Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 - A New Year & A New Attitude

Writing Resolutions Blog Hop

 
 
 

2013 Goals

 
There are so many things I want to do in 2013 and I could go crazy listing them all. To accomplish the entirety, I could micro manage myself to death, but through the years I have found doing that only gives me fuel to doubt myself when the list is still wavering with a long tail of unattained accomplishments at the end of the year.
 
So I decided to use a different approach this year.  I really need some positive feedback and a way to bolster my attitude and stay focused and positive. I will still have my BIG GOALS, but this year I am going to break things out into smaller activities, so I can see that my efforts have accomplished something, even if I don't finish my book or get published in 2013.
 
After working three years on my novel and still at the editing phase, I am feeling a bit deflated. So in 2013 I will write down each small step in my final edit. I am hoping this will encourage me and keep any momentum going.  I also plan on working with another person in a writing group I follow, hoping we can cheer each other on. We want to try to write 1000 words a day.
 
Supporting each other during the weekly and daily struggles, I am hoping that we can each accomplish much this year. 
 
Best of luck to all other writers out there…
I hope we can all share and support each other in 2013. Writing can be very lonely and overwhelming, with the end never really in sight. Together we can take small steps each day and work towards our big goal.
 
Resolution #1 -  WRITE EVERYDAY
Resolution #2 -  ACKNOWLEDGE EACH SMALL STEP

 
 








Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas - Past & Present



Each year it seems time passes by quicker than the year before.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the way our society multi functions these days. We text as we walk, we listen to music as we work, we watch TV as we work out on our treadmills...you get the picture.

 



Long gone are the days we actually did one thing at a time. Once in a while it may happen, but too rare to notice. Every part of our day becomes listed in a schedule to make us proficient in our outputs.  

Now that the holiday season is upon us once again I wonder how fast it will go by, and I am trying to slow things down. 





I want to take the time to notice once again all the wonderful parts of Christmas.  I am not worrying about gifts, or cards, or parties.  Instead I am looking forward to the conversations.  I am anxious to talk with my children again… my grown children that is.

 



I sit here now soaking in the warm memories of the years gone by, and hope to get it out of my system.  No more thinking about the little children running about my feet, the smiles gone by and the wishing that I could freeze and relive those times.  I want the chance for this year’s festivities to have a life of their own, and not be shadowed by yesteryear’s memory. 

 
So here is my pledge – to let the past stay there, and open up the door to a new Christmas present.  To enjoy the moments as they happen, and hope that time slows down enough for me to appreciate and savor the conversations.

I sincerely hope you also take the time to live in your moments, and enjoy your holiday. 

Here's to Christmas Present!



Friday, December 7, 2012

Sadness During The Holidays

Now that the holiday season is fast approaching, many of us are preparing for the festivities. Some are busy shopping - no let's make that most are busy shopping. Great care is taken to find that special gift, hoping it will bring joy to our loved one.

Unfortunately the sad truth is there are many who are depressed during the holidays. The buying and giving of gifts is out of reach for many. Also not everyone has family to share the revelries. Others have such high expectations that they are left feeling empty when the realities of life set.
 
Some people are sad during the holidays, and many suffer from depression.


This year many people have suffered from the poor economic situation. Some have lost their job. Others are underemployed, which can be depressing and attack a person's ego and self-worth.


Take time this holiday season to reflect on the true meaning behind the celebration. Reach out and try to touch someone. Make a difference in a person's life. The idea of a good deed moving forward should especially be strong now. Remember the unselfish acts of the original Saint Nicholas, who is considered the greatest gift giver of all time.  He delivered basic food, necessities and money needed for the survival of others.  He was concerned about other's well-being and happiness. 

 
Emotionally, we all need a pat on the back now and again. When a person's self-esteem is wavering, it is even more urgent.  Don't just participate in this year’s festivity, but instead become involved with the people closest to you.
 


Royalty free stock photos. All pictures are free for commercial and personal use.
If you really like these pictures you can buy George a cup of coffee.


