Who Do You Write For?

When you are writing, do you think about who you are writing the story for?

And does it vary according to the story? I find that it does for me.

Right now I’m working on a story that has been evolving for a few years. I feel like I am writing it completely for my own enjoyment. When I get it done I’ll be curious to see if I want anyone else to read it and if so, will it resonate for that person? If not, that’s okay because this is a self-indulgent story.

I’ve written other stories that just have to be written and quite frankly, sometimes don’t even feel like they are my words or my kind of story. Those are the ones I like to share and hope they were written for others to enjoy.

I have read that some authors write while thinking of a specific person or a kind of audience that will read the story they are writing. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that except in a very loose way like maybe and age group. I think that would be very intimidating and I’d be afraid that it would interfere with my creativity.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve been influenced by a certain person and a story idea will grow from that. Sometimes I want that person to read it and other times I wouldn’t dare show it to them or let on that it had anything to do with them.

Have you written something that you felt was so strong and said so much only to have someone not get it at all? That can hurt. I had that happen in a class once and the teacher completely missed the point. Luckily a fellow student spoke up defending my story and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized that it wasn’t the story but the reader. And we have no control over a reader.

That also happened in a writing group but it wasn’t so traumatic because I knew the members of the group well and expected some of them to not get it. I enjoyed the discussion that followed on the different interpretations of my poem. That was a good lesson of not having any control over the reader.

There are various quotes from famous authors saying something to the effect that while you are the author of the story it belongs to you but when you send it out into the world you truly have to let go of it because then it belongs each reader.

That’s why I’m curious as to whether you write with a specific person in mind and if so, do you let that person read it? I would think that would be the ultimate act of bravery in putting your words out there. I think it could be terrifying. It could also be exhilarating.

For the most part, I think that’s why I write for myself. Then, if I’m feeling really brave, I’ll share it. And if the reader gets what I was trying to say, then that is just the best. Isn’t that what all authors dream about? Finding common ground? Feeling that we all share that experience and we aren’t alone?

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More Than One Book at a Time

Do you read more than one book at a time? Apparently this is a shocking concept to some people.

I’m always reading more than one book at a time. Plus magazines. I don’t give it much thought or think this is unusual but when it comes up in conversation a lot of people are surprised. Most people say they could never read more than one book at a time and that they would never be able to keep the stories straight.

I like to have options depending on my mood or the time of the day.

Reading nonfiction is very different for me than reading fiction. It’s easier pick up a nonfiction book and put it down because I don’t get as caught up in it like I do fiction. I can read a paragraph or a page or two, put the book down and do something else while I absorb what I just read. I read nonfiction out of curiosity and the desire to learn.

With fiction my goal is to escape. I tend to lose track of time and motivation to get things done so I try not to read it when I need to pay attention to what is going on around me or if I only have short amount of time to read. I get lost in the story and sometimes find it jolting when I have to put the book down and deal with real life.

Variety is important depending on my mood. If a day is going badly it’s wonderful to be able to lose myself in a made up world for a little while. It’s a mini vacation. And that comes in very handy when waiting for something like a doctor’s appointment. It makes the wait easier and keeps me from getting as nervous.

I don’t like to waste time so I always have something handy to read; like during commercials while watching TV. There are so many commercials now that I can get a lot of reading done! I don’t watch a lot of TV but the few shows I do watch are loaded with commercials. I used to be able to watch shows on demand and fast forward through the commercials but can’t seem to do that much anymore. Keeping a book ready passes that time in a good way.

Often I’m reading something for a book group. I don’t want to stop reading any other books so I just add another one. This reading involves taking notes for discussion or making up trivia questions for fun at the group.

Book pile

I like to have something lighter to read before going to sleep at night. I avoid anything really scary or full of graphic violence before drifting off. Those are not the kinds of thoughts I want to have dreams about!

Usually I have at least three books going at a time. Often more.

