Tag Archives: write

Word Loss: A Great Fear

Since I was a wee child words have been my greatest asset. Word games? All me. Bring it on: Scrabble, Boggle, Words with Friends, even the ever fun family game of Words. I could out talk, and out verbally wit for that matter, just about anyone looking to verbally rumble. Ah, the good ol’ days when the words flowed like a Hawaiian volcano.

Flash forward to 2017 and a 43-year-old writer. A person of words. A person who was  a walking dictionary and thesaurus. Now I struggle for familiar words. The simple everyday words at that. In one story I struggled to recall the word charming. Imagine that. Not some crazy twelve letter twenty-dollar word. I was scrambling in my mind. It sounds like “C’,” like chair, like something yellow-orange (okay, I relate things to colors). It’s a man, like tall man, like that guy from that movie and a chair.

“Loss of words is actually part of the aging process …”

I’m not saying the thought processes of my mind are fluid, but there’s a method to my madness. After finally looking up the name of Cinderella’s dream man, I was able to get the word. Then for ten minutes I shook my head and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I was worried to the point I was almost physically ill.

This isn’t something new. About five years ago I realized the words were escaping me. A real nightmare for any writer. Since I was twelve I suffered debilitating migraines and was once told, after a brain study, that I had lesions on my brain from the severity of the migraines. My personal research proves this is a possibility, which is why migraine sufferers have a greater chance of having a stroke (sorry, interjecting my medical career there). Back to the point: I wondered if perhaps lesions had anything to do with memory loss.

blurRecently, I spoke with a few other men and women my age and took note that they all searched the vast blue sky for certain words that were “at the tip of their tongue.” After asking if they had more of a difficult time remembering simple words, they all said they did, that sometimes even simple words were a blur. Great!! I mean, not great, but yes. Loss of words is actually a part of the aging process, which is why verbal engagement and mental stimulation is so key as we get older.

I have Thesauraus.com as a favorite on my computer, and such a lifesaver. I try to use new words everyday. I also work to recall a word using any kind of cue I can before looking it up. The computer is  my last resort, though I’ve called in a life line or two.

Me: Dasan, what is that thingy called?
Dasan: What thingy?
Me: You know. You go to someone’s house and you push the thingy so they answer the door. The pushy button thingy?
Dasan: You mean a doorbell?
Me: Awesome. Thanks.

It’s pretty much like that. So when my various writing groups pose the question, “What scares you most as a writer?” My answer is always the same: Losing the words.

What scares you most as a writer? As a writer do you get a little worried about losing words?

Tania L Ramos, RN BSN and author
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The War Against Self-Published Authors

A definite war has been waged against self-published authors. Sentiments that just because you can take pen to paper and hit submit does not make you an author. In a world when anyone with access to internet can submit a book, what exactly defines an author?

There has even been an argument over writer versus author in this article (Self-Publishers Should Not Be Called Authors, by Michael Kozlowski). The overwhelming amount of snobbery was clear, as it would appear the elite once again do not enjoy “indies” trampling their path. To summarize the article in a nutshell, Mr. Kozlowski states, “If you can earn your living from your writing, you are a professional author, anyone else is just a plain old writer.” The premise to most of this article is that self-published authors (or writers) have not honed in their craft and publish, for lack of a better word, crap.

Some would say that self-publishing is for those who don’t want to spend years on perfecting their art in an apprenticeship as stated by Ros Barber in this Guardian post (For Me Traditional Publishing Means Poverty. But Self-Publish? No Way. “…you will be very glad that the first novel you wrote was not the first novel you published, because it will now feel embarrassing and amateurish,” he states. Going on to state in one of his sections that “Self-Publishing Can Make You Feel Like a Fool.”