Look around you and see the people behind the mask.  If you see sadness in their face, reach out and ask them if they are okay.  Listen to their story.  Take time to hear them and give them moral support.
 
Sometimes just being recognized and validated can help. No one should be sad during the holidays.  During this Advent season let’s help each other so it will be a Merry Christmas!

Until next post…have a great day.



Mayo Clinic

     Link to Mayoclinic article - Depression & the Holidays  



WebMD: Better information. Better health.     Link to WebMD article - Depression During the Holidays



  helpguide.org Article on Depression-signs/ types / diagnosis / treatment

Helpguide’s Mission


Helpguide’s mission is to provide you and your family with mental health information you can trust. Our expert, ad-free resources empower you with the knowledge and encouragement you need to take charge of your life and make healthy choices. We believe that with support and self-help options, you can understand, prevent, and resolve many of life’s challenges.

Free Emotional Intelligence CourseHelpguide / Harvard Collaboration  




Link Gallup poll emotional-cost of underemployment




 















 

 

 

 


"Underemployed Americans are almost twice as likely to have been told by a doctor or nurse that they suffer from depression."

 

The Bottom Line

With approximately 20% of Americans currently underemployed, the daily negativity this group experiences could have an impact on their lives now and in the future. Gallup has previously reported that underemployed Americans report spending substantially less than the employed and that the majority of the underemployed are not hopeful about finding a job, trends that are sure to contribute to daily worry, sadness, stress, and anger.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

The 'Bloody Pit' - A Favorite Haunt in Berkshire County Massachusetts


The retelling of a Hoosac Tunnel ghost story:  A tale of murder and hauntings in 1866

After years of being envisioned, work on the Hoosac Tunnel finally began in 1852.  By 1873 with 193 deaths tallied, the tunnel was realized.  This was a major accomplishment of the times and was the longest tunnel of the day at 4 ¾ miles long.  Many attribute the success of this great engineering venture to three factors:  the diligent work of the W & F Shanly & Company contractors who revived the project in 1868, the use of pneumatic drills (Burleigh Drill), and a safer nitroglycerin along with electric blasting caps (new explosive Tri-Nitro-Glycerin invented by George M. Mowbray).   The project was sought after by Industrialists of the day, Alvah Crocker a paper manufacturer in Fitchburg, being the most ardent proponent.  There was a long list of Engineers tasked with the design, many experiencing failure before the final success was achieved. 
Many of the deaths were the result of cave-ins experienced, air shafts accidents, explosions and more.  The most devastating was the collapse after an explosion in the center shaft on October 17, 1867.  The frame work above the center air shaft caught fire and collapsed into the shaft, causing an explosion from the built up fumes, and filling the shaft with water.  Thirteen workers were trapped and drowned, if not already killed from the fire.  Their bodies were not fully recovered until a year later.  This brought much speculation about the ‘Bloody Pit’ and slowed the progress of the project. 
Among the long list of victims claimed by the ‘Bloody Pit’ were three men who worked together as a team using nitro to blast the monstrous black rock.  The name Ringo Kelly was never mentioned in the official recorded history of the Hoosac Tunnel.  But in 1865 a blast happened and two of the team ended up buried in rock.  The local gossip claimed Ringo Kelly ignited the blast early, before the others could reach the safety barrier.  Ringo Kelly went missing for a year and a half.  Then he was found murdered in the tunnel.  Now he is mentioned in bizarre folklore surrounding his murder.  Riddled by rumors only, he supposedly was haunted in 1866 by his two friends, his victims, and killed in vengeance
 
 The official cause of death for Ringo was strangulation.  Still rumors claimed he was chased down by the vengeful ghosts.  He was found dead in almost the same spot his two coworkers were killed.  What really happened to Ringo Kelly? 
Now 146 years later no one knows the real story.  Did he 'accidentally on purpose' kill his friends Ned Brinkman and Billy Nash?  The rumors claim he intentionally set the charge early.  What was the motivation for Ringo to end his friend’s lives? There is no explanation offered.   We do know that it was the first time nitro was being used on a major project of this scope. Nitro is very unstable, and most likely the entire episode was a mere accident.
Unfortunately for Ringo Kelly, the ghosts of Ned and Billy didn't understand.  A year later they found poor Ringo Kelly dead.  What is the real story?  Does anyone really know what happened?   
Here is one theory about this unfortunate happening.  Could this be the real story and reason behind it all….   
 

