Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Art of Grantwriting (And Another Reminder)

In my ongoing effort to revitalize my blog I made a commitment to blog every day this week, and then promptly failed to post anything on day two. But because I'm not a quitter or a giver-upper, I'm back for day three!

Today is one of my 3 days off per week from my day job, which I discussed in some detail a couple of posts back. Believe me, I'm cherishing these days off, and neither the company or my situation in general is any better after another week. However, I did learn recently that there have been a series of shake-ups in the company and I wasn't the only one targeted. Oddly, even though knowing that doesn't change the fact that my income is still drastically affected, it still makes me feel better that it wasn't just me.

Anyway, enough whining about my job. In my MFA studies this semester I'm learning all about grantwriting, and the capstone project for the semester is to write and submit a grant proposal. In order to write and submit a grant proposal, first I will need to decide on a project. I've narrowed my choices to:

1. Finding operating funding for the local Chamber Chorale to which I belong.
2. Finding project funding for an individual project (my husband and I have an awesome idea for a musical stage play we'd like to write and it seems like as good a good project as any to request funding for).

While I'm in the process of trying to wrap my head around the concept and process of grantwriting in general, I'm starting to form some pros and cons with regard to the kind of project I want to seek funding for. The Chamber Chorale project would be a fairly straightforward standard proposal which would give me a good foundation in the nuts and bolts of grantwriting. The individual project would most likely consist of a fellowship or sponsorship and although in the end it would benefit me and my art personally, it would not necessarily give me a strong foundation in basic grantwriting. And the individual project feels kind of self-serving, which of course it is, but it's very tempting, too!

So it sounds like I've pretty much answered my own question, doesn't it?

I've already done some preliminary research for a funding source for the chamber chorale and I think I've identified a few possibilities. I think my next step is going to need to be attending a board meeting and presenting my request to the board. It may be they won't even welcome my efforts, though given the fact that we're so low on operating cash, the likelihood is good they'll at least consider it. Tonight's rehearsal, so I'll talk to the board president tonight.

I'm sure none of this makes for very fascinating blog reading, but I do find it a great way to share the process involved in earning an least through this program.

I'm also continuing work this semester on my screenplay. Since I have limited time available during the week to work on homework, I have to compartmentalize it all into my three days off. Sunday is generally grantwriting homework day, Monday is screenwriting day, Tuesday is any overflow plus working on the online multigenre workshop and writing on my ongoing WIP novel (which, by the way I'm nearly finished with and then I can go back and begin the revision process on novel number one).

So it's likely that tomorrow's blog will be all about screenwriting, since Monday is screenwriting day.

Also, a reminder: Don't forget the Love at First Blogfest on Feb 14th. For all you writers out there, go to Courtney's blog and sign up, then on the 14th post a love-at-first-sight moment from one of your WIPs, then tour the blogs of the rest of the participants and read their love-at-first-sight moments. It should prove to be an awesome way to celebrate Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Are You in the Writing "Mood"

I've been struggling over the last week to get any writing done on my WIPs, and as you can see by the number of days between posting here on my blog, I'm obviously having trouble writing for this too. So, I'm going to challenge myself to post here every day for a week. I've really neglected my blog and I miss it.

The problem is that I'm letting my mood affect my ability to write. I'm told that real writers write every day. They make it a point, no matter what, to sit down and make their writing goals. That's supposedly one of the characteristics that defines true writers, but are those people affected by their moods?

I've had a very bad couple of weeks at my paying job and it has drastically affected my mood and thus my ability to write. I'm finding it very difficult to have any motivation to face my characters, knowing I won't do them or their story justice. I feel the pressure to put words to page, but I just can't do it.

So, I'm wondering, how do moods affect other writers? Are published writers and unpublished writers alike equally affected by swings in mood or does being a paid professional somehow make a difference in the ability to deal?

I've got one more work day this week, Saturday, then I'm free for three days. My problems won't be gone for good, but at least I'll have a breather. I need to pull myself out of the dumps and get back on track this weekend. I can't just leave my characters hanging, and I'm so close to finishing the novel.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Employment Woes and A Writerly Reminder

I've been absent from the blogosphere for a few days, not that my absence would be noticed, generally speaking, but I'm going to explain it anyway.