I know I’m a bit book crazy but wonder if other people do this as much as I do. I’m more surprised when people tell me they never have time to read. I find that amazing!

How about you? Do you read more than one book at a time?

Play Day

I need a play day. Being a grownup is a lot of work and not enough play. As a grownup I find that I don’t make enough time for fun. When this goes on too long and I don’t pay attention then usually I end up getting sick. So really a play day is a good health day.

Today I’m trying to take a play day. I started the day by taking my time which in itself is such a wonderful luxury! I sat and had more than one cup of tea and the one I’m having right now is a delicious specialty blend that I bought at a tea shop. It is cocoa caramel sea salt tea and how can I possibly feel like a responsible adult while sipping on this? I can’t!

While sipping my tea I watched two (two!) episodes of Star Trek, Next Generation instead of the news. Yes, I’m a Trekkie. I have been all of my life. Watching a fun show makes me feel like a kid.

I have discovered that I’m not very good at play days and I have to work at having one which seems ironic. Despite my best intentions, I still have things that I have to get done whether I want to or not. So in keeping with the childlike frame of mind I want to maintain today I am doing a lot of grumbling and whining about having to do my chores. Little by little I am getting things done like laundry and stuff. Ugh.

However, I am determined to play. How? Well the great thing about being a grownup is that I have a lot of options! I can play video games, I can color, I can read, I can write, I can watch a movie; all of which sound fun and best of all none of which I have to do. I think that’s the key. Finding something fun to do, something enjoyable. Doing something that I think about doing a lot and keep telling myself that I will when I have time. And how often does that time come up? Almost never. 

I have been given a lot of coloring books to choose from. Fun!

I have been given a lot of coloring books to choose from. Fun!

So I am making time today. Playing enough to take my mind away from all thoughts about what I should be doing. Forgetting about time for a while. Doing something so enjoyable that I will realize that a few hours have gone by without my noticing.

What do you do when you play? What brings out the carefree kid in you?

Wish me luck! Because I am going to go play before I think of something I should be doing!

Super Bowl Confession

I’m not really a football fan. I know! I can hear your collective gasps of shock! I happen to catch bits and pieces of a game when somebody else has it on the TV during football season. And I hear who is going for the Super Bowl. And I even know which teams are playing this year! (The Falcons and the Patriots) Otherwise, I really don’t care.

However, what I do like about the Super Bowl is how it pulls the country together in a big way. I love how it is so American! I can’t help but get into the excitement. I enjoy seeing people excited about this game and the fun rivalries that happen. (It is a game, people!)

I love the rituals. The flying of the flag, the singing of the National Anthem, the fly-over of the Thunderbirds, the coin toss and the first kick-off and play of the game.

I admit that I look forward to the commercials; the only time I can say that.

I love the half-time show.

I enjoy empathizing with the players knowing that this game is the dream of a lifetime for all of them and trying to imagine how that feels. We get a glimpse of that when they show their excitement when a play goes their way.

I also find it fascinating that there is a primal level to this game. The love of a battle and winning at all costs. The adrenaline you can see in the players’ eyes. This game is a wonderful outlet for those primitive urges.

As far as the entire game goes, I usually listen to it and glance at it when it seems there is a big play happening.

I love that people gather for parties, food and camaraderie.

There is a feeling in the air of fun and patriotism.

So even though I’m not really a big football fan, I do enjoy the Super Bowl.

No matter who wins, I hope all of you enjoy it. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Adjusting To Old Fashioned Sundays

Around here just about everything is closed on Sundays. I remember everything being closed on Sundays when I was a kid. I think this is a good thing. Having one day a week to focus on what is important in life, revisit your spiritual beliefs, visiting with friends, neighbors and family, or just relaxing seems to be almost a thing of the past.

Not here. It has taken some time to get used to the idea that if I want to run to the store for something, then I have to plan on driving further and it taking longer. And I will have to deal with the traffic and all the other shoppers rushing to get things done before the day is done.

