Wednesday, January 30, 2013


My slump time each day is the afternoon, usually from 2-4, sometimes later. I put West down for nap, am good for a half hour or so, then I drop. I’m trying to figure out how to combat it with something other than caffeine. Maybe I should change my lunch time, or what I eat for lunch. Maybe I need to exercise during that time. I don’t know.

But it frustrates me because each morning I have intentions to write while West naps later that day, but then when the time comes, all I want to do is lay down.  And no, I’m not pregnant!

I’m probably exaggerating—it’s not every day, but most days. It feels like every day when I look back on my week and realize I wrote only one afternoon all week.

Not sure this blog has a point besides me complaining and wanting some advice!

Happy Slump-Day!

Monday, January 28, 2013

To Be Well Named

I’ve had people ask me how I come up with names for my characters. I don’t really know what to say. The answer is too short and corny. But true.

For the most part, names just pop into my head. When I’m creating a character, the name comes along with him/her. Sometimes I have to really brainstorm on the name, especially for big main characters. But for the most part, the name shoots into my head.

I wish it was that easy when it came to naming children. I’ve had some names on my list for a few years, mainly girl names. When it comes to boy names, we’re at a lost. Westly had always been a fave of mine, but it was the only boy name we had. Even now, we have no boy names. There is a lot of pressure naming a boy, I feel. The name has to go with the last name, and this little boy has to grow into a man and own his name.

Needless to say, I am trusting that when/if we have another baby, and if it is another boy, my writer’s muse will shoot the perfect name into my head.

After all, the baby will be a Shaw, thus quite a character!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bawling and Babbling

Last week Westly had a few memorable tantrums. One particularly bad one happened in Target. There was screaming, arching of the back, kicking legs, scratching, pulling Mama’s hair, and tears. It shocked me because Westly is usually quite mild-mannered. I wasn’t entirely sure how to handle it.

But one thing I could read in my upset little boy: frustration.

I don’t think it was all targeted at the situation, or even at me. I think Westly was verbally frustrated. And although the tantrum stressed me out, it also gave me hope that West was on the cusp of a new developmental step, more specifically talking.

I was right. Just this week since that tantrum Westly has added four new words to his growing vocabulary, and what’s more, he’s in the early stages of parroting. This is such an answer to prayer, as we have always been a little worried about his speech delay.

This situation reminded me of several things: first, all bad and even good phases don’t last long with toddlers. Second, West always has a reason for his behavior, whether it’s teething, venting, or outright will.

 And third, rainbows come only after storms.

Or in my case, tantrums.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Here's to 2013

I finally landed my New Year’s Resolution for 2013. I knew I wanted to memorize Scripture this year, maybe a passage a month. But I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. My mom suggested I work on memorizing a long cohesive passage through the year, learning a few verses each month. Then by December I would have memorized a chapter or something. I decided to do this, but I still wasn’t sure what to memorize.

Then one night last week as I was about to fall asleep, I suddenly got inspiration. (I love when that happens. I get a lot of last minute ideas for my book just as I’m falling asleep!)

So in 2013, I am going to memorize Proverbs 31:10-31, or otherwise known as the Proverbs 31 Woman passage. It covers motherhood, being a wife—who knows, there might even be a verse about being a writer! Anyways, I’ll memorize 1-2 verses per month and finish the passage in December.

I’m hoping each month to come up with a craft or write a poem or do some other creative outlet to help memorize the verses.

January’s verse is verse 10, the first in the Prov 31 Woman passage:

Who can find a virtuous wife? Her worth is far above rubies.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Happy Martin Luther King Day!

May you be inspired and courageous to live out your dream this year!

And go ignite someone else’s dream.

Friday, January 18, 2013

My New Job As a Thesaurus

It’s funny to think that Westly only has so many words he knows how to say and use to communicate. Last I counted there were around 15 regular words he uses daily, such as “more, ball, phone, car, water, waffle, paci, Daddy, Mama, Papa, Nana…” to name a few. I can see why sometimes he gets frustrated in his communication. He wishes he could say more, but he doesn’t know the words yet.

I sometimes feel like this as a writer. I have a pretty good vocabulary, but it’s nowhere near where I’d like it to be. There are times when I’m describing a scene, or a character’s inner feelings, and get frustrated because I can’t quite find the right word. Thankfully I have a dictionary and thesaurus to consult.

Poor Westly doesn’t . Well, maybe he does. He has me. I definitely need to work on helping him say new words. I don’t always have the patience or focus to work with him on his speech. But I need to. I need to be his thesaurus.

God knows I need mine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One Adventure After Another

If your life is boring, I know two things that will make it more exciting with unexpected adventures: parenting and/or writing.

