Writer’s Advice – what’s that?! 2018

Author’s Advice

There are many ways that people can get advice. The most obvious ways for writers to improve are to take lessons in the language they will be writing in and the old fashioned ‘read the greats’.

There are times when constructive criticism is very helpful and there are times when your enemies will only have destructive criticism and jealousy to offer you.

Two main ways to get feedback about your writing for professionals:  1) Submit!  When the editors will make changes; when the magazine or newspaper or publisher will buy it/pay for it; then that ‘s good.

Great ways to get feedback for amateurs and some semi-pros: join writer’s groups; take work shops or classes.  Peer critique is often part of such arrangements.

General to Specific

There are numerous types of writing and most writers specialize.  Many of those who have specialized don’t call themselves writers.  Grant writers, for instance, will often just say that they work for whatever organization they work at in some administrative role.  Journalists, typically prefer to be called journalists, although they could all call themselves writers and be telling the truth.  Staff writers may choose to refer to the publication where they work.  Most staff writers wouldn’t ever write “for fun” or “as just a hobby” and those that would might well not tell the truth about that.

Travel writers, book authors, niche novelists, political news, best restaurants, fashion, television, film, all have specialized types of writing.  There are people capable or more than one kind of writing, but it is common for those who are most successful in the field to find they were forcibly limited to a small subjection of the writing world in order to find a way to earn a living or to develop a good reputation in the industry.

 

Network

There are times when you have to meet and greet enough others in the industry to get a deal and other times when you really need to mail something for it to work. In some cases, the right thing to do is apply for a job and become a regularly paid publishing company editor for other authors even if you hardly get anything of your own published. Maybe you will, and maybe it won’t matter anymore.

Sometimes writers are stubborn and fail to change in ways that will cause them to have far greater success and other times people just realize that for them: to change that much would be so bad that they might as well go work in a totally different field if that’s really how it works.

Other writers tolerate a lot of painful constructive criticism and make survivable compromises and learn to be a bit more flexible and they find out that they can get a lot further and are happy with the results even though the reality ends up being unlike their original idea.

Quick Tour of Published Works

The Future of Engineering – an anthology
This anthology of short science fiction stories is ideal for college students or those who are curious about it. The author originally wrote these while living as a foreign exchange graduate student in London, England. While, definitely science fiction shorts, the ambiance of international academia and college students shines as the background setting.

Jimmy Bodeilo Travels Through Time
This is a single short science fiction story starring Jimmy Bodeilo who is about 11 years old. He appears in more than one story by the same author. To keep it simple “If it is a Jimmy Bodeilo story, then you know it is for kids.”

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead  This is an urban crime novel.  You can also check out a page at the blog, and read a chapter for free.

The Children of Loki at Jet.com Using mercenaries in corporate conflict and cross-cultural relationships are the central themes of The Children of Loki. A middle-aged mulatto man from planet Earth discovers his military muse when he comes across one of Emperor Rejkyavik’s organic sentient warriors in The Rim.

Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them In stark contrast to the other works, this is a practical philosophy mini-book.  Is there a God?  What is knowledge? Is morality absolute or relative?  These answers and more are addressed in this short and handy publication.

Just click on the link to purchase any of these.  They are all available at multiple locations.  The books can be ordered at any book store.  The short stories are available to Kindle readers.

Quick Tour of Published Works

The Future of Engineering – an anthology
This anthology of short science fiction stories is ideal for college students or those who are curious about it. The author originally wrote these while living as a foreign exchange graduate student in London, England. While, definitely science fiction shorts, the ambiance of international academia and college students shines as the background setting.

Jimmy Bodeilo Travels Through Time
This is a single short science fiction story starring Jimmy Bodeilo who is about 11 years old. He appears in more than one story by the same author. To keep it simple “If it is a Jimmy Bodeilo story, then you know it is for kids.”

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead  This is an urban crime novel.  You can also check out a page at the blog, and read a chapter for free.

The Children of Loki at Jet.com Using mercenaries in corporate conflict and cross-cultural relationships are the central themes of The Children of Loki. A middle-aged mulatto man from planet Earth discovers his military muse when he comes across one of Emperor Rejkyavik’s organic sentient warriors in The Rim.

Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them In stark contrast to the other works, this is a practical philosophy mini-book.  Is there a God?  What is knowledge? Is morality absolute or relative?  These answers and more are addressed in this short and handy publication.

Just click on the link to purchase any of these.  They are all available at multiple locations.  The books can be ordered at any book store.  The short stories are available to Kindle readers.