Around here the Amish celebrate Sundays with church and visiting. So driving around is slower. More buggies to pass. Lots more.

But you know what? It’s really nice to be able to slow down, take in the sites you would miss while driving at full speed. Like seeing Amish families all together at one farm, dressed up in their Sunday finest, talking, eating and playing.

I seem to be changing my thinking about the day. Most of the time I stay home. Just knowing that I don’t have to go anywhere and thinking about it being Sunday makes me relax and prioritize in a way I don’t the rest of the week.

Sometimes family or friends visit. Sometimes we go visit them. This is a really nice way to spend the day before the rush of the work week is back.

I think everyone would benefit from this, don’t you?

Book Vlog

I’m going to start by saying that this is a shameless plugging of my daughter’s video blog, or vlog. She reviews books and since I know a lot of you love books I thought you might be interested in taking a look.

I also need to explain that I am not one of those moms who automatically thinks everything my kids do is wonderful. In fact, I am very skeptical until proven otherwise. (Sorry kids!) So when Chelsea told me that she was doing book review videos online I watched the first one not expecting much. Much to my delight, it was good! She’s really good!

So if you are looking for something good to read, head over to see what books she talks about. I know my to-read list has grown since I started watching. Sigh. So many books and so little time! It’s a great problem to have.

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Chelsea Palmer Book Reviews, Recommendations & Hauls

I hope you enjoy!

Creative, Fun and Playful 2017!

The start of a new year is always refreshing. It fills us with hope, inspiration, and goals. It sounds like there is a lot of relief that 2016 is over too. I hope that the new year has started well for all of you. It can be a lot of pressure if we make difficult resolutions. I’m not doing that this year. Instead I’m going to do more enjoyable things.

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Ornaments, lights and begonias

I love the holiday season. Between the gratefulness that Thanksgiving represents and the spirit of giving and serving others that Christmas represents, how can I go wrong? Well, things can go terribly wrong if I get caught up in the material craziness that the media says is the important part of these seasons. If I stick to the real meanings then I enjoy it. I love the lights, the music, the wonderful tackiness of holiday sweaters, decorations, flowers,

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus

food and goofy gifts.

Most of all I love spending time and sharing all of those things with family and friends.

Unexpected gifts are very sweet; especially cards and small, thoughtful items that the patrons at work gave to me. I never expect those and their kindness fills my heart.

I also love that my kids, who are now adults, put so much thought into the things they get for my husband and I. (Okay, maybe one or two things I asked for specifically but they did really well!)

My biggest surprise was my husband giving me an antique typewriter! As soon as I put the paper in it and started typing I was immediately pulled back in time.  The unique sound of the keys hitting the paper brings back amazing memories!

Another gift I’m excited about is a new camera.  I have been making do with the camera in my phone and there are times when that just isn’t good enough. I’m amazed by what this camera can do and am slowly learning all the ways to use it. Between the user’s manual and the software manual I will be learning new things for a very long time. I hope to include more photographs in my blog posts. But don’t expect greatness! I’m just having fun!

What do I look forward to in 2017?

Creativity. Being more creative. In any way I come up with. Writing, of course. Photography. Coloring. I may even dust off my old sewing machine and see what I can make with that. How about drawing and painting? I plan on painting walls and old furniture. That’s all creative. No pressure. Just playing like children do. Having fun with it.

Play. I want to play more. We don’t do that nearly enough as adults. My brother sent me a new game called Codenames,6-codenames which we played on Christmas day and it was a lot of fun. I loved it because you need to use words to win. My daughter got the picture version of it and we switched back and forth. Talk about being creative and playful!

All of the responsibilities of life take up so much of our time so we need make more time for more fun in life.

Creativity and play. That’s it. Nothing fancy.

How about you? Do you have creative plans for the new year? What playful things would you like to do? Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it.

Happy New Year!