Tuesday, October 31, 2017

NaNoWriMo Time

It's that time of year again already! I'm participating in NaNoWriMo for sort of the third year in a row, but really it's only my second time. The idea is that you write a rough draft of a brand new novel in November. Last year I began the 2nd draft of Pieces, which I wrote during 2015 NaNo. This year I'll be doing another new one, an idea that only just came to me in August. Usually my ideas marinate in my head for several years before I put them to paper, so we'll see how this goes.

Here's what I'll be writing this year:

Speculative lgbtq romance that takes place over the course of 30+ years. 
25 yo Vera is a wild, free-spirited bisexual writer who is celebrating one year of sobriety. She just moved to Bloomington with her best friend, savior, and sponsor, Stuart, who is starting medical school. Estranged from her family due to tragedy, Stuart is all Vera has. She spends time on campus, working on her first novel. 
18 yo Ember is the daughter of a white man and a black woman. Plagued by the question "what are you?" her whole life, she feels like she doesn't belong. Add that to the fact that she is an artist living in a family of intellectuals, and a closet lesbian, she doesn't know who she is or where she fits.  She is attending IU Bloomington and majoring in business, though it isn't what she wants. She pursues her art and sticks to herself. 
Ember and Vera witness a horrifying and uncanny murder on campus. Both women are drawn to the scene of the crime. Vera is writing a horror novel: she likes the ambience. Vera also likes the place to go and think. Stuart has unexpectedly relapsed, and Vera doesn't know how to help him. Ember likes the quiet of the place: most of the other students stay away. The two women meet and bond, sharing their lives with one another and falling in love. The more they get to know one another, they begin to realize that things they thought were quirks, might be more than that. Vera starts to realize that something isn't right: about Stuart's relapse or about Ember. 
The women are forced to make a painful decision that may affect the future of their relationship, and Stuart's life. 
And here's a little collage I put together in order to stop myself from cheating and starting early. 

If you're also a NaNo person, find me on the site here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/becky9637
Happy writing! 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

It's finished!

This post is a wee bit late. I have finished the 3rd draft of Pieces. Yay!

This is super exciting. In case anyone missed the news, Pieces is a literary mystery with paranormal elements, and it's "the one." Some authors say you shouldn't bank on having "the one." But I have it. It's Pieces. For the 3rd draft, I took into account most of the feedback I got on the 2nd draft from my wonderful Writ & Art group. I have found 4 new beta readers, two of which are my experts: an Army vet and a psychotherapist.

I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do more than 3 drafts, but there will definitely need to be a polish/edit once I get their feedback. I'll probably name the file 4th draft, but I should be able to do it very quickly, unless I totally effed up the military stuff, in which case I'm screwed. But I don't think I did. My wonderful Writ & Art group will be reading the "4th and please for the love of god let it be the final" draft.

The thing I'm still worried about (of course) is the freaking word count. Word counts are the bane of my existence.

At 135k words, it's still way too long. I'm not sure what to do about this. I love all of it. I have already trimmed most of the fat, though there may still be some hidden fat to trim here and there. We'll see, but I don't want to compromise what it is to make it fit the standards of today's novel. Today's novel is short. I blame the internet and shortened attention spans.

I'm excited to hear what people have to say. And nervous. But it's also almost November, which means I'll have a wee bit of something to distract me from thinking about Pieces.

More updates later.

Psst! Like me on FB!

Friday, September 22, 2017

I'm afraid of the dark

. . . But only certain kinds of dark. Some kinds of dark are super fun. The dark I'm afraid of is the darker side of humanity. As a fiction writer, this a problem. Generally speaking, antagonists are representative of the dark, ugly sides of humanity. They're what we fear. I'm not necessarily afraid of evil psychopaths and mass murderers. I'm afraid of writing them. If I write them accurately, I have to delve into their brain, and that's scary as hell.

