I’m Moving. And I’m Nervous.

I’m getting ready to attempt a scary thing. It involves an arena that intimidates me and, frankly, confuses me. It’s a change I have to make, but I’m dragging my feet.

I have to move to a new blog server and get a domain name email address.

See? I hardly even understand what I just wrote. I’m about as technically savvy as a worm. And when it comes to technology, I move about as slow.

I’ve loved being on blogger, it’s a great site for beginner bloggers, which I was in 2010.  Six years later, I have things I want to do I can’t do here. This means several not-so-fun transitions will occur:

1.  Formatting a new site. UGH. It took me six years to get this site to work as beautifully as it does. It’s like my first little house. I know all the glitches, the cozy spots, and when to clean out the dugout. At the new place, I’ll have to place and rearrange the furniture all over again. For a non-tech worm like me, it’s kind of exhausting.

Source

2.  Moving readers. If you follow Adventures in the Ballpark now, you’ll have to re-subscribe at the new site. It’s not hard to do that, you just have to remember to do it. If you read a lot of blogs (as I do), it might slip your mind (as it has mine on occasion) and pretty soon, Adventures is off your radar. I hope you’ll follow me to the new site, because I don’t want to be over there all alone. 

3.  Losing readers. You might come here looking for the old Adventures, and due to some temporary cyberpsace glitch (they do occur now and then), the link to the new one won’t work, and you’ll just say, Oh, forget it. I pray you don’t fall into a black hole during this transition. I’ll tell ya – I’m gonna worry about this.  I don’t want anyone flailing around in cyberspace, longing for the Ballpark Brownie recipe and not having access to it, or wondering how my parents (93 and 96) are doing.

4. It will probably be a few weeks before all the kinks are worked out. I could be wrong on this, but I have NEVER known any Internet transition to be without hiccups. Sometimes big ones. Being the pessimist I am, I’m expecting the worst. I’m going to be positive about this and pray God directs the entire thing. Then any mess-up will be His problem.

So….because you guys are my buds, I’m sharing my heart about this move, which feels like I’m ripping out bleeding roots off on a new adventure! This is my summer project. I’d rather be getting a root canal. I’ll keep you posted here, or on facebook/twitter as to how the move is going.

If you get my newsletter, I’ll keep you updated that way too. (If you don’t get it, you can sign-up HERE.)

What are your projects this summer? Probably fun stuff like hanging out at the pool, making Popsicles, and catching up on summer reading.

I’m so jealous.

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You’re Umbrella? Its Over Their. ACK!!

You’re, it’s, and there…these are three of the most troublesome words in the English language.  It’s because they have siblings who sound just like them, even though their meanings are very different.   

Here’s my breakdown on these tricksters:


1.  YOUR vs. YOU’RE

Your (possessive – it’s yours) umbrella is going to be helpful if you’re (you are) out in the rain.  Your must be followed by a noun – your what?  You’re must be replaceable with ‘you are.’  

2.  IT’S vs. ITS

It’s (it is) going to rain today.   The sky is going to open up its clouds (possessive – the clouds belong to the sky.)  If you can replace it’s with ‘it is‘, use it’s.  If you can’t, use its.

3.  THEY’RE, THEIR, and THERE

They’re (they are) going to take their (possessive – always followed by a noun) umbrellas over there (a place opposite of here.)  They’re must be replaceable with ‘they are.’   Their always means belonging to them.  If it’s not either one of these, it’s there.

Got it?  You can bookmark this page and use it as a cheat sheet.  I’ll never tell.  

Regardless, It’s the Letter R

R is for REGARDLESS, meaning despite the circumstances, or without regard for.

The shocker?  IRREGARDLESS is the improper usage of REGARDLESS.  I know.  It surprised me too, because so many people say it.  In the past, I’ve said it myself.

The word is REGARDLESS.  IRREGARDLESS is a double negative, and the “non-standard” use of REGARDLESS.  It’s improper all around and makes English teachers and editors cringe. 

Example of the two words used properly:  Irregardless is an incorrect word, regardless of your desire to use it.

Tuck that in the grammar slot of your brain, so you don’t upset the grammar goblin.  Never use irregardless again. You’ll look so smart.

Tell everyone you heard it here first.  Regardless of whether you did or not. 

Then, I’ll look real smart.

