Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Case of the Writer's Block

 So, as many of you know, I love to write stories.  It's been a hobby of mine since I was about ten.  None of my stories are particularly good, probably because none of them are particularly finished, except for two short stories that I wrote, one for a cousin and one for a friend who was having a rough time.  In spite of my best efforts, these short stories were not very good.

However, my lack of innate talent has not lessened my determination to finish and polish ALL of my slightly better, much longer stories.  I am currently working on two projects.  The first is that story which was temporarily posted here in installments.  It will be available here once again, when it's finished.  Don't hold your breath.  The other story is a super hero story about myself and some of my close friends from the high school days.

My short term goal is to finish those two.  The super hero one will hopefully be finished by Christmas, so that I can give it to the old gang while they're all in town for the Holidays.  The other one will hopefully be complete by the time I graduate in May.  If I can swing that, then I will consider myself quite accomplished.

So, in an effort to improve my chances of finishing these stories by the target times, I have enlisted the help of a very generous expert: Holly Lisle.   Ms. Lisle is a full time author with 32 published novels who has a website that is completely devoted to assisting and training aspiring authors.  It's wonderful!  She offers online courses, but she also offers free writing tips.  I am currently enrolled in her free Plot-Outlining Course (if you're interested, check it out here).

I have certainly found Holly's tips and tricks useful, but I think the best thing that she has given me is the motivation to push beyond writer's block.  It is as if each time one of her writing tips appears in my inbox a little voice goes off in my head saying, "you need to keep up with your writing".  To you, this may not seem like much, but I cannot begin to say how much a consistent reminder helps.  It sort of creates the illusion of someone eagerly hounding me to finish so they can read it.  It's nice.  It gives my writing a purpose.  It gives me hopes of finishing and finishing well a sense of being possible.  I like that!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Case of the Wal-Mart Damsel

Today one of my roommates and I went to Wal-Mart in order to purchase some items with which to make a care package.  As we were parking a lady came and knocked on my car window.   We rolled down the window to discover that she was a woman in distress.

Apparently, the lady, named Phyllis was driving with her four children(two of them newborns, twins) when her can broke down on the interstate.  Phyllis had called 911, who called roadside assistance.  Then, roadside assistance brought her to the IHOP near Wal-Mart, but informed her that her car was not safe to drive home (her home was about an hour and a half away).  She said she called a couple of local Churches, the St. Vincent de Paul center, and the bus service, but could not find help.  Finally, she called a cab service, but she was short $16 and asked if my roommate and I would be willing to either find her a ride or just give her the $16.

My initial response was, it's only $16.  That's not very much money, right?  Certainly I can spare $16 to help someone in need.   But then it occurred to me that it might just be a scam.   And if the lady approaches 30 people in an hour and 1 in 3 people give her the $16, then in only 5 hours, that would be $800.  If it was a scam, it could certainly be a profitable one.  I asked the lady for her phone number and gave her mine, then I told her that I would get back to her after we got our groceries.

So, first things first, I called my mom.  She said she would not give the lady anything were she in my shoes.  Then my roommate called one of the churches that Phyllis claimed to have called.  They said that they hadn't heard anything of that nature, but if they had, they would only be able to help a parishioner as their funds were limited.  Still not convinced that it was a scam and wanting to help Phyllis if it wasn't,  I called the police department.

They sent an officer over to look into it.   The officer seemed to believe that it was a scam but agreed to take a look around the Wal-Mart and IHOP parking lots to make sure that she didn't need help.  In the end, I think that it turned out to be a scam, but either way if it hadn't been a scam, then the good officer would have helped Phyllis and goodness will be served!

That said, how would you have handled this situation?  I'm really interested to know.  =)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Case of the Sleeping Student

So I have this babysitting job once a week.  It's on Wednesday mornings from 7:45-10:30.  I love the little boy I babysit.   He's so cute and smiley!  The trouble is, I'm pretty sure I'm about to lose the job.

Why?  Well, the answer is simple enough.  I have been late due to oversleeping no less than 6 of 11 times.  Pretty bad, right?  I've tried just about everything I can think of: going to bed early, setting multiple alarms, having my employer text me as a reminder.  It's looking pretty grim, folks.  So, what's a girl to do?

I really don't want to lose the job, but the parents of this little boy need to get to work/school in a timely manner and if they can't depend on me, then that's a problem.  This morning, I actually woke up to my alarm, couldn't figure out why it went off so early and adjusted it to go off at 9:45.  It will be a miracle if I still have this job by the end of the month.

Any advice?