Friday, March 20, 2009

The Learning Curve by Sarah Simas

I’ve been a new wife, a new mom and now a new writer. Each time, I had the bone-headed idea learning curves didn‘t apply to me.

Although my days as a “new” wife are long gone, my husband won’t let me forget the horrid Three Mustard Chicken I cooked our dog even refused to eat. Lucky for me, he didn’t channel the male species’ innate sense of self-preservation. Had he declared me the next Paula Deen, I wouldn’t have forced myself to open Betty Crocker’s Bridal Edition Cookbook.

Obviously, Betty knew husbands were out there starving to death.

Now I can cook most anything. I’ve yet to see him take a bite and go running for the sink with his hand over his mouth!

When I had kids … well, let’s just say I’m flabbergasted the nurse let me leave the hospital, much less, waved as I drove off with a defenseless baby. I’m sure every time I called the pediatrician, his nurses fought over who’d have to take the “Crazy Lady’s” call. Yet after three years, I feel confident, safe even, being locked inside a house ALONE with three toddlers.

Then I decided to write a romance novel. I’ve read the darn books for years, which is the same as experience, right? I even practiced my signature in preparation for my future book signings. Wanting an adoring fan club, I joined a writer’s group, knowing I’d be hailed a literary genius.

I’m fairly certain my face mirrored the same look of shocked horror I wore when I saw my hubby gagging on his mustard chicken. Yikes! My pages bled! I was afraid I’d leave a trail of red ink out the door.

Was I shocked? Yes.

Did my disappointment keep me from moving forward? No.

Instead, I refused to give up. I asked questions and took notes. I latched on like a barnacle to writers who were willing to show me the ropes. Now seven months later, I no longer write with my head in the clouds or in the 1980s.

I’ve learned things like the importance of word choice and sentence structure. By not giving in to my fears, I’m a lot closer to achieving my goals. I belong to two writers' groups and can’t believe how much my writing has improved. My continued progress keeps me motivated. I’m going to savor the feeling of writing “The End” as much as the day I got my son to sleep through the night.

So join a group! Get out there!

I’ll be just as grateful to the woman who told me my son’s desire to eat dirt was just a phase as I’ll be to the people who said stop worrying and just write the book. Yes, I’m still learning, but I’m enjoying the ride a lot more, because I’m surrounded by people who have the same desires.

The only way I can fail is if I were to throw in the towel. I didn’t then and I won’t now.

So ask yourself, how bad do you want to succeed and what are you willing to do to achieve your goals?

For me, it was simple: I took a chance. Will you?


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Second Times's a Charm?

Or so I'm hoping. I took June's advice and checked out Blogger. So right, June, this is soooo much easier! Easier to get it up and running, easier to post, easier to read, Stacey, and easier to comment, Ginny.

LOL, I know someone's not going to like something I've set up, but, well, you can't please everyone and that's life. We're up and running and we're staying exactly like we are!

Now, you do have to register with Blogger to participate, but, as I said, they're easy, so everyone please do sign up, even if you choose not to participate right now. I believe I've set it up that only members can comment, so even to do that, you must be a member of Blogger too.

I've reposted the two bloggings I've done since January, so if you'd like to still comment on those, especially the one from the beginning of the year, please do so.

We do have the option of hosting this blog somewhere other than Blogger, so that's something I'll have to see if we can do with our particular host. I don't know that what Blogger means is every other host on the internet, but I'll be looking into it. If not, we'll just link it from our site to Blogger.


Are You Ready to Rumble??

Previously Posted March 10, 2009 by SandyM.

Well, I found out at our last meeting that not many members knew our blog was up and running, let alone that I had posted something at the beginning of 2009. LOL, imagine my surprise! Are y’all just ignoring my emails?? I really did send an email for my blog post in January. Honest. Check it out here.

‘Tis okay, we’ll start again!


Actually, what I’d like to talk about now is expanding our membership. We have three new local members join the chapter, which is just terrific. We’ve also had several out-of-the-area members join us and that’s wonderful. We are definitely growing!

But we need to keep growing. So how about a brainstorm session on who we can contact to get the word out even further than we have so far that we’re here and we’d like anyone and everyone to join us. So all ideas and suggestions are welcome!

I’ll tell you what Dawna and I have done so far in spreading that word.

