Saturday, August 13, 2016

My Prozac Story: One Year and Counting



As I continue editing and changing my memoir of depression, I have officially reached one year on Prozac.  I last saw the psychiatrist last Wednesday. It was the one I'd seen over a year ago before he went on an indefinite leave. Other doctors covered for him, including one I saw about six times--the one who prescribed the meds last summer.

At my initial visit with the psychiatrist in July 2015, the staff nurse took my blood pressure three times, thinking it seemed low. The doctor then suggested I get a physical exam before my next visit with the new temporary psychiatrist the following month. I had to wait nearly a month before I got my physical exam. The thought of seeing a doctor has always triggered my anxiety.  I often worry I will hear something bad.  But that was not the case here. Three days later I got my Prozac prescription, and started taking it the following morning.  I started at 10 mg, then 20 mg, later 30 mg and since the beginning of this year, 40 mg.

I was warned of the side effects before beginning.  Drowsiness was one I tend to have and once in a  while I will have thoughts of harming myself or fears of someone trying to harm me. I have told my doctors of this and have been watching for these.

As I said in this post, I knew reading Prozac Nation was a must for me.  I could identify with parts of what the author described in her memoir.

Prozac Nation


I then watched the film based on the book after my mom recorded it from cable. The DVD wasn't available on Netflix, though I was able to find a used copy on Amazon.  The photo below was taken of the DVD cover and has been my Facebook profile picture for a few months now. The photo at the top of the post is my empty meds bottles, and has been my cover photo on FB for about the same amount time.  Long story as to why I haven't changed them :-)


If you've been reading my blog, you know I have been working on a memoir of depression and anxiety and getting onto Prozac. It was reading Prozac Nation that made me want do it. For a while, I felt my story was too similar, but was told by everyone I know that everyone's story is different.  There are some similarities, but each story is one of a kind.  

The title I chose for my memoir is Delays and Detours on the Road to Prozac: A Memoir of Depression and Anxiety.  The journey continues...


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stephanie Faris Blog Tour: Guest Post


Product DetailsProduct Details


This week, author Stephanie Faris celebrates the release her her two new books (click images above) with guest post on different blogs. Today on my blog, she posts about finding support groups for writers.


How to Find Great Writer's Groups
by Stephanie Faris

“No man is an island.” That line from a 1600s-era poem is often used to remind us that we don’t have to operate alone. All around us are people willing to help us out. All we have to do is get to know them.

For writers, it can sometimes seem like we’re stranded alone on an island. We have the Internet to connect us to those who do what we love, but there’s something about finding that small group of writers that shares your achievements and rejections with you.

When I was just starting out, that group was my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Once a month, they met in a tiny conference room at a mall. I formed friendships inside that group that lasted for years. Four of us started a small critique group and exchanged pages each week. I traveled to other RWA meetings in other cities with some of my fellow members. We communicated online between meetings and had a Christmas party every year where we exchanged presents.

By the time I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, I already had an agent. That put me in a weird position. Many of my fellow published authors in my local group have been together since their early days. They “grew up” together as authors. I missed all of that with children’s writers, since I “grew up” writing romance and moved to a new genre. Kind of like that kid whose parents move her to a new school during senior year. You never quite “fit.”

So for unpublished authors, that would be my biggest advice. Find a writer’s group that fits and grow up with those authors. You can search for your own genre-specific group (romance, mystery, children’s, etc.) or you can look for local groups that meet monthly near your house. Meetup.com is a great place to find writer’s groups. Just search your local area and look for one that’s active.

Don’t discount the value of online groups. If you’ve joined a writer’s organization that doesn’t meet monthly, look online to see if they offer a critique group partnering service. You can also look for Facebook groups specific to your Genre (Children’s Authors and Illustrators on Facebook is one) and network. Ideally, you’ll find often the best connections are made in small groups, so look for people who seem to be experiencing issues similar to yours and engage with them.


Piper Morgan
By Stephanie Faris

Blurb:

When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.
In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!
In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?

Stephanie Faris

Bio: Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.
Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

Links:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

5 Quick Writing Fixes-WritersLife.org

Just after I began more editing on my story, I came across this link:



5 Quick Writing Fixes - Writer's Life.org




5 Quick Writing Fixes - Writer's Life.org





1. Recognize the words you overuse
We all have our favourite words and phrases that seem to crop up time and time again in our work. If you can recognise yours, then it is super easy to do a search (ctrl/ cmd + f) to find them and change them to something else. You can also search for words such as ‘like’ ‘really’ ‘very’ and ‘just’ which writers tend to drop into their work unnecessarily, and get rid of these too!
I'm not sure which words I overused, as this was not something I was a ware of.  Now I have to look out for any.


2. Look out for the passive voice
If you have ever used a writing aid such as Grammarly, you’ll know that using the passive voice is an absolute no-no. Sentences tend to be much stronger when written in an active voice. If you can look out for these and change them, your writing will be all the better for it!
Yeah, I've heard this one many times, though like many people I have trouble avoiding it, especially when I don't know "Who dunnit?" or when the emphasis is on the "do-ee" rather than the "doer." How often does one see the verb assassinate in active voice? The emphasis is almost always on the victim, not the killer. 
Again, I'm uncertain how often I used it in my story. Now I guess I have to look it over for that.

