Were you composing songs or poems in kindergarten or grade school? Scribing short stories in middle school? Outlining your first novel by high school? Me neither. Well, except for the songs, poems and short stories part. Writing and reading were the soul of my youth. At that time, there was a voice in me that was unique, with a narrow but colorful perspective, rich in my limited history and micro view of the world. I wrote ghost stories. Composed poems then set them to music on my ukulele. Entertained my adoring fans (family) and received pretty decent grades in my elementary English classes. (Okay, maybe not for the grammar part, but for the creative part!)
Wouldnâ€™t it be great if we could travel back to that time, when our minds were uncluttered with the many issues and experiences that mark our existence today? When most things were simple black and white? Somehow my writing seemed more â€¦pureâ€¦ at that time. Certainly it wasnâ€™t challenged by the need for someone else to read and like it!
Although today I can create much more complex characters, layered with the hues of the life of my past, I miss the sheer joy of writing for the fun of it. Maybe some of you still feel that. Fantastic! But for many of us who are struggling, perhaps itâ€™s time to get back in touch with that inner child who wanted to write in the first place.
How do we tap that voice (Short of seeing a therapist?J) Perhaps we can through quiet meditation or by taking a walk on the beach? Maybe through rediscovering something you had done as a child and truly enjoyed, like riding a horse, playing badminton or ping pong, or going ice skating? (Personally, I skate on my hind end) Maybe another way is to go to the childrenâ€™s section at the library and pick up a book that you loved when you were 10. Why was it special to you? Was it one of the tales that called you to write?
I know that I need to work on that side of me. Iâ€™ve lost some joy in recent years and some of the writing fun has gone with it. I want it back. I want to drag out those novels from under the bed and shape up those which should be returned to circulation (and quietly re-file those that shouldnâ€™t!) My own voice is special and unique, but Iâ€™m sure it could use a jolt of positive memory of where it was when I was 10. Iâ€™ll bet yours could too!
Letâ€™s drop $2 in the Write for the Money jar at the meeting and set a goal to do something childlike and fun. And a second one to write a paragraph or two soon afterwards! For those of you who canâ€™t attend the meetings, perhaps create your own Write for the Money jar, and reward yourself for having a little fun and the quality work that follows!
By the time you read this, the year will have wound to a close, and the lovely, warm CHAOS of the holidays will be just another sweet memory â€“ however at this moment itâ€™s still two days before Christmas and I still have housecleaning, shopping, and food to prepare because theyâ€™re all coming here! Stop the insanity!!!!
Okayâ€¦ Iâ€™m breathingâ€¦
So, did you take the online class for organizing your life? I should haveâ€¦ I might have gotten a little more writing in over the past couple of weeks. Then againâ€¦ What with kids (plural) moving back in, kid rolling my car, (heâ€™s okay) kids (or me) cracking the window on the rental car after forgetting to get the insurance, kids borrowing another car and denting it so we have to replace the chrome bumper before returning it, Dad having emergency surgery (heâ€™s okay), and oh yeah â€“ shopping, cleaning, and working full time, I really needed to be organized (or hire a keeper â€“ which I canâ€™t afford).
Still, Iâ€™m wonderfully fortunate that my son walked away without a scratch (only his psyche is bruised), my dad came through the surgery (four days later than he was supposed toâ€¦ but heâ€™s home now). And Iâ€™ll be surrounded by family for the holiday (waitâ€¦ am I counting that as a blessing or a curse?) And I actually did get in a couple of pages of writing.
If you believe in New Years resolutions, perhaps a very key thing for all of us is to get organized. Your chapter is going to be pursuing this. Carol Prescott and Julie Hurwitz have volunteered to develop a strategic plan for all of us. This will include setting organizational goals based on a survey that you will receive within the next month or so.
This will be your plan for your organization, so I hope you will all find the time to fill out the survey, and tell us what is important to you. What entices you to come to meetings? What programs would you like to see? What on-line courses would you like to have made available to you? How else might you like to be involved? What else should we be doing?
The next resolution that you should make ought to be about you and your writing. Whatâ€™s your goal for the year? How about this month? 1 page a day? Maybe 2? Maybe 25 pages a week? Peer pressure can help, if you let it. Join a critique group. Or buddy up with a friend.
Or, come to the meeting and take advantage of â€œWrite for the Money.â€ Set a goal for yourself, drop a $1.00 in the jar and by the February meeting, complete your goal, tear off the slip and drop it into the box for the drawing. You win whatever money that is dropped into the jar that month! See you win two ways! You are compelled to meet your goals and if we draw your name, you win money!
One way or the other, consider increasing your writing output this year! Who knows, you might be the next person getting a rose at the podium!
At the April board meeting, the appointments of our Orange Blossom co-editors were confirmed. I am looking forward to seeing their fresh new ideas on these pages in the coming months. Within the next day or two, OCC members should expect the May edition in their email box via the OCC Announcements loop.
More good news â€“ we have a new blog editor! Laura Drake is an online class moderatorâ€“in-training, and has now joined the staff as contributor and editor of OCCâ€™s blog, â€œA Slice of Orangeâ€ at http://occsliceoforange.blogspot.com/. (Thank you, Laura!) Are you interested in writing a monthly column? Great PR op! Please contact Laura at http://firstname.lastname@example.org. Laura also volunteered to create an informational flyer for guests and new members listing the services offered by our chapter. The flyers will be available through Membership Director Rowena Hacker at the May meeting.
Thanks to everyone who voted at the meeting and who sent in their proxy ballots, the restated bylaws passed unanimously at the April meeting. I know I speak for the entire chapter in expressing our gratitude to Past-Presidential Advisor Jann Audiss and Linda Prine (also one of our past presidents) for their hard work as Bylaws Chairs.
The Published Authorsâ€™ Workshop (PAW) can now sign up for the new PAW-chat loop at www.occrwa.org/members/-paninfo.html.
And one final thanks to Ways & Means Director Deb Mullins, who has organized the WRITERPALOOZA raffle for the May and June meetings with some terrific prizes, including author critiques and books. Look for details at http://occrwa.org/writerpalooza.html
– Sue Phillips
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