I've been struggling with my employer, and let's just say upfront that I am eternally grateful to be employed because my income supports my family, and I can't afford not to work. However, my employer knows this and knows that I can't afford to quit. Therefore I am at their mercy. Not a very happy place to be.

I won't get into the ugly, underhanded, childish details but basically I've been put aside so someone else can have my job. Of course I can't prove it, but that's the sum of things. My income has been significantly impacted, I feel humiliated, and my employer doesn't give a crap.

Perhaps it's petty of me whine about it here, but whine I shall. It's a shame that national corporations feel free to manipulate their employees as if they were pawns whose feelings can be disregarded. It's unfortunate that our economy is such that employees can't find work with better employers but have to suffer that kind of indifference in order to support their families.


Needless to say, although I'll continue to suck it up and work for this company, because I right now I don't have any other choice, I will also continue to look for work elsewhere. I really look forward to the glorious day when I can leave this job and never look back.

On a more cheerful note, I'm excited to report that I'm getting close to finishing book two of my romance novel trilogy. I've still got to write the climactic battle scene, then close the story while setting it up for book three. I'll also be working on my screenplay this semester, which is my MFA thesis. And finally, Hubby and I are making plans to start outlining our musical stage play which we're hoping to start writing this summer. So at least my writing life is happy and productive!

Oh, and don't forget to sign up for the Valentine's Day "Love at First Sight Blogfest" sponsored by the critique group I belong to: Critique This. On February 14th, post a love-at-first-sight moment from your current WIP then blog-hop and read everyone else's moments! Go to Courtney Reese's blog to sign up. Don't Forget!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Love At First Sight Blogfest

Not long ago Sherrinda over at A Writer Wannabe hosted the Kissing Day Blogfest, and it was amazingly fun. And then Frankie over at Frankie Writes hosted the NoKiss Blogfest, and it was full of awesomeness.

So the girls in my critique group, Critique This, were chatting about both the blogfests and agreed that we had so much fun we weren't ready to put the blogfest excitement behind us, so we decided we should host a blogfest ourselves, thus the "Love at First Sight Blogfest" was born!

On February 14th, Valentine's Day, Critique This will be hosting the first (annual?) "Love at First Sight Blogfest" wherein we invite writers to post a scene from your WIP which illustrates either your characters' love-at-first-sight moments or the moment when that light bulb went off in their heads and they realized, wow! we're in love!

So run on over to Courtney's blog here and use the Mister Linky to sign up, then on Valentine's day post your "Love at First Sight" scene and make the rounds reading everyone else's awesome scenes!!!

The Blogfest is officially hosted by the members of Critique This critique group:

Can't wait to read everyone's blogs!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Got Me An Award

I'm still enjoying yesterday's Almost Kiss Blogfest, and if you missed it you can read my contribution in yesterday's post.

A few days ago Courtney over at Work in Progress gave me a lovely little award, the Picasso Award. Now, this award requires that I pass it on to 7 other bloggers (which, sorry Courtney, I'm not going to do only because everyone I follow deserves it and I can't narrow it down to only 7) and fill you in on some facts about me.

I gotta tell you, I'm about the most boring person alive and can't think of anything about myself that anyone would want to know. Seriously. So I went back to Courtney's site and reread her list and noticed she had a couple of addictions, which made me think what I might be addicted to and sadly it was easy to come up with 7.

1. Internet (wow, like that's a unique many people do you know who are glued to their electronic internet connection...about a billion? Me too.)

2. Writing. (That's a given since I'm a writer).

3. Carbs. (This is a problem since I'm on a low-carb diet trying desperately to re-lose the 30 pounds I lost a couple of years ago then regained when I started eating carbs again. My favorite carbs of all time? Doughnuts and pancakes. Go figure.)

4. Television. (It's not like I'll watch just anything. I am relatively picky, but there's a lot of good stuff out there. I won't go into the long list of shows I like, but at any given time if I'm not working or writing you can find me enjoying the Food Channel - of course!, SyFy - or SciFi for those of us purists who aren't onboard with the silly new SyFy thing, HGTV, BBC America, History, Discovery, Disney - sad, huh? - FX, TNT...well, you get the idea).

5. Carbonated beverages. (Diet, of course - no carbs. My faves are Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, Diet Cherry Pepsi, and Diet 7-Up.)

