Time flies!

Wow! How can this be?

I was watching a terrible football game yesterday (we are 49er fans) when this message popped up on my phone.

If you’d have asked me, I’d have said I’ve been blogging for five or six years. Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun.

As for the Eagles winning the game instead of the 49ers, I’m excited because of a player from my daughter’s university, Britain Covey, who is on the Eagles. I’m a big Britain Covey Fan.

Britain’s grandfather is Stephen Covey who wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and owned Franklin Day Planners. Britain played football at the University of Utah while my daughter swam. Although 5’8″ tall, was quick, smart and returned punts for touchdowns, up to 98 yards I believe. He was a team leader of the Utes.

I never thought he’d make it into the pros, let alone to the Super Bowl as an undrafted rookie!

If you follow football, who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?

How many years have you been blogging? Does it seem longer or shorter than the actual time?

What I’m excited about

cactus bloom
A cactus in bloom in my yard.

After taking time off from submitting stories, I finally did it. I dusted off the story I wrote about my mom and submitted to two publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. Two so far.

It made me really happy to do that. The process has changed through the years. I used to mail my printed manuscript with a query letter and an SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.) Then I’d anxiously await for the publisher or agent to reply by snail mail. If I was lucky, I’d get a letter that was encouraging. Or, in the case of a novel, I’d send in the first three chapters and the editor would ask for more. I even got a few acceptance letters from magazines and newspapers.

The funniest thing was I did get an offer to publish my “mom” story. At the time, I didn’t think the offer was good enough. It was from a small publisher who said they’d do an initial run of 500 or 1,000 and see how it did before another print run. How I wish I would have said yes! That’s why I’m excited to try again, all these years later.

On the down side of submitting manuscripts, I’d get a form letter or postcard in my SASE with a generic phrase, “We’re sorry but your manuscript doesn’t fit our needs.”

Now, we submit by email or through a form on the publisher’s website. They have submission guidelines and say if you don’t hear back in so many months, they aren’t interested. You’re not guaranteed to get a response.

Doing more research on publishers, I renewed my membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I downloaded the market survey for small presses and discovered quite a few still use the old snail mail method with SASEs. I bet that cuts down on the number of submissions!

I received an email from one of the two publishers so far and it stated they are interested in my story and will give it careful consideration. I guess I passed the first hurdle. But, the email ended with “if you don’t hear back from us within two months, then we are passing on your manuscript.”

Eh, wait and see. In the meantime, I’m pleased to be back in the game.

What are your thoughts about submitting your writing?

Winner winner! Chicken dinner!

Woohoo! I did it. I met my goal of 50,000 words of a novel for the writing challenge called NaNoWriMo. The past couple days I was feeling good about my writing and I went above and beyond the minimum required words. I finished one whole day ahead of schedule.

On the NaNoWriMo website, there is a place to update the number of words you write daily. The stats tab shows a chart of your progress and tells you how many words you need to write each day to make the goal by the end of the month.

My back and shoulders hurt from sitting and writing for so many hours. But other than that, I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m not finished with this novel by any means. I have just begun the ending and tying loose ends. I’ll complete writing the story over the next week or two. Then I’ll set it aside until the New Year and take a deep dive into my story and begin revisions.

P.S. Yes, I’m planning on having a chicken dinner tonight as a winner winner.

What goals have you felt good about accomplishing this year?

It’s NaNoWriMo Preptime!

NaNoWriMo winner's certificate
My certificate for writing 50,000 words of a novel in November for the writing challenge called NaNoWriMo 2021.

It’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month. I’m on their email list and they’ve begun a six-week NaNoWriMo prep.

Last year was my first attempt at writing a rough draft of a novel during November. I did it!

But what I didn’t do was back up my manuscript. How or why? In any case, my laptop had a hardware issue and most of my files disappeared including my 50,000 word novel!

I called Apple and they tried for days to recover my files on icloud and my hard drive. No luck.

I’ve begun rewriting my novel and changed the point of view from one character to four characters alternating their stories. I’m at about 25,000 words. It’s added depth to the characters rather than viewing them from one perspective.

The emails from NaNoWriMo have motivated me to finish the manuscript. I’ll use their prep weeks to improve what I’ve written so far.

NaNoWriMo is giving me a second chance with this idea! I’m starting today. I don’t have to begin with a new idea. It’s just the push I need to complete this rough draft — again.

Have you tried the NaNoWriMo challenge?

Would you consider doing it this year with me?

Boring words

Bunny staring at me through the window. He has a hole in one ear. I wonder how that happened?

I use boring words in my writing. I’m talking about “interesting,” “great,” “amazing,” and “important.” There are many more. If you google “overused words” you can find article after article of overused words and phrases.

I need better words.

When I write one of these words, I stop and think, what word can I use instead?

I managed to get rid of “very” and “just” — most of the time. Those words are unnecessary.

When I write, I have a choice to include overused words or ones more specific. General words don’t add flavor but make writing flat. Rewriting a sentence to avoid a boring word may improve writing rather than using a thesaurus to find a replacement.

It’s a challenge to avoid overused words. It makes my brain hurt!

What are your thoughts of overused words? What words do you use too often?

When Bloggers Disappear

Waffles the pug at the ER
This is Waffles, my daughter’s pug, at the vet. He doesn’t look happy.

I was looking at my posts from a year ago, wondering what I was up to. It turns out that we had just gotten back from the beach — after staying in the same spot we are today.

But what caught my eye were comments from a year ago.Several bloggers left comments that I follow and I enjoyed reading their posts. But I haven’t seen them pop up lately in my WordPress Reader. I clicked on their blogs and discovered one hasn’t posted anything since October 2021.

What happened? I wonder if these bloggers are okay? Did they get COVID? Did they get bored with blogging? Did something happen in their personal life that took away their time to blog?

I’d like a conclusion, an ending, an explanation. Perhaps a note that they are taking a break or they are done. If I decide to stop with this blog, I believe I owe it to my readers and friends to give a note of thanks and heads up.

Have you experienced the loss of a blogger? What are your thoughts?

A few more issues

The latest issue of the HOA newsletter.

I thought with my new laptop I’d be through with computer issues. But an issue came up with the latest issue of the newsletter that I volunteer to do for our homeowner’s association.

If you didn’t read about my computer issues, I was losing files and realized that the “automatic backup” wasn’t backing up. You can read about that HERE.

My new laptop doesn’t have the fonts for the newsletter. I get missing font messages and the type reverts to Helvetica or Geneva which doesn’t look great. So, I asked my son — who created the layout and template for me — to help fix it. He told me to email him the newsletter and he’d convert it to a pdf on his laptop. (He has the fonts.)

After my son made the newsletter look pretty, I sent it off to my newsletter co-editor for proof reading — plus the board of directors for their input.

In the end I received 10 small corrections and tweaks last night. Instead of sending the newsletter to my son to make the corrections, I thought I’d try turning on the old laptop — which has the missing fonts. I thought I’d be able to update the newsletter all on my own. What I discovered is those fonts on my old laptop are missing. too!

So, even with a brand new laptop that’s working great, I still have issues to fix.

With different fonts, spacing is different which changes every page’s layout.

What a mess.

On our beach vacation, our kids are joining us and my son has promised to install the fonts and we won’t have to be emailing the newsletter back and forth in the future.

Do you work on any layouts besides your blogs? Do you enjoy it or find it tedious? What computer problems or glitches have you dealt with?