The members of the literary columnist at the Carrot Ranch are all seasoned writers from around the world, each offering their take on various topics. The invitation to become a member of this team is an honor.
#AnnEdallRobson #TheQuietSpirits #FromWhereICome #GuestColumnist #RanchLife #HeritageTraditions #TraditionsLivesOn
A while back I went out without my camera. No reason really other than I didn’t take it with me. Oh yes, there were moments I reached for it, and there were moments I cussed at myself for not dragging it along. Yet, at the end of my break away from my computer and my camera, I came home with vivid images stored in the gray matter. Let me see if I can show you what I saw. . .
The pathway to the lake was drifted in places. Pushing through the already made tracks of those who had wandered before me wasn’t all that easy. For those with long legs and strides to match, the trek to the other side of these crusted barriers would be easy. For someone built close to the ground, like me, calf-deep becomes knee deep, and visible foot holes in the drifts are quite useless! Breaking my own trail, while not that easy either, was easier on the legs than trying to fit into what was left behind by others.
I quickly discovered walking off the trail in the uncharted snow was the way to go. Not only that, it showed me some wispy skeletal plant life. Thorn spikes on brown, rounded seed heads of burdock. Exploded seed pods hovering at the top of frozen cattail sentinels. Here and there the bright red, freeze dried rose hips were bobbing on the ends of prickly wild rose bushes. The lake showed life had traversed its perimeter. Coyote tracks mixed with tiny indents where mice and birds had taken advantage of seed that covered the ground from the wind-whipped plants along the frozen water’s edge.
My peripheral vision caught a glimpse of movement. A lone skater clearing the natural ice rink in a sheltered corner. A hockey stick waiting patiently in the drifted snow bank. Man’s best friend barking and running in circles around the human Zamboni. Laughter erupting, carried on the wind until it faded to nothing.
The drifts on the trail gave way to the wind-swept, frozen, earthen floor. The warm weather of recent weeks had softened the dirt to allow rutted tracks to form and freeze to almost perfect shapes. Some filled with little pools of frozen water. Others empty and void of any sign of life other than the steps left behind and the imagination of who would have left them. Poplar leaves laying in wait to rot and return food to the earth. Frozen and still green where they had fallen beside their yellowed and browned speckled tree mates.
I can hear the Canada Geese and I wonder if there is still some open water somewhere on the lake that is enticing them to sing their song from above. They don’t linger long, before moving onward in search of an unfrozen destination as there is nothing here for them.
A brazen Magpie watches me. Cackling it moves closer to the path to see what I am about until a crow, floating on the wind, swings near the trail sending the cheeky magpie off to stalk someone else.
The trail curves towards home. Here the trees are frosted and glistening in the sun. It reminded me of one of my outings from another winter's walk. Bits of fluffy snow floats from their settled spot on the needles. Cones sway in the top branches daring me to stand and gawk at them. They too will be become feed for some bird looking for a bit of sustenance in the continued cold.
Camera . . . hmm, I guess I didn’t really miss having it along.
We are all capable of telling a story, sharing information and creating ditties. The first draft of any genre is easy. It’s what we do with them in the end that makes the difference. The ensuing work can make the choice of turning it into a book not all it’s cracked up to be.
My inner spirit was compelled to write a book. No, it wasn’t a bucket list item, it was a need. A call out to the creative soul that had simmered since childhood. So, let’s rewind the film and take a look at the books, one book at a time.
Thinking the book publishing process through, and wanting to get a book published in the shortest time period, with the least amount of cost, equals e-book format. However, regardless of genre, the preparation, in my opinion, takes more time for electronic books versus a manuscript destined for a publisher. Once the idea topic has hatched from the egg, it still needs due diligence. Correctness, flow, eye catching presentation, plus conforming with guidelines set out by the publisher. The crux is you are writer, editor, cover designer and publisher. The bonus, and it is a huge attraction to most, is the lack of an exorbitant outlay of dollars. An e-book is not hard on the bank balance, but it can suck the time bank dry!
The writing was now on the wall. The hook had been set. The bait taken, and the challenge of what was to become referred to as a ‘real book’ started to take life. Moon Rising: An Eclectic Collection of Works was a relatively easy book to produce. Archived and newly written vignettes, short stories and poems cuddled together to for my first taste of a publisher’s world.
It also gave me a penchant for what was to unfold, a novel; and, not just one novel, but three. Each storyline with their own set of characters. In essence, three different books about three different topics, in the fire at the same time. All in a race to see which would boil to a finish first.
Whoa! When the light came on as to what I was doing, the decision wasn't even debated. Finish The Quiet Spirits first and let the other two simmer in the back ground. Having them to fall back on when the stagnant times hit was great. I drifted between the other two. Penning a chapter or more until I found my ground again to return to the book destined to be the next to go to a publisher.
