Monthly Archives: August 2014

How Can I Get More Followers?

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Okay, fine. Go ahead and tell me I’m the only one who asks that question. Sometimes (really only sometimes – hardly ever) I get jealous of my fellow bloggers, writers, buddies, and friends. They have more everything. More followers, more commenters, more views, more friends, more ideas, more books, more cats, more kids, more husb-

You get the picture.

Driven by blinding jealousy, I sit down and try to craft an evil plot to overtake them all. Due to my extensive creativity and imagination, this works every timenever. every time.

A Guide to Gaining Followers

This list works for Twitter or your blog. Or real life even.

  1.  Follow every single suggested person.

    …”single” referring not to relationship status, but simply everyone. However, if you find a nice single guy who is good with bitches (meaning female dogs, of course) and kids, let me know.

  2. Post a lot of clever stuff you didn’t come up with yourself.

    And don’t cite your sources, making people think you actually came up with it. Try something like, “I think, therefore I am.” Works every time.

  3. #Hashtags #Hashtags #Hashtags

    #Hashtags #are #the #key #to #gaining #followers #YouCanNeverHaveTooManyHashtags

  4. Quantity over quality.

    Quantity means you’re creative and will consistently come up with cool stuff. Post something every day. If you run out of ideas, see 2. And tweet lots. Repeat yourself because people will forget what you said thirty seconds after you do.

  5. #Hashtags #Hashtags #Hashtags

    #Hashtags #are #the #key #to #gaining #followers #YouCanNeverHaveTooManyHashtags
    See. You forgot I said that, eh?

Bonus: Have many masks.

You are boring. The way you roll out of bed in the morning, complain about Mondays, write another post on what you did on Wednesday, tweet pictures of your pets – or worse, of yourself… We don’t want to see you or who you are. We want someone exciting, someone who is hilarious all the time, someone with no problems or life issues, someone who has it all together; because what we really want is someone to look up to because they are perfect.

So pretend you are perfect and people will love you – and follow you, which is far more important. It actually hardly matters whether they love you or not, just make sure they follow you.

FEET – Flash Fiction

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Today, UberFacts tweeted, “Studies show that people who feel lonely are more likely to take longer showers and longer baths.” I, of course, completely disagreed (denial); and during a (rather long) shower, I came up with this. Tell me what you think!

Lonely, my foot!

My feet? Ew, don’t remind me I need to get a pedicure. Soon. If Felix hadn’t used my nail polishes to paint the backyard fence, maybe I could get around to doing it myself.

There’s so little time, you know. But showers are my me-time. There’s an indescribable comfort that comes from that shower head. It does one or all of the following things:

  1. Lowers blood pressure. (Very good for a mom of five children – two sets of twins and a single. Their names? Jason and Ava, Hayley, Dana and Felix. I can say them all at once, but put one by itself in front of me and I go through the list just to make sure I get the right name. Understand what I mean? You go, Momma. Don’t understand? Get kids.)
  2. Gives me time to think. (It’s the best place to come up with grocery lists; to-do lists; chores for the kids, for Tyler, for me. It’s the best place to remember who you’ve forgotten to call, to write, to visit. Funny though – the thoughts shoot out of the shower head, steam around a bit, and then either evaporate or go down the drain. Every time.)
  3. Oh, and of course it cleans me up. (Thank goodness my kids grew out of barfing on me.)

It’s the one place people leave me alone, unless Tyler happens to be home. He likes to sit on the shut toilet and talk to me – probably because I don’t reply or say much. No talkback. Truth is, I can hardly hear what he says.

And then there was the time Jason trooped in. That wasn’t so bad. He was four and a half at the time, but he brought five of his friends with him.

“Mommy, can you get the lego box for me?” Jason was chewing on a shoestring, was wearing a feathered mohawk and a purple cape. He was totally casual but some of his friends were blinking. I just hoped they’d seen their own mothers in the shower or something.

“Holy smokes.” Aiden was already six and had teenage brothers.

Jason learned a new vocabulary word that day – emergency.

The doorbell rings. More neighborhood kids dropping by. Was I as popular as my kids at that age?

Lather, rinse, and repeat.

There’s a banging on the door. I turn the water down.

“Mom! Ava turned the TV on without asking.” Dana plays her role as the tattletale so well.