Sometimes it's fun. I've been thinking a lot about these fears lately. I think this is the appeal of supernatural monsters: vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, etc. For me, and maybe others, it's easy to write these characters as evil because they aren't us. They aren't human. In New Year's Revolution, I have a vampire character named Bianca who is horribly evil and deranged. She is completely screwed up in the head and has done horrible, unspeakable things. But I have no problem writing her. In fact, I love writing her. She's awesome. I love how demented she is. But she's a vampire. She isn't human. I don't have to fear becoming her because she is literally a monster. In City of Secrets I have an evil ghost. He's also done horrible things. But he's a powerful ghost who feeds off of selfish desires. Again, he is literally a monster.

It's the human bad guys that terrify me. In Pieces my antagonist is a murderer and a child molester. This is a human being who does unspeakable things. I'm not writing in this character's POV, but even so, I'm having a hard time getting in their head. (Using "they" as a genderless pronoun on the off-chance that a future beta reader reads this post. I don't want to give away who the antag is.) I have no idea what this person's "mask" is. I don't know what they're thinking on a daily basis. I don't know how they're supposed to interact with the other characters. I winged it for the second draft, but now that I'm writing the third draft, it's time to dig deeper, whether I like it or not. I don't.

As I started digging into their head and realizing their backstory, they started to become more human. At first, I thought "Yay! I know more about them!" But then I balked. I don't want this character to feel human, because it brings me to the question "If this person is a human, with real, human feelings, how terrifying is it that they do these unspeakable things?"

I am someone whose opinion falls into the gray area on a number of subjects. There are very few things in this world that are black and white. Serial killers, terrorists, and child molesters? I used to think they were all bad. That was a nice, comforting thought. Something is wrong with these people. They were born bad. But maybe they weren't. Something happened to them that made them bad. Or, even scarier, they don't believe they're bad. Inside their heads are warped ideas and motives behind what they are doing. In the case of my antagonist, they believe they are doing good. These thoughts are scary, because it makes me realize that maybe I'm less different from the "bad guys" than I thought I was. I view these people with pity. I can't fathom willingly deciding to hurt or violate someone. I also can't fathom someone else willingly deciding to hurt or violate someone. So what made them do it? What makes a killer a killer and a rapist a rapist? Did they lose control? Did something take over their brain and make them do it? Did they find some twisted justification?

This brings me to my deepest, darkest fear, one that I don't usually talk about for fear of people misunderstanding and/or thinking I'm crazy. What if something happens and I suddenly become evil? It sounds ridiculous on paper, but there it is. I love horror novels and movies, but there's a certain type of psychological horror that I can't handle. I used to be a big Dean Koontz fan. I was reading Moonlight Bay (minor spoiler coming, but nothing that'll ruin it). It was great. It was one of my favorites, until I got to this part where this man, who was a perfectly normal, nice, family guy started having nightmares about raping and murdering his wife and daughter. The nightmares terrified him, but they wouldn't stop coming. Eventually he started to want to do it, and to fantasize about it. I had to put the book down for a bit, it disturbed me so much. I realize it's fiction, but it's a terrifying thought.

Getting back to my writing, it's hard for me to dip into the mind of my evil antagonists, because I fear finding out that their mind maybe isn't that different from mine. Maybe the line between good and evil isn't as clear as I thought.
On the other hand, maybe digging into their brain might ease my fears. Maybe I'll realize that while their minds are more complicated than I thought, there is a difference. I don't know, but I do know that I want to write good books. Books with genuine characters. Books that scare people but also comfort them. Books that make people think. Books people can relate to. In order to do that, I have to face my fear of the dark.
I hope it gets easier.
Thoughts and suggestions on how to do this and/or cope with it are welcome. Thanks!

It'd be awesome if you liked me on FB! facebook.com/beckymunyonauthor

Saturday, September 16, 2017

What if the ideas run out?

As a writer, one of my biggest fears is that one day I'll stop having great ideas, that the well will be dry, and I'll have no more great stories. This is especially scary because I've just now started to get better at putting a good story together. What if there are no more ideas to put into stories?

