Wednesday, December 31, 2008

School Starts on the 6th!

Well I was all ready to hit the book revision HARD on Monday, the fifth, after my darling daughter headed back to school. Haha... not. Apparently, our school district heads back on Tuesday! And I lose Friday because we have to head north for an orthodontist appointment. Blah!!

I was bummed out. But then I decided that just because she was "off" didn't mean that I wasn't working. So I informed her that I would be writing on Monday as planned. I have a lot I want to accomplish in 2009 and dilly dallying won't help me. She is fine with that as she would just as soon sleep than anything. So, I will write in the morning for a good three hours and then be a mom in the afternoon.

I can't believe we are almost in 2009. As I look over my spread sheet of the goals and tasks for my family and myself for 2008, I am blown away by how much I've accomplished. On the second, I am sitting down and working out those goals again for the family and myself. It's an interesting exercise and fun to check off everything on the lists as the months go by!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just about A New Year and I'm Ready

It's been a crazy year for me and my family. As one person at a writing group put it, "life hijacked me." We moved. And it wasn't an easy process. I flew to the new city with my family to check it out January 2008. We found schools we liked, areas we liked, and houses we loved. We landed on January 29th back in VA and two and half weeks later my house was on the market.

I make it sound easier than it was. In a nutshell, I gave birth to a staged house. And that was a monumental effort. I learned a few things about myself:

*I can sleep in my clothes and wear them the next day to run around looking for paint to match my walls

*my personal handyman, N, had the secret to life: don't panic, I can fix it. And he did and I miss him.

*I can box up half my house and watch it drive away in storage units

*who needs comfort when they can have a model home?

*my real friends were there for me at the oddest of times

*my other friends were not real friends

*I can survive an economic downturn and sell a house in 1 month!

Then we turned around and purchased a house on the internet using a realtor my VA realtor recommended. I learned a lot from that experience, too:

*as long as you have a tough realtor, anything is possible

*you can buy a house on the internet

*you can order idiots working for builders around via all caps in emails long distance

*you can live in three places in the span of two months

*you can make a new life happen while living the old one

Then we moved into the new house and I learned:

*that if you complain, people will come through and make things right

*box cutters are a must

*wrist guards are a must

*dust? what dust?

After we moved into the house and got settled, I learned that I can:

*drive 12 hours with a teen and see my old friends
*starting a new life is easy with a positive attitude
*I am a most excellent nester

And through it all, I learned something about myself as a writer because I entered contests, placed third in one contest, and I continued to write. Now I am revising my third book and am almost at the finish line--again.

So I am really excited about the new year because this year I don't have to move. I just have to keep doing what I started, and I have more time to do it. Yeah! I am setting bigger goals for myself this year. I am going for the gold as far as time spent in front of the computer banging out stories. And I am aggressively marketing my books--again!

And now, back to revising book three.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taking Time to be with Family

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I've enjoyed spending time with my family. Christmas morning came a bit too early, but we survived and I had a huge nap afterward. We've enjoyed watching our new movies, playing our new games on the Wii and trying out the Wii Fit package. Turns out I have horrible balance from sitting cross legged at a desk. No surprise considering the hours I spend in front of the computer.

We've hosted guests, a few too many, but still had fun. And I've managed to write a few times. Today we are heading to Nashville to see the Rockettes Show and spend the night there. So there will be no writing today or tomorrow. But that is okay. Everyone needs a break, including me.

I made up my mind about the BIAW course. It's not possible right now. I don't want to take away from the book I am revising, and the timing of this BIAW course overlaps my work. I need a break and a chance to refresh myself before I start a new one. At least I KNOW what I want to write and the target market. That's a step in the right direction.

I've learned a lot about myself as a writer through doing the Golden Heart and attempting a tiny amount of writing every day. One very positive outcome is the knowledge that if I go back to work so my kid can go to college, I can still write an hour a day and get quite a lot accomplished. It might take me longer to finish a book, but I can still finish one. Sometimes baby steps are better than no steps at all. Writing isn't an all or nothing proposition for me anymore. At one point, I had considered quitting altogether if I am not published by the time I am 50, but now I don't feel that way.

It would kill me not to write my stories, even if the only people who read them are judges for writing contests and my critique group.

I hope I always feel that way.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One More Sleep!

I have to admit I am a sucker for Christmas morning. And this year is no exception. We are incredibly blessed during a very difficult time in our world. We have our health, a beautiful new home, and a healthy child. My husband and I still enjoy rattling around the cage together after 23 years of marriage. Life is good.

