Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Looking Back on Three Months

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." 

I had this quotation in mind when I started this blog back on December 31, 2010. I've seen the quotation several times, but have never been able to find who is responsible for it. It struck a chord with me though, and I decided I wanted to make a point of doing something different than what I've "always done."

I started this blog with trepidation, as I am very reserved by nature, and sharing publicly like this was not something that came easy to me at all. But in the spirit of trying something different, I set aside my reservations and jumped on board with it. 

Now that I am one day away from my three month anniversary, I can say with all sincerity that I'm so glad I took a chance and started the blog. In the past three months, I've had the pleasure of meeting people I never would have encountered otherwise - writers, animal lovers, book lovers, walkers, and so many others, all with interesting stories to share.

I've also sent out numerous queries and received almost as many rejections, but the rejections were overshadowed by the thrill of finding one editor who expressed an interest in my ideas. I don't know for sure yet if my article will be published, but it's a start. It's also been a good experience to learn that rejections really aren't the end of the world, and are an inevitable part of the process.

I've found wonderful sites like She Writes and Women on Writing, and entered two short story contests. Getting word that I made it through the first round of judging in the Women on Writing contest felt like winning the lottery, and even if I don't make it to the final round, it's been a lot of fun to try and I'm really glad I entered. Thanks to Adrian at The Mother Centurion, I'm also planning to enter the Writer's Digest annual competition, and look forward to sharing with others on her site as we go through the story writing process.

I've walked 119 miles, 100 of those since signing up for the 400 Mile Challenge in February. This has been a great motivator for me, and although I wouldn't think there would be a connection, I seem to have more energy for writing when I am exercising regularly.

To sum up, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has followed my blog, left comments, or just stopped by to read. These three months have been a pleasure, and I look forward to many more.

Many thanks to all!

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"
Vincent van Gogh

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A-Z in April

My motivation has been on a downward slide for the past few weeks, so I'm hoping to change that by signing up for the A-Z in April Blogging Challenge, hosted by Arlee at Tossing It Out and several others. The idea is to post every day in April except for Sundays, and center each post around a letter of the alphabet.

At first I thought it seemed like way too much, and I remembered that my attempt at blogging every day with NaBloPoMo did not work out well at all, but the more I read about this April event, the more it appealed to me.

Since I am also planning to participate in the Story A Day in May challenge, I thought this would be a great warm-up, and an opportunity to stretch my writing muscles before working on those stories. I like the possibility of being able to explore some characters for use in future stories, or playing with ideas that might lead to something more.

The April challenge sounds fun too because you can also use photos to represent the letters, so there's not as much pressure to write a full post every day.

I also see it as a wonderful opportunity to connect with more bloggers. There are already more than 600 people signed up, so I don't think it will be possible to follow everyone, but I'm sure I'll discover some fantastic blogs I might not have found otherwise. 

I hope I don't end up regretting taking on this and the May story challenge back to back, but I am trying to take the nothing ventured, nothing gained approach. I'll either be a more seasoned and experienced writer and blogger by the end of May, or I'll be found hiding in my closet, rocking back and forth in a daze.

Here's hoping for the former. ;) 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bloggy Time

I received a Bloggy award this week, thanks to my new friend Adrian at The Mother Centurion. Thank you, Adrian!!

From what I understand, the rules of this award are that I should share five facts about myself, then pass the award on to five other bloggers. So here are my five facts!

  • I used to work as a social worker many moons ago, and I was the on-call emergency clinician for a psychiatric hospital. I've often thought I could write a book based on my experiences in this job!

  • I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was a child, but gave up on this when I struggled to pass biology and chemistry in high school. I realized my total hatred of science, and the fact that I was completely repulsed when I had to dissect a frog, might be a bit of an impediment to veterinary school. 

  • I've always been fascinated by vampires and vampire mythology, since long before the current vampire craze, and I'd love to write my own vampire story some day.

  • My father's family was originally from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and my family still owns a small summer cottage there. I love going to the Island, and it's been a summer destination for me since I was a child.

  • I've loved watching football since I was a very young girl, and I've often been known to cheer myself hoarse while watching games.

Now to pass on the award! :)

I think one of the best things about getting these blog awards is the fun of passing them on to others. Thanks again to Adrian for passing this Bloggy on to me!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Too Late?

One of the biggest concerns I had when I started trying to become established as a writer was that I had waited too long to get started on this goal. I was certain it was too late, and I was too old. I thought everyone would think I was foolish for trying something new, and the voice inside my head insisted that since I didn't start this when I was 20, there was no point in starting it now.

There was never anything rational about this, as when I have come upon people my age or older who are trying new projects or pursuing new paths, I have never once felt that they were foolish, and I never would. So I'm not sure why I held myself to a harsher standard, except for the fact that I've always been my own worst critic, and old habits die hard.

As I still have these thoughts swirling around in my head, I was pleased to come upon this article by Richard Goodman called, appropriately enough, Never Too Late.

The title of the article, which originally appeared in The Writer magazine and was reprinted on the Gotham Writers' Workshop website, caught my eye immediately. I was hoping it was about what I thought it was about. And sure enough, it was.

It was inspiring to me to read that Goodman was older than I am now when he published his first book. I could totally relate to his thoughts and experiences, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement more than once.

