Thursday, December 29, 2016

What to Get Your Writer: REAL Gifts Writers Will LOVE

Once you start to get known as a writer, you'll get on a bunch of lists, willy-nilly.  At this time of year, ALL of those mailing lists and every ad on your social media will send you suggestions of Things To Get Your Writer.

Almost all of these are wasted on me.  I don't need a costume.  I don't wear T-shirts.  I HAVE ballpoint pens.  I don't use notebooks, especially not cutesy touchy feely fill in the blank ones.  Sticky "inspirational" notes for my computer?  Just, no.  Pins for my jacket?  I don't think so.  Gift cards for Starbucks?  I don't like coffee and I couldn't possibly write there.  Where's my huge desktop computer?  My comfortable chair?  My lake view?

Here's what you can give your writer that she or he will appreciate and use.  They're all based on one simple notion:  what a writer needs most is TIME TO WRITE.  Among other things, we Buddhists clean our houses for New Year's, symbolizing and giving a fresh start.  This means REALLY clean, not just the regular weekly routine.  I'd feel wrong if I didn't do it or have it done, and this year there is nobody but me to do it.  Yet, I'm writing well and fast right now in first-draft (the hardest) mode and I don't want a single second away from my computer and research materials.  I need to plan it out, then write it down.  What do I need?  I need TIME.  Give your writer some TIME.  Here are some ways to do that, and only a couple of them cost money.

1.  Housekeeping service.  Hire somebody to dig out your writer's den every other week -- they don't come weekly anymore -- for a period of time.  Forever would be good.  While the cleaner is there, the writer can research, run to the library or bookstore, or (if there's a closing door) actually write while the rest of the house and the laundry get spiffed, and move to another room when it's time for the Writing Room to get cleaned.  Or you set a regular time when YOU do it.  That costs you nothing.  Regular times are important.  Just trust me on this.  It's no help at all if your writer can't count on things getting done as if by magic.

2.  Do the dishes and fluff the house every single night.  If YOU do the dinner-dishes thing every night and a little house fluffing, your writer can dive into the computer and get that scene down.  This is a great gift for a writer with a day job.

3.  Take care of the children.  This is also great if your writer has a day job.  Make regular plans for YOU to do the homework-bath-story-bed routine every night.  Couple that with the dishes and fluff routine and your writer now has two or three hours every single night to devote to her or his craft, and still enough time to kiss the kids goodnight and spend some quality time with you.

4.  Yard and garden.  Yep, if you take care of those, or pay someone else to do it, your writer can do something else, like write.

5.  Run the errands.  Pick up the children, take them to practices and games, get the things on the list from the grocery store or hardware store or cleaners.  Great for non-custodial parents, grandparents and others who live nearby and want to nurture their relationships with the kids.  No kids? Running errands and shopping for your writer when you do your own is a fantastic gift.

6.  Set aside regular times to amuse yourself (and children, if any).  In return, ask your writer to set aside time for you and the family (if any) to go do fun things.  Some times the writer will be on a roll and won't have a spare second.  When a draft is resting or in publishing production, or a writer is between books, she or he will want to do other things and have more time to do them.  Recognize the patterns of a working writer and go with them.  This is a mutual gift.  Scheduling quality time makes it happen.

7.  A couple of the "List" ideas are good, but cost.  A gift card to an on-line or physical bookstore or a specialty library membership allows your writer to get exactly what she or he wants and needs.  An all-expense paid trip to a conference relevant to the writer would be great.  A class your writer wants to attend would be appreciated.  All of these depend on what your writer wants.  Ask your writer before buying books, booking conferences or enrolling them in classes.  A "Write Your Memoir" class at the local Senior Center or Community College might be perfect for someone who wants to get started on a memoir, giving motivation and structure.  The Romance in the Moors Conference would be fabulous for someone who writes historical romances.  Those wouldn't work at all for somebody three books into a dark dystopian future series.  Ask your writer first.

8.  If your writer doesn't have a dedicated writing area, give her or him one.  Spend a little time selecting a location, setting it up and keeping it sacrosanct.  Space in the physical sense is also an excellent gift.

9.  If your writer is published, BUY THE BOOKS.  Give them to people.  Donate them to toy drives, schools and libraries, as appropriate.  WRITE THOSE REVIEWS.  They mean a lot, and few people, even those who love the books, actually do it.

