New and Updated Website at DWHirsch.com

May 17, 2016

Hello everyone!

You may have noticed a lack of posts–or you haven’t because I haven’t written anything here to notify you of. The reason? I have moved my WolfHowlings blog over to a self-hosted site:

DWHirsch.com

At this time, this blog will stay open as a static history of me and all of you. I am posting new content at my other blog, and I will get in touch with all of you, my dedicated subscribers, to let you personally know of this change. This was a decision a long time in the making–and a difficult task in the transition. More on that there. The new site is still under construction, and sporatic updates will be posted here.

Come join the fun: all this site had to offer and MORE!!

I look forward to seeing you there.

My final #ROW80 Round 1 reflections and suggestions

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”~Winston Churchill, English statesman

A Round of Words in 80 Days. The challenge is detailed here on the #ROW80 blog for all writers, bloggers, artists and whomever has large goals to achieve. This is done four times a year, with Round 1 ending today. This is a summary of my accomplishments–or nots–so you can read my original post HERE.

Which brings me back to A Round of Words in 80 Days. By the end of the first quarter–or ROW80 Round 1 dates of January 4-March 24, 2016–these are my ROW80 Round 1 goals:

HERE ARE MY RESULTS for the first Quarter of 2016:

1–Polish and publish Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks.
NO
There’s no excuse: I got distracted, I put other things first; I was intimidated with a fuller-length fiction story…you name it. I could’ve made the time–I had the time–but I didn’t. This is something to roll over to Round 2, for sure.

2–Find and do a blog self-hosting site. 
YES–or at least almost; it’s in progress. I’m just waiting on the final domain name transfer. Have you ever done this? It’s simple yet surprisingly complex. I’ll share my thoughts in future posts, an education I wish someone had walked me thru.

3–Blog planning.
MAYBE
It’s something I’m working on.  I blocked off days to post my Haiku Horizon posts, for example, and some days I met them; some days, the post moved; some weeks I never wrote or published the post.  “Publishing” a post is the key.  Here’s the scary thing: I looked back at my “drafts” folder here on WordPress to see what I could reuse or update.

I had drafts there of 2011 posts.
What the *bleep* happened?!?

The list of 207 drafts includes ideas I was tweaking and blog posts I didn’t finish. This was most likely due to interrupted writing time. Now that I have set aside dedicated writing times, I can take these good, mostly-finished posts and complete them. Or not. Several things I’ve learned from this part of the #ROW80 challenge:

–I’m a good writer.
–I need to Keep Up.

Seeing this shocking revelation can help me blog-plan–I feel it!–but I’m not sure how to translate the feeling, this newfound confidence or whatever it is, into something practical.

3A-The Blog Planning goal included scheduling social media.
NO
This goes back to blog planning: what do I want my Twitter; Instagram accounts to achieve? What do I expect from my Facebook and Amazon Author Pages? A great idea came from a blog and Instagram accountabout defining yourself and your audience. Hers captured what I think I want: “people like me who read any books and all subjects, like to read YA and other subjects.” She has a bookstagram acct–I’ll detail that later–but it made me think about my mission statement, and maybe that will be a #ROW80 goal next round.

Back to social media, I need to see how that fits into my life. I’ve got the writing planning down with carved out spaces in my days week to do it, so work in these other tasks.

4–Update my blog: About Me, Resources and other tabs.
NO
Sounds like a copout excuse, but without defining “me” I can’t update my site to reflect that. Self-host and getting rid of the “wordpress” in website address was Step 1, so this is manageable. It still feels like playing, not actual working, and not sure how to let that go in myself

5–Fractured finger, heal thyself.
YES
Or so I think. Weds, April 20 is perhaps final-final appt. It’s haealed or healing it feels like it has movement most days, but doc sayas it may take a year or more to fully heal. Will it ever fully heal?

6–Make progress on memoir My Father, My Friend.
NO
And I feel like a total failure for that (also see #1 above)
I have writing time carved out. But I’ve let other things take over my time, ironically blog planning (see #3 above) has been a factor in this. Balance–need to achieve that.

