August 31, 2012

Words: Fascinating Facts Friday

As a writer, I love words. So for today's Fascinating Facts Friday I looked for interesting facts about words.

My Favorites

- The word 'set' has the most definitions among all the English language words in existence.

- The longest words without vowels are rhythm and syzygy (which means the alignment of 3 celestial bodies: the moon, the earth and the sun).
Note: Funny, I thought our English teachers always taught us that the vowels were a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y. That would lead me to believe these words in fact do have vowels.

- The English word fart is one of the oldest words in the English vocabulary.
Note: Clearly it caught on with the kids, the hip word of the day!

- Uncopyrightable is the only word in the English language that doesn't repeat any letter and is 15 letters long.
Note: Funny, my spell checker flags uncopyrightable.

- Angry and Hungry are the only two meaningful words that end with 'gry'
Note: This one makes perfect sense to me, because I'm often angry when I'm hungry!

- The shortest complete sentence in the English language is "I am".
Note: And what a powerful sentence it is.

- There are no words that rhyme with month, orange, silver and purple.

- Only 4 words end in -dous: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous and hazardous.

- There is a seven letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters, "therein": the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, here, ere, therein, herein.
- The word "testify" was based on men in the Roman court swearing to a statement made by swearing on their testicles.
Note: Would women boobify or vaginify?

- The letters H, I, O, and X are the only letters that look the same if you flip them upside down or view them from behind.

- The highest scoring word in the game Scrabble is "quartzy".
Note: I love Scrabble, so I was super-excited to find this fact. I know, I'm a nerd!

Which of the above was most interesting to you?

August 29, 2012

Romancing the Stone: ROW80 Update

Thanks to a full summer and an unrealistic sense of what I could accomplish with the kids home, I fell quite behind in July and August. Since I'm also training for my first half-marathon (which is Sunday, WOOT!), I compared the feeling to hitting my writing wall.

One of the reasons I so love the writing community is that they get it. As I explained here, another blogger/writer not only got it but helped me think of it in a new way... the writing forest. Instead of facing a hard wall, I could now imagine myself in a dense, dark forest. Amazing how freeing that was.

Then my imagination really took off. As a teenager, I loved the movie Romancing the Stone and was quite enamored with Jack T. Colton as played by Michael Douglas. From now on, when I'm struggling through my writing forest, I'll just imagine Jack in front of me, hacking his way through the dense forest with his machete. (Okay, I might just see myself as the sultry Kathleen Turner/Joan Wilder with my dress split up to there as well.)

For me, the trick has been getting back to a schedule. First thing, write. Why does something so simple end up being such a challenge sometimes? It really is about clearing time to sit and do nothing but write.

Since my summer was so disorganized, the "writing" time has been more about planning and getting my ducks in a row. But it's a start. Now I have a rough blog post plan, an editing calendar, a reading/book review calendar. Next, I will draft a letter to Life to honor my detailed schedule by not sending me too many bumps.

Now I'll leave you to your own writing fantasies. Whatever gets you to put your butt in the chair and write. I'm thinking there's room in my new WIP for a young Michael Douglas-esque character. Hmmmm.


A Round of Words in 80 Days Update

Writing: I'm dedicating the first hour after my kids are off to school to writing. No distractions. Phone muted and wireless signal off. It's one hour. Certainly I'll go over the hour if the muse dictates, but setting a timer will keep me focused for at least that.

Editing: Then it's a small break and onto one hour of dedicated editing time. Again, I'm flexible to extend the time, but an hour is my minimum.

Reading: I'm considering using a good book as the break between writing and editing. Give the brain some time to make the switch while still accomplishing goals. I still need to read a craft book this round, too.

Blogging: I'm planning to join BlogHer's daily challenge in September to reboot my blog writing creative juices. I find writing prompts a great fall back for the fuzzy brain days.

Social Media: Finding my way back to both my favorite blogs and new ones. Now to tackle Triberr.

The groundwork has been laid down for a successful fall. Now I'm just hoping the plan trumps the unknown.

August 27, 2012

Writing Forest, Finding the Clearing

Thanks to a new visitor to the blog, I realized it wasn't a writing wall I hit. Instead, I was trapped in the writing forest.

