On November 20th, 2020 I closed on my new home in Leesburg Florida. The journey was complicated, financially straining, emotionally wired and physically daunting but, here I am! The photo above shows my new back yard. This view alone, drew me to the home. I thought NOW I can sit, write and read. It is now November 29th and I have not sat to read or write in my new back yard. What have I been doing? I have been unpacking boxes, cleaning, learning how to operate the sprinkler system, the washer and dryer and the garage opener. I had no idea that moving from a mobile home in Orlando to a “traditional” home in Leesburg was such a huge undertaking.
Today I decided that’s it! I’m taking a “me day” and I”m sitting down and writing. I promised myself that I would complete my memoir in a year and it’s already November 29th! Did I accomplish my task? Nope! I was on a distracted mission to get the cable boxes hooked up and running.
It’s evening now and the day has slipped pass me but I am still determined to get back to writing. Maybe tomorrow right after I take a nap on the hammock in my back yard.
Thanks to Ruth Ayres, Sharing Our Stories (SOS), suggestion from her blog to writer off a photograph I decided to do take this photo I took in SouthPort Park a few weeks ago and put a poem to it.
I’m walking in the park looking at the trees noticing how the wind rustles all the leaves above me birds float in the blue sky while clouds seem to gently rise I look in wonder how could this be that there’s a Bird Cloud floating over me I take a photo and I stare marveling at the beauty above me in the air…
Last week’s assignment from Hay House Writer’s Community was to visit a book store and look at books in the genre you’re writing. We were told to look at the book covers and read the hooks and subtitles and find which ones caught our attention.
I took a drive to my neighborhood Barnes and Noble bookstore. The shelves were filled with memoirs. For about an hour I read book covers. I came away having a better understanding that the hook for the book was very important.
The assignment this week is to write three hooks for your book; list five benefits your book will offer a reader and write five ways the book will provide these benefits. I don’t have three hooks for my book yet, but I do have one. To keep me motivated I created a “mock” book cover in Edit ( www.Edit.org.) I’ll put it in a frame and sit it on my desk.
I have found the best way for me to clear my head is to take a walk in the park. I am fortune enough to live in a county with many parks. I usually use the Parks and Recreation Guide pamphlet to locate a park. The further I have to drive to get to it the better. Since relocating from New York City and the hassle of riding trains I enjoy a long drive.
Inside the park I can enjoy the open fields. I always walk on the grass to “ground” myself with Mother Earth and I talk to the trees. Trees are great listeners. So many ideas come to mind, when I talk a walk, that I use the voice recorder on my phone to take notes.
Because of the pandemic many parks I visit are practically empty during the week. On the weekend ballgames and picnics have returned. I’ve grown accustomed to the solitude of the park environment and only walk during the week.
A walk in the park is also my time to say thank you. Sometimes I forget to be grateful. Grateful that I’m on a journey to becoming a published author. Grateful that I have the time to write daily. Grateful that I have the luxury of many parks to visit, enjoy and renew myself.
Writing my book not only takes commitment to write everyday but to also do research. I attended a free zoom “Instagram Insight Workshop.” The host pointed out things you should do everyday on Instagram:
1.Engage with your followers
2. Reply to comments on your posts.
3. Engage with other people’s posts on the platform.
4.Post a story.
5. Answer your DMs.
Along with these five tips you also have to do research. I started my research on hashtags for memoirs and it took me down a rabbit hole. There are countless hashtags! But there are graphics showing which hashtags are more likely to get followers and which ones are so broad they’re useless.
I’m thinking of acquiring an Instagram Business profile. With the business profile I can get Instagram Insights. The idea is to use Instagram Insights to identify your top performing content. Then, work to identify why it performed so well so that you can repeat the success in future posts.
I’m finding out that writing a book is a business! I create content, manage it, promote myself, oversee my book budget and soon I’ll be writing scripts for my Youtube Channel. I’m my own Chief Executive Officer!
