Hard at Work

Just not exactly the right kind. You might be able to tell by the scarcity of my posts that I’m busy. All the time.

While I really enjoy the challenge and reward from my new position, I mourn the time I have given up. Lost time at home with the kids, lost time running with dear friends and lost time for writing and editing.

I know things will calm down once I get a handle on it all. But I’m afraid I’ll always be perpetually tired. Trying to do everything and only accomplishing a few things.

Still, I know I’m lucky. I really like my job and the people I work with. I just wanted to peek in here so ppl didn’t forget me. Not sure how much time I’ll have for all my passions but at least I get to do one of them as my day job!

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Black is the Colour…

I LOVE music.  Love it.  It inspires me, it helps evoke emotions and the right song can help me get into the head of a character.  I always create music playlists for whatever I’m writing and that playlist is what I listen to when I write.  If I don’t listen to music when I write I get easily distracted and constantly mumble and talk to myself.  It’s pretty obnoxious to everyone who isn’t me.  So I listen to music.  And sometimes sing along, sorry.

Today Black is the Colour, sung by Cara Dillon, played on my iPhone while it was on shuffle.  This song is from my Earthbound story and something I haven’t listened to in about a year.  I immediately took me back to my main character, Glory and right back into her head.  It made me nostalgic for her and her story.  I’ve been focusing so much on editing finished projects that I haven’t had time to work on finishing Earthbound.

My friend, you’ll find her here, demanded I finish Earthbound right away so she could work on the screenplay.  I want SO badly to get everything together, finished and published (self-published of course-who has the time to look for an agent/publisher?) that I just haven’t had any time to devote to it.  I’m sure I’m a massive disappointment to my friend.  Actually, she’s too busy hiking the mountains to notice so I’ll just keep banking on that to distract her.

Tonight I decided I’m going to work on a schedule for writing and editing that is feasible and planned.  That way when I come home at 8pm, get the kids showered and in bed and it’s 9pm and I still haven’t eaten, I’ll at least know when I’ll be able to write.  And I’ll beat up myself less for not writing on days like today.  Cuz by 9pm on a day like today, I’m fried.  I’m so ready to not be a single parent anymore (counting down till June when the hubz gets back).

Therefore, I will write tomorrow.  And I will write Friday afternoons…even if I want to take a nap instead.  I should also be able to write Monday nights.  So that is my writing plan.  M,W, Fri and weekends when I can.

How do any working parents with kids who participate in activities EVER do anything they themselves enjoy?  That is a whole other topic.

While you ponder how your day job and children ruins all your fun, Please enjoy the music from the soundtrack of the future hit movie Earthbound 😉

(interesting side note.  This song originated or was first attributed to the Appalachian region of the U.S. -in 1915 but most likely originated from Scotland.  It’s an old folksong with much history.  Please enjoy)

 

Friendsanity! Friendship Friday

Studies consistently report that people with perceived supportive social networks are happier people.

Since I was 14, my BFF was one of the most important people in my life. Friendship has always been super important to me and I think I have established a great network of really great friends. Friends who know what friendship means (not a lot of people know how to be a good friend). Many don’t know each other but that’s quite all right. If they did they might like each other better than me 😉

My Friendships have often kept me sane through various life crises. Well, friendship AND Amanda Palmer. They seriously have held me together during mid meltdown and injected me with metaphorical Xanax. Without them I’m not sure what I would do.

Which brings me to my first photo. A friend of mine has been Twitter Stalking Amanda Palmer and her awesome author husband Neil Gaiman on my behalf. Yesterday as I was browsing Neil’s FB page I got a text in reference to this Tweet

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OH MY GOD!!! Neil Gaiman electronically WAVED AT ME!!! Me!!! Crazy nobody me!!! He is seriously a terrific writer. Check him out.

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, earlier in the day another friend passed this note to his coworker that I have a Friend Crush on.

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Friendship is a really great thing and hard to find once you become an adult. So I’m really lucky to have suck awesome friends. Please send a note to those people that make your life better and tell them you love them.
LOVE YOU ALL!

Importance of Goodbye

sayingbyeLast week was my first week of work and I have to say I was a bit worried.  Not that I couldn’t do the job but that I couldn’t do the job while being a mom and essentially being a single mom.  By Thursday morning I wondered to my husband if I had done the right thing by leaving my old place of employment.  He reassured me I had absolutely done the right thing, that I would be doing work that mattered and work for someone that appreciated me.  Not having my nights and weekends ruined by some work situation would be priceless, he told me.  But I was still unsure.

But Thursday happened to be the day I actually was able to work with people in the capacity I was hired.  Previous to Thursday it was all a lot of reading.  Thursday I had a meeting with a woman who was incredibly pleasant and super excited about her role with the organization.  She even knew my sister and about my side photography work.  It began to turn things around.

