THE WRITE PLACE…

…to build a community. Share Patti Hall's journey …


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Go Ahead And Ask. I Know You Want To.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Purple dinosaur roams the Secret Garden. Essential.

Just where the hell have I been? My last post, aside from the lame January Home page update, was September 2014!!!! Holy tomato, Batman. Sure, I’ve been dipping my toes in the Facebook social pool over the past few months. Just a few lines and a photo or ten, nothing much really.

And, no ma’am/sir, I have not been tucked away in a cozy writer’s retreat tapping out The Great American Novel. I haven’t been off saving the world, one family member or friend at a time either. I haven’t been busy raising a family, promoting a book, working for a living or chairing ten committees.

Nope, that’s you guys. Man, you people have been BUSY!

During my 9-month people-phobia I have had a very limited itinerary; Maggie (the beach cave/home), the Secret Garden, the beach, the post office, the smoke shop and the grocery store. Did you catch that? Yes, I started smoking again, and I’m un-boyfriended too. I suppose I wasn’t ready for either one, despite how great they both (not smoking and boyfriend) were while they lasted. I WILL give quitting another try though.

I spent a month or so in Centralia with my 3-year-old grandson, Cameron, while his mom worked some crazy hours. It was good to be with their little family and it was also good to be back to my beach cave. Cora and Nola came back with me and we spent a fun weekend in the garden and at the beach and marina. The girls made some awesome beach art. Then my Sara, Jon and Cameron came to get them. We had a yummy BBQ in the Secret Garden, they unburdened me of lots of garden goodies, and then they all headed back home.

Aside from beach combing and gardening, I’ve been dabbling in painting and crafting. I spend a lot of time researching and charting my family genealogy. I have so many interests, I don’t think I’ve spent one minute of my life bored. Reading and writing have always been a huge part of my life, but not so much these past nine months.

I watch movies on Netflix sometimes. Last night I watched On Golden Pond. I loved Katharine Hepburn, the lake, the fishing and especially, the loons. The family dynamics were familiar and bittersweet.

I still write weekly postcards to my grandson, Hunter, and every few weeks to my Nola, Cora and Cameron. Other friends and family get snail mail from me occasionally. I sent my adult children, Sara and Jon, “Where’s Waldo” postcards a few weeks ago.

I’m usually up all night and sleep 4-6 hours during the day. I catch the birds singing their dawn chorus at 4:30 A.M. and the often-spectacular sunrise show. At night I get the beach sunset, moon and stars.

I still cry at the drop of a…it was a sock a couple days ago. I was rearranging something and a catch-all basket fell to the floor. As I bent to gather everything I saw a toddler-sized sock. Whether the sock was my grandson Tiven’s, who died in 2013, or his brother Hunter’s, whom I haven’t seen in almost 2 years and who is being moved to the other side of the country this week, it was heart-wrenching. I still avoid the cubby under my bed where I stored their shells, beads, drawings and toys. Hunter’s bright orange toothbrush catches me off guard sometimes.

Since Paul died in 2009, then my cat, my sister, my grandson, 2 aunts, an uncle and several friends, I haven’t moved forward much. I’ve spent a lot of time in Alaska with my parents and siblings, and I’m trying to build strong bonds with Sara’s 3 children.  Most of my adult friendships are on the phone or online.

The Secret Garden and my camera keep me going, as does sharing what I find that amazes me. Publicly, I try to add a kind word or humor when I can. If not, I say nothing.

In the back room of my friend’s garage, are floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall totes. Two households (both mine, both gone) of STUFF. If I could, I would pay for someone to take it all away. That’s not going to happen. My goal is to sell, toss or give away all of it by the end of the summer. Baby steps. I’ll start with 20 minutes a day. Let’s see how that goes. Wish me luck.

So my first blog post in a long time and a goal and plan to unburden myself from my STUFF. Maybe I am moving forward a bit 🙂

Thanks for reading if you made it this far,

Patti

P.S. This was written the last full week in June. Real progress being made on my goal; 6 or 7 empty totes! Grandson moved to undisclosed location, so I’ve decorated an antique box and keep adding his weekly postcards and a few treasures that I find.