I do know that this writing journey, in fact this entire experience, will lead me, in twelve months, to my finished product, my memoir. That’s worth the work.
I’m in the early stages of writing my memoir and what has come up for me while I was Mind-Mapping was the childhood games I use to play. I was reminiscing of the fun I use to have playing skelzies, stoop-ball, handball and hot peas and butter. These games were active and required a skill. Skelzies was a game that you had to have good knees, a keen eye and a good bottle top filled with wax. It was played on the ground so I often would end up with torn jeans and a dirty blouse. But, I liked the game because you really had to be able to aim your top into one of the 13 boxes or push an opponent out of the box you wanted to occupy. It was best played late in the day, playing in the hot sun on the hot tar was not good.
Stoop ball was another game I enjoyed. I don’t remember how you won this game. I know someone would hit the ball off the stoop and a group of us would try to catch it, but that’s where my memory fades…Handball was a serious game. We played it in Public School 67 school yard. We would get our Spaldine balls from Sarjay’s store on Myrtle Avenue. You really had to have a good ball and Sapldines was the best. If you had a quarter you could get two, one ball would always split in half if you hit it too hard against the concrete wall. I got lots of scraped knees and knuckles playing this game. The fun part was that it was all about team work, you worked with your partner to hit the ball so that the opposing team would miss hitting it. Some handball players were really good. They would be on the court all day and you had to “call it” to play in the next game.
Now, Hot Peas and Butter (come and get your supper!) was not one of my favorite games. I did not like getting hit with the belt. You really had to run fast back to “base” before the person who found the belt beat the crap out of you. I remember one time I just left the game. The girl was vicious with the belt.
If I had an all time favorite pass time as a child and merging young teen it would be riding my scooter. It was a handmade scooter with a wooden milk crate box and metal skates for wheels. I could ride that scooter down “Dead Man’s Hill” in Fort Greene Park all day.
Even though writing my memoir is time consuming and takes commitment the memories is what’s keeping me going. Do you have any childhood games you use to play?
The Last Book On Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
This week I’ll start reading the book “Save The Cat!” by author Black Snyder. Since I am writing a book for the first time I want to learn how to make the book sequence flow. It’s said that the book will give the reader insight and knowledge needed to write a screenplay. A screenplay tells a story just like a book so I believe the information will be beneficial to me.
All the books I’m reading I’m using as “Writing Manuals.” These will be books that I can refer back to as I take these twelve months to write. There are so many resources for beginner writers and books are a great source. I also took the step today to join a writing group on Meetup.com.
I have been listening to Bodhi Light Tales podcast for awhile. The stories are seven minutes and always has a lesson woven in it.
Yesterday I listened to “This Little Piggy” tale and learned about compassion. These tales give you lessons that are easy to implement in your daily life. I find it helpful to take a break from my writing and listen to a tale or two. It always centers me.
All stories of Bodhi Light Tales are based on Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s works.
I am currently reading the book “Limitless” by Jim Kwik. Jim’s methods of learning are all about freeing your mind. His methods teach you how to focus, study and speed read. Each chapter concludes with an exercise. The exercises are beneficial if you take the time to learn the methods. I’ve scheduled time on my calendar to practice these methods knowing that they will become useful when I start promoting my memoir.
Jim website has many resources to use and when you email your receipt for the purchase of the book you join “Kwik Learning Online” platform. I have a few more chapters to go but I right now I’m finding the reading material very helpful.
From 1984 to 2013 I was a secretary in a New York City government job. In the early years of my working career I used a typewriter. Now that I’m retired I’m venturing out to write my memoir. Working on my memoir I use a computer, laptop or iPad. These items all come with distractions. I find myself often tempted to stop writing and scroll through the internet or check my emails.
Back in the day when I used a typewriter to construct my poems, stories and plays I had less distractions. All I had to do was type to get my thoughts on the paper. I was much more focused and committed to writing. Right now I’m feeling the need to go back to what worked for me in my writing process. I’m thinking of buying a manual typewriter and going to the park and sit and type.