Keep Words the Heartbeat of Your Writer’s Life

Wallace, Diane 5/18/2017

My writing career started when I was in grade school. We learned how to write Haiku poetry as a class exercise. I was immersed in its complex simplicity, and how easily the words came to me. I received praise and encouragement.

Fast forward to my advanced English class in high school, and yeah, not so good. My teacher did not like anything I put on paper.

I was hitting a downward spiral in my writing classes. I did not receive productive advice, so I felt like a failure. I didn’t continue with my writing for fear of defeat. It was paralyzing. My notebook of poetry became extinct.

A kind, positive critique could have made a difference. Criticism has both active and negative connotations. describes it as:  “ the act of passing judgment, passing severe judgment, censure, faultfinding.” says it can mean:  “appraisal, appreciation, assessment, observation.” Not so negative anymore, right?.

Don’t take criticisms to heart. Move forward with your aspirations, by putting a shield up against negativism. Write everything to Your perfection as you advance, including daily communications. Tune your talents by engaging in LinkedIn groups and updating your website.

Thankfully, my beaten ego boosted my love of reading.

By immersing myself in literature, magazines, and popular writings, I was fortuitously doing what writers are advised to do.

Read current publications and books; stay relevant In the niche you are writing.

Ground your artistic impulses, with positive reinforcement. Choose comprehensive classes, economic assistance if needed, and teachers who direct with expertise, understanding, and patience.

Fast forward twenty-five years…a husband, two children, many positive endorsements,  and yet, my writing was still lying in the quest for an opportunity.

I started honing my skills, by picking up the pen and taking writing classes at the local technical school.

Boy, was that ever a revelation! Writing changes over the course of years, and it was like learning a different language. The flowery, fluff-filled writing I had heard was nothing like the writing of today.

Engage in the culture of today’s writing. Read current, published works in your niche, of all varieties, including Social Media posts, blogs, and updates. Reach out to others in your field by exchanging information and ideas.

Don’t be surprised when your writing is published. After all, isn’t that the job you chose? Isn’t that your expectation? Ask yourself, When was the last time I had a job, which I loved, yet I didn’t succeed?  I’ll bet that’s rarely happened, if not at all.

Call yourself a writer. Say to whoever asks —  “I AM a writer!” The sooner you start, the quicker you’ll believe. Take courage with the words of American author, Steven Pressfield, who said, “A writer is a writer when he says he is.”

Then, watch your life change!



Sleeping With Cell Phones

Wallace, Diane 3/31/2017

A few years ago, my son told me of an acquaintance, who told him of a friend, whose teenage son was dating a teenage girl. Apparently, the two exclaimed undying love for each other. They couldn’t be apart for even a minute of the day.

The friend found her son sleeping one night with his smart phone lying on the pillow next to his head, as it was charging. She saw that the phone was on, and the dialed number was his girlfriend's phone number. Mom figured he had forgotten to end the call.

Turns out the boy and his “puppy love” girlfriend leave their phones next to their pillows at night dialed into each other, in case they awake…want to hear the other’s breathing, or take advantage of whispering sweet nothings into their mate’s ear.

Not being that child’s mother, all I could think was how the son wasn’t going to have the battery last the length of his two-year contract. As a mother, it would have been enough for me to take the phone instantly and ground him.

 I couldn’t help but think, as I chuckled to myself, how at my age I couldn’t even begin to hear the breathing, even if I held the phone up to my ear!

 Talk about some serious separation anxiety though, on the kid’s part…or maybe not enough counseling?

Confronted about their unusual behavior, said son explained to his mom that it brought both he and his "supposed" loved-one lots of comfort, you know, knowing she was right there beside him.

No, I don’t get it, and, no she isn’t right there beside him.

He also went on to explain that he takes her (his phone, or is he referring to girlfriend?) everywhere, even the bathroom while showering. His mom was aghast. He assured her, quite honestly, without remorse, and (this is most disturbing) with an ignorant disbelief that she did not understand. He promised that they always left their phones on the vanity while showering, because of forbidden intimacy, and,” well you know mom, it would kill the phone.”

All they wanted was to be able to hear the water running, the other’s occasional singing, and the ability to chat back and forth over the sound of the sprinkles as if it was a natural phenomenon.

Today we DO have water resistant smart phones, which can take the beating of a shower and still go on ringing, texting, tweeting, chatting, and taking photos or videos. Sexting is illegal among teenagers and in certain situations for adults as well.

At this point, the mother threatened to take the son’s phone away if he didn’t stop and desist immediately. I don’t know what happened after this.