When I started my first novel, New Year's Revolution, in 2010, I expected it to be a fluke, and at the time I was totally fine with that. I just wanted to get Ella's story written. Eventually, the idea for City of Secrets came to me, and Pieces soon followed. These three stories have been keeping me pretty busy, so I haven't had time to worry about the idea well going dry. During that time, a number of other ideas have floated in and out of my brain, but none of them have given me that warm-fuzzy "this is it" feeling. Now, Pieces is almost finished and I'm not entirely sure what I'll be doing with the other two, which means it might be time to start thinking about a new project.

Guess when is a great time to start thinking about new projects? That's right, Fall is a great time for that, because NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I had a brand new idea recently, but it's still just a tiny seed. I'm starting to worry that I don't know how to turn those little seeds into great stories. If I were a plotter, this would be fine. I'd know what to do. But I'm not a plotter. "The stuff" has to come to me naturally. Or at least, that's how it's worked in the past. But what if that magic won't happen anymore? What if I have to sit down and force it out?

What if I have to learn to plot?

Yeah. It's horrifying. 

Bright side: I wrote down a few more brainstorms tonight, so I think I might be able to do something with this idea. 

It'll be a romance. Say what?

I'm having a hard time believing it myself. 

If I'm lucky, I may even have enough of an idea formed to be able to write a crappy draft during November. I really like the idea of "beginning a 1st draft in November for NaNoWriMo" tradition. It worked great for 2015, when I wrote the 1st draft of Pieces. In 2016, I just started the 2nd draft of Pieces and started to write a lot, so it doesn't quite count as a second year of NaNo. 

While I'm excited about the idea, I'm wondering if this will always be my fear. Maybe it's a writer thing? If we run out of ideas, what do we have left?


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fighting Hate

Hello friends. Just sending a quick reminder that when I'm not writing, I'm making jewelry along with some of my wonderful friends and talented artists. Together we are Pins with Purpose. A good chunk of our items feature safety pins, a symbol of solidarity. All of our proceeds benefit various charitable/non-profit organizations. A few of our items also support PACs, but those items are listed separately in the Repeal/Replace Congress category.

One of the organizations we support is The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Now seems like a pretty good time to remind people of what SPLC does and why it's important to give them lots of love and support right now. We have a man in the White House who refuses to condemn racism and white supremacists. This is not okay, and not normal. Because this man is in office, people who identify as Nazis and white supremacists now feel comfortable expressing their views publicly. This is not okay, and not normal. There has been a rise in hate crimes. This is not okay, and not normal.

Where does the SPLC come in? They fight all the hate.

From their site:
"The SPLC is the premier U.S. non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists – including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, antigovernment militias, Christian Identity adherents and others.
We’re currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country. We publish investigative reports, train law enforcement officers and share key intelligence, and offer expert analysis to the media and public."
"The SPLC stands up for the powerless, the exploited and other victims of discrimination and hate.
For more than four decades, we’ve won landmark cases that brought systemic reforms in the Deep South.
We’ve toppled remnants of Jim Crow segregation and destroyed violent white supremacist groups. We’ve shattered barriers to equality for women, vulnerable children, the LGBT community and the disabled. We’ve protected migrant workers and immigrants from abuse, ensured the humane treatment of prisoners, reformed juvenile justice practices, and more.
Today, with a staff of more than 100 lawyers and advocates, we’re focused on impact litigation in these practice areas: Children’s RightsEconomic JusticeImmigrant JusticeLGBT Rights and Criminal Justice Reform."

That's just a quick overview. Learn more here: https://www.splcenter.org/ 
We at Pins With Purpose have items that support the SPLC. As a reminder, 100% of sales of items listed for SPLC will go to SPLC. Artists volunteer time and supplies and are only reimbursed for shipping and handling.  We are happy to do it. Not only are we supporting good causes, but we are filling the world with beautiful things. 
Here are a few of the items we have supporting the SPLC. 

We also have several more. They can be found on our etsy page under the Liberty and Justice category. Please read item descriptions to find out which organization the item supports.

If you don't have a lot of money to buy things or aren't interest in jewelry, that's okay. You can help by sharing our page on social media and liking us on Facebook. Facebook.com/PinsWithPurpose/ 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Where to go?

