Tag Archives: blogging

The World Turns…

When I started this blog, I didn’t have Facebook or twitter or Pinterest. My daughter was in junior high. I’d lost a lot of weight on WW (and then gained and lost and gained and lost…). It was super bowl time and I talked about strawberries a lot. I wrote a lot. I read a lot. I posted crazy photos. I dreamed about traveling. I was a cat mom and never thought about owning a dog. I ate carbs all the time (thus the weight gain and loss, gain and loss). My grandparents were alive and I went to stay with them every once in a while, usually with my daughter. My grandma sang all the time. She and her best friend my Aunt Helen let me take their photo at family reunion, I belonged to a yahoo group called catarom and spent a god-awful amount of time reading emails. I hadn’t ever heard of education reform or the WFISD Leadership Cohort.

It’s crazy how much has changed.

Those changes are why I love this blog. It’s so amazing to walk back through life and see how I’ve grown. It’s also awesome to connect with readers and writers and just say hey.

Today I wrote 7k words. I still write a lot.

I’m up to chapter 7 in a Karen Templeton book. I still read a lot.

I deleted twenty emails and kept about 50 I need to read. I might get to 10 of them. I rarely read email now.

I checked in on facebook and twitter for what was supposed to be a second but that turned into an hour. Facebook and twitter consume time if I let them.

I was grumpy about some things and then a friend posted asking for prayers for a family member and it was like God smacked me with some perspective. I still learn a lot.

Happy reading and writing.

Hopefully I finish a book draft tomorrow before lesson plans.

 

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Mid-book Freak Out #writerzen

Mid-book freak out time.

That moment I sit staring at the computer screen thinking any of the following in any order or maybe even all at once:

Sucks.

This is awful.

Sucks…sucks…sucks

What was I thinking when I sat down to write tonight?

Wait…what is this character’s name…oh dear GOD I’ve called her the wrong name the last twenty pages…

Conflict?! Who needs conflict.

blah-blah-blah-blah

Hey, this sentence starts with a capital and there’s a period at the end. That’s good for something, right?

Oh wait…nvr mind.

Dear God, is that even in English?!

ThisIsARomanceButThere’sNoRomance. How did I forget the romance?!?!?!?!?!?

Kill someone. That always makes things interesting.

You could just write down the Big Fat Man story. Everyone loves that. Drank a barrel of water, ate a barrel of mush, gobble, gobble, gobble…

Hmmmm. I have a new Karen Templeton to read. Maybe I should take a reading break and study the craft.

It’s Friday. I need a drink.

Or 10.

Sucks, sucks. sucks.

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Genius.

Just joking.

I’m blogging first instead of writing first. That’s almost as bad as stopping to wash dishes but not as bad as stopping to sweep the floors.

Twitter. Twitter has the answers. Twitter is like writer zen. Writer zen…what is this I speak of? #twitterzen It could trend.

The end. I could just slap the end on it now and call it done.

Even though it’s not done.

But that’s the whole point of crappy first draft, right?

Sucks, sucks, sucks.

Not getting better if I don’t go write.

Ok.

The kill someone idea sounds good. Who cares that it’s not suspense…at all…not even a little.

Wait. The Stars are on. Their magic number is 2. What am I doing writing?

Choices. Decisions. So many directions to go.

Wah. Wah. Wah. All the way home.

See you on the flip side.

#writerzen Yeah, that’s awesome. And an oxymoron.

Dang it.

 

 

Hey Moms, Don’t Trust The Squeaky Clean Facebook Wall AKA Cashing in My Cool Card

Interesting conversations about social media at school this week. Several of the students said they no longer get on their Facebook pages. WEIRD, right?!?! I can’t imagine life without Grumpy Cat!

They said it’s because their moms are all on Facebook now. Ohhhhhhhhh.

Instead they spend their time on twitter and tumblr, places their mothers don’t understand. There was another place, too. Can’t believe I didn’t write it down. The conversation Wednesday in third period ended with one of the girls telling another not to “blast her business.” The class had to explain to me what that meant. They got a kick out of that.
So here’s my public service announcement for moms: if you’re not worried about your kids’ digital lives (learned that term this week too thanks to fellow teacher Scotty Coppage) because of their squeaky clean Facebook walls, don’t believe it for a minute. Their digital lives are WAY bigger than ours. But don’t freak out too much. They said their number one reason for leaving Facebook was all the drama. The next reason: all of us. They said twitter drama is even worse, but it’s different. I think some of them are using tumblr like their moms use Facebook.

