Tag Archives: journey

Nom De Plume

A Pen Name.

I spent a lot time thinking and praying over this idea before I created my website. I researched why Authors use pen names and why they don’t. In today’s world if you use a pen name, I believe most people are aware of it. So why use one? Or better yet, why not? It’s fun!

I use one.

There are a lot of different reasons for choosing a pen name as well as pros and cons. I personally, have nothing against my first name, Tonya. Although, it is regularly misspelled. I hated my maiden name; West. No matter what there were jokes about which direction I was going. Ironically, I am very skilled at getting lost.

My married name, VanWinkle leads to a lot of “like Rip VanWinkle” remarks. Many people call my husband and son both, Rip. Not something I want to be called.

I wanted something that was mostly, all mine.

When I set out in search of a name, I asked myself these questions:

  1. Will it look pretty on a cover?
  2. Does anyone else have it/use it? I needed to make sure I could use it as my website.
  3. Is it hard to pronounce?

Pretty simple. I typed it up in several different fonts to see how it would look and eventually settled on:

My middle name is Renea – although most people I know spell it Renee – I guess my Mom liked to be unique. I like it spelled this way though. Then I wondered what I could make work with my maiden name as it would be easier to adjust than VanWinkle. I lost my precious mother-in-law June of 2014 and her name was Marilyn. In her memory, I took the “lyn” and added to my maiden name.

And there you have it. The how and the why of my pen name – a name that is all mine.

However, until this year I have written as Tonya VanWinkle or Tonya West. In February of 1999 – I received this after submitting a poem into a contest my Librarian Mrs. Russell had suggested.

When I received this along with a letter in the mail about it I was through the roof excited. I mean I felt like I was flying and then I realized I had to purchase said book. That deflated me a bit. I didn’t expect to be paid but if I wanted the book that contained a piece of my work in it, I had to buy it? Weird.

But have the book, I do and my poem is on the bottom of page 56. Today, I can’t find that book online anywhere. The furtherest back I can find is 2001.

The company however is still around and still providing the contest to students all around the world and they can be found here: Creative Communications

The copyright inside the book says that the writing may not be shared without permission of both Author and Publisher. I have contacted them about it and as soon as I receive approval I will share it with you.

My life changed drastically that very month as I learned I would be a Momma. I graduated that May, married that August and was blessed with a beautiful baby girl that October. Life got busy. My writing journey took all kinds of twists and turns. I attempted writing Children’s books for a while – so not my thing. I found a folder with my work from that time – I’ll have to share some of that mess later.

I continued to write poetry and other things – which is why I should have stock in journals.

I took a few writing classes here and there, but mostly I continued to dream. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year, when my son said to me…

well what did you want to do before kids

that I realized I was doing what I wanted to do before children. I was just keeping it all to myself and not pursuing the dream. With the empty nest fast approaching, I have a lot of time to myself and my goal this year is to make it happen, which means I have to stay focused!

While I work on accomplishing that goal I am enjoying sharing my past works and journey with you and I thank you for your visit today.

 


Finding the Balance

School is almost out for the summer here in Virginia. My teenage children are beyond done, it has been a long year. Next year, I will have a Senior and a Sophomore – when did I get this old?! I don’t remember that happening.

I am looking forward to school being out too, simply because it means I can stay up late into the night and write twice a week without worry of having to get up at a certain time. I do most of my writing on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. I enjoy writing when I’m home alone and the place is silent or late at night when the only thing that interrupts the peaceful quiet is the sound of my husband snoring. Yes, he’s that loud, but at least that T.V. isn’t blaring!

Three days a week I’m at the CrossFit box by 8:30 – which means I have to leave my home by 8 – meaning I really should get up at 7 verses 7:30. I am not a morning person, as a matter of fact one of my favorite shirts says, “Allergic to Mornings“.

However, I will be thankful that I train early throughout the summer due to the rising temperatures. The weatherman says, “High of 95 today” – he usually lies to me, so perhaps it will only reach 90. As I write this it’s barely 9 am and already 76.

Anyway, I say all that basically to say that on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday’s I cannot stay up late or I will never get out of bed and be on time. BUT…on Monday, Wednesday and sometimes Friday (depending if I go train Saturday mornings) I can stay up late!

Yes, that makes me happy! I am a night owl and all the writers/authors come out at night to play. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you. I refuse to sacrifice my health and I dearly love to write…so I’ve an odd schedule. Yes, I could train later in the afternoons, but I’ve had my 8:30 routine going for over 6 months and I hate to break that and try to get into a new one. Plus, I supervise the children for the 9:30 class – so it’s best to just get it done and then I have all afternoon/evening to do whatever…write, clean, write, manage social media, write, nap, write, shower…you get the idea right?

Last night, I got to stay up late…12:30-ish. I figured I’d last longer due to the massive amount of caffeine I had yesterday. “Hello, my name is Renea and I am a coffee addict“.   I was starting to fade and I thought to myself, “Union is just gonna have to wait until morning to get off that train“. I really wanted to keep writing. I only managed about 1,000 words before I gave in. Knowing that school isn’t quite out yet (and 6:30 was gonna bite me in the hiney), is the number one reason I gave in and left poor Union sitting on that train.

Today, I’m gonna see if I can’t get her off that blasted train and not read 5 books myself. I am my own worst enemy. I’d be a more productive writer if I didn’t read so much! I’m starting to use “reading” as a “reward” for x amount of words written. I haven’t decided on the amount yet. Perhaps, per 1,000 words but then we run into the problem of… will I put the book down and will my focus return or will I still be thinking of said book. So maybe I should say 3,500 words written per book reading privileges.

Finding that balance – I am a work in progress, not just my novels.

The office is still in the process of it’s makeover. I haven’t had anything new to share about that really as my husband has decided he needs a new saw to complete the task. A saw that he doesn’t want to go buy just yet, because his windshield needs replaced and he got a speeding ticket…in Italy! My husband travels for work from time to time and yesterday in the mail arrived a ticket from his trip to Italy – he’s not real happy about that. I’m not really either as it slows progress, but I did find it funny. Sometimes, well actually a lot of times, I just have to shake my head at him. Certain things only happen to him.

I thought however, before I go rescue Union from the train that I’d leave you with another poem from my stash of past writings. Between book reviews and my past writings, I at least have something to share with you until my novel is released. If you are of the praying mind, I’d sure appreciate those prayers as I journey forward. I have so many stories half written and within me that are trying to get out that sometimes I need a little help!

I hope you are having a blessed day and have enjoyed your visit here. Hey, would ya look at that 850 words and counting for this post…now if I could only type Union’s story as quickly I’d be golden!

Be Blessed my friends!