7–Make time to play.
YES
I scrapbook old photos, doing that dreaded word scrapbookers quiver at: “catch up” That’s okay; I’m overwhelmed with past projects and layouts, but any progress is a step forward. I’ve scrapbooked with a friend of mine, and I rediscovered joy in playing with paper. I’ve stepped back a bit from ATCs and altered art; I’m not feeling that vibe now, but that may be a break I need. Writing and all that goes along with it (see #1, 3, 4, 6 above)

8–Do some fun writing.
YES
A bit. I wrote a fiction short story I began for Storytime Friday over on A Life Among the Pages and never finished. I’m still not done, but I had fun traversing along the world my mad, mad, mad, mad mind created.

In closing, my thoughts in review:
–I need to manage my time, but I know I can.
–I need to re-read my notes from Rochester Writers Fall Conference and review how the romance author publishes four books a year. She has a schedule, and that’s what I based Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks goal on.
–This has been a gentle, and not so gentle, slap in the face of how I’m using my time.

Let’s see how I revise all this for Round 2. If you’ve participated, let me know how your goals went and your thoughts on the challenge.

Scrapbooking the #WeekendCoffeeShare away

If we were having coffee…

It’s been a strange week, my dear. Too many doctor appointments, too little writing. I did have time to pick up the teapot wall hanging I won at TranquiliTea last weekend. I am now the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind, highly-coveted pottery piece handcrafted by the store owner. How delightful! After the 10th Anniversary extravaganza, I do not need more tea, for sure. Not right now, anyway.

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Handmade pottery is always a treasured item

At least here we are, sharing a cup at a Starbucks I don’t frequent that often. It’s nice that you came here, meeting me as I take a break from the Pajama Scrapbook Crop over at Baker’s Studio across the street. It’s a delightful local scrapbook store that opened about a year ago. I know the owner from years back, and it’s good to see her–and another store–thriving. Downtown Farmington Hills is a cute place, isn’t it? Have you tried Three Amigos? It’s good Mexican food, and there’s another restaurant near my house. perhaps we’ll go there someday. I get Mexican so infrequently. Dagwood’s Deli here is my go-to, right next door. I recommend the turkey or the tuna salad.

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What’s a sleepover crop without a snuggly nap?

It’s revitalizing to spend time with friends, both you and my scrapbook peeps. I almost lost one of them to an out-of-state move that, fortunately for me, didn’t happen. How is it that we seem to focus on friends and delight in their friendship until too late? Remind yourself: friendship is a good thing, not to be squandered. “Squandered.” I like that word. I so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence. It’s not something to use when friends and family are concerned, however. I hope you’re spending quality time this weekend.

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Do you think she’ll like it?


Sorry I can’t stay long today. I took a very comfy nap earlier. I’ve only got a few hours left, and I need to finish the belated birthday card for my mother-in-law. I found the most delightful paper and stamp quote, very fashion forward. I have no doubt she’ll love. If I do say so myself. *wide smile*

Let’s get together next week. I can’t wait to hear what’s new in your life!

A #WeekendCoffeeShare about coffee and tea

If we were having coffee…

Wasn’t that fun? I haven’t been to a Starbucks coffee tasting in almost 10 years. The company stopped doing all that fun stuff, but I enjoyed pairing pastries with coffee. The last tasting I remember, we sampled chocolate brownies that were enhanced by the coffee, and it was the first time I’d considered drinking coffee black.

It’s like that now. Pike’s Place is like a sour house wine in restaurants, but when brewed on the Clover machine, it’s almost drinkable. What did you think of the other two? I felt silly covering the coffee with my hand to smell it first before “slurping” it, but wine drinkers do something similar swooshing the glass around to observe the legs of the liquid. I appreciate the experience here and I learned one thing: I do not like Latin American coffees. Too sharp and acidic. I like a rounder coffee. Of course, I like a Frappuccino more.

Have you been writing much? My writing has not been productive lately. It’s like I’m in a slump and I don’t know why. Maybe it was this week’s snowstorm? It’s a good thing I took my car into the repair shop on Tuesday, the day before that messy madness.

Oh, did I tell you? I discovered an adorable tea shop in downtown Ann Arbor called Tea Haus. You purchase loose leaf tea on one side of the store, and on the other side of the wall, you can purchase soups, scones and snappy macaroons. I can’t wait to go back and try it out. Almost makes me wish for a car repair now.