These are not the exceptions. I searched many different terminologies and encountered several different blogs, reports, and editorials waging battle against Self-Published authors. Take into consideration that many articles were first littered with self-proclamations of their success. After reading articles for hours, I, as a self-published author, felt more like a peasant at the house of the tax keeper begging for mercy. My place is not among the elite. Maybe that was their point: put us groveling self-pub writers, because we haven’t yet earned our stripes through multitudes of failure, in our order on the literary food chain. Can you say, accomplished writers eat their young?

By definition a writer is one who writes in a particular text. This can encompass all types of writers: journalists, screenplay, novels, blogs, reviewers, scientific findings, technical, email. An author is a writer of a book, article, or report. Which makes, by definition, a self-published writer an author. Are there variations of authortude? I would say so. As any person who takes a picture, selfie or otherwise, is a photographer, that does not make them a “professional” photographer. By definition, professional is defined as, “one engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.”

To recap: anybody who puts pen to paper (or types) is a writer. I wrote an email. I sent a text. A writer who has written a book, article, or report is an author. I am a self-published author. A professional author makes their living from their writings. Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson are professional authors. I am a  registered nurse by profession and an author by passion.

So why the war against self-published authors? If there is one main theme that runs through the disdain of each article it is one I can relate to the most: poorly edited books. Yes writers, just because you can put pen to paper and easily upload to a publishing platform, does not mean you should. I’ve written on this topic several times, and if you read the comments of some of those articles named above, you will see a plethora of readers agree that poorly edited books have turned them off to self-published books forever. They go so far as to research authors before purchasing books, and I do mean some deep research is going into this.

“… we must all strive to put out the best.”

Readers are most certainly looking for the next best thing, and they do not feel that traditional publishing is the be all to end all in books. They are looking for progressive story lines. Stories that break the rules. They are tired of being dictated to by big publishing houses. They want you! But, as a writer looking to author a book you have the duty to produce remarkable well polished work; inside and out. Yes. Yes. Yes. Readers judge a book by a cover.

You don’t need to build upon failures in order to become accomplished, but you do need to know that self-publishing is not free, requires editing, requires the ability to take criticism, requires writes and rewrites until you want to throw your manuscript at a wall and never see it again. Sometimes it takes years and for others it takes months. Do not be that author that hits submit on a non-edited book, that took no criticism prior to publishing, just because the opportunity is there. These faulty books are damaging the reputations of self-published authors.

self-publishing-cartoonWith all that being said, for every article found on the internet bashing indie authors there is an article praising us. There may be a war waged against self-pub, but there is an army of accomplished and professional authors backing up our industry. We are not alone, but we must put our best foot forward. Sometimes our first book is a jumping off point, one that does not need to be published. I’ve worked with several new authors who bled through their  first book then shelved it. That was the learning curve for them, and they knew it wasn’t worthy of publishing, but it was momentum to do better next time, to learn from mistake after mistake. And some get that award winning novel spot on the very first time. We are all different in skills, in stories, in our failures, but we must all strive to put out the best. You only get one chance to make a first impression, make it your best. And remember, you represent a larger group: self-published authors.

Tania L Ramos, RN BSN and author
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Fiction Based on Reality

I’m writing quite different with this one. Adding journal entries at the beginning of each part. These are the real parts. The dark parts that were true enough of how I felt in those days that turned out to be the beginning of 6 years of lies. This is all hindsight, which lends to a bit of self-loathing as can be noted at the end. Maybe people will heed the warnings: don’t piss a writer or you may get killed in her book.

In the days of knowing I was losing Andy I felt like I was losing myself too. There was a dynamic about Andy, something that out shadowed me in every way. My name was lost at marriage. My days ahead I was known as Andy’s wife, and where I should’ve delighted instead I became abhorrent. If I ever I needed the proverbial knight in shining armor, the time had come. Desperate times and desperate situations also meant loss of reasoning and the ability to see clearly. Eddie Sinolach was just what I needed, when I needed someone, so much that the world around me faded to all things Eddie. Nobody should ever close their eyes so tight.

perfect man

Tania L Ramos RN BSN, author

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Of Suns and Moons

I said I would do it. The story is written as fiction. So many aspects changed. But the story writes its self. My favorite lines from chapter one.

