Monday, February 7, 2011

Things I'm Learning, Sometimes the Hard Way

As a writer and a mom, I learn new things every single day. Wouldn't it be an injustice to society if I didn't share my wisdom with you? Hey, I heard that! Well, I'm sharing anyway. Get another cup of coffee and pretend you care.

1. Don't waste money on name-brand diapers. The store-brand ones work fine. I'll probably hear from a mama that those cheap diapers cause a terrible rash on little Johnny's tooshie. In your case, skip to #2. For everyone else, I figure we've spent about $3 billion on diapers already in the nine years since we've had children. Why not get more diapers for the money?

2. Learn to self-edit. Yes, I did just jump to a writing topic. By golly, I'll do it again too. I like to keep people on their toes. So, yes, self-edit! You cannot depend on your editor / publisher / retired high school English teacher to find all your typos. The best thing you can do is find a good circle of writer friends--get as many of them to read/critique for you and return the favor. Different sets of eyes will catch different mistakes. One person may be better at pointing out grammar issues, while another is great at catching those plot holes. Reading and critiquing regularly will also help you learn to find those flubs in your own work. And--READ OUT LOUD! Yes, take your story in another room if you must and read that baby out loud. You'll catch things much easier that way.

3. If you're a mom or plan to be some day, you will feel guilt from the moment the child is conceived or brought home if adopted. I think it's the sudden realization that another human being's life is now in your hands. Every choice we make can potentially affect that little bundle of joy. Therefore, guilt is born, right along with little Johnny. Get used to it.

4. You can spend hundreds of dollars on writing classes that may not help you any more than a free writing course. Look around. Try out a few. Read reviews about them. Ask other writers what classes they've taken. Just know that shelling out cash will not necessarily turn you into Steinbeck. The best thing you can do is write, write, write. And read, of course--see how other people do it. Try to find books of the same genre you like to write. Get to know authors who write those genres or write in a similar style.

5.  Nothing on earth is better than the sweet hugs and kisses of an adorable two-year old. You just can't beat it. Find the nearest two-year old and get a hug (with mom's permission if the kid isn't yours--otherwise, you'll just look creepy). Then, prepare for sweetness overload.

That's all for now. Aren't you glad you stuck around? Don't you feel smarter? Well, fine, be that way. I'll just be sitting here getting kisses from my two-year old. I know you're jealous.


  1. Totally, totally agree with No2! I'm reading a novel at the moment(an e-book)which I know has had an editor to oversee and there are some atrocious errors including typos and grammar.

    Re No4 - yup, agree there too.

    I bow to your superior judgement on the diapers.

  2. self edit, self edit, no matter how painful is a necessary evil.
    I'm still hunting for that writing group to swap novel chapters with but it will happen.
    I already feel guilty for "pushing" little Johnny's conception from 3 months to 3 months. (seriously don't ask me why) lol.
    I have to spend more time and effort into finding those free writing courses, but I will try harder. Until then, books from the library will have to do.
    Will you give me permission to get hugs from your 2 yr old bundle of joy?

    Thanks for all these awesome advices.

  3. My baby boy is totally huggable, and he's available except during nap times :)

  4. Working in the public school system is excellent birth control, so I can't agree/disagree with # 1 or 3, but yay for # 2! Faithful critters provide fresh eyes - I'd be lost without them! I haven't tried a writing class since college. I've been thinking about it but I don't have any time. I'm all for # 5 - some students have hug radar, and we're able to seek each other out when we're in need!

    Great post!


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