Speaking of tea, tomorrow is TranquiliTea’s 10th anniversary. The shop in Plymouth doesn’t have a tea room, but their selection of tea is outstanding. The silver needle was my go-to tea, but I’ll try something new tomorrow. Want to come? They always serve hot tea samples and cookies, and they have the greatest selection of teapots and cups.

I may not be writing these days, but I am playing with paper. In addition to decorating the weekly spreads in my Happy Planner–which I’m beginning to think is one writing distraction–I met my friend to scrapbook at her house yesterday. She made cupcakes. I saw her whip the cream cheese icing with an entire stick of butter. Oh, were those cupcakes good.

She and I are meeting next Friday for a weekend crop. It’s been forever since we went to one of those. Maybe you and I can meet up in downtown Farmington somewhere? There’s a Starbucks not far from the shop. We can chat over coffee and catch up again.

Today is about the choices you make

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”~John C. Maxwell, American clergyman

It’s little things that change your day and alter your mood.

It was a crazy day at work in the morning. I mean, weird crazy busy. I was a bit cranky because of that and rescheduling doctor appointments and then having my “regular” table at Starbucks occupied.

I was settling into the less-than-perfect table when the guy next to me waves at me and points. He wears an orange knit cap and bright orange t-shirt, jamming to some music he was listening to. He pulled his headphones off to say that he liked my socks. “Those are cool socks,” he said, grinning and nodding his head in respect for someone who is funky enough to wear multi-colored plaid socks. At least that’s what I like to think. Day brightened!

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Goodbye January. Hello Month 2!

That’s a good thing because I am still torn from last night’s contest entries in the Specialty Craft Articles and Personal Blog categories. Dare I say, I write too well to choose just two entries each? That is a darn good problem to have.

I am a writer. I say that with no shame. Yes, I am a talented writer. Ditto, no shame. I embrace my creative work and know that even if I don’t place in the contest that I have still won.

How different my writing is today compared to a year ago. I didn’t realize the changes until I scrolled through every blog post of mine looking for something award-worthy. I promote my books less and my share my experiences more. I give advice, I discuss my struggles, I open up to my passions and I have fresh funness with everything. Part of that comes from refocusing my life and my blog accordingly. Not to get all transcendental on you, I realized that Zentangle was distracting me from writing. I needed to step back and focus on my forever passion: writing.

What do I like about my writing? My blog, I appreciate the variety of topics I choose, the events I participate in, the knowledge I share. Of my articles, I enjoy the tight writing I do, weaving creative words and phrases into the text as if they were always meant to be there. I’m fortunate to have a community of supportive blog readers–that’s you!–and a thoughtful, trusting editor.

Even here, now, it’s hard to still grasp how important these changes are for me. But last night, as I weaved through the blogposts and flipped through magazines, I was impressed with my work, more than I expected. I’m exploring these thoughts over the next couple of days, and I hope you will grasp some strength and perspective from me to apply to your own self.

Today, just compliment someone’s socks or shoes or purse or watch or coat or hairstyle. You have the power to make them smile.

Coffee, cold and a contest

If we were having coffee….

I’m glad you stopped by, but I’m sorry I’m not all social today. I’ve been sick this week. My husband was out of town, so the couch became my best friend. I did nothing except for Starbucks tea trips.

It’s not worth focusing on this week’s ROW80 challenges. Really, going through them number by number every week is just darn depressing. I’m not making the progress I’d hoped for. This week, I can use my illness and a cheesy excuse, but still…. The best thing I can say is that I am breaking everything down into itsy-bitsy steps, no matter how embarrassingly simple they are. Anything to move forward with anything.

Besides, I have to compile my NFPW contest entries. I wish I could blame my sore throat on my procrastination, but I’ve had 31 days to get my words together and submit them. The deadline is February 1, but I don’t know if that means 11:59pm the day before the first or if I have until 11:59pm on February first to get everything complete. Best not to take the chance, so I have to get everything together tonight. I’m only entering in two categories this year–Specialty Craft Articles and Personal Blog–but I’m scrolling through all of my blogposts from 2015 to find ones contest-worthy. Surprisingly, I’m torn between 15 posts and three articles. I wrote some good stuff this year; at least I think so. I have to submit two each as the entry and I only have a couple hours to compile all that.