My old company happened to be having their annual conference on the same day.  I began the annual conference about four years ago and coordinated much of the efforts.  This year I got much of the logistics figured out but when I gave notice they passed the role to another and that was fine.  But I was having a hard time knowing that all these people around the country that I considered friends, were so close by and I wouldn’t see them.  See, my old company didn’t let me say goodbye.  Not really.  They asked that I not tell anyone I was leaving until my last day, so on my last day I wrote a preapproved carefully worded message saying goodbye. People well wished me and said congratulations but then the company abruptly removed the post and removed me from the group towards the end of my last day.  So I was a little sad and more than a lot resentful.  The bitterness was suffocating me.

Then everything changed!  I went to meet one of my old photographers for dinner Thursday night and with him he brought a handful of people and I was able to hug them.  Giving them  hugs and telling them goodbye meant the world to me.  All my angry bitter sad feelings went away because I got to have closure.  I wanted more than anything for them to know I still loved them and that I would miss them and I think they do.  That’s important to me because I REALLY cared about these people.

So Thursday was a tipping point for me.  It tipped me from an unsure and worried mom with a sudden rush of bad skin, to a relieved and happy mom (that is still recovering from previously mentioned bout of stress induced zits).

How lucky I am that I have something that makes saying goodbye hard.  Until we meet again my friends!

 

How I Started Writing: Blog Hop Addendum

It seems I forgot to tag someone in my blog hop on Monday.  So I decided to ask/answer one more question about writing.

How did you get started writing?

GirlWriting copyInteresting question.  My start began when I was in Intermediate school (4-6th grade) and I wrote a very short love story based on other kids from my school.  Ben, Sally and David.  Wow, can names be any more generic?  Funny thing is, they are the real names of the real people.  Ben and Sally were meant to be in love, David, a mean but popular boy, was the villain.  Ben saves the day and all ends well.  In case you’re wondering, I am not friends with any of them so I don’t care if they read this and wonder if it is about them.

By the time I got to high school my friends and I were writing stories with ourselves and our friends as characters.   We all had code names, for instance we called Katey Repunzel for her straight black hair that hung down to her butt.  And of course, there were our love interests.  The Visions.  Dear me!  To this day my BFF and I giggle about them!  The adventures we had, the lives we lived vicariously through our characters!  The hot steamy moments! Those were the days.

After High School my writing was kept to classrooms.  Mostly research papers but occasionally a play or a poem.  Nothing awesome.  After college I didn’t write for years and years.  Then one day I had this brilliant idea for a really great book and I decided I HAD to write it.  But only until I got some practice under my belt.  So I started working on Earthbound as a way to dip my toe in the water until I’m ready to write that “brilliant” book someday.

And so my crazy life of trying to write began and continues.  At least I hope it continues.  At this point I am exhausted from my first week at my new job, flying solo with the kids for most of the week and spending all day today prepping for the coming week so things go easier.  I’m hoping that having the plans in place will make things throughout the week go more smoothly which will in turn help me to have more energy to write at night.

Here’s to planning!

After trudging through this whole post I get to the entire purpose of the post. A new friend I recently met wanted to take part in my Blog Hop!  I didn’t have much time to get to know as much as I would like to but I’m hoping a photography project we may be collaborating on will give us the chance to get to know each other better.  She is a writer too and she is my addendum because I forgot to tag her.  So please go pay a visit to her blog.  She writes about being a grown up and “making it”, being a vegetarian and finding creative outlets so she doesn’t go crazy in her soul crushing job.

#My Writing Process Blog Hop

The great Katey at Katey Writes was kind enough to ask me to participate in a blog hop with her about #mywritingprocess as a way to connect writers to each other.  Visit her blog here to learn about raising young readers, writing and parenting in general.

1) What am I working on?  Gosh, what am I not working on?  Currently I am in the editing stage for Second Chance Key, the first book I wrote and finished two years ago. Editing has proven to be the most difficult part of writing for me, it feels like pages of math homework with no end.  I am on chapter 8 of 29 and trying to force myself to do a chapter a night so I can finally be done.  It has already been combed over by an editor and now I just have to go through and work on the changes. You would think that would be easy.  But you’d be wrong.  I know I’m not alone, I just sat with a friend today who is also procrastinating going through the notes her editor has on her book.

Additionally I’m working on my YA Supernatural Romance novel Lodestone: The Wander Glimly Chronicles.  I have met with a group of beta readers and made my bug list for rewrites and plan to begin on those as soon as I am finished working on a third side project that I’m almost finished up with.  This one is something a little smaller and more under the radar but I should have it polished the end of this week and off my plate.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?  This question is the hardest for me to answer because I don’t write for only one genre.  I have YA, Adult, Chick-lit and Supernatural Romance/horror.  I’m kind of all over the place.

I sort of skip around genres a bit.  Second Chance Key is frustratingly hard to categorize for most people who have read it.  It began as an middle grade story but partway through the book it started being so much about the young mother and the feelings of inadequacy and invisibility she deals with, that it sort of shifted.  There is also so many life lessons woven throughout the story for the children and adults involved that it was suggested to me by one person that it should be a self-help book.  So I believe it differs from other books in that it takes a story that is relatable by children and adults, gives them relatable fatal flaws and then tries to help them overcome them with important lessons.  Not sure you could say the same thing for Ways of the Peaceful Warrior or Celestine Prophecy.