Channel 47

1. We’ve posted information with all four local TV stations in their Community Calendars and will continue to do so each month, especially now that we have great speakers lined up for the rest of the year.

2. We have done the same with The Fresno Bee. With them I’m not sure how much that will help; it’s not their paid advertising, so who knows.

3. We’re emailing the creative writing/English departments at all the Valley colleges and JCs we can think of.


4. We’re in contact with the Fresno County Library, main branch, and are sending our fliers and newsletter to them and they are, in turn, sending those out to the various branches.

5. We have sent out about 50 fliers to people who are on a list that Joan gave to us last year. Since the list is more than a year old, however, we’ll have to wait to see how many come back as undeliverable, but we thought it was worth the try. Is anyone here with PAN or PRO with RWA? If there is, would you mind checking the RWA website to see if there is a listing of folks in the Valley or even a couple-hundred-mile radious that you can get your hands on? We’re assuming that’s where Joan got her list, but we’re not 100% certain. There’s nothing we can find outside of the PAN or PRO areas on their site for that type of list.

Used Bookstore

6. We’re hitting the local used book stores each month with fliers, but we’re down to two or three of those now. So far we’ve been to The Book Nook at First and Herndon, The Bookworm in Clovis (who was very receptive!), and the bookstore in the Tower District, though I forget its name right now. We weren’t successful there yet, however, because they keep odd hours with no lising on the door as to business hours.

7. We’re trying to post fliers on bulletin boards where we can find them. So far there’s been only two: Uncle Harry’s in Fig Garden Village and Whole Foods. We’re looking for more, but they’re apparently few and far between.

8. We’ve shared our newsletter and flyer each month with a couple of other Valley writing groups.

So. Those are our efforts so far. I think we’re about ideaed out, the brains refuse to work anymore. Anything any of you can add is greatly appreciated. So let’s talk it out and see what we come up with! Any and all comments are appreciated!

A New Year Begins

2009On this first day of the new year of 2009, some of us mayhap have made those resolutions that we’re either very good at keeping or very good at not keeping. Myself, I’m not so good at it. Goals are mostly elusive for me too. I do even procrastinate to a point, but then when push comes to shove, I knuckle down and get the job done. Maybe it’s my choice of career for the last 20-some years that’s made me one who can reasonably deal with pressure. Maybe I just let the old water flow off my back and keep looking forward after the stress has been eliminated. Even though I may procrastinate, I’m fairly optmistic. So I do see the bright side, the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel in most situations. Guess maybe I’m a contrasting work in progress.


Since our January meeting will consist of creating writing goals for the next year, I thought our first blog of 2009 could go hand in hand with that meeting. What would you like to see happen with, at, for YRW over the next twelve months? We had our first big change when we introduced the structure of our monthly meetings after much discussion among our members. We know we are going to grow and continue to change not only throughout 2009 but also well into the future. So. Is there something specific you’d like to see happen? A particular program to implement that you think might work for us? A different way of doing something that will benefit the Chapter as a whole?

ideasSuggestions, ideas, discussions, advice, plans, proposal, heck even extortion will work if it’s beneficial and they’re all welcome! We’d love to hear what you think, what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard, what you want. I can’t guarantee that what you share with us will be, can be, should be implemented or carried out, but I can guarantee that we’ll listen, consider, discuss, scrutinize, contemplate whatever passes through our hallowed halls, figuratively speaking of course.girlfriends

I propose our first goal for our members is continuing our Blog. We have a terrific and varied membership that even if you’re skittish about talking about yourself, your life, your writing, your kids, your job, whatever, blogging here every couple of months should help you get over that phobia and eventually make it fun for you, as well as the rest of us! I mean, it will be just like talking to your girlfriends over a glass of wine or like those nostalgic slumber parties we all remember back when we were teens. We learn from one another, support one another, and cheer womankind on. (Okay, Bob, I realize you don’t have those experiences in your past, but look at all this as a way to get those female characters down perfect!)

Advice is welcome, secrets are sacred and safe, fun is to be had, ideas are fruitful, support is demanded, and sisterhood is sweet. Let’s revel in what we’re thankful to have, happy to share, and loquacious in what we want and need.

So wanna turn blogging? I’ll start a schedule. You give me a month.