“I’m coming in a minute!” I yank the water back up full-power. One more minute turns into two more, then three. I have a good excuse. Mom is coming tonight to look after the kids so Tyler and I can go on a date. Tyler spends a lot of his work hours in the city hall archives, and it’s dark and musty down there. He likes smelling something nice for a change. And those files he handles are so rough. I’d better shave while I’m at this.

A half hour later, Ava and her friends have long since left the TV and are playing cards on the back patio. At least I think it’s cards.

Hayley is reading a book on the couch. Normally, she hates reading so I check on her. She’s not feeling well and when I bundle her in my arms, she gags once and then spews a lot of vomit all over my night-out dress.

“I’m home!”

I try to escape to the shower before he can see me.

The Disciplined Writer

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I’m laughing at the title I chose. It took me close to four hours just to start transcribing my notes for this post.

Fighting for Inspiration And Making Good Use of Time

I’m dying laughing.

I fear I will look back on the past five months or so and wonder why I didn’t spend those rather boring evenings, those eventless weekends writing.

You had all the time in the world and all you did was click from the Twitter tab, to the WordPress tab, to YouTube, throw in Facebook on occasion, Spotify and lots of Taylor Swift, your darn phone that you checked every twenty five minutes. You could have been writing bestsellers!

This last winter was a sort of glory times. I was in school and in between my 60-paged thesis on international human resource management in nonprofit organizations, I wrote well over 100,000 words. This included an easy win of NaNoWriMo 2013, additional chapters to The Resolution, and the first rough draft of Hidden People. I used every free minute for writing. My laptop went everywhere with me. I could write anywhere – in the train, tram, subway; waiting for the train, tram, subway; in class; in the library before, after, and during research for the aforementioned thesis; in, on, and under (okay, maybe not) my bed; by the Christmas tree. Everywhere. I could puke 1,000+ words in thirty minutes. In every free moment my mind had, I was brewing ideas, going over dialogue, making plans. I was obsessed; and okay, maybe my thesis didn’t turn out that great because of it all, but I had a ton of fun.

Then all that came to a screeching halt.

For known and unknown reasons, I was suddenly stuck and I went for days at a time without writing. My characters finally abandoned me after deciding I wasn’t coming back. My obsessive behavior shifted and for the longest time, my projects hardly crossed my mind. I say this to my utmost shame.

After regaining perspective (let’s call it that), I decided I needed to keep it up – keep my writing up. All along, I was still rather involved in the writing community, but if I wanted to be part of it, I had to be a writer. I had to write.

Slowly but surely, I am getting back into it. I try to write something every day no matter what it is (okay, emails and chatting do not count), but my longterm goal and focus is my project Hidden People. I want to be serious about it. That is the question. How serious am I? It’s a decision we all have to make. It’s a commitment (I see you all cringing at that). And commitments require work. And work requires a plan.

Do you have a plan to work out your commitment?

Have a goal.

I want to be a published author. (That is very scary thing to say. I dare you to.)

Set deadlines.

  1. Finish current draft by October 1, 2014. (Erm, this are all hypothetical deadlines used as an example, yes?)
  2. Revise draft by November 15, 2014.
  3. Beta-reads complete by Christmas. (I give gifts.)
  4. Use January to implant and/or consider suggested changes.

Do thorough research.

Hey, I thought I finished my thesis? 

Whether you want to go traditional or indie, do your homework and become a publishing expert. Invest time in finding the right method for you. Carefully choose potential agents and learn how to write a query. Get smart.

Market yourself.

This is still sounding a whole lot like business school.

Before you have a story to sell, you have yourself. Get to know your potential readers and even better, open up to them and let them see you. Show them what you can (or can’t) do on your blog, for example. Tada! Help them out and share things you’ve learned. Giving is very rewarding.

I love the personal connections to writers and let’s face it, word of mouth is effective because it is so personal. Please don’t tweet ads for your book every hour – or even day. It won’t make people like you and it probably won’t help you sell your books.

Write, write, write.

And don’t give up. The writing world knows no traffic signs. Sometimes you don’t know when you’ve turned into a dead-end, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop and settle there — unless that’s where Chris Hemsworth lives. Then it’s okay.

Discipline is the key. You can’t get anywhere without hard work, but don’t equate hard work with misery. Have fun and live your dream.