MURDER-THE-BLOODY-PIT-ebook - Kindle

Now available at Amazon store -  

This short story will be free on the following days: 
     FREE  OCTOBER 27 - OCTOBER 31ST   
Please read for free on your Kindle anytime using the lending library.



If you are interested in more information about the Hoosac Tunnel, its history and folklore of hauntings, please go to these sites attached to this post, and/or watch the film documentaries on the Hoosac Tunnel.
Have a ghostly good time.

 

 
 

 


LINKS to more information:

 
 
 
 
 
 
Hoosac Tunnel - Engineering Program Audio     This is a great audio
 



 
 
 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Letting go


Don’t be afraid to let go…

A work in progress, my manuscript started with 2,841 words in chapter one. Now, after many reworks and lots of editing, chapter one has 1,111 words! I slashed, I flashed and I let go! It is difficult because we invent these stories, forming these words, becoming part of our memory, with a life of its own. We remember the momentum of writing those words, and the pleasure we derive. Now we have to look closer, rearrange, and we have to get rid of words blocking the true story. We are sentimental, but need to let go of the words that are not important any longer. They were part of the process, but no longer part of the flow. This same sentiment echoes other parts in our lives too.

Don’t be afraid to let go…

Free yourself from the norms that everyone expects of you. Many of us parade in the roles presumed, not necessarily who we want to be, but who we are expected to be. Conforming to who our social networks think we should be. Letting go of preconceived ideas is dangerous. Others may judge, you may question yourself too. One needs to accept their response, while accepting yourself. It is a price that can sometimes be cruel.

Don’t be afraid to let go…

As a parent this is extremely difficult. We watch our babies grow. We nurture them, sing to them, read to them and talk with them. In front of our eyes they grow into their own person. As a parent we need to take that last step. We can’t be afraid to let go! Part of us may never really let go, we have our memories. We need to let them be themselves – not who we want them to be. This is so difficult and takes lots of practice, and defining of lines. The ultimate goal is for the child to be a happy adult – a person who can be free to be themselves.

Now I begin another day…

This is the only part of the entire world that I can control. I create and then I need to look at my work, and let go. I need to be able to see the words impartially, let the story take its own life, and I must act as the facilitator rather than the ultimate and egotistical creator.

I cannot be afraid to let go…


Friday, May 18, 2012

Read, Learn and Share

There are many people and organizations out there who offer web seminars and online classes to help improve writing skills. Be very careful choosing the right one if you decide to pay for the knowledge.  I have found that there are many writers, editors and publishers, who freely offer help and assistance and give useful comments and ideas.  Often the information you need is right at your fingertips.

 Open up the browser, plug in your keywords, and begin searching for the information you need.  I’ve taken the liberty of plugging (below) a couple of useful sites that I have found; they have given me insightful information and remind me of good habits to keep improving my writing skills. 


There are also many forums and discussion groups with real people, with real experience, and they are willing to help. 
I urge any writer to take advantage of the knowledge from the community already out there, already discussing the same things we all need - good writing skills.
 
I have never been one to ask for help, being an independent free thinker, but the knowledge I received just by asking is irreplaceable.  The “help” from a cooperative discussion exchanging  ideas, and of course the value of real experience, is priceless.  With all these forums, discussion groups, and the wonderful web browser, it is so easy to get the information you need.  It is very refreshing to have so many writers out there who are willing to share ideas with other writers.  This support has inspired me to continue working, and continue writing.  I can do this in my own way, in my own time, and with my own thoughts.  I am not part of the flock – I am an individual, respected as such, and only one voice among many other individual and unique voices.


