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Writing Music

For those of you who are curious about what I am working on with Enthrall, I thought I might put together a little list of music  (that I love) that makes me think of the story, whether it be the lyrics or just how the song makes me feel. I love to listen to music when I am writing, and brainstorming. More than once I’ve heard a lyric and thought, that’s exactly how ______ feels. So, without further ado, here are 10 of my favorite:

Open Your Eyes— Snow Patrol

Endlessly— Green River Ordinance

Spectrum— Florence + the machine

Glittering Cloud— Imogen Heap

Space Dimentia— Muse

Substitution— Silversun Pickups

Make This Go on Forever– Snow Patrol

Kiss Me– Ed Sheeran

Dark Paradise— Lana Del Rey

Only if for a Night— Florence + the machine

Oh yea, I put links in! Enjoy.

Contrary to the rumors going around I have not died. Ok, you’re right, there were no rumors. I put a ton of things on my plate and the blogging fell to the side along with a few other things.

Now for the sad and shameful part of this post. I have not met my writing goals that I set earlier. January is a big time for goals and what-not so I thought maybe I would share my shame with you and we could all encourage each other to keep going even when we don’t meet the exact specifications of our goals. As you can read in the previous post, I set some goals a while back to have my rough draft of Enthrall completed by December. It did not happen, not by a long shot. In fact, I am still working on it. But here is where I get all thoughtful; why is it that when we set goals or “New Year’s Resolutions” and we stumble so many of us throw in the towel all together? The fact that I set the goal means three things.

1. It was something I thought was important.

2. It was something I wanted to make myself do.

3. It was something above and beyond my normal routine.

Now that I have missed my self-imposed deadline has anything changed? The goal, with or without the deadline is still important. It is still something that I want to do, and it is still outside of my normal everyday routine (if it wasn’t it would be done already).

Yet in December when my deadline past and my goal went unaccomplished I felt like I might as well put it off since I had missed the big day. I didn’t want to tell anyone that I didn’t complete my goal. I tucked it off into the corner and tried to pretend that it never happened. What? Finish my first draft by December? I don’t know what you are talking about.

But that’s why I put it up here on my blog, so no one would be able to forget, myself included. Which makes it very hard for me to pretend it never happened. That doesn’t mean that I need to beat myself up over it. I already have the shame of all six readers knowing that I failed. Lets move on. So that is what I am doing, I am moving on. I am adjusting my goals and I am going to keep writing. I think we should be making goals every week (maybe even everyday) and we should check in on them regularly. Instead of setting a huge goal to be accomplished in the semi-distant future, I am going to set smaller more manageable goals at a quicker pace and check on them weekly. So here it is. I do not know for sure when this draft will be done. But I am going to keep writing it every day. My goal is to write for at least an hour a day, hopefully more, but at least an hour, because I know I can pull off an hour. And if I write more HOORAY! and everyday that I can say I wrote for an hour I will feel more motivated to keep going. And then at the end of the week I will keep you all posted on my progress. I will set one longer term goal, i want to finish the draft in a month, that means February 14th (how romantic). If it shows up and I am not done, I will still announce my progress and keep going, but I think if I keep track weekly of my progress I will have a much better chance of succeeding.

I already wrote for an hour this morning, and I am going to keep going! I am thrilled to be writing again. I was craving it.
I never realized that you could have cravings for writing, but I do. A song will come on Pandora and then ideas and emotions will start swirling around in my head and I feel a need to write them down. It’s not a fleeting feeling either it is more of a I’ve-been-starving-and-someone-put-a-bowl-of-steaming-awesomeness-in-front-of-me kind of need. I am happy to say I have given in and it has been delicious. I’ve just added two new characters who I am already in love with and some moments between a few of the characters that made me giddy. The select few (mostly my mom, editor, and best friend) who have gotten to read what I have so far have been begging for more, which always puts me in a good mood.

I wish everyone luck with their goals, and I am SO excited about mine.

On a silly side note I would like to introduce you all to my new glasses.

glasses

Aren’t they geeky wonderful? That’s a colon and semicolon if you couldn’t tell. Now back to writing.

Goals

Halloween has past and my tongue is raw from too many sour candies, and after so much time spent running around crazy I am ready to get a little more balanced. With winter coming up it may just be wishful thinking, but I can always hope. I cannot simply dedicate my free time to writing, or it will never happen “in my free time” seems to be a euphemism for me that means, lowest on the to-do list. Yesterday I had a feeling I haven’t had many times during the crazy month of October, the compulsion to write. It was practically a craving. Usually my cravings are more in the realm of milk and cookies, this felt a little healthier (only a little).

At the beginning of the month I sent out a sample of the first few chapters of my next novel to a few people. I was going to wait, but my mom insisted, and once she had it there were other people who didn’t want to be left out. They have all had the same response, annoyance that they didn’t have more. To which I can only say, “I’m working on it.”