The other day I was working on my book and suddenly got this fun idea. I could say it was birthed from those creative juices that were flowing because I had been writing for two hours at that point. But it’s more exciting to say the idea came out of nowhere. Didn’t see that coming!

Last night I put West to bed, and about ten minutes later I hear him crying. And not just “I miss Mama” crying, or “You turned off the hall light!” crying. But real “Mama, come rescue me, something is terribly wrong!” crying. As soon as I entered his bedroom, the pungent odor hit me. My poor boy was sitting in an excessive amount of toxic vomit! Didn’t see that coming!

Whether pleasant or gross, unexpected adventures are part of my daily life being a mom and an author. You never know when a spark of imagination will ignite a fantastic story.

Or when your kid will throw up, for that matter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Split Personality

I’ve got 2 To-Do Lists going on in my head. One is for FC Shaw the writer, the other is for Farah the Mommy.

Writer                                                                   Mommy

Write each week                                            Teach/play with West each day

Finish first draft by March                            Wean Westly by April

Attend a writer’s workshop in Feb              Take Westly to Disneyland in Feb

Submit something to publishers                  Mail pictures of Westly to family

Proofread what I’ve written so far              Baby-proof kitchen counters

Friday, January 11, 2013

One Potato, Two Potatoes

Michael and I want to eat healthier and drop a little weight. He has bigger goals than I do. Right now, I’d like to lose about 5 pounds. I need to slim my waistline a little, and I’d like to be a few pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight before I get pregnant again. I don’t want to gain on top of extra gain.

Today when I went grocery shopping, I bought vegetables, and not just a potato. When I got home, I washed them all, sliced them up, put them in little ziplock baggies, and put the baggies in a pink basket to set in my frige. I even poured ranch in a little container so it’s ready for dipping. See, I have to take every excuse away, and outsmart my lazy butt. I also wrote a list of healthy snacks on a post-it and stuck it on my frige door. That way I’m reminded of good snacks to eat during the day.

We’ll see if this helps with eating healthier.

I also did not buy any cookies, chocolate, or chips. It was tempting, but I resisted. Then in the check-out aisle I spotted Trader Joe’s caramel popcorn. It was a small bag. It was only $1.49. And it was surprisingly low-fat, low-cal.

Hey, I have to have some reward for all this healthy eating!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stories in My Head

I get inspired by good writing and great storytelling, whether that be in a book, a movie, or a song. Here are some great stories inspiring me right now:

A Death in the Small Hours A mystery written by Charles Finch, book 5 of his Charles Lenox Detective series. This is my current literary crush.

Downton Abbey Season 3 British mini-series written by Julian Fellowes, about the intermingling lives of an earl and his family and his staff. So. Stinkin’. Good.

RED Newest CD by Taylor Swift, more ballads about falling in love, being in love, and breaking up. Cheesy, maybe, but she’s a good storyteller through her music.

Dear Zoo Westly’s newest board book, a cute story about finding the right pet. Each animal is revealed by opening a flap. So simple, but it delights Westly which in turn melts my Mommy-heart.

Binsey Pet name for a new friend I met, who is sponsoring me to be a part of an online writer’s group. Talking to her and hearing her life stories is refreshing, invigorating, inspiring, and downright fun.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Then Baby

The other night Michael and I were talking about this year. We’d like to get pregnant this year. Michael suggested we not try, but also not not try—just see what happens. I got excited about that idea…

…until I remembered my writing. I need to finish Book 5, publish it, and promote it before Baby #2 comes. And before Westly grows out of his long naps. Michael is okay with that.

I am so blessed to have a husband who supports my writing…and who wants to have more kids someday!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Finding Adventure

I’m on a roll now. I suddenly found my muse again, and have been writing a lot of Book 5 the past couple days. This book has been such a struggle for me so far. And when I complained about it to Michael, he pointed out the reason, and was dead on:

The climax is the hardest part of a story for me to write. It always has been. I struggle putting my protagonist in danger, and keeping the stakes high, etc. Michael pointed out that this last book I’m writing is the climax of the whole series. So it’s no wonder it’s the hardest book for me.

I know what needs to happen in this book, I’m just not sure how it should happen yet.

But that’s what makes writing an adventure in itself.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Finding my Resolution

Every year I try to come up with one resolution to keep for the year, usually something to do each month. One year I made a resolution to read at least one book a month. This last year I made the resolution to do at least one craft/art project per month, and I kept it. It was great fun and I plan to continue it. I went back and forth about what resolution to make this year.

Some people assumed I would make some type of writing resolution. I used to make writing goals for the year. But by now, I’ve made writing a habit, part of my lifestyle. That is much more effective for me that making writing a resolution.

I’m still considering my New Year’s resolution. Should it have something to do with mommy-hood? Something for myself? Something new to try?

What’s yours?