This week I am still editing my book, focusing on the story's structure, to ensure the correct foundation is in place to create the appropriate element of tension and flow.  Just like an old fashioned sewing machine, where the user always had to keep the tension at the proper level otherwise the thread would break; the same goes with a story.  If the tension is too tight the thread will snap, and if there is no tension the stitches become a loose and the seam is no good. 

Suggestions to other (aspiring) writers-
1 -do your research, and read
2- make sure your sentences are properly structured, and read
3- make sure your idea flows forward while balancing the idea that you want to get across, and read.

 So you may have ascertained my main idea – to write well you need to know and recognize good writing. 
The best way to do this is to READ!  Happy reading to all.

LINKS:
Community Sites & tips from Writers/editors/publishers:
She Writes (not just for women)

Writing.com -Writing community


Writers Digest: articles from one of the most visited community sites

5 Simple Steps on Creating Suspense in Fiction
Great story telling
Writing Inspiration from Andre Dubus III: How to Stay True to Yourself
9 must follow manuscript rules:

 

There are also so many writers who have blog pages filled with useful ideas and knowledge regarding formatting, software, self-publishing, creating ebooks, and much more, to help.



Friday, May 11, 2012

Editing My Own Ideas

In a recent on-line discussion between writers, it was mentioned that there are many famous authors who are able work closely with assigned editors to complete their work. Since I am not a published author yet, and very new to the process, I am basically on my own and get to work through this "editing process" on my own. I may want to pay for a professional to look at my work when I am finished, before I send it to any potential publishers, but limited to only what my wallet allows.


So I am very quickly learning the do's and dont's, and I am grateful for the many blog and discussion sites on the web where writers can share their experiences.  Without an editor to guide me, I find myself questioning my own ideas at times.  Working on a larger project also causes some confusion for me at times.  That's when I step away for a while, and then come back with a fresh view (at least I try to).


My story's idea for my first book came to me by chance. I wanted to write something that would horrorify and keep the reader on their toes, because like most, I love a good scare. Then I started reading up on some interesting people I heard about, the Timucua tribe, who are now extinct but used to live in the Florida area.  As I did more research, a story emerged.


I ended up with a tale of a family curse - tied to a ceremony enacted centuries ago.  A young couple meet and together struggle to end the curse, and of course fall in love. There is a lot of family drama, supernatural undertones, and some crime.  A real stew!  I really hope someone will be able to enjoy the story. Right now I am working on the last few editing steps....




I can't wait until I am finished.


I hope you love this song as much as I do!

head and the heart - Lost in My Mind



I started work on my web site - send me any suggestions -   www.Zguta.net





"Hanged, not as Spaniards, but as traitors, robbers, and murderers”
was the response of Captain Dominique De Gourgues to the Spanish brutal slaying of the French colonists who were
"hanged, not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans and heretics."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Develop your own writing habits


Last week I was on vacation, and I swore it was going to be relaxing.  It's funny how our daily habits creep up, blind sighting ourselves with the monotony of our everyday rituals. Some things we just gravitate to like watching the news in the morning with a cup of coffee....you know, the simple things we do over and over again without even a second thought.


I skipped a week of my blog during my vacation and used the time to think about where I was going - my goals and how I was going to accomplish them.  I came to the conclusion that what I needed most to attain my goals is a good set of writing habits.


Definition of Habit -
1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary
2. customary practice or use
3. a particular practice, custom, or usage
4. a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality
5. addiction, especially to narcotics

So what are the best habits to utilize to attain good writing?  There are many experts in the field that have lists and secrets.  The bottom line is it has to work for the writer. 
Some of my first thoughts are:
  • Create and utilize writing project outlines (to have a clear vision)
  • Create character lists (get to know them in detail before you start writing the story)
  • Research (your subject, location or anything relevant)
  • Be flexible and adjust your original thoughts as necessary to keep the story flowing
  • Track changes (it is easy to get confused especially writing a larger project)
  • Write down ideas when they pop in your head (save for future, always have paper & pen)
  • Set up a schedule THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
Reserve a designated amount of time to sit & write. This is often the hardest to accomplish because we have so many distractions. So, just like punching a time clock, schedule time to write. Also needed is time to edit the writings, and let's not forget that we also have to format, send letters, and market. This is very daunting when you think of all the time these activities consume.


