Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Part III rewrite update

When I submitted this rewrite to my editor, what I was really needing to know was whether the total rewrite of this section works in terms of the story and how it fits with Parts I and II. The good news is it works. And the ending is powerful. However, there is more work that needs to be done to be done done done. I'm okay with that. I knew going in there was more work. I just didn't know exactly what and where. Well, that's not totally true. I knew some of it. When will I learn to listen to myself all of the time and trust what I'm feeling and hearing? Oy!

Anyhow, the long and short of it is the main character needs to be more three dimensional. The two main relationships she has needs to be developed more. And there needs to be more conflict throughout. Easy peasy, right?

I do not feel bad about this. Surprised, yes? So am I. I wasn't paying attention to these things at this juncture. I was concerned totally with plot. I can see what this book is going to be when it is finished, and I know the steps I need to take to get it there. I am excited and can't wait to get back to writing. Just have to get through tomorrow and part of Wednesday, then I'm there.

Take care.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Musings: here's how you know you're stressed

It's 6:25 am on Monday morning and I just logged on to check comments on my post for this morning and voila! I thought I'd written and posted one to be scheduled and I hadn't. Oy!
So, here's the scoop. I'm meeting with my editor today to get feedback on my part III re-write. I know I can handle whatever changes he suggests, it's just that I've been working on this book since September 2009 and want to be done done done. But I can't be done done done till it's done done done the way it needs to be. Sooooo, I'll let you all know tomorrow in Telling the Truth Tuesday what happens today. Till then....


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: if I bit my nails I'd have none left

Waiting to hear from an editor is one of the hardest things ever. Your mind drives you crazy with ping pong thoughts of good to bad, worthless to jewels. Oy! Must get myself to calm place of acceptance of whatever and willingness to fix what needs fixing. Yes, that's it. Calmness. Still fighting virus. More later.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Musings: Happy Spring

I came down with a virus last Friday and have been in bed since, so this will be short and sweet. Happy Spring. New beginnings. Everything is blooming here in New Mexico. It's beautiful. I should be hearing from my editor soon with his comments on my re-write. I'm anxiously waiting.
What's new in your world?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: a question for authors

I'm celebratin' - just sayin' - I gave the manuscript to my editor. Whew! Now I have a question for all you authors out there.

How important is blogging in the marketing aspect of a book? A few years ago, it seemed a writer must blog to promote their book. But with someone like me, who has a few hundred followers and only gets 10-20 comments a post (if I'm lucky), how important is it? Not that I want to stop, mind you. I love this little blog and I love sharing my life lessons here. And I hope some of you love reading it. I know that I purchase the books of every blogger I've come to know and admire. But do others do that? I guess I'm starting to think about what I'm going to need to do to get my novel out there once it's done and that is making me think about a lot of different things.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Musings: polishing

I did it. I got the skeleton (well, a bit more than skeleton) of the story of Part III of my novel down last Wednesday. I've been polishing, refining, deleting, adding since then. I do think the intention I set by finishing this by 4/24 (my 66th birthday) will be accomplished. I'm staying detached about what I think of what I've written and will await my editor's comments on that score.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying friends, Sugartime, my hubby and life. Working on being in the present moment and getting silent and listening for inner wisdom. My daily ritual of prayer and journal writing is making a huge difference in the way I move through the day. I am managing to exercise 3-4 times a week -- that's good for me. I'm working towards daily, but not quite there yet.

How about you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: if I'm not writing I'm not happy

Yeah. That's right. If I'm not writing I'm not happy. Seems like a simple solution to being unhappy right? Write! Not that simple folks. If you're not a writer, try sitting down in front of a blank piece of paper and create something from nothing. Try opening yourself to other voices asking you to tell their story, then try to ferret out what that story is. Then try to write it in a way that is appealing to others.
Yet write I must. Even if it's just my journal writing and nothing else comes for my novel, I'm happy. Writing has been the way I make sense of me and my world. It is where I can speak my truth. It was easier when no one else saw my words. Writing my memoir took much courage because others would see my pain. Novel writing is different. It's fiction, after all. But it's still putting my truth down on paper. Even if it's "made up" truth. So, no matter how hard the journey is. No matter how many obstacles I face before I get the damned thing done and published, if I'm not writing I'm not happy.

