Tag Archives: editing

Summer Vacay Is Over…Whew!

20 Aug

Yep, I’ve been busy this summer. I had all 4 kids at home all day, every day. It wasn’t as stressful as previous summers, but I’ve learned in recent years that summer doesn’t equal relaxation for me, nor does it equal productivity. Add in such things as the Olympics and what little productivity I did have petered out. Speaking of the Olympics, I’m just now watching the closing ceremonies…only a week late. Not too bad.

School started last Wednesday, but because it was only half days, it didn’t really count as the end of summer. Today does count, though. Full days of school, baby! I’m at home now with just one kiddo – my little sidekick, Baby Tay.  Her favorite thing, by the way? Singing the alphabet song with the ending, “Now I wonder what you are/No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” Yeah, she’s a piece of work.

I know I’ve said this before. I’ve set goals and missed them, but I’m going to say it again – I’m going to get my memoir manuscript ready to submit by the end of the year. I’m going through the 2nd round of editing and I’m finding it easy to cut large blocks of unnecessary stuff. In addition to the manuscript, I have to get a book proposal package ready to submit, too. I’m tired of carrying this around as an “I’m gonna.” It needs to be an “I did.”

So I know this isn’t my usual stunningly hilarious stuff, but I just wanted y’all to know that I’m back from my summer hiatus. And I’ll leave you with a picture.

Me and Baby Tay enjoying a cuddle on the swing out in the front yard.

On the Angsty-Go-Round

27 Apr

angst/aNG(k)st/

Noun:

  1.  A feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.
  2. A feeling of persistent worry about something trivial.

My paraphrase – freaking out about something that’s not that important.

This is where I am today. I have angst about my blog and my writing career (or lack thereof). This morning as I was wandering through the blogosphere, I started feeling that little tug inside that I dread. It’s the one that’s telling me:

I’m not doing enough. I’m not interacting enough with other bloggers. I’m not writing enough. How am I ever going to convince an agent or editor that I have a platform if I’m not doing all this social media stuff? And why am I not working on my manuscript right now? Shame on me.

I guess that if I were to boil those thoughts down to their essence, it would be: I’m not good enough. It’s sister principle is: God is not enough.

As much fun as wallowing in angst is, there’s no place for it in my life. But that’s easier said than dealt with. Every few weeks or so, I get this way. I start worrying that I’m never going to get published. Then I tell myself that this is all a pipe dream and I need to give it up. But then I remember how much I love the manuscript I’m ignoring, and I vow to finish it, if only for myself. I hear inspirational quotes about how hard writing is, how you have to write for yourself, how you should never give up, and it bolsters my resolve to press on.

When I swing back into the un-angsty parts of this cycle, I’m reminded that nothing is impossible for God. He gently tells me that I don’t need to worry about all of those things, but that I need to just follow Him, seek Him, talk with Him. When I do that, things are good. I feel at peace, despite the fact that I’m not networking on other blogs or editing my manuscript.

But then you know what happens? I get distracted. Although I was never diagnosed as a kid, I’m convinced that I have ADHD. Not the hyperactive aspect, but the lack of focus. My thoughts wander from Him. My heart wanders. And I get all angsty again.

Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

I don’t take this to mean that when I delight myself in the Lord He will grant me my wishes. It means when I follow/seek/talk with Him, my heart will be transformed by these encounters with the Almighty and I will long for the things He wants for me. Which may or may not be writing. And I’m ok with that, because I’ll be off the angsty-go-round.

Photo by jayshou

Wow – Falling Down on the Job Already

12 Apr

Remember on Monday how I said I was going to post on M/W/F and once on the weekends? If you haven’t looked at your calendar today, it’s already Thursday. If you’re a regular follower (you regulars need a moniker – how does “Chickette” grab you?), you noticed that nothing went up yesterday. Oops. Wednesday’s post got written off like a bad debt. But I’m here today. I also said on Monday that I’d fill you in on the details of my adventures from the hiatus .