My main goal is to stay true to the main objective, and never give up writing time. This will need to be my most obsessive writing habit - my addiction.


Helpful sites with assistance:


purdue.edu/owl/resource


dailywritingtips/fiction-writing/


ken-follett.com/masterclass


Stephenking.com/library/ On Writing:_a_memoir_of_the_craft


readwritethink.org/elements/overview/


I hope you enjoy this song - a version that reminds us that practice is something we all do!


Us Against The World - Coldplay


Friday, April 20, 2012

Take a break to reflect

So much information is at our fingertips, uploading to multiple sites with the touch of a button. It's wonderful and exciting but the question is…"Who has time to read it all?"

There is something to be said to pulling the plug and taking a break from the social dialogue. Turn it off for an opportunity to actually absorb and process the information we have been bombarded with already.
So the challenge is - disconnect for a day or so and see what happens. Believe me it will not make things dull.
Many of us have forgotten how to analyze, comprehend and truly appreciate these "things" we are exposed to everyday. I am as guilty as anyone, often forgetting to value the idea. I sometimes neglect to perceive the deeper thoughts behind the words, and gather only the face value instead. Many of us jam too much information into a day, leaving us empty in the end.  We need time to reflect.
Our relationships can weaken if we don't take the proper time to foster them.  We instead spend time cultivating our social media. My point is let's take the time to appreciate the moment, the idea or the word for what it is, savor it and then add it into our own personal tapestry, filled with enrichment.  Let others know you appreciate and validate their viewpoints.  Step back and give yourself time to process your own feelings about this intelligence we are exposed to. Nurture the relationship you have with yourself.
The same applies with writing. During the editing process, I am experiencing the hardship of honestly seeing what is in front of me. The story was created in my head well in advance of it hitting the page. To edit and review the words with fresh eyes is a challenge. To help myself in the process, I discovered the best method is to wait with patience and give myself space, step back and remove my preconceptions, and then view again trying to envision it without anticipations. I must concede, for me this is the hardest part of writing.

So in an earnest attempt to step back - I will be on vacation this week! I know it will be rough but I will give it my best shot. All joking aside, the challenge will be trying not to hop onto the computer. Even from the beach however, I will still be writing something, if not on the computer then in my head. For now, this is me signing off for today.

REM Everybody Hurts   click link I hope you enjoy this music video.  Everytime I watch and listen I SEE something else revealing....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Let's begin


This is the first day I begin to blog. Friday the 13th has always been lucky for me, so I guess I am off to a good start. I decided to JUMP. Not sure if I JUMPED out of my cubicle at work to start writing at home, or if I JUMPED into writing. Either way - I JUMPED!


I began writing a book almost two years ago, working at it part time. I finally decided to try to polish it up, do some editing and finish it. I hope to continue with more ideas and stories after my first is completed.


The reason I started writing is a little complicated. Ever since college I have always wanted to write, but for years kept stories in my head because I never had the time to write them down. Then two years ago a very close member of our family died unexpectantly, a great loss. Life is so short and we never know what is ahead. I decided I needed to do something now. I knew it is now or never and so I began to put an idea down on paper. The process of actually writing became infectious. I would sit at my desk for hours writing, reading and writing again. I found a joy and release I never had experienced before, and I beleive it makes me a better person. (at least in my head I am )


This is my first blog - I have visited other people's blogs who have a lot more material to offer and I hope that soon I will be able to add more as I learn this new nedium of blogging. For now, this is me signing off for today.