I am not surprised by the amount of time it took to write the first draft, complete edits and rewrites (so far) for The Quiet Spirits. It is a novel, after all. But once submitted to the publisher the process seems to drag and be lengthy. Patience plays a big part in the publishing waiting game. Will there be more suggestions and/or will the nod come that we are onto the next steps? Still on track for release by the fall of this year.
I have written e-books and like the simplicity of their production for sharing information and short stories. I have written a compilation of varying genres, only to tap into a simmering passion to write in more detail. The emotional adventure writing a novel has taken me on is an experience I would not trade.
Regardless of the style, the story, the sharing of information, or the format, I look forward to the future of my writing. Short term to way, way out there. Embracing the compositions that fill the pages.
How do you support Indie Writers - ebooks or real books?
Today, the horses have nothing to say. It didn’t start that way, but as the day progressed their lack of eye contact while I leaned on the fence watching them, told me different. A blatant reminder my mind needed to settle.
I wander, drawn to a spot where the sound of a frog chorus penetrates through the trees. The sun on my face, the breeze ruffling my hair, all speaking to me in volumes.
Planting myself away from the voices, the grounding of my soul begins. Eyes closed, breathing softly, embracing the aroma of raw earth, the connection I need starts to ooze into my being.
By ignoring me, the horses suggested my direction; but, it is Mother Nature who gives me guidance. The singing of the frogs in the background while I watch my first butterfly of the season looking for sustenance from flowers yet to bloom. Tiny birds chirping their throaty sounds, flitting from branch to branch before taking wing to return to I know not where. Walking through the trees the pungent smell of rain dampened leaves meets my senses; laying lifeless to the eye, yet giving nourishment to the land.
I stroll back to the barn. The smells confined within the walls are comforting. A reminder of the journey I began decades ago when I knew someday, somehow, I would blaze my own trail.
The creativity will come, it always does. The process of late, has been mired by my mind whirling like a dust devil’s journey across the prairie.
The horses and the land have gifted me much on this day.
How do you reconnect with your creativity?
The news feeds are all the same these days. Reasons why this didn’t happen last year. Reasons to make things happen this year. You can do it. Make the time and it will happen. On and on and on they go. The same things being said over and over.
Everyone seems to have the so called answers, and we tend to fall into the rut of reading them, agreeing with them, saving them and doing nothing more.
Is all of the time we spend trying to move forward and to be successful worth it? For some it’s the journey to no where. For others its something to keep the mind busy, and for most, it is merely a dream to do what you love.
So, continue to read your news feeds. Continue to squirrel away those articles that you might get to read one day. But mostly, continue to do what sparks the dream and makes you happy. Each step we take towards any goal can only be made if we put one foot in front of the other. No one else can do that for us.
Following someone else’s tracks is O.K. for a while; but, it is way more fun to make your own trail.
Do you follow your own trail?
No matter what you are doing, if all the ingredients aren’t available, the results will definately be different from what you were expecting. It doesn’t mean you'll be left with disappointment and a bad taste in your mouth. It means you have to adapt and dig into your creative cupboard to make it happen. Simply put, finding the right recipe is all that is needed.
Like baking cookies, writers use a recipe to create characters, story lines, plots and endings all in a teasing effort to have you wanting more. Sometimes changing the persona of the character, or throwing in a twist in the storyline are needed to carry the plot forward. Yes, it may change the ending; but if it’s done right, like the cookies, your reader's will want more.
Next time you have an idea for some prose, consider the following recipe.
Idea: Bake cookies
Character: The cookie
Outline: The recipe
Scene: The steps of the recipe
Plot: Bring all of the needed ingredients together
Hook: Eating the first one
Storyline: Sharing the recipe
Ending: Eating the last one and wanting more
Alternately, if you are looking to bake cookies, try one of our family favourites found in From Our Home To Yours: Cookies
Do you follow a writing recipe from start to finish?
Consider Pinterest as your very own research tribe. They are busy day in and day out collecting pictures, articles and how to’s in one place for you to pursue at your leisure. They are hard at work for you 24/7/365.
So how is this helping my writing if I am spending hours looking through Pinterest posts?
Humans are visual by nature, and Pinterest is most obliging in this area. We imagine things in our mind, but when we see it for real, right there in front of us, the details are sparked to life.
Take the visualization one step further. Planning and plotting scenes for a novel can be taxing on the thought process as well as time consuming.
You want a castle, green grass, blue sky with wispy clouds and a 1930’ish car driving up to its gates. This pretty much sums up the scene, however, you still need/want details to make the scene come alive. To make it memorable.
