The Write Tools

Hooptedoodle

A Call for Help September 10, 2010

This morning I was walking out of my children’s elementary school when the phone rang. On the other end of the connection was a woman with the National Marrow Donor Registry. She called to tell me that I had matched with a 39 year old man. He has a blood order disease and in desperate need of a transplant. I was shocked. She went on to say; in 1996 I had taken a blood test and checked a box saying I was willing to be a donor. Now, almost fifteen years later, I had popped up as a possible match. Fifteen years…I was surprised they even found me. Since then, I married, had two children, moved five or six times being a military spouse…and here 2010, on a sunny day in California…I was asked to make good on that checked box.
I listened to her speak about the process and that, after the next step of testing, there was less than a 5% chance I would be a match…but would I be willing to even take that chance. In the few moments she waited for my answer, I thought about the man who needed the transplant. Does he have kids like the ones I just dropped off? He is only a few years older than I…does he have a wife he loves as deeply as I love my husband? Is he a teacher, a police officer, military…or maybe an office worker or janitor? Did his life mean just as much to him as mine does to me? If the tables were reversed, what answer would I want him to give?
The case worker was a little shocked when after a few seconds of silence I said absolutely…yes, I will take the next step. My husband, a Marine, has the opportunity to impact and save lives every day. Vicariously, I feel I do as well…being a military spouse. But this is the first opportunity that I feel I could change and help save someone’s life…myself. What an honor. I am just starting the process, who knows if I will be a match. I have a lot of research, praying and talking with my family to do…but in this moment, I feel overwhelmed and excited that I could perhaps help. As the process continues, I will blog it. Has anyone else gone through this …has anyone advice? Please share your story, thanks!

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Help…Do I Mac or PC? April 28, 2008

Ok, I know that I am igniting a feud… on a Hatfield vs McCoy proportion… but I honestly need help. So, for all you Mac Genius’s and PC Savants… here is the question. I am looking at purchasing a new laptop…and am not sure if I should leave my old PC behind for a Mac, or stick with what I know. So, in order to guide your advice…I have listed what I actually use my computer for currently…

1. Writing – I am only willing to use Microsoft Word…I am to old to learn a new word processing program. I write books, and other such rambles and rants. What is the benefit of having a Mac to all you writer gra-uppies (uhh…granola-yuppies)  out there?

2. Graphic Design – I like to dabble. I co-produce a country music show and design all the marketing materials for it. I also do side projects for friends…ect… generally in Corel.

3. Photographs – I probably have close to 40,000 digital photographs with no sign of stopping. I love photo shop, and love to edit… we call them butt-be-gone photos…guaranteed that our children will always remember us skinny 🙂 I would like to have a better way of cataloging them.

4. Blog, obviously…although I plan to expand this. I do most of my news, friends, browsing online… mp3’s, dvd sometimes

5. I do use spreadsheets, writing software, some power point, some access DB’s… but not on a daily basis.

6. Games – I like to play, however I am not a Warcraft or other huge graphics gamer…. Diner Dash does me fine

7. I like to multi-task, have multiple windows and programs open at the same time….I often research online while I write, listen to music or podcast, have photos open…

8. Regardless of what I purchase, we will still have a PC Desktop. It will need to be on speaking terms with it on our home network.

What I would like to start doing….

1. Video editing

2. Sound Files/ “Podcast” some of my self made audio files, lectures I have given, travel sound files

So, with that said… what do you think? Is it worth the BIG investment to switch to a Mac. I have, literally, 10-15 years worth of time, software, “corporate knowledge”, files wrapped up into a PC. It is a HUGE Paradigm shift…and I need to know how a Mac will be better for me than a PC…or, is it even worth it. Anyone out there have experience with taking the plunge? Love it? Hate it? Regrets? … Help!

My fellow bloggers… why Mac? why PC?

…Here is a funny little video I found that will make you chuckle… BE WARNED…it is South Park. So the language is a little raunchy in places…if that offends you, don’t even click.

 

STOP RANDOM acts of kindness April 26, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness, the “movement” started a few years ago.

It is time for it to end.

Instead, let’s start doing them on purpose!

You say, this is only semantics Amie….well look at what the “semantics” say about it…

Def of random: without definite aim, direction, rule, or method. synonyms haphazard, casual mean determined by accident rather than design. Random stresses lack of definite aim, fixed goal, or regular procedure.

Let’s start looking… actively looking… for ways to lend a hand, meet a need, support and encourage our communities.

Let’s be purposeful…intentional…meaningful.

If we looked at our fellow humans intent on meeting their needs, not only would we start to change humanity, but ourselves. It doesn’t have to be large gestures… so often, all people need are simple things to make their day easier and brighter.

I recently was on Camp Pendelton, a large Marine base out here in So-Cal.  Ahead of me was a young women, a marine, juggling an arm full of packages. Everytime she got one settled, another would drop. I wasn’t in a particular hurry, so I asked her if I could carry some of them.  To be honest… (I am ashamed to say) if I had been in a real time crunch, I probably would not have stopped to help her…

At first, she said no. Then another package dropped. I picked it up, and took a couple more in my arms.

She teared up.

“You really don’t mind?”

I teared up.

