Posted in Health

You Need to be Your Own Advocate

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a harrowing week of being at the hospital with my son who developed appendicitis over the weekend. My poor little guy was in so much pain. Sob. When we figured out he might have appendicitis, we immediately got him into the doctor who then made arrangements for him to go to the emergency room.

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We got our son into the hospital and we hoped he’d have surgery that night. Nope. He wasn’t considered an emergency case because his appendix hadn’t burst. According to the ultrasound, it was just inflamed. So they gave him pain medication and anti-nausea medication for the night. He was scheduled for surgery the next morning, but he was pushed back to noon because an emergency case had come in. When he finally went into surgery it was one thirty, and guess what, during our wait his appendix burst. The surgery took longer than expected and so has his recovery. We were in the hospital two days longer than we had planned.

 

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The reason I’m telling you this is because you must be your own advocate when you seek medical attention. I wish we hadn’t blindly followed the doctor’s advice and allowed him to push our son’s surgery back. I wish we had said we feel this is a real emergency and we want this taken care of now.

Another example I’d like to share with you is when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgeon who performed my mastectomy originally recommended a lumpectomy because they had only found one spot.

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I told him I wanted an MRI done to make sure there weren’t any other cancerous spots. I wanted this to be a one and done kind of thing. I didn’t want to have to go through anything like this again.  His response was, “We don’t do MRI’s on people your age.”

I told him I didn’t care. I wanted to make sure there weren’t any other spots and he needed to order an MRI. He did and there were five other cancerous spots. Now if I had just listened to him, I’d be going back for more surgery and the cancer would’ve most likely spread through my body. My life would’ve been cut dramatically short.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything the medical community has done for me. After all, they’ve extended my life and I get to see my kids grow up. But they’re not always right and some doctors have a tendency to cut corners whether it’s at the behest of insurance companies or for other reasons I’m not sure. So the moral of this story is: You need to be your own advocate for your health. Ask questions and push the issue when you need medical attention. Get second and third opinions. It could literally save your life.

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any medical experiences you’d like to share? Please do. I love to hear from you!

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Posted in Writing

Why We Write

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy couple of weeks. I attended a writer’s conference last weekend and this week I had an author night at one of our local bookstores. I’m also putting some finishing touches on my latest WIP and I’ve got another one going strong. So it’s a busy time for me.

During the writing conference we were asked to answer the question: why we write?

 

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There’s a different answer for each and every author. Some do it out of love for the written word. Others do it because they feel they have something important to say. Still others do it just to silent the voices in their heads. Whatever the reason, you must keep writing. We need books now more than ever.

I learned while at this conference that 40% of public schools no longer have a librarian. Isn’t this sad?  It’s just one more responsibility heaped upon our already over-extended and stressed out teachers to instill a love of reading for their students.

 

 

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But how can they do that if there aren’t new and exciting books? That’s where we, the storytellers come in. We need to write as many quality stories as we can. We need to entice our readers to fall in love with our books so they’ll want to keep reading. This is incredibly important. Why?

Because right now ninety one million people are functionally illiterate in the United States alone. That means they can’t read, write, or use numbers sufficiently well to get along in society.  Every year at least a million functionally illiterate students graduate from America’s high schools. This is an epidemic.

We need to turn this around. It is up to us the authors to do this. The teachers can’t do it by themselves. I know what some of you may be thinking. Ninety one million people? So what? It’s their problem not mine.

Well. You’re wrong. It is your problem because you may have to deal with someone who’s illiterate in your life. Maybe at work. Maybe as a customer or client. They’re going to be difficult to work with if they can’t understand basic concepts because they can’t read.

What if one of those illiterate people somehow manages to find a position of power in our country. Do you really want him/her to make decisions for you?

 

I sure don’t.

Our government needs to stop buying weapons and invest in our educational system right now. Our adversaries won’t have to go to war and take us over with physical force. They’ll wait and let us destroy ourselves then come in and take over when we’re reeling from our own destruction.

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So writers keep writing. You’re needed now more than ever.

 

Do you have any ideas on how to turn this situation around? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Writing

Hey There!