I am also following my heart and pursuing my dreams because I have the support of my family.

And I've learned that I have the ability to write in any circumstance. If I have an hour a day or so, give or take, I can keep plowing forward. That is a good thing to know should I return to the workforce after my daughter goes to college.

I've given myself time to pursue the goal and a deadline for publishing. If I am not published by the time I am 50, I will reevaluate and look to getting a part time job as well as continue my writing. I thought at first I would give it up completely, but I have no desire to do that and now I know I can do both--heck I am raising my child and writing. Why can't I work and write for nothing till I am published.

The greatest gift is knowing you have found your passion and are pursuing it without regard for the reward or the end of the game.

One more sleep till Christmas, but in this house, I feel I have already been given the greatest of all gifts... home, health, happiness!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deadlines in a Surreal World

I want to do Book in a Week. But it starts January 5th and I am not sure I can give this 3rd book what it needs if I rush through it. I counted the pages left and I need to revise/work on 10 pages a day over 10 days if I want to finish it before the 5th. I don't see that happening. Not realistically in my world of being mom, wife, maid, and friend over the next 12 days. Christmas is off, the first is off, and surprises happen. Meanwhile, I am hosting 3 more events at my place. When am I supposed to focus on 10 pages a day?

I am seeing where I am at by this Friday. Then I will make a decision.

If someone were paying me, I would have no choice. But how do I justify time away from my other "jobs" if I am not getting paid for this one?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Week

I managed to get through a weekend where I had to organize and hold a work party for my DH and held a sleepover for the little miss. We also delivered goodie bags to 8 neighbors. Writing accomplished-zero. Monday morning, 3 sleeps till Christmas and I hope to accomplish some writing this week until the 25th. We'll see if I succeed. At this point, merely writing a half an hour a day might be more manageable, with less guilt, and it's equivalent to 100 words a day. Anything more is a crapshoot.

Goals for the week:

*write Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
*write a minimum of half an hour a day or more on each of those days
*continue reading about writing
*ponder the BIAW course and decide if I want to take it by Friday morning

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Last Day of the Semester

I have one half day left till Christmas break. Wahoo!! I am writing for one hour today--actually decided to punt an entire scene. Not sure what that means for the next scene, but it is highly necessary to move the book along. Agh, I hate cutting scenes, but when I write it on my MS about three or more times asking if I should cut or save, it usually means CUT! Argh.

Does cutting a scene count as writing?

One hour today. Then walk, shop, get ready for a big party, and more. I am going to stick to this. Last night we discussed my going back to work after daughter goes to college. Argh again. I hate regular hours, stupid bosses and no vacation time. I MUST get published before my daughter goes to college. That gives me exactly 3.5 years. And I remember a time capsule we did in the millenium in which I wrote I would be a published author by 2012!! That's not so far away now.

At least I've written three books since I wrote that statement. Now I need to sell one, and quick!! New year's resolution is to write faster, work smarter, and get marketing!!

The countdown begins!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Week Slips Away

Everything was fine until I got the call from my daughter about her hand--oops! Tripped over her two left feet, landed funny on her hand, and off to the doctor we went. Wednesday we went to the orthopedist to have it examined... well anyone who's been to an ortho's office knows that is tpically a 2-3 hour wait and exam time. And it was exactly 2 hours! Then lunch, then home, then homework, then cook, then well... no writing on Wednesday at all.

Today I went to Nashville and managed zip in front of the computer till now. And there won't be real writing until tomorrow. Got goodies to make, a party to plan, and shopping/cooking to do for the party. Oh, and somewhere in there I must clean. Thank God I don't have a job I have to drive into on a regular basis. Otherwise, I'd accomplish none of the above.

Tomorrow--1 hour! I promise myself.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Cat on My Lap and A Day to Refocus

Well I think I've discovered that the weather really distracts me from writing. It's rainy and cold out there and all I want to do is hunker neath the covers and read a book. Writing? Bah humbug. And I have a ton of goodies still to make... by myself because my daughter is swamped with school work and finals and recitals and the list goes on.

How will I ever do even one hour today? But I will. This blog is the first step into the writing forest. At some point I will write for one hour this morning.

The only thing suffering is my exercise routine. I joined a gym to go workout there on crappy days like this--group fitness starts at 8:30am. But I haven't gone since the week before Thanksgiving because the day just sucks if I break up my morning. And the main reason I joined was to make new friends. Ha. That hasn't happened. Nobody really talks there. Well one person did approach me, but it was to give me a pointer on how to stomp more quietly on my step ... so much for making new friends. She didn't even give me her name first!

