Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting Vested - The Long Answer

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about Getting Vested in writing. Well, saavy reader Emily asked a question that I think deserves an answer:

Do you think being 'vested in writing' actually requires an output of 'hard, cold cash'? Or do you think thinking and reading (and writing and writing) can be ever enough?

First, I want to clarify that this is simply my opinion. Second, no matter what I say, there will always be exceptions, so please take it with a grain of salt. Now on to the juicy stuff.

The short answer is "Yes." Yes, I think being vested in writing requires an output of 'hard, cold cash.'

The long answer is a little more convoluted, but it will bring us back to the short answer, so stay with me here. IMHO, there are two ways to invest yourself in writing:
  1. Spending Money
  2. Spending Time
I'll start with #2. Any time you spend writing is investing yourself. This includes any form of writing. Blogs, journals, short stories, vignettes, longer works, whatever. Hopefully this is consistent writing, still, it all counts.

Time you spend educating yourself on the craft of writing is investing yourself. This includes attending conferences and workshops. It includes formal education. It includes reading blogs on writing, reading books on writing, and it includes reading books in the genre you write. Education is always an investment.

So here's where we get to the meat of the thing. Look at that second list about educating yourself. Many of those things cost money. Conferences? Workshops? College-level classes? Money, money, and more $$$. Books on writing? Not so cheap. Books in your genre? Not SO expensive, but money, neverthe less.

Now I can hear you protesting.

"But I use the library."

"I get books for free through blog contests."

"I attend the FREE WriteOnCon Conference."

I say, wonderful! Great resources. I love the library. I love WriteOnCon. I love blog contests!

But here's the catch: Time = Money

I know, cliche-city, but it's true. I work for myself and I know exactly how much my time is worth. I know exactly how much I am not earning when I choose to spend my time elsewhere. Spending time is a monetary investment.

Finally, I think there is a place where you must simply suck it up and pay the hard cold cash, because there is no substitution of time. As a serious writer, you should join a writing association. Whether that's SCBWI, RWA, NWA, a local group or whatever, do it. Joining a group is a declaration to yourself that you're serious. And bonus, it's a declaration to others (i.e. agents and editors).

So yes, to be vested, I do think you need to shell out some cash.

What's your opinion?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bad Luck vs. Good Luck

Bad luck:   Your iPod breaks.

Good luck:   It breaks the month before the warranty expires.

Do you have a bad luck/good luck story to share?

Hope ya'll have a happy weekend! I will be playing with my new iPod. ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012


My Nostalgia Contest has ended and has chosen some winners. Hooray! *throws confetti*

Winner #1: Amy Sonnichsen!

Winnter #2: Old Kitty!

You two are the proud new owners of a pack of Garbage Pail Kids! Send me your addresses and the Garbage Pail Kids will be on their way.

And Happy President's Day to you all (even though I know many of you don't celebrate it). If you want to read something President-ish, here's a link to last year's post. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Just to show you how easy it is to join the Hacky Sack Club, here's a little video. My talent today?


*Here's how I made this:
  • First, I used my digital camera which has a video option to film it.
  • I created a YouTube account and uploaded it there.
  • Then, on Blogger, I selected the video button on the "Compose" screen.
  • A window popped up where I selected the "My YouTube Videos" option to link to it.
Ba-da Boom, Ba-da Bing! There it is.

If you really want to do a video but just aren't sure how, shoot me an email and I'll help as much as I can.

Also, just a reminder. You have until Saturday to enter my Nostalgia giveaway. I mean, who wouldn't want to get a pack of Garbage Pail Kids in the mail?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Getting Vested

Just before the new year, my friend talked me into signing up for a half-marathon with her. Up to then, we'd casually exchanged running time (taking turns watching our kids), but she was ready to get more serious.

Honestly, I have never had the desire to run a marathon or even a half marathon. I ran for soccer or basketball . . . running with a purpose I called it . . . but never just to run. Only crazies do that.

But then some stuff happened and I needed a distraction. Something I could do to completely get away from all the whirrings of my mind (so you can see why writing wouldn't really fit the bill this time). I paid my money and suddenly, I'm vested in the craziness of running to run.

I quickly learned that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to make some additional purchases. Appropriate running clothes (because believe me, you run for an hour or more and it's essential!), the right shoes, plus a little gadget (I use Nike+) to track my progress. If I want to succeed, I need to know where I stand and how fast I'm improving.

