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Posts Tagged ‘nano’

  “A woman’s mind is cleaner than a man’s. She changes it more often.” – Oliver Herford

            “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

The story of how the magpie became my animal totem would make a good first chapter  for my bird book. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The story of how the magpie became my animal totem would make a good first chapter for my bird book. — Photo by Pat Bean

It’s OK to Change One’s Mind

I’m not sure where I got it in my head that once I made a decision I had to follow through on it, but it got me in trouble in my earlier years. Young minds don’t always make the right choices.

Old minds don’t either.

But more often than not, the choices and decisions we make in life, especially those we make on a daily basis, have nothing to do with right or wrong. They are simply choices, like the one I made recently to do NANO in November, which is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

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And I can write about my experience of seeing California condors flying free  over Zion National Park, and all the times I wrote about them when I was a reporter. -- Wikimedia phoot by Phil Armitage.

And I can write about my experience of seeing California condors flying free over Zion National Park, and all the times I wrote about them when I was a reporter. — Wikimedia photo by Phil Armitage.

Along with making that choice, I also made a decision to make my proposed book a mystery, and dedicated yesterday to working on an outline for it. Instead, I kept putting the task off and spent most of the day reading. The truth was I couldn’t come up with a good plot.

Then this morning I got to thinking. I have three completed (not sure how many uncompleted) first drafts of mysteries in my writing files, which I have no inclination to take to polished completion. I don’t think I need another.

Meanwhile, for the past year I have been outlining a book about my bird-watching experiences. I have numerous anecdotes about this late-blooming passion of mine. Why not, I thought, write my bird book for my NANO project?

The decision felt right. And suddenly I was more enthusiastic about my November writing marathon. Of course, I could change my mind again.

Learning to be comfortable with not having one’s decisions written in cement, even for life-changing choices, has made life a lot easier and more pleasant for me. Perhaps that’s because I make a lot of hummingbird-wing-quick decisions without thinking everything out fully first.

Patience simply isn’t a virtue in my mind. And while I believe, unlike Oliver Herford whose quote began this blog, that men change their minds as often as woman, I do believe I have a very clean mind.

Bean Pat: Hanging out: in Puerto Iguazu http://tinyurl.com/h6rg4vm A nice and easy day of armchair travel

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A Novel Idea

“There are times when a feeling of expectancy comes to me, as if something is there, beneath the surface of my understanding, waiting for me to grasp it.” – Sylvia Plath

Laughing gulls on Mustang Island on the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from where Ridley sea turtles have nested. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Laughing gulls on Mustang Island on the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from where Ridley sea turtles have nested. — Photo by Pat Bean

A November Challenge

This makes the seventh year I’ve signed up to do NANO, which is short for National Novel Writing Month that takes place November. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

A Ridley sea turtle laying her eyes on a Texas Gulf Coast beach. -- National Park Service photo.

A Ridley sea turtle laying her eyes on a Texas Gulf Coast beach. — National Park Service photo.

I actually completed the goal, and got my certificate, once. It was a great writing exercise but I ended up with a wobbly first draft whose protagonist I had fallen out of love with, and so that’s as far as I took the project. I’m hoping to do a little better this time around, which is why I’m now working on an outline of the mystery novel I’m planning on writing in November.

The last time I flew by the seat of my pants only. I wrote a mystery the first time around as well, and am repeating the genre because I love reading mysteries – the ones that focus on who-dun-it instead of blood and gore.

A just hatched sea turtle ready to battle its way to the ocean. -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife photo

A just hatched sea turtle ready to battle its way to the ocean. — U.S. Fish and Wildlife photo

I’m going to use the things I liked from my first NANO completion, mainly the setting along the Texas Gulf Coast and the story of the endangered Ridley sea turtles, but with new characters and a new plot.

Anyone interested in joining the challenge with me can sign up at: http://nanowrimo.org/   It’s free, and not a contest. The only person you have to please is yourself.

My goal for doing the challenge, besides completing a first draft of a novel, is to get myself back into the habit of writing more consistently on a daily basis.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Wish me luck!

Bean Pat: Glassine Visions http://tinyurl.com/h7gfdxn For Dale Chihuly fans.

P.S. Re NANO: Since 2006, hundreds of novels first drafted during NANO have been published. You can check out the list at: http://nanowrimo.org/published-wrimos

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“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Anne Lamott

It's nice to be noticed. Thank you 4amWriter

Versatile Blogger Award

4amWriter, whose thought-provoking writing blog I discovered while participating in NANO, the challenge to write a first draft of a 50,000-word novel in the month of November, has honored me with a Versatile Blogger Award.