Feeding Babies: Newborn to 12 mos.

About your newborn’s feeding
Somebody probably told you, but your baby’s first few months will involve a purely liquid diet of breast milk and/or formula. Doctors recommend breast feeding your bbaby for the first 6 months but it is a choice. My mother did not breast feed at all, and I did but only for 6 weeks. I had thought I would for about 9 months. Some babies do for years. If there are no health concerns in your family line or where you live it is safer to use formula. If your child will be exposed to illnesses it is more important to breast feed because breast milk gives extra protection against disease. It just really does.
Your baby will live on a liquid only diet for the first few months. There are a number of signs that your baby may be ready for solid food. In the beginning it will be only to supplement formula or breast milk.

  • Signs of readiness for solid food
    When your baby has the following abilities and shows the following signs you can try solid food:
    1. Able to hold up their own head for significant periods of time – like hours rather than minutes.
    2. Able to sit up, to maintain an upright seated posture – or even ready to use a high chair.
    3. Starts to show interest in parents food.
    Does not push food gently placed in the front of the mouth back out the front of the mouth.
    4. Possibly teething
    May seem hungry despite receiving 8 to 10 feedings of liquid in a day.

Solid food
If you have not had the baby yet and your friends do not already have children then abandon your ideas about solid food. What is meant is actually food the consistency of apple sauce. On some level you already know this from having seen adverts for baby food on the shelves but as an adult who has not had children before it may seem insane and absurd. A sandwich or piece of fruit would be too much and way too difficult.
Luckily, one can both buy baby food and can make it home made if you have a blender or Cuisineart. One can blend strawberries, mangos, apples and so on to a thin enough consistency to be your baby’s first solid food. The big reason for this is the lack of teeth. The other reason is their sensitive and developing digestive systems. A little fruit and later on something related to rice or oats is enough. Carrots can be u but are more difficult to prepare.
Next level – with teeth
After your child gets half or more of the first set of teeth, you can begin serving them more ordinary food – what you thought of as solid food before you got into that whole baby food thing.

Politics in Novels

Politics in Prose

Sooner or later, people in more intellectual circles may ask about the politics of an author of about the politics of a fiction novelist’s fictional worlds.
Here are a few tid bits of information:

  1. Women philosophers are more likely than their male counterparts to write fiction novels. I won’t go into why that is at this time but there are reasons for it.
  2.  Genre authors are sometimes categorized in certain ways and people may feel that a specific political agenda appears in their fiction. This is only sometimes true. The politics of a given story may not be the same as in an author’s other stories.

As an author, I toy around with politics in some stories. I do view it as important but may not express that consistently from one novel to another. Then again, once readers get used to me, it might well be obvious.

Multiculturalism & Pluralism

There are stories which closely resemble the real world or are set in “the real world” despite being fiction. In the novel The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead has characters exhibiting the same kinds of racial diversity that one finds in the setting – the city of Indianapolis. There are good guys and villains of both the main “racial types” in the story. No one was included or left out for the purposes of being offensive.

Me, personally
My personal politics are most likely to be loved or disparaged as promoting a socially progressive “Liberal agenda” or even “Liberal feminist, politically correct agenda”. I don’t think of it that way to the same extreme that my political adversaries do but I am politically and sociologically a progressive thinker. I am not against tradition for the sake of rocking the boat. However, I do think that pointlessly oppressive social systems which are immoral should be dismantled. I do think that a certain amount of institutionalized prejudice against varying degrees of criminality is warranted. I do believe that it is perfectly acceptable for the USA to remain “a Christian nation” without apology and that “religious tolerance” should not go so far as to devastate ourselves due to being attacked by our opposition because their perception of our “tolerance” is to take over and supplant our basic Christian culture. I am Pro-Choice and believe that abortion should be very rare, but safe and legal in those rare instances when it occurs. I believe motherhood should be well supported and understand that many “relationship conservatives” are coming from a school of thought which is based in preventing divorces and single-parenting without killing anyone. I think support for adoption would work better if pregnant women and girls get more support than they get torment from peers, clerics or parents. I won’t go on about it all any more right now.

There are a few other tid bits about my personal politics in The Double Life of Tutweiler BuckheadMost of it, is the simple ways in which my views of good and evil are communicated in the plot and characters.Check it out for yourselves right on the Works associate page.

Meanwhile, drop us a comment or even start a conversation about multiculturalism in literature. If you are interested in diversity in the real world more than in fiction, check out Be Diversity Competent!.

