Where’d You GO? wednesday, and …

I know I missed a Where’d You Grow Wednesday?  Actually two. And, I am sad to admit, this is only the beginning of an upcoming and extended blog drought.

The one thing about starting a regular blog routine is that you kindof have to stick with it.  I should have heeded the wise advice of caution. A brilliant writer friend of mine doesn’t want to get into the blogging scene because she is not sure she could be as consistent as she should be. I laughed at her when she said that because “you’re a writer…you’re always going to have material to write.” And she does…she just doesn’t have time to to do it for free.

Here’s the deal…

There are bloggers who make oodles of money selling ads on their sites…marketing for companies…engaging regularly in the blogging world.  That’s not the kind of writing I do, nor do I want to do. I have figured out that my writing has to find its financial legs offline for a time. I have a limited amount of time in a day…a certain number of words I can produce…and if I am writing and writing and writing, but not selling…I end up with a whole lot of words for nothing.

So I am off on a freelance writer/ contracted-writer career shift. That’s where I’ll be Wednesdays for a while (and all the other days of the week too).

I liken myself to the baobab tree. The growth that happens in the dry season for baobab trees still happens, but in order for the tree to sustain itself, it sheds all of its leaves.  The shade disappears so that the tree can get through the trying months of drought. It produces only what it has to…but I would venture a guess that baobab trees really like the times in its life-cycle when it can create lots of leaves too.  I look forward to the leaf-creation that will resume some day.

I’m not going to say it will be the fall because I hope to be writing my book, but I may occasionally pop by with a story to share or a growth spurt to explore…just know that it won’t be consistent.

Happy Growing!

If you still want to share about any of the growth you’ve chosen to do, I’m always interested to hear about it.  choosingtogrow@meaganfrank.com

                                                     

Copyright 2012                                        Meagan Frank                   Choosing to Grow

 

Where’d You Grow Wednesday? 1/11

Location for my first business meeting...ever

A friend of mine, who works for a great direct-sales company, invited me to pretend to be her.  Thank God, for both of our sakes, she didn’t ask me to sell anything. Instead, she wanted me to present a 45-second commercial on her behalf. After presenting for her, I was then encouraged to introduce myself at her weekly business networking meeting.

“Sweet! Thanks for the offer,” I said, as I hung up the phone.

Wait, what?  What did I just agree to do? Business networking is as far from my comfort zone as climbing into a chair for Botox treatments. At least one look of shock is temporary.

So, I prepped.  I got myself dressed in work clothes at 6:30 in the morning. I have not been professionally dressed so early since I was teaching high school English in 2000. (Stay-at-home moms and college soccer coaches have a slightly different attire)

So off I went. For some reason I thought this was a business women’s networking meeting. My friend sells awesome skincare products and part of me was sure I would be in the gentle comfort of a group of women.

Then the men came.  Lots of them. I realized I was heading into a REAL business meeting with more men than women.

Deep calming breath. Confident. Eye-contact. Shake hands with strength. All the things I try to do when I am in “networking” mode. I can do this. I can totally fake it.

No problem. They welcomed me warmly and seemed genuinely interested in what I do…why I was there.  I have to hand it to them, they were generally very good salespeople.

We got food and coffee, sat at big round tables and the microphone started to make its rounds. It was passed from person to person and the 45-second commercials started to air.  A second wave of panic hit me when I realized that, as a writer, I have a distinct disadvantage in a room full of business lingo. I sell one book product, I don’t really offer services (quite yet) and I don’t have a catchy slogan. They all had catchy slogans! Crap, I thought…I need to come up with something quick.

“Meagan Frank, frankly writing.”

“Meagan Frank with choosing to grow. It’s a way of life.”

“Meagan Frank choosing to write, choosing to grow and choosing to be okay making no money doing it.”

The last one seemed a bit wordy.

So, I ad-libbed the commercial my friend had written, forgot to ask for the referrals she had requested and barely introduced myself as a business entity, sans catchy slogan.

I could have sat and let the microphone pass me by the second time, but I decided to correct my mistakes. I thanked them for letting me come, got in the plug for referrals for my friend and passed the baton.

Before leaving, I passed out some business cards (I suppose I’ve never called them writing cards), made some interesting connections and was requested to come back next week as another sub. They either really enjoyed the entertainment of a flopping fish out of water, or there is value in connecting with a writer.

Last week’s Where’d You Grow, I threatened to go into an ice house. With 50-degree weather, that would have been a risky venture. This adventure felt similarly risky, but breaking this ice was not traumatic, cold or devastating. It was really fun.

Where’d you grow this week?

Mamawolfe, a fellow blogger, submitted her Wednesday growing link.  I love that she spontaneously went on a trip! No planning, plenty of growing.

