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There is nothing fun about that word. You want to know how to nail the concept down? Promise a child you’ll do NaNoWriMo with them. 😉

NaNoWriMo Writer Badge

Kate, my niece, lives a few states away. I don’t know her nearly as well as I’d like to, but we have the BEST common interest…BOOKS! Reading them. Writing them. Smelling them. Well, I don’t know if she loves the smell of books like I do. That’s an assumption. I’ll have to ask her.

Back to NaNoWriMo. I’m a list person, and let me tell you, I could write a doozy of a list of reasons this is NOT the month to write a novel:

  1. We just moved to a new house in a new city. There are boxes everywhere.
  2. I’ve been fighting a head and chest cold for the past two weeks. *sniff*
  3. I have three jobs
  4. and two busy teenagers
  5. and an adult child who may never leave home
  6. and a husband who buys me mugs that say, “Write Epic Shit” on them. (Okay, that’s actually one for the “Pro” column.)
  7. and my novel has been shelved for several years
  8. and whinewhinewhinewhinewhinewhinewhine

But there is a twelve year old girl in Wisconsin counting on me to keep my word. I won’t let her down. I won’t let myself off the hook. And I really do love writing. Well, I love having written. If I’m going to reach my goals and dreams, I need to start somewhere.

Today is Day 1! It’s time to begin again! If you would like to join me in my quest to pound out a 50,000 word novel in thirty days, click on the link below to sign up for NaNoWriMo. If your list of reasons not to do it is anything like mine, ignore it. Find an accountability partner, and put your butt in a chair and your fingers on the keys. You can do it! I believe in you!

https://www.nanowrimo.org/

For the 17 and under crowd, join Kate in NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program: https://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ 

2-WriterWebBadge

Happy Writing! 🙂

 

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18 years ago today, my birthday twin posted on his blog for the first time. I know this because that’s what he posted on it today. You can read it here: http://wilwheaton.net/2019/08/6584-days/

“I enjoyed writing in my blog (powered by Greymatter!), and I felt like, for the first time in my life, I could speak for myself. My voice, which had only been heard through the filter of teen magazines, or vapid entertainment press, a voice which had been tightly controlled by the adults in my life, could finally have a chance to speak on its own truth.”

Holy crap! That resonates with me!

womanvoice

I started blogging the same year Merriam-Webster declared “Blog” their word of the year. YouTube was launched a year later. With three children under the age of five, I was desperate to find something that was just mine. As a youth minister’s wife, I longed for a place to express myself outside of the fishbowl I was living in. I was starving for connection with people I could be myself with – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Like Wil, I started blogging to stretch my wings a bit and find my voice, but I got to do that with a MUCH smaller audience because I’m not famous for anything, anywhere. Less pressure. The people in close proximity didn’t know what blogging was, so there was a sense of safety in the vague anonymity of the web. My how things have changed, huh?

I’m still struggling with my voice. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sarcastic. Sometimes it’s irritated or angry and I want to scream, “Go ahead! I F***ing Dare You!” Sometimes it’s weighty and sorrowful, and sometimes it holds the giddy excitement of a first kiss. At least that’s how it seems to me.

Blogging has given me a place to practice my voice, and I’ve learned a lot in the past fifteen years. Here’s a quick top ten:

  1. I have a voice but I’m still nailing down what it sounds like, because like my speaking voice, I know its sounds different to me than it does to you.
  2. I have permission and the courage to use the voice I have, even though sometimes I have to dig pretty deep inside myself to reach my courage.
  3. WHO reads my words is more important to me than the size of my audience.
  4. I blog to connect, entertain, challenge, inspire, and to explore and process the world around me. I blog to give others the gift of going second and permission to speak freely. If I want others to do that, I’d better be doing it too.
  5. My goal isn’t making money. If you’re blogging to make money, good for you! I hope you’re wildly successful! That’s just not the point of this for me.
  6. I am not always right. I have apologized for the things I’ve written SO MANY times through the years. #eatinghumblepie #beingteachable
  7. It’s okay to only write here sometimes. As long as I keep paying for my domain name, this thing isn’t going anywhere. I write in other spaces too – some private, some public.
  8. We all grow as we go. I keep my old posts – even the ones I no longer agree with – to honor who I was then. That woman was trying to find her voice too.
  9. Not everything that floats through my head needs to be written down or spoken. WORDS! I love them. I have lots of them. The word-vomit temptation is real, friends. I fight it all the time. You’re welcome. 😉
  10. Words have the power to heal and mend, so sometimes I write. I hope when you meet me here you’ll choose to see the best parts of me even when I show you my unloveliness. Surely we can find some common ground to heal and mend together so we can help heal and mend the world.