Chickette

When I oh-so-gracelessly stumbled into my break from writing, I was a wreck. Actually, I was more like a minor fender-bender that you don’t want to tell your parents about when you borrowed the car in high school that time. I was frustrated at how life was going. Specifically, I was frustrated that it didn’t feel like my writing was going anywhere. I was blogging, tweeting, and editing. I was building my platform like “they” keep telling me I need to do (they = industry gatekeepers). I felt like I was running, running, running, but that I was a hamster on a wheel.

So for the first several days, I kept thinking, “Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer.” I couldn’t fathom writing book after book after book with a seemingly endless supply of imagination to feed the stories. I despaired of ever writing anything that, when it crossed a publisher’s desk, would make that person stop and think, “Wow – this is good!” I thought this was God’s way of gently letting me know that my 5-year writing experiment was over.

Then I went on a date with my husband.

We decided to try a spot we’d heard of but never visited – the Ó Eating House. Over some scrumptious appetizers (the best calamari I’ve ever had), hubs started telling me about a book he was reading, “Hipster Christianity.” The part of the conversation that directly related to me was when he said that the book postulates that churches don’t seem to place much value on artists, but that some churches are incorporating various forms of art and using it as a platform to reach out. For example, some churches have started hosting art shows. Hubs went on to say that this is how he views my writing – as something from a Christian that is used to reach out to others (believers and non-believers alike).

As I munched on a piece of fried squid, I tried on that description to see how it felt. I liked it. It felt good. I remembered how, in my early days of writing, I wanted to write funny stuff that appealed to other moms like me. I didn’t want to pretend that my house is always clean (yeah, right), or that my kids are always sweet (Ha!), or that my life only had ups – never any downs, big or small (have I mentioned that I’m on antidepressants?). I wanted to be a Christian writer who encouraged other Christians to laugh. About everything. I’d forgotten that until now. But I still wasn’t sure I had anything to write about.

A few days after our date, I read an interview given by C. S. Lewis that a friend sent me. This was the part I kept thinking about:

Professor Lewis, if you had a young friend with some interest in writing on Christian subjects, how would you advise him to prepare himself?

“I would say if a man is going to write on chemistry, he learns chemistry. The same is true of Christianity. But to speak of the craft itself, I would not know how to advise a man how to write. It is a matter of talent and interest. I believe he must be strongly moved if he is to become a writer. Writing is like a ‘lust,’ or like ‘scratching when you itch.’ Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I for one must get it out.”

Hmmm – scratching when you itch. I couldn’t remember a time when I felt that way about writing. It was something I wanted to succeed at, something I wanted to conquer and mark of my bucket list. Become a published author.

Wanna hear something funny? Part of me was wishing and hoping that God would reward my faithfulness with an offer from a publisher. Every time I went to get the mail, I secretly hoped that there was a letter in there saying, “You’re awesome! Let us publish your book!” but I knew better. God is not Santa Claus. Just because I’m doing the right thing doesn’t mean that He is going to reward me with something from my wildest dreams. Nor is Christianity like a math formula. I can’t plug my behavior into the variable slots and know that I’m going to get a certain outcome. All I know that that He asked me to stop writing for Lent.

The longer the 38 days went, the more I thought about writing. I thought about grabbing my manuscript and working on the edits. I thought about my blog and you, my Chickettes. I wanted to sit down and write posts, but I never let myself. The point of this exercise was to not write. So I amused myself with other things (I found the Draw Something app!) and carried on. By the end of the 4th week, I realized that my manuscript and my blog are the itches that I need to scratch. When I’m done with the manuscript (finally), I may or may not find that another writing project has captured my attention. This blog, however, will quite possibly be with me for a long time.

So for now, I’m going to keep blogging and I’ll work on the edits when I can. I know that the 38 Days of Silence (sounds like a good book title, right?) were good for me because I was able to clarify my thoughts and goals about writing. Maybe someday I’ll be a published author, but right now I’m a wife, a mom, a friend, a Bible study leader, and a Sunday school teacher. Probably in that order.

 

On a Teeter-Totter With Myself

29 Feb

Every try see-sawing solo? Not easy, especially when you get to the bottom and thunk your hind end against the ground because of your rapid descent. You also don’t get to go as high as you might want, because your ascent is directly proportional to how strong your kick-off is after bruising your tailbone moments earlier.