I hope even more people join in this conversation… this conversion toward growth.  Please comment about one place you went this past week…physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually that was new for you.  How did you grow? Do you have a picture?  If so, email it to:  choosingtogrow@meaganfrank.com.  If something happens to you this upcoming week, and you write a blog post about it, send the link to that email or find me on Facebook.

Happy Growing!

To learn more about Meagan Frank, you can visit her at her website:  www.meaganfrank.com

S. B. Niccum Interview and Book Giveaway

S. B. Niccum is visiting the blog room today.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have an opportunity to share some space with this up and coming author. You may find that I’ll be doing this from time to time.

Hi Silvina,
Welcome to Choosing to Grow. I am looking forward to introducing you to some of my blog readers and to give people plenty of reason to get their hands on Veiled.

I think you have an amazing personal story, can you tell us a little about that.

Let’s start with where you are from?

I was born in Rosario, Argentina; the second largest city in the country, so not what most people think when they think South America.

Neither do I look Latina or Hispanic, though I am.  Argentines are mostly of Spanish and Italian ancestry and that’s precisely what I am; third generation,both.  My mom grew up speaking Spanish and Italian.  I only spoke Spanish until my family moved to the U.S. when I was fourteen years old.  Then I had to learn English or be an outcast.  Being as white as I am, I even got discriminated by the Latinos in school!

Where do you live now?

Now we live in Dallas, Texas.  It’s growing on me.  In my 12 yrs. of marriage we moved 10 times!  (Remind you of someone? This was one of the reasons why your book hit home with me!)

We do have a lot in common! How long have you been writing?

I have loved to write since I was little.  In fourth grade, I wrote my first set of books.  That was a very prolific year for me!  I wish I still had some of them.  After that I always found solace in writing.  As a teenager, moving to the U.S. was a traumatic experience and those first two years were very prolific as well.  I should find those journals and see what I can do with them.

That would be an interesting read, I’m sure!

In college I loved my writing classes, and I think I got by in school by being able to write well.  In fact I’m pretty sure I passed World Economics mostly because I can
write a pretty good paper.

I would bet you are right… you sure can write!

Most of my fiction has been in Spanish, Veiled was my first attempt to write in English and my first attempt at a full length novel.

I have to tell you, I’m not sure what I expected from a novel that was a first attempt at writing in English, but people reading it who don’t know, would never guess that English is not your first language.

What are some of the other “jobs” that occupy your time?

My time is very well occupied.  In fact, I have every half hour scheduled.  Besides writing every day, and working out, I homechool my three children, then I drive them to sports and then take care of my hubby.  …Well I cook for him.  I also read A LOT! ( my favorite pastime)  On weekends we like to Kayak and ride bikes.

I like to tell people that I am busy, but I think your list of daily responsibilities makes me sound a little lazy 🙂

Tell us a little more about the people who share a home with you?

My husband and best friend (my sunshine and my storm, as someone once said), then my oldest son 11, my 6 year old son and my baby girl, 4 years old.  We also have three tortoises, a dog and a pac-man frog named Java (he eats small mice).

That is a lot of life in one space. Again…you have shamed me!

The characters in your book are all gifted in some way…if you were to pick one gift of yours that might be most dominant in your personality, what would you say it is, and why?

I picked Discernment for my main character because I’m familiar with it.  I get vibes about people; always have.  I have had the good sense to know when to stay away from certain characters I’ve encountered over my lifetime and I have lived to be thankful for this later.

I still remember getting really bad vibes about this dude, and low and behold, a year later it came out what a creepy, nasty fellow he was.  Likewise, I have had good hunches about people that would not look like your traditional person and they have turned out to be some of my most trusted friends. I can’t read minds or anything, but sometimes I just know….

Thank goodness you do.

Let me ask you a couple questions about you as an author. How
many books have you written?

I just finished the sequel to Veiled, named Living Soul, so now I’ve written two!

Congratulations!  What an accomplishment.

 Where is your favorite place to write?

Kitchen table, with some toast and my Yerba Mate tea.

What has been your most memorable experience as an author?

When someone I don’t know leaves me a message, telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my book and how it’s opened up a whole new way of seeing things for them.  One lady in particular made me cry (in a good way) by how much the story touched her.  Like any author, my books are part of me and my heart has gone into the making of it.  So hearing that others liked it, is the best feeling in the world!

Agreed.

What is one thing that you never expected when you decided to pursue a career in writing?

I never expected it to happen!  I hoped, I dreamed, I worked toward it; but I
must say that it was unexpected that it actually happened!  Something else unexpected has happened, and that is the onslaught of ideas that pour into my head daily.  Before I wrote Veiled, I struggled to get a whole story in my head to work out.  Now I see them from beginning to end and they come at me in an almost magical way.  This has been a great blessing, because I have found that I enjoy writing more than almost anything.