Maybe that is why I am not going to that gym.

Or maybe I am just a lazy von lazerson type person because I am tired, I have a sinus infection, and all I want to do is sleep on cold, nasty rainy days. The fact that I write at all at this point is already a minor miracle.

So, grumpy and tired, and lazy to boot. But I will write my hour today. I will!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ten Days till Christmas--Countdown!

The closer the big day is to arriving, the less writing I manage to accomplish. I went shopping Friday, Saturday was a big recital day, and Sunday I prepared goodies for giveaways all afternoon. I haven't written one word for my MS since Thursday.

But I am not upset at myself this year, because I have done more in the month of December than I ever did before and I am making progress. I tell myself I will write, but if I get distracted, I tell myself that other "working" people are taking two weeks off of work starting Saturday. So I can, too. If I want. I am not under an editor's knife, having to get anything done. Any work I do is because I am under my own knife.

And my "knife" is a little dull right now. I usually take most of December off so I can enjoy the holidays. This year I haven't taken as much time off, but I've still had fun. Now, I have ten days to finish shopping, wrapping and making goodies. And it suddenly feels like writing is not as important as Christmas preparations.

However, I am still setting the following goal for my last week of writing without family around.

*write 1 hr a day till Friday

After that, it's a crap shoot. I may manage to get 1 hr in per day the 22, and 23 of December, but I doubt much will happen until after Christmas. Everyone deserves a holiday. Even unpaid writers!

I will be back in the saddle in the New Year. And I have a lot of goals for the new year. I also feel proud of all I have accomplished this year despite moving to a new state and starting my daughter in a new school system. I managed to finish a book, place third in a contest, and send off my MS to the Golden Heart. Not too shabby given all the changes. I have to ask myself, how much more will I accomplish in 2009 without the major distractions!?

And now, back to reality. I still have a household to run and a book to finish revising.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Big Distractions

Today I will be lucky to get any writing done, but I will try if a window of time opens up this afternoon.

1) clean
2) pick up new friend and go to mall
3) shop for christmas
4) lunch
5) another mall--shop for christmas
6) drop off friend
7) home

Friday night--13 sleeps till Christmas--time is a ticking away and I am not ready for the big day.

But my page count is great thus far. I have turned over 62 pages of the MS as I revise the book.

I am moving forward despite it being December and the holidays fast approaching.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

Why is that a rainy day does nothing to motivate me to sit and write? It's not like I can go outside and play or have fun. But I've delayed my "hour" till this afternoon by lollygaggling around the house and puttering and trying to stay warm and trying to feel "in the mood."

Well, my mood is still grouchy, my body is still cold, and my hands are not anymore motivated to generate words for my story.

And I have a commitment. So today, I sit and slog for the "commitment."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Writing Thoughts

Well I looked over at my pile of turned pages this morning and I am pleasantly surprised at all the work I've managed to accomplish since instituting the one hour a day writing rule. So far I've turned 52 pages! And I've added two scenes. I am happy with the progress. I know I have cleaning up to do and I know that there are days when I think, this is just CRAP and who will buy it??? But at least it is CRAP THAT IS WRITTEN.

Right now, just the discipline, developing the habits I need to slog through to the end again and again is good to develop. I have a goal of being able to write three books a year--or work on three a year. Draft 1 is easy in comparison to the work of revising repeatedly, but the goal is to be through a first draft and then be working on a revision for another book, or two, and then to market the most recently revised book which would be this one.

I haven't wrapped my brain around the marketing. I know I have to do it again... face the rejections again... but it's hard. And I wonder what it would be like to get "the call." How will that effect my writing when I am asked to make changes for editors? I know it is hard enough to do it for critique partners or contest judges, but it is a process I am getting used to. It is at my own pace and for my own self-fulfillment. Will it be harder to write if I feel I might disappoint an editor? I don't know. I do know that other writers who have gotten the "call" say the same feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt exist afterward. Great! I just love living with doubt. Yet, somehow, we plod along and keep writing through the doubt.

I guess that is the key.

Today I have minor goals. I must go to the store and do a major Costco run. Then I may have someone over for a quick visit around 1pm. Afterward, I will put in my one hour of writing.

It does work!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Week Moves On

I managed to work over two hours on Saturday, then pushed over an hour on Monday. I skipped Sunday--one day off isn't awful. I am slogging ahead and seeing the book progress forward. This one hour a day goal is a good one because even if I want to skip it, I tell myself, "it's only an hour."Then I want to work. And it is amazing how sitting in front of the computer, working through the "gee I don't feel like it" feeling leads to getting words on the pages! Wahoo.

