Tag Archives: GPA

Tips on Tuesday: Distractions and Writing

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Last April 21, AnnDeeCandee wrote a blog for Throwing Up Words (if you don’t follow this blog, and you’re a writer, you should). She’d been on vacation and was trying to recuperate from . . . the vacation. Of course. You know the drill. She was finding all kinds of reasons not to write — don’t we all? But she suggested three things to do:

  1. List five things that distract you from writing.
  2. List what you are going to do when these things try to distract you from writing.
  3. List all the things you are going to work on with your WIP. Make a plan.

I did all three. As suggested. I even went back to her blog and made a comment thanking her for the suggestions.

Below, I’ll list the five suggestions with my answers which I wrote on April 22 (when I first saw her blog), and a follow up as to where I stand now on all points. Thanks for reading, while I try to be accountable:

  1. Money worries: I should pay what I can online or with checks, stop thinking about the rest, and turn on to my story file. Current: paid all current bills, paid extra on the one that was bugging me the most and which would help the most to pay down in the long run: A+
  2. Internet: stop checking the Internet first every day. Did work first, for about 2 days. Current: back to checking the Internet often — and first too many days: C‑ to D+
  3. Trapped/ Confused/At a Standstill in my story: Read story aloud (R.A.) to myself and talk to myself (fingers on keyboard) until something comes to me. Current: Did not R.A., or talk to myself, but did begin writing whatever came to mind while holding off my “inner editor.” B‑
  4. Clutter: desk & house: Clear desk nightly; get sufficient writing done to devote 30‑60 min to the house per day. Wrote daily, though mostly blogs and answers to emails. Current: probably giving the house the 30‑60 min. most days (though not my desk ! ! !) — but still spending more time writing blogs, journals and email answers than my books. Never fear: I have a deadline coming up and it starts now: WIFYR (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers), and we already have assignments to do before the June 16‑20 workshop. C-
  5. Appointments/interruptions to “schedule”: Get to appointments on time, keep phone, family & meals from interrupting writing flow and plans. Current: appointments have been kept (or deleted, which also needed to happen). Right about the time I read the Throwing Up Words blog referenced above, the IRS threw us a curve (which had to be dealt with), two separate family crises happened which took up a long week‑end and more, plus a long‑distance family event, with which we could only commiserate on by phone and email, caused some angst for a couple of days . . . but hey, it’s family: A‑

In all my years of public school, getting a B.A. degree, an M.A. degree, another academic endorsement and two more certifications, would I have been happy with the “GPA” displayed above (approximately a 2.5 or B-)? Not At All!!! But I am happy about some of the progress: I worked on each item to some degree. I can see where to spend my next major efforts. And I let family come before personal Plans and Goals. And that’s as it should be!

Accept the challenge to write your own worst five distractions to writing, and what you can do about them. Make your plan. Try it for a week or two, and report in — let me know how you’re doing!

See you next for Thinkin’ on Thursday!

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Saturday’s Softcover: My Mother was an “Elizabeth” Too!

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

My mother was named Margaret Elizabeth, but I never knew her to go by Margaret, or any of its wonderful permutations: Maggie, Meg, etc. In fact, she didn’t go by any of the changes to Elizabeth either—it was always full throttle: Elizabeth. And she loved movies. She felt very connected to two famous Elizabeths: Queen Elizabeth, who named her son Charles—my brother, almost exactly the same age, is named Charles. And she loved Elizabeth Taylor. So, when I saw Lu Ann Brobst Staheli’s book entitled Just Like Elizabeth Taylor, I knew I “just” had to read it.

The book is tender, frightening, angst-filled in part, funny, and ultimately— mostly—very happy,81N-fns-EuL__SL1500_ though I was in tears at the end.

Liz, named Elizabeth for the movie star, becomes Beth when she runs away from home. How will this young girl, not yet a teen, make her way on her own?  Actually, a lot better than she can do at home where her mother is too weak to give up the boyfriend who beats her, and Liz cannot fend off the boyfriend’s loathsome son.

Plucky girl that she is, she steals some money from the “boyfriend,” and runs away—but only as far as a fairly nearby town. She finds an abandoned shack at a winter-deserted K.O.A. place, where she manages to have bathroom/water/ electric amenities, ekes out her meager “savings” with school lunch and occasional lunch leavings from other students.

As the school year draws closer to an end, “Beth” must find a way to make a friend, save a lunch lady, let her mother know she is still alive, find a more permanent home, and bring justice to her “real” family, while maintaining a decent GPA so she won’t be “found out.”

At every moment, I was aware that the author had taught junior high school for years: she knew the angst, the failures, the desperation of some, the heartlessness of others, and the pluck of the brave. Just before the ending I was in tears: not because it was sad, but because I was so angry at what happened to “Beth” next: pulling all the threads together, the horrific scene had me crying for the unfairness, the drive, the caring this young girl exhibited. It was a fitting triumph, finally.

I know Liz, the lost girl. I know Beth, the loner. I know Elizabeth, the winner. I’ve taught those high school, junior high school and middle school kids too. Read it, and you’ll know them as well!

 See you day after tomorrow for Monday Moans!

A1YSS+kQ4cL__SL1500_BTW, the prolific Staheli also has a book, A Note Worth Taking, about “best” friends, surviving lost friendships, making new friends—you know, all those things we suffered in junior high or middle school. I’m reading it next—you should too: it’s on sale at Amazon for $0.99 through the end of July.

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