Editing

Editing starts with E, but seems endless.

A written piece can be edited over and over, then passed to another set of eyes, and edited some more.  Once it’s back in the hand of the author, he/she can still say, “oh, here’s something I missed.”

A writer once told me he doesn’t look at his books once they are published, because he sees where more editing could be done.  I suspect it is like this in all the arts.  Michelangelo might look at the Pieta today and sigh, “there’s a rough spot.  Where’s a chisel?”

See?  Endless.

Therefore, this is now my guide when editing my own work.  (I don’t know who said it, but it’s brilliant):  “An author never finishes his work; he abandons it.”

If you’re a writer, you’re probably nodding your head.  Yep, that’s how it feels.  At some point…we’re just done.  Our piece might be edited by others and maybe changed into a whole other story/essay/whatever.  But, at some point….you decide to lay it down and walk way.  There’s closure in your heart, and what you’ve written now belongs to the world.  At some point, we have to stop tinkering.

Like Michelangelo did with the Pieta.

He then went on to paint the Sistine Chapel.

The point?  Keep moving forward. 

Single-focused

Hello Blogwarts friends!  I miss checking in with all of you.  I’m working on my book, and every spare minute, well, I’m working on THE BOOK.

It’s quite a life of seclusion.  I emerge from the loft to pee and grab a few crackers, or a Russell Stover’s raspberry/dark chocolate pumpkin, and then…back to the loft.

I started writing in earnest around Sept. 1.  I want this book done by Jan. 1.  I’m beginning to think that’s a bit optimistic, solely because the holidays are coming, and I’ll have to actually get dressed.  I’ll have to do some laundry and hang a wreath or two.  Maybe roast a turkey.  If people didn’t have to eat, or have clean underwear, I’d be a much faster writer.

To have more writing time, I’m watching less TV, which I’m sure is a good thing, but I do wonder who got knocked off Dancing with the Stars last week.  And I didn’t know the government was up and running (amok) again until I got home from my beach week.  I do still catch Elementary and Blue Bloods, because Jonny Lee Miller and Tom Selleck are counting on me to stay tuned in.   At least, that’s what I tell myself.

I’m taking a marketing class and one question that was posed by the instructor was, what are you willing to sacrifice so you can write?   How important is your writing?  How tenacious are you about finishing/publishing your book?  That’s really three questions, but she’s the boss, so she can ask what she wants.  Here’s what I’ve discovered I’m giving up:

Eating healthy.
Exercising every day.
Cleaning.
Cooking well.  I’m cooking, but I’m just slapping stuff together.
Reading other blogs.
Trimming my toe nails.
Staying on top of emails.
Reading anything other than THE BOOK.
Returning phone calls.
Getting 7 hours of sleep at night.

I wonder if John Grisham or Ree Drummond started out this way. 

I keep at it because I feel called to attempt to publish THE BOOK.  I don’t know where that comes from, except God, so I’m stumbling along.  He’s never let me down before.

I won’t be doing the NaNonFiWriMo exercise in November and probably not the A-Z Blogging Challenge in April, because I’m going to be writing/publishing/marketing.  All these positive, determined statements are part of what I’m learning to declare in the marketing class.  Only God knows what the future holds, but by setting these goals, I’m giving Him notice of my agenda.  He can take it, or leave it.  And I’m sure He will.

OK.  Time to pee.

What obsession is running your life right now?

Snippets from the Dugout. And Donuts.

I’ve been in the dugout for a few weeks.  Writing, reading, and more writing.  I’m taking a marketing/publishing class, which is excellent, but time consuming.  I’m realizing how little I know.

 

In the meantime, my dad has been in the hospital for a bad UTI, then rehab.  He’s doing very well at the moment and will be home Thursday.  I thought we might have a glitch in that plan when he fell in the restroom of a large medical facility a few days ago.  I suspected there was a problem when he was in the restroom for fifteen minutes.

I finally asked a man going in the restroom to check on Dad.  I heard Dad’s voice the minute the man opened the door.  Together, the stranger and I spotted Dad’s shoes poking out from under a stall door.  He was OK, just sitting on the floor after slipping in his transfer from toilet to wheel chair.  “I can’t reach the door to unlock it,” he said, and I had to smile.  He was just waiting for someone to come in and find him.