Shall we go out for another cup of tea? I’ll drive–I am feeling good enough to do that–and you can tell me all about your week.

What makes someone successful?

“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”~Joyce Brothers, American psychologist

Success is a scary word. If we say we are successful, others may perceive us of bragging. I am superior and you, failing human, are worthless. If we say we are unsuccessful, then we start to shovel ourselves into that six-foot-deep pit.

Some days I’m one; some days I’m the other. Some days I’m both.

One thing that has gone well so far is my instant social media response time. I need to come up with a catchy acronym for that so it makes the process more fun. Aside from email and Facebook, all is going well. My Grand Experiment from this post seems to fit into my style of interaction and planning.

How’s my ROW80 going? Let’s take a look at that:

1–Polish and publish Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks. Not as much progress as I’d hoped for–really, this was supposed to be a quick little piece–but I did share part of Chapter 1 with my Writer’s Group. The feedback was just the critique I needed to move forward. I did a smidge of editing on Friday, but there were a lot of distractions that day.

2–Find and do a blog self-hosting site. Nope, not yet. This To-Do action item keeps getting moved from week to week. I think breaking it down into smaller actions will help. This week’s goal is to explore at least two hosting sites for info about their price and services.

3–Blog and social media planning. I’m doing a little with action sheets and making notes, but this is ongoing. I’m not sure where I want to go on with this.

4–Update my blog pages/site. I’ll save this until I finish the blog self-hosting goal.

5–Fractured finger, heal thyself. Doctor visit this week. I think I’m remarkably flexible, but we’ll see how he says I’m doing.

6–Make progress on memoir My Father, My Friend using Scrivener. First step needs to be resolving my supposed Scrivener problem, and I have yet to deal with that email. It’s probably a 5-minute fix, but it shifts on my To-Do as well.

7–Make time to play. This is the reason I was so lazy and unproductive with my writing and blogging and planning this week. I scrapbooked a few pages in my Happy Planner and obsessed over colors and styles while I watched insanely detailed YouTube videos on it. Just for fun.

8–Do some fun writing. See above.

What makes a success a success? What makes a failure a failure? It is all a state of mind.

Do you need a haiku and a smile? Read on….

“Develop success from failures.”~Dale Carnegie, American writer

SPEND is the theme for the centennial edition of Haiku Horizons. Besides my haiku, what have I been spending my time on?

I’m spending my time smiling with all the opportunities I have right now.

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Haiku Horizons #100: “Spend”

SOCIAL MEDIA
I’m catching up on old Likes and Favorites and Comments and all that warm-and-fuzzy-people-are-noticing-me stuff. There are folks there I would call my friends (but not a Facebook “Friend”) because we interact on a personal level. I like seeing their names in my Instagram Likes or my Retweet notifications.

WRITING
I have time to write, solid chunks of hours at a time to write, and I know how fortunate I am for that luxury. I have not spent time on my memoir lately because I think I needed a break. I have been working on Socks, which makes me all sorts of smiley. It’s a NaNoWriMo story I’m actually doing something with and it’s exciting to work on.

I wrote a letter to a friend. She didn’t write back, but that’s not the point. I’m sending a haiku postcard to another friend tonight. Writing can be joyful for others, too.

READING
Kinda. I have a YA old favorite to revisit and blog sites to also revisit. And I’m scheduling time to read, an act I haven’t done in a long, long time.

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BLOGGING
I’m mostly back to my regular posting schedule. I have found joy again because I have planned. My Happy Planner is full of pink sticky notes, purple and blue ink pen scribbles, vintage flavored scrapbook paper and sparkly washi tape. Scheduling my posts and ideas is a delight-filled rainbow. I’m becoming organized, which removes my stress from those “what do I do next?” thoughts.

I’ve started a new blog series over at my Deadwood Writers Voices: coffee shops. Writing in silence freezes my brain and freaks me out, so I often choose the hum of people and espresso machines over the radio or streaming music stations at home. Because coffeeshops are so much a part of my life, I feel the need to express all the quirky experiences and deep discussions with others. Hop on over and read the inaugural post: Playing Games.

