Grabbing Opportunities

pexels-photo-306076.jpegI am always surprised when people don’t take advantage of great opportunities, especially when they’ve paid good money to get those opportunities. Take writers. We do it all the time!

We join professional writer organizations and then don’t bother to attend the free or very inexpensive workshops they provide.

We pay big bucks for a conference and have the opportunity to submit to closed publishing houses, or the chance to meet an agent or two. But we don’t submit. We don’t speak to the agents. (True story: after years of attending my SCBWI conferences, I finally submitted a manuscript to an editor. He wasn’t interested. You thought I was going to say he bought the manuscript, right? But that’s not the point. The point is, it took me years to take advantage of that opportunity. Why? I have no idea. On the other hand, I did chat up my agent at a conference, sent her my manuscript, and signed with her. So there can be happy endings, if you give yourself a shot.)

We win a free critique and never send anything in. Or buy a terrific book on writing and never read it. Yep, the list goes on and on.

Until we either quit (and wonder why we never quite succeeded)–or start maximizing our connections and opportunities. So maybe you’re ready to maximize; I shared some ideas about that over at the Muffin today in “Maximizing Writer Connections”  and I hope you’ll take a look.

I mean, honestly, I’m just like you, squandering opportunities. But sometimes, I put myself out there. And sometimes, it pays off. How about you? What’s an opportunity you took advantage of and were glad you did? Tell me all about it (please!).

And P.S. Photo by Lukas from Pexels

(Check Pexels out, y’all–I love ’em!)


People Are Strange (But Oh So Interesting!)

Cathy on golf cart

A golf cart, for chasing down great stories at the beach.

I had lots of interesting adventures during the August weeks I spent at the beach. And it’s a good thing because I have to come up with something to write about over at the Muffin.

Today, it was “How To Attract the Best Stories” which sounds exciting, right? And it is about getting great stories to come to you, but it’s more than that. It’s really, now that I think about it, getting people to come to you. People have great stories and they really want to tell someone their stories.

Case in point, the guy that followed me and my friend ALL OVER FORT PULASKI (and yes, I left that part out of the Muffin post).

Now before you start thinking that me and my dress blowing all over creation were enticing, I’m going to stop you. The gentleman’s wife was in the fort as well–though now that I think about that, she was on the other side of the fort. But she was there.

Anyway, the ghost hunter (in case you haven’t read the Muffin post, yes, he was a ghost hunter) sidled up to us at the first stop at the fort and stuck to us like glue. We’d slow down and I’d read something out loud and my friend and I would have a bit of a discussion…but there’d he be, our friendly ghost hunter, waiting for us at the next stop.

He had lots of stories. Not necessarily ghost stories–and often they’d be the SAME STORIES WE’D JUST READ ON A PLAQUE–but stories all the same. And if I’m being honest, out of all the times I’ve been to the fort, this is the one adventure I’ll long remember.

I’ll mine that trip for lots of stories I’ll write about in the future. So I’m glad I went. Even if I did barely escape what could have been the most embarrassing moment of my life with a port-o-potty.

(You didn’t read the Muffin post, did you? Go check it out and you’ll find out all about the port-o-potty story.)

Just A Word

Before I head out of town for a couple of weeks away, I’ll check my calendar for writing deadlines. And so it’s not uncommon for me to write a post for, say The Muffin, two, three, even four weeks out.

That was the case for this latest one, “The Importance of a Word.” I wrote it, scheduled it, and then forgot all about it. And then tragic events happened, and I couldn’t help thinking of my post and a word that has sparked national controversy, not to mention grave importance in this country.

No matter the platform–social media, a blog post, a letter to the editor–words spread rapidly. And just to be clear, I’m not preaching about the rightness or wrongness of your words or your beliefs. I’m just asking that you be mindful of what you write and put out in the world. That the next time you’re writing and shrug, “Well, it’s just a word,” I hope you’ll stop and remember how my mother set me straight.

It’s almost always more than “just a word.”


When Irony Slaps You in the Face


pexels-photo-164661So this morning, I was paying bills. Naturally, I was already in a foul humor because finances and addition and subtraction and such is not really my strong suit, right? And then I came to my cable bill and I was like, “ALL right, enough!” And I snatched up my phone and vehemently punched in the 800 number.

I waited patiently–yes, I was patient–for a helpful cable person. In this case, Andre.

Me: Hello, Andre. (I started out very politely.) I’m wondering why I pay more for my cable THAN ANYONE ELSE I KNOW. (It took a very sudden turn to not-so-polite.)

Andre: Well, let’s just check your cable bill, shall we?

(Lots of other side comments were made. But eventually Andre found me a “deal”.)

Andre: So you’ll get three services and pay less than what you’re paying now for two! Does that sound like something you’d like?

Me: Why, yes, Andre, it does, indeed. Although I don’t need that third service. So what would that special price be, after we add fees and taxes and such?

Andre (figuring quietly): Ah! It’s only this little amount!

Me: Andre, that’s only twenty bucks or so less than what I’m paying now. Call me crazy, but I could go with a different service (One that streams, once I figure out all that streaming stuff) for about A HUNDRED DOLLARS LESS.

Andre (who did not skip a beat): So will you be switching to this new and improved package plan?

Me: *sigh*

I did not switch. At some point during the next month, I will be researching my options. In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to take a look at my Muffin post today (and here’s where the irony comes in, dear friends, because I wrote this long before my little chat with Andre) called, “The Writing and Cable Company Connection.”


Off the Grid and Off on a Tangent

2011-08-02 03.05.19Y’all already know about the epiphany I had when I returned from the beach, but I fine-tuned it a bit and shared over at the Muffin today in The Off the Grid Pay-off.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m finding it downright difficult to make the lifestyle changes that I know I should.

I’m still reading my paper every morning, even though I’ve watched Lester Holt on the news the night before and know most of the important stuff. But if I skip the paper, then I’d miss finding out about some pretty interesting things in the world. Like the 86-year-old jewel thief who’s been arrested yet again. At Wal-Mart.

And though I am dashing through my emails these days, I just can’t help reading/watching one or two of those emails about the wacky, weird, and wonderful world out there. Which would be fine, except that then I Google more about the wacky, weird, or wonderful subject of the email because dang, y’all. It’s just so interesting!

The Internet–and all of our electronics–have sucked us in and I don’t think there’s any going back. I mean, we have kids who’ve never used a card catalog, who’ve never experienced the hours of  joy/tedium of the Periodical Index, who probably don’t even know the word “microfiche.” But they sure know their way around the Internet.

I don’t know whether to be alarmed…or jealous.

Or maybe, just maybe, this is the way our parents felt when we disdained typewriters for word processors, network TV for Netflix, driving our own cars for car-driving services.


So where was I? Oh, yeah. The Internet and how there’s a payoff when you go off the grid. Stay strong, friends, and may you find plenty of writing time this summer!