While I found the whole essay inspiring, I particularly enjoyed reading about Harriet Doerr, who wrote her first book Stones for Ibarra when she was 73.

If it wasn't too late for Doerr at 73 or Goodman at 46, then surely it's not too late for me, either.

Or at least I hope it's not. See, old habits die hard. ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Story a Day in May

Thanks to Janel at Janel's Jumble, I learned about the Story A Day challenge at The challenge is to write one complete story every day in May.

When I first read about the challenge, I thought it sounded like a great idea, but also thought it seemed totally overwhelming. I didn't think it was anything I would actually try, but I decided to take a look at the website anyway to check it out. I signed up for the newsletter, and gradually became more intrigued by the challenge the more I read about it. It seemed like a great way to get more practice writing, and also to meet more writers and participate in the StoryADay community.

I've decided now to give it a try, and will sign up to officially participate once the sign-ups are open for this year. I realized the worst that can happen is I can't come up with enough stories, so there's really nothing to lose. And in the best case scenario, I will end up with 31 stories at the end of the month.

I've become totally addicted to writing prompts, so I figure this is a great opportunity to use them. The administrator at StoryADay posted some links to great sites for writing prompts here, so I'm looking forward to exploring those sites.

I'm anxious for May, and eager to see what the month will bring. I'm hoping it will bring a lot of fun, a minimum of stress, and at least 31 new stories!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adopt the Internet Day

In honor of their 15th birthday, is asking bloggers to celebrate Adopt the Internet Day on March 15th, and spread the word about adoptable pets on the internet.

There are several easy ways to participate, including tweeting about an adoptable pet and adding the #adopttheinternet hashtag to your tweets. I have found the animal community on twitter to be amazing, and love sharing the Circle Tail dogs there, so I'm looking forward to tweeting about more next week with this hashtag.

I know that Petfinder has helped to facilitate thousands of pet adoptions across the country, and last summer I was fortunate enough to write about a special needs cat named Penny who found a forever home through Twitter. I'm sure there are countless other Pennys out there who were adopted through the magic of social networking, so I'm excited to be able to participate in Petfinder's birthday celebration and help spread the word about all the wonderful adoptable pets online. 

You can find a list of ways to help, and see a gallery of adorable adoptables, here on

Friday, March 4, 2011

Writing For A Second Blog

I've joined the team of bloggers for Circle Tail, Inc., and started writing for the Circle Tail blog this week. I'm very happy and excited to have this opportunity.

This is an organization that is very dear to my heart, as I adopted Clancy from Circle Tail back in 2008. Their primary focus is on training and providing assistance dogs for people with disabilities, and it's amazing to see the impact they have on the lives of both people and dogs through this program. In addition to their work with assistance dogs, they adopt out rescue dogs, which is how I came to have Clancy.

It was kind of funny, because when I discovered Clancy I wasn't even planning on adopting a dog. In fact, I had just decided against getting one. I was looking for a local rescue organization where I could volunteer, and came upon Circle Tail just by doing a search on google. I took a look at their adoptable dogs on Petfinder, and saw Clancy's picture. Right away, I changed my mind about adopting a dog, and Clancy and I have been together ever since.

Circle Tail is more than an hour away from where I live, so volunteering at the place itself was not really an option. But ever since I learned about this wonderful organization I've wanted to help them out, so I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the blog. Not only because I want to help Circle Tail, but also because it is a great opportunity for me to get more experience writing and blogging.

If you have a minute, check out the Circle Tail blog here. I think all dog lovers will love both Circle Tail and the amazing Circle Tail dogs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Driving Mr. Clancy

I've written before about how my dog Clancy hates to walk, and seems to consider the activity a waste of his time. To him, his time is much better spent riding in the car.

Unfortunately though, Clancy has his own ideas about how things should go once we get into the car. He doesn't see himself as a mere passenger. In his mind, he is a co-pilot, and navigator. He remembers the routes to our main destinations, and becomes alarmed if I make a turn he is not expecting. He looks at me as if he is trying to alert me to my mistake, and get us back on the right course.

When I first got Clancy, I tried all sorts of doggie seat belts and harnesses to keep him safely in the back seat and let him just enjoy the ride. Clancy saw each one as an instrument of torture. At one point, I put him in a safety harness and drove off down the road. When I stopped at a light less than a half mile from my place, I glanced in the rear view mirror, and saw black paws and legs sticking up at odd angles and blocking the back window. In his desperate attempt to get out of the harness, Clancy had decided to stand on his head and put his back paws on the ceiling of the car. Surprisingly, this didn't work out as the Houdini-like escape Clancy had planned.

I had to pull over and get him out of the harness before he either caused me to drive off the road, or broke his own neck. After many similar experiences, I finally gave in and let him ride in the front seat where he is happy and can monitor my driving.

Now that March is here and Spring is around the corner, Clancy and I will be driving to lots of parks in the area, and I am also planning on making some day trips to hunt around for possible topics for regional magazine articles. I'm looking forward to exploring new destinations, and writing about the places Clancy and I visit.

Wherever we end up going, I know that when I grab my keys and pick up Clancy's leash, I can count on Clancy to be my travel buddy. He'll run to the car, call shotgun, and we'll be on our way.