Wil inspired me today. I appreciate his journey, and using his paragraph that I quoted above, I’ve created my own version:

I’ve enjoyed writing on my blog. It’s given me an outlet to speak for myself and share pieces of who I am. My blogging journey has felt a lot like puberty – the beauty of personal development contrasting with a voice that cracks during the moments that will cause the most embarrassment. My voice, which I have allowed to be tightly controlled by my fear of what the religious people in my life would think of me if I spoke freely, is finally getting a chance to speak its own truth. My voice is one of love and inclusion, but also authenticity, which means there will also be times when I say, “I f***ing dare you.”

Have you found your voice? What has your journey been like? How are you using your voice now? Permission to speak freely…

Find your voice. Change the world.

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NaBloPoMo

Apparently that’s a thing. Or it used to be. Have the BlogHer people running that show gone silent? If so, I’m hardly one to criticize. I haven’t posted here since January. January! I guess it’s a good thing this blog is titled, “SOMETIMES I Write.” Am I right? 😉

National Blog Posting Month. Like I have time for this! But I miss playing my instruments (the quills and keys) and I ALWAYS have something to say, plus I’m not doing it alone. My dear friend Mary posted about NaBloPoMo on her blog today and a tiny little spark inside my chest flared to life! So here I am! I’m posting every single day for the month of November. I can’t promise I won’t go silent again as we slide into the holiday season, but who knows? Maybe that little flame will become an unstoppable, roaring blaze. Stranger things have happened.

Speaking of Stranger Things…I still haven’t watched Season 2. I hosted a gaggle of teenagers last weekend to watch the whole thing, but I didn’t join them, I just set out food and drinks and slowly backed out of the room. I’m praying for a snow day or two so I can catch up. Speaking of catching up, A LOT has happened since January! Here’s a quick list:

  • I hosted a Murder Mystery Dinner with a friend (Prom fundraiser)
  • I hosted a Steampunk Prom with friends (Max was crowned Prom King)
  • My bookstore closed for good (Lots of mixed feelings about that)
  • I started a new job with a friend’s construction company (Loving it!)
  • Max graduated from High School (Hooray for both of us!)
  • I got a new tattoo! (See pic below)
  • I went to Oklahoma for two weeks in June for summer camp (It was hot)
  • I met a few of my favorite authors (I’m adding to that number on Saturday)
  • I attended Denver Comic Con (No, I didn’t cosplay, but I may have swooned a little)
  • I celebrated my 24th wedding anniversary and my 45th birthday (No comment)
  • I attended a funeral and a wedding. (I cried at both)
  • I drank A LOT…Chai, Moscato, Coke Zero, Tea (But not plain water. Gross.)
  • I joined a Brene Brown book club (She’s incredible and so are the five of us!)
  • I lost a few friends and gained a few more (I always gain more than I lose)
  • There’s an ex-girlfriend and a new boyfriend in our family (I adore them both!)

I’m sitting here thinking about what I will share with you over the next 29 days. When my writing is silent and buried for a while, I feel the need to expound on life. Once the words break the surface, it’s a geyser of facts, anecdotes, tips, joys, and pains. I may need to rename my blog. Suggestion? These might work:

  • TMI w/Niki
  • It’s My Blog and I’ll Cry If I Want To
  • The Cussing Christian and other Tales

Or maybe I’ll just stick with what I know, that sometimes I write, and my writing often touches on all of those things.

Want to join us for NaBloPoMo? There are no prizes, just the satisfaction of creating something to fling out into the world. Express yo’self! Speaking of that, here’s MY graduation gift for successfully homeschooling my man-child all the way through:

IMG_5238

That’s what I did and what I’m going to do forever, so I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

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I laugh A LOT. I am lucky to have so many people in my life that make me laugh, and though it took me years, I’m finally secure enough to laugh at myself.

