Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The itchies!

I'm not sure if this is seasonal but I've had the itchies to take a writing course, go back to school, or learn something. Anything. Perhaps it's because I'm between stories, putting the polish on a couple of projects but haven't started anything new in a while. Hmmm?

Anyway I've been trolling college and writing websites looking at classes available. I missed the fall sign up for most but I found two that start in November. One is right here in the Coachella Valley, the other is online. One is with someone I've never heard of, the other is taught by a romance writer of fifty novels. One is super expensive, one not too bad. So, I've continued to procrastinate. Do I really NEED another course? Do I really NEED to spend the money? By the time I make up my mind registration will be closed. Ha ha.

In years past I've treated myself to a fall conference, or writer's retreat, and it has always jump-started my next book, or improved on the one I was currently writing. With the economy unstable I'm hesitant to commit to anything too expensive. Last week I had a brainwave, figured I could just take out all of the self help writing books that line my bookshelves and give myself a refresher course. There are many books I haven't re-read in four or five years.

I started writing in 2000 and gradually added books to my library, starting out with simple material and moving up to tougher subjects like those in Robert McKee's, Story. It's amazing what this refresher has done for me. I started out with Deb Dixon's, Goals, Motivation and Conflict, then, Writing the Fiction Synopsis, by Pam McCutcheon, then What Would Your Character Do? by Eric and Ann Maisel. Finally I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King. Today I tinkered with my current story and it is enlightening how much my little at-home schooling has helped. Soon, very soon, I'll start a new project and think I'll be far better equipped for having taken this time out to refresh and refill the well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My birthday weeks!

This year it seems my birthday celebrations lasted for two weeks. Many friends who knew my children were visiting this weekend, celebrated with me last week. And as we are all into being conservative and watching our budgets, we chose simple ways in which to celebrate. I had a wonderful time and it was, I think, more meaningful this year than in earlier years where I celebrated without a care in the world.

My Aussie family began their calls and emails a few days in advance of my special day. This was one of those big "O" birthdays (or is that big OH birthday?) so everyone but me thought of it as super special. I figure at my age it doesn't matter anymore. It's only a number. I have my health and energy, I have my kids, my family, my dog ... what else does a gal need? Well, maybe a healthy economy for starters, but that's another whole story.

The kids took me to lunch at The Mission Inn, in Riverside, yesterday and surprised me with a gorgeous necklace. It was tasteful and something I'll treasure for years to come. The meal was wonderful, the company worth more than anything, and the waiter took a photo of the three of us and presented it to me in a little folder. What a great thought. I have it on my computer desk and although I look like I've been spooked the kids are gorgeous. The Inn is fabulous, it reminds me of Europe. I love the sound of the mission bells pealing on the hour. Love the decorative black wrought iron balconies that open out to the patio dining. Love the stained glass windows, the beautiful antiques throughout the hotel.

My daughter had called me a few weeks ago and we had a conversation about surprise parties. I told her firmly how much I hate them. It was quite a discussion. Anyway she confessed yesterday, they'd thought of giving me one, and she'd started to look into how to connect me and my friends when many of us are separated by great distance. Whew! Thank heavens we'd had that discussion. I sure dodged a bullet. So for those of you who live far afield, thanks for your help in this matter. Grin. It is very much appreciated.

I've done no real writing since the beginning of October. I'll open a manuscript folder and do a little polish here and there, but that's all. I'm about to write a new story though, and had put off starting until after the birthday. Once I begin, I know I'll slip off the radar for a bit. I always do. It's cooler now in the desert, thank goodness as our summer was long this year. Within a week I'll take the laptop outside and do several hours of writing in the cool morning air, I can feel the itch. It's a good feeling.