Monday, January 30, 2012

This vs. That: Resolutions vs. No Resolutions

Of all the polls I've done, this one surprised me the most. In truth, I thought this would be a 'no contest' event, but boy was I wrong. However, I found it fascinating to hear about all of your opinions on resolutions and goal-setting. Good stuff!

But lets get to the interesting stuff:

Total votes: 17

Resolutions: 8 votes; 47%
No Resolutions: 9 votes; 53%

I really thought that while people might ignore resolutions or #fail at them (it just sounds cool to add the pound sign), most people would be pro-resolutions. So yes, I voted in favor of them.

However, I forgot to consider that most of my readers are writers. I should have realized that semantics would play into this. Unlike most people in the world, we writers make the distinction between goals and resolutions.

Nit-picky bunch, aren't we?

That said, I have a feeling that if I did Goals vs. Resolutions, Goals would win hands down. They seem to be preferred based on all your comments.

Okay. Now on to the next debate:




Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top Writing Blogs

Right now, ecollegefinder is holding a vote for the top writing blogs. You can go vote for your favorite by clicking on the little badge below.

You have until Feb. 3, and you can actually vote for multiple blogs and on a daily basis.

Some of my favorite writing blogs are listed (Miss Snark's First Victim and Shallee McArthur), while others I love (Literary Rambles and Janice Hardy's blog) are missing. Someone kindly nominated my blog as well, but no pressure to vote for me.

So my questions to you are:

1) What makes a top writing blog? and

2) If you were nominating your favorite/most helpful writing blog, who would you nominate?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who Do You Tell?

Yesterday, I saw a license plate I could identify with:


Of course, for the full effect, you needed to read the custom license plate frame. Above the plate it read: "I love creating," and then below was a web address. I was driving at the time, so I unfortunately don't remember the address.

In short: I love creating kids books.

Aha! I thought. A kindred spirit right in front of me. But then it made me wonder. Is she/he published? Not published? What kinds of kids stories do they write? And with all these questions, I wondered if I would have the moxy to make that MY license plate?

I remember reading a post by Hilary Wagner, author of Nightshade City, shortly after she got a book deal. She confessed that she didn't tell anyone she wrote until after she had an agent. That post really made me think, because I, like her, didn't want to tell anyone about it until I'd had some tangible success.

At that point, I kept a family blog, but not one to chronicle my writing. Only direct family (and critique partners) knew my secret. I felt comfortable with that. It's better this way, I told myself. Less to explain. But what I found was that I was withholding a significant part of myself from people I really cared about. Standoffish is probably the best word to describe how I felt.

For me, that wasn't okay, so I changed some things.

I remember the first time I told a friend that I was writing a book. I steeled myself for the reaction. You know, that credulous look that says, "you really think you can write a book good enough to be published?"

It never came. Instead, she said, "Actually, that doesn't surprise me." She asked all kinds of questions about what I was writing, my writing process, and what my plans were. And I realized that people who care will always be interested. Always believe you can succeed.

Because that's what friends do.

I still don't tell just anyone, but I don't withhold it from my friends either. So back to the original question: would I choose a license plate like this?

The answer is probably not. At least not yet.

What about you? Who do you tell that you write?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This is SO Not My 850th Post

Flipping through my Blogger Dashboard yesterday, I happened on Elana Johnson's post, titled: What Does One Blog About for Post #850? (For the record, we're not related. We checked. Still, I fondly think of her as my amazing little cousin.)

So wow. That's a lot of posts. And that's a question (minus the #850 part) that I (and other bloggers, I'm quite sure) ask all the time. So today I give you my list of what to blog on when you've got nothin'.
  1. Share a Personalized License Plate (duh!).
  2. Piggyback off someone else's blog post (clever, that).
  3. Find a picture and make a post out of it. (Joanne at Whole Latte Life is excellent at this).
  4. Share an embarrassing moment from your life.
  5. Share a favorite quote.
  6. Share an inspirational moment from your life.
  7. Do an "Awards" post. You know all those awards floating around, right? Surely you forgot to pass one of them forward. And if you didn't really get one, just pretend. Who's going to know, right? ;)
  8. Make up your own award and give it to someone.
  9. Spotlight your favorite blogger.
  10. Spotlight one of your heros.
  11. Let your readers ask you questions that you promise to answer truthfully (a blogging-world favorite).
  12. Talk about the people-watching you did at the grocery store (or from your front porch if you're in a pinch).
  13. Comment on a bit of news you read/heard.
  14. Close your eyes then open them. Now write an essay on the first physical object that you see. You can talk about how it inspires you. (ex: Toothbrush. How inspiring that a toothbrush works day in an day out and wears itself out just to keep you from getting gingivitis).
  15. Tell a joke.
  16. Comment on a favorite movie (bonus if you relate it to writing).
  17. Tell a cute kid story.
  18. Tell about that time that you lied to your mom about hitting that baseball through the window, then blamed it on your . . . oh wait. Mom, I totally did not do that. Really.
  19. Start a story and ask your readers to each add a sentence.
  20. Post a picture of yourself when you were young. Be sure to include a funny story about yourself.
  21. Share a song that inspires you.
  22. Have a contest/Give something away.
  23. Videotape yourself doing something crazy (why, I do believe that's called a vlog!).
Okay, okay. I'm going to stop there because I can hear that snoring back there. Yeah, I mean you! So what do you do when you've got nothing?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Switching Things Up

Photo Credit

Last Saturday, my husband and I went bowling with our good friends. We played two games. The first we played normally, and it was fun. We enjoyed it. 