Hello loyal readers whom I've neglected! I've missed all 3 or 4 of you!

Where have I been? I'm so glad you asked. I've been writing non-stop on Pieces, my literary mystery, or possibly my mystery. With light paranormal elements. Yes, I'm still having genre woes.

Something magical happened in the middle of the second draft of Pieces: I leveled up. My writing has reached a new level of maturity. This is wonderful, but it has its drawbacks. More on the drawbacks later.

I've finished the 2nd draft and am already plowing through the 3rd draft, which is mostly revising and editing rather than rewriting, which is awesome. It's also a lot of deleting, because I still have a problem with too many words. More on that in another post.

So, those drawbacks I mentioned. I'm no longer feeling my older novels. You know, that vampire novel I started 7 years ago? Yeah, that one. My first born child. I love it, but I'm not sure I can get back into writing it. All those bad drafts are burned into my brain. It's hard to explain, but I know a lot of writers eventually wind up putting their first books away. I didn't want this to happen, but I'm just not feeling it anymore.

My other problem? I'm not sure what to do with my second novel, City of Secrets, which I began releasing chapter by chapter. It's still here on my blog, but I'm not sure what I want to do with it anymore. The serial site didn't work out the way I'd hoped. I'm not against continuing to release it on my blog, I'm just not sure anymore.

What am I sure of?

Finishing Pieces. I plan to have that done by the end of the year. By "done" I mean ready to query. It's happening.

I'm also sure of this other brand spanking new idea that's brewing in my mind. I know, I know. Should I start a new novel when I have two old ones kicking around? Maybe not, but I think the new one could get written faster and better than those older ones. I've evolved, and my stories have evolved with me.

These are the hard problems writers have. Letting a baby go is scary, but moving on to bigger and better stories is wonderful.

Don't forget to like me on FB! Facebook.com/beckymunyonauthor

Friday, July 7, 2017

My poor neglected blog

Hello, poor neglected blog. I've really missed you.

Okay, so it hasn't been totally neglected, mainly because I've been posting my YA Paranormal, City of Secrets, on it. But still, as far as my blogging about writing: it's been neglected.

So much has been happening over the past year. The main reason it's been neglected is because last summer I began working on multiple projects, which I swore I would never do. I was trying to keep up regular installments of City of Secrets while working on my Adult Post-Apocalypse vampire novel, New Year's Revolution. Now NYR is on hold while I work on Pieces, my first ever in the Adult literary fiction category (more on the progress of Pieces later). So many projects. I told myself I wouldn't work on multiple projects, but I did. The ideas just started building up and I didn't want to ignore any one of them. So the blog suffered. Big time.

Then I started throwing myself into jewelry making. I am now a seasoned jewelry maker, though I like to say craftivist. Why craftivist? My friend started an organization called Pins With Purpose. Artists volunteer time and supplies to make jewelry to sell for charity. Learn more here:
Yes, that was indeed a shameless plug.
Along with jewelry making, I've thrown myself into the advertising and marketing of PWP, so I'm on the net all the time tweeting. That is not an easy task. So the blog suffered. Big time.

I've also spent the past year dealing with chronic neuropathy and ankle pain and battling with a WC insurance company to get healthcare. The pain makes me very fatigued. I did finally have surgery number three on my ankle. It's hard to say at this point how I'm recovering, but I'm thinking positively. Guess what? That contributed to the suffering of my blog. Big time.

Those are just a few of the things that made me neglect my poor blog. But I worked hard on getting this blog going, and I don't want to lose it. So I'm back. I will be blogging about writing again, and whatever else comes to mind.

Stay tuned . . .  Exciting news (I swear) to come.

Until then, you should check out my YA Paranormal serial, City of Secrets. It's about a small town with plenty of juicy secrets and some ghosts. It's free to read here on my blog. I'd love comments and opinions. Thanks.

Also, I'd love a FB like! Facebook.com/beckymunyonauthor
Thanks! You're all awesome!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Despite popular opinion, needing government assistance sucks

I saw this on a FB friend's wall today:

It really upset me. I hate the line of thinking that people in various government assistance programs are lazy leeches. The majority of us are not.

