Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Communication is the KEY to Life, I Swear

I have been forming this opinion now for the past few years and it is just starting to harden into a firm belief with a nice hard shell. The opinion is this:

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS...THE KEY TO LIFE.

Let me back up my thinking here because that is a mighty bold statement, right? You see, the word effective is crucial here. I did not say brutally honest. I did not say flowery. I did not say succinct. I did not say complimentary. I did not say brutal.

I said EFFECTIVE and that ain't easy. Oh no. Effective is tricky business.

By effective I mean the following:

~ Think about what you are trying to say. Ask yourself, "Self, what exactly am I trying to communicate?" Now hold onto your mouse here. Here's the mind blower...SAY IT.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and think about how it will affect the people you are saying it to. Will it rip someone's heart out? Then don't say it, dummy. For example, when your friend asks you if she looks fat in those jeans, after she's dieted for two weeks, giving up cake at lunch, and eating rabbit food - well, just tell her she looks great and to keep up all of her hard work. There is a gentle way to say most things. There are definite exceptions to this guideline. Like, when the brutal truth will help the person in the end. But, again, there is a way to lay your bomb. A way to soften the blow of honesty. You just have to think about it.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and be sure it is necessary. Mindless babble is beyond annoying. Most people I know don't have enough time in the day to get the stuff done that needs to be done and they don't have time to waste on mindless babble. Like stupid stuff that no one cares about. You know what I mean. You probably have a 'mindless babble' person in your life wasting your time as I type. Don't BE the mindless babble person. Really. Just don't. Life it too damn short for that junk - time is precious - time is precious. And that goes for dumb emails too (not funny emails - we all need to laugh coffee out of our noses at least once a week). Dumb emails count as mindless babble in my book. The truth hurts people.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and make sure you have been clear. Do the people you are trying to communicate with understand what you are trying to say? Are you sure about that? You really shouldn't assume that people understand you. There are a gazillion chances that they don't. How should you find out if they get you? Oh, I don't know, how about asking them? I know. Revolutionary. But seriously, effective communicators know for a fact that the human beings they are communicating with understand them. They check for clarification and then adjust their communicative ways...A LOT and OFTEN.

~ Think about what you are trying to say and say it with confidence. Speak clearly. Type clearly. Look people in the eye. Don't be rushed when you communicate. Mean what you say. And more importantly, say what you mean. Are you making sense? Be sure you know. If not, it smacks of mindless babble. We know how I feel about mindless babble and it isn't pretty.

Some things to consider:
- Would there be less relationship breakups if both partners communicated effectively? I think yes. Sorry if you are a divorce attorney. I mean no harm.
- Would there be less grounded and punished children if parents communicated effectively with their children? Parents really should be effectively teaching their children how to communicate. Ooooh. That's a deep one.
- Would there be less hostility among races, religions, sexes if we effectively communicated? Feel the love. Feel the love.
- Would war actually be 'something that ONLY happens in novels' if the humans in charge effectively communicated? My head is shaking up and down in a yes formation.

In closing, I advise spitting, and soon. I gave ya'll a lot to chew on (said while snapping fingers and tilting head).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waiting & A Random Thought

Not much to tell here other than waiting. If you've followed this blog for a while then you know how I feel about waiting. I like it as much as working out.

I have roughly 20 new queries out there right now and only one request for a partial manuscript has come out of it so far. But, I'm waiting. Still no word from dream agent. I'm pretty sure she's not going to be my dream agent anymore. Safe to say I've mentally abandonded her and that really bums me out. Boy did I have some serious hopes and dreams pinned to her.

Life moves on and so must I.

This is a totally random side note:

One of my all time favorite, never could get sick of it, want to hear it nearly every day, still gives me chills, still causes a slight increase in my heart region, song...

is...

Lover You Should've Come Over by Jeff Buckley

If you know it, then you know why. If you don't go on and give it a listen. It's a goodie.

Got any songs you just listen to and listen to and listen to and listen to?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Agent Queries Out. Must Purchase Adult Diapers...