Kelley Lynn, author of Fraction of Stone (to be released 3/2013 from Sapphire Star Publishing) and blogger extraordinaire, said the following on my Hit the Wall post...

I happen to be a runner too! I've ran in about seven half marathons and refuse to believe in 'the wall'. (Running or writing).
A wall is something solid, hard, unyielding, something a human cannot get through with our bare hands no matter how hard we try. To me, that sounds totally depressing.
I prefer to think of it more as a dense forest. Sure, we can't keeping chugging along strait ahead. Now there are trees in front of us, twigs, stumps and branches below us, but we can make it through. It just takes different focus, a slightly different path and a slightly different way to attack the journey.

I SO agree. I wish I had come up with that one myself. Her last sentence really struck a chord: Focus, Path, Attack the Journey.

I know I can get through this forest, no matter how dense or dark. Thanks to some time away, I'm actually sensing light and a small clearing just up ahead. Today, I spent an hour putting together my notes on my WIP and organizing how to get back to writing.

Starting tomorrow, since today had so much catch up from my hiatus, I am going to get the kids on the bus and go straight to my laptop, set the timer for one hour, and do nothing but novel writing/planning during that time. Phone on mute, Internet connection disconnected. Wish me luck!

Thanks again to Kelley for sharing such insight. I am now following her both on Kelley Lynn: Adventures Between the Bookends and Falling Into Fiction. Take a minute to find out more about her.

August 23, 2012

Hit the Wall: ROW80 Update

It's Thursday. I haven't posted since last Friday. I've missed two A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) updates... something I've never done.

I am doing my first half marathon Labor Day weekend. While visiting my parents last week, my sister (and marathon runner) asked how my training was going. I told her I felt good, and I was ready. Then she mentioned "the wall".

She said every runner has a wall, and you won't necessarily know what your wall is until you hit it.

That night, I dreamed about running into an invisible wall during the race and collapsing. I have not written a word or blog post since.

I realized... I hit my writing wall.

Every time I sat down to write, I froze. Nothing came, and the desire was simply not there.

I didn't want to have too many days without a post, so I'm writing this post without a well-developed answer for...

1) Why I hit the wall.
2) What I'm going to do about it.

For now, I'm taking a blog/writing vacation until Monday when my kids go back to school. I'm going to focus on them (and other things) and stop putting pressure on myself for a couple of days.

Wish me luck, and stick with me. I'll be back!

August 17, 2012

Teenagers: Fascinating Facts Fridays

The bargain bin at Barnes & Noble can be a great place to find little treasures, let's call it a dock in a sea of worthy reading options. Sometimes I can't find good material with all the choices. I know people who swear by clothing stores like TJ Maxx. I walk in and see chaos. I don't know where to start.

In a bookstore, I have my favorite sections, but that only means I'm missing opportunities in other areas. The bargain bin gives me a chance to see some options.

The other day, I picked up Dough Lennox's The Little Book of Answers. First, I'm an inquisitive person by nature. Second, I figured it would help me with my Fun Facts Fridays (now renamed Fascinating Facts Fridays, because I realized all my facts weren't "fun"). Third, books like these make perfect bathroom reading. For those that don't quite get that last statement, maybe my house was the only one in the universe that was always stocked with books and magazines.

I opened up to a random page, and what did I see...

How did teenagers become a separate culture?

I write about teenagers, I have one and two more on the way, and I was once a teenager not that long ago. Yeah, a Friday topic with some meat. Let's call it character research.


According to The Little Book of Answers: The word teenager first appeared in 1941... Until then, there was only childhood and adulthood. At the age of thirteen, a girl became a woman and could marry or enter the workforce and a boy became a man. Today, teenagers are treated as children with suppressed adult urges.

(My personal opinion: a lot of teenagers are really treated as adults with suppressed child urges. I want my teens to embrace youthful exuberance for as long as they can without too many adult situations ruining it.)

Most countries have an age of majority, ranging in age from 12 to 21, where "minors cease to legally be considered children." (I'd love to be on the committee trying to determine a magic age where a person is capable of adult decisions. I think, instead, there should be a basic adult skills test that should be passed. Okay, I say that tongue in cheek. Mostly.)