6. Reading. (This makes sense since most writers are voracious readers. I like most genres, though I'm not crazy about SciFi, surprisingly.)

7. Learning new stuff. (I know, this is kinda an odd addiction, but I hate my brain getting lazy. Probably one of the reasons I love the internet so much...always something new to learn and new places to scavenge for information. Gotta keep the old intellect exercised and in shape, even if I neglect the rest of my muscles. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm an unashamed couch potato.)

So there you go, seven things you never knew about me and will probably forget instantly after you start doing something else.

If you're so inclined, feel free to snag the award for yourself and list 7 interesting things about yourself. Now, I'm going back to working on my WIP.

Have a great day!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Almost-Kiss/NoKiss Blogfest

Okay, so here it is the Almost-Kiss or NoKiss Blogfest, hosted by Frankie at Frankie Writes.

I've pasted my contribution below. This scene will likely be included in the third novel of the trilogy I'm writing. The characters are in the first two books, but their story will be featured in the third.

Starrie made every effort to still her pounding heart, feeling ridiculous. Rand was her mate, or at least he had been until he’d forsaken her, and although her feelings had never dulled – how could she stop loving him? - she’d learned how to contain them in a little box in the corner of her heart which she studiously ignored at all times.

But here he was, far too close for her comfort, behaving as if his betrayal was nothing - as if he was in the right and everyone else was wrong - and even though it had been her own choice to be here she knew he’d never let her leave, and based on the way her body was currently reacting, she was wondering if she’d be able to even if the opportunity presented itself.

“Starrie,” he said, his voice liquid silk, “I’d forgotten how you glow when you’re excited.” She felt the heat of that glow blooming in her cheeks under the intensity of his gaze as his fingertips traced the line of her jaw, and she leaned into his touch involuntarily.

But she pushed his arm away, confused by her conflicted feelings. “I am not excited,” she countered, her throat too dry to swallow. “Stop doing that. You lost your right to touch me when you left.”

He inched forward, brushing her platinum hair aside and placing his lips so that his breath was warm in her ear. She closed her eyes reminding herself to breathe. “Maybe,” he said, “but you still want me to touch you.”

She arched her body toward him, silently agreeing with him, but he pulled back before their bodies met. When she opened her eyes she caught him smirking at her, plainly pleased at being right. She was sure her cheeks were pink again, but this time from humiliation.

Fine, she thought. Two can play this game.

She steeled herself against the desire she was sure would course through her, but used it as motivation. “You’re right,” she said, dipping her head demurely and placing her hands on his chest, satisfied to feel his heart leap at her touch. She allowed her voice to drop into a sultry purr, “I have missed your touch.”

She moved closer, feeling the shock of her body flush with his after so many empty years of longing for this very warmth, always hiding it behind cold efficiency. His hands slipped to her sides, settling at the curve of her hips, and she lifted her chin so their eyes met, her cool gray locking with his brilliant jade. She thought she saw a hint of the old Rand hidden in their depths, a touch of vulnerability.

“Mmmmm,” was his guttural response. “You may not believe it, but I’ve missed you just as much.” She doubted the veracity of his confession but it caused a melancholy ache, nonetheless. The tenderness in his touch was reminiscent of their happiest days, but too much had transpired since then and she wasn’t willing to so quickly bend herself to his will. She was not going to let him get the best of her, no matter how badly she craved him.

“Kiss me, Starrie,” he whispered, his plea only barely audible. “Please.”

And she did, almost. She rose up on her toes, her eyes averted again, feeling the friction of their bodies sliding against one another, and worked her fingers into the jet curls at the nape of his neck. She suppressed the instinctive sigh that trembled on her lips, but a thick growl escaped his throat and he pulled her closer, his hands now at the small of her back. As she reached the tips of her toes, she raised her eyes and met his again. He reached for her lips with his own and when he was close enough that she could taste the sweetness of the lust on his breath she leaned into him, her lips missing his so nearly that the corner of her mouth just brushed the corner of his as she smoothed her cheek against his face, her mouth ending near his ear where she gently nipped the lobe between her lips.

“Never, Rand.” She said, her throat tightening around the anguish. “I’ll never kiss you again.”

So, there you go. Hope you liked it, and go visit Frankie Writes for the rest of the Almost-Kisses of the day!