These kids are digital natives. They embrace technology and toss it like two-year-old magazines on a regular basis. Most of us moms are digital newbies, even though we’ve been using social media almost as long as our kids if not longer. Some of us are just as addicted to social media as our kids if not more so. Social media can be awesome and wonderful. It can also be destructive, and not just for our kids. We owe it to them to be aware.

Yeah, I just cashed in my cool teacher card by “blasting their business.” I’m okay with that. 🙂

 

Guest Blogging at http://www.janetkbrown.com

writing as Mary Beth Lee and Elizabeth Lee.

I’m over at Janet K Brown’s blog today talking about writing, my current release Letting Go, and self-publishing. I’d love to have some friends stop by. If you have questions about writing, self-publishing, the education world today, holding on to the dream, or pretty much anything, come on over! ###

If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and LiesDead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page. If you’re a reviewer and would like to review my books for Amazon, Good Reads or a personal blog, let me know. THANKS!

 

Quick Update

I’m not writing many blog posts because I’m working on DGW. When the first revisions are done, I’ll be back. I just wanted to post that my new website is live: http:/marybethlee.com AND to throw this out to the universe: I WAS INSANE TO WRITE A DUAL FIRST PERSON PRESENT TENSE book.
Be back in six chapters!

Computer Problems

Last week it was no computer access, this week it was no LiveJournal access. I can’t believe how addicted I’ve gotten to this thing!
But something big has happened to me this week. An epiphany of sorts.
Somehow in the last four or five years I’ve allowed myself to become the biggest kind of hypocrite there is.
Hi. My name is Mary Beth and I’m a pro romance snob.
For years I’ve responded and talked about how so many in the world of NYT and literati and those that embrace Oprah put down the romance industry.
I’m a reader. I’ve always been a reader. A reader of everything. Romance, Sci-Fi, The Wall Street Journal, cereal boxes, the classics. I love reading because I love words.
But in the last few years I’d quit reading everything except news and romance. It had to be a subconscious response to the anti-romance comments I’d heard and read. I’m not exactly sure why I thought it was a good idea to surround myself with romance and the occasional mystery and nothing else, but it limited not only my reading world but my appreciation of the craft of world building and word usage.
This week I’ve read two excellent books. They weren’t romance.
Peace Like a River (see my last blog entry) and The Poisonwood Bible. Both were incredible. Both touched me deeply. Both helped me grow as a writer, I hope. I’m reading The Lovely Bones now. I don’t know why I’m just now reading it. It’s been on my TBR list for a long time.
I love romance. That’s not going to change. But I’m not going to limit myself again.

On another note, one of my former students stopped by today. It’s amazing to see these kids all grown up. It makes me happy. 🙂 If you’re reading, hi Tom.
He told me he googled my name and the first thing he found was my LiveJournal. It surprised him to think of his former teacher as a person. I understand. I still call my journalism teacher Mrs. Gillespie and we’ve been competing against each other in UIL events for over 11 years. She told me I could call her Anne once. I still can’t even imagine doing that! I’m lucky I get to share my love of language and writing with my students. I hope I do make a difference.
Tomorrow I get to be the vice-principal for a day. At first I was honored at being asked. Then I was terrified. 99% of my kids are incredible. Discipline issues aren’t exactly a problem in my classroom. Tomorrow, they’ll be my life.
I’ve thought about going into administration, but I’ve shied away for several reasons. I can’t share that love of language as a principal. My job is my dream job (other than being a full-time writer). I teach because I really do think I can make a difference in kids’ lives. I really do think publications are essential to the continuation of life in the good ol’ USA. I believe teaching kids about their constitutional rights and reminding them to read for the fun of it is important. None of that is possible in the admin’s office. I guess I’ll get a crash course on what I do or don’t want to be when I grow up tomorrow. Yikes.

Living Dangerously

Or maybe it’s just a peek into my life

Or maybe it’s just a writing exercise or two or ten

Or is it more?