Some statistics

Percentage of teenagers 13-17 who can name the city where the US Constitution was written (Philadelphia): 25. Percentage of teenagers 13-17 who know where you find the zip code 90210 (Beverly Hills): 75 ( Survey conducted by the National Constitution Center (NCC), Philadelphia, 1998.) Source

According to the Center for a New American Dream, children and teens are exposed to over 25,000 ads in a year, and companies spend over $17 billion a year on marketing toward children and teens. Source

Body Image
In Depression Cookies, two characters suffer with anorexia, a chronic mental illness that affects many teenagers and has deeply touched my life.

• The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females.3
• 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.12
• 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.13
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).
• 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991).


The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old. Source

2007 National Endowment of the Arts Reading Study Findings
  • Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier. Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.
  • On average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.

  • Teen Reading Trends
    (2012, from Sarah Flowers, President of the Young Adult Library Services Association, Source)
    "I think dystopias and post-apocalypse books will continue to be popular, especially with the Hunger Games movie coming out in March. There are several trilogies that are still just on the first book, like Divergent, by Veronica Roth, and Ashes, by Ilsa Bick (which has the added benefit of zombie-like creatures!). And I would expect to continue to see steampunk. Paranormal romance is still somewhat popular, but vampires are definitely fading, from what I’m hearing."

    Social Media
    More than 90% of teenagers are connected to the Internet. About 68% of teens regularly text, 51% visit Facebook and about 11% send or receive tweets every day. Many teens, 41%, admit they’re “addicted” to their devices. Around 36% of teens who responded said they wish “they could go back to a time when there was no Facebook.” (Source)

    Understanding Teenagers

    Teen Slang
    During my research, I found a great site, Love to Know Teens. There I learned some of the following (for a full list, click here):

    * Cray cray - Something is really crazy, no cool
    * Hater - Someone who is jealous or out to ruin a good time (they spew haterade)
    * Mackin - To put on your game (example, flirting with more than one girl to flirt versus actually getting the girl)
    * Swagg - individuality and coolness
    Note: One of my daughters used swagg recently, and I wondered what kind of free gifts they were talking about. Once they explained it, it made sense... short for swagger.

    Whatever happened to, "Gag me with a spoon"?

    Teen Text Terms
    From Time, I found a list of 92 Teen Text Terms. A sampling:

    * 2Day - Today (really? Because To is so much harder to type than 2.)
    * BOL - Be on Later
    * DWBH - Don't Worry, Be Happy
    * HAK - Hugs and Kisses
    * JSYK - Just So You Know

    I'm exhausted. OMG, BOL.

    My gut tells me this is just post one of Fascinating Facts Friday focusing on teenagers.

    What fascinates you most about teens?

    August 15, 2012

    Method Writing: ROW80 Update

    "Writers that cannot feel, cannot write."

    These words from Jo Michaels, in her Tough Scenes and Emotional Therapy post, really struck a chord with me.

    You often hear about method actors. From Wikipedia: Method acting is any of a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances. Though not all Method actors use the same approach, the "method" in Method acting usually refers to the practice, influenced by Constantin Stanislavski and advocated by Lee Strasberg, by which actors draw upon their own emotions and memories in their portrayals.

    Some actors do not use this approach, but it seems to me all writers should. You might not take your characters to the store, to bed, or even to a company picnic. But you rarely leave them behind completely. Without immersing yourself into the mind of the character you've created, the voice will never be as consistent or authentic.

    However, I'm not saying you embrace the character so fully that you no longer follow your own conscience or behaviors.

    Many said Heath Ledger spiralled into self-destruction after embracing the dark side of the Joker, the character he portrayed in The Dark Knight. Was it method acting taken too far? Many applauded his performance, but clearly it had a devastating effect on his personal life.

    When I read emotionally draining books like Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, I often wonder how the writer survived the constant emotional anguish.

    Jo Michaels asked a thought-provoking question in the post I mentioned above: When you read or write a very emotional scene, do you take those feelings with you? If so, how do you shake them off after?