What I do know is that putting electronics into our children’s hands takes a lot of responsibility on our part as parents. People don’t like to consider it, but just like a gun can send a person to jail, so too, can a cell phone.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We must stay vigilant when it comes to ALL the electronics taken-up by the hands of our young ones.

There must be strict education, guidelines and instruction given, and not just monitoring. When you don't adhere to stipulations, rules, and directions, there should be consequences. 

Drawn to New and Its Opposite
Wallace, Diane 3/18/2017

If you have a home office, it seems beneficial to have optimum gadgetry and furnishings. Why not, with all our options?

Me, well, I’ve been sharing an office with my husband for 30 years and still have the same two desks and bookshelves. We’ve painted the room numerous times, added baskets for organization, and hung bookshelves, hanging files and bulletin boards…nothing fancy.

A designer would probably describe it as pathetic.

A few years ago, I found a collection, in a desk drawer, of 1980’s Hardee’s California Raisin figures. I positioned them on a shelf for comic relief.

Budget aside, who really has an excuse NOT to have a perfect office space, with the likes of Pinterest Pinners throwing fresh tag lines to their equally fresh frame art, like: ”Awesomeness happens here”, “Teamwork makes the Dream Work”, or how about, “Great Ideas Currently Being Accepted”?

Plus there’s the latest technology. I’ve seen converted closets and pull down desks for those with minimal space. If you get tired of sitting too much, you have the pop-up computer lift tables. Or you can use a stability ball as a chair nowadays — it’s better for your back… provided you don’t fall off…ahem.

Instead of cool framed art, inspirational quotes are scotch-taped to the edges of my shelving. I still read them…they seem to help in times of need.

So what is it about my work space that makes me MOST productive?

Even though my office is small, its organizational ability is significant. I know where everything is and it has a primal arrangement that is very manageable. There’s a place for everything as long as everything is in its place.

For example, when I want to compute figures I don’t even have to look. My fingers can find the calculator. There is a certain symmetry to the tape dispenser, 1950’s Pilot stapler, and paperclip holder on my five-foot desk.

The office window, though, is the piece-de-resistance.

It is what physically draws my attention, besides my computer of course. It stimulates ideas and is a form of escape. Outside that window is the world — my place for thinking, dreaming, agonizing, and getting through writer's block.

I like my lived-in office space, even though my consumerism tendencies are craving a new look, I think I’m equally drawn to the opposite of new. If I update to a new office, I would want to take the right things from my old room and incorporate it into the new by making the most basic things better.

With all the focus on making offices comfortable, workflow manageable, papers organized; with the introduction of ergonomically correct chairs, colorful picture frames, little sticky things to keep track of your bigger sticky things, unlimited pen styles, how can it but help free up time for more writing!

Bullets to the Bullseye

Wallace, Diane  2/28/2017

All right newbies, one of the first mistakes of gun trivia is calling Rounds or Cartridges Bullets. I know, I know, we may recall our days of past, when playing War or Cowboys, we'd shoot up everything with our bullet-laden guns, right? Not!

I would always play the damsel in distress...had a derringer under my skirt, tee hee.

Well, we're not children anymore, hmm, but I still have that Derringer under my skirt! We've grown up to the real thing and with that comes responsibility and correct verbiage.

As a beginner, it took me a while, a lot o chastisement, as well as very embarrassed looks from my husband, to capture this discipline and get it through to my "wanna be right."

Part of the reason is that I like the way the word "bullet" sounds compared to "rounds" or "cartridges."

You get me, right?

Well, it may take some getting used to, but a bullet is not the hard casing that you place in the cylinder chamber of a gun - snap!

A "bullet" is the projectile that exits the barrel. In other words - a bullet is a component of the cartridge.

A cartridge or round is seated in the cartridge case of a rifle or handgun. It consists of the case, primer, propellant, and projectile. So - the bullet is a projectile, which exits the muzzle of a fired gun.

The next time you're ready to ask your husband, wife or shooting partner, at a packed gun range on Father's Day, to please, "Hand me my bullets."

Think instead...C is for cartridge.  It is like a Car that revs up its engine accelerating the internal workings of a gun. Ask instead for cartridges and think, "I'll hit all my marks."

Or...R is for Round. It is like an Army Ranger, ready to burst forth full of fire and brimstone, focused only on the target. Ask instead for rounds and think, "I'll hit all my marks."

Then and only then, when you've hit your target - turn confidently and calmly toward your partner and scream WITH PRIDE, "My Bullet hit the Bullseye!"