And the Bad Mother Award goes to…….

Raising a liar? The Chicago Tribune reported that the story of the Botox Mom was a hoax and that she did it for cash! What does that say about her as a parent – lying about something to collect money?

According to the article, she was paid $200 to read a script of incident by The Sun. This modest fee led to another for $10,000 for licensing rights of pictures to Good Morning America.

Regardless of how horrible the idea of injecting a child with Botox, even worse is the fact that she is a prime example of a poor role model for her daughter. Lie and get money is the lesson here. Do whatever you have to do NOT to be yourself, don’t be open with people and you’ll get paid for it. Sure, you may feel bad for not telling the truth and then getting caught in a lie, but you’ll make money off of it.

Do I feel this woman should lose custody of her daughter now? Well, she was caught lying and not actually injecting her daughter with Botox. The former is not as physically harmful as the latter so I’d say no she shouldn’t lose custody. However, she SHOULD be mandated to take a parenting class and forced to pay back the money she obtained.

Hopefully, the bad press that this woman receives over the hoax will be enough of a motivator to get her to show her daughter what it means to be honest and decent rather than untrustworthy and dishonest.

Use Your Senses – Do you hear what I hear?

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. “Do you hear what I hear” is a popular Christmas song, but for me,  it’s an inspiring way to write.

In my last post I challenged you to use your senses to get you writing. We writers can often get bogged down by the writing process and get side-tracked. Sometimes we forget that writing is about using all of our senses – listening is a great one to use.

My day job requires me to listen to people  – everyday I listen for needs, requests and feelings. Part of my job is to be an active listener – ie – giving my full attention to someone else. I pay attention to the content of the statement and then repeat it. I also pay attention to what isn’t said out loud. Hearing something – ie in the background – is very different from actively listening to something and being able to repeat what you heard.

Your challenge, Freshman Writers, is to sit on your own and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you for five minutes and then write about it. Did you hear a train rolling by (as I do everyday at work) or did you hear the buzzing of a bee? If you have a hard time recalling the sounds you hear, try using a digital recorder or use the voice note function on your smart phone if you have one.

If you can take the sounds you hear and convert them into words, you can help your writing shine by being more descriptive and expressive. Your readers will be able to understand how the screeching of a howler monkey can resemble nails on a chalkboard and cause you to grind your teeth in reaction. Not pretty sounds by any means, but you get my point – those sounds are painful to the ear.

Use your hearing sense to write and see what you come up with. Feel free to come back and share your experience.

Happy Writing!

Use Your Senses – Eyeball it

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. This post is one of five that I’ll be sharing here about using your senses to help you write. Read on for this week’s prompt and come back here for more in the coming weeks.

My day job finds me working with people everyday. I listen to what they say (or don’t say) and watch their body language.  I have to figure out how people feel, whether they reveal it with words or action. After lots of training at school and experience in the field, it’s very natural for me. Eyeballing people can be a great way to get yourself writing.

What does this have to do with you Freshman Writers? Here’s a prompt for you. Find a comfortable place to sit where it’s busy with people. Describe what you see and only that. Use active words to describe actions, colors, textures, etc. See what you come up with and feel free to share it here.

Happy Writing!

Catching up with myself

This week brought me one major accomplishment – passing my licensing exam. I rarely share it here, but one career goal is to be a licensed professional in my field.  No more waiting for the exam date, no more stressing out over what I know or don’t know and no more darn studying.

I’d been studying for seven months now and felt stuck in other aspects of my life because I was waiting to pass this one exam. I stuck with it because I knew that gaining my licensure would open many doors.  I’m in shock right now that something I set out to do six years ago has finally come to pass.

I realized that this morning as I shared the news with a friend. Six years from the time I started grad school until now. The first thing I wanted to do was sleep because I hadn’t slept well for several nights prior to the exam. To suddenly have the weight of this lifted from my shoulders and see this huge goal achieved has really caused me to stop and reflect on what I want to do next.

Of course, the next step is to find a new dayjob with my shiny, new license (ie better pay and better hours). Then I started thinking of what else I wanted to accomplish because I really can do anything I put my mind to.  So, I thought about my writing.

I’ve felt stunted in the writing process simply because it wasn’t my central focus for the last several months. I still wrote, but not in a planful way because I didn’t make the time for it. My time was for studying and building up my self-confidence for the exam.

I’ve now been doing research on breaking into magazines (yet again), but with small goals in mind. I’m starting with fillers just to get my feet wet. I’m also doing research on effective blogging so that I can grow The Freshman Writer blog as well as to market myself better as a blogger in general.

I can see that my writing talent now is in blogging. Since I know I can blog, why not put my energy into it? Other ways I’m catching up with myself is to focus on things that I love doing – writing, reading and having time to myself. I really missed just being me.

Under Pressure

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about being under pressure and how that affects your writing. I came up with this after going through my own ‘dry’ period and wrote about it here.

For some, being under pressure works. It can motivate you to push yourself harder and further in your writing. That kind of pressure can get you to try new forms of writing, submit to that magazine (that you think is out of reach) or start a new writing project. It can help.

For others (like me recently), being under pressure doesn’t help. It turns our brains into mush, keeping us from writing a coherent thought. Pressure can be intimidating and makes the road to publishing daunting.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. I have a couple of tips that can help you depressurize and get back to your writing.

1. List all of the things that are bugging you. Even the small act of writing out our stresses can lighten the load and helps get the junk out.

2. Separate the things that you can change and the things you can’t. There’s so much that we think about that is out of our control. The weather, the economy, gas prices – there’s just too much out there that we can’t do anything about. So why worry about it? Get rid of the stuff that you can’t fix and work on the things you can.

