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“Basically, you suck and have no chance of ever not sucking.”

I’ve been reading a LOT of books on novel writing lately.  Especially if they focus on writing your first novel.  Many times, I’ve finished the book and been left with this thought:  “Why am I even bothering to write?  I suck.”

All of these “helpful” volumes insist that, since I’ve never been published, I will never be published – unless I use self-publishing.

My favorite take away:  If I want to improve my writing, that means that I need to improve my writing, and since the craft of writing is not something that can be taught (it is, of course, an innate ability given to a select few at birth), I have zero chance of ever improving my writing.

WHAT???  I don’t think that was what Hemingway meant…

It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.

I bought these books to learn, not to be told “I’m going to tell you how to write a good book.  But since you bought this book, you don’t have what it takes to write one yourself.” Continue reading → “Basically, you suck and have no chance of ever not sucking.”

Day One of the ’15-’16 school year

Well, I got both my girls off to school with all of their necessary school supplies this morning without any problems.  It was the calmest morning I’ve ever had on any school day.  Definitely never had a first day of the year go so smoothly.  It was great!!  🙂

I’ve been really worried about what I would do once the school year started.  Since I haven’t been a stay at home mommy for very long, I was pretty sure that I would get bored after the kids started back to school.  So far, that hasn’t been a problem.

It is 11:00 a.m. and I have already cleaned the upstairs and downstairs and dinner is in the slow cooker, slowly cooking.  I’m now free to say hello to all you wonderful people and afterwards I’ll be able to easily get another 2,000 words of my novel done before picking up my youngest at 3.

Oh, and did mention it’s really quiet?  Cleaning the house and getting my writing done are usually things that take me days to do because I get interrupted every 5 minutes.

I am one happy momma!!  🙂

I am exactly the right age to do that, thank you very much!

Warning:  I’m about to start ranting.

I started knitting when I was in my early 20’s. I love it!  It’s relaxing and it makes me feel good to make things.  I’m now in my 30’s and I still have people tell me (often complete strangers) that I am too young to spend my time knitting.  Apparently, you must be old enough to retire and/or have a grandchild (or a great-grandchild) before it is acceptable for you to be a knitter.

I also enjoy playing video games.  This is not something that I gave up after I had my children.  In fact, I often play with them.  I personally feel that this is healthy for both myself and my girls.  I learn more about what’s going on in their world outside of our home while we’re fighting virtual monsters together than I would ever get if we weren’t.  For example, if their playing on the xbox or computer without me, I can yell directly in their ear “What do you want for dinner?” and get no response.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who feel differently.  Maybe they like it when their kids ignore them?

So basically, two of my favorite things to do are, by “normal” standards, out of my age range as acceptable hobbies.  Do I care? Not really.  But I am curious as to why it even bothers anyone else…  Who set these rules? And why do people feel the need to try to “correct” me?

Okay, I feel better now. Thanks for reading my rant.  🙂

Note to Self: They’re not real. They’re only in your head!

I'm glad I can talk to you...Some background:  In order to maintain my focus on writing a novel (and basically give myself a kick in the pants), I signed up for an online class on Writers Digest University titled “12 Weeks to a First Draft”.  I’m on Week 4.

I submitted my assignment last week and anxiously awaited the feedback from my instructor.  If felt like I was on a writer’s high or something.  I was feeling absolutely awesome about my story, my characters, and everything in my little world  seemed great.  I couldn’t wait to hear from my instructor all about my brilliance.

The next morning, I received the following comments:  “You do a great job of defining these characters, what motivates them, what their conflicts are, what their strengths and weakness are and you write excellent dialogue.  You have a great sense of POV…”  (See, I knew I was brilliant!  Hello Cloud 9!!)

And then she went on to talk about my main character, Bonnie:  “sometimes her thoughts and actions come off unsympathetic…”  And, in regards to her actions after her boyfriend died: “If she really loved Eric she would act far differently.”  (And… my feet are back on the ground.  Is that my heart in my shoe?) Continue reading → Note to Self: They’re not real. They’re only in your head!

What’s jesscombs.com all about, anyway?

I’m sure your wondering what you can expect from jesscombs.com.  Okay, you’re probably not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.  😛

First, let me tell you a little about me…

My name is Jess Combs.  I’m 35 and I have two daughters.  My oldest is 15 and my youngest is 10.  I love reading, writing, running, knitting, and gaming.  I’ve been a stay at home mom since this past May and I’m loving it!  In the past, I’ve been a legal secretary, a paralegal, and a phlebotomist.  In addition to my current job as a professional mommy, I’m working on finishing my first novel.

So what can you expect posts to be about on jesscombs.com?

You can definitely expect to read on the ups and downs of my writing pursuits.  Where am I on the road to being published, what I’m learning along the way, and hopefully some insights from others with much more experience than myself.  🙂

Since I am that rare species known as “gamer-mom.”  You can probably expect to read a little about gaming on occasion.  (Don’t know what a gamer mom is?  Gamer moms not only know what an MMORPG is, but so do our children.  We balance guild leader with mother.  We plan raids/dungeons for the weekends (and after homework is checked and done).  We tuck our kids in and become assassins in Assassin’s Creed.  We know when the new game and/or expansion is coming out before our kids do.)

I’ll also occasionally post about my latest adventures in running, my knitting projects (currently a ginormous TARDIS afghan), and reviews on what I’ve been reading.

So that’s a little about me and jesscombs.com (also me).  Any questions, feel free to reply to this post or contact me at jessica@jesscombs.com.

Thanks for reading!  🙂