Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Supporting Migraine Awareness Month: Guest post by Oleg Medvedkov

Funding Research for Migraine Cures through Laughter!

Charity Drive for the Migraine Research Foundation.

On the last week of Migraine Awareness Month, I am running a fundraising event for the Migraine Research Foundation.

Dates of the event: Wednesday, June 27th to Sunday, July 1st, 2012.

The Migraine Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding migraine research in the United States. To quote Stephen Semlitz, co-founder and Chairman of the Board - "The Migraine Research Foundation hopes that everyone who suffers from migraine will eventually have an effective treatment that they can count on to allow them to live a healthy, happy and productive life." In other words - a Very Worthy Cause.

During the days of a Charity Drive, I will donate ALL the royalties from the sales of my books from "Take a Break & Have a Laugh" series of books to MRF. Once again - when you buy any "Take a Break & Have a Laugh" book between June 27th and July 1st of 2012 inclusively, all the profit I get from Amazon as a writer goes to Migraine Research Foundation.

"Take a Break & Have a Laugh" are collections of short humorous stories written by yours truly. And when I say short - I mean bite-sized. For example - you can read one story in the volume while waiting in line in a store or while having a cup of coffee. BTW, please go easy on coffee if you have migraines, OK? :)

Why funny stories and why do I write them? That's easy - because I have migraines and the rest of the baggage that comes with it. If you are a migraineur, you know what I am talking about. Written as a "Laughter Therapy", these volumes contain stories that are designed to make the reader feel better, more positive and energetic. Laughter is not exactly a cure but it sure makes life easier, especially for people like us.

Just to make sure MRF receives a donation no matter how MUCH of a great success this Charity Drive will be, I am starting the ball rolling by pledging to Migraine Research Foundation $50 upfront.

What can YOU do to help this Charity Drive?

1. Click here to see "Take a Break & Have a Laugh" books on Amazon. All the loyalties from each sale will go directly to Migraine Research Foundation.

2. If you prefer, you can donate to Migraine Research Foundation separately on their website.

3. Please help to spread the word - Tweets, Facebook Shares and Blog Posts will be greatly appreciated. MFR - @MigraineRF and facebook.com/migraineresearch, Oleg Medvedkov - @olegmedvedkov and facebook.com/OlegMedvedkov

If you are on Facebook, please join us at the FB event.

Through the duration of the event, the updates and Q&A will be posted on olegmedvedkov.wordpress.com

Any thoughts, comments or opinions - please let us know.

We are combining Laughter therapy with research for migraine cures, people! Let's make this Charity Drive a success!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Using a Writing Plan to Write a Book: Guest Blog Post by RJ Thesman

Welcome to author RJ Thesman, who is a guest on my blog for this week. She is going to share with us her ideas about how to use a writing plan for the purposes of writing a book. As a busy mom writer, I wholeheartedly endorse creating a plan if you want to write a book. Yes, us creatives tend to resist the idea of sticking to a plan, but trust me, it works. I have used some of her methods here and that's how I managed to write books with children underfoot. These are great ideas and many thanks to RJ for taking the time to share this on my blog.

The Unraveling of Reverend G
ISBN: 978-1-93650110-6
format: paper, 200 pages, 5.25” x 8”
category: FICTION / Christian / General

When Reverend G hears the devastating diagnosis — dementia with the possibility of early-onset Alzheimer’s — she struggles with the pain of forgetting those she loves and the fear of losing her connection with God.
With the help of her friends at the assisted living facility, Bert, a farmer from Oklahoma, Roxie, the stressed-out activities director and Gabriel, a cat with the gift of forecasting death, she soon discovers there’s humor to be found in forgetting part of the Lord’s Prayer, finding her iron in the freezer and losing a half-gallon of ice cream. And she discovers that while the question she wants to ask is, ‘Why,’ the answer really is, ‘Who.’

The Writing Plan
by RJ Thesman

Sure, I know many creative writers hate the idea of using a writing plan. But for those of us who are bi-vocational – writing after we’ve worked an eight hour day – the writing plan can help us develop discipline and more published works.

Following are some of the writing plans I have found to work well:

WED: Write Every Day and send something out every Wednesday

Words/Day: Determine to write a certain number of words each day. Jan Karon wrote the Mitford books, using 1500 words/day. It worked.

Pages/Day: Start with one page/day which coincidentally is about 250 words. One page/day = one book/year.

The Project/Day Plan: Monday, an article outline; Tuesday, rewrite previous drafts, Wednesday, work on a short story; Thursday, your latest book project; Friday, a filler; Saturday, marketing; Sunday, rest.

Punch the Clock Plan: Write for a certain amount of time. Anne Lamott clocks six hours/day.