First of all, there is a great deal of shame that goes with being poor. I'm currently on medicaid, and used to be a food stamp recipient. The process of applying for these programs is draining and humiliating. You are basically asked to provide your life story and all your deepest darkest secrets. You are made to feel like the lowest scum of the planet. Also, you really don't get much. I got $16 a month worth of food stamps. It did help, but it almost wasn't even worth the grueling application process.

I'd like to tell the story of why I'm in need of assistance. I hope it will enlighten some people.

I used to work at a nonprofit organization for adults with developmental disabilities. In addition, I worked in the retirement day program, which meant that the people I served had degenerative disabilities on top of everything else. It was extremely tough, but extremely rewarding work.

Two and a half years ago, I was assisting a man with gait issues to walk. He fell, bumped my knee, and took me down with him. I wound up with a high ankle sprain (less common and more severe than your average ankle sprain) that didn't heal properly. I had surgery, but my tendon had a bad reaction to the suture, so I had a second surgery. Again, the tendons had a bad reaction, and I was left with chronic neuropathy in both legs (it sucks.) After many doctor visits and a fight with WC insurance, two weeks ago I had surgery #3. I have a new, very experienced surgeon, so I'm hopeful that the 3rd time's the charm.

I lost my job because the company I worked for was too small to find an accommodating position for me (no hard feelings there; it is what it is), but I do receive worker's comp benefits.

If it weren't for the Medicaid expansion program, I otherwise wouldn't have had medical care for things other than the worker comp injury. I'm grateful for the program, and those who contribute to it. I don't know what I would have done with out it.
I feel that for people who are posting the above meme, this should be pointed out: I'm also grateful to myself, since, as someone who worked for 18 years prior to this, I contributed to medicaid and SS as well!!!!

Unfortunately, there are indeed bad apples who abuse these programs. It angers me because it makes people like me--the vast majority--look bad. Those bad apples are the minority. The media doesn't report "And today 2 million welfare recipients did not abuse the program" because that's not exciting news. The two people who did abuse it--that's exciting news.
Let me give an analogy to help my point. When you go into a restaurant and receive bad service, you're pretty angry about it. Sometimes, you are so angry that you tell your friends about it, and post a review on Yelp. But when you get good service, how often do you take the time to write a review? Sadly, I rarely do (though recently I've made a point of doing this.) Something good happens, and we move on with our day. It's the same thing with people on assistance programs. There's no need for the media to report on the good recipients, because there is nothing to report.

People often make jokes about how lucky I am that I don't work and don't have to get up to an alarm.
Yeah, that's definitely nice. Not working has it's perks, I won't lie. But the negatives far outweigh the positives. I'm bored. I'm in pain twenty for hours a day. I can't do the things I used to be able to do--like walk, dance, go bowling, etc. I often have the mental motivation to do something, but the physical energy is just not there. I really miss being able to work. I feel useless and depressed, and it is not a good feeling. What I miss even more is working in the human services profession. It was so rewarding.

Before I was injured, I used to look at my pay stub and see the Medicaid and SS deductions and think, "Crap. That's a lot of $ I don't get." But now that one of those programs has helped me so much, I'm grateful, more than I can say (there will probably be a future post coming soon about how this might all be taken away soon, but that wasn't what I wanted to address in this post).

I hope people who share memes like the one pictured above, and those who complain about giving $ to assistance programs, will listen to my story and maybe think about it differently. If it doesn't, just remember that life is ironic. The person complaining about giving $ to medicaid could experience some disaster in the future and then be in need of the very program they complained so adamantly about. Life's a bitch that way.

Comments, thoughts, opinions welcome, so long as they are civilized.