“The post office run is always the errand I hate the most.” I reassure. “I know what it’s like to have to juggle a ton of packages, a baby car carrier…with another in tow.”

She said that the care packages were for her husband in Iraq. All Copenhagen 🙂 He didn’t want anything else. It was his third time over there, and he would be getting home about a month before she was leaving for her second tour.

As I walked with her to the post office, I could tell she was a little shocked that someone would go the distance with her…which I thought was sad. She thanked me profusely.

We parted ways with a brief hug between strangers, and I left truly honored that I could lend a hand. I felt light and giddy….and on the hunt to find someone else to help. It had taken less than five minutes, but it changed my outlook forever.

We are the only Jesus that people may ever see. What we do reflects Him. We are His hands extended in charity, in sympathy, in love…

I challenge you to step out of your house every day and look forward to doing a Purposeful Act of Kindness…and not just one here or there… lets start a revolution of people acting out the simplest and most profound truth of all……Do unto others, as you would like to have done to you…

So what am I doing? Slowing down and letting people get by me (a feat on So-Cal freeways), I am smiling and saying hello to the people I pass, giving more hugs, looking for people who need an extra hand …and actually extending it, I am setting aside a little pin money each week to treat someone to a meal, to gas in their tank, to mailing a care package for them. I am actively looking for someone, every day, to be kind to.You might say, that you aren’t aware of anyone in need…or that it’s to big an issue to tackle.

I have your first mission… please accept it.

Being a  military wife about to face deployment, I can tell you the families back home can always use an act of kindness. Every little bit helps. I would encourage you to not only display your solidarity with a ribbon, but to display it with actions. If you know a family affected by this; write a note, offer a lawn mow, a game of catch with their children, a laundry folding party, a home-cooked meal that they don’t have to make, rake up fallen leaves or change light bulbs in places they can’t reach… a hug. Simple actions say more than 10,000 words sometimes. 

…and these ideas are just a start… we need to take the blinders off and take a long look at the world around us… noticing need is the first step… now meet it.

…be purposeful in the way we treat one another, I guarantee you will get back in happiness 10x’s more than the effort it took to do it.

Care to join me? Comment about what your plan is today… 

 

 

Write Tool of the Week #2 April 17, 2008

Butt Glue.

The secret to successful writing…the secret to actually finishing the book…the key to getting published.

Butt Glue.

I am a collector of books about…well…writing books. I have quite a little library put together, most end up saying…Thanks for putting my kid through college buying this book, now quit reading a book about how to write, and just…well, write!

Write Away,  (see below for link) one of the more recent (and in my opinion, best) books on writing Elizabeth George extols the virtue of gluing one’s bum to the chair in which one sits. Pull up in front of your writing instrument of choice…and go to it straight away. She goes on to quote another author saying, “He who possesses the best bum glue wins.”

Amie’s tips to help you STICKETH:

1. Write what you want to, not what you think will sell. Write your passion and about what interests you. If you do that, you will always have something to say.

2. Write characters that you would actually like to spend a good portion of your life with. George says that “writing requires forced introspection.” Don’t avoid your life. It will help you create believable characters, who have to feel something themselves in order to become real.

3. Commit yourself to the process…for the value of the process alone. Of course we all want to be published. We are writers, why write if no one will ever read it. Don’t put the pressure of “having to publish” on yourself. Write it, because you love the characters…because the plot intrigues you. John Dalton once said, “Don’t waste your time feeling ashamed for being an unpublished author. Each time you sit alone in a room and give your most honest and complete effort, you’ve earned the title of writer.” The pressure to publish is often the number one cause of writer’s block…with that said… When you run into a block in the process Frances Itani says “Write your way through all your problems, don’t sit around thinking about them.

4. You actually have to write the darn book if you do want to get published… Authors write every day…how they account for their productivity varies…some authors work on an hours system, some on page count, some on word count… pick a way of tracking your goals so you can see how far you have come. Remember to reward yourself…and schedule in a “day off” in order to recharge. American Artist Chuck Close put it this way: “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

5. 15 mins a day of writing will get you closer to completion than 0 mins. When people find out that I am a writer … the conversation seems to wind to them having a book they have always wanted to write…but don’t have the time. WRONG… repeat after me… I choose to have time…I choose to have time… turn off the tv (or put headphones on), screw the laundry for one day, as much as you love to read someone else’s novel (or latest book on writing) WRITE instead. We choose to be…too busy.

6.  Write for someone. Even if it is your husband, best friend, neighbor, writing group… ME…I’ll take you on. You need someone to hold you accountable to your goals. Pin their photo up next to your desk, so you can see them staring down at you 🙂

7. Last one, for every hour you sit…glued to your chair writing… balance it with adventure, fun, new experiences, people, exercise…. go into nature, or the city…or wherever inspires you. Spend time with people who inspire you. LIVE… then go write about it

I know there are more ideas and tools out there… you may have a list of your own… why don’t you comment and leave some here…let other writer’s and aspiring writer’s out there know what works for you!

To Find My Favorite Books on Writing… Guaranteed to help or at least inspire you…click on the link below. 

http://astore.amazon.com/thewritoo02-20

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of WritingOne Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing LifeLessons from a Writing LifeWriters Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything In Between

 

 

 
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