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My Favorite Writer Resource Sites, What are Yours?

The moon from my porch a few nights ago.  Click on this and be amazed. I was! PHALL PHOTO 2013

The moon from my porch a few nights ago. Click on this and be amazed. I was!
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Add your great writer links and we will soon have a comprehensive community-built list! I think the value of this is sharing resources that we are using ourselves. Putting this list together gave me motivation to visit some of these resources more often, to make better use of what they offer. It’s always hard for me to maintain a healthy balance between researching and actually writing. How about you? Do you get carried away with researching and learning more about the craft of writing?

GREAT WRITER LINKS!!!!

Here is my list of great sites for writers. Please leave a comment to add other great sites to this list. Also, if you find some that are right up your alley, don’t forget to check out their other social media homes; FB, Twitter, Linkedin, Google +, etc.

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/  Freelance writers can look here for job leads, writing tips and more.

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/  Look on the resource page for helpful writer links from a published author.

http://www.fundsforwriters.com/  From Hope Clark’s site, “This website has been awarded as a Best Writing Website. Sponsored by Writer’s Digest,Writer’s MarketWriter’s Digest University & Writer’s Digest Shop. Selected for the last 13 years in a row.” Hope is another no-nonsense writer’s friend who has valuable resources to share.

http://www.rachellegardner.com/  Rachelle says about her site, “My passion is partnering with authors to bring worthwhile books to publication. I started this blog as a way to create a community of writers, both published and seeking publication. I write about a wide variety of topics of interest to writers, and I consider the reader comments even more important than my own posts.”

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/  Anne’s is another well-known Best Writing Website. I get her newsletter and it is always helpful and engaging.

http://kriswrites.com/  Kris is a prolific (I mean really prolific!) author and has very cut and dried writing business advise, along with other helpful writing tips. Her newsletters are very wordy, but worth every minute spent reading them. There are no pretty pictures of fluffy fill, she just gets her point across.

http://winningwriters.com/index.php  Writing contests, free and otherwise. Regularly updated with reliable contest information.

http://www.everywritersresource.com/literarymagazines/  I love this place. I’ll use their own words to explain who they are, “We hope that everything we do benefits publishers, editors, and writers. We are concerned for the well-being and preservation of literary magazines and small publishers. Writing and editing is a business, but it is also a passion. Here we hope to promote both the well-being and community of writers, editors, and publishers. Everything on our site is a free public service.”

http://zguta.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/indie-review-sites/  Elisabeth Zguta’s Indie Review list. She is friendly and has many other resources for writers.

http://editminion.com/  EditMinion is a robotic copy editor to help you refine your writing by finding common mistakes. You just cut and paste a sample of your writing.

http://figment.com/   A community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you’re into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels, you can find it all here.

http://janefriedman.com/   Jane has an article for every writer’s interest. She is up-to-date on all things writing, publishing, and editing. She’s big, but I did find a number of broken links. No worries, because there are always more links about the same topic.

http://grubdaily.org/  The blog is filled with great articles by a list of professionals in the business. Here’s part of their long, but worthy story, “Grub Street is the second largest independent center for creative writing in the United States. Our mission is to be an innovative, rigorous, and welcoming community for writers who together create their best work, find audience, and elevate the literary arts for all. We accomplish this by offering the highest quality classes and services for writers at all stages of development, by educating writers through the entire writing process from inspiration to publication and promotion, by putting a premium on teaching excellence, by welcoming as many writers as possible through generous scholarships and free outreach programming, by creating fulfilling employment for writers, by connecting people and ideas through writing, and by empowering writers to fully embrace new opportunities ushered in by the digital age.”

http://beyondthemargins.com/  Speaking of the former listing, these folks at BTM came from Grub Street. Here’s a bit of what they are up to, “A blog, a sounding board, a daily dose of insight. It offers essays on the craft of writing and the business of publishing. There are tips on creating memorable scenes and great dialogue. Interviews with authors, editors and agents. Humorous pokes at the craft, the industry and at ourselves. Think literary magazine run amok.”