We’re all blessed by that, you know. You need to keep sharing your stories, most definitely!

Let’s tell people a little about Veiled. shall we? I loved it, by the way! It was, without a doubt, unlike any story I have ever read. It offers such an interesting way to look at life…the before-life and ultimately the present life. You really did a good job opening up those new thoughts. 

When did the story of Veiled start to take shape in your mind?

The plight and the ending to Veiled came to me one day as I was reading the Scriptures.  One thing led to another and pretty soon I found myself daydreaming about the two main characters.  I started writing immediately because I didn’t want to lose them.  They were so real!  After that I wrote every day for a whole year until Veiled was done.

You are incredibly disciplined. I could learn from you!

What scene gave you the most trouble?

The beginning for sure! There was so much to explain and I had a word limit restriction for YA’s.  I had two or three different beginnings and in the end I went for the one I thought best explained the situation. The premise is so different from anything else out there that I’m afraid people have had to hang in there with me until the story takes shape.

That’s true, but I contend it is worth hanging with you!              

The concept of your book is about the idea of eternity prior to existence here on earth. People think about life, and the after-life, but very rarely the before-life. 

What is it about the before-life that called you to this story?

Oooh, I can talk for hours about this…and I did!  My fascination with this, are the seemingly odd things that we experience now.  For example: Déjà vu, but with people.  Have you ever experienced this?  I have.  With friends…my husband…my children.  I still remember seeing one of my sons smile for the first time and my immediate thought was “that is so Porter!” like I knew him!  As if he had been cracking jokes for years and I knew this about him, but he was only a new born.

How about those feelings we have that we need to get to know ourselves, like we know who we are deep inside, but we have forgotten… and we need to live in order to remember.

Also, why is it that people always say that newborns have just left heaven?  Where does that come from? It’s so universal too.  I know people from all over the world that have similar beliefs.

 People read books for the experience of it…what will readers experience when they read Veiled?

Readers will experience a YA unlike any other.  Veiled does not follow the typical norm when it comes to romantic YA literature.  It is a fantasy and a journey into a world unlike any other.  I firmly believe that you can have fun and be uplifted at the same time, and that is what Veiled is.

I could not have said it better myself!

Can you tell us a little about the sequel, Living Soul?

Living Soul takes place on Earth and it chronicles Tess’ life.

“Birth is but a sleep and a forgetting…” William Wordsworth

After a traumatic childhood experience Tess ends up in foster care and with no recollection of the first five years of her life.  As she struggles with all the typical high school dramas, she also has to put up with her evil foster sister, help her
Autistic foster brother and ignore some funky paranormal phenomena that she
would rather not have in her life.

Let’s not even mention the fact that the most popular kid in school and
her biggest crush, Alex Preston, has a gorgeous girlfriend that likes to torture her on the side.

Sounds fantastic!

What are some other things you hope to do with your writing?

My main goal with my writing is to entertain and inspire or uplift.  I’m not into depressing lit.

Well, you’ve achieved your goal with your first shot out, I can only imagine where you will go from here.

Is there anything else you really want the readers to know?

No thanks, I’m good J

Thanks for having me!!! I really appreciate it.

Anytime!  This has been really fun.

To learn more about S. B. Niccum, you can find her at the following connecting points. You won’t be sorry you’ve started following her.

http://sbniccum.com

http://spiritualsupernaturalparanomal.blogspot.com

http://facebook.com/silvina.niccum

http://chicksinlit.blogspot.com
I have it on good authority that there is a copy of Veiled up for grabs. I would bet I can get S.B. Niccum to sign it too.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this blogpost, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the book.  The giveaway will run until 9/23/11. Good Luck!!!

Writing is a Four-Pronged Fork…Eat up!

It’s Wednesday.

And, I’ve been walking.

The mind-shifting walk this past week was the one I took with my Littlest Sprout and Mini Sprout.

Little Sprout is our soon-to-be-six-year-old who is currently sitting in her kindergarten classroom for the second day.

Mini Sprout is our ten-pound chiweenie who loves walks more than breathing.

Little Sprout had requested to ride her bike around a new path while I walked the dog.

Request granted.

When we walk around the lake, I see different things than my walking buddies . The dog sees squirrel tag games and peeing posts. Little Sprout sees “pretty gardens” and “secret paths”. They both point these things out to me as we walk, and the experience is fuller for all of us.

She sees a sleeping moon, and I see eternity. She sees a baby turtle, and I see the miracle of new life.  She sees a slinky caterpillar, and I see perpetual change. And she sees an uncatchable grasshopper, and I see courage and strength.

She hops off her bike several times to get a better look… and a picture. She shares what she sees with me, and I eagerly anticipate the days I can share with her what those things make me see now.

