Monthly Archives: March 2015

Novelist to Columnist/Humorist – Thanks!

Be A Novelist As a kid you don’t kneel at your bedside and pray, “And please, God, when I grow up make me a syndicated columnist with 630 newspapers.” At best you just hope you will fall into something. When I was growing up, I was the shyest of all my friends…. Maybe that’s where the humor comes from. I think humor always is a cover-up. It’s a cover-up for inadequacies. It’s a cover-up for embarrassment. It’s a cover-up for anything you can think of. Humor to me had been the old matter of laughing at yourself before anyone else did. That was part of what I liked from the beginning about writing. It was a private thing I could do. I could just send it out and see what it did. If someone laughed, I could stand up and, “I did that.”

— Erma Bombeck, in Beginnings

Gasping-For-Breath Type of Laughing

Erma Bombeck was always a favorite author of mine. I have memories of my junior-high-aged son sitting at the kitchen table reading Bombeck aloud as I was preparing supper – both of us laughing ourselves silly. It was the gasping-for-breath type of laughing. You know the kind I mean. (My son is now the father of his own junior-high-aged son, so you can catch the time frame.)

If it were just for that, I would be grateful to Erma Bombeck – for creating a point of contact and clean innocent fun for me and my son. But there’s more.

I, Too, Used the Cover-Up

I, too, was that painfully awkward and shy youngster that she describes in this quote. I just wanted to sit on the sidelines, be leftBe A Novelist alone, and write stories. I, too, used my writing as a cover-up – even in later life – so I completely relate.

But I’m also grateful to her as a fellow writer who pushed through many obstacles to get where she was going. She stands as an inspiration to all of us who love writing, who love the written word, and who long for our endeavors to support us as Bombeck’s did for her.

Sympathy? No Thanks

Erma suffered a great deal physically in her later years; yet for the most part, kept that suffering out of the public eye. Not wanting to capitalize on sympathy.

Many of our younger generation may be unfamiliar with the name Erma Bombeck. But in her day her name was definitely a household word. Ten of her thirteen books, including Forever, Erma, appeared on the New York Times best-seller list.

In the quote above she mentions that she was syndicated in 630 newspapers, but later that number would grow to above 900 newspapers! In the day when everyone (read that EVERYONE) read the newspapers, it’s no wonder she was so well known.

Be A NovelistPioneers Lead the Way

I don’t know about you, but I love that we have pioneers like Erma who have gone before us and proved to us that, if you’re willing to pay the price, you can make it happen.

Thanks, Erma!!

PS: For an extra added bonus, here’s another great humorous quote from Erma:

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?  –– Erma Bombeck


Be A NovelistBe A NovelistThe Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection now has three 3 available titles.

These clean teen reads, while authored in the past, offer timeless story lines that teens love.


Be A Novelist


For Novelists Who Struggle With Organization (Or the Lack Thereof)

Soul-Searching Question

Okay… Are you ready for this? Strong soul-searching question coming at you:

Where’s your stuff?

“Well, Norma Jean, just exactly what stuff are you talking about?”

I’m talking about your novel-writing stuff. (Or simply writing stuff if you’re working on writing other than a novel.)

Where is it?

Depending on how technologically advanced you are, you may have random files on your computer. Or equally random file folders in file drawers. Or scraps of papers scattered about the house. You get the idea, right?Be A Novelist

And depending on how many things you are balancing (day job, family obligations, social calendar, civic responsibilities, and on and on) it may seem that some days all your novel-writing stuff is at the bottom of some random heap. (The word random seems to be working rather well in this blog.)

Even Organized People can Relate

I think even the most organized people on the planet can still relate. It’s an ongoing challenge. You’ve been plotting that novel, or actually writing that novel, and an idea hits. Where does it go? You have an idea for a blog, or a newsletter, or a social media post… Where does it go? Where do you put your stuff?

Enter – The Bullet Journal

Be A Novelist Recently I was introduced to something called a Bullet Journal. Be forewarned if all your stuff is on your computer and you live in that world, this may not appeal to you at all. But check it out anyway. You might be surprised.

When my friend first told me about it, my initial reaction was that it seemed like too much trouble. So I let the idea sit around for a while. But then when the random heap on my desk became almost unbearable, my mind would flit back to the Bullet Journal.

“Hmm…” I thought to myself. “If I had my journal set up, I could just put that information in a special place in that journal.”

The creator of this unique organizational idea suggests using a bound blank book as your journal. But as a left-handed person, I like things that lay flat, flat, flat. So I bought a big 5-subject spiral notebook. And it works great for me.

I Love my Bullet Journal

At this writing, I’ve been using my Bullet Journal now for about eight months. I have to say, I love it. You’ll probably find (if you start down this path) that you’ll quickly begin to customize it to your own use, and yet retain the basic principles. At least that’s how it happened for me. For instance, I use post-it notes to create tabs to quickly locate certain lists and notes.Be A Novelist

I like being able to take it from room to room, especially early in the morning when I’m planning out my workday. Then it winds up on my desk as I work throughout the day.

Again, if you’re used to logging everything into a hand-held device, this may seem clunky to you. But I like having everything right out where I can see it. (Still old school, I suppose.)

More about the bullet journal right here.

I encourage you to invest the time to really learn this process. I admit I had to review it several times before I fully grasped the concepts.

He also offers a video tutorial which really helped me.

Let me know what you think. I wanted to share this because it’s been such a life-saver for me. My less-cluttered desk is quite refreshing. (Notice I didn’t say uncluttered. That will probably never happen. smile)

Be A NovelistBe A NovelistThe Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection now has three 3 available titles.

These clean teen reads, while authored in the past, offer timeless story lines that teens love.


Be A Novelist