One baby, four years, and a million arguments later, we found ourselves caught up in a very bitter divorce. He tried in his way to make it work, but we were opposites, like the sun trying to marry the moon. Sure, we could occupy the same universe, but we would never occupy the same space all the time. The moon would always be jealous of the brilliance of the sun. He was the sun. I was the moon. I pale beside him, and every day I lost myself just a little more until I disappeared. Those eclipses though, those times we were as one…those were amazing.

sun moon

Lessons in Writing Fear & Love

In helping a young author learn to write emotions, I gave a simple assignment: write the emotions of a woman who just saw the love of her life walk through the door. Next, write the emotions of the same woman who just saw a stranger with a gun walk through the door. In neither description can you say “love” or “hate/fear,” and you must show without telling.

To be a good teacher, I also participated in this little lesson. We both had the same outcome: writing the emotion of love was almost exact to writing the feeling of fear. I found that quite interesting. It certainly is a fine line.

if u can write

 

 

 

 

 

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author

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Presenting in DC

Last week I was excited to be given the opportunity to attend and speak at the National Council for Literacy convention in Washington DC. This came very last minute, down to the days, but I made it. For those who don’t know, DC is clear across the country for me. Thanks to Frontier airlines, I made the trip for $244 round trip, which meant I could drag my son along. Perk!

I spoke on Saturday at the convention to a small group from Vermont;  they were wonderful, friendly, and quite receptive. I then had the privilege to hear another group speak. It was fascinating to hear about so many literacy programs in the k-12 circuit. All-in-all, I was honored to be there to represent the High Desert Chapter of the California Writer’s Club DCB Memoir Project.

111The Dorothy C Blakely Memoir Project challenges seniors at a local high school to take on the task of picking a senior citizens, conducting interviews, and writing their memoir. They are given a once monthly class, put on by the HDCWC, to teach interviewing skills, point of view, and creating a memoir among other things. The memoirs are critiqued over the course of the program, until the final draft is turned in. They are then edited, and selected for publication. Not all memoirs are published. The HDCWC then takes the selected memoirs and  creates a cover, creates a template, and finally creates an anthology of the memoirs. The seniors graduate as published authors. In 2014, this project was recognized by the National Council for Literacy, and was presented as a literacy project in Washington DC…which I presented at.

This is a wonderful program, and I’m grateful to be a part of it. I love teaching.

Fun fact: Most the students who participate are NOT aspiring authors.

Tania L Ramos, RN

www.HDCWC.com for more info   To see last year’s memoir: AMAZON

 

Shattering Two Souls

Its funny what perspective can be gained from writing characters. Are they insights into our own souls, or are they pieces of coal that a character turns into diamonds? I’d like to thank these characters for one of the best scenes ever:

“Don’t buy into it. Don’t buy into ‘a soul is half whole until it finds its other half.’ Two souls wander the earth until they find their perfect match, and then and only then do they become whole and know how simple and easy loving can be.

Bullshit!

A person is whole. A soul is whole. There are no halves. One does not give 50% and think that they can get 100% from that. Love is brutal. It’s a big huge pain in that ass that breaks your soul. It breaks your heart from being so afraid that you’ll lose it at any moment. And only when you have been truly shattered can you pick up the pieces with her. You pick up the pieces, yours and hers, and you put them together to build something new. Something that isn’t half you and half her, where you take sides, but something that is beautifully put together, where you don’t know where she ends and you begin.”

“I’ve been shattered for two years since she left. Since I let her leave.”

“Boo hoo. Two years. Is she dead? are you dead? Do you still love her? Of course you do,  you’re shattered! You lucky bastard!”

Shattered_Glass_by_intothewest

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author

Copyright @TaniaLRamos 2014 No reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the author.