaking...because he knows if my eyes are in a book or looking at the computer or writing pad, chances are I'll have no clue he's even speaking to me, let alone actually know what he's saying. When I'm writing I become ALIVE inside - passion overcomes me as I delve into whatever land I escape into at that precise moment and can forget all else... If you're not a reader or writer and don't get that - my apologies but I'm pretty sure you MUST have a passion - a way of escape that does the exact same thing!
My true passion for writing began in 5th grade when the lovely Mrs. Allred ( I can still picture her in that all RED outfit she wore on the first day of school) actually read MY story to the entire class and encouraged me to continue writing...she was a much bigger inspiration than she ever realized, I'm sure.
While I never devoted full time to writing, it stayed a passion in secret....always keeping journals and always writing fiction stories on the side.... I did enter a contest once with the Institute of Children's Literature - I was in 9th grade at the time... they sent me details on courses. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen on my grandparent's budget. Oh well... I kept writing. I seem to recall making a middle school teacher chuckle quite often with the ridiculous fictional stories I would conjure up with my spelling words weekly as a sort of extra credit for English class. Speaking of English class - I also managed to pull an A on a descriptive paper from the professor on my college campus known to be, um.... well TOUGH. And he told us, for this particular assignment, if ANY of the details in this descriptive paper were made up, HE WOULD KNOW... uh, yeah, well, all but the real incident in my paper was 100% fictional...every single detail was made up.... I'm rather proud of that paper. LOL
Move forward quite a few years.... I retired early (VERY early) from teaching and decided to stay home with the kids (we had two then) and suddenly my urge for writing deepened.... and I finally decided to take that course from The Institute of Children's Literature. In fact, I took two. (and I'd like to take more....though with someone else this time - any suggestions? Something geared for picture books?) And then I learned about SCBWI! WOW!!! (yeah, there's those exclamation points again)!!!
So I wrote and I wrote and I.....ooops! got pregnant! Yeah, right when I was in the beginnings of taking a shot at a YA manuscript (that's young adult in case you weren't sure), God decided he had other plans for me. Between the nausea, the exhaustion and the utter shock (my oldest was 15, my youngest 11)....I stopped writing. 🙁
It took me several years to get back into it. I started with my blog. I had no idea what to write about... well, I had ideas...but getting started wasn't necessarily easy. I really only started it as a journal, and also the possibility to tell others about Our Food Story. Our Food Story is sort of personal, yet people constantly tell me I need to tell it. So I wrote a very abbreviated version of that back in October of 2013 - just a year ago. I am glad to get it out there, but I know more needs said. I'll say it...in time.
Which brings me to this:
WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT ON THIS BLOG? How do I decide what to write?
I write about my PASSIONS in life. And I have quite a few, I guess. A lot of bloggers say that we bloggers should pick just one niche..... one topic we are passionate about and stick to that especially if you (I) want a lot of followers. I've thought about it - a lot really - just narrowing down the blog to a few of the topics I cover - but there's so much more to me than JUST one or two of these topics!!! I thought about separating the topics into two blogs....but can't figure out how to balance them and not leave anything out. The bottom line is, I write about what I am PASSIONATE about. And yes, I'm PROFOUNDLY PASSIONATE about my Orthodox faith, my marriage, my children, homeschooling, cooking natural whole foods - mostly Paleo now -, books, WRITING, and gaining balance in my life.....so that's what I write about. I think I'm finally crawling out of my shell here - finally finding my voice. So I'm sure I'll write more about that food story at some point - but for now I have SOOOOO many topics I want to write about - it's hard to just pick one some days! Furthermore, there's other writing to be done besides the blog!
I'm ESTATIC over the start of PiBoIdMo TODAY!!!!!!!
I signed up on the 24th and have been reading the Pre-PiBoIdMo posts on Tara's blog ever since, notebook and pencils in hand! I even took my son to the library the other day to specifically look for books by the authors that are being highlighted this month! It's good to be familiar with someone's work when you read their post, but certainly not necessary to still get lots of inspiration and further insight into the writing process of picture books. (p.s. It's NOT too late to join - registration ends on November 7th.)
So here I am with my notebook, my pencils, pens and highlighters, my coffee mug filled with delicious Lonely Monks Coffee, (and no, fellow PiBoIdMo companions, I did NOT steal that list from Laurie Meyers - it REALLY is my own list! LOL) my chocolate, my laptop and YES! I'm headed directly over to Tara's first official post for PiBoIdMo 2014!!! Woot!!