In return I am to thank the person who gave me the award, share seven things about myself, pass the honor along to 15 bloggers whose posts I enjoy reading, and then let each of them know about it. They, in turn, need to follow the above instructions.

There’s also something in the rules about linking to their blogs, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. If anyone can tell me, in kindergarten words, how to do it, I’ll praise your blog in an upcoming post. How’s that for motivation.

OK. Seven things about myself that you may or may not already know.

One: I’m fond of Pollyanna’s rose-colored glasses as a way to look at the world.

Two: I don’t like conflict and when possible I run in the opposite direction.

Three: I’m one of the most stubborn people you will every meet.

Where ever the road leads, that's where I want to go. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Four: My favorite adult drink is Jack Daniels and Coke

Five: I have no roots and feel most at home when I’m driving down a back road behind the wheel of my RV, Gypsy Lee, with my canine traveling companion, Maggie, at my side. .

Six: I was a newspaper journalist for 37 years, sneaking in the back door as a darkroom flunkie and ending my career as an associate editor at a 65,000 daily circulation paper.

Seven: I dropped out of high school to get married at the age of 16, had four kids by the age of 21 (five at 25) and at the age of 28 stuck into college without a high school diploma.

Eight: Who’s counting? Mother Nature is my higher power and I love to write about her. .

The blogs I like, and of course there are more than I named here, are ones that make me think They mostly reflect my interests of writing, birds, travel and nature.

To Write is To Write : http://towriteistowrite.com A blog for struggling writers and cat lovers.

Telling Herstories: http://storycirclenetwork.wordpress.com/ The Story Circle Networks blog for women writers.

Speak! Good Dog; http://magicdogpress.com About book publishing and lots of other things.

Life in the Bogs: http:bogsofohio.wordpress.com A love affair with photography, nature and one special pond.

Wazeau’s World: http://wazeau.wordpress.com Birds and cats living together with a prolific photographer. The photos usually make me laugh.

Love thy bike: http://lovethybike.wordpress.com Seeing the world on a bike. Great places, great photos.

Everywhere Once: http://everywhereonce.com Touring the country in a RV with Brian and Shannon

Chicks With Ticks: http://chickswithticks.wordpress.com A great blog about adventuring in the outdoors. It gets the adrenalin going.

Texas Tweeties: http://bobzeller.wordpress.com All about birds. A man with a passion.

Fabulous Geezer Sisters: http://www.geezersisters.com Author Ruth Pennyebaker thoughts on just about everything.

Martina’s Photography Designs: http://photosbymartina.wordpress.com Photographs of what the eyes see, the mind thinks and the heart feels.

The WUC http://thewuc.com A broth of thoughts, stories, wucs and wit. Sometimes not for the easily offended.

Not Yet There http://notyethere.wordpress.com Discovering this blogger, who shares my passion for nature and life’s journey, was one of the great things that happened to me in 2011.

A Year on the Road http://allevenson.wordpress.com Follow Al around the country in his RV, the Jolly Swag. Between his and my travels, you get a clearer picture of this country.

Deidra Alexander’s Blog http://deidraalexander.com A person with people to kill and lives to ruin. She’s a mystery writer and my latest blog find.

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I stood at the top of Tioga Pass in 2011 and looked out at Yosemite's Half Dome. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

Travels With Maggie

Been thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. I always make them and I always break them’

This past year, however, I did almost keep one. And that was the goal to blog daily. I came up about a dozen blogs short. Just one slip a month.

Too bad I thought, when I counted them up.

Sand and snow at Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado was an April view for me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

There was a lesson in the tallying, however. I realized how a mere slip here and there adds up. Next year I’m going to meet the goal of blogging daily, which has been a great way to keep track of my life, make new friends, share my travels, as well as my defeats and achievements. It’s also helped me gain a voice in my writing.

What I did last year, meanwhile, was to compete (after five years of failing) the NANO challenge of writing a first draft of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That’s the 2011 achievement I’m most proud of accomplishing. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, however.

I also knocked off a few places on my travel list this past year, including first visits to Yosemite and great Sand Dune national parks and to Mono Lake.

 

I volunteered for the summer as a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park, and plan to return there this coming summer. I was elected to the Board of Directors for Story Circle Network, the national writing group to which I belong. I had a photo of mine published in the Fodor’s African Safari Guide and my world bird list hit the 700 mark, of which about 500 are North American species.

And Maggie and I made sure to take time to smell the flowers that grew in 2011. -- Photo by Pat Bean

All in all, I think it was a pretty good year.

 It’s finally time, I’ve decided, to stop beating myself up for all the things I didn’t do and give myself credit for what I did do. I truly hope you will do the same.

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