http://nathanbransford.com/   Among the best and most well-known writer’s helper on the web.

http://writerunboxed.com/   Tons of good info here. In my top three best sites for writers. As a matter of fact, many of the people on my list are contributors on this site. Okay, and all of the people I missed are also on this site! When you are done exploring the general contents, start at the top and work your way down the list of contributors on the right-hand side of the main page. See ya in a few years :>)

http://pred-ed.com/  Preditors & Editors. A guide to publishers, and publishing services for serious writers since 1997. All writers should get familiar with this site.

http://www.swensonbookdevelopment.com/  Jill has some very good advice, and free or inexpensive downloads, and specifically;

http://www.swensonbookdevelopment.com/blog/2013/building-your-author-brand-checklist/

http://www.swensonbookdevelopment.com/blog/2013/ten-tips-for-building-an-audience-platform/

Please let me know if you have issues with any of these sites.

Peace,

Patti


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Last Day, “Love, Laughter and Loss”

Snapped this at the local espresso stand. Makes me smile every time I see it. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Snapped this at the local espresso stand. Makes me smile every time I see it.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Closes Sunday!

midlifecollage.com is hosting a contest, which my short story, Love, Laughter & Loss, is entered in. If you’ve followed the Souvenirs from My Heart Postcards, or my other memoir posts, you’ll want to know how the story of Patti & Paul began. Won’t you?

There’s one comment below the story that seems pretty negative…am I being too sensitive?…what do you think? The only way to counter it, is if folks in our community add their own comments. midlifecollage.com

Judges count the facebook likes, so please hit that button after you read the story.

Thanks,

Patti


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Writer’s Journal; Missing Alaska, My Home Away From Home

Calm evening, Peterson Bay, Homer, Alaska PHALL PHOTO 2011

Calm, cloudy evening, Peterson Bay, Homer, Alaska
PHALL PHOTO 2011

A soothing place for a morning cup of coffee. The Peterson Bay home of sis Sharon & Captain Honey.
A soothing place for a morning cup of coffee.
The Peterson Bay blueberry haven of sis Sharon & Captain Honey. PHALL PHOTO 2011

Homesick for Alaska and my peeps there.

I am writing! Get off me:>) If FB was never invented I would be writing more, but I am writing.

* Shared children’s stories w/new blog friend and we cross-edited. Done

* Read blog friend’s published book and will write up review this week.

*Promoting my blog site and “gutsy story” all over social media. Ongoing.

*Wrote essay for Chicken Soup submission. Being edited by two friends. Re-Write in progress.

*Socially involved with an incredible group of writers on WP blogs and commenting on many others.

*In the itchy-finger stage of writing for pay, on a site I was invited to join.

*Oh, yay, and 11 days left of Camp NNWM and am confident I will finish, although need to work harder at the shaping.

* Posting serial of Postcards on this site.

* My head is overflowing with stories, poetry and ideas for memoir series.

*Mr. I.V. Poley immortalized by inclusion in a story here: http://neverendingstorydepository.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/ionia-the-super-hero/

There must be more, but I need a nap now.

Stay tuned,

Patti


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Speaking of Community; What About The Children?

I won’t spout off the statistics, of which my family is included in, but is there a child at risk in your neighborhood?

We can all do something to help better our community by watching over the children within our community.

This website: Child Welfare Information Gateway at https://childwelfare.gov  has some low risk, high impact suggestions for making the world we live in better, especially for the children.

  • Get to know your neighbors. Problems seem less overwhelming when support is nearby.
  • Help a family under stress. Offer to babysit, help with chores and errands, or suggest resources in the community that can help.
  • Reach out to children in your community. A smile or a word of encouragement can mean a lot, whether it comes from a parent or a passing stranger.
  • Be an active community member. Lend a hand at local schools, community or faith-based organizations, children’s hospitals, social service agencies, or other places where families and children are supported.
  • Keep your neighborhood safe. Start a Neighborhood Watch or plan a local “National Night Out” community event. You will get to know your neighbors while helping to keep your neighborhood and children safe.