I have to ask myself these questions right now because of what I’ve seen recently out there in the blogging world. Actually, it probably has more to do with the fact that my mom sent me an e-mail about my blog and I realized OMG my MOM is reading my blog. (Hi mom)
Anyway, I guess what I’m seeing is pretty out there. Strange. A little frightening.
One of my favorite blogs to check out is Romancing the Blog. I love it. It’s almost like an informal RWA chapter meeting. I got hooked on blogs by reading Alison Kent’s. I decided to start my own blog after reading Suzanne Mcminn’s on a daily basis. But lately I see a lot of hurt feelings and mean comments and I’m thinking is it even worth putting yourself out there?
I know my answer.
For me the answer’s yes. But my blog is different from others. I’m not a published author and I don’t look at this as a marketing tool. It’s just my experiences with writing (or NOT writing). It’s like a journal (thus the name:LiveJournal) only better because I have to work a little bit at it. It’s fun to share my experiences and it’s super cool when I get comments.
I’m not political, so I’m not stirring up controversy in the bloggosphere. When I read a great book, I want to share. When I read a bad book, I want to share that too. When I get a rejection, I want to whine. When I get a request I want to jump and down and write about it.
I guess it’s that write about it thing that makes this space so important to me.
I’m strange. (Hi again, Mom!) But I think I’m pretty normal for a writer. I’ve always been able to put words down on paper better than saying them out loud. When I was a teenager, I would write out arguments for why I should be off restriction, why I wasn’t going to hell, why Wichita Falls was not the evil big city a few miles down the road, so I should be able to drive there if I wanted.
I would usually try using the notes to speak the words, but it worked a lot better to just give the paper to my parents and let them come to their own conclusions. No you can’t be off restriction (I had no problem with speaking if it included snarky comments made to my mother, usually under my breath, but there were times…..that’s another story), Of course you’re not going to hell, and Wichita Falls is the center of all that is evil in our county and no you CAN NOT drive there with your friends.
Even though I didn’t win many written arguments with my parents, I did develop my voice. And I started creating stories about people and happily ever after (or not) and I shared those stories with my friends, and they asked for more, so I wrote more and more and more. And my love affair with romance started. My first critique partners were my freshmen friends who wanted to know if my hero and heroine would ever make it past first base. (No. What did I know about past first base?!)
I’d pretty much stopped my journaling until I started this blog. Sure, if I went through major writer’s block, I’d break out the old spirals and grab a pencil and start writing away, but it wasn’t regular and I don’t know that it helped. This does. It’s my journey. And I choose to share it. I hope others don’t stop sharing their journeys because of hurt feelings and spiteful comments.

How I got started…

Suzanne McMinn.
Seriously. I’ve been reading blogs for a long time, but I never really thought about having my own until I read something Suzanne posted on e-Harlequin (a GREAT site for romance writers, pre-pubbed and pubbed). Suddenly I saw this as a GREAT way to post affirmations, gripes, goals, anything I wanted to post. I’d never thought about it before. WOW! What a great idea. Thanks Suzanne!

The REAL beginning…OR and so it goes

Or…I’m not even sure.
I guess I’m going to do this steam of conscious thing. No real headings or chapters or breaks. Just write whatever. No rules. That’ll be a nice change. 🙂
I decided a long time ago I wanted to be a writer. Or maybe writing claimed me. I’m not sure. Even though I was a late reader, I wanted to write. I made up stories like no other. Just ask my mom! 🙂
I decided a couple years ago that writers don’t really have a choice in the matter. Sure, we don’t have to write the stories down, but they’re going to come anyway. They’re a part of ancient tradition. In the olden days people sat around fires and listened to the story tellers. My ancestors from Norway, Finland and Sweden definitely had a story-teller or two in the bunch. Today, it’s the paperback writer that keeps the tradition alive. Not that I’m dissing literary fiction. My MA’s in English. I love literature. But the stories that live on are the ones about people, heroes and villains so wonderful or evil they transcend time. Some of those stories exist in “literati”, but most exist elsewhere.
My goal when I sit down to write a story isn’t so grand as that of my ancestor story-teller. I don’t want my story to grow over time until it’s known by one word, one name. I simply want to create real people. Heroes we can love. Heroines we can all wish to be.
That’s it.
Nothing more.

I’m going to forget all the “rules” and just write.

That’s how I started eight years ago. Then I started “learning” and guess what? My level of success is still exactly the same. I get requests. I get requests for revisions. I get rejections. The rules haven’t changed that. So I’m going back to writing my stories my way. We’ll see what happens.