Monday, May 25, 2020

In the Meantime - Still Winning

So much for an amazing 2020. I remember daydreaming about the year 2020 as a kid. As a life-long fan of sci-fi, I imagined flying cars and food replicators that would prevent starvation by now. Never did I imagine the entire world shutting down over a virus. I'm sure we all knew it was possible but felt invincible living in such modern times. Also never thought I'd be in Hunger-Games mode over toilet paper. Wow, 2020, you showed us! Dare I daydream about 2030?

Staying productive!

The pandemic has not deterred me from my writing goals. I've managed to maintain a consistent level of success. During this time of remote work and lockdown procedures, I have been busier than before the pandemic. As an academic advisor, I've been packing in a minimum of 12 hours a day, often more, just to stay afloat of our barrage of emails and student needs. As a freelance editor, I've been busy helping clients polish up resumes and cover letters. I'm also thrilled to be editing a book-length memoir.

Steady as she goes...

I continue to contribute to SMITH Magazine's Six Word Memoirs for which I was thrilled to participate in their first-ever Zoom meet-up with Larry Smith last week. My favorite and most-recent wins of late is becoming a volunteer staff editor with 101 Words, a flash fiction online publication. I've submitted work there before and love reading them. When I saw the call-out, I wasted no time in applying. Imagine my delight when I received the email that I was hired. It was almost like getting an acceptance letter ... but not quite.

Hard work pays off, even when it doesn't pay.

In this new role, I've had to learn new things like the Slack communication tool, Google docs, Wordpress, and the inner workings of Gmail. I've been learning more about fiction writing and study the styleguide frequently. I've written my very first rejection and acceptance letters, taking pride in my work, savoring the chance to help other writers. Volunteer, yes, but the value is beyond dollars.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Begins with a Win

I just realized my last blog post was 1/1/19, haha! That's sad, but here's another similarity that isn't sad but thrilling. This new year's day post will also include a huge milestone that involves SMITH Magazine's Six Word Memoirs. On 12/29/19, I found out I'd won first place in one of their contests for which there was 680+ entries. Check out the announcement on their page, or view my screenshots below. It was just the confidence boost I needed to get me motivated and back on track.

I started this blog to be a journal of my writing endeavors. As any writer knows, those highly coveted milestones are not easy to attain. It tends to be like an actor auditioning for a role with fierce competition. But I won't score any publishing credits without putting forth the effort, which means WRITING. I need to do more of that. I hear it all the time from friends and family. (But gaming Netflix, and crafting are such tempting time snatchers!) Aha, there are always distractions, but in a writer's mind, everything's a story! Life sure keeps my idea bank loaded. So I have no excuse.

Thanks to all who help me stay motivated, and cheers to 2020. Wishing you all a prosperous and joyous year ahead!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Best Start to 2019

It's 2:37 a.m. as I begin to write this post, the first in a long while. I have not written in months. I spent the previous 24 hours organizing my craft supplies. That was a monstrous undertaking. I make many trips to Hobby Lobby, so my room sort of looks like one.

My sudden inspiration? Well, it's the thing that ignites that feeling of accomplishment in a writer. Every small step and achievement counts so much. As I've mentioned many times before, I post on a site called SixWordMemoirs by SMITH Magazine and the talented Larry Smith. I've been on a hiatus there lately, moping through life only focusing on the things that make me miserable. And in my own defense, those things are aplenty right now. I decided to post a memoir to honor the new year, and it was chosen as memoir of the day, a spotlight on the site that isn't easy to obtain. So my memoir kicks off 2019 for this community of wonderful, witty people, many of which I call friends. I feel honored, delighted, and I can't help but hope this is a sign of great things to come this year. All I know is that I am surely going to put my best foot forward and the worst of the last few years behind me.

Cheers to success on day one of 2019. That means there are 364 more chances to do the same.

Happy new year, all!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Good news, good vibes

It's been a long, tough year for me, hence the blog hiatus. It started with influenza A in January. Influenza B in February, and then a stomach flu in March. Then a bad car wreck in April that I have not since recovered from emotionally. My hubby had surgery in June. And I had my first root canal ever in August. What should've been a 45-minute procedure turned into a 2.5-hour harrowing ordeal. I'll spare you the gory details. In the midst of these aforementioned adversities, there has been more cons than pros at times, and despite some intense efforts to stay positive I still ended many days asking "Why me?" Needless to say, I've fallen short on my reading and writing goals of late. I'm always struggling to stay afloat.