    I'd love to hear what people think.

    For me, I dive into a book and let a different set of characters take me away. But sometimes I just have to embrace the emotions, have a good cry even. I must admit... I have never handled fear well. Maybe that's why I don't write a lot of terrifying scenes.

    My writing tends to be equal parts humor and depth. Whenever I've been writing an intense part for too long, I switch to a humor-filled scene to lighten the load.

    In Depression Cookies, I had to write a very emotional scene where the main character, a teenager, is visiting a friend in the hospital who is slowly killing herself. I cried every time I sat down with that chapter. But sometimes tears are cathartic.

    But don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to get to the next humor-filled scene.


    A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

    On Monday, Mom and I (I'm still in North Carolina visiting family) took the girls to Raleigh to buy school clothes. The entire two hour drive back, we discussed possible titles for our Depression Cookies follow-up. Two hours. There's so much to consider. In fact, I think I'll write a post about titles.

    We also discussed a cover. Another subject with blog post potential.

    I'm on a writing and editing hiatus until school starts. It doesn't make sense to try to force it right now with two weeks to go. But my WIP is never far from my mind. Krista, my main character, is part of me. So much so that my friends say it reeks of Tia.

    I'm so excited to jump back on the #teamsprinty bandwagon when the girls go back to school. I hope it's still happening. I might also jump into #wordmongering.

    The nice part about taking a break... the building excitement to jump back in. I'm looking forward to it. Hope my fellow ROW80ers are rocking it!

    August 12, 2012

    Themes & Symbolism: ROW80 Update

    Shakespeare. He has proved* to be my nemesis on more than one occasion. I respect his works, even enjoy them. Then I got that one professor who considered himself the utmost authority on all things Shakespeare, and I have not read Shakespeare since.

    Why? The professor picked out so many absurd, over-reaching varied themes and symbolism, I started to wonder. If Shakespeare was alive today, would he be sitting in the back of a college lecture laughing his butt** off? Did he really intend to put so many elements into his writing?

    Or did he write a darn** good story and luck into some academic success?

    I am not challenging Shakespeare's brilliance or writing talent, just how much forethought he had on people dissecting his work for generations to come.

    But I digress...

    As a writer, how much should we pour over adding themes and symbolism to our work?

    I'll be honest, I write my story. After it's done, I will see some recurring themes and symbolism. I might even beef them up. Sure, I start with some themes... family issues, teenage insecurity, relationship difficulties, self-discovery... but I end up with more in the natural writing process than by some synthetic manipulation intended to make the reader think I'm talented.

    * Just to share my OGD (Obsessive Grammar Disorder), I was torn on using has proved or has proven yet. I looked it up and according to modern usage, proven is only an adjective (such as a proven theory) and proved is the verb.

    ** Butt and darn were used as a public service announcement to my children who challenge me daily to not use bad words.


    My A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

    It's slow going. Quite frankly, it will be until August 27th when my kids go back to school. I only have two weeks left with them. And I'll be honest... if they even sense my muse is considering gracing me with her presence, they set up a barricade of chaos to chase her away.

    That being said, I have given a lot of thought to theme in my currrent WIP. Mom and I are doing a theme-based reading with Marty Silverthorne, a wonderful poet and my cousin. We are showing the same themes can be in prose and poems and reading snippets of our work. It's been an enlightening process, especially since Mom and I are again reading from our current novel.

    I have two new editing jobs starting August 27 and a list of writing goals a mile long. I'm looking forward to that, but I will miss the time I've shared with my girls this summer. My family is such an important part of who I am as a writer. I think I've only really understood that lately.

    One accomplishment I was quite proud of this past week. I blogged five days straight on Mom in Love with Fiction, including three book reviews. First time ever.

    Hope all my ROW80 participants are rocking this round. Wishing you many words!

    August 8, 2012

    It's a Small World: ROW80 Update

    I love it's-a-small-world stories.

    Early last year, I read an incredible book and reviewed it for Rebecca's Reads, Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley. Read my review here.

