Category Archives: Writing

Happy New Year!; news; word for the year

2019! 2019! 2019! 2019! 2019! 2019!

It’s hard to believe it is 2019 already, but that’s what my calendar says so it must be true, so …

                    HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!

I have a bunch of news to share with you.

About LIFE: Looking back, 2018 proved to be a more challenging year for me on a personal level. Sometimes you learn surprising and/or disappointing things about people. It can be quite impacting. Enough about that, except to say I’ve also learned more about myself, and that there is more to self-care than I realized. Although we are soon completing 8 years of daddy-care, I’m now giving myself time for new things, which I’ll tell you about. First I’ll mention that in November 2018 I passed a landmark birthday. It doesn’t even bother me; in fact, I’m rather happy about it. There really are some benefits to getting older.  🙂 My family had a surprise party for me, too, which was fun.

About HOME: We have a new kitchen and I love it! (did I tell you this before?) My husband completely renovated it from a tiny space to a very large and up-to-date one. I have an ocean theme happening in there and it brings me such peace. Did I say I love my new kitchen? From start to finish it took a year, but it wasn’t that bad living with my kitchen things stored in several rooms, and using a two burner hot plate, knowing what was coming. We still got along fine, despite a few enthusiastic discussions, and it has all come out better than expected.

About WRITING: You all know that writing was my main reason for this blog, well … writing and books, books, books. Because of … stuff in my life … stresses, depression, much tiredness, and so on, the joy of writing disappeared and writing became a burden to me. All that hoping and planning and effort had to be set aside; I did the minimal and stopped expecting more of myself than I could manage. The heaviness lifted which confirmed it was the right thing to do for now. I still am interested in writing and believe I will come back to it again as I always do. Can’t stay away. My blog suffered and I feel I’ve let you down, for which I apologize.

About ART: Since I have to be doing something creative, you might be wondering what I was led into now. In July, thanks to a set of situations that God put together so beautifully, I began PAINTING LESSONS!  Yes!  This is something I’ve been wanting to learn since I was 17, decades ago. It didn’t work out for me then, but the time is right for me now and I am loving it. My teacher is a very talented professional artist who is patient, easy to work with and fun to be around. That’s what works for me. 🙂  I started with private lessons, then joined others for two sets of classes spanning eight weeks, and now I am renting space in his studio and getting help when I need it – which is still very necessary. I’ve met other interesting painters, all women, and two in particular I paint with the most. They’re funny,  talented, and great to spend time with in the studio. Being the only one with no background experience in painting, I learn something every time I’m there to work on something, which is only one morning a week at this point, but I’ve completed two oil paintings that now are hanging in my house. If you are interested in seeing some of my teacher’s work: ARTCAN

About READING: If you happened to peek at my reading progress, which you can access from the menu at the top of the page, you’ll have seen that I did a huge amount of reading last year. My total?  1389!  I can hardly believe it myself! Most were pictures books, but I read several novels and also enjoyed audio books. Goodreads sets a reading challenge every year, so in 2018 I set mine at 500. Guess I beat that one with no problem! This year I may have set my personal goal too high – 1000 – but I’ll see what I can do. 

About EVENTS: The exciting news for 2019 is that another of our daughters is getting married to a great guy. They’ve set the date for April and are having their ceremony in Jamaica, following that small event a few weeks later with a big  celebration with family and friends in May. It’s going to be a busy spring!

About MY WORD FOR 2019: The past several years I’ve chosen a word for the year. Actually, I wait for it to be given to me, and this year it was immediately revealed. FLOURISH. That’s got an expansive feel to it, freeing and creative.

About GOALS: As you know, I don’t set new year resolutions, I set goals. I didn’t do very well with them last year, so for 2019 I simply want to improve in my painting skills, read lots, and gradually get back what I lost. 

Now it’s time to stop and let you do some sharing. What were the highs and lows of your 2018? Do you have goals for 2019? And do you have a word for the year? 

I hope to hear from you. ♥  Sending you love.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

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Pre-Spring storm & #50 Precious Words

Hey, everyone!  So sorry I’ve been mostly silent. I’ve been having quite a struggle with depression and tiredness and feeling overwhelmed with things going on.

