Sunday, March 30, 2014

So Much To Do . . . .

. . . .So little time.  Revelation~ to be an author, blogger, and speaker is hard work, with little pay but much reward.  And since I started later in life, I have a lot of catching up to do. If I want to write another book, I need to perfect my craft. That means writer’s workshops and conferences. At conferences you get to rub elbows with other authors, editors, publishers, agents and lots of other folks in the writing industry. In many ways it’s like boot camp–long days and hard work– if you are to get the most for your money. At writer’s conferences, I learn the art and craft of writing and also how to market what I write. That’s the hard part. I am not good at self-promotion and marketing so I usually find someone to help me and that generates more work on my part. Like everything else in life, you get out of something what you put into it. I am trying to look at this full-blown hobby of mine as a ministry—it ministers to me and hopefully to others as well.

I have three speaking opportunities in the next two weeks and an Author Meet & Greet at a local book store. Each one requires advance preparation, especially the class I am presenting at a nearby senior center. My topic is “Write Your Memories” and I will be showing my peers some of the many ways to preserve their legacy for the younger generation. I will tell them it’s not necessary to be a computer geek to use lo-tech and mid-tech writing tools. Then I will share more complex computer software packages that can be helpful to the more technologically advanced. I hope they don’t ask me too many techie-type questions. 

Making a new friend at a book signing
I am gradually learning more effective ways to use social media such as Twitter and Pinterest.  But I don’t want to spend all my time in front of a computer or with my head scrolling a smart phone. I understand how easy it is to get addicted to always being “social.” In addition, I am in the process of launching my website:  I am maintaining my present blog site, but there will be a link on my new website that will also connect you to this blog.

Then there are days like today when I am totally unmotivated to do anything connected to writing. However, I am determined to complete this blog so that I can post it before the end of March. I set myself a goal two years ago when I started blogging that I would post two times each month. Those dedicated folks who post twice each week or more are to be greatly admired. Writing presents so many opportunities, I will never be bored and for that I am very grateful. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Persistent Pansies

My containers filled with pansies are teaching me a lesson about persistence this spring. Like so many things in life, they started healthy and full of promise. I remember when we planted them last fall when there was a nip in the air and the days were getting shorter. Since those hardy plants are known for being tough, I just knew we would be rewarded with purple, yellow, and blue flowers all winter long. I didn't count on the Polar Vortex and nights of single digit temperatures, followed by inches of snow and ice. My frozen and battered flowers stayed hunkered down in their containers and produced only a few pitiful small blossoms. 

“Those early bloomers look dead,” I told my late bloomer husband. I just knew we would have to dig up the plants and redo the flower containers if we hoped for any spring color. My pansies had other ideas and must have adopted the motto: “Hope spring eternal in the human breast.” (Alexander Pope–An Essay on Man)  As soon as the first few days of 60 degree sunshine warmed those hibernating plants, they raised their heads and started to grow again. Now I am awarded with an abundance of colorful flowers with happy faces that provide color and joy to my front porch and back deck.
The persistence of my pansies is not just about the flowers, but a picture of life. Our days start out so full of hope and promise, but seem to be sabotaged by difficulties and challenges that knock us down for a while. Broken relationships, chronic illnesses, job loss, financial difficulties, prodigal children, and family deaths intrude and we find it difficult to raise our heads and bloom.

The expectation of our time is for a quick and easy fix to our latest dilemma. Chris Tiegreen in one of his devotional books wrote that we live in a “microwave world.”  Today we could add we live in a “Google world” that provides us fast answers to everything.  (Did you know the Internet celebrated its 25th anniversary this week? How did we ever live without it?)  The challenge of our day is to learn persistence and perseverance in the midst of difficulties with no fast fix.  The Bible admonishes us in Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Good advice for me to follow and share with my fellow readers. 

I really like the way comedian Jim Carrey put it:,“Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”