I went to the information desk for help and within minutes, nurses came.  Somebody slid under the stall door, freed Dad and settled him back in his wheel chair.  He wheeled out looking a little sheepish.  I was reluctant to let him go behind all those closed doors by himself (he’s supposed to have assistance with EVERY transfer), but he insisted he could handle it.

We both learned something.  I decided, when he’s with me, he’s not going in the bathroom alone again; he decided when he’s alone in the bathroom in the future, he won’t lock the door.   It’s clear we’re not on the same page. 

Parents.  They have a mind of their own.

The government partially shut down today, and so far, my life feels the same.  I know there are organizations that are not open today and that affects people who work in those places.  I hope the Hatfields and McCoys start working together soon, because it’s not fair to all of us who pay their salaries.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like paying for things that don’t work like they’re supposed to.

Has anybody seen the new show Hostages?  Oh my word, I can’t write or fold clothes or even munch on chocolate chips while I’m watching it.   It’s full of suspense and twists and cute Dylan McDermot.  Although, he’s a bad guy.  I think.  As we learn about his past, it’s getting murkier.  Check it out, Monday nights on CBS.  Be there or be square.

I’m thinking about Christmas already, because I’m writing a book about Christmas.  And giving.  And partridges and hens and pipers and drummers.  It’s very noisy in my head.  Is Christmas on your radar yet?

If not, here’s a picture to get you in the mood. 

What Christmas carol item is this?   Hmmmm….

There’s No Crying in Publishing

I started a writing/marketing course last week called “Author Training 101.”  It’s not about how to write, but how to finish a writing project; how to write a book proposal; how to write a business plan; how to promote your work; and how to be a bulldog about getting published.

I need to know all these things because I’ve been dragging my feet on my WIP (work in progress) for three years.  I have no idea how to write a book proposal or a business plan.  I hate self-promotion.  And I’ve never been a bulldog about anything.

It’s the most challenging course I’ve ever taken (excluding all college math courses.)   It’s difficult because it’s forcing me out of my comfort zone – which, of course, is always uncomfortable and scary.  Comfort zones are aptly named, aren’t they?

I’m only in week two of this course, and I’m struggling with the homework.  I have to answer questions like:

Is my current project unique? 
If I were a publisher, would I invest money in my project?
Am I tenacious enough to do whatever it takes to get published?

I don’t know.  I don’t know.  And I don’t know.  I never concretely thought about these things.  I ended up saying, yes, I think so, and what does whatever-it-takes mean?   Go into debt?  Change all the things I love about my project?  I still don’t know.

This course is taught by Nina Amir, whom you can check out HERE.    She’s direct and talented and I’m impressed with her knowledge.  I’m going to learn so much from this eight-week course.  I’m afraid I might learn I don’t have what it takes to get published.

There, I said it.

That’s my fear.  That I don’t have the tenacity, the will, the never-give-up attitude that is necessary to get published.  Some things in life aren’t worth killing yourself over.

Nina also asks her students these things:

How do you handle rejection?  (bums me out)
Are you generally optimistic?  (depends)
Are you objective about your work? (probably not)

I have a long way to go.

Nina then said something that really hit me.  “Getting your book published is not about you.  It’s about your reader.”  Hmmm.  The heart-and-soul work that is going into my book is probably not going to be recognized by the reader.  The reader is looking for connection to her heart and soul. 

This is a shift in thinking for me.  For readers to spend their hard-earned money on my book, they must be engaged and inspired within a minute of skimming its pages in Barnes and Noble (a girl can dream.)  My love for it doesn’t necessarily transfer into sales.

This was hard to hear, although, upon further thought, I know it’s true.  I don’t buy a book if it doesn’t speak to me on some level.  This course is helping me understand the realities of publishing and selling and convincing the world my work is a worthy investment.    

I told you this is a challenging course.

But, I’m sticking with it, and I’m going to ruminate on all the questions and dig deep and see what I’m made of, find the bulldog inside.  Because getting my book published is what I want to do.   With God’s grace and direction, I will succeed.

It might be difficult, but things of value always are.  In the movie A League of Their Own Gina Davis tells Tom Hanks she’s quitting baseball because it’s too hard.

“Of course it’s hard,” he replies emphatically.  “If it was easy, everybody would do it.”