I’ve been on a mental see-saw with myself this week, and it’s been strange. Remember my post about how I gave Facebook up for Lent last year? At the end of the post I mentioned that I didn’t feel God nudging me to give anything up this year. Well, the night that post went live, as I was praying, I said something like, “Yeah, good thing You didn’t ask me to give anything up this year. Because what would I give up?”

This was asked rhetorically, but answered nonetheless. Want to know what He said? “Your writing.”

What? WHAT? How am I supposed to give that up? I’m trying to build a career here. I’m editing one manuscript, with two more waiting in the wings. I feel an incredible time pressure to get these things done before someone else writes and publishes them. I can’t stop writing my blog posts. I’m posting every day, after all. Every day!

This past Monday, I decided to give the “give up writing for Lent” idea a test drive. I didn’t work on any of the manuscripts, nor did I think about them. I didn’t have a blog post ready to post at 4:00 a.m., either. I wrote one later in the day, though. How did the day go overall? It was good. I wasn’t as stressed.

So back to the see-saw. I’m going back and forth about this decision. Do I pause all my writing for another 38-ish days? Do I pause my “real” writing or just the blog writing (because these words on this screen aren’t real writing, according to the first part of this sentence).

My biggest problem with this decision is myself. I said that I’d post every day in 2012. What does it mean if I don’t post something? There’s not a contest, nor is there a prize. I admit that some of the posts I’ve made in 2012 have been less than stellar, because I felt pressured to POST SOMETHING! Who was pressuring me? Me. I’m always doing things like this. Making a sort-of realistic-sounding goal that turns out to be just beyond what’s realistic. I try my darnedest to stick with it because, by golly, I said I’d do it! but because I rarely reach these goals, I end up feeling depressed, frustrated, and slightly embarrassed, because I usually tell everyone I know what’s going on.

This is one of those situations. I’m at war with myself. Do I muscle forward, pushing through the pain, so to speak, and keep writing, or do I slow things down to a more manageable pace and produce decent stuff? I have argued with myself about this, going up and down on the see saw, but still haven’t come to a decision.

——–

Photo by photo.zombie

Twitter is Not the Boss of Me

27 Feb

Darn you, Twitter.

Just when I get my act together and tear myself away from checking Facebook every 3 minutes, I go and get a Twitter account. If you have a problem keeping off Facebook, trying to keep your sanity while having a Twitter account will kill you. I follow 384-ish people on Twitter, most of whom I have never met. I think I actually knew 11 of these people before I followed them. Many of these other 373 people I follow because of their relationship with mom blogs, writing, or publishing. I tell myself that Twitter is good for my platform and I spend a shameful amount of time every day scrolling through “old” posts to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

For those of you not on Twitter, an “old” post is anything over 30 minutes old. This is just my opinion. I’m sure that there is an official Twitter definition of when a post is “old,” but we’re going to go with mine for this blog post today.

Just a little while ago, I had to clear the notification off my smartphone that I had 1843 new Twitter posts. This is just from the time I left home to go work out until after I came home, ate lunch, and showered. So roughly 3 hours. I’m going nuts trying to keep up.

This is how Twitter makes me feel.

And the sad thing? I keep telling myself “I’m building platform. I’m building platform.” In reality, I’m snooping on other people’s (completely public) Twitter conversations, following links to useful and not-so-useful writing sites, and occasionally reading someone’s blog. I have 274 followers as of right now. When I look at my blog stats to see how many people have stopped by to point and laugh at my life, how many do you think came here from Twitter? Five. Or three. Or one. Depends on the day. The vast majority of visitors come from Facebook or have subscribed to get e-mail delivery of my daily bouts of verbal diarrhea.

To those of you who come back day after day: thank you. I am truly thankful that you spend a few moments of your valuable time over in my teeny tiny corner of the internet. Actually, I don’t think I even rank high enough to get my own corner. I just have a little spot. Thanks for coming to my spot.