Thanks for reading! If you haven't liked my FB page yet, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Lesson In Privilege

     A lot of people don't understand the concept of white privilege. I myself struggle to understand it, though I think I've made a lot of gains recently. A lot of people think it's about guilt, and ask, "Why should I feel guilty for being who I am?" The answer is: you shouldn't. It isn't about guilt. Understanding white privilege is about awareness. White people need to be aware of the things in life that are easier for them than for minority groups. Once you have that awareness, you need to stop taking those privileges for granted. Accept them. Know that things are easier for you, and know that in some ways it makes you lucky. This does not mean that people think everything in your life is a cake walk. Of course it isn't. Everyone has their struggles. All it means is that certain aspects of your life are easier than they are for others. That's it. (For the record, that is by no means a full explanation of white privilege. I'm still learning and understanding myself. Please feel free to correct me on anything or add to my definition.)

     Over the past few months I've joined Pins With Purpose, a grassroots organization of artists donating our time and supplies to create jewelry and sell it for $ (100% of sales support non-profit organizations; We only collect money for shipping and handling) for organizations that need assistance in the era of Trump. I also manage the Twitter account for PWP. Two of the organizations we support are Black Lives Matter and The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). There are a lot of misperceptions about these groups. Many people, who are either too lazy to do do the proper research or simply want to keep their narrow viewpoint, believe these groups are hate groups/terrorist groups. Because of this I often get a lot of hateful comments aimed at me because I support these groups. I usually, as polite as possible, respond by saying that they are not hate groups, and then link an article with information and (God forbid) real facts. I doubt people actually read them. Instead, they call me a terrorist, a racist (apparently, I hate white people and think I'm the one true awesome white person), pathetic, and been told to go F off and die. 

     Some days this bothers me more than others. I'm ashamed to admit what I'm about to admit next, but I'm going to. One particularly bad day, I thought "if I don't support Black Lives Matter and CAIR, I won't have to put up with this harassment." Yeah, I did. That thought made me realize that I have the privilege to turn off the harassment. I don't have to put up with it if I don't want to. Black people and Muslims and other disadvantaged groups do not have that privilege. They cannot turn off the harassment. Just imagine that for a minute. It's a scary thought. It was this realization that gave me the motivation to continue supporting these organizations, despite the harassment I get because of it. It's the right thing to do, and it gives me a small taste of what other people have to deal with. I think more white people need to find a way to put themselves in the shoes of disadvantaged groups. It might go a long way in putting an end to all the hate and ignorance. 

     Pins With Purpose supports several organizations: NAACP, ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, The Rape, Incest, and Abuse National Network, Planned Parenthood, The Native American Rights Fund, The Standing Rock Legal Fund, The International Rescue Committee, The Trevor Project, Trans Lifeline, Earth Justice, Border Angels, The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Committee to Protect Journalists, and ProPublica. I know a lot of people have a charity that is near and dear to their heart, but I really think we have something for everyone here. Check out our Etsy store

Thursday, February 16, 2017

My New Charity Work

            Back in November (it kinda feels like the good old days now, doesn’t it?) I felt helpless when Donald Trump was elected President. (If you are a Trump supporter, please don't stop reading. I'm speaking to everyone, not just those who feel as I do.) I feared for myself, women, the planet, the country, the world, the Latinx population, Black people, the lgbtq+ population, Muslims, people with disabilities, and so many others. Now, I also fear for the state of the media and our ability to get the real facts, and the first amendment. I fear for things I probably haven’t yet realized I should be afraid for. But, let’s go back to how I felt in November. You know, the happier times.

After Trump won, that depressed, helpless feeling threatened to crush me. I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what. People were out protesting, and as someone with an invisible disability, I couldn't do that. People were donating to various organizations like the ACLU and other civil rights group, but as a person in an ongoing battle with an insurance company over a worker’s comp injury, I couldn’t do that either.

A week after the election, a good friend of mine had an idea. Motivated by the safety pin movement, she decided to take it to the next level by getting volunteers together to create jewelry made out of safety pins, sell it on Etsy, and donate 100% of the proceeds to various charities. She called it Pins With Purpose. The current list of organizations we support includes: The Trevor Project (helping LGBTQ+ youth), Trans Lifeline, Border Angels (helps immigrants), The International Rescue Committee (helps refugees), The Mexican American Legal Defense fund, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, The Southern Poverty Law Center, The American Civil Liberties Union, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Black Lives Matter, RAINN-Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, The Native American Rights fund, Standing Rock, Planned Parenthood, Propublica (supports free press), The Committee to Protect Journalists, and Earth Justice. As you can see, we’re ambitious and have our hands full.

