Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Inspiration

I'm sure that all of us have some sort of "inspiration" that gets us writing, whether it's a person, and idea, or whatever.

The best thing that gets me writing, is thinking and reading about writing. I've recently discovered a bunch of authors blogs, and have them bookmarked on my browser. I've heard somewhere that if you write down a goal, you have a better chance or achieving it. But you also have to actually go out and be proactive about it. You can't just sit there and hope it happens.

So, I've decided to be proactive about my goal of having a published book someday.

One way I've decided to be proactive is to consider myself as a writer. I'm not aspiring, I'm not hoping, I AM a writer.

I've been reading books on writing. Books about the passion of writing, better plots, better dialogue, and better characters.

I'm taking an online writing course. It's through the BYU online education, and they have two creative writing classes. They are only $28, since you don't get college credit for them.

And I'm trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can about writing/editing/publishing. Afterall, knowledge is power. I've been checking out authors websites and blogs to read their advice. I've been reading LDS Publisher to get some ideas of what to expect when it's time to submit a manuscript. I'm starting to participate in Tristi's Challenges to get myself motivated to do more writing and editing.

And of course, I really enjoy meeting authors. I met a few when I was a teenager, and the thought of meeting an author was 10 times better than the thought of meeting a celebrity. Always fun to "hang out" or meet people that you aspire to be like someday.

Blog Action Day

So, Monday was Blog Action Day. I didn't know that until yesterday, but I thought I would say a little something about it on my blog anyway.

The topic is environment.

In the past, I haven't been so concerned about the Environment. I did some stuff, but not anything that great.

I live in a rural area, so I'd have to do some traveling to do recycling. I'd have to say it's more what I don't do than what I do.

For instance, I rarely drink soda. So I don't have many cans to need to recycle. But I have family that does drink soda, and do keep the cans to recycle.

I also don't get the newspaper. I read the news online or watch the news on TV. So I don't need to recycle the newspaper. But if I ever do get the newspaper again, I'm planning on recycling it. My parents have a garden, and keep their newspaper for the planting season. Lay some of it down between rows of corn, and put some mulch on it, and you don't have to worry about weeds.

We also have a wood burning stove, that I will put papers in to burn. Usually it's just old bills or documents that we don't need to keep anymore, but that I don't want to put in the trash. So it saves some landfills of extra papers.

One other thing that I saw on a morning show once, was someone saying that even if everyone decided to not take a receipt from the gas station, that it would saves tons of paper. I forget the amount, but it adds up in time. I thought about it, and realized that even if I do get a receipt, I don't do anything with it. So I no longer take a receipt from the gas pump or ATM machines. If I want to know my bank balance, I can go online and check it out.

True, one person isn't going to change the world, but one person doing even the smallest thing can add up to lots of change.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Potty Training :(

My son is 3 1/2 and we decided it was time to potty train him. From what I've read, he has every sign, except he doesn't care that he's wet in a diaper. He's been in underwear for 3 days now, and has not made it to the potty once. I bought plastic diaper covers though after 2 days, and it is the best purchase I've made.

But he doesn't quite get the connection that he needs to go in the potty. He'll let me know when he's already wet. I've noticed him a few times, where I thought he was about to go, so I rushed him to the potty and he had already gone. We have gotten him to where he wants to wear underwear (he cried about having to wear it at first). And he will occasionally say that he needs to use the potty. I make sure to praise him for trying, but he never actually goes when he sits on the potty.

PLEASE, anyone that has gone through potty training with a boy, please give me some advice. He's not exactly fighting potty training, but just not "getting" it.

25 Ways I Save Money

I was checking out some blogs, and came across "Frugal For Life". On there, the author had "25 Ways I save Money." There is a long list of others that have posted how they save money. It sounded like a good idea to come up with my ways too.

1) I bought a freezer from a place that was selling slighty damaged stuff. The only problem with this one was that the box got all wet, and so it wasn't "pretty" to send to stores... something like that. No damage whatsoever. But I got it for a good discounted price. I stock up on meats/freezable foods when on sale. I also occasionally make 2 of some meals (lasagna, etc) It's nice to have extra stuff on hand, for days that I don't want to cook and saves us from eating out as often.

2) I occcasionally buy books from stores. But since I love to own books, I like to go to library book sales. You can get a book anywhere from .50 - $1.00. I got a grocery bag sized amount of books from the last one for $5.25.

3) I like to shop caselot sales. Some of those items I use a lot, I may as well stock up and get in bulk for a cheaper price.

4) I love to look online for good deals. KSL ads (a local newstations website) has people wanting to get rid of their stuff and it's a good deal for you.

5) Wash clothes with cold water. Not a problem for us, since the knob that changes the water temp broke off, and we are unable to change it even if we wanted to. At least we are saving money.

6) My husband can fix cars, and bought mine at an auction for $900. It was 2 years old at the time. Just had some damage. $1600 later, I had a 2 year old car for $2500, paid in full. It should last me for quite some time.

7) Some of my friends thought I was strange, but I save tissue paper from gifts. Most people save the bags, why not the tissue paper if it's still in good condition.

8) Have a garden. I don't currently have one, but grew up with my parents having one. I've helped my mother can the food in the past, but with 2 little kids, we aren't much help now. But she supplies me with canned and fresh fruits and vegetables. When we have a yard, I plan on having a small garden and some fruit trees.

9) Save money at Christmas. This year, we are planning on giving one bigger item gift, instead of lots of small items. Of course, my budget is about max $50 dollars per kid, including stocking stuffers. Gifts are great, but not the important part of the holidays.

