All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.
Experiences inspire ideas. Mom has completed her PiBoIdMo challenge with 35 inspired ideas for new stories.
Some of her ideas will become picture book manuscripts. Some will become poems. One of them might become the elusive Book #2 or eBook #2. Some of them stink so bad that they will stay in her phone and rot. But somewhere, somehow, all of them were inspired for a few minutes by an experience during the month of November.
At her author visits, students or teachers often ask Mom if she ever has writer’s block. She says, “Never.” That’s because as long as she has a list of ideas, even if one story gets stuck, there are a bunch of other stories just waiting to get started.
I was inspired last night, so I started playing the piano with my paws…
…and my face.
Mom came in to see what was inspiring me. Was I a genius and she was just finding out? No. Did I suddenly get skills that no dog in the world ever had? No. Would I play at Carnegie Hall and be famous? No. There was a fly in the house. And I wanted a closer look at it.
*Not actual fly
The fly disappeared after my concert, and later he met with an unfortunate end. Rest in peace, little fly. I think you would’ve been delicious.
*Not actual fly tombstone
Last week, Mom did an author visit.
It wasn’t the usual visit with little tiny kids or even one of the visits with medium sized kids. It was a COLLEGE author visit! Mom spoke to a class of future teachers who are learning about literacy. She was a little bit afraid that they’d beat her up and steal her lunch money, but they didn’t. They were so smart and super nice and were an absolutely wonderful audience.
They asked lots of good questions. Actual questions! Nobody asked any of those random non-questions like, “Once my daddy grew a mustache.” or “My neighbor painted her house purple.” or “If my dog eats too fast he burps.” Mom had a ton of fun. Even though she was a little bit afraid, she was glad she said yes and didn’t miss this amazing opportunity.
I went on a visit last week, too. It was therapy pet day at the veteran’s home.
I always feel a little bit afraid when I first get there. Sometimes, my tiny brain forgets what’s going to happen.
But then when I go in, everyone is super nice. They ask lots of good questions, just like the college students did. They say, “Who’s this little fellow?” (even though I’m a girl) and “Aren’t you cute?” and “Do you want to sit on my lap?” They’re a great audience, and nobody beat me up or stole my lunch money.
I did have an issue with a giant chef. Every time I come to the VA, I cuddle with all the patients, but I stay as far away from the giant chef as possible. I’m pretty sure he’s trying to kill me. And cook me. And eat me.
This is how my toy box has looked for the past couple of months. This morning, Mom decided to switch out these toys for the bag of toys that was hidden in the closet.
She does that every now and then. So half of my toys are always out and ready for me and half are always hidden away. On Switcheroo Day, it feels like Mom went shopping and bought me a big bunch of new toys!
Yay! Hello, peppermint ball. I’ve missed you… Plus I forgot I ever even had you!
Mom plays Switcheroo Day with her stories, too. She is working on two stories and a poem at the same time. She switches back and forth and back and forth between them each day. She says, “This one is flying along.” and “GAH! I only wrote 6 words in a half hour.” and “Who’s going to clean up this mess?”
The stories (if she ever finishes them) will be her November and December 12×12 stories. Neither story is about me. One is about pajamas and one is about a cyclops. Maybe the poem will be about my peppermint ball. In fact, I can write that poem myself….
….I want it to say, “Peppermint ball, peppermint ball,
You make my breath smell sweet.
I’ll toss you, chew you, roll you around,
And hold you with my feet.”
On second thought, I’ll leave the poetry writing to Mom….
It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
~Franklin D. Roosevelt~
Trying something is important. This Roosevelt guy knows what he’s talking about. What would life be like if we didn’t try? Mom tries all the time. She tries to write awesome stories.
She tries to write funny poems.
She tries to get unusual ideas and to dream up unique characters.
Even though Roosevelt says to – she doesn’t frankly admit failure, but she does keep on trying something.
I try all the time, too. I try to sit on my ParkIt Mat.
This is boring…
I try to reach things on the table.
I try to fetch the ball and to walk past things even if they’re scary.
Like Mom, I never admit failure. I only admit, “Oh well.” and “Maybe next time.” and “Is that pumpkin trying to kill me?”
Mom and I went geocaching again last week. Geocaching is like treasure hunting. Mom holds the phone that shows the GPS and compass. Then we walk and walk and walk and walk.
Then she decides the phone is upside down, so she turns it around and we start over. We walk and walk and walk and walk some more – the other way.
The phone tells her when we’re getting close, and then we start searching and scanning till we find the treasure.
Sometimes, Mom says, “No acorns.”
and “Don’t eat the pine cone.”
and “Yikes! Hornets!”
Geocaching is fun!
