Take a Breath

It’s been a busy week. Take a breath. Enjoy the scenery around you.

whiteriveresar

This is taken from a bridge overlooking White River near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Christmas Doodles

I don’t know if you make your own greeting cards or not or if you are a visual artist or not. But I think everyone can get some enjoyment out of doodling, even if you only do it for yourself. This video shows you how to do some Christmas doodles.

Other Creative Work

I talk about writing often enough here that you might wonder if I do any other creative work. I do.

I knit, crochet, make jewelry, do handlettering, and make greeting cards. I primarily crochet, though.

I love shawls and scarves. I’ve recently made an infinity scarf and a cowl for Christmas gifts. I’m working on one that’s called a “Dragon Belly Shawl.” It’s gorgeous! After it’s done, I’m going to make a pair of dragon-scale fingerless gloves/mitts.

I do offer things for sale, but most of what I make is gifted to different people for different reasons.

Recently, I’ve had to slow down. I’ve developed tendonitis and it’s taking forever to get well, even with a brace and exercises. (Yes, I even type with the brace on.)

What I’m Reading (early December 2018)

A writer who writes is a writer who reads. You have to know what’s going on, what’s being published currently, what you like, and what you don’t like. You only know this by reading.

I currently have a couple books going. One is not new, but has been recommended by so many people that I decided to read it anyway.

Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
Obviously, this is the one that’s not new. I’ve never really been interested in this just based on the title alone. Because of the way it’s written, it wouldn’t be published without a lot of editing today. It’s overly wordy, but there are some Big Truths hidden in here if you’re willing to wade through excessive verbiage to find them. I’m about halfway through it.

YouTube Secrets, Sean Cannell & Benji Travis
If you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel (or if you already have and feel hopelessly lost), this book is for you! I’ve gleaned a lot of good information from it. I watch Sean & Benji on their YouTube channel Video Influencers and get a lot of good info from them there, so I didn’t expect any less from the book. And it has definitely not disappointed me. If I’m going to really get started on my channel in January, I need to get it in gear & finish reading this.

Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis
I wanted to like this book. I’ve heard so many good things about it. I seriously expected to love it. But… I don’t. I don’t not like it. I’m just…meh about it. I’ve finished chapter 10 and I don’t know if I’m going to read the rest of it or not. I realize I’m in the minority, but just remember every person won’t like every book. And even if they do, they won’t like it for the same reasons, usually.

That’s what I’m reading at the moment. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Am I Published?

Jen Nipps @ Open Mic
(c) 2017 Richard R. Barron Used with permission

If you’ve been on this blog any at all, you know the answer to this.

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Yes, and I have 10 books (including 2 novels and a book of poems), 3 short ebooks, and 3 short stories available under Jen Nipps (nonfiction) and Kat O’Reilly (fiction). I have another book in the editing process with a publisher and at least two more in that series. (One in progress, one in planning stages.)

I’ve had multiple articles and other short pieces published in WritingforDollars, Ada Magazine, the Ada News, Writers’ Journal, World of Myth Magazine, and 4Health Magazine. This doesn’t include various anthologies and other websites and blogs.

Some of the articles that were published in WritingforDollars have been republished in short ebooks through JEN Enterprises Presents and are: Bop Your Way Through Writer’s Block, 3 Keys to the Kingdom, and Why You Need a Writing Practice.

The short stories I currently have available are “They Call Me Malak,” “Sex, Politics, & Vampires,” and “This Is Your Karma.”

I’m keeping track of other things I want to write, so this is not all that you’ll see from me.

When Did I Start Writing?

ecrireHere’s another one that could probably go in the FAQs.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this. The answer is…complex. My creative journey started when I was quite young, though I can’t put an exact year to it.

My mom used to be a babysitter. It was my job to help entertain the kids. I would make up stories for my brother and some of the other kids. Growing up, my mom encouraged my creativity. Telling stories was just one way she did this.

I think I could say I probably started writing around 12 years old. That’s how I remember it anyway. When I was in high school, my tenth grade English teacher required us to keep a journal. She would collect them once a week. She wouldn’t read what was written, but she would just check to see if we were writing in them every day.

I wrote my first poem in that journal.

When I was in 11th grade, I got brave and showed that poem to my English teacher. She liked it. From then on for the rest of the year, she would find student contests for me to enter.

I never really called myself a writer, though. I didn’t have “permission.” Even into college.

Then, during my fourth semester of college, I was waiting in a hallway for a class to end before my next one started. A classmate walked up and saw me reading Writer’s Digest and asked, “Oh, are you a writer?”

I hesitated. Then I said, “yes.”

In that moment, something in me shifted. Something clicked.

I had permission to call myself a writer!

That made all the difference in the world. After that, it didn’t matter if people thought I could or couldn’t do it. It didn’t matter if they liked what I wrote. It didn’t matter if they thought I was a “real writer” or not.

Why?

Because I KNEW I WAS!

I had given myself permission to call myself a writer. To be a writer. To tell anyone who asked what I did. That is when I really started writing.

Researching Books

Thinking
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

This could probably go into an FAQ section. A lot of times, I’m asked how much research do I do for my books.

The easy answer is: It depends on the book. Some require more research than others do.

Here’s the thing.

I like to research things. I can easily get lost in Google searches and following tangents until what I’m looking at bears nothing to the original search. So what do I do?

Honestly, I start writing. When I need to know something, I look up that thing. For example, in Navajo Rose, I needed to know some police scanner codes. I did a Google search on that phrase and got a pretty good list on various scanner codes used in law enforcement.

Doing research like this keeps me on track and I don’t go off on very many tangents.

It should go without saying that if I’m writing anything historical/semi-historical, I do a lot more research up front, but I do enough to get going and then look up whatever else I need to know.

I’m still hoping to find an old map of Ireland, the older the better.