Post-it Note Plan: As a busy stay-at-home mom, Marabel Morgan perfected this plan. Throughout the day, write thoughts on post-it notes. That evening, collect all the notes, put them in order and write.

Weekend Novelist Plan: Taken from a Writer’s Digest book of the same name, this plan reserves Friday-Sunday to work on the novel.

What’s Next Plan: Always have the next idea ready. Then you can begin with just a few lines here and there on another project. This plan helps to eliminate writer’s block, because there’s always something to work on.

Weekly Plan: One week, work on the novel. The next week, focus on marketing. The 3rd week of the month, poetry. The fourth week, short stories. Continue the weekly plan with your favorite projects.

Miscellaneous Plans: Anybody out there use a different plan?

Although writers follow a writing plan, we can still procrastinate. So the most important plan is still focused around having the self-discipline to “Just Do It.” Whether you use a laptop at your favorite coffee shop, a PC at home or a yellow legal pad and a gel pen, just do it. Sit down and write.

Bio: RJ THESMAN has been a writer since she flipped open her Red Chief tablet and scribbled her first story. Eventually, she earned an education degree and taught at various levels. Thesman is a Biblical Counselor and a Stephen Minister. She has worked as a communications professional in a variety of nonprofits and has served as campus minister to international students. Thesman enjoys teaching writing workshops and helps beginning writers birth their words. She is the mother of an adult son and enjoys reading, gardening and cooking — especially anything with blueberries. Thesman lives in the heartland of Kansas with her son and an elderly cat.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Missing poems

After a poetry manuscript was rejected by a publisher, I took the time to look over the manuscript once again. When I sent it, I thought it was just the way I wanted it to be. Just the way it should be. Well, I was wrong.

I’m not talking about the minor things, like how I had poems in the TOC that were not in the manuscript. (Whoops.) Mostly, I’m talking about the poems as a whole.

Some of the poems just seemed out of place there, so I removed them.

Some of the poems seemed to resonate as a unified theme for a future poetry collection, so I took those out and collated them into one file for another poetry manuscript that I'm working on (in addition to the collection of Christian poems I have been working on).

But one thing was clear: I had to make sure a majority of the poems stayed true to the original collection’s theme, that being autobiographical poems. I had to make sure they were poems that reflected my life so far. (ONE of these days I will write a memoir. I want to wait until I am old and gray to write that! For now, my essay collection on deaf parenting and some of my poems can reflect snippets of my life thus far.) So that is what I have been working on, as well, in fixing up the manuscript.

There are, however, two poems I need to find to put into this manuscript. I have searched everywhere for them but can’t find them. And that’s a pity, because they are important poems.

One poem speaks out against drunk driving. (I can only remember the first stanza of this one.) And the other poem is one I wrote in the hospital while undergoing reconstructive surgery. I was a part of a “creativity group” there (I was in my teens and this was in New York), so I was prompted to write a poem one day. The poem I wrote was called “I Know You, Pain.” The group really liked it. One boy, in particular, kept reading it to the group. And this is part of why this poem means something to me; this young man died shortly after I left the hospital and, in a way, including that poem in the book is my way of remembering him.

I could probably write a new “anti drunk driving” poem, but I can’t rewrite “I Know You, Pain.” It was one of those poems I wrote while I was “in a zone” and there’s no way I could recapture those words just as I had written them twenty years ago. (My word, twenty years?? Wow. No wonder I can’t remember it.)

But I DO hope I find that poem. I have gone through notebooks, file folders, boxes of papers. So far, no luck. I lost a lot of stuff in our move from California to Oregon, so it’s possible that the poem was in one of those boxes. I hope not, but I have to accept that maybe it is gone forever.

If so, maybe I can write a similar poem, an “in memorium,” poem, to take its place instead.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

One book for one day

For some time, I have been working on more than one book at a time each day. I’d either be writing one and editing another, or writing one, editing another and revising still another. All in one day.

And recently, I kept wondering what it would be like to just work on ONE book a day. Just one, not two or three.

Last week, I had the chance to find out.

My time to work on the books was super-limited last week. As it was, I only had a chance to work on one book each day. But it wasn’t one book one day, then another book the next day. It was a little bit different.

On Monday and Tuesday, I worked on the haunted cities book.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the alien abductions book.

On Friday, I started writing the new children’s book that my daughter, Jennifer, is illustrating.

And this weekend? I spent Saturday and Sunday working on the revisions for The Ghost of Sarah Travers, Book One in The GHOST Group series.

And the result?

While it was nice to only focus on ONE book for one day, for once, I wasn’t all that happy that I could not get more work done on the books. Also, the Sarah Travers revisions requires me to stay “in the zone,” and that’s hard to do if I can only work on it on the weekends.

