Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Things You Might See While Playing Pokemon Go - July Edition

Was your July satisfying and awesome?

I have to admit my July was rather normal. I took three days off work for vacation and then Boys 1 and 2 started de-tasseling corn, so we couldn't go on any significant trips! They had one day off while I was off work as well, so we went to Eugene T. Mahoney State Park for the day and enjoyed the treetop ropes course and the paddle boats. I think we all imagined being Jedi as we were hopping from platform to platform and then zip lining to the ground.

That's me in the photo, with Boy 2 behind me. Please forgive my hair, but it kept raining off and on. We did play a little Pokemon Go at the park, too. 

Found a Pikachu on the Fourth of July!

Proof I've been working on Growing Old is Murder! This was taken at the library, which has a Pokestop right outside the window on the left. That's my husband reading across from me, and gathering as many pokeballs as he can!

The next two pictures were taken at the airport. It is a tiny airport, but there's a long drive that has a Pokestop by the airplane. I take Revan, our Labrahound, on walks there in the morning and harvest Pokeballs and Pokemon.

I just really like this tree. There are several in town, and get big white flowers on them. Does anyone know what they are? I haven't a clue!

Below is but one section of a mural that spans several buildings near our downtown area. I'll share more each month. I chose this section for this month because it's interactive with the building. I love how the people are painting the building and the man is holding the window like a picture frame.

The next two pictures are taken in one of the many parks in town. The amount of trees and vegetation here (as opposed to Wyoming) is soothing to my soul. I'm starting to think I was either a bird or a tree in a past life. If I'm feeling upset or stressed, just get me outside and I can breathe again.

Yes, I even played Pokemon Go while donating blood. (There was a Pokestop at the church where the blood drive was held.) I included the picture as a reminder that blood donation doesn't take much time and  truly saves lives. Consider getting in touch with the American Red Cross in your area to find out where you can donate. If you happen to be overseas, I have no idea how that works for you, but I still encourage you to donate today!

Last but not least is Revan. Part of why I got so into Pokemon Go is due to needing to walk him, and he often is in the back seat while we drive to the college or a park to make the rounds to the different Pokestops.

When I saw the picture of him on the shelter website I knew he was our dog. It's amazing how well he has fit into our family and how much richer our lives have been since he's become a Schiffbauer. If you're thinking about getting a new pet, I encourage you to peruse your local animal shelter. Speaking from experience, there are some fine animals there, just waiting for you.

All righty! May you all have a great week and I'll see you in August!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Random Stream (of Consciousness) - Politics

I was looking at my Twitter feed earlier today. As I scrolled through my profile, I realized that many of my tweets are retweets of political information. Not long ago it seemed I'd reached some kind of milestone when I was called a "liberal Progressive turd" in response to one of my more widely viewed comments.

Pre-Through the Fairy Ring, I kept my political opinions to myself. I didn't want to offend anyone (meaning readers) who might have views different from my own. It didn't feel as if my voice on such things was important, anyway, because I have always lived in very conservative states and my puny liberal voice doesn't carry much weight in politics.

I started writing Through the Fairy Ring during the election cycle of the 2012 election. I was disillusioned with politics in general and decided to explore the theme of leadership as part of Hazel's continuing story. When I'd written the book I'd tried to think of the worst a leader could do to demonstrate their self-centered and power-hungry ambitions. I am dismayed at how similar current events are to my story.

Part of the story is Hazel learning to have a voice and speak up for those without a voice; learning that people can do many crazy things for power and because of greed, but then standing up for what is just and loving, solely because it is the right thing to do. I can't say whether I successfully accomplished my goals or not, but I do know after the 2016 elections, I can't keep silent about my beliefs. I may offend some people (obviously I did the guy who called me a liberal turd - or he was a bot, in which case I'm rather proud), but sometimes you have to stand up for what is right, regardless of what other people may think. Being silent is being complicit.

I also have begun participating more in our political processes. I'm teaching my children about advocacy and encourage them to speak up for people who have no voice. We even attended a political rally in Omaha as a family.

I try to moderate what I retweet on Twitter. I try to ensure what I share is reputable and not a bot-made inflammatory meme. I try to include light-hearted posts and retweets too. I try to keep my posts level headed and not emotionally charged. When scrolling through the feed, it's a weird eclectic mix, but it's the things I worry about and want others who may look at my timeline to know. And then some humor to try to lighten things up, because daaaang!! I swear the world has gone dark and crazy. We have to try to have some balance, right?

I don't really have a way to end this post. I was busy the last couple of nights being a mom and am falling asleep writing this, so I guess I'll just say "the end." 

Do you share your views on the world at large on social media? Why or why not?

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Writing Ruminations: Goooooal!

Have you ever been trying to write something and you feel like an unmoored ship, drifting along on the currents of confusion?


For the last two months I've been in the developing stages of my next novel, Growing Old is Murder (working title.) It's a cozy mystery and I've never written one before. I've been alternating researching how to write a cozy mystery, creating settings, and developing a workable plot, subplots and characters. As I've had no real method to all this madness, I've become confused, distracted and overwhelmed, and consequently, I've not made any real progress.