But the second . . . the second one we switched things up. We bowled left-handed (we were all right-handed normally). It was hilarious! Infinitely more fun, even though our scores were a lot lower (okay, two of us might have done a little better than expected), but the gaffes were great. The flying-arc ball. The flip-out-of-the-gutter ball (twice!). The directly-into-the-gutter ball. The slow-rolling strike. 

Anyway, So while I'm sure you're all wildly interested in our bowling night, I really wanted to compare this to writing (surprise, surprise).

As humans, I think we tend to do things the way we've always done them. And that includes writing. Of course, there's nothing WRONG with that. But sometimes changing things up just a little can have a big impact.

I mean, on Saturday, we didn't change the activity. We still went bowling. We didn't even change any of the rules of the game. We simply changed one thing, and that made all the difference.

So if your writing feels a little stale to you . . . or it's just not as fun as it used to be, why not change something up? Here are some ideas:
  • Change where you write.
  • Change your ink color.
  • Switch to writing by hand (or vice versa if needed) 
  • If you outline, write without one.
  • If you don't outline, try making one.
  • Change the setting of your story. 
  • Write with a partner.
  • Tell the story from a different POV (1st vs. 3rd, or from a minor character's POV).
  • Work on a different story altogether.
  • Work on that story you're dying to write . . . but are afraid of.
  • Try a different form of writing (Picture book, poetry, short story, novel in verse, vignette, flash fiction, SO MANY OPTIONS!)
What small changes have you made that really helped your writing?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Over the past week, I've seen this license plate twice:


I laughed when I first saw it. "Some's not lacking for confidence," I thought. But the more I think about it, the more I love it.

Because why shouldn't we all think that of ourselves? Why shouldn't we have the confidence to know that we are awesome? And that means you!
  • You are awesome for your individuality (I'm talking polka dots in a sea of white).
  • You are awesome for that talent of yours everyone admires.
  • You are awesome for that thing you do when you get nervous.
In short, you are awesomesauce on a platter!

And just to be clear, one person's awesomness has nothing to do with another person's awesomeness. We don't have to compare ourselves to anybody. No two people are the same (not even identical twins!). No two people will travel the same path in this life. And that is GOOD! Who would want to do exactly what someone else has done? Where's the adventure in that?

So remember, YOU ARE AWESOME!

When's the last time you reminded yourself how awesome you are?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not Quite Twitterpated

So I did it. I finally took the plunge and signed up for a Twitter account.

For the past month now, I have been peeking in, scrolling through the tweets and trying to figure out what in the world half of them are saying. Perhaps I should have read "Twitter for Dummies" (that's got to exist, right?) before launching in.

I think I got the @ symbols, but the pound signs? Or are they called hashtags (hash tags; hash-tags; hatch tags; has tags; has-been tags; has-anyone-got-a-clue tags)? Twitter groups perhaps?

Not to mention coming into a thread halfway through a conversation. There's got to be a way to read what someone responded/replied to, right?

And lists . . . groups with shared interest? But then what about the hash tages? Plus I'm not sure I get the purpose just yet. Though I'm sure there is one. There's gotta be.

Alas. So much information. So much I don't know.

This is, of course, where you come in. Shoot me your best piece of Twitter advice. Please? Pretty please with a strawberry (much better than a cherry) and fresh-whipped cream on top? And fine, if you insist I'll throw in the chocolate syrup.

Because I need it (I mean your advice, not the chocolate syrup). I need you! Explain this Twitter-verse to me.

And oh yeah. I'm @MsVerbose if you wondered.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

This vs. That: The Grinch vs. Ebenezer Scrooge

First a quick note on the Chocolate-less Chocolate Chip Cookies. I read through all your votes and I was going to add them all up . . . but the double votes, and vote changes, and blah, blah, blah, and my head started pounding. Which is why I up and decided to use my dictatorship authority to choose.

SO . . . the new name for Chocolate-less Chocolate Chip Cookies is now:

Abomination Cookies

Because that's just funny. But I give a close second to Choc-less Chip Cookies, because how clever is that? I love me a good word-play! (Now I guess you all know that funny trumps clever over here . . .)

Anyway, on to the vote I think this was a record low for the number of votes on one of these, but I completely blame myself as I fell off the map for most of December. Or I could assume that the responsibility of the decision was just too much so no one voted.