3. Figure out ways to deal with the things you can change. Maybe change your writing schedule or read a good book. Take a walk or start a journal. Your power is in your hands and you can make your writing happen. No one else can do that for you. Life will continue on without you anyway, so focus on the stuff that matters to you.

4. Give yourself a break. Being under pressure can be hard because you feel you don’t have a chance to breathe. Take five minutes or 30 seconds to just sit and breathe. Take in the oxygen (good stuff) and get rid of the carbon dioxide (bad stuff).  The act of deep breathing (if you allow it) can calm you down and prepare you for the next step.

Life is hard and we all know that. These tips have helped me let go of the junk, empowered me to get back on the horse and allowed me to write again. I just wanted to share with you the tricks that get me through challenging days. Feel free to share what helps you Freshman Writers release pressure and write.

Happy Writing!

Depressurizing

I wasn’t sure if the title was even a real word, but on Free Dictionary depressurization is defined as such:

tr.v. de·pres·sur·ized, de·pres·sur·iz·ing, de·pres·sur·iz·es

To reduce the pressure of air or gas within (a chamber or vehicle, for example).
 
The pressure is my life and the chamber is my brain. I’ve been feeling under pressure over several things going on in my life. Dysfunctional relationships (both near and far), limbo at the day job and generally overthinking things has all been affecting my writing. I’ve been talking about writing, but not doing it lately.
 
Other than the posts for the parenting site, I’ve not done much. Not even journaling. After a rough start to my morning (thanks to one dysfunctional relationship) I began journaling. I can’t say enough how great it is to get the junk out of my head and onto the screen. My innermost thoughts are exposed (though only to me) and I feel lighter already.
By finally writing about all the crap taking up space in my brain I feel better able to focus on where my writing (and the rest of my life) will go.
 
Depressurizing has really helped me today and inspired me to write a post for The Freshman Writer. Happy writing for me!
 

Need Inspiration – Take a Walk

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post came from my walk this morning.

When I heard the weather this morning (62 degrees), I decided to walk to work today. The 20 minutes of solitude was great. It allowed me to run through the things I did yesterday, things I needed to do today and things that were picking at my brain.

Sans Ipod, I was able to think about goals, dreams and tasks. I also enjoyed the silence of the morning. There were a few birds chirping, but there was silence for the most part to join me on the walk. 20 minutes was enough to bring me clarity about things that were bugging me and inspired this post.

Writers, if you stuck on a piece or can’t get yourself organized to write – go for a walk. Stepping away from writing for a while can help you stop, breathe and think so that you can get back to it.

Happy Walking and Writing!

Feeling Stuck

I’m feeling a bit stuck with my writing today. Maybe it’s because I’m tired. Or because I’ve been writing a lot. I don’t know what is going on, but at least I can share that here.

What I will say is that I’ve been doing a lot around writing this week. I emailed three posts for the Naptime Blog along with my invoices, I bought a few new books this week (one writing book included) and I posted a list of favorite websites over at The Freshman Writer.

Not too bad at all for a week of feeling a bit lazy and disconnected from my writing. I’m going to start journaling again because it was the only thing that helped clear my mind, get rid of the junk and get back to writing.

How do you get out of a rut? Feel free to share your thoughts with me.

Later!

A Writer’s Learning Moment

This morning before school, kiddo had to finish a writing assignment. He was given a list of words and instructed to write a story, poem or song using at least 12 words. He complained that it was hard (he hates doing anything homework-related) and needed help.
After reading the list myself, I could understand why kiddo had a hard time. He had to create something new with a list of random words that didn’t seem to match at all. I looked to see how they were all connected. Kiddo already had a title – “Dinner Blanket” and wrote it down. He just didn’t know what to do with it.
I told him to look at the words on the list related to dinner; there were several so he was able to write about cooking. He also chose a character (me of course) and a setting. He then wrote about the cooking part and ended the story with the blanket. Pretty good story overall.
What I realized was that my tutoring style could work for my own writing. Maybe I’ll write my own story for kiddo to read. 🙂 I smell inspiration coming.

March is Humorists are Artists Month

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about humor. So, here’s a brief joke to get you started.

Knock, Knock.

Who’s there

Humor.

Humor who?

Humor me will ya!

Okay, I know that wasn’t a good one at all. Humor writing is HARD. It is much harder to make someone laugh through writing (at least for me) than it is to make that person laugh by telling a joke.

Writing about humor is hard, I think, because it seems easier to write about anger, happiness and/or sadness. All of these feelings can be communicated, especially when you’re in the moment. I’m not saying that writing any of these is simple, but humor is something that has to be thought out, timed well and executed well also.

Ok, now that I’m writing this I guess all writing is hard. I’ve also tried my hand at it so I know that humor-writing is hard.So scratch this idea writers. Instead, I’ve got a few sites for you all to check out. A few pals of mine write humorous posts and I love them. Read on for some humor writing and see if you get inspired!

Happy Writing

Amy Mullis – This is an amazing writer if I do say so myself. She’s fun about all the things you expect and some of the things you don’t. She’s a great humor writer and I want to be like her when I’m further along in my humor writing.

An Army of Ermas – This website is packed full of Erma Bombeck fans and writers of wonderful humor. I love reading as much as possible and I know you will, too. And you’re welcome to submit your work should you take on the challenge writers. And I think you should!

Naptime Stories – I blog once (or more) a week on this site about my adventures as a mom. I’ve tried to make it as humorous as possible. Not necessarily for the readers per se, but to crack myself up when I want to tear my hair out! lol

A book recommendation – Since the website above was inspired by Erma Bombeck, I’m recommending Forever, Erma – a great collection of years of her columns sharing her parenting adventures, advice and humor.