Yesterday was a good day, though. In the morning my husband and I spent 1.5 hours with the man (family business) we’ve hired to build the cabinets for our new kitchen. In the afternoon he paid us a visit at our house to do final measurements and decision-making. It’s been a long complete renovation, started in summer last year, but it’s going to be so nice when completed. My husband did all the work in our remodel to this point, and has done a very fine job. Since November we’ve had our kitchen spread over, and stored in, several rooms in our house, so not an easy way to manage meals. We’re expecting that at the end of April our new cabinets will be installed, then we can get the countertop in place (a separate piece of workmanship to match our new floor – both done by our son-in-law) and have our new appliances delivered. Yes, it’s a major undertaking after 40 years of a tiny kitchen and dining area. Save and plan, plan and save.

This is exciting to me, too:

 

 

 

 

 

Today I want to show you the pretty results of a late winter/pre-spring snow storm that came upon us yesterday and last night. Apparently, many areas – including at my house – lost power and phone lines – but not here at my dad’s. The snow is very wet, so extra heavy, and as you can see in these first photos it weighed trees right down over roads. Some we could drive under but others were so low it meant driving around them and hoping to not meet vehicles coming the other way. Unfortunately, the best shots were blurred since we were moving and swerving (cautiously to get under).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next 4 are of the view out my dad’s windows at 8:00 this morning. Snow is falling off the trees in big whomps! so when out there one does not want to be under the trees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had barely any snow left anywhere before yesterday. Winter’s last hurrah, we hope.

A final note: There is a writing challenge called #50 Precious Words in its second year and created by Vivian Kirkfield. Entry time is over now and the many brief stories are posted for your enjoyment and are being judged. One of my stories, simplified and changed, is posted near the end of the comments/stories. I expect nothing special to come from it in the form it’s in, but it’s there anyway. You can read all the stories HERE.

What’s going on in your life as we approach a new season? I’d love to hear about it.  ♥

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

The Valentiny stories are ready for your vote

Hi, Everyone!

Sorry I haven’t posted in over a week. I’ve been swamped.

I’m writing now to let you know the Valentiny stories are ready for your vote – if you are interested in participating in that. It’s very easy.  Susanna Hill has posted the twelve she and her helpers feel are the best ones and she’s made it easy for voting. Just read the twelve little stories, and then select in the poll the one you like best. I’ve voted.  And, no, mine didn’t make the cut.

Thank you so very much for all the kind and encouraging comments about my story.

 

 

 

GO HERE TO VOTE.

I’m still plodding along – reading many books, mostly picture books (as you can see on my books I read this year page), and hoping that I’m learning as I go. I’m behind in the writing class I’m taking (no surprise) but I find that interruptions – frequent interruptions – set me back a lot. It’s frustrating.

So, that’s all for this time.

Have you written anything fun lately? or read a book I might be interested in?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

and blessings on your day.

My entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny Contest

It’s that time of year again! Valentine’s Day is coming up and Susanna Leonard Hill has issued her writing challenge. Here’s what she wrote on her blog:

write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is hopeful!  Your someone can hope for something good or something bad.  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone hopeful (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using hopefulness and success in making us feel the hopefulness!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

If YOU want to enter her contest there is still time if you are reading this before the cut off date. If you don’t want to enter, please go to her blog anyway and read all the stories. I think you’ll even have opportunity to vote.

Here is my attempt in 208 words, I hope you like it:

                                          A Hopeful Valentine

You don't enjoy my sticky hugs, but helped me catch some icky 
bugs,
And when my best cap blew away, you gave me yours to wear
today.

A bully pushed me to the ground, but quickly knew the grief he'd 
found;
Because I'm small you stood for me, you stared him down, he let 
me be.
You held my hand to cross the street, and bought for me an ice-
cream treat.

At home you said to go away, to find some other place to play.
It's not my fault your vase got trashed and all your smelly flowers 
smashed.

You hung a sign upon your door, YOU CAN'T COME IN HERE
ANYMORE!
"Don't touch my stuff! Leave me alone! And NO, you can't play on
my phone!
Don't bother me, you little pest! Stop bugging me, I need a rest!"

I'm sorry! do you want a kiss?, I hope you'll soon get over this, 
Because when I'm afraid at night, you welcome me and hug me 
tight.

When you calm down I have for you a card I made with sparkle 
glue.
It's not a mushy valentine, because you are already mine;
You're my big sis and I love you, and by the way, you need more 
glue.



Thanks for reading, and ... Creative Musings!  :)  

It’s my 8th WordPress Blogiversary!

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 8 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

That’s the message I received from WordPress this morning. Eight years I have been blogging here! 

