Friday, December 30, 2011

Things of note:

1. Finished editing, reread, polished... done. Let me tell you, I loved, loved, loooooved it. For a short period of time I convinced myself that it's my masterpiece (ha, snerk). The "after book high" lasted, eh, four hours or so. Then I was like: ZOMG! I HATZ IT.

*deep breath*

So. Yeah.

It's not really the book. The book is good. At least, in my less self-conscious moments, I think it is. I'll feel better tomorrow.

2. Starting a new book is always hard for me. I know there are a lot of you who love writing beginnings. I find them harder to deal with. Mainly because, if you mess up from the start, the middle and the end will never come together.

The voice is the hardest thing to nail down. It tells everything about the character, at least, it does for me. How the MC thinks, acts, and talks will determine her choices throughout the entire book. There is nothing -- NOTHING -- worse than reaching the 30K mark and realizing your MC is a psychopath (or some other such nonsense).

And me, being me, I will finish the first draft regardless (though, why I do this, I'll never understand). Then I'll dump the book at the start of the next edit (draft 2 is when I take into account things like plot and structure).

3. I also find it hard to get in the swing of writing again. In the first draft you write crap (everyone does, tis the way it is). But. Coming off extensive editing, it's hard for me to allow myself to do that. It's especially hard that I struggle to write above 200 words a day when I know I'm capable of 2K. ;)

I've already restarted this book three times. Each time is just NOT right. Wrong starting point, wrong motivation, wrong voice.

I WILL get it. Hopefully by the end of the day. *crossing fingers*

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Break, So far

1. Bekah got her jacket. Steven stopped by the school on his way home Wednesday. He found a janitor who was kind enough to let him into her classroom. She's one lucky chick.

Steven asked, "What were you going to do? It wasn't like you could let her run around without a jacket."

"No, I was going to keep her inside for two weeks. I figure that would be a fitting learning experience." ;)

But she got out of it, of course.

2. Steven and I were sitting in the living room the other night, and I looked over at the tree. And then I looked again because something wasn't right.

An entire section of the tree had burnt out! I'm really glad I took a picture of it!!! *So upset.*

He asked me what I wanted to do about it.

That was a good question. "Here's the thing... I'm cheap."

His eyes got large with fake surprise. "No, REALLY?!"


Needless to say, the tree is still dark. I really should do something about that. The "plan" is to hit the after holiday sales for a new fake tree!

3. I've been doing an awful lot of sleeping. I'm quite proud of that fact. hahaha.

Today I woke up at 9am (don't worry, I went back to sleep and didn't actually get out of bed till 1pm). It surprised me that Steven was in bed with me.

"Don't you have to go to work?" I asked.

He laughed at me. "Yeah, I've already gone and come back."

Huh, interesting.

4. We're two days into our vacation and the kids are determined to drive me insane. They asked on the first day if they could pull out the couch bed and have a slumber party every day of winter break. Or, if I said no, how about just a few nights?

On Wed night, Steven put them in their own beds (so sorry, no pullout couch), and promised that if they behaved (not likely) they could have a slumber party on Friday night.

Well.  I woke up on Thursday to a complete disaster. Granted, it was quite late in the day (see item #3). Being that they couldn't pull out the couch by themselves, they made a bed in the den anyway.

A couple of things to note: the coffee table/chest has been moved, the shoes and socks strewn across the room, and the DS games thrown about (really upset about THAT one)...

I got my camera out to document it (because, you know, that's what I do). Only, when they saw me snapping pictures, they did everything in their power to hide their faces.

This became a recurring theme. Later that day, I saw them reading together in Seth's room. I thought, oh, how cute! But when I grabbed my camera...

 5. I'm about 50 pages from the end of my manuscript. Sweet Christmas Bread, I need to finish! That being said, I haven't done any of it today and it's 4pm.

I am really lazy during the holidays. Must. Work.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How is it Wednesday already?

I've fallen in to my habit of writing blog posts and not actually posting them. ....! I should go back to see if there's anything worth saving/posting. Eh.

In the meantime, I'VE BEEN EDITING! I know, shocking. I hadn't worked in several weeks. It almost came to the point where I felt myself incapable of it. Then I woke up Saturday morning and POOF! I started working.

Other than that, life is pretty boring. Christmas is coming way too fast. I've been trying to figure out what I'm missing on my to-do list. Like, er, now that I think about it, I haven't ordered the ham yet. It might be nice to have Christmas dinner.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This Year

I’ve made several references about how this has been a year of change for me. I wasn’t ready to talk about it prior to now (I can’t publicly talk about details regardless), but I think I’ve made it to a point where I’m really happy and can open up a bit.