When I least expected it, something wonderful happened today that gave me the boost I needed to pick up my pieces and carry on.

So, I won a contest on SMITH Magazine's Six Word Memoirs (SWM). You can view the announcement here - Contest: Why I Love Where I Live. I posted a photo of me as a child standing yards away from the Space Shuttle Challenger. The contest called for a photo and backstory for the theme. I wrote about Houston, the Space City, and why I love it so much and feel proud to call it home.

Here is the link to my winning backstory and six-word memoir "There's always space in my hometown." The irony is that through all these tough months, I had a long lapse in posting on the site and hadn't entered any contests for months. I missed being a part of the SWM community and decided to log in and see what they had going on. I posted this last week as my only entry, and it won the backstory portion of the contest. I hope SMITH Magazine knows that it is also a place I consider home. It has been a great source of inspiration and support to me as a writer.

I'm sharing this as an example of why writers should never give up. Even after a lengthy drought, opportunities and milestones still lie in wait. Only our greatest efforts can take us there.

I'm so grateful for this 3-day weekend. I know what I'll be doing, for the most part.

Happy writing.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Day two of the new year. As with each new year, I feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm about pretty much everything. I don't bother setting resolutions, but rather keep the idea of them in the back of my mind. I want to write more, read more, stay more positive, shun negativity, submit more stories, enter more writing contests, meet more people, learn new things, get better at writing, make more paper flower designs, be a better human overall.

New endeavors this year, well. I started keeping a handwritten journal like I did when I was much younger. It's fun, nostalgic, and will help me remember things. I've updated my blog with this post. I've eaten healthy so far this whole year (ha!). And today, I go back to work after a 2-week holiday break, better after having the flu.

Reading wise, I am on book 4 of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series that became the show True Blood. So far so good. I met Charlaine Harris at a Story Con event in NOLA in 2016, so it's nice to read her work finally. Talented lady and such an inspiration.

Not a bad start to 2018. Let's see what else it brings.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Good news, good vibes

As a self-proclaimed wordie, I write and write and write. I read obsessively because it helps me stay current and knowledgeable. As writers, we do this without complaining or whining (well, maybe a little). Rejection letters mean progress, but an acceptance letter means ... well, everything.

I received a mood-altering email informing me that one of my six-word memoirs will once again be included in one of their upcoming books. I've been smiling ever since!  

Six Words Fresh Off the Boat marries the phenomenon of Larry Smith's successful Six-Word Memoirs with ABC and 20th Century Fox Television's hit comedy Fresh Off the Boat. The book captures hundreds of takes on the immigration experience, from every-day people as well as world-famous celebrities including Aziz Ansari, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Julianne Moore, Mario Batali, George Takei, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Billy Collins, Junot D az, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This book will have you thinking in sixes and challenging others to share six words about their lives.

If you're familiar with Orange is the New Black, then you know the character Larry. Well the real-life Larry is the one who started and oversees Six Word Memoirs. I submit dozens of memoirs to the Six Word Memoirs project each week (2,831 total so far, having joined in Oct. 2014). I won't know which one was chosen until I actually get my copy of the book, which comes out September 5, 2017. Even though it's just six little words, it has a big meaning because 1. I'll be officially published again in the non-fiction world, and 2. I'll be in a work that includes some very cool people, as you can see in the caption above. (Click the image to go to the Amazon page.)

What a nice boost of confidence. Just enough to keep me going. 

And going. 

And going.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Submission isn't a bad word

In the writing world, submission is the proof of productivity.

Often, my free time revolves around writing and creating paper flower designs. If my writing endeavors end in me submitting my story to one or many publications, I know I'm doing well. Still haven't scored my first fiction byline, but I'll die trying. I recently finished writing a ghost story that had attracted the attention of some editors who then requested character development and a more powerful ending. After completing that, I ended up with a story that is triple the size it was when I originally sent it. Hopefully, that isn't a new deal breaker. It's been resubmitted and was my last one for May.

Today, I submitted my first work of June, an essay to Chicken Soup for the Soul, under their book title "Stories of Redeption." I've been published there twice thus far. A third essay, focused on the subject of moms, had made it to the final round but didn't make the ultimate cut. Non-fiction is where I've had most success. No surprise since I was a journalist for 10 years. It's hard not to keep swimming in the sea of non-fiction possibilities, a world that still brings me joy. Fiction, though, is still my prime focus since it's new territory.

If you want to explore submitting to Chicken Soup, here is the link;

Because you never know.