Writing life, the next level

My critique partner shared this story with me: http://www.theplayerstribune.com/matt-duffy-giants-dad-photo-gallery/ This is a baseball story and a very inspiring one. Also, for photography fans, it’s a gorgeously photographed chronicle. From birth to the major leagues, Dad (Tom Duffy) photographed his son (San Francisco Giants, Matt Duffy) playing baseball. He said:

To see a big league stadium with 40,000 fans there supporting him was both surreal and incredible. You see, while he was growing up through the game of baseball, Matt and I never once discussed making it to the big leagues. We continually kept our eyes on a much smaller prize: getting to the next level.

Emphasis mine. I love the thought of not focusing on the big time but just on what’s next for you. It made me ask myself what is the next level for me? That is an exciting thing to focus on compared to trying to imagine a big dream that just feels overwhelming. I have a little announcement to make. I just now received the contract from The Wild Rose Press for Third Strike’s the Charm. Talk about the next level; this book really is that for me.

I went out to take pictures early the other day and had a lot of fun but was disappointed when I looked at the results. They weren’t interesting. My husband helped me analyze why, look at other photos that are interesting, and create a plan for going back and shooting the same place again. I’m happier with the results.

In addition to writing, I’m focusing on learning and getting to the next level of amateur photography, and that’s what’s exciting. With photography I really don’t have goals, other than to take interesting and exciting  photos for my blog. With writing I do have dreams, of course I do, and when I make sure that dream is writing increasingly good books, the journey is a joy.

City Hall
City Hall, Campbell California
Clock at City Hall
Clock at City Hall
Campbell water tower
Campbell water tower

Do you focus on outcomes or the journey and which inspires you the most?

Travel theme: simplify

It has come to the point of my blogging career when I am now grateful for themes. Thanks to Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack for today’s theme. I highly recommend her post, and her blog.

I love to simplify! Here are my suggestions for simple travel:

  • Pack items that can do two things, like convertible pants, or black pants that can be dressed up or down.
  • Bring only pants so you don’t have to pack heels.
  • Minimize the pairs of shoes.
  • Take a camera that can do almost everything and is small.
  • Leave beauty products at home; wear a smile.
  • Collect all mementos in digital format on your camera.
  • Bring an ebook reader and get digital travel books.
  • Come home with memories and an expanded mind, not stuff.

These photos are a reminder of how much movement is involved in travel…so pack light!

Paris Near-the-champs-de-mars-Paris ferry-on-the-seine-Paris Forme- train-statio-now- Musee-D'Orsay-Paris ferry-in-Amsterdam

Here’s how to join today’s theme:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Simplify
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS!


The Van Gogh Museum

This is what the Van Gogh Museum looks like from the outside:

The Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum

As for the inside, the magnificent Vincent, here is the first sign. A recommended read for all the artists (including you, authors) who read this blog. For everyone who follows this blog because life is an art and you can apply lessons from great artists to everything, from cooking to your boring day job.


Author interview Mackenzie Crowne

Welcome, Mac! Can you tell us a little about your writing process, from idea to finished product? Do you plan and plot in detail or “pants” it or some combination of the two?

Mac: I’m a complete pantser. I start out with an idea, a conflict, and a location and the rest comes to me as I go along. Let me tell you, that can be a real pain in the butt at times, but I can’t seem to write any other way, and really wouldn’t want to. I love the status quo.

Nia: What are your long term goals and dreams for your writing career?

Mac: Just to keep writing and sharing my stories. I didn’t take up this craft to get rich, though, of course, I wouldn’t mind. Storytelling is compulsory for me. Even if I never sold another book, I simply couldn’t stop. That would break my heart. So wherever my writing takes me, I’ll be smiling.

Nia: What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing craft?

Mac: Staying on track to get to where I plan to go. As a pantser, I’m often tossed off in a direction I didn’t expect. Sometimes that’s awesome. Sometimes it’s a disaster leading to writer’s block.

Nia: I hear you. But if it’s any comfort, I’m a plotter and I hit disaster and writer’s block too. What are your favorite parts of writing?

Mac: A good, juicy scene fueled by dialog. I always learn the most about my characters when I let them talk and love how that happens.

Nia: Ditto! Thanks for coming by today.

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