Archive for May, 2012

Thee Ole Steno Pad

You are too young to remember when most outside-the -home working women were nurses, teachers, or secretaries.  The secretaries had to to learn a strange language called shorthand and they often recorded it by hand on a stranger looking thing called a steno pad. No, it’s not electronic nor does it have any apps.

They are rare but they can be found and they’re useful, really. They are about the size of a Kindle or Nook but not nearly as expensive. I have found it to be handy as a DOW divider and a writer’s organizer. For those of you not following my ruckuses or ramblings, a DOW is that demanding other world. You know…the one that keeps you from writing. Ah, I can see the lights coming on now.

Anyway, the steno pad…what I do is record (now, this recording involves another antique, a pencil or pen) my DOW lists starting from the front, only because that’s the world that keeps me feed and relatively safe. These lists go beyond market reminders or the cleaners. They are journals about my family and ponline shopping tips, and housekeeping demands.  I often have to remind myself to dust, no, I need to order myself to dust.

From the back I start my sane lists, my sassy lists, my more often than not soothing writing-world lists.  Each morning I record what I hope to conquer. Revisions of a chapter, research my characters’ employment, and even sensational blog thoughts. The next day I use that list to record my writing-world accomplishments in my writing journal, (not a steno pad, and that’s another blog) using the items I checked off because, yes, I was indeed productive. All right, sometimes I have to write, “See Above Lists”.

Ah,alas,I know what you’re thinking.  What happens when the pages run out?  What happens when the pages met?  Silly and adorable reader, I get another pad.  Keep several handy.   

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Master Muses

What an inspirational motivator! Mixing Mark Twain and Vivaldi created the willingness to stay at the Pink Dell. Listening to Tomaso Albinoni’s oboe try to out blast Winston Churchill’s “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” is more than the push needed to try a different genre. Overcoming the soothing of Mozart’s (forgiveness needed here) Out of Africa is reflective of Louisa Mae Alcott’s “Love is the great beautifier.”
Starting each chapter with a quote that gives the reader a heads up and is inspiring to this author, clue-worthy to the conclusion, and takes up the hateful word count. I so enjoy researching quotations and I must have classical music, preferably baroque, to write a first draft. Revisions are a different insect. I need to read aloud and I do not like to compete against the masters. Don’t want their toes stepped on, being one myself.
Smile, here, please.
When I was a great deal younger, I haven’t grown up yet (thank God), Handel’s Water Music gave me the story starters I needed to get through High School Creative Writing and years before that it helped with my potty training. Now, when I want to avoid dusting or any such similar activity, I try to find my CD of Favorite 100’s, thereby eating up the housekeeping hour I promised my family.

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What happened to my creativity?  The business end of this writing career is, well, business, and it is very taxing to my feeble but fictional mind.  Having two books in my Pink Dell, Pinky is tickled pink because a publisher likes part of her.  She sent a contract!  I celebrated for an entire day.

My family, however, might be threatened!  My celebrations ended.

My characters, while fictional, are located in a real place.  We visit there often and someday someone might think I wrote about them, providing of course, that they actually read the book.   Where’s my negative positiveness?  Oh, wait, I left it inside my hours of research today about whether I needed to hire an intellectual properties attorney.  No, I have not heard of that specialty until this end of my new career ended up in my creation station.

Research?  I have been told that anything can be found on the web, even that spider who built it.  Trying to decide if I need to form a small corporation, stick to a pseudonym, or take a chance and sign that beautiful but confusing contract must be the same feeling a fly gets when she sees the spider’s hungry look and approaching on that web.  But my publisher was patient for my reply! And I’m happy to report creativity trumped business … this round anyway!


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