Earlier this week Jeanne Kisacky's blog post "My Boss is a Pushover" was featured on Writer Unboxed. I've linked it for you, if you'd like to read the post, because it is a good post. However, for the sake of my post, I'll quickly summarize that in her post, Ms. Kisacky mentioned that she'd developed a project management outline to help her track tasks and give rewards. I realized that something like a project management outline may help me clear the fog in my head.


So, last night I spent the evening creating several Excel spread sheets, separated into task categories (as suggested by Ms. Kisacky.) My categories are Develop Characters, Develop Setting, Plot, and Scenes.

On each spread sheet I included a projected due date. My goal is to have enough character development completed by July 19th that I can "see" them enough to start writing. The development of the three main setting locations are due for July 26th; broad plot points and subplots chosen by July 31st. Then, as you can see above, I start writing scenes, with the whole first draft done in November. Once I get the first draft done I'm going to develop a spreadsheet for editing. 

I will say right now that my goal dates are quite challenging in my mind, but I have already developed quite a bit of the characters and settings. It's not as if I'm starting at the very beginning.

I'm trying to keep the pace somewhat rapid so I am forced to make decisions and move ahead. With Through the Fairy Ring I got so mired in choices and the anxiety of making a bad decision that it took for-freaking-ever. Trying really hard this time around to keep my momentum and enjoy the process.

Also, I subscribe to the "If you shoot for the moon and miss, you'll still land in the stars" point of view.


Yes, I am aware that there's tons of empty space between the moon and our nearest star which is not the sun. Let's just not acknowledge that fact when trying to motivate, right?

I was completely surprised at how much more centered and grounded I felt when I completed the spreadsheet. I know what I need to do and now have an idea for when I need to have it done. I'm hopeful my spreadsheet will help keep me on task and motivated. 


Oh! That's the last piece of the puzzle. I've decided a mocha frappe from McDonalds is going to be my reward for when I complete a task (at any time), but maybe I'll give myself a double-reward if I finish a task by the due date. I like that idea!

How do you keep yourself organized and focused while writing? Or even just in everyday life? Any tricks you'd like to share?

Monday, July 01, 2019

What Social Media Should I Keep (or Do People Even Blog Anymore?)

Many years ago I read how writers need a social media presence and I jumped in one hundred percent. I joined Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Wattpad, probably a ton of others I don't even remember now, set up this blog, set up a website and promptly felt overwhelmed. I wasn't going to give up, though. If social media was what I had to do to be successful, than I was going to do my best!

Fast forward to today, and a lot has changed in my life, and to my perspective on writing. I've learned to view my writing "career" as a journey and while I'm on this journey I better be enjoying myself or I won't keep going. There has to be a balance between ambition and acceptance, or I end up with paralyzing anxiety that prevents me from writing.


I have been evaluating all of my social media accounts and trying to decide which are worth spending time on and which I should let go of, because I don't have time for writing, cultivating all the social media accounts I've developed in the past and living the rest of my life.


Part of why I wanted to resurrect this blog site is because I miss the ability to connect with people. Blogging seems to allow the most opportunities to share full thoughts and ideas and have a decent discussion (if others will engage, of course.) Some of the friends I made blogging are the ones who are still talking with me today, and are the biggest support to me as a writer. 

On Twitter I see so many new writers looking for connections, for someone to talk to about their experiences and so excited about their beginning writer's journey. While I'm not some amazingly published writer who meets the standard measures of writing success, I would still like to be able to offer, through this blog, a place for people to find inspiration and motivation along their way.


Twitter happens to be the social media site I have maintained over the last several years, because it is where I found some real friends whom I am very fond of. We bonded over Shakespeare and I can't imagine not checking in and seeing how everyone is doing. The nature of tweeting is to be short and sweet, and this is a plus. It's a good way to connect with lots of people in a shorter amount of time. Now if only it would stop being so angry over there!

After all the issues we've learned over the past two years regarding Facebook and privacy violations, I don't really spend a lot of time over there. I do maintain my author page, though, and try to post periodically. I view Facebook more as a delivery system than a place to cultivate relationships.

I am planning on closing my Wattpad account. I haven't been successful over there since Finding Meara released and I think the only reason the release went as good as it did was because of the family and friends who gave it the first boost so it was actually visible. I don't have the time now to devote to developing a reader base on Wattpad and write new stuff, too. It's kind of like when your hair gets too long and you need a trim. Wattpad is a place I feel I can trim and not miss anything.


Please keep in mind, though, that the main point of this post is that I am making my decisions based off what I feel fits my desires and needs best. I'm not pushing myself into a cookie cutter design of social media presence just to make sure my bases are covered. I'm designing my social media presence around how I think I'll get the most enjoyment in the process and offer the most to my potential readers. 

And finally, just because I don't think a site works for me doesn't mean it won't work for you!! That's between you and your own personal journey. I wish you the best of luck with finding what makes the best sense to you and will give you the most satisfaction.

Have a great week!

What does your social media presence look like? Have you been more active in the past, or are you just starting out in the social media maze?


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