    The book made such an impression on me that I immediately followed Shauna on Twitter, found and followed her blog and Facebook, and commented as often as I could on all of them. I'm sure she wondered who her stalker was. (Honestly, I do that very seldomly... although a lot more now than I used to. Judy Blume was the first author I ever followed on Twitter, and I think I've made it clear how obsessed I am with her work.)

    From her blog, I knew she lived in Baltimore. I'm near DC, so it felt good to support a great author that was also local. I touted her book whenever I could. Funny how life works... she just moved to my town (my small town!) and we went out to dinner last week. I was thrilled. One, she wasn't afraid of her online stalker. Two, we talked books and she felt like an old friend after one dinner. Thanks, Shauna!

    I love writers, have I mentioned that lately?

    Mom, Elise Fallson & me
    Next, my dear writer friend (and sister from another mister), Elise Fallson called me on my 40th birthday Saturday. Not only did she call me from France, she had her adorable children sing to me. Have I mentioned she's writing an incredible young adult book?! Hugs and thanks, Elise!

    If you haven't checked out Elise's blog yet, please do.

    I love writers, have I mentioned that lately?

    Then, not long ago, the lovely Kim Switzer, a fellow ROW80 participant, made an offer I couldn't refuse... muse coaching. The offer came at the perfect time for this struggling-to-focus writer, so I took her up on it.

    Kim had some amazing advice that really helped me harness my muse and focus on my writing. One of her best tips: break writing (or anything) down into small chunks. Start by setting a timer for even 10 minutes and focus on the task at hand. I got up to 30 minute chunks by the time our sessions were over. Amazing. I owe Kim a huge thanks!

    Please check out Kim's services at MuseCraft: Creativity Coaching, Classes, Inspiration and Whimsy.

    I love writers, have I mentioned that lately?

    And if you'll pardon the blatant self-promotion for a bit, I was featured on Sandi Tuttle's An Average Woman in a Superwoman World BlogTalk Radio show. Please check it out here if you have a chance, and visit Sandi's blog. It's wonderful! (I met Sandi through the Author Blog Challenge in June). Thanks, Sandi!

    What was your last it's-a-small-world moment involving online author friends?


    A huge thank you to all my writer friends, especially those from A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80). Without you, I would be alone and my writing would suffer.

    This week I have written my butt off, everything from my two novels to blog posts and reviews. Some of it was good, some of it tolerable, and some needs a whole lot of work. But it's progress. And that's the name of the game.

    I leave for a week at Mom's on Thursday and then there is one week before school starts. I don't know how productive the rest of August will be, but I've got grand writing ideas and plans for August 27th and beyond.

    Now, I'm off to catch up on some blog reading. I should stop saying catch up, because it's near to impossible at this point. Instead, I should say I'm off to recommit to my writer friends by reading as many of their blogs as I can.

    What's the best writing advice you've received lately from your writer friends?

    August 7, 2012

    Fear and the Image: What's a Blogger to Do?

    I'm afraid, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

    Thanks to a recent blog post from Roni Loren, Best-selling Author, I am terrified to use images on my blog. Every blogger should read Roni's post and be aware of the potential hell involved with using images from the Internet.

    Blog posts without pictures are like a newspaper without pictures. Line after line of text is not compelling. Just like a book cover, I often pick a post to read based on an eye-catching image. I simply have too many blogs I follow and not enough reading time.

    In addition to this blog, I have a book review blog, Mom in Love with Fiction. Should I not use pictures of author's books from the Internet? I feel like I'm doing authors a service by reviewing their books (free publicity). Should I not use the book image only when it's a bad review? My fear is that is the time the author would have a problem with it.

    For my posts here, I often use the site, Public Domain Pictures. But let's be honest, it doesn't have the greatest royalty free pictures. Other times, I get creative and use my own pictures. Case in point, the picture to the right represented my family's ongoing battle with Strep (yes, it is a bit disturbing!). I am by no means a photographer, and I use most of my creativity to write the posts. Now I feel like I need to take a photography class. And Lord knows you don't want me to draw. I have trouble with stick figures.

    So what's a blogger to do?

    Do I go back through all my posts and delete questionable pictures? I barely have time to move forward in life, much less go back to fix things!