We head out of the canopied path and back to the street that will take us home. Little Sprout says, “That was a nice walk, Mommy.  Thank you.”

I thank her in response, and we chatter the last block away as she plans to share the pictures with her brother and sister. It’s all she wants to do.

It is just then that I realize what we have just experienced. This was a fork moment.

There has been an idea swirling in my head for the last few weeks, and it materialized completely on this walk.

The four prongs to writing, or art, or photography, or story-telling, or music, or well, I guess anything we create are as follows:

Experience.

Contemplate.

Create.

and Share.

Life is meant to be lived and experiences are meant to be had, but that is only part of what makes our lives feel complete and satisfying.

My life mantra can likely be summed up by Socrates, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Contemplation must accompany experience. A moment of reflection…a connection to past, present or future. That’s the logical.

Then there is the emotional. Allowing ourselves an opportunity to create in response to what we’ve thought about an experience. It is a luxury, I know, but it is as necessary as the involuntary rhythm of a beating heart.

Lastly, and most concupiscible… is the sharing. It is the human condition to want to share what we’ve created…what we’ve experienced…who we’ve become in the moments we truly lived.

Everyone is trying to share something. It takes intention to stop. To hear. To see. To appreciate the offerings of those around us. Don’t we all appreciate the people who ask us to share?

My challenge is to get better at celebrating the fork moments. Mine and theirs. To see my writing as what completes an experience for me, and as nothing more than my offering to share. While at the same time, inviting in how others are sharing too.

What do you do to create? What are the ways you share? Are you taking time to contemplate the experiences in your life?

I sincerely hope so…for the sake of all of us!

To learn more about Meagan Frank, you can visit her at her website:  www.meaganfrank.com

Wednesday Walkin’ On Sunshine

Yes, I know this is a bike, and that when I am rolling, I am not technically walking, but it’s my “walk” and I am perfectly comfortable using what I need to use, to get where I need to go.

Where do I go? Nowhere in particular, really. It’s the moving from here to there that counts. Important too, is what I see, and who I become along the way.

This bike ride was an opening for me.

For this particular impromptu ride, I had no set destination. I found my house life-less. My husband had the kids and the dog, and I had a couple hours to kill. So, I stuffed in my head phones, loaded myself onto my bike and headed out. I wanted to find a new path that my friend had told me about.

Before I knew it I was whirring by houses and trees and rolling down into the shaded cool offered around every bend.

That’s when it hit me. This Minnesota lake ride was without many climbs, but I was slowly covering the figure eight patterns as I wove myself in and out of the lake paths.

Circles. Rolling. Round. Endless.

I felt the gratification I sought when I would find myself at a starting point for a lake path.  And then I wanted to do another one….and another one. Lake after lake after lake…

Around, and around and around. Each time coming back to the place I had started a few minutes before, but when I met back up at the start/end point, I had done some revolutions of my own.

Why did this feel so different than my workouts and journeys in Colorado?

Linear versus circular. Colorado: up and down…there to here. Lines with A and B points that are not usually in the same spot. Sure, it’s a loop, or a boomerang, but it is oblong if it connects.

Minnesota is circles and figure-eights and flow.

Mountains are angular, hard, unforgiving and internally challenging with every step. The growing that happens around those rocks often takes place in the hikers who tackle them.

Water of the lakes around here is soft, mesmerizing, slowly thought-provoking, and more life encases these paths than I could possibly comprehend.

Maybe people need these contrasts in their lives. The changing of seasons, the dichotomy of geography.

Calendars…linear.  Seasons…cyclical.

Lines and angles to measure the distances to planets we can see, and the circular orbits they occupy.

We need both.  I need both.

Writing is both the lines and the artistic swirls for me. Rules of grammar, sticks of letters, lines of sentences. Molded and shaped to come back around again to an idea that started it all.

I come home from my walks…similar to when I finish a piece of  writing…changed and ready to share what I gained along the way. I captured pictures and phrases and then I try to use the lines of a blank page to mix and create a soft image among the letters.

I’m good at the architecture of writing. I have spent my entire life in the lines of Colorado. Learning well the here to there…the expectations of the unforgiving and learning the right way to do things.

It is only now, finally, I find myself craving more of the curves. An impromptu ride on the infinity sign that I hope will allow me to continue to work on the “art” of the circular paths.

I think I’ll go for a bike ride…

I hope to make it a regular thing to record how my “walks” are changing me. I’d love to submit a “Wednesday Walkin’ On Sunshine” blogpost every week or two. A chance to work on the craft, and to keep my eyes open to the inspiration around me. Feel free to link up your own blogposts and pictures that fall in line with this theme.  Maybe it will grow into something.

I have some pictures on my website from my “walks” over the last two weeks.  Head over to check it out:  Meagan Frank. com