Of Beauty And Inner Worth

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Disclaimer: I usually don’t write disclaimers, since this is my blog and may do basically what I want. I will admit this is different from what I normally write, but I get random every now and then. Hope you enjoy it anyway. 🙂

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Thank you for just telling me I’m ugly, childish, worthless, and good for nothing and no one but dogs. Thank you very much indeed.

I think I’ve tweeted about this before, but why is it acceptable to walk up to someone and say, “You’re so skinny and should eat more”?

I picture myself out with friends and telling my heavier one, “You’re fat. Stop eating.”

I have a friend who tends toward heaviness, but she doesn’t even eat that much. She probably eats as much (or little) as I do, but her body is different. Her mother had four children and is “fat.” My mother had four children and is “skinny.”

As long as we are making healthy choices for our bodies, I don’t think weight should be a topic to discuss. If someone is starving or stuffing themselves, you should talk to them not because it will make them ugly, but because it is unhealthy.

Your inner being is far more important than your outer shell anyway. Inner beauty includes loving God with your heart, soul, and mind. It includes caring about others as yourself. Don’t fool yourself into believing you’re only pretty if men are drooling (dogs, anyone?) over you. Real men care about your soul and appreciate your body the way it is.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t be shy, girls and boys!

Giving Characters Depth

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Depth is more than backstory. It is who your character is. And it made me wonder whether I know my characters well enough.

1. Are you friends with your protagonist?

Would you get along? Do you think it’s important to be able to get along with your own characters – especially your protagonist?

2. What qualifies you to write this character?

How would you feel if someone turned you into a character? How would you think you should be portrayed? Respect your character by knowing enough about him or her so that you can accurately communicate his intentions and motivation, his feelings, and his flaws. He might act like a jerk, but he may have a very good reason for it. Show his reasons to your readers, and he will become more likable – even relatable.

Any thoughts on this? I tend to write really jerky, obnoxious characters. Personally, I don’t mind them and I also don’t mind reading stories with jerky characters (you know, unless they’re constantly making one stupid decision after another); but some people are very picky about likable and relatable characters. Share your wisdom in the comments! 

Rest vs. Reality – FLASH FICTION

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I just want rest. I love the quiet of your arms, the warmth that radiates from your body when we’re under blankets. Curled into the tightest ball my gangly limbs will allow, I huddle against you. We’re so close and I breathe you in, pressing my face against your chest. You hold me tighter when I kiss.

I never believed in telepathy but we don’t have to use words. You know I’m saying, I love you.

I love you too.

There is no place I feel safer. There is no place in the world I would rather be. You’re such a beautiful human.

I decide to tell you.

You’re such a beautiful human.

You’re not so bad yourself.

We chuckle at the same time, and you kiss the top of my head.

“It’s time to get up, darling,” you whisper.

“What?”

“I said, ‘It’s time to get up!

I look up after you yelled at me. Water gushes from your mouth and splashes my face.

I wake up, still in my fetal huddle; but I am on the hard, cold floor. It is dark and wet. Someone is screaming but is soon drowned out by a spine-chilling laugh. He slurps his feet as I watch him come closer – his face hidden by shadows, but I see the curl of his lip and one raised eyebrow.

He grins. I’m going to kill you. You know that, don’t you?

I nod, inching away as much as I can with the shackles binding my arms and legs.

He sighs and kneels down. “What’s that you were saying about me being beautiful?” He holds a shiny blade in front of his face, examining it before glancing back at me. “Hm?”

The knife thrusts into my stomach when I open my mouth to answer.

Blog Goals

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The purpose of this blog is to

  • practice writing,
  • get to know writers and readers,
  • tell others what I’ve learned and what might help them,
  • discuss ideas,
  • vent, 🙂
  • encourage creativity,
  • and have fun.

I have never had a blog schedule. Do you have one, and do you stick to it? I am afraid I wouldn’t, so I like to keep my goals general.

  • Blog regularly (at least twice a week)
    • Writing tips,
    • flash fiction,
    • those venting posts,
    • updates, etc
  • Interact with other bloggers, specifically readers and people who comment
  • Host a guest blogger (monthly. Is anybody interested? I’m going to start asking around soon.)

Besides these goals, I have one other. I want to come up with something good enough to submit to The Write Practice. If I can accomplish that, my work will be done here. It’s been my dream since forever.