Me. Someone who can talk incessantly. Who never seems to max out my words each day.
Why is it when I don’t have time to write, ideas and words flow in my mind? When I’m driving, in the shower, at a kids event. It seems that I have no issue coming up with blog post ideas and story ideas to explore or messages to write. I’m just not in a position to actually write them.
But today? Nothing. I even left my house to work specifically on my NaNo work and write my blog post and guess what? My brain is mush. I want to curl up and take a nap.
Actually I think it’s because I’m exhausted. My bandwidth is maxed. And there’s good reason.
My husband and I are coaching my younger son’s robotics team. We have our FIRST Lego League tournament this weekend and we’ve been pulling more than double shifts.
We have six 7th graders on our team. Our robotics table is a large table with Lego missions all over it and our robot is made out of Lego’s. We program it to accomplish as many missions as possible in 2 1/2 minutes. Pretty cool.
But wait, there’s more.
We have a five minute project presentation as well. Each year is a different theme and we have to find a real world problem within the theme and innovate a new solution. This years theme is Hydro Dynamics. Anything to do with human use of water.
As the kids did their initial research, they stumbled onto how much water is used to make shirts. The information we found out is fascinating. Textile mills all over the world use a process called Wet Processing to shape, color and finish clothing. Not only do they use A LOT of water, the runoff is full of chemicals, so the water is not reused and pollutes the environment.
There are a number of solutions out there but there are over 15,000 mills in China alone. So getting each and every one to change takes time and money. And honestly their isn’t enough incentive to change.
Some brands such as Nike, Adidas, Levi and Patagonia are doing something about it and we reached out to several of them. Eileen Fisher gave us the most detailed information. We talked with their R&D chemist and learned more than we could ever put into our presentation. But she gave us the idea we needed for our solution.
See most of us don’t know water is used to make shirts. So awareness is key. If you can change people’s buying habits, it just might be the catalyst for real change. If we ask our favorite brands if they track and measure their water use, they in turn will ask their suppliers.
So the kids created a website to build awareness and tell people what they can do to help. We tie-dyed our own shirts and learned first-hand how much water is needed to rinse off the dye. We made word searches and coloring pages, as well as a glossary page of all the terms they learned over the past ten weeks. They showed to it to their friends, teachers and families and asked them to take a survey. Out of 38 respondents, 61% didn’t know that water was used to make shirts and 68% said they would change how they shop. We took all this information and put it into a presentation. And the kids created a fun skit to go with it.
They decided to call themselves Fiber Friends (think justice league – Fiber Friends Unite). Water waster owns a textile plant and wastes water. Batman, Flash, Blue Lantern, Aquaman and Wonder Woman (we have one girl and 5 boys on the team), capture Water Waster and upgrade the plant to save water. They do a great job and have lots of fun at the same time.
What I love about it is it’s just another form of storytelling and I’ve been able to help guide them in creating it. They learn so much with this entire program – research, problem solving, presentation skills, working together as a team.
I’ll have to update you on how we do, but in the meantime if you want to take a look at their website, here’s the link: https://ffunite.wixsite.com/fiberfriendsunite
Hugs & Blessings,
Although new to the writing fiction world, Denise Colby has over 20+ years experience in marketing, creating different forms of content and copy for promotional materials. Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors.
If you are interested in a marketing evaluation and would like help in developing a strategy for your author brand you can find out more here http://denisemcolby.com/marketing-for-authors/
Happy Summer and post Independence Day. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.
Let’s talk about unexpected stories.
I apologize if I’ve already told the story about my upcoming release, “UNEXPECTED LOVE.” My relationship with this story goes back several years. When I first decided to become an Indie Writer, I had quite a few stories dancing around in my mind. I had this idea for a series about a woman and the many men in her life. More like all the men she’d married.
When I set out to start writing the series, the task seemed a little daunting. I don’t know about anyone else, I easily get attached to my characters. But if I don’t feel a connection, it’s difficult for me to tell their story.
When I got the idea for this story, I imagined it as a five book series. I had all the husbands mapped out. However, when I started writing, it felt very forced. I was so overwhelmed trying to tell this woman’s story. I abandoned the series and thought I would tell it as a stand alone. Summarizing each of the husbands and focusing on the one she really loved.
I picked up the pages I’d started, made a few changes and set out to write. I liked where this story was going, but as I got more involved with the characters, the story started to change. It was no longer a story about a bitter divorcee, but a liberated divorcee who finds love in an unexpected source, her ex-husband’s ex-best friend, who just happens to be her divorce attorney. That’s either a mouthful or a blurb.
The more involved I got with Fiona’s story, the more I liked her. But I also felt sorry for her. She’s a sweetheart, searching for her voice. In a nutshell, she married her college crush who later deceived her. Once she made up her mind to divorce him, she found her voice. I love her transition, although it’s not without it’s ups and downs. One of which is the change in her relationship with her attorney and her self-esteem.
Last year when I set out to write twelve titles in a year, I had this title on the schedule as a short story. However, I didn’t think there was enough story for a book. So I resolved myself to make it a short story. I cleaned up the first chapter and started writing. But when I started writing, the story took a turn. It was no longer about Fiona and her husband, but Fiona and her attorney.
I continued writing thinking I could tell the story in novella length. As I got closer to what would be considered maximum novella length, the characters kept talking. No matter how hard I fought to end the story, they kept talking, so I kept writing. I really enjoyed the direction the story was going. Then I wrote myself into a hole. Crap! I didn’t see a way out, so I introduced another character thinking she would help me. Instead, she led me to a wall and the only way around the wall was another character. Hold on, it gets better. When I introduced this character, he brought his own storyline in addition to tearing down the wall.
So here I was with a full-length novel. But here’s the kicker. When I introduced Fiona’s brother [aka “the wall”], into the mix, the story took another turn and led me to a place I never would have imagined being, “Cliffhanger Boulevard.”
Yep, my five book series originally titled, “My Five Husbands” was changed to a stand alone novel. Then it got a title switch to “UNEXPECTED LOVE.” Then it became a short story, that grew into a novella that reverted back to a full-length stand alone, which is now book one in a new series. Talk about unexpected.
So what’s the lesson learned? Never throw out an idea. Instead, put it aside and when the time is right, revisit it. You might be surprised what story you can tell.
See you next month.
Here’s a cover peek.
Ideas, like fireflies, swirl around my head. Which one should I catch? My eyes lose focus. Perhaps it’s best to capture them all and store them in a glass jar.
Sometimes writing is like that and I end up with a drawer full of Pulitzer wannabees. Like the flies in the jar that eventually die without air, so do all of my captive ideas. When I examine them again there is no spark. The light is gone.
I find that I’m a better writer when I am more purposeful. Instead of chasing elusive fireflies, no matter how bright, my focus becomes like a coloring book page of ‘Connect the Dots.’ You know, use a line to connect the numbers and you create a picture; what a writer might call a concept or idea.
There is so much disconnected information that zooms past us or bombards us, but it is the dots inside of us that represent the deep emotions and memorable events that have changed our lives. I discovered that writing is also a way of giving, of sharing a part of me with others.
So when I look for inspiration, I no longer reach for the fireflies. I search within myself for one of the dots that represent friendships I’ve made, issues I’ve championed, as well as events that trigger fear, anger, sorrow, or joy. Then that dot, eager to touch the hearts of others, sparks to life out of me and illuminates a page or two creating a great story.
Manager, Educator, and former Social Studies High School teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York. Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.