It’s difficult to pinpoint how my YA story is different from other genres because this genre is so overdone these days.  But I’ll try.  Lodestone, which will be at least two, maybe three books, it takes a more unfamiliar mythology from Finland and brings some of the characters and artifacts into present day.  The mythology I use is mostly unknown except in areas where the Finnish people happened to settled during immigration.  So  I believe that in itself is atypical because most YA mythology books I’ve seen are from very commonly known and studied myths. Lodestone is a bit of a busy story, weaving together the Finnish mythology, a teeny pinch pf Greek myths and some bits and pieces of American folktales.  Add a dash of reincarnation and you get a multifaceted YA book.  I don’t think you often see multiple origin stories intertwine quite like that.

3) Why do I write what I do?   A dream, a thought, a feeling move me to write.   Second Chance Key is about the struggles of motherhood and the fear that can come from childhood and growing up.  It is fun, scary and sad and I feel like it is incredibly relevant to most mothers.  It was a story I wanted to tell because so many moms feel like they don’t matter and it was a way to show them to see the world a bit differently.  It definitely made me see my world a bit differently.

Lodestone just started with a name.  Wander Glimly.  And then I went from there.  But Earthbound, which is half written, was born from my need to process horrible things I’d heard on the news.  Glory was the angel that would swoop down and stop something absolutely horrifying from happening.  I would use her to rewrite events so that a victim was saved and the assailant was punished.  It was therapeutic.  But she grew into a very well formed character and now she has a life and quest of her own.

I guess I write what I do because I have stories in my head that I need to get out.  And I’m delusional enough to think someone would want to read them.

4) How does your writing process work?  Typically I grab onto an event, a  theme or storyline and start there.  I usually know the beginning, small parts of the middle and the end and then I just fill in the in between parts.  Second Chance Key was a little different in that I started that book on Novemeber 1st for www.NaNoWriMo.org, and finished it 51,000 words later on November 31st.  I learned about the event on November 1st and one rule is that you have to start something new, so I put aside Lodestone (what I was working on at that moment) and began a book I had no idea what was about.  Every day I’d sit down to write my 1000-2000 words and have no clue what was going to happen next.  I called it “writing by the seat of my pants”.  I’m continually amazed and how things worked out with that book.

But usually I have major events plotted out for my stories, I do the research and get ideas of what characters look like, where they live, I even look at homes so I can get an idea what their house looks like.  I use Pinterest to pin people who look like my characters, outfits they’d wear (side note: it’s a pet peeve of mine when an author puts something horribly unstylish on a young character -like a banana clip).  Pinterest helps me so I’ll never have my character sporting an oversize scrunchie and peg rolled jeans.  I can also use it to follow interests and styles of my target audience.

I also write with Scrivener, the best software ever!  It helps me plot out major points, build character descriptions and profiles and have a place to throw all my research for later reference.

Once I have my start I usually pick a few days a week to just sit and write.  Sometimes I “meet” a friend electronically or IRL to write or edit during a designated time.  Having someone meeting you is tremendously helpful, it works for running too 😉

Now it is time to HOP ON my writer/blogger friends.  They will be writing about their writing process next Monday.

Check out my friend Liz Lister.  She is an right sexy beast that write LGBT Erotica and Kink Fiction as well as being someone I have called friend for the last ten years.

And Cari Noga, a fellow Northern Michigan writer who’s book Sparrow Migration was a semi-finalist for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel award in 2010, writes about parenting, autism, writing, publishing and all sorts of things.  Check her out!

Join them next week to learn about their process and enjoy!

Surrendering Does Not Mean Defeat

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Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.

My running partner/sounding board/frequent novel character and friend sent me this quote today.  “Surrender to what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.” She’s pretty awesome and has been a tremendous help to my writing these last few years.

Surrendering is often equated to defeat and is not something many people do easily.  I know personally I’m going to fight tooth an nail for what I want.  But sometimes fighting isn’t the right answer.  Sometimes you don’t really have the power to effect change in your situation.  Fighting is futile.

Sometimes surrendering can mean giving up control over the things you can’t control. There is nothing more stressful, depressing and maddening than trying to exert control over a situation where you have no power. It’s crazy-making.

I know I’m no fan of coping but in some situations when you really can’t do anything all you can do is cope until you find ways to make peace. Making peace or making changes seems to be a better goal than to cope. At least in my experience. Finding a way to press into that and make peace, changing your head to expect things will work out fine, that is surrendering. It is also often called faith.

As a writer I find myself often surrendering to my characters. They really do take on a life of their own. Sometimes they do strange and unexpected things without warning. Like the girl who was supposed to leave the guy she had a spark with. She was always going to leave him as part of the story, but as the cab drove away she frantically called to the driver to go back. She had a sudden surge of bravery and boldness I hadn’t expected.  So I went with it.

Surrendering isn’t always defeat. Sometimes it just means we give up our death grip of control and see what happens.