I had reached a point at the beginning of the year where I was dissatisfied. NOT about my real life. NOT about the people with whom I chose to surround myself. It was about things that I couldn’t control, namely my writing career, or lack thereof.

I began to internalize things. Everything that went wrong would be a reflection on me. Stupid things that people would say, situations that didn’t work out, I took the weight of the negativity on my shoulders.

Writing, that had once been fun and had been my place of peace, had morphed into a painful exercise for me. Every time I’d sit at my computer, the internal monologue would start. How I wasn’t good enough and would never be good enough, because – see? – another thing didn’t work out.

I was raised in a family that has a very strong work ethic. We’re achievers. We set a goal, we work, and we get what we want. The fact that I couldn’t make this work ran so much deeper than disappointment. It began to cut at the heart of who I was.

I was frustrated that no matter what I did, it never worked out. EVER.

I think a lot of my dissatisfaction had to do with the fact that I didn’t feel like a contributor to my family. My kids are older and in school all day, I have a degree and, yet, I wasn’t working. My “work” still has no definable reality. If I had sold, well yes, THEN I could say that my pursuit was worthwhile.

Not that my husband EVER said this to me. He is supportive (I think over the top sometimes, because he thinks I can do anything) of whatever I do.

It was all me, me, me. I was the one making myself miserable.

I walked away from writing. Not forever, just… for then. I needed a sabbatical, time to regroup and recharge.

I walked away from agent #2 (for several reasons that really don’t matter to this post), and also, from what I was writing. This was a huge move. Essentially everything I’d worked on up to that point, the NUMEROUS books that are completed and not shopped, were all being set aside. It wasn’t a direction I knew would make me happy.

There I was mid-March with NOTHING. Not one page of writing that I was happy with and not represented. AGAIN.

It was the right decision. The sense of relief was tremendous. I knew it then, and I feel it now. I don’t think I could have made the journey to who I am at this point without a clean break and accepting that a lot of my frustration has stemmed from being on the wrong path.

I turned to photography to connect back to me. Photography didn’t have that hurt that I’d begun to associate with writing. I hadn’t tied myself up emotionally with it. I used it to figure out who I wanted to be as an artist. I DO consider myself an artist. No matter what medium I choose, writing or photography, it’s about creating a piece of art that I can be proud of.

I look back at that post and I cringe a little because – GAH! – the white balance on those pictures is off. I hadn’t mastered WB yet, let alone shot in RAW at that point. I bring this up because it’s reflective of my writing. It’s why I can chose to walk away from what I’ve written in the past. Is it good? Yes, to some it’s fantastic. It was to me at the time. But it isn’t where I want to be in the end. I’m on a journey and I get better every day.

It’s easy to skip steps. It’s just as easy to self-publish, as it is to buy a DSLR and set up a photography business, without working on your craft first.

The question is: What kind of artist do you want to be? – This question is what I have focused this year on, figuring who I want to be.

Is it wrong to self-publish? Of course not!

I’m simply making the argument that sometimes there can be a great learning experience to walking away from something. Yes, you love it. Yes, it’s good. But often it’s not as great as it could/should/will be if given time.

I admit, I’m scared of failing again – and look, I said “failing” even though I haven’t failed! I continue the self-doubt and internalizing things that are not in my control. It’s an insidious thing that makes me unhappy and takes away from the REAL things I do have and love.

This is probably why I have several new projects finished and, yet, not queryable. Because I can’t bring myself to get them to that point. I will be there soon.

Why am I writing this now? Well, because I’m in a really good place. I haven’t worked on my book in two weeks and I’m okay with it. Progress.

Steven worked mid-shift today. He went in at noon and will be home sometime late tonight. This morning I got up with the kids, got them off to school, and then crawled back in bed with my husband and snuggled, sleeping the morning away.

I was not in the least guilty about it. I would have felt guilty for the last number of years. There I was, sleeping away time that I could have focused on writing, on GETTING SOMEWHERE.

What really mattered this morning? Spending time with Steven. Everything else is secondary.

I smiled at him when I woke up and said, “I love my life. Sleeping all day, it really is easy.”

He laughed, kissed me, said he loved me, and then slapped my butt and told me to go bake him cookies. :) This was, of course, before he walked into the kitchen to start coffee for me (love that man!).

I guess this whole post is to say: In the scheme of life, a year sabbatical is not a bad thing. You don’t have to quit, you don’t have to give up, but there is no shame in saying, “I’m not satisfied anymore and I refuse to live my life that way.” Then take steps to GET HAPPY.

My goals for next year are going to be different. I think I’ve hidden long enough. It’s time to start trying again, this time with joy.


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