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Remember Blogging?

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Remember blogging? When I first started, most people in my hometown had barely heard of it. Now numerous people have started blogging, stopped, and already moved on to Instagram or some other social media. It is difficult to follow how quickly social media has caught on, and moved on, to the next new platform. Everyone is on board now. Our children think they invented it. Mellenials are going around owning it like we Gen-Xers only had black and white television or something. Nevermind the fact that computers began before either of our generations, as I was reminded last week when I read Grace Hopper, the Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu to my fourth grade library students. Not that my grandparents would have known much about computers. They didn’t have access, so they still had to write with pencils and pens.

When I was a kid, my grandmother loved that I wrote stories in notebooks and kept a diary. I had a computer in high school with a DOS Prompt, but I couldn’t take it home with me. They weren’t even portable, yet. When I moved across the ocean she wasn’t all that thrilled that I got married so young (she knew stuff I didn’t – but that’s another story), but she was possibly the biggest letter writer besides my little sister. I kept up letter writing for a long time, even after my grandmother passed away. I wrote to my parents, friends, nieces and nephews, my little sister, and occasionaly to my aunts. Sadly, I got out of the habit. I am not sure what happened, but I think I can blame technology for a big part of how I began to communicate with friends and family. Even journal writing changed. But then came a new way to journal. Remember blogging?

I loved blogging, at first. It was like writing a column since it was public, but less formal, like a journal. When I first started doing it, I had lots of heartfelt things to share with my 10 readers, but nothing lasts forever, as they say. I got a book deal, and while I lived out my dream, some things didn’t change for the better. For one thing, I am still not dripping with diamonds, go figure, but I also didn’t become a prolific writer. Even my library kids recently asked me why I only had 5 books for their moms to read, when I’ve been published since 2008. A question I have asked myself many times. But seriously, there was something about being published that made me feel like I was writing on demand. There wasn’t time for talking about everyday life in a simple blog, anymore. My publisher wanted me to use my blog to promote my books, and then came other kinds of social media. At some point, many of us kind of forgot about blogging.

I would like to see blogging make a comeback. Or has it already, and I missed it? After all, I AM a Gen-Xer, so perhaps it’s back in style with Aqua Net hairspray and nobody told me. Kind of like the fact that I am still wearing skinny jeans even though today I read that they are supposed to be out again.

Anyway, I still remember blogging. Maybe I’ll start doing it again.

authors · Blog

Wellness & Writing

From Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/133771051404655330/

Staying physically fit and healthy as a writer isn’t always easy. All that time sitting in a chair can be bad for your health, so I share my tips with Colleen Story’s readers over at her wonderful website, Writing and Wellness. Check it out:

Featured Writer on Wellness – Tina Ann Forkner

Share the interview with friends who might be interested, and let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

Be sure to bookmark Colleen’s blog, and don’t forget to get up out of your chair sometimes!

Blog · Faith · Inspiration · Life · publishing · writing

Possibility

cropped-baseball-049.jpgby Tina Ann Forkner

Tina Ann Forkner is a freelance writer, blogger, owner of It Is What It Is and the author of the novels Ruby Among Us and Rose House. Learn more about her at www.tinaannforkner.com

“I dwell in possibility,” wrote Emily Dickinson. I don’t know exactly what she meant by those words, but as a fellow writer and lover of gardens (sometimes I don’t dare call myself a real gardener), I have a few ideas.

For me, the words “I dwell in possibility” encompass a host of dreams, ideas, and that very special place where I used to be poised to write a story. I still go back to that place when I’m ready to write a new story, but now that I’m published, married, and have kids it takes more effort to clear my mind and, to be frank, my schedule in order to go back to dwelling in possibility. I like to tell aspiring writers not to rush ahead in pursuit of publication, lest they lose the magic of dwelling.

Sometimes, the words “I dwell in possibility” define other parts of my life, as well, not just writing or gardening. When I look at my children, I see that they constantly dwell in possibility and it enlivens me to think of the wide open road before them. So much possibility.

Then there are older people who make me see that I’m dwelling in possibility right now. Just when I think my marriage has reached its sweetest point (or sometimes most difficult), I see an older couple holding hands or dressed in twin shirts at Wal-Mart, their history together lined across their faces, and I realize that my marriage dwells in possibility. So much of our story hasn’t even been written yet.

I don’t know if I would enjoy the strict solitude that Emily Dickinson chose in her life, but I do think she discovered something that the rest of us take for granted. As we relentlessly pursue goals, make ourselves heard on Facebook, and try to keep up with our peers, we find we are finally where we wanted to be only to find it feels empty.I suppose that winning the prize doesn’t mean much if we (I) forget the passion that first spurred us (me) to pursue it. Whether we are talking about art, writing, career, or even finding our identity, it can be good to dwell in possibility for just a little while, and sometimes, even longer if that’s what it takes.

In so many ways I’m glad God hasn’t shown me my story’s ending. I’m glad for the free will to dwell in possibility. In life and on paper, so much is unknown and I get almost as excited thinking about the story I’m about to write as the one I’m about to live.