Humor is a beautiful thing! It diffuses angry situations, soothes uncomfortable moments, and it redirects our seriousness when we’re feeling run down, overwhelmed, and annoyed. It lightens the mood and frees us to laugh at the silliness that is life. Laughter is contagious and healing.

I have a few friends who keep pace with me as we volley snark and wit. I share a secret Pinterest board with a friend where we post memes that are funny but not appropriate to share on Facebook lest we offend half our friends lists. I have another friend whose humor is subtle and never fails to make me chuckle. My youngest child is in the pun stage of pre-puberty and he’s clever and hilarious. He warrants his own hashtag on my Twitter and Instagram accounts – #crappetesays.

It was hard to choose just one person who makes me laugh, but I finally did it. The comedic genius…

Jim Gaffigan

He’s been my favorite comedian for years. I love his routines, stalk follow him on Twitter, and even have a Jim Gaffigan Pandora station. I’m a fan.

Why?

He’s likable and disarmingly relatable. He is self-deprecating but not in a sad way, and he reminds me there is humor to be found in the more mundane experiences of life.

He’s a family man. Marriage and parenting hold an endless supply of joke fodder. Kudos to his wife!

He’s a pretty clean comedian. Unlike my secret Pinterest board, I am able to recommend him to ALL of my friends without the caveat of telling them they might want to wait until their kids have left the room before listenin to him.

He’s funny. Obvious, right? If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t have chosen him as someone who makes me laugh!

Who makes you laugh?

Want to see who makes my fellow challengers laugh? Check out their posts:

donhillson.wordpress.com

free2b2much.blogspot.com

countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

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My friends Trevor, Chris, and Allen invited me to guest blog over at Sacred Margins today. I wrote about making a difference in my post, Greeting Cards and Bubbles.

“The guys” as I affectionately call them, are not only some of Benny’s best friends, but a talented band of brothers with a gift for exploring themes of faith. Their Sacred Margins site was born out of walking through life together and long talks about rest, space, and the desire to explore the deep connections between spirituality and technology. I am so honored they invited me to be part of the discussion!

I need to apologize to my friend Don. Not only because I never finished his 30 day drawing challenge, but because I’m not going to. I’ve had to give myself permission to move on. It was a great challenge – he rocked it out – but me? Not so much.

I did learn that I can draw more than stick figures. I also learned that drawing is work for me, and not the fun kind. Give me a lump of clay and I’ll be content to make whatever you want me to, but my brain does not see pictures on a flat surface in a way that is easily reproducible for me. I’m going to stick to word art for a while.

I have enough challenging things in my life now to take on any more. For instance, I decided not to join my many friends taking the NANOWRIMO challenge this month, but I am working on my time travel novel. That is fun for me, and there’s no pressure to have it completed by a certain day. I definitely work better on a deadline, but this is play, not work. It’s still challenging, but in a good way.

Have you read my story yet? The one published in Time Traveling Coffers? It’s not too late to get it at a discounted rate.

https://www.createspace.com/4021532

(Save 25% by using coupon code 9HW5GHYR when you order by 11/31/12)

I’m also trying to write our end of the year letter to our SEVENS family and friends without making it sound like a Christmas letter. It would be much easier if I had been writing quarterly letters like I had planned to do. I’m lucky they’re a forgiving bunch and they love me.

Be honest. How do you feel about Christmas letters?

Love them? Dread them? Hate them?

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I write fiction.

Now there’s a phrase I didn’t think would ever pass my lips. I’ve dreamed about writing a bestselling novel, but what writer hasn’t? I even went as far as outlining a novel at a workshop I attended a few years ago, but it was only to appease the speaker. I filed it under “writing misc.” and forgot about it. I have spent the past few years whining about not having enough time to blog, and working on piddly projects here and there. Until a few months ago.

I know this lady in my writer’s group who is always sharing opportunities for contests, anthologies, conferences, and such. She’s a writer/editor and probably submits more than anyone else I know. One day she cornered me and asked when I was going to write a story for her. With a polite smile, I kindly told her that I don’t write fiction. We chatted for a few minutes and I finally admitted that the time travel anthology she was working on intrigued me, and I did have an idea for a short story based on something that has puzzled me most of my life. I shared my idea and she said, “Write that!” So I did. Sort of. A few weeks after the deadline, I found out my story was accepted. I went to work on my edits and resubmitted my story. I was thrilled when it was also chosen as the 2nd story in the book!