Today I have to battle the printer to make labels, run to the bank to deposit a check, go to the Post Office to buy stamps for the Christmas cards, and then do the Christmas Cards!

I got smart about the Christmas cards. Ordered them with my new address on-line. Now all I have to do is print labels, add a few checks, a few personal greetings, and off they go. Voila, more time to write!!

An hour is my goal today. I also want to read through my workshop lessons and make notes for the revision.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Cleaning Blues

Well Mondays are not good writing days for me. I try to hit the grocery store, clean house, and get laundry out of my way. I also go through all my administrative stuff and get that organized. If I get an hour in today, I'll be lucky. I am also battling serious fatigue and a sinus infection, so I am not on the ball at all.

To top it all off, I still have the usual wrapping, Angel tree present to organize and dance/voice-a-thon tonight as the chauffeur mom.

But I am hopeful to get an hour in today. One hour is not that much in the overall scheme of things.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weekend Warrior

Well to commit to the one hour a day during the holidays, that means writing on the weekends as well. Yesterday, despite being sick, I managed over two hours. Today I hope to add another hour. And this will mean writing through a pizza delivery for 7 girls who are celebrating a birthday for my daughter's friend.

Talk about distractions! 7 squealing girls in my home, singing on Singstar, and bouncing around upstairs while I pound the keyboard. And then my Dear Husband is home pounding on his keyboard.

And I am still battling a cold. But I promised myself an hour a day so after I am done writing this tiny blog, I will start the next scene!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Writing through Illness

When I "worked" outside the home, I'd push through a cold and go into the office if I didn't have a fever. I did this even if my nose felt like a train ran through it or I was in pain. But now, as a writer struggling to get published, I am asking myself, is it worth feeling miserable with a dripping nose? No one is paying me, and no one cares if I "show up" to the computer keyboard. But then I reminded myself, that I CARE.

So even though I spent the better part of last night blowing my nose and feeling like crapola, and even though my nose is drippier than a leaky faucet, I am going to write for at least one hour today.

Of course, who knows what those wonderful cold medications will do to my ability to string together two words or a paragraph???

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December Distractions

Up until last year, I took the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas OFF. I enjoyed getting ready for the holidays and spending time with my friends. Last year, I changed the routine, but found myself feeling guilty every time I wrote or every time I didn't write. It wasn't a good feeling. This year, I decided to follow the 100 words a day advice I got from the Wet Noodle Posse. I feel that way I am not taking away time from my writing or from readying for the holidays. No more guilt!!

Writing 100 words a day isn't really what I am doing. I am shooting for an hour a day. And it is amazing how much you can accomplish in an hour. Since Monday I have plowed through 21 pages of my MS for the revision. Spending an uninterupted hour in front of the computer means getting at least 1 scene tweaked in the MS. If I get stuck, I use another trick and write XXX so I can look for that later on in a seek/find throughout the MS. The point is to get SOMETHING done. Perfection no longer is the key. If I keep going at this pace, I should be able to plow through another 90 pages before Christmas hits.

I know that once my daughter is home for the break, I won't get much accomplished, but I am planning on utilizing my Lark tendencies to my benefit. I'm up before everyone else, so I can chop out an hour before the lazy ones arise.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A New Month & New Goals

Well I made it through Thanksgiving, but not its distractions. With company and cooking galore, I didn't manage to get any writing done--not even the 100 words a day. However, I did "touch" my MS once a day and look at where I needed to go so that counts a little, right? I also managed to send in another contest entry on Saturday. After much battling with line counts and margins, losing, not caring and emailing the mess in just the same. What is the deal with the line counts? Margin? Who comes up with these numbers???

Now it is December 1, and I am facing a month of holiday planning, decorating, cooking, and many distractions. Already the husband has said I MUST get the Christmas cards out this week or no one will find us (we recently moved after 9 years in the same spot). And I am digging out of company messes. Bathrooms, laundry and general cleaning must occur. And what does that mean for my writing day? Well, I am definitely sticking to the "100 words" a day through the holidays until my daughter is home for Christmas break. But for me, that means writing a minimum of half an hour a day or more because I am in revision mode. Instead of writing, I am cutting and moving and rewriting, so my word count is very weird. I already cut quite a few words from my MS (and I HATE cutting words so I paste them into another document because I think I might use them somewhere else).

So, now it is back to reality, and housework, and the sincere desire to spend at least 1 hour writing today.