Because time is of the essence here. March 17th, I have to be able to run for 13 miles.

I'm guessing you know where this is going. The writing thing.

Are you vested?

Are you so anxious to succeed in your writing that you're willing to put up some hard cold cash to get there?

Do you make sure you have the right equipment, the right training (think critique partners, conferences, seminars, writing books)? Are you tracking your progress so you know that you're improving (think multiple drafts, multiple books)?

Just something to think about. ;)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nostalgia Contest

In December I read a book called Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

It takes place in a not-so-distant futuristic United States where most people spend the bulk of their time in OASIS, which is a virtual on-line world. Think virtual reality helmets, only cooler.

In  this book, James Halliday, the co-inventor of OASIS and lover of all things 80's, dies and leaves a virtual easter egg for someone to find which will give them control of Halliday's company. The better you know your 80's culture, the better your chance of finding it.

As you can guess, it's a deadly fight to the end, but I won't spoil the fun.

What I really loved about this book was the nostaligic romp through the culture of my childhood. It made me want my Atari system back to see if I could still win at Pac-man with my joystick upside down. For all you kids out there who don't remember this stuff, that's how we made video games exciting back then.

So no, I won't torture you with a run-down of all the things I miss from my childhood (leg-warmers, big hair, and hammer pants . . . yeah, go google that if you don't know what I'm talking about. You won't regret it). BUT, I will tell you that when I discovered packs of Garbage Pail Kids at the local Five Below, I snatched some up. Double packs, because I knew I'd have to share these with my bloggy friends.

I chose a tame one for you to view, and I have to confess, they can be kindof disgusting, but these things were BIG. I'm talking B-I-G! If you didn't have these to trade, you could plan on spending your recesses with the outcasts. Not that I condone that sort of behavior, of course, just telling it like it was.

So here's the contest part:

Share one thing you're nostalgic for from your childhood, and I'll enter you into the drawing. Two lucky winners will get a pack of Garbage Pail Kids in the mail.

Aren't you all dying of excitement?! I thought about offering the "Jem and the Holograms, Season 1" DVD-set I found, but I knew I could never part with it. *Sigh of happy nostalgia*

Last day to enter is Saturday, February 18th, by midnight EST.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Revisions Aren't Always Painful

Hah! You thought I meant writing, didn't you?

Now you've seen the infamous videos (and if not, they're >>here<< and >>here<<), and we've read your comments, Amy and I wanted to make some revisions to the Hacky Sack Club official rules.

The wonderful Laurel had the brilliant idea of expanding this club beyond just hacky sacks. SO . . .
  1. Any crazy talent (or non-talent) gets you into the club! Just post a video (or picture) of yourself doing it. Making balloon animals, standing on your head, using chop sticks, . . . the possibilities are endless, and they'll all get you into our exclusive club.
  2. Let us know when you post! E-mail the link to me (see that "Contact Me" tab up there?) or Amy when it's up so we can include you in our hall of shame, ahem, FAME. And be sure to include a snail mail address so we can send you a hacky sack. We're serious, here!
  3. We will send you a hacky sack immediately if you want to try it (which we whole-heartedly encourage), but don't have one. Just send either of us your address and we'll send you a hacky sack (as long as supplies last) post haste so you can make a video. Brilliant, I know!
In short, we will keep our quirky name, but we'll all KNOW that the club goes beyond just the title. Fitting, no? So please, grab the button, come enjoy a little silliness with us, and let's break some boundaries! (Just no breaking anything else like toes or something.)

And please, don't make us beg. Haven't we embarrassed ourselves enough?!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Hacky Sack Club

Today you are all in for a surprise. My first ever vlog.

Here's the deal. Amy Sonnichsen (of The Green Bathtub) and I had this crazy idea of forming a Hackey Sack Club. She posted the sensational YouTube video of old Chinese people singing Lady Gaga and somehow in our back and forth conversation that led to Hacky Sacks. And because we're so cool, we had to form a club, because that's what cool people do. So anyway, for your viewing pleasure:

After seeing my mad skillz, I know you're all dying to join the club, so go. Make your video, or even just post a picture, then find the badge below or on my sidebar and add it to your blog. Let us know and as long as supplies last, we'll send you a hacky sack.

UPDATE! For updated rules to enter, check out this post.

Because I say "Boo! Boo to the loneliness that is writing!"

(courtesy of my talented sister Reb at Reb Sumner Photos)