Mom does treasure hunting when she wants to submit a story, too. She has too many stories to count inside her computer and some more inside her head (that’s what’s up in there…). She is sure that one of them is a treasure and will be Book #2. Whenever she reads about a publisher or an agent that seems to be looking for the type of story Mom writes, she starts treasure hunting. She opens up story after story, revises them a little, talks to herself about them, and decides whether she’s headed in the right direction, or needs to turn around and start over.
Mom says, “No garbage.” a lot. I’m not allowed to lick the floor or eat from the garbage pail (I can barely reach it, anyway).
When we walk around the neighborhood or go to the park, I’m not allowed to eat banana peels or sunflower seed shells or pick up empty pudding cups or coffee lids. I’m not allowed to have candy wrappers or eat goose poop or sniff around by the dumpster.
Apparently, garbage is a bad thing. Sometimes, Mom writes a word or a sentence or a story that’s garbage. She doesn’t mince words about it. She says, “This stinks!” and “What am I talking about?” and “Are you eating a napkin?”
Mom is not worried when she writes garbage. She thinks if she “gets the garbage out” the good stuff will come next.
Let’s get the garbage out!
I know this is true because after Mom and I took the garbage out once, we walked around the back of the dumpster, and I found the good stuff! Macaroni noodles!!
Before Mom could say the word, “Leave it,” I ate one!
Today’s five words are about autumn.
1. Leaves – Leaves are falling everywhere. Some of them are dull and brown. Some are gorgeous and brightly colored. They remind Mom of ideas. Ideas come in all shades, too. Some are brilliant. Some crumble when you touch them.
2. Cool – Mornings and nights have been cool lately. Sweater weather for sure.
3. Ready – Fall reminds us that winter is coming. We need to be ready. Mom is getting ready for PiBoIdMo. It’s a whole month when she has to write down a new picture book idea every single day. She’ll type them into her phone, and then try to make each one into a story.
4. School – Kids go back to school in the fall. That means I go back to working at Read-To-A-Pet-Night at the library. Sometimes, Mom and I listen to 7 or 8 stories. Some are awesome. Some are …meh.
5. Halloween – Halloween is in the fall. Mom got me 2 costumes. One of them is a turtle costume. We used to have a turtle named Leave-the-Turtle-Alone. I hope Mom doesn’t change my name to Leave-the-Dog-Alone. That would be too lonely!
Does anybody want to play with me?
Starting on November 1, Mom will be a part of PiBoIdMo.
Yep. November is Picture Book Idea Month. That means she will have to get a picture book idea in her head every day for 30 days. Last year, she wrote 30 ideas, and 8 of them are now either stories or poems. And one of them will be Mom’s first ever eBook, called What If I Don’t.
Ideas are a way of life when you’re an author. They are also a way of life when you’re a dog. Here are some ideas I have for stories….
Cupcake, the Best Dog in the World.
Cupcake Gets Unlimited Treats
When Cupcake Went for a Ride
Cupcake Looks Pretty
Read to a Pet Night Starring Cupcake
Street Naps for Cupcake
Cupcake Turns Seven Years Old
That’s a week’s worth of ideas, right there! What’s the big deal? I wish November was named DogIdMo. I could totally do this!
Every day when I am halfway through eating my dinner, I slide the bowl around the kitchen until I’m able to pick it up in my mouth. Then I carry it onto the little rug in the living room. Once I get it settled there (IF it doesn’t flip over and splash food everywhere), I finish eating my food and then try to eat the bowl. So far, I have been unsuccessful with that goal.
The other day, I decided to try a new strategy. It’s called eating-on-the-leather-chair.
Mom was happy and excited when she saw me. She said the things she always says when I impress her with how smart I am – like, “Oh no you didn’t!” and “What did those jackasses in your head tell you to do now?” and “You’re going to get a spankin’.” I love when she says that. It sounds so much like, “You’re going to get some bacon.” Bacon. Yum….
I’m ready for my bacon, Mom.
Mom is trying a new strategy with her writing this week. Each day, she works on a story for a half hour and then she works on a poem for a half hour. Her idea lists from PiBoIdMo and her other lists are getting too, too long. She thinks she can use them up faster if some of them become poems. Also, she wants to enter a poetry contest, so she needs some new poems to submit. She said, “Poems are fun.” and “This one is about you, Cupcake.” and “Some of these ideas are too stupid to live another day.”
We should put those bad ideas in the garbage. Let me check and maybe clear out some of the more delicious… I mean bulky trash to make room….
This post is not all about me for some reason.
It’s not even all about Mom. It’s not a birthday party for Mom’s old book, Keep Your Ear on the Ball.
Or her ALMOST new ebook, What If I Don’t.
Today, we want to say “Surprise!” and “Happy Birthday, Pam!” to our bloggy-friend Sammy’s Mom.
If you don’t know Sammy or Pam, you can visit them here. If you want to see ME (and a bunch of bloggy friends) in a special happy birthday video, click below. Hey, wait a minute…maybe this IS about me, after all!