    One thing I know for sure... going forward, I will either

    * Take my own pictures (I apologize in advance)
    * Use pictures as appropriate from Wikipedia (research a topic and click on the picture Wikipedia uses, it will show you the license agreement. Most of the ones they use have a creative commons designation.)
    * Use Public Domain Pictures

    The talented Juliana Haygert, and a fellow ROW80 participant, wrote an excellent post recently about this topic and listed some Pinterest sites that feature creative commons images. Check out her post here. I'm now following all the boards Juliana recommended. I also found a wonderful site, Inky Girl, with fun writer graphics and cartoons by Debbie Ridpath Ohi (as well as other great information). From her blog...
    My Inkygirl comics for writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License with the following conditions: You're free to copy and reuse my writing-related comic (non-commercially) for your writing-related blog as long as you tell people where it came from. BUT please keeping reading... You don't need my permission to post these comics on your website as long as you include a link back to this permissions page. A text credit would also be very much appreciated, such as "Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl."

    No problem. I'm happy to credit her pieces. I used one in a recent blog post, Stages of Writing. It was perfect for my topic and added value to the post.

    Oh, and don't assume because people share images on Pinterest that you can share them. I've heard some horror stories about that as well.

    For awhile, I used Dreamstime with some success. Unfortunately, they cut you off after you've downloaded so many royalty-free images and you are back to paying. And it's unclear sometimes which images can be used on blogs and which can't. I did have one photographer send me a note to take down an image used incorrectly. I explained that I was confused and even wrote to customer service at Dreamstime. I'm still confused. And, quite frankly, I can't afford to pay for images on a blog. Maybe some day...

    Where do you go for images? How concerned are you with being sued for making a mistake and using an image incorrectly?

    August 5, 2012

    Disappearing Days: ROW80 Update

    The main thing I learned this week... Wednesday to Sunday flies by even more quickly during the summer. Add in the Olympics and my 40th birthday, and well...

    Yes, my 40th. It came, it went. I survived. My husband whisked me away for a weekend in Baltimore, sans kids. It was lovely. We went out to a nice dinner. I wore cute shoes that left me with horrible, bleeding blisters. But all the best shoes do.

    I haven't completely wrapped my head around 40. It's not the number. Having a preteen makes me feel old, but 40 doesn't. It's just making me more self-aware of what I want out of life. Good thing I know writing is one of things!

    So now...

    My A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

    Writing: I wrote a rough chapter with all intentions of coming back to it. It was a word dump, but sometimes those are necessary. Tomorrow, I will read it with one eye closed. Better words that can be fixed than no words at all, right?

    Blogging: Settling into my new schedule. Definitely sticking with it through August. No post-a-day challenges for me anytime soon. (Please remind me I said that if I dare speak of one.)

    Reading: During my 40th getaway, hubby and I walked around Barnes & Noble for an hour. Blissful. I bought a Maeve Binchy novel (okay, three). I was saddened by her passing, especially since people had been recommending her books to me for years. I'm continuing to post reviews at Mom in Love with Fiction.

    Social Media: Still catching up on #IWSG and ROW80 blogs, as well as other favorites. Need to be better about Twitter and at least try to learn Triberr.

    Editing: Just added two new clients. So excited to start when the girls go back to school. Until then, I have an old favorite waiting for me. I can't wait to see how it turns out. I mean, I look forward to editing the end.

    Hope everyone had a great writing/reading week.

    August 3, 2012

    Olympic Dreams: Fun Facts Friday

    Who doesn't watch the Olympics and imagine themselves as an athlete? My kids and I are glued to every triumph and sad with every defeat. It's so inspiring to hear the atheletes' stories and how dedicated they are to their respective sports.

    Inspired, I thought I'd do some research and present some fun facts about the Olympic tradition. A special thanks to my daughter, Jackie, who did the legwork of fact finding thanks to her own interest.

    Significance of the Five Rings

    They symbolize the five significant continents and are interconnected to symbolize friendship, something hopefully achieved by the international events. The rings, from left to right, are blue, yellow, black, green, and red. These colors were chosen because at least one of them appears on the flag of every country in the world. The Olympic Flag was first flown during the 1920 Olympics.

