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Jaws XXIV - Dude, paddle faster!  This does not look like a stress-free tropical vacation! by Blurry Lenses.

No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.  ~Elbert Hubbard

Well said, Elbert.  Not sure who Elbert Hubbard is/was but he nailed it with that one.  I tried to stay up on emails and pay attention to kids’ sports schedule changes and school parties/activities while I was on vacation.  However, when looking out at the ocean and seeing whales breech or listening to the waves crash in the background didn’t help the focus factor. 

Bills need to be paid (didn’t I just do that before I left? WTH?) and kids’ sports schedules are out of control.  The clutter of mail and random articles (you know, grocery receipt, chapstick, kid’s flashlight, one lonely battery, etc.) that seem to grow from my countertop need to be put away. Sprinkle in a few birthday parties and book club planning! ARGHHHH!  Calgon, take me away!

The good and bad of it is that all I want to do is get back to my writing.  The good is that I am glad that I feel the pull to write (I was a little nervous on vacation that I could blow it off so easily).  I hardly wrote on vacation.  I figured a six-hour connection from Phoenix to Hawaii would give ample time.  Between self-berating for leaving the video camera case under the seat on the last plane to getting sucked into watching the worst movie ever (the roller derby one with Drew Barrymore), before we knew it, time to land!

The bad is that  the other” junk” needs to be dealt with first.  Reading Snail mail/emails,  paying bills, cleaning up the clutter, grocery shopping, etc. are the things that I HAVE to do.  Writing is what I WANT to do.   

I lugged my laptop hoping to sneak in some blogging and continue on my WIP.  I brought along my favorite writing book to inspire me (The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass).   The pull of the ocean and beach chair were just too strong.  So now I sit at my computer, trying to get back into the swing of things.  The only problem is that while on my relaxing vacation, my characters and some of the plot lines changed on me.  It creates a whole new problem because now do I go back and rewrite the scenes completely or do I just finish the first draft as is and make the changes with the 2nd draft?  Again, ARRGGHHHH!

While I am thinking about all of this the guilt of not doing what I should  be doing is grinding on me.   My kids are watching.  Not literally starting at me.  But they see what I do and  they will mimic.  If I blow off the important stuff to do the stuff I want, how is that any better than my kids wanting to play outside when their rooms aren’t clean yet?  Then my husband will have more ammo when I complain about the kids not doing their chores!  Being a role model stinks sometimes! 

I have done a little bit of my writing this morning while 10 yr old (home with sinus infection) and preschooler watch a movie.  Hopefully, they have been distracted.  Now on to my other items on to-do list.  Yucko.  But I have to be a role model because it is my job.  The cruddy part of the job, but my job nonetheless. (I am pumping myself up here.  You know like an athlete in a pre-game warmup.)  Get out there girl!  You can do it! (Okay, enough, I get it.)

Any other stressed out writer mamas out there?  Do you write before the kids get up?  Do you write during the day and ignore household duties until later?   I would love to hear from you!

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Well, I think Spring is here.  I hear the sounds of birds outside my window in the morning, the sun is shining longer, and I am getting restless.   I am itching to be outside, getting some fresh air, and feeling the sun on my face.  Ahh, I can almost feel the sunburn now.  But I have a lot of work to do first.

The term “Spring cleaning” usually refers to the massive overhaul of household and garage, discarding the unwanted and unused.  However, I need it to go a little deeper than that.  Okay, fine.  A hell of a lot deeper.   My physical surroundings definitely need the cleaning, don’t get me wrong.  We have a storage area under the stairs as well as an unfinished room in our basement designated for kids.  It looks like Target, Toys R Us and Hobby Lobby all exploded in a 20 x 20 area.  It isn’t pretty.  Cupboards need to be reorganized, pantry is in shambles, carpets need to be cleaned, yada, yada, yada.

But I have a bigger task than that.  Since I have started writing a manuscript, hoping one day be published, I feel like I am a multiple personality, bipolar, dementia patient waiting to happen.  One minute I am Mom, the next I am reading one of the six novels I have on my nightstand (or under my bed, in my gym bag, stashed in my car console), then writing on my manuscript, all the while completely neglecting my email and updating the family activity calendar.  Did I mention that I have three kids?  Oh, yeah.  Pretty sure I am neglecting them as well.  The list goes on.  I might do a load of laundry, fix a meal, then back to reading a book about writing.  Then I’ll jot story notes down in a journal, redo my pathetic outline (which is why I really don’t do outlines-I am changing it every two minutes), then hop up to take a shower.  In between this are trips to the grocery store, gym, school, kids’ practices/games, swimming lessons, and God knows what else. 

I feel like I am drowning.  Hmmm…wonder why?

Big news flash to self!

I have no schedule.  I head to the gym sometime in the morning.  I eat when I can.  I shower when I can.  I clean, barely.  I read at night before bed, staying up until ridiculous hours or while waiting  for kids in the car line, or even doing cardio at the gym.   I write in snippets.  Half an hour here and half an hour there.  Sometimes I write after the kids go to bed but then I am neglecting my “just us” time with my husband.

Sounds like I should be accomplishing a lot since I am doing a lot but the only thing I seem to achieve is the elevated stress levels that only a current Toyota CEO could understand.  Enough stress that I am grinding my teeth at night; grinding so hard that my fillings are breaking off and I have horrible headaches in the morning.  It all sounds so stupid because I am a stay home mom, for God’s sakes.   I KNOW my husband thinks I have the life of Riley (not sure who Riley is but must have had it good for the phrase to stick around for so long) and for the most part I do.  I have brought all of this stress on myself because of the chaos I have created.  If I am going to survive writing a book that actually makes sense and won’t burst into flames at first review, I need to get my stuff together. 

What I have gathered from successful writing mothers, is that  relentless organization, meticulous time management, and strong self-discipline are where it is at if you are going to really make it to a great final manuscript.  That is where I need to  be.  However, it seems like that is as within reach as world peace at the moment.  But I am determined to make a go of it.  If not, you might see me on the national news as the next “mom gone crazy” (think shaved head Britney Spears kind of crazy).

I hope Spring also gives you a renewed spirit as well as a swift kick in the butt.  Think of it as God’s way of saying “Get off your ass!” in the nicest way possible.

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Okay, I am working on a historical romance and I am hitting a roadblock.  I have thought about it and thought about it and I still haven’t come up with a solution.  How far am I going to go with the love scenes?  I mean I have neighbors and friends, and egad, family that might read this someday.  If they don’t, there will be another attempt at a published novel if not this one.  How does one decide on how far to push it? 

I look at Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas and they write gorgeous love stories with plenty of sexy detail.  It doesn’t offend me because I have read romances for so long.  I thought for a long time that you HAD to write the love scenes a certain way to make it a true romance novel.  Then I read Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander and it totally screwed that theory up.  The Outlander isn’t a typical romance novel and it isn’t really categorized that way.  However, I still got the “Oh my gosh, they HAVE to end up together” and “I really want to meet Claire and Jamie  because they are so awesome together” feelings.  She writes the loves scenes without actually writing them.   She gives you just enough to set the stage and then lets you imagine the rest.   Normally, I would be ticked if I am left hanging without those details but somehow the novel didn’t need it .  Many times she gives the foreplay and then stops when things get a bit more, ahem, you know. 

So here I am.  Trying to figure out what kind of romance writer I would like to become.   I guess I should just write the love scenes and see if it feels “right” and if it doesn’t, then change it until it does.  It is a lot different reading it than trying to write it.  I commend all successful romance writers for doing it so well!

If anyone has any advice, feel free to post.

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