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m off today at a Writing Conference in Grand Rapids. So there won’t be a post today. I got tied up at work and wasn’t able to get one written. That means I’ll be back next week for our regular programming.~

I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

 

 

Posted in Writing

Why I love the Writing Community

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m worried about the Floridians as Hurricane Irma makes her way toward them.  I hope they all make it to safety, and for the friends and family who’ve decided to stay or can’t make it out, my prayers and thoughts are with you.

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It’s during these scary events that we see our true natures coming out. People forget about their prejudices and the barriers come down. Everyone helps everyone else no matter race, political affiliation, or religious bent. It would be so nice if we could do that all the time, wouldn’t it?

Sigh. That’s one of the things I love about the writing community. I’ve met so many awesome people who’re willing to lend a hand. I’ve participated in this contest where successful authors offer to be a mentor to writers who are on the path to publication. It’s an incredible event. If you’re an aspiring author I’d recommend getting involved. The contest is called Pitch Wars.

 

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To learn more about it. Stop on over to Brenda Drake’s blog. She’s the one who developed this growing event. There were more than three thousand entries this year. Here’s the link: http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitch-wars/

 

The thing about this contest is there are groups of authors that have formed and they’re supporting each other by offering critique partners, beta readers, and just general reinforcement to the potential mentees. Everyone wants each other to win. It’s amazing to see all the encouragement.

If you’re an aspiring author, I’d also recommend establishing a presence on Twitter. I’ve found there are many literary agents who hang out there, and it’s a great way to make a connection. Who knows, maybe you’ll get an agent that way. Stranger things have happened.

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There are also chats on Twitter. All you need to do is follow the hashtags #askagent, #querytip, and #ontheporch and you’ll find professionals in the industry to ask questions and get advice from. I’ve met other aspiring authors, editors, and agents this way. Twitter is an awesome avenue for making connections.

 

There’s another hashtag that I’ve found extremely helpful and that’s #MSWL.

Agents use this hashtag to tweet their manuscript wishlist. We’ve never been so in touch with the gatekeepers of the publishing industry. In my opinion, this is the best time to be a writer. There are so many opportunities to make connections. So it’s important to hone your craft, you never know when opportunity will knock on your door.

How about you? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with the writing community? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Writing

When Imposter Syndrome rears its Ugly Head

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. It’s been a heck of a week with Hurricane Harvey dropping a ton of water down on Texas and wreaking havoc on almost the entire state. I’m glad that most people are safe including my friends and family, and I’m sending prayers to people who’ve been hurt or lost their lives in the hurricane.

 

 

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On a much less dramatic scale, I also started back to work this week after a summer of running my kids all over and writing. So I am tired, but I did manage to keep up with my writing goals. 🙂

Anyway, today I thought I’d talk about something that many writers deal with and that is  Imposter syndrome. We don’t feel like authentic writers until we get that major book deal, or award, or win that contest. I’ve been there and so have many of my fellow writer pals.

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It’s a horrible feeling to not feel authentic, so I thought I’d write a post on the things you can do when that feeling strikes, and from what I’ve heard from the big authors that feeling can hit them, too. None of us are immune.

 

  • First and foremost, keep writing. The feeling will soon dissipate as you immerse yourself in your writing once again. Writing for me has always been an escape and a way to deal with anxiety. Use it now to fight the Imposter syndrome that is attempting to take over your brain.

 

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  • Take a break and read. Reading is a great stress reliever for me and I believe Imposter syndrome is really just a bad case of nerves. So take a break and read one of your favorite authors, then get back into it. You’ll be glad you did.

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  • Chat with other authors. The writing community is full of kind-hearted people who’re willing to lend a hand to help another author succeed. Trust me on this, I’ve run into many of them.

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  • Get on Twitter and connect with other people in the community. There are so many opportunities and ways to connect with authors, editors, and even agents. I’ve met some incredible people who’ve helped me grow as an author and you can, too.

 

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  • It’s important to develop a group of friends who can cheer you on when you’re wallowing in the fires of Imposter syndrome. I’ve done this and when the going gets tough, they’re always there to give me what I need. Whether it’s a quick critique, or help with a difficult scene, or just a quick pat on the back. They are there.

 

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These are five ways I’ve dealt with Imposter syndrome. I’m sure there are many more. Are there ways you deal with it? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!