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Socks and coffee and paper, oh my!

I’m delving into the world of Blog Hops. These themed sites offer a prompt or a theme to write about and then share on a weekly or monthly master list. That’s where I discovered Haiku Horizons. That’s how I just discovered The Weekly Smile.

I’m jumping in on week two, and all of the above makes me smile. Or this short list here:
–A kiss on the nose from my husband.
–New, bright-colored argyle socks from my husband. He thought of me on a business trip.
–Buying a cup of coffee for a stranger first thing Monday morning.
–Employees in two food places welcoming me with “Hi, how are you?”

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Share your happy smiles below, because we can never spend too much time smiling.

Or own too many funky socks.

Let’s try this #ROW80 thing again

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet

It’s that time of year for resolution and Round of Words.

I didn’t keep up with ROW80 much last round. It seemed like a good idea, all that accountability, but I’ve set goals on so many sites that it was hard to remember to follow up and post there. Now it’s a new year and I’m still anti-Resolution, so you wont see any of that nonsense here. Goals, however, are a different matter….

My Detroit writers group, Motown Writers Network, starts each monthly meeting with a recap and projection of everyone’s 30-Day Challenge. Smaller bites, easier chunks, and three 30-Days equals one ROW80.

My next MWN meeting is this Saturday, January 9th. Pulling out my journal, my December goals were:

1–Publish Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks.
2–New business cards
3A–Blog planning
3B–Blog self-hosting
4–Memoir/Scrivener
5–Heal fractured finger
6–Read blogs

These are my results:
1–Jimmy is not published. It’s just as well; I had enough activity in December with Christmas, holiday plans, and visiting family. As family members get older, spending time with them is not sacrificing writing. But it’s a NaNoWriMo story that I’m actually working towards completion, and I have a solid rough 2nd draft at the moment. I consider that success.

2–I still have old biz cards, and I have no idea what I want new ones to look like. It’s a rebranding of me, and something I will get to later in the year. I have other things to set in place first…like…

3A–YES! I am developing a system of blog planning, writing down a schedule and ideas and all that. Yes, I am all that, and more. It’s a work in progress, but I’ve started it. I expect by the end first quarter, I’ll have a good schedule to work from.

3B–I lumped this in with 3A initially, but it really is a separate step. It’s probably really simple, but it’s unknown; therefore, I have postponed it.

4–Laziness = No. The holidays are over, no travel or big projects loom ahead, so now it’s time to read the email and fix what I may or may not have screwed up back in September.

5–YES, mostly. I’m exercising the muscles, I have a lot more motion, but the swelling is still there. I’ll keep this on my list because it is ongoing.

6–No. This is now part of #3A. My “blog planning” includes social media activity, and I’m fitting that into my schedule slowly. I’ve caught up; now the goal is to maintain.

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How could I NOT buy this eternal shirt?

Which brings me back to A Round of Words in 80 Days. By the end of the first quarter–or ROW80 Round 1 dates of January 4-March 24, 2016–these are my ROW80 Round 1 goals:

1–Polish and publish Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks. Possibly I’ll find an editor along the way.
2–Find and do a blog self-hosting site. Two folks from my critique group, Deadwood Writers, have offered assistance. Just sit down with them or read their emails and as the shoe company says, just do it.
.
3–Blog planning. Besides planning and drafting posts, this includes developing a regular schedule for:
…..3A–Twitter
…..3B–Instagram
…..3C–Facebook Author Page (shudder; I dislike FB)
…..3D–Amazon Author Page
…..3E–Reading more blogs
4–Update my blog: About Me; Resources; all that and any new tabs. This may be ongoing, but start somewhere, woman!
5–Fractured finger, heal thyself.
6–Make progress on memoir My Father, My Friend using Scrivener. What do I define as “progress?” I’m breaking the rules here, but I’m leaving that vague for now. Anything I do is more than I’ve done at this moment of typing.
7–Make time to play. Be it scrapbooking, playing in my blog-planning planner, mixed-media art, massages, whatever…make time for me.
8–Do some fun writing. Whatever that is!

Let’s start there and see where the first quarter takes me. What about you? Where is your first 3 months taking you…or where are you taking your first 3 months?

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