Tag Archives: advice

Who I Became

In spite of my romance novel-reading ways, I was never an honor student. I didn’t sit on the stage for my high school graduation and there was serious doubt that I’d ever graduate from college. How many times did I sit on my swing at home with a 40oz beer and a Milky Way crying my eyes out because I couldn’t pass Math 101? Heh too many to count. Yes, I was that person in college who was in school long enough to get a Masters.

In all those years I was in college, real life seemed so far away. At first, I was trying to find my feet and learning to juggle a 18-credit semester with work and band. Yes, I was a band geek in college. Once I got the hang of things, I discovered the fine art of partying. *cough* Yes, my friends and I knew every bar in a twenty-five mile radius and which ones had $1 beer night on which day of the week.

Needless to say, I didn’t spend an awful lot of time on my books and studying. I didn’t completely slack; I just didn’t hit them as hard as I should have. I had a friend who always finished his papers a month before they were due, while I and two other friends would write them the night before. Cramming? It was a way of life for us. Yes, I wrote a 35 page independent study paper the morning it was due. *cough* And the professor loved it.

That was normal for me. I crammed, I procrastinated, and I graduated.

Twelve years later, I’m shocked to discover my nephew—who is about to start his second year in college—was finishing up a research paper the day before it was due. Why am I so shocked? I know what college life was like. I lived it and loved it until it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. I suppose I’m so shocked because my nephew, unlike me, is a good student.

He has the GPA I never had and he’s more driven that I ever was. When he told me his paper was due so soon and he was just about to start typing it up…I had the nerve to ask, “Waited kind of late, huh?” *face slap*

It’s funny though. Now that I’ve had years to look back at my college days, I shake my head and think “I was a stupid kid”. Yet, I can’t deny that those were some of the best days I ever had. Sure, sure, my friend who wrote his papers a month in advance takes vacations to Italy and I’m lucky if I can go to Biloxi for a weekend, but I’m strangely okay with that.

So I will not fuss my nephew for not being an overachiever. Nope. I will not become that person who always says, “When I was your age…” because honestly? I was a lot worse than he will ever be, LOL

How about you? Do you find yourself warning those younger than you about something you’ve done in the hopes they’ll avoid the same mistakes? Do you ever want to slap yourself because you know it won’t do any good anyway?


Filed under Family

Advice From Non-Writers

Lately I’ve begun to introduce my writing self to friends and family. For the longest time, the only people who knew I was attempting a writing career were my mom, my brother, sister, and best friend. I wasn’t comfortable revealing my “secret” self to the world. I’m still a little unsure about it, but I’ve grown more confident in myself.

A few weeks ago, my dad called me. Let me just first explain that we’re not terribly close. It’s no big tragedy or anything, but he doesn’t understand me and never has. I’ve come to accept that and I love him anyway. Anyway, I finally told him a few weeks ago (before the agent called) that I’m a writer. What was his first question? “Did you write about me?” Um, no. Sorry.

That wasn’t the first time someone’s asked me if I based any of my characters off of my friends and family. A friend of mine asked if I’d used my friends as a base for my characters. The answer again was no. Oh I might pick and choose little snippets of conversation only I seem to remember, or incidents they want to forget and twist them into the story, but for the most part, my characters are their own…people. Meh…weird.

So now on to the writer’s advice. At my nephew’s graduation, I broke the news to my dad and stepmom that I have an agent. My stepmom asked me what I wrote and I told her. Then she says, “I have a really good idea for a story”…yeah, okay! At the bachelor party, my sister-in-law’s cousin shouts down the table…And this is as close to word-for-word as I can get:

“When you write your next book, I have a great story. Ready? Okay, so it’s in the future when they can clone people. This man’s wife has lung cancer so they clone his wife to get the lungs from her clone. And get this! The man falls in love with the clone! Cause…it’s like his wife. But then she has to die cause she’s the clone and his wife needs the lungs! But it’s his wife!”

Me: “Have you thought on this idea a long time?”

Him: “Nah, I saw it on the King of Queens.”

It was funny, but it made me realize that people who don’t write always seem to have an idea of what would be a great book. They think it’s easy to sit down and bleed into a keyboard for months. They don’t realize that once you write “The End” the story still isn’t finished because then come the edits. But even then the story isn’t ready. You have to send it to a critique partner who’ll rip it to shreds and says, ‘AGAIN with the voices!’ or ‘There’s an awful lot of thrusting going on, sounds like an orgy!’. Then you fix all that thrusting in non-sexual situations and get rid of the voices and send it back to your critique partner. Then when they finally say, “Okay, this is good” you have to send it to other people and hope/pray/make sacrifices to the gods that you’ll be chosen above other equally desperate and more talented writers. Then you have to wait again!

So now, every time I see my mom or brother, the first question out of their mouths is, “Did you hear back from your agent yet?”, “Maybe you should call her.”, “Do you think she’s waiting until she has news?”. Meanwhile I’m in a constant state of paranoia (although that his lessening somewhat) that I’ll get a Dear Jane e-mail and she’ll break up with me. Not that we’re dating, but we’re in a relationship now. Kind of. Sort of. I haven’t signed the pre-nup yet.

(Wow this is therapeutic. See, this is why I blog. I’m so saving money on therapy.)

Anyway, I don’t even know if there’s a point to this post. Let me re-read it. I knew it, there’s really no point. However, there is an underlying message. Somewhere. I think. Oh right. Writing isn’t something you can just do. You have to work at it, perfect your technique. Kind of like playing pool or learning an instrument. You have to take lessons, learn from people who actually know what they’re doing. Okay, I’m going to stop rambling.

If you have anything else you’d like to add, feel free! I’m going to call this Rambling Tuesday. Or Rant and Rave Bruiseday. Hm.


Filed under Family, Writing