New Mother News

Emotions of Motherhood
There are many emotions associated with motherhood, in all stages. However, this is directed towards those women just getting started at being a mother. There is the baby, or the twins of course and there is you.
Where did everybody go?
What happens to you? Due to the lifestyle changes mentioned elsewhere in related articles, for some mothers, the biggest difficulties are going without work and feeling as if their friends vanish – or worse, like the new mother is now treated as if she does not exist. It can be very emotionally painful despite great joy over being a mother and even with the loving support of relatives – including a husband.
This problem is not insurmountable, but it can be a hum dinger when not psychologically prepared. If you go without work, then all the social relationships that went with it, vanish. You, the new mother, won’t miss any of the people who you didn’t like very much but will notice the difference. Without your own pay, learning to share money with your husband – if you hadn’t done it already, becomes vitally important to your and your baby’s survival. Kudos to you if you have wisely and sensibly married well and have an awesome personal life and are not running into this problem.
The truth is that a lot of women do, and the fact is, that it happened to me as well. I had not predicted it and did not know how to handle it. It was not that bad, but if I can help you as you adjust to being a mother, then I will be glad I wrote this.
Other Mothers
A lot of people drop out of your life once you become a mother. It may feel and be unfair. It might not trouble you half the time but then when you have a free afternoon and discover that you can’t afford to go anywhere unless your husband pays for you – you may feel stuck. Maybe you used to have money from your job. Maybe you do have money because you worked that out with your husband but then none of your former friends are available.
It is true, that for most new mothers, you have to find at least some other new mothers to socialize with.
Getting Out of the House
It is possible that you might work out a way to have a part time job that gets you out of the house while you spend most of the time with your baby. Mother and baby and mother and toddler groups abound – especially if you have the good fortune of living in the city, or in the residential part of the city or have a car and gas money.
Your New Life
Despite the challenge, most likely with time, you will adjust to being a mother. Some women find this to be so easy they don’t need to read this article. Others really need to read this article to know they are not alone in how they really feel even if and when overjoyed rather than sad about being a new mother.
For many women, it does involve just accepting that a lot of people won’t include you much for some years. You will probably be socially pressured to befriend women with a baby the same age as yours. It can be disturbing but often it works very well because you can talk about everything that matters while that is really how it is. I had one good friend who had a baby my age when I did and it helped a lot. Obviously, most women don’t automatically feel like best friends just because another woman has a baby the same age, but it can really work.
You and the baby can have a wonderful and rewarding relationship. The reality may not always live up to your own ideals about babies and mothers. A good family life can become a wonderful bastion of support and love. Feelings of being overwhelmed, as long as they do not occur too often are also normal.
You may feel very much like you are still you. For me, personally, retaining my sense of identity with my prematernal self was a big deal. I have met other women who told me their identity changed but they were happy with it that way. So, maybe you will feel like a whole new person – the flower blossoms on the bush and there is little resemblance to the previous stage of life.
You can learn to find ways to socialize, but that is easier if you live where there are people and it may help a lot if you have money, but there are ways to do it even when you don’t.
Motherhood is a ‘rest of life’ relationship, at least in most cases. Your baby will only be a baby for a year. You can remind yourself to enjoy what you love about it and fear not, your baby will outgrow whatever you don’t like about it. In all my life I have heard of only 1 exception to that; there was one girl who lived in the baby stage of development for 21 years. Don’t worry, that won’t happen to you.
Take heart, once you get the hang of being a mother, you probably wouldn’t want it any other way ever again, and you will be able to work and have friends and get your way at least some of the time even as you raise your baby. Be responsible and don’t give up.

Maternal Wellbeing: Baby Blues?