A click, click, click of your computer mouse takes you to the enthralling world of Pinterest where the search box is the place to start. Entering words such as castle will get you 1000’s of pins from around the world. Not necessarily a good thing if your book is set in a particular country. The need to have believable architecture described within your writing requires a more defined search. Type in the country and the word castle. Voila, pictures, articles and blog links are now there to glean all the information you may need, and probably more.
Now you’re on a roll and loving Pinterest! Using it to bring to life the imaginative thoughts you aspire to write. It is a place to find fashion styles and food from the era you are writing about. Science fiction lovers will spend hours looking at futuristic and historic topics.
The downside of researching on Pinterest is the hours turning into days as you go in search for scenes, character profiles, attire, housing and transportation.
The upside? You have visual and written research available at your fingertips in one central location. And, you can add to your information at any time, day or night.
Set up Boards within your Pinterest account (which is free) to save your finds (pins) in. If you are not ready to share your research with the world, a private (only you see the board) setting is available by a following a few steps when setting up the board.
Do you already use Pinterest for research on your projects? Tell us how.
Being known as a writer can be a hard row to hoe. Looking for inspiration to write is a journey faced every day, even when it's a passion, never mind a livelihood. There are those who take their inspiring moments from their faith. Others, from day to day experiences. Some even draw on what others write to fulfill the void.
So, where do I get my urge to write from? Let’s see, where to start? Ideally, I like to draw from my own life experiences or those from others I have known. Topics I am interested in are memories sparked by something I have read or heard said. I like to write about nature, western heritage, traditions, my take on social media and whatever the imagination at any given moment throws at me.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being in the company of some amazing women. At the end of the day, we were asked to reflect on the statement, “What Am I Claiming?” I quickly made a list of eight items that came to mind. From a sentence I jotted down, “A vision to start a vision,” came a raw, creative, impulse moment . . .
Letting the mind and body connect. Visualization of what we leave behind in the quest of what is in store. Claiming a path. Selecting the moments of importance. Storing the memories, not discarding them. Let them grow dust on the shelf to make room for the unbridled passions.
You see, at that given moment, I was given inspiration to write. It was not part of the question we’d been given, it was a need to get my claim on paper. The whole point of the exercise was to name what we felt passionate about. What were we going to take with us in our journey, be it success in business, a relationship, personal growth or life in general.
If you are passionate about writing, don't be afraid to record your words, and share them, no matter where you are or what you are doing. The one liner, or pages, you pen may be the beginning of something great. Claim It!
What is the passion you strive to claim?
January and February have flown by and March, it seems, has started without me and now it’s time to do some catch up.
The last few weeks have been an immersion of writing, deadlines, research and winter weather. Breathing room has settled, in and so have new schedules, Morning Muse included.
And now, “What’s with the schedule?” you ask.
Morning Muse will continue as a once a week entry on Sunday. This will be my last Wednesday Morning Muse post (for now). Topics will continue along the same vein as they have in past.
Flash Fiction Challenges (99 Words and 52 Words) will posted as they are written. I love writing these micro stories that can't be prepared for. When the weekly prompt arrives is when I get the brain in gear.
O.K. the new schedule is settling out, so what else is going on?
I am going to be implementing notification of activities and posts by E-mail to those on our mailing list. Yes, you will have the option to decline or unsubscribe from these E-mails.
The Ann Edall-Robson FB page has already seen some changes. You can now purchase ALL of my books from this bit of social media; and, I’ve made it easier for you to contact me from this location. I am looking at doing further modifications here as I go forward.
All of the changes and goings on is a better fit in my writing world. I will now have time to work on other projects that have been simmering on the back burner, giving them the attention they deserve.
Thanks for stopping by to catch up with what I am up to. See you soon.
“Write what you know,” they say. “Pick a niche and go with it,” others proclaim. “Get your name and product out there at every opportunity,” you hear.
All good and well if you’ve got the time and what it takes to promote the hell out of yourself and your product.
Plans for the month of February were to focus on the writing vein. Sharing information I find, or I know from experience. This, so far, has been a good theory on paper. It has produced the knowledge that my community prefers a content variance. The result of the past few weeks has given me information to digest, analyze and plan with.
It’s always interesting how the thought process takes you on a journey of looking after the number one.
Breaking out of the friend and family bubble of social media is daunting. You have to be prepared to show off a little, say what you feel, and reach out to new people. The last part, for most, is the hard part.
So how do you get your name and product out to the masses without spending a fortune and relying on others to do the job? You change things up a little, or a lot if that’s the urge that takes you.
Changes to your network marketing doesn’t have to be radical, unless that’s what you want. It has to encompass your priorities and what works for you. But, consider the old adage “change is as good as a rest”. It just might be what is forthcoming to take you to the next level.
What do you do to freshen up the marketing side? Do you outsource? Do you do it all by yourself? Have you done it all at once or baby steps? We’d love to hear from you.
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