Looking back at the post I wrote on my 7th anniversary with WordPress, I see my goals haven’t changed much from a year ago. I did make PROGRESS, which was my word for 2017, although it’s not apparent to most people yet.  

THIS IS MY 800TH POST!

As of the time of writing this 800th post, my little blog has received 58,906 hits, up from 50,000 a year ago. Thank you for coming to read what I have to share. My official following has increased to 601 with the addition of two new people just this morning. Welcome! Do remember you can go back through my many posts, and by using the search gadget under which I have the heading FIND A WORD OR TOPIC you can be specific in your search, or you can search by CATEGORY. If you’re a writer, I hope you have taken advantage of bestselling author Sue Harrison‘s writers workshop – Writing the Third Dimension – which she generously posted here on Polilla Writes in monthly segments for three years. For free! You can find it by looking in the top bar under the heading Writers’ quotes, helps & workshops. Excellent teaching!

Over the past year I added more quotes, an author/illustrator interviews drop down menu, another contact number under Suicide Crisis Lines, and a gadget so you can read my posts in other languages for if English is a little difficult for you or maybe you are trying to learn another language. I also keep adding to Books I Read This Year, Book Reviews, Buy the Book – because .. well, I’m pretty much focused on books here. 🙂 Reading them, writing them, sharing them. 

I also have been astonished to see my most viewed post is consistently one from March of 2013, The cut worm forgives the plow.

Thank you for making my blogging life enjoyable. 

Please tell me, what has been your favourite or most helpful post here? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

My Successes in 2017

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2017.

Since setting goals instead of making resolutions has been my way for many years now, sharing what I see as my successes feels much more positive. So, in 2017 I have surprised myself because I:

1. settled on my word for the year – PROGRESS – and set out to make it happen in my writing as much as I could manage, and grew in confidence as a writer;

2. celebrated my 7th year of blogging here on WordPress on January 9;

3. wrote 144 blog posts, including this one and one scheduled for Dec 31;

4. wrote reviews of 67 books on my blog, 42 of which were written by 12 x 12 members – past and present;

5. interviewed 3 authors here on my blog, and 2 illustrators – my first time to interview illustrators;

6. participated in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm challenge and came up with 30 ideas for stories;

7. entered Susanna Hill’s Valentiny writing contest  (my entry);

8. entered Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge (my entry);

9. participated in ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) and read over 100 recommended picture books to learn more about writing picture books – and the reading continues;

10. read over 600 books during the year, all but about 60 were picture books;

11. wrote a 500-word story for a writing challenge through InScribe;

12. attended an information session with other local writers, put on by the writers federation of which I’m a member;

13. attended 15 (or more) webinars about different aspects of writing, mostly regarding picture books;

14. attended a full day online Picture Book Summit & won the big prize;

15. participated in all the 12×12 webinars – except for maybe one;

16. gained a picture book writer friend through 12×12 & we share about our writing life nearly every day;

17. earned a place on the 12×12 winners wall because of writing 25 new story drafts, 18 more than in 2016, (12 are required for the win);

18. wrote 6 revisions of stories;

19. got one story polished and submission-ready;

20. submitted story (point #19) to an agent – my first time to approach an agent;

21. received a reply from agent (point #20) with positive comments and helpful advice – a champagne rejection;

22. posted one of my stories in the 12×12 critique forum and received wonderful comments and helpful critiques, one by a critique ninja;

23. was gifted a helpful critique by author Marcie Colleen to further improve my story (point #19);

24. prepared, arranged, and published my dear mother’s children’s story as a photo flip book and had 8 copies printed for family in her honour;

25. believe more deeply I AM A WRITER!

 

 

 

What are YOUR 2017 successes? No matter how small or insignificant they might seem, they add up and fit together somehow. Please share with us in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

 

 

Top 6 comma problems (infographic)

Do you ever find that as you are writing your stories, or even a letter, you get stuck on where to put a comma, or you wonder if you don’t even need one? I know I get tripped up sometimes.

Below is a helpful infographic that might be useful to you. I hope you can see it okay.  If you need to enlarge it, left click on it and a magnifying glass should pop up with a + symbol in it. Click again to enlarge. When you want to get out of it you can simply hit your back arrow to bring you back to this page … where you can leave a comment. 😉  hint hint

Top 6 Common Comma Problems (Infographic)

Top 6 Common Comma Problems (Infographic)

Do you have problems with any of these in your work?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