Last weekend Darling Hubby and I drove to Atlanta to spend the weekend in Historic Decatur. I attended the Nancy Knight Workshop: Half Done is Well Begun hosted by the Georgia Romance Writers of America while we were there. I learned a lot, was glad I never had to read my assignments out loud, and I was inspired to write the best book that I can write by the time the day was finished. If you want to read more about the workshop experience, click here.
While I was learning, my Darling Hubby was exploring. Then we went to two fun places: Leon's and MacMcGees in Historic Decatur. I loved the fact that my writing friends brought their husbands along. The atmosphere was fun, the company congenial, and the laughter abounded. I'd love to see a workshop led by husbands of romance writers. One that highlights how to live with a romance writer, and maybe even a few survival tips.
We arrived home on Sunday afternoon, and eagerly awaited our Darling Daughter's return from Orlando, Florida. She'd gone there with her choir group to participate in a competition. The fact that she was also able to check out the Magic Kingdom and Harry Potter World was another great reason to participate. We'd already taken her to both places, but going to them with a her friends from school was something she couldn't miss. After all, we're old folks and unable to run through the parks the way teenagers can run through them.
I learned on Saturday that HER PRISONER OF LOVE finaled in the Wisconsin Romance Writers FAB FIVE contest. Yay! Now an editor is judging the pages. I received great feedback from several of the judges on this entry as well as the entries that didn't final. I can highly recommend this contest. Speaking of contests, I entered the TARA with four manuscripts. I have three uploaded, and one to go. I should have it done by the end of the week. I already sent my thank you notes to the judges via the category coordinator. If you have entered a contest, please remember to thank the coordinator and the judges. It's hard work.
My darling friend Sharon Wray, a double Golden Heart finalist, and a fine critique partner, has launched her website and her blog. I hope you join her and read about how she developed her amazing romantic suspense series. I always tell people her books are like Suzanne Brockmann meets The DaVinci Code. Sharon is a fabulous writer, but more importantly, she's a true friend. I'm honored to be her date at the Golden Heart Ceremony.
On Monday night we got a call from Darling Daughter. She was quite ill and had to go to emergency in Orlando. Naturally, as a mother and father, we were very afraid. I revisited the Dark Night of the Soul. While I knew her chaperones, the school trip nurse, and the choir director were with her and doing the best they could for her my mother's heart was fearful and afraid. I couldn't rest till I heard her voice, touched her, held her close again. I think we believe that we have a special cloak of protection over out children. We know them. We can read them. But as children grow older, we have to let others protect them. And they did. I'm so proud of my daughter's chaperones.
While I was fearful and afraid, I was surrounded by my own protective cloak. Friends in the Cyber World kept us in their prayers and posted support for us on Facebook, Titterland, and in emails. I received phone calls from dear friends. My hubby was there for me, too. I was there for him. Once again, despite my dark night of the soul, I was given hope through my friends' faith. I read a lot about another mother who has to battle back the dark night of the soul regularly when it comes to her precious daughter. Her baby just had a heart transplant. I learned about this baby via Twitter. Now I follow the mother's blog here.
Despite wanting to eat the last three boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and desperately longing for chocolate to help me get through the day on Tuesday, I stayed true to my 4 Hour Body diet plan. I'm determined to lose the fluff by the RWA National Conference in NYC this summer. I found some really yummy vegetable chips that have no sugar added and are all natural. They helped. So did Sugar Free Jello. I didn't work out--too tired. But I am a firm believer in regular exercise so I will be back on the treadmill today.
I have a lot of writing projects to work on these days. I'm juggling three manuscripts right now, and I've got querying to do. Oh, Queryland, how do I love you not? I really just want to write, but can't be published if queries don't fly out the door. So this week I am going to send three more out into the world. I've had great interest in one particular manuscript which is my only single title manuscript. So off into the world it must go.
I'm also polishing the rest of the story for Mills & Boon's editors. I am in a holding pattern, waiting over the airport of publication, wondering if my first three chapters landed and if the rest should be asked for. I must be ready for any traffic control call. So I work in a vacuum. I'm also storyboarding the manuscript that did so well in the FAB FIVE. I have 6 weeks to finish revising it and polish it. I wrote about this manuscript and it's journey through revision here.
Today is a day of recuperation and rest for my Darling Teen. It's also a day of regrouping and revising for this tired mother. If I can impart any words of wisdom for how to continue writing when life just gets very scary and overwhelming, it is this: do the "busy work." Consider this the ironing time of your writing. It is impossible to create beautiful words and stories when one is tired, worried and afraid. But one can send thank you notes, clear out the computer files, straighten out the desk, make folders for the stories, work out a plan of attack for writing, and read great blogs. As long as you're participating in the process, even if it is just ironing out pesky administrative details, you're still writing.
And that's what separates the professional writer from the hobbyist: you still come to work even if you can't face the task. You find a way to be involved in the tasks of writing!