    Olympic Oath

    One athlete from the host country, on behalf of all the athletes, recites the following oath before the start of games (first taken at the 1920 Olympics): In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.

    Olympic Creed

    The following has appeared on the scoreboard of every modern day Olympics: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.

    Olympic Motto

    Citius, Altius, Fortius: Swifter, Higher, Stronger

    Now, I'm even more inspired. I was not familiar with the oath, creed, or motto. But each is inspiring in its mission of sportsmanship and dedicated participation. They can be applied to all facets of life.

    As a writer, I know that being a part of a writing community has elevated my writing knowledge and resources as well as teaching me the importance of dedication. To my fellow writers... swifter, higher, stronger. I know we can do it.

    This past week, Michelle Rafter (fearless Blogathon leader) had a great post: Going for the Gold: 6 Ways Writers Can Train Like an Olympian. She said it so well, so please visit the post.

    No matter what we choose to do in life, we can all benefit by tackling it like an Olympic athlete and remembering, "... the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle."

    What has been your favorite 2012 Summer Olympic memory so far?

    Mine: USA Swimming. I have such a renewed respect since two of my daughters are swimmers.

    August 1, 2012

    Stages of Writing: #IWSG & ROW80 Updates

    It's the first Wednesday of August and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group (#IWSG) therapy session. From the mastermind behind the group, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the group's purpose is "To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"

    As with most therapy sessions, or at least what I've gathered from television representations, I should begin... Hi, my name is Tia Bach, and I am an insecure writer. This is my second session and it has been approximately 24 hours (if that) since I had an insecure thought about my writing.

    Twenty-four hours may not seem like much, but my feelings about my writing can jump all over the place as represented by this graphic: 

    Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at
    I'd like to say that each stage is over several hours or days, but sometimes I run through all four emotions in one paragraph. I am a stickler for transition, so I'm usually hardest on my first sentence and my last. Then I fall in love with a sentence toward the middle, and feel earnest affection for the sentence before and after it. Its glow warming those that touch it.

    What I've learned most about writing, and being a voracious reader has certainly contributed as well, is that no writing is perfect. There will be days where my inner critic surfaces and likes very little followed by days where I can objectively enjoy my own work. That being said, I think I could edit until the end of days.

    At some point, you have to set your work free and know you did the best job possible. The only other choice is to walk away from a project for awhile until you can gain new perspective. I find the only cure for my insecurity is to write, write, write. Get the story down. Then, when I'm feeling confident and determined, I go back and mold and remold the words until I see the piece forming like I imagined.

    My mom and I are co-authoring our second book together, the follow up to our award-winning Depression Cookies. I feel confident in the storyline and characters, but I'm harder on myself about the quality. Opening myself up to critique groups, as I reported about in my Writer Rejuvenated post, and sharing my work with fellow writers has really helped me squelch the insecurity monster that's always lurking. I can handle constructive criticism as longs as it's productive and makes my work better in the end.

    What helps keep you insecurity monster at bay?


    Wednesdays are also designated for A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) updates. I am happy with my goal progress. But to be honest, I've scaled back my goals for summer. My three daughters (12, 10 & 7) go back to school August 27.

    Writing: I've spent a minimum of 30 minutes a day on my Depression Cookies follow up since Sunday's check in.

    Editing: I spent one hour on editing projects yesterday and have allocated an hour today. With kids home, it's about all I can manage. Actually, my children might call someone soon to counsel me since I lock myself in the office to edit and they can hear me talking to myself (reading pieces out loud).

    Blogging: Finally getting back on track for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday postings. I'm trying to write posts at least a day ahead instead of trying to wring out my brain on post day and force creativity.

    Social Media: I'm proud to say I commented on a minimum of 10 ROW80 Sunday posts and at least 10 more blogs since Sunday. The best I've done in weeks.

    Reading: A bit of insecurity has surfaced lately because I've read several amazing books (4-5 stars) in a row. Check out my review blog, Mom in Love with Fiction, to add some to your to-be-read list.


    I hope you will take a few minutes to visit other Insecure Writers and ROW80 participants. Share the love. It always comes back to you when you do!