Image: Tina Ann Forkner (That’s my dad’s typewriter and Lucy’s tea cup!)

Blog · writing

What Is Holding You Back?

 “This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

My parents weren’t into quoting Shakespeare when I was growing up, but the advice Polonius gave to Laertes is essentially the same advice they gave to me. I can think of dozens of examples in which their wisdom served me well over the years, but I haven’t always followed it to the T.  Kids have to find their own way, right? Now that I’m an adult and I find myself giving the same advice to my own children, it’s hard not to think about the times I didn’t follow my heart.

The funny thing is, I was never a follower in school, so it’s not like I planned to let anyone else influence me in a negative way. I simply wanted to be a writer; a great writer. I was looking for a way to write better. When I first let someone else’s opinion shape me, I didn’t even realize it was happening. Maybe it was the first devastating review my book received or maybe it was someone giving me advice that would make me more marketable. I can’t remember, but I know I stepped just far enough away from my heart that I would regret it later. 

Ignoring your compass in order to please others never ends up pleasing anyone. Accepting advice is one thing, but when you start bending your dreams to suit the definition that others give you, it still won’t make the others happy. Instead of respecting who you are, they will enthusiastically continue to refine their definition of you – and your work, if you are a creative person – until you no longer recognize yourself.

Even as I’ve tried to maintain the purity and passion of writing my heart, there was a time in my publication journey in which I wondered where I fit into the writing world. It didn’t help when I sat at writer’s conferences and heard things like, “literary writing equals no sales,” or “don’t write in first person.” Those kinds of statements were not directed at me, of course, but they attacked my writing style and my confidence. Once, when my second contracted novel was still being written, a freelance editor told me, “you have to be a really great writer to do that, so you can’t.” If you want to see a young novelist falter, those are the kinds of things you should say to them.

Thankfully, I’m not as young as I once was (Isn’t that a country song?). Maybe turning forty this year changed me, but in both writing and in life, I think I am finally comfortable being who I am. Perhaps where I fit in remains to be seen, but wherever I end up, I know I’m following my heart in my writing. I can’t write anyone else’s brand. I have to write my own. I’m writing what I want, loving what I’m writing, and feeling good about it. It’s amazing to feel the shackles break open with each realization that I only succeed at my writing, and everything else, when I’m true to the gifts God has given to me.

I wonder how many young novelists and aspiring writers out there are letting others hold them back. Some of you are probably reading this and thinking, “Yes, that’s me.” It is especially difficult when the people pushing you back are people you admire and people who are supposed to be teaching and mentoring you on your journey. Sometimes the solution is to find a new mentor or teacher, but all too often, the only person holding us back from being all we were created to be, is ourselves.

It might sound cliché, but do what you love, and you will love what you do. Of course, Shakespeare said it best, “Above all: To thine own self be true.”

-Tina

Blog

Let’s Make it Official

Yes, I know.  Someone might as well just say it. This whole blog is about random things.

Some people blog about sewing, some about cooking, while others blog about being a ranching woman. Me? I write about whatever comes to mind whenever I feel like it. I don’t feel as guilty about it as I probably should, so pray for me. Since I’m a writer, what should I blog about? Writing? Something besides writing?

Some  wonderful authors I know write about books and authors while some like to use their blogs to inspire or teach you how to write. And we must not forget about the fabulous  agents who do what they can to help us learn about the big wide world of publishing in all its forms (emphasis added for my own agent, of course).

Still other writers like to write about their own writing – every single day – which I can tell you gets really boring after a while. It also steals your creativity if you aren’t careful. I’ve noticed that some writers who seem to have the same dilemma as I do just post cute photos of their kids and call it good.

When I first started blogging, I had a mommy blog with my sister. Then we got too busy being moms to blog, so we quit (being mommy bloggers, not mommies). When I got published, I started blogging about the debut novelist’s journey. I’m certainly not finished with my journey, but with two published novels I’m not exactly debuting anything anymore.

I don’t seem to be a specialist in any one thing except my own books, which even I get tired of hearing about day in and day out. (That, of course, doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy them if you were thinking about buying them. I’m just sayin’.)

So, let’s just make it official.  This blog here will always be about random things that happen in an author’s life. Believe me, on most days those things might not be much different from what happens to you  in yours. For example, I still have to pick up the dog poop when my husband gets too busy and I don’t have a personal gardener, but I’ll try to entertain and inform when I tell you about my “exciting life” as an author.

I’ll be blogging more often here and every now and then I’ll even be guest blogging there, wherever there is. I’ll let you know. 

So, where do you blog and what about? Are you a topical blogger? Or do you write about random things? Give us the links to your own blogs and/or to your favorites.

(The picture is of the real me with my sister and SIL in my mom’s teeny kitchen. They know the real me and still asked for my autograph when I got published. They are both more fantastic than I am, but they haven’t given me their autographs yet.)

-Tina