How about you?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Musings: updates

14,000+ words and counting. Part III rewrite is coming along. I have set an intention of having this first draft completed by my birthday, April 24. Which means I will not be participating in the A-Z Challenge this year. I just can't split my energy and attention that way. I wouldn't do the challenge justice and I wouldn't do my rewrite justice. Sigh. I used to multi-task so well.

I love our home's new arrangement. Never thought I'd say I like the pool table (I've hated it for 19 years), but I do. The "play" room is just that. It's whimsical and fun. We hosted a game day on Sunday. Some folks played pool, others played Password, some played board games. All because I realized I needed to laugh more in my life.

I realized there are several things I need to do each day in order to feel that it was a good day: prayer/meditation, write in my journal, dance/movement, practice singing, and write. If I do those things, I'm a happy camper.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to play the piano. I had a good ear and could pick out tunes if I got near one, but parents couldn't afford a piano, so they bought me an accordion instead. I took lessons for a year, but never took to that instrument. Fast-forward to three years ago. I inherited a piano and began taking lessons. I learned how to read music, which helped my singing immensely. But it was hard and took a lot of time, time I wanted to be spending on writing. And life. Fast forward to now. I received a birthday gift last year from a good friend--Easy Piano Books - it has songs with simple chords and melodies that anyone can play. If you write in the notes that go to a particular chord and you know your melody notes, you can play. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to sit and play and sing. All by myself. This isn't for anyone else. Not good enough for that. But there is something about a piano keyboard and sound that fills my soul with joy.

How about you? What's new in your world?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group - March

It's time once again to chime in with where I am in my writing journey. Once again, thank you Alex, for creating this group. To find out more about IWSG, check out Alex's blog for details and how to join: www.http://www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com.

I am feeling very insecure right now about my re-write. I know what is required, but for some reason, I am afraid. I am afraid I'll spend all this time re-writing and it won't be any good. I'm afraid nothing will come from my retreating from life to allow this book to emerge. I'm afraid I'll die before I finish.
Oy vay! What a crock. This right here is one of the joys of writing for me -- to discover how I'm really feeling so I can shift that energy into something better. Fear is faith that hasn't said it's prayers. I am now praying. Connecting to Spirit. Shifting into that place of knowing all will be the way it is meant to be. Trusting the process. Trusting the journey. And when I get into fear, I know I have forgotten all of this. Breathe, Karen, Breathe.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Telling the Truth Tuesday: how to retreat from life

I thought I needed a writing retreat, but what I realized is I need a life retreat. I need to find a way to step back from activities so I can go inward and do what I need to do - for myself and for my writing. But I don't want to stop seeing friends and doing things altogether. So I'm trying to figure this out.

I think the first step is to set priorities. What are the things I am absolutely not willing or able to give up? Sugartime (my singing duo) for sure. Folk dancing??? Not sure about this one - have to ponder it. Lunch or dinner with friends? I don't do this very often to begin with so I don't want to sacrifice this activity. Computer time? Absolutely can cut back on this - especially things like jigsaw puzzles.

Once I set the priorities, I have to put the plan into action. That means not filling up the newly freed up time with other things. That's hard. Then I actually have to give myself the quiet time I have worked so hard to achieve. This is the part I'm afraid of, although I don't know why. Every time in my life I have given myself this gift, it has been good. Ahh, but sometimes difficult decisions need to be made when I really listen to the voice of wisdom. That is where the fear comes in.

What I know for sure is I can't keep going the way I'm going. It simply isn't working. My soul is unhappy.

How about you?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Musings: Getting down to business

Okay, so I know life happens. Invitations come. People die. People have birthdays, anniversaries. These things must be honored and respected and celebrated. Health seems to come and go with me. There's always something I'm dealing with. Am I going to allow myself to feel defeated because I'm afraid I can't do what I've set out to do?

Sometimes I can't tell if I'm depressed because something is wrong or I'm depressed because I'm not doing what I'm meant to be doing. I think this time around it's the latter. I need to be writing this novel and starting work on the nonfiction book that turns me on. Does this mean I need to retreat a bit more from actual life? I think so. Now I just need to figure out how to do that without becoming a hermit.