From the intro:

What makes this collection unique is that an object must directly or indirectly be responsible for the [time travel] journey. The approach taken by all twelve writers is both as different and as diverse as the authors themselves. Several are from other countries. Several are brand new. Several are already published…it is family friendly. The editor wanted parents to be comfortable allowing their child or teenager to read these stories without fear of offensive language or sexual content. That being said, sit back and enjoy a trip through time via odd devices. It will be well worth the journey.

Time Traveling Coffers (WolfSinger Publications) released last week just in time for Mile Hi Con here in Denver. Last Sunday I joined my editor, publisher, and a few of my fellow authors in a reading, panel discussion, and book signing. We had a small but gracious audience and I received lots of encouragement and advice. I couldn’t cram all the story details into my limited 6,000 word count for the anthology, so I saved  a lot of it for the novel I’m writing. I hope others love my idea as much as I do.

Now that you know the story behind the story, here’s how you can buy it!

Print Edition is priced at $12.95
Ebook is priced at $5.99

Here is the link for Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Traveling-Coffers-Dana-Bell/dp/1936099373/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350073188&sr=8-1&keywords=Time+Traveling+Coffers

 

Smashwords offers all available e-book formats.

(Save 50% by using coupon code WB94A when you order by 10/31/12)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/243987

 

This is the link for create space:

(Save 25% by using coupon code 9HW5GHYR when you order by 11/31/12)

https://www.createspace.com/4021532

 

I also have limited e-book copies I can offer for anyone who would like to read and review the book on their blog. Email me if you’re interested.

 

I didn’t get to do this in the book, so special thanks to:

Dana Bell for asking me to write outside of my box, and accepting my first story.

Benny Nowell and Karen Stonecypher for thinking through the plot with me and being my head cheerleaders.

Paula Moldenhauer, Kordee Rose, and Don Hillson for their invaluable critiques of my SFD, asking me the hard questions, and keeping me encouraged and on track.

Will Rees, and Max, Zoe, and Pete Nowell. I was glad my kids were as excited about my story as I was. 🙂

 

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My writer’s group sponsored a devotional writing contest this summer. The deadline was midnight on July 31st. With moderate hope, I hit the send button at 11:50 something. I am thrilled to announce that Tuesday night I was awarded 1st place and a NOOK Color! I was shocked! I had no clue what my chances were, but I knew that I was up against some pretty fabulous people. I am so glad that I decided to submit even at the last-minute.

My friend Jason recently told a story about truth God had spoken to him during a bike ride with his daughter. I was deeply moved and asked permission to use his story for my devo.

Jason, many thanks to you for permission and more importantly, your inspiration. Your sharing of how God is moving in your life inspired me and rippled out to inspire others.

A Father’s Voice

“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8, NLT

It was nine-year old Jocelyn’s first bike ride with her daddy. Jason followed her down the trail, watching and coaching from behind, occasionally shouting encouragement, “You’re doing great honey! See? I knew you could do it!”

“Thanks Dad,” her smiling voice floated over her shoulder as she pedaled ahead.

Settling into a comfortable rhythm, Jason was soon lost in the peacefulness of the ride and the surrounding beauty. He startled when Jocelyn cried out, “Dad! Dad”! He watched as she wobbled, the confidence she had minutes before replaced with uncertainty and fear.

“Jocelyn, what’s wrong?”

“Uh…I’m okay. I’m okay,” she mumbled as she regained control.

“No sweetie, what’s wrong? You seem really afraid.”

“I’m fine now. I just needed to know you were still there. I needed to hear your voice.”

The Lord spoke clearly to Jason in that moment, “That is it. That’s what I want you to hold on to; what you need to cultivate in your relationship with me. Listen for my voice and know that I never leave you. I delight in that posture of your heart.”

Jocelyn was fine; it was Jason’s turn to wobble a bit as he wept.

Thank you, Father, for the gift of your voice and presence. You give us the confidence to keep moving forward. Thank you for never leaving us. Amen. 

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