New Tech, Little Women & Mean Girls…

Last week was…well, less productive than I wanted it to be, but not as
unproductive as it could have been. So basically kind of average, I
guess. Somehow I still ended up behind both on work and writing projects
by the end of it, but not as far as I could have been. The bright spot
was getting my longevity check on Friday – basically a bonus I get every
year for the years I’ve been at my day job that goes up incrementally
every year. I’ve been there 14 years now, so my check was a nice little
sum this year – enough to put most of it away to buy my husband a table
saw, and I used the remainder to replace my Acer 10 inch tablet with a
sleek new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (8 inch) tablet w/S Pen capabilities. 

I love new tech, but I hate it too. It’s a lot of
work customizing a new gadget to work like you want it too, signing into
apps that you haven’t had to log into for a long time (and thus have no
idea what the passwords are), and deciding what to move over vs. what’s
just clutter and really isn’t needed any longer. Needless to say, I
spent quite a few hours on Saturday getting most of that done, and I’m
still working on the last minute tweaks (like finding all the sound
notifications that need to be turned off and organizing my app screens
for optimal use). 
The calendar system on the
new tablet is awesome though, and does a great job of picking up where
Wunderlist leaves off. So between the two of them, I have an insanely
effective organizational structure that I’m pretty excited about. And
the handwriting recognition is amazing…note-taking is going to be much
easier from now on. 
Yesterday I stumbled across Little Women (the
movie) on TV, and while I was watching it and reminiscing, I noticed
something that I never have before (which is odd considering I’ve read
and watched the story a zillion times before). When Jo is showing the
professor her writing, he looks down on her for the type of fiction she
writes – escapist fiction, basically. And he basically tells her she can
do so much better if she’s brave enough to try. 
I’ve
been really thinking a lot lately about why I write the things that I
write, and what potential my stories have for affecting/influencing
readers. So that particular little side-story in Little Women
really hit home with me this weekend. Honestly, even though I write
genre fiction, I feel like I tackle some issues and ideas that require
some very heavy thinking and personal courage to write about, and
sometimes I really waffle about whether putting those thoughts on paper
will influence readers in a bad way. I’m not sure there’s a right or
wrong answer there, but it’s certainly something I think a lot about.
The similar theme in Little Women makes me wonder if Louisa May
Alcott struggled with the same thing before finally giving in/digging in
and writing the literary classics we know today. 
As
for my beating up my heroines, in the comments last week there was a
tongue-in-cheek implication that perhaps there had been a lot of mean
girls in my early life that I was getting back at by torturing my
fictional leading ladies. It’s an amusing (and somewhat satisfying)
thought, but I’m afraid I can’t use it as an excuse. I did know a few
“mean girls” in school (who didn’t?), but I was home schooled from 3rd
grade through high school, and I worked nearly full-time from the time I
turned 15 on up (started volunteering part time when I was 12 or so).
Needless to say, I wasn’t around kids my age in large enough time blocks
in social situations to have more than a few friends at any given time.
In college, I worked two and three jobs to pay for tuition, and I lived
at home. So my social interaction was very limited there too – whenever
I wasn’t in class I was working, writing papers, or catching a few
hours of sleep. The few truly “mean” girls I knew just were never worth
any time or thought, honestly. Whenever I actually had time to
socialize, I hung out with people I knew and liked, and avoided those I
didn’t. 
So why do I run my heroines through
the proverbial wringer? Simply put, I throw a lot at my characters
because I want to see what they’re made out of. I want to give them
every chance to grow and realize just how strong they can be when they
need to be, and I want to give readers that message too – that we are
all stronger than we realize, and even when life throws the worst
possible scenario at us, we can still pull through and pick up the
pieces afterwards. 
That, and lots of
action/adventure/conflict makes a good story, in my opinion. A story
where life was easy and everything was hunky-dory would be boring. 
Speaking of the mundane…here’s my to-do list for the week. 
– Serial scenes for all four stories
– Two scenes for the sci-fi draft
– The next installment for Mr. Mysterious
– Finish reading through/marking up a draft for a friend
– Cover art
– Start walking the dogs (3 evenings this week)
– Finish a little crochet project I’m working on, and start another due in June
– Watch season finale’s of several shows. It always makes me sad when summer TV break comes…
That’s it for this week…here’s to good weather and great writing karma all around, eh?


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