My friend asked for volunteers to create jewelry. We would be donating our own supplies and only be reimbursed for shipping and shipping supplies. At first I said no, because I didn’t think I’d be very good at making jewelry. A few days later, I started having ideas for projects, so I decided to help. I didn't have a lot of $, but I was able to buy enough beads to get started. Also, my wonderful sister gave me a lot of beads, and so did my wonderful mother out-law. It’s been hard, learning something new, but I love it. As a writer, I consider myself an artist, but I never thought I could create jewelry. It also feels good to know I am doing something. I’ve been getting a lot better at it too. It’s therapeutic and fun. I’ve also became the self-appointed Twitter manager, where I spend several hours a week putting Tweets together so people will actual be aware that Pins With Purpose exists.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I once worked in human services, in direct-care. I loved the people I worked with and the joy I got knowing I was making a difference in the lives of such wonderful individuals. Since my on-the-job injury, the company was forced to lay me off (no hard feelings—it is what it is). One of the things that has hurt so much about it, was that I was no longer helping people. Knowing I was making a difference in the lives of wonderful, beautiful people was what made that tough job worth it. I missed that feeling. I know I need to take care of myself and my health, but I’ve felt useless lately, which made my depression worse. It feels good knowing that I am helping, even just a little. I’m so grateful to my friend for starting Pins With Purpose, and am proud to be a part of it. So far, Pins With Purpose has raised over $800 for our various organizations, which is pretty remarkable considering it’s only been 3 months.

            This post it about sharing my experience, but we also need help, and that's where you--my fabulous, amazing readers--come in. We need sales and we need help with advertising. I realize that many of you have probably seen my FB posts about the items for sale, but may not have understood what it’s about. Now you do, and may be more motivated to help.

            Here are some ways you can help:

            • Like our FB page: Facebook.com/PinsWithPurpose/
                        • Invite your friends to like it
                        • Share the individual posts
            • Follow us on Twitter: @PinsWithPurpose
                        • Like and retweet us

            • Check out our Etsy shop and see if there is anything you might like to buy (100% of sales go to the organization the item supports) Etsy.com/shop/PinsWithPurpose
                        • Each item is connected to a particular organization, but we have a wide variety of items for each one.
                        • If you do buy something, leaving us a review would be awesome

          Pins With Purpose is made up of a handful of artists. We all have our own unique style, which means we have a variety of designs and styles. If you know me personally and are interested in knowing which items I made, checkout my FB profile, where I have a “my jewelry” album.

            I would like to add that, for me, this goes beyond politics. I don’t care if you voted for Trump, Johnson, Clinton, Stein, or wrote in Sanders or Mickey Mouse. Yes, Pins With Purpose was created as a response to Trump being elected, but this is about helping people who need help. You don’t have to be against Trump to want to help people. And if you disagree with some of our organizations, then we have plenty of others that you might not disagree with. If you are pro-life, then I don’t expect you to go against your personal beliefs and donate to Planned Parenthood, but maybe you could donate to RAINN (helping victims of sexual violence) instead. If you insist on believing that Black Lives Matter is a hate group (it isn’t) then why not donate to the NAACP instead? If you’re tired of being called a racist, bigot, homophobe, or xenophobe because you voted for Trump, then maybe donate to the NAACP, The Trevor Project, Trans Lifeline, or one of our many organizations that support immigrants and refugees. And then there’s the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. They help with civil rights for everyone. So who wouldn’t want to donate to them? My point, is that everyone can help. And again, it’s cool if you can’t/don’t want to buy anything. Even a like on FB or a share of a post would help.

            I think what’s important right now is that we come together as Americans and help one another, because we really need it right now.

            Thank you, everyone, for helping! You are all awesome!