Everyone is cautious in these days of high crime, drug and alcohol abuse and economic crisis. Use common sense, but please don’t ignore your neighbors. Please don’t go home and shut the door on  your community.

Do you wave and smile at your neighbors?

Rant over, I will now return you to your life…

Thanks for reading,

Patti

 


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Writer’s Journal; Online Community Building

Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the community building taking place online. There are no hugs, long lunches, cozy dinners, or fun shopping expeditions. This is a new kind of community. When a person puts their life-long dream project on Kickstarter and gets funding for that dream by a group of strangers, that’s community building. Sure, the strangers(backers) get a book or a private viewing of the project, or maybe just a magnet, but the main reason is to back a dream. That’s one example of online community building in the 2000’s.

This essay is not about Kickstarter. It’s about what I’m seeing and doing to build my own online community in order to fulfill my dreams. I’ve only been actively participating online since mid-March, and I’m still in the midst of a major learning curve. It’s like one grand experiment. Furthermore, I’ve been thinking about my online motives, goals, advantages, and my accomplishments over these few months.

 Motives and Goals

*I’m here to learn about the current world of writing and publishing; it’s very important to me that I not be a burden to this new community, but an asset within it. I want to add what I know, not detract by asking others to find answers for me. Research is the key.

*I’m here to brush up on my writing skills. Some careers involve active editing, for the rest of us, it takes work to present polished writing that doesn’t confuse, or make the reader stumble over bad grammar and sloppy editing. At the same time, I love to experiment; to play with new words and forms of writing.

*I’m here to express my thoughts and feelings, beyond my friends and family. I’m getting my toes wet in the pool of public writing. My real life circle is following along; they have history with me and my writing. My circle knows who I am and who I am not. They know the ride I’ve been on these past 53+ years. Publishing is a goal that is now in sight, so I need to see how strangers react to my writing.

*I’m here to compile, polish and publish my books, stories, essays and poetry. I want to share the laughter, tears, knowledge, and my own unique take on this life.

Online Advantages

*No commitments, except self-imposed writing ones. This fits with my current state of mind, as do the next two items. Somehow, I can build a website and learn the intricacies of social networking. However, schedules, appointments and commitments still elude me. Half the time my name eludes me :>) I’m still taking baby steps in this fog of grieving. Everyone does this their own way and mine involves a lot of solitude. I can reach out with my writing, but that seems to be my limit right now. (I still need to learn how to link to past blogs in order to let new readers in on my back story. That said, I’ve recently lost a grandson, and a sibling and my husband in the last 3+ years.)

*No face-to-face. The illusion of anonymity is a plus.

*I can wear my jammies, clip my hair in a pile on my head and apply no make-up.

*Whatever I want to know is here.

Accomplishments

*This blog website: almost 1100 views and almost 300 followers. Those are just numbers, but everything I read says I have to have high numbers to sell books–whether I self-publish or use a traditional publisher. The minimum number of 10,ooo views is what “they” say.

*To raise those numbers, and build a community of readers who want to jump on this wagon with us, I joined Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest.

*I’m an active member of several writing and critique groups, to practice and improve my writing skills.

*I’m meeting and circulating myself in groups where my writing focuses: memoir writers, widows, patient advocates, and people who are involved in all aspects of writing for children. I’m following and interacting with the best of the best of experts in social media, publishing, and the other areas of  the business of writing in 2013.  June of 2013, to be specific, because things are changing at a pace that boggles the mind.

*And last, but is actually first, I’m writing like crazy, editing, re-writing, and getting ready for the next leap.

I opened this essay talking about online community building. I hope I have shown you how and why I am building my own online community and the importance of having one. If I were in the writing and publishing world in New York City, I would be doing much of this in person, although they are all online too. The business and social hub of the world can now kick off their high heels and suits, fire up their computers and be part of another kind of community.

It’s going to be a fun and exciting adventure, so I hope you will all join me in my growing online community.

Peace,

Patti