So I will try switching some books around this week and see how that turns out. Try for two or three a day, but prioritize them this time.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Calling in sick

One of the things that I like about working as an author is that I get to be my own boss. I set my own hours, decide what and how I will work on book projects and I don’t have somebody standing behind my chair, breathing down my neck! I’m the type who works better solo, so this is a big plus. An even bigger plus is that I get to "work from home" and be there for the kids, doctor appointments, school meetings, etc., when need be. One other thing I like about being my own boss is that I can take a week off work if needed, without the risk of getting “fired” for it!

And I definitely needed a week off last week, because I was sick with a terrible virus that left me in coughing fits, ruined my voice and made it darn near impossible to concentrate because I couldn’t get as much sleep as I needed, thanks to coughing so much!

So while the kids were in school last week, I didn’t spend this free time at the computer, furiously typing away. Of course, that HAD been my plan, since this was what I THOUGHT was going to be their last full week of school. (That is not the case for the preschooler.) But because I was too sick to work, I took some major downtime and stayed in bed as often as I was able to.

That’s right, I slept. A lot. Actually, the daytime was the only time I COULD sleep. Strangely enough, the chest congestion was at it’s WORST at night, and I barely slept. Thankfully, I was not coughing so badly in the mornings and that was time I used to catch up on sleep.

And, you know what? I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty about that, either. Believe me, the guilt monster DID try to get me. But, no! I spent way too much of the school year working and writing while the kids were in school. I think I was allowed some rest this time around.

That rest REALLY helped, a lot. I was able to function for the remainder of the day thanks to that extra rest I got. It also helped me to get through this haze of being sick.

On Thursday, I saw a doctor and got a prescription. The prescription was hard to get used to at first, but it did allow me to sleep at night and that is something I am grateful for. It’s so good to be able to get a good night’s sleep again!! I highly recommend it.

I am doing much better now. Still taking the antibiotics and the side effects are not as bad anymore. I’m glad to be over all of that and I think I did the right thing in getting the sleep I needed when I had that chance.

And as to the work I have to do? I can still do it. I can get back into it and nothing has suffered from this “week off” that I took. The books do not have “looming deadlines” that is leaving me stressed out, or anything. So nothing went wrong; I can get back to work on the books just as I would have done last week.

Also, now that summer is here, I have created a new “writing schedule” for me to follow so that I can find time to work on the four books I have on my plate now, read the books I am reviewing, and STILL have time to spend with the kids. I don’t want to be a “slave to the computer” like I was once upon a time when I was working as a freelance writer, so I think this schedule will be better for all of us. The poetry submissions have been moved to the weekends, as has blogging and miscellaneous “author stuff” that need to be taken care of. There may be other changes as far as social networking is concerned. The important thing is to find balance for everything and create a system to make it a “win-win” arrangement for all of us. I have a feeling things will work out with this new schedule, and look forward to seeing just how it’ll all turn out. At least schedules are not set in stone!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Goals for June

I am a big believer in setting goals. Since this is now June, a brand new month filled with possibilities, I think it’s time to review what kind of writing goals I have for this month. I actually have a few.

The BIG goal for June is to finish the haunted cities book. I would really like to complete work on this book and submit it by month’s end. However, I still need to put together the chapters for San Antonio, TX and New Orleans, LA. I will NOT submit the manuscript until I have those two chapters in the manuscript. So, if that doesn’t happen this month, then I will put submission on hold until either next month or whatever month I get those chapters done. 

When not busy with this book, then of course I will be working on other book projects. I’ll be spending the summer working on a nonfiction book with Martha Jette, as well as revising the first book in The GHOST Group series. This is a book that has a 2012 submission planned for it ... though I can’t say what month, exactly.

Also, if I do not submit the haunted cities manuscript this month, I will submit a different manuscript slated for a later submission. Hard to believe I have so many manuscripts to get out the door, but it is what it is.

And when not working on the books? I have been writing quite a bit of poetry lately (especially since I started writing in a new notebook! And getting inspired with ideas for poems from left to right) so I’ll keep up with that. I would like to submit poems, but it’s hard to find the right markets for them. But, yes, that is another goal for June: To submit at least five poetry submissions each week. (Given that this is summer vacation and the kids will be home, I’m not going to push myself to submit more than five!) But I know I cannot expect this to happen EVERY week all summer. We have some travel plans for the summer (can't say when or where), and since we don't have a laptop and I can't access the Internet on my phone, I will be offline during those times.

So, those are my 3 writing goals for June. I hope that, by July, I will have made progress with the books I am working on and that my poetry submissions will have resulted in some acceptances.