I have uninstalled the app on my phone that thinks it’s necessary to buzz me every 10 minutes with an updated count of how many new tweets I haven’t read yet. It drives me crazy. I have to climb out of this crazy rabbit hole and get back to my real life. I’m still going to be on Twitter, just on my terms (which I haven’t decided yet). Twitter will not be the boss of me. I’m hoping that I can regain some semblance of balance in my life and that I can actually get this stupid manuscript edited.

I am a writer that Tweets, not a Tweeter that writes. Incidentally, that statement leads me to a whole new post (I’m a writer that blogs, not a blogger that writes), but since it’s not Twitter-centric, I’ll leave it for another day. Like tomorrow, maybe.

I’m Going Into Hiding

20 Feb

Today is President’s Day. Because hubs works for a government facility, he has the day off. The kids are out of school, too. Unlike corporate America, who believes I should buy some furniture to celebrate the births of Washington and Lincoln, I’m going to spend as much of the day in solitary confinement as possible.

Lincoln Memorial

See - just sitting there. Not buying a sofa with a matching loveseat. Image via Wikipedia

I’m sure the fam can survive a few hours without me – honestly, I’m only going to be a mile away. My plan for the day is to plow through the edits of my memoir manuscript. After removing the 337 occurrences of very, really, totally, and marvelous, I’m now working on rewriting all of the “was” sentences. Harder than you might think. I don’t know yet if I’ll go the pen & paper route, or if I’ll do the rewrites directly on my laptop. I did the p & P thing for the first section and it was TOUGH because I had to figure out what in the world I wrote on the paper. But there was something about it that worked, too. I don’t know. It’ll depend on my mood, I suppose.

So my plan is to gather my manuscript and my laptop and I’ll go into hiding for as long as I can stand it. I give it 3 hours. I should probably bring a thermos of coffee. Or a 2 liter of Diet Coke. I can’t bring any snacks – have you tried writing while eating? Not two things that should be done simultaneously.

I’ve been looking forward to this all weekend. Why? Because I’m going to be alone. ALONE. And I can get some work done. I feel like I’m thisclose to getting this bad boy in submission-ready form and I want to be done with it. Not counting the 6 months it took me to write it, I’ve been laboring over this manuscript for 5 years.  “Laboring over” might be too strong a phrase. I’ve been playing at editing it for 5 years. I’m not sick of it (yet), but I need to be finished.

Hopefully my secret writing place will be just what I need to get this puppy finished. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Curse You, Ion TV!

4 Feb

I was doing ok with my daily schedule after Christmas until I stumbled upon Ion TV. It’s a weird channel on Dish Network up in the 200s (216), sandwiched between The Weather Channel and Veria (according to Wikipedia, Veria is a “network of natural wellness lifestyle programming”). Ion shows reruns of all sorts of shows, but the one that’s sucked me in is “Criminal Minds.”

Up until recently, I’ve refused to watch CM. I know it’s a good show because I’ve seen a few eps here and there, but I couldn’t open up my heart to another show. Translation = I couldn’t justify getting sucked into another show that I felt compelled to DVR. I have too much other stuff to do.

But now that I’ve decided to delegate chores to my minions, my schedule has opened up a little. I’ve gained back the 15 minutes per load that it took me to fold laundry, but if you factor in the five minutes per load it takes me to refold my laundry before I put it away, I get an extra hour each week.

I don’t know how I found Ion TV, because I’m usually hanging out around the low- to mid-100s. You know, USA, A&E, TNT, Spike, and occasionally VH1 when “Pop-Up Video” is on. I rarely venture into the 200s. Nothing there every catches my attention when I’m surfing the program guide.

Until recently.

I saw that Criminal Minds was on and decided to watch it while I was assembling my submission packets. That was a mistake. At first I was just intrigued by Reid and Morgan (because they are so nice to look at in their polar opposite ways), but the other characters started growing on me and the puzzles they solve each week intrigue me. Criminal Minds now has a spot on my DVR line-up.

Dang it. I’ve spent about 3 hours this afternoon writing three blog posts with CM on in the “background.” Funny how the background can force its way into the foreground more often than I’d like to admit.

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