10) Buy after the holidays. I don't like going the day after Christmas, but shopping after holidays and getting discounts is fun. I bought all my Christmas lights and the (fake) tree after the holidays. I've even heard of some people buying holiday M&M 1/2 off and freezing them. Come Feb, they use the red candies for Valentine treats. They use the green candies for St. Patrick. Don't forget easter and other holidays. Lots of possibilities.

11) Share. I have some friends that love to scrapbook and make cards. We all have different types of papers, stamps, punches. We get together once a week at night and have 3 times the amount of stuff we normally have. Unless I really love a certain product and HAVE to have it more often than once a week, I don't need to buy things that I don't use often enough to spend money on.

12) If you buy something online, share the order. I recently ordered something with 2 other people. Shipping was divided in 3, so we all saved $6 in shipping cost. Then I had a code that saved me $8 on the order.

13) Get your insurance all from the same place. We have home and car insurance at the same place, so when we decided to get some life insurance, it was relatively cheap because we got a discount for already having something insured from there.

14) Buy Generic. Most items, I don't mind generic over a brand name. Most things seem to taste the same or work the same to me. But I do have my few things that I won't buy generic. Like BBQ sauce - I have my brand that I love.

15) If we go out to eat, we have our two little kids share a meal. It seems that if we buy them each one, they tend to hardly eat anything. If we buy one to share, them seem to eat it all and want more. We can never win, but we can at least pay less and have them eat some of our food.
16) Don't buy computer games for young kids. We haven't yet bought any computer games for my son. I just find free ones on Disney or PBS kids. He loves them, and they don't cost a dime. Then if he outgrows a game, we don't have lots of games laying around that he won't play.

17) Organize. I'm still working on this one. But have you ever not been able to find something and went to buy another one? I have. And it's annoying. So I'm working hard to get as organized as I can so that I can save money by knowing where things are and can get them easily.

18) Read books by Don Aslett His books are about cleaning and organizing. But really, if you're getting rid of stuff you know you don't need, when you see stuff at the store, you start to question yourself if you really need it. You just sent two boxes to the thrift store, do you really need to fill up the house with clutter again? Keeps your spending in control.

19) If you want to go on vacation, try to take it in the off season. My husband I went to Disneyland twice before we had kids. Once in November, once in January. Hotel prices were cheaper, tickets were cheaper, and the longest we had to wait in line for a ride was 5 mins. Some ride we even got to ride twice, because there wasn't a line. Also, if you get a motel/hotel that has a kitchenette or at least a fridge, you can save money by eating all or most meals in your room.

20) Get online bill paying or automatic deposit. The only bill I send out is the gas bill. Every other bill gets taken out of my account automatically. I can log on my account and check it how much it was. No worries about late fees, because they are always paid on time.

21) Use CFL bulbs. You know the ones that give out maybe 15 wattage, but are as bright as a 60-70 watt normal bulb. I've never compared my light bill (I'm sure my husband has) to see how much it saves, but everyone I've read that has them, says it really does add up. Now days they are getting even cheaper to buy.

22) Don't use as much makeup. I don't wear any most of the time. Not to save money though, I just don't like wearing it much. I will use it on a few occasions, like weddings, family photos, funerals. Even then, I just use foundation and a little eyeshadow.

23) Cards. I love to make cards, so it combines my crafting hobby with saving money on cards. Also some people like to buy cards in boxes so they are cheaper that way. Or at the dollar store. Cards can be anywhere from $1.99-$3.95. If you give cards, this could cut down on a lot of money.

24) Photos. I live about 5 miles away from the nearest place that prints photos. Since I have a digital camera, when I get enough photos that I want to printout, I go to Walmart.com 's photo center. Upload them, and have them sent to the local store. When they are in, I get some grocery shopping and my photos at the same time. I don't have to pay shipping to come to my house, and can combine a trip for two things.

25) Pay in full. When we do make new purchases like stove, couch, etc. - we pay in full. We occasionally will pay on credit if there is a deal to not have to pay interest for 3-6-12 months. Especially if it's around tax return time and we know we will have the money for that item before the no interest gimmick wears off. The only thing I want to pay interest on is my house. (Well, I don't WANT to, but you know what I mean) :)

This took a bit longer to think of 25 ways than I thought it would. I am by no means frugal like some people. I got a little of both parents in me. My dad is really VERY good at saving and spending wisely. My mother does good, but enjoys herself with money on occasion. But she is organized and doesn't go overboard.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lots and Lots of Words

I'm writing a novel. Somedays the words just fly out of me, and other days I'm not really sure what to write. Today I've got the writing bug. I did some more writing, probably only about 1/2 page worth. I have two little kids and a husband, so getting time to write without any distractions doesn't come often.

As I've typed, I've wondered how to tell how many real pages my story is. Most books are printed in 8 1/2 X 11 sized. Novels tend to be smaller sized. So although my story is 35 pages so far, I assume it is a few more pages than that in novel print size. I guess a better way to "compare" might be words in a book. Thankfully with word processors they do they counting for you. I can't imagine trying to count all the words myself. :) So far I have 15,847 words. That's a lot of words.

I was reading one writer's blog http://www.josikilpack.blogspot.com/ (I'm sure that even though probably no one reads my blog, at least yet, she may enjoy having her link shown. It's a good blog to read.) Anyway, her goal is 80,000 words for the book. So I get to thinking that if I times my current words by 5, that is close to 80,000. That would be 175 pages or a few more novel print size. Not at bad goal. Although, at this point I can't imagine 175 pages. Maybe more like 100. But hopefully as the story evolves I can find enough good plot line and dialouge that will make the story better and maybe a little longer.