Developments a'plenty.

As of Thursday, October 16th I had no word from dream agent. It had been many moons since I'd emailed my full manuscript to her. We exchanged a few emails over the months (mostly me trying my best not to be a total P.I.A.) but no word on where I stood. We all know I left her a voice mail two weeks ago. And still no word. All hope was lost.

I'm sorta being overly dramatic - I do suffer from Overlydramatosois. Luckily it's not contagious. But, sadly I know of no cure. I suffer alone.

Back to developments...Not all hope was lost, but a whole heck-of-a lot-of-hope was lost. I reached out to my mentor author buddy to get his opinion on a few things. I wanted to know if I should ask dream agent's permission to query other agents and he wholeheartedly said, YES!

I emailed dream agent at 4:20 yesterday and received a reply by 4:31.

Holy crap.

I did NOT want to open the email. What if she said - go ahead, dummy, query other agents? What if she said, I'm done with you, now leave me be?

She did say she was sorry it was taking her so long and that yes, I could go ahead and query other agents. She didn't give me a no though.

Holy bigger crap.

I emailed her back and told her that I secretly was hoping she was going to tell me, "NO! I do not want you to query other agents! I want your book!"

But, you know what else I did? I queried 8 new literary agents by 9:14 a.m. this morning. All email queries.

Holy elephant-sized crap! (wink and nod to my baby elephant from last post ;)

Ahhhhh...more waiting.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Weight Lifted. Baby Elephants Are Heavy!

A few posts back I shared that I started a new book. The memoir of my sister's divorce through my eyes. A true story in every sense of the word - even though it is a mindblowing true story...true it is.


I got to page four and realized I couldn't write it. Trying to write that memoir was the equivalent of me dragging a baby elephant up a San Francisco hill, by hand, alone, in the dark, blindfolded, in the rain, with no shoes on...




Is that a mental picture, or what?


Anyway, it was HARD. But I promised my sister I would write her story. She's my little sister and I promised. I don't break promises (unless they involve me and exercise - then and only then are all bets off). I had a genuine dilemma on my already tired hands. Remember, I drug that stupid baby elephant up the stinkin' hill? Alone? In the dark? No shoes?


But guess what? Something hit me while I was wrtiting page 5 - like an elephant's trunk slapping me right across my face (it was propbably pretty ticked off about me schlepping it up the hill in the rain). I realized something. A big something. As big as an elephant something.


I could write her story but tell myself it was fiction. I could change all of the names of the people. I could semi-fabricate actual conversations and manipulate timing and write it as a 'fiction' book.


And I did.


I made it all the way to page 20 in less than two hours. It started pouring out of me. The weight lifted. The elephant left the room. The pressure of 'realness' was replaced with my creative thinking and desire to tell her story - from my point of view. Which was really my whole intention in the beginning. Before I lost my shoes, and the rain came, and that needy baby elephant knocked on my door.


I don't even live in San Francisco, which is weird.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mean People Suck, Except When They're Fake

I've come to the conclusion that miserable people are really difficult to like. You know the kind that nothing makes them happy, ever? Geesh that's hard to be around.

Its even harder to be around MEAN & miserable people. That is a deadly combination to me. I'm not kidding when I say mean people suck. Mean people really, really do suck. Pot-stirrers, nasty thinkers, back-stabbers, hateful, and vile phony-baloneys are the worst of the mean people.
When oh, say, you trust someone and they stab you in the back, that person sucks.

Well, mean, miserable people suck but...their actions and characteristics do make captivating characters, now don't they? We humans sure do love drama and tension in our novels & movies & gossip. Without the mean, jerky characters we'd be left with Barney and rainbows.

Ka-phooey.

Imagine a world that cruelly hawked Star Wars without Darth, or Harry without Voldemort, or Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle) without her idiot parents, or Jack & Rose without Cal, or Austin without Dr. Evil...

I don't want to live in that world. No way.

But, REAL mean people still totally and completely suck, rotten eggs.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Comment...how to

Yesterday, I found out that I have some loyal readers who'd like to write comments on my blog, but alas they didn't know how.