Your writer will love you, and I promise she or he will show it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Too beautiful for words

If a child you know got a tablet as a gift, make it ultra-special with the addition of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy THREE BOOK BOX SET.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes and ALL THE USUAL OUTLETS.

It's so beautiful outside, with ice on the lake, the fire burning, the sun shining, the breeze lifting flakes to flutter in the ultra-cold air. There's 14" of Mother Nature's finest on the ground, and today it will become well-behaved as walks are cleared and roads are better plowed. It's so lovely I start a poem every second and then another before I've finished the first. My heart lifts with joy!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Everything to Everybody!

One always hears that one must WRITE EVERY DAY.  Those people don't seem to care whether you're working on a long-term project or writing a grocery list.  One MUST get up in the middle of the night and bash out something.

So, what IS writing?

When I'm working on a book, I come to stops sometimes.  I know, overall, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT,  mostly, but I don't know how to get there.  Sometimes, things have changed in my little universe, and WHAT HAPPENS NEXT isn't what I thought it was going to be.  (Really?  The Dragon King is getting playful?)

I need to figure that out, not write a 6-word short story or a 1000 word description of what's out my window.

I may not be sitting at the computer, but I am writing.  I am thinking about the all-important WHAT COMES NEXT.  When the scene comes clear, I dive for the computer and get it down.  Often, that starts a flow that jumps from idea to idea, and thousands of words land on the screen.  I DO think that is writing!

Solstice was yesterday, next up is Christmas, then Festivus, Hannuka, and (the big one for Buddhists) New Year's.  Whatever you celebrate, have a merry one, and the happiest in the New Year.

Here's where you can buy The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series Omni, in all possible formats, e- copies, and the hard copies are linked up through Amazon.  It's a lovely world to visit, and it just keeps getting better.  Enjoy.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Three Book Set
Amazon Link
Apple Link
Barnes & Noble Link
Kobo Link

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Did 2016 kill social media?

Several people showed me clearly this year that they were people I don't want in my life, and were duly removed from my personal page on Facebook.   I find I stay off of Facebook most of the time now, and get rid of torture posts (hopefully forever) and all the bullshit, and there's not much going on in the Wonderful Worlds of Vegan/Vegetarian cooking, science, music, history, math jokes, literature and art.  I can't bring myself to post anything that's going to be responsed to with hatred, bile and personal attacks -- which can include such things as sports, recipes and art.  I am DONE.  Those people don't get to do that to me any more.

I am sick and tired of hearing all the horrible sexism and racism and lies that seem to go ON AND ON AND ON as though certain groups think they've been given a License to Hate.  No, I don't want to "get over it," because some things are too terrible to get over, and I'm NOT going to let you get away with that crap, or shove it in my face with accompanying calumny.  Your lies, hypocracy and double-think make me want to throw up.  I have better things, and more effective, things to do.  If that's who you are, I don't want to know you.

I trust no media at ALL, and haven't since I was in college, especially and particularly from the US, except maybe the NYT, Washington Post and CNN, and those with reservations and research.  Like always.  Nothing's changed there.  Boyz in the Basement and Treehouse News (NO GURLZ ALLOWED) are not now and never have been reliable news sources, and I'm tired of people pretending they are, and trying to get me to give them credibility, which isn't going to happen.
Lies do not become truth through repetition.  I am tired of advertisting masking itself as news and all the lying headlines.  Not interested.  I'll do real science research, not read your flipping, endless, ad, TYVM.

I rarely Tweet and never Instagram.  I take lousy pictures -- and who wants to look at me or still more nature scenes? -- and run short of time every day already without Tweeting "I'm running late" and "too much to do; not enough time" constantly.  Who cares?

I do this blog and the Toki-Girl and Sparrow-Boy accounts because I am told it is vital to do all these things (that a million other writers and wanna-bes are doing) to keep promoting my excellent and entertaining books.  I'm working on Book 4, in which Uncle Yuta Has An Adventure, right now.  The Meiji era wasn't always a happy place and strange things happened that adversely affected many people even as others became staggeringly rich, creating the basis of an economy that remains today.

I miss some of the people I've cut off or avoid because I used to think I liked them, overall.  Others I can't believe I wasted time on.  They are fools having temper tantrums, and I can't be bothered with their idiocy.

The prevelance of this rotton behavior, all the hatred, all the lies, all over the Internet makes me want to go back to the days of using this medium for reseach, which it's really good at.

Is social media dying because of all of this?

It sure is for me.