Yeah . . .

That's it. ;)

Aaaand on to the results:

Total votes: 15 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: 7 votes; 47%
A Christmas Carol: 8 votes; 53%

I love both of these, but ultimately I went with the Grinch because of the simplicity of it all. Being the simple person that I am . . . this story never fails to hit me deep down. Make me wonder how I'd react if all my stuff were stolen (uh . . . spoiler alert? But seriously, who hasn't read this thing or heard it in some form?). And on Christmas day no less! This book makes me want to be a better person.

Now, on to the next debate:



No Resolutions

(So, I couldn't come up with a good picture for these, so just bear with me here. Boring to look at, but the debate is still just as real. Right?!)

Monday, January 2, 2012

My 2011 Reading Habit

Last year, I didn't set a goal for a specific number of books to read, but I did set a goal to keep track of what I read. I think I mostly succeeded. Though I might have missed one or two. Anyway, my total?

84 books read in 2011, and here's the list:
  1.  Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot
  2.  Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch
  3.  The Janitor's Boy by Andrew Clements
  4.  Song of the Lioness: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce 
  5.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Alexie Sherman
  6.  Leaving Fishers by Margaret Petersen Haddix
  7. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
  8. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  9. Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
  10. Ivy's Ever After by Dawn Lairamore
  11. Judy Moody was in a mood by Megan McDonald
  12. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
  13. Dogs Don't Tell Jokes by Louis Sachar
  14. The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
  15. Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  16. Judy Moody Gets Famous! by Megan McDonald
  17. Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald
  18. Judy Moody Predicts the Future by Megan McDonald
  19. Crispin: The End of Time by Avi
  20. Revenge of the Snob Squad by Jane Anne Peters
  21. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  22. Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald
  23. Children of the Lamp: The Five Fakirs of Faizabad by P.B. Kerr
  24. A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
  25. The Thirty-nine Clues: Black Book of Buried Secrets by Rick Riordan et al.
  26. Sabotaged by Margaret Petersen Haddix
  27. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
  28. Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 ½ Days by Megan McDonald
  29. Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: The Glitter Girls and the Big Fake Out by Meg Cabot
  30. Junie B. Jones and the Monkey Business by Barbara Park
  31. Charlie Bones and the Red Knight by Jenna Nimmo
  32. The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck
  33. Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth by Barbara Park
  34. Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying by Barbara Park
  35. Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake by Barbara Park
  36. Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Blast from the Past by Meg Cabot
  37. Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Stage Fright by Meg Cabot
  38. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
  39. Tom Trueheart: The Land of Dark Stories by Ian Beck
  40. In the Hand of the Godess by Tamora Pierce
  41. The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
  42. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  43. My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
  44. Possession by Elana Johnson
  45. Junie B. Jones and that Meanie Jim's Birthday by Barbara Park
  46. The Thirty-nine Clues: Vesper Rising (book 11) by Rick Riordan et al.
  47. Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under her Bed by Barbara Park
  48. Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook by Barbara Park
  49. Junie B. Jones Is a Party Animal by Barbara Park
  50. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  51. The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian by Lloyd Alexander
  52. Wings by E.D. Baker
  53. Junie B. Jones Is a Beauty Shop Guy by Barbara Park
  54. You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
  55. Chronicles of the Red King #1: The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo
  56. The Thirty-nine Clues: Maze of Bones (book 1) by Rick Riordan
  57. Much Ado About Grubstake by Jean Ferris
  58. Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy by Barbara Park
  59. Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
  60. The Missing, Book 4:  Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  61. The Morpheus Road: The Black by D.J. MacHale
  62. Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park
  63. Junie B. Jones is (almost) a Flower Girl by Barbara Park
  64. Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in her Pocket Warren by Barbara Park
  65. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  66. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  67. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
  68.  Junie B. Jones is Captain Field Day by Barbara Park
  69. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
  70. Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine by Barbara Park
  71. Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl by Barbara Park
  72. Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!) by Barbara Park
  73. Junie B. Jones: Boss of Lunch by Barbara Park
  74. Junie B. Jones: Toothless Wonder by Barbara Park
  75. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers
  76. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  77. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  78. Matched by Ali Condie
  79. Crossed by Ali Condie
  80. What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb
  81. Mo Wren, Lost and Found by Tricia Springstubb
  82. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  83. Junie B. Jones: One-man Band by Barbara Park
  84. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
Fyi, I didn't record any of the picture books I read. That would have tripled my list or something, but I DEFINITELY count them as books read. 

Also, you might note a large portion of my list is from the Junie B. Jones series. I'd never read it, so I decided to rectify that. For research, of course. ;)

And I didn't record any of the books I started and didn't finish. There were a few of those. Still, this is a pretty good representation of my reading habit. Very MG-centric. Perhaps I should diversify a little more this coming year, no?

So how do our tastes compare? Any books you'd recommend for my 2012 reading habit?

P.S.  I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season!