3. Eliminate wordiness
It is so easy to overwrite parts of your story or article in your first draft. Every writer does it, and this happens particularly frequently when you are struggling to write but want to reach your aim of 1,000 words (or whatever goal you have set for yourself that day). Beautiful descriptions are great but instead of using three words – find the perfect one and just use that instead.
Now I know I've been looking for this each time I edited my story.  When I typed it from my handwritten notes, I looked for repetitive passages, lines and sentences in within one chapter, and those that repeated from or in previous or subsequent chapters. 

4. Check your dialogue
If you have lots of dialogue in your text, it is important to make sure the reader knows who is saying what.
At the same time, there is nothing more annoying than reading the words ‘he said,’ ‘she said,’ at the end of every piece of dialogue. If it is evident who is doing the talking, trust that your reader will know this and get rid of the narrative tags.
This I knew already. From stuff I've read, I've learned it's not always necessary to say who said what, particularly when the same two people are conversing with each other.  

This was one reason I didn't want to leave the people I mentioned in my memoir anonymous, since by saying "he," "she" or "they," it would not be clear in some cases who was being referred to, and there would be problems with who said what.



5. Check for inconsistencies
It can be so easy to get muddled when it comes to dates, times of year, weather, characters ages and so on.
Look out for where you have mentioned these things and check you are consistent throughout i.e. if it’s the summer, make sure it isn’t snowing (unless it’s specifically pointed out that it’s snowing in summer!).
Yes, this is a big one.  I tended to repeat some information in some chapters (I didn't delete it if I felt it was necessary), so I know I haven't been inconsistent in that regard.  But now I must look it over again to see if I did miss any.

I was mostly aware of some errors in spelling I had made and some necessary words I had omitted by mistake.  When I ran spell check, I saw that I had mistyped the word "antidepressant" more than once.  I found that weird! 
What else should you look out for when editing?




Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Getting Writing Ideas From Silliness

Last weekend when I was looking for  ideas for my weekly writing class, I Googled "story ideas generator" and came across the following link:  Plot Generator.  I got rather carried away with this idea, and created several stories this way. I didn't save them to the site, but printed them out for myself.  I wasn't sure what to do for my class, but soon got the idea to allow the participants to write the story their own way. They come out silly, but can provide writing inspiration.

The generator allows you to type words and phrases of your choosing, or to hit a button to suggest words. They have templates for short stories, and genres such as romance, crime, science fiction, horror, paranormal romance, and mystery.  I used several of these.


I was immediately reminded of the game Mad Libs when I started playing with this site. Remember that? I played that game a lot when I was younger.  A typical Mad Libs story sheet would look something like this:
if you give a ... mad lib


You would ask others to give words (indicated under each blank line), then read the story out loud. Everyone would laugh.

Monday, August 1, 2016

What Font Would You Use for Your Manuscript?

This past weekend I looked over my manuscript for errors, omissions, and stuff I wanted to add or delete and fixed these. I also ran spell check, something I had not used for so long since it has been so long since I'd typed such a long document.  For some reason, after doing the spell check, my document changed fonts. I'd typed it in Garamond, but it went  to Helvetica which is the default font on my word processing. Again, it's been so long since I've used this application, so I had forgotten some of this.  I had to select all and reset the story in Garamond.


I chose Garamond because I had looked in a book I had at home to see what font it was typed in and this was the one indicated.  Here's how the title of the book Prozac Nation looks in Garmaond in italics, I rather like how the letter z looks in Garamond :-)


Prozac Nation


Incidentally, the default font on Blogger is Times.

What font would you use for a manuscript?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Remember 1-800-COLLECT?

Do you remember having to make collect calls, in the days before cell phones? If you grew up in the 1980s and particularly in the 1990s, you may have been familiar with the ubiquitous commercials for 1-800-COLLECT, featuring celebrities. Below is one such commercial, featuring The Simpsons.





Sound familiar now?  I don't remember using this service very often. I only thought about after seeing this refrigerator magnet I got in college.  Our resident advisers gave us a care package when we first moved into our dorm rooms. It included this magnet, which I still have today:







According to this link from 2014, the service was still in business and a customer attempted to use it, resulting in the following:


The $42.55 call
An Ars reader wrote in this week with his tale of woe. After forgetting his cell phone at home, he traveled from Las Vegas to California and had to place a call back to his home landline. So he located a payphone and found that, so strong were the company's early ads, he still associated the 1-800-COLLECT number with reasonable collect call rates.
He dialed and placed a 6 minute call. When his home phone bill arrived in a couple weeks, it showed a third party charge for $42.55—$33.93 for the call itself, with the balance for "cost recovery fees" and the like. (The charge originated with Network Operator Services, which 1-800-COLLECT uses to bill some of its services.)
The reader was outraged. "There are unscrupulous carriers that charge even more than $42.55 from 1-800-COLLECT, whose website claims it is a 'trusted and recognized brand'?" he wondered. Similar complaints aren't hard to find.
Who knew?  It seems services like this have all but vanished thanks to the advent of cell phones. 

I can recall having to use a payphone at school in the 1980s, but I believe that was before these sort of services existed or became common. I would call collect, if I had no (or not enough) money on hand for the phone charges, which increased over time.  I recall it getting to be up to a quarter.  To call collect, I just had to tell the operator who would then ask the person being phoned, "Will you accept the charges?"

Remember all this?  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quiz: How Addicted to Blogthings Are You?

Agree somewhat. I find myself taking these quizzes and posting them on my blog when I don't know what else to put on the blog.


You Are 45% Addicted to Blogthings
You're a Blogthings fiend - addicted but not totally dependent.
So what if you know your personality type by heart?
And while you may feel like Blogthings is crack...
There are people much worse off than you!