Something wrong?
Luckily, most mothers are happy after childbirth, albeit a bit sore. Depending upon the type of birth it may take 3 to 8 weeks for a woman to heal from the effects of giving birth. Losing all the weight may be a separate issue – remember, you may not want to lose muscle mass but just extra flab you developed while making sure your baby had a safe place to stay – inside you.
Unfortunately, many women have short term emotional problems for the first few days or weeks after giving birth. Why might that be? Most of the reasons are clear.
1) Hormones. Your hormones begin changing dramatically yet again after you give birth even after you just rode the hormonal ride of the pregnancy.
2) Major change. Either you had a bad birthing experience – emergency medical care like a c-section, or the baby being born dead, or discovering a handicap in the baby or just a long and arduous labor, or else you had a relatively good experience of giving birth with reasonably long labor, decent pain management, a smooth birthing process in the manner of your choice and just some soreness afterwards. Regardless of how it went – you have completed your pregnancy by giving birth which is in itself a major event.
In my own case, aside from unusual aspects of the whole matter I really felt the baby in the womb had been a combination of having grown another portion of myself and then I gave birth to that and he was a baby boy. I also had felt so connected to the baby that it was a bit of a shock. I was also delighted to be lighter and to be able to be in a different room. The greatest joy for me in terms of my own body rather than about the rest of it, was that my son would no longer stick his heels into a well bruised spot between the top of my womb and my rib cage which he had been doing for about 3 months before he was born. He looked so small once born, compared to how large he had been feeling in the womb. Anyway, giving birth is a big change in your life.
3) Adjusting. Now that the baby has been born there are suddenly feedings and nappies and hopefully you have a good partner and now your life as a couple has become a threesome of sorts. If you do not have a partner then you are also dealing with that.
Baby Blues or Post Partum Depression?
You may exhibit signs that something is wrong or you may feel moody, or anxious or lousy. You may have trouble sleeping due to your body having changed again and proceeding into ‘after birth’ on all levels. If this goes on for a few days after you give birth get plenty of hugs, rest and fresh water, but don’t worry.
Nowadays, doctors describe a significant difference between the baby blues and what they call post partum depression. Anybody who comes down with depression needs help. 60% of the emotional or mental illness known as depression in general is environmentally controllable – people can cure it with kindness, distraction from pain, addressing real problems a person may be having. Talk therapy and medication may be necessary or plenty of bed rest-or more exercise depending on the true nature of the problem. Human cruelty and indifference can actually cause people to suffer from the mental illness of depression so this is not an issue that anyone can honestly shirk responsibility for.
Post partum depression is similar to the baby blues in that it may involve increased: anxiety, sleeping problems, sadness, disappointment, feeling empty, mood swings.
If you web search ‘get help depression’ you can access some more detailed information about getting the care that you need.
Post partum depression often does not even start until months after the baby is born. In severe cases it interferes with the woman’s ability to care for the baby, but obviously not the same way returning to a job a few weeks or months after having a baby might. Some women are desperate to work again and other mothers and babies are absolutely heart broken if separated so the money can work for pay. Women may well have all kinds of moods relating to raising a baby and work and family life even when there is nothing wrong and she is not suffering from post partum depression.
One way to ‘be sure’ that a woman is suffering from post partum depression is that if there is really no discernable cause for being miserable. If that is the case, it may make sense to get a chiropractic check up because many spinal alignment problems cause anxiety in the sufferer and are invisible to the naked eye or are overlooked as somehow not possibly being the real problem. If there are no known problems and a chiropractor checks out then get help to get to a doctor to get medical treatment.
Warnings & Help Signs
If you or someone you know has depression, please do what you can to help. The most dangerous truths about psychological depression are that 1) depressed people often reject or find it very hard to get help, especially if instead of supportive caring friends they think only of how their competitors at work or rivals in love might abuse their suffering against them. In general, severely depressed people may be too far gone to get help. They need help getting help as seriously as people who have been physically seriously injured do, but for totally different reasons. So, if someone you love seems depressed – help the person get to help. In many cases it is not nearly as urgent as a physical health emergency such at heart attacks or broken legs, but it is actually a serious problem.
The other worst danger about the emotional illness of depression is that most of the depressed people who commit suicide actually kill themselves when they are starting to get better. They have started experiencing a return to being more active about their lives. Because of that, depressed people often need the support of loving friends or relatives or medical professionals while healing to actually prevent them from going suicidal during their recovery.
Talk therapy, medication and not being left out too much and then treating any underlying life issues all help allieviate depression including the post partum blues.
As it happens, many spiritual teachers say that becoming less selfish and self centred can prevent and cure some kinds of depression. However, that is not meant as a means of belittling the real needs of a person who has depression. Addressing maturity issues and spiritual issues should only be done when the person is well enough to not be in any suicide risk and is either steadily on medication or no longer needing medication.
Get Help Depression
Is one great way to search for relevant online information. The good news is: the post partum depression can be healed. The majority of people who suffer from depression are not chronic depressives, and will not need to spend decades on medication. Whether you or a loved one is or has ever been depressed please know that there is help and you can be healed. You just need some help. Everyone needs help – that’s why humans live in societies instead of in isolation. There is nothing wrong with that, but getting the right help at the right time for the right issue matters a lot.