Here's how to comment a'way:

Underneath each blog post you will find something that looks like this...
0 comments

or

6 comments

All you have to do is click on that link and a pop up box will do just that, pop up. And, well, you comment. You don't have to be a fellow blogger, you can comment as anonymous and then type your name in your comment. Or, you can be all incognito and not even type your name.

Me likey comments. A lot-tee.

It makes me feel like my red map dots actually have real, live human beings reading my posts.

I got a hit from India!!! India!!! How cool is that???

Monday, October 6, 2008

My NEW Topper & My NEW Book!!!

Topper first. Well, I have a creatively gifted sister who married a wonderfulific Australian guy and moved to Australia a few years ago. I'll confess, she is the owner of Uniquely Noted...that webpage I'm nudging you to visit to your right. See it?

Anyway. Like I said, she is gigantiliciously creative. I challenged/hired her last week to create a new blog topper for me and voila...look above.

Yep, that's my head sticking out. Is she too much? If you haven't checked out her website, it is really worth a visit. Her stuff if fantastical.

*it is fun to make up words, isn't it?*

Book second. I started writing my new book over the weekend. It's a memoir of my other super wonderful sister's divorce from her smacked-ass, pathetic excuse for a husband, ex-husband. The book is the story of her mind blowing divorce through my eyes.

And it is hard to write. Not the subject matter. While her story will indeed blow any reader's mind, that's not what is causing me pause. I'm having trouble writing it out...because I can't make it all up. This insanity is real.

I'm only on page 6 and it isn't flowing out of me like my other two fiction novels did. It is definitely going to take a lot longer to write. But, I'm not giving up. Oh no, this story is too compelling to abandon. It just may take me a year to get it out onto paper.
p.s. I do have one more sister, who will kill me if I don't somehow weave her into this post. So, she is a mom of 3 and new to blogging - but she's afraid of blogging (see my list of other blogs I visit, down below). Her computer is being uncooperative and naughty lately and I know that's the reason she hasn't posted in, oh, like 3 weeks. Let's egg her on kind people... Go Meghan! Go Meghan!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Message

Woooooow! I just left a message on dream agent's phone about five minutes ago. I'll nutshell it for you with my handy dandy talking points:

  • I'm touching base to do some peasant groveling.
  • I just need to know your decision...or at least where it may or may not be headed. I can take it either way.
  • I was so optimistic when we spoke in mid-July and you told me my book got 'rave reviews' from your readers and that there was 'a lot of interest' in representing me. I swear, it feels like I was dreaming that.
  • Ok, here comes more begging...I need a decision, I honestly can't wait anymore. I feel like the gerbil on the wheel these past months.
  • Please, please know that you are my #1 choice for representation, and I did my research.
  • Email is totally fine with me, I know you are busy. I'll take any news at all. Any direction it may be headed - even if you aren't able to give me a final decision...maybe just a word or two about the status.
  • Alright, begging is now over.
  • Take care and I hope you have a great weekend.

My hands are shaking.

I said above talking points with a peppy, non-whiny tone to my voice - professional would probably be a good word to describe it. I spoke my message with complete respect for dream agent - no cockiness at all.

Well, I hope I hear something, anything. I hope I didn't tick her off. I hope she doesn't chuck my manuscript in the trash heap. I hope she feels my pain and gives me a small nugget of her thinking. I hope - I hope - I hope...

I hope it all works out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My OTHER New Blog

Since my writing career seems to be in a perpetual holding pattern hovering somewhere between, 'OH yeah, it is going to happen' and 'OH no, what was I even thinking when I said I wanted to be a writer?'...I need something new. Something exciting, fresh...

AHHH-HHHAAA... Pre-zenting... Introducing... Ladies & Gentlemen... Ta-Daaaaa...

I started a new blog on parenting! It's called The Parenting Super Store...and It's ALL Free. I have a whole bunch of ideas, opinions, stories to share, life-lessons and discussion opportunities.

If you have kids, check it out. Did I mention its free?