So far the opening of the novel is going great, I am so happy with the pace and all of the exciting things that are happening with the characters, both old and new. My one fear is that the rest of the book won’t live up to this level of awesome, but one thing is for certain, the rest of the book will be nothing compared to the opening if I don’t write it.

The problem with so much of what I do, is that it is entirely self-motivated, so if I don’t do it, the only person who I have to answer to is me, and I am an easy taskmaster to have. I give myself brilliant advice, I accept all of my own excuses, and am always eager to reward myself. So in light of this, I have set a goal for myself, and I am going to put it out here so you can all hold me up to it and help keep me moving. This is the goal I set two months ago, and I am going to try and keep it.  Here it is:

I am going to have the first draft of Enthrall completed and ready to send out to my various editors by DECEMBER 1st.

Woah. That’s intense. and to be quite honest I have to idea if it’s do-able, but I have been known to do amazing things when I set my  mind to it. So hold me to it, and lets see if something awesome happens.

P.S. If you eat too many sour candies (the really sour kind) your tongue will bleed.

So I was feeling inspired by may last post and thought I should dedicate an entire post to the funny things my daughter says, because she says a lot of them everyday. Some days I notice better than others, usually depending on how cranky I am.  And since I am writing a post all about her silliness,  it seems only fair that I would include a picture of her. That’s her, wrestling the baby.

So sit back, read along, and enjoy the silliness.

Emma: I don’t like ants, because they have those bubbly things on their backs.
Me: That’s their butt.
Emma: They have them on their middle too.
Me: That’s their thorax.
Emma: I don’t like their thorax.

Emma: I can fly really fast because I am a bat cheetah!
Me: That’s so silly. Have you ever heard of anything so silly Cesar?
Cesar: They’re very common in South America.

and later…

Emma: I’m batman! I’m mangirl… I’m girlbat.

Me: You’re a wierdo.
Emma: No! I thought you said I was beautiful!?  (She was sincerely upset.)

Watching a program on sea animals, up pops a narwhal (which we were talking about earlier that day).
Cesar: Emma what is that?
Emma: A buffalo unicorn!

Emma: Why didn’t we get the sweater? I wanted it.
Me: Because we spent all the money on the other clothes.
Emma: You spent all the money?  (She definitely thought I meant all the money in existence)

Emma told me she had trouble sleeping one night, because people were playing with those “color splatter things”. I later figured out she was talking about fireworks.

On one occasion I was joking with Emma because the baby kept whining and being difficult, and I said, “Maybe I should just giver her spankings.” “No,” she almost shouted, “We don’t want t0 hurt our baby, because we love her.”

Earlier today, she was playing with the baby, following her and crawling around on the floor. Evy had stopped crawling and sat up, talking to herself, “Bah, bah, bah.” I peeked in the doorway to see Emma dragging her, as she sat still babbling, across the room and out of my view. Evy was completely unfazed. Emma drags her around a lot.

Honestly sometimes I lose my patience with her, like when she goes on, and on, and on singing the chorus to some random song over and over again (today it was a Katy Perry song, usually it’s something from the Phantom of the Opera), or when she clearly needs a nap and becomes super whiny. The other day I was surprised that we have reached this age when she said through tears, “I don’t know why I’m crying.” I will attribute it to sleepiness, but I know that once she becomes a teenager we will have lots of that to look forward to. Still even though she can drive me up the wall, when I take the time to listen she comes up with some amazing and hilarious things. Her memory astounds me, and while I hope to teach her, I know she is teaching me everyday.

I’ve had a lot on my plate for the past little while, mostly because I am an overachiever. And all of my self imposed to-do’s have been just a little more difficult because this week I have been sick with a cold, and last week the baby had a fever for two days. I put everything on hold for the baby, I wasn’t quite as generous with myself.

So I took the leap a little while ago and I set up an Etsy shop, nothing too impressive, just two costumes, but in this short time I have already sold four. Something I honestly didn’t anticipate. What I expected was that my lame little showing would go unnoticed until the week before Halloween, when I would sell one or two. The whole process has been pretty exciting. I don’t know if I will get more than those four sales, but either way it has been fun. Except for the part where I pushed myself to make a costume two days ago even though I was a little loopy from being sleep deprived, that part wasn’t cool.

I did have a great treat yesterday though, a friend of mine found out that I was sick and made me dinner, not just me, but she made dinner for my whole family. It was great, and I didn’t have too cook it. Instead of cooking I took a nap! I don’t think I have ever been one of those uber thoughtful people, but after that I want to be. Maybe one day. I did write her a little thank you note, because I have a beautiful box of blank notes that are just aching to be used and I really wanted her to know how much I appreciated the thought.

This week I taught yoga to a group of Young Women at my church, which normally would be a ton of fun, however, no one enjoys bending over with a head cold. Still I tried to make the best of it and had fun with the girls. Yoga is usually a great way for me to have some quiet time without distractions, but 13 year old girls aren’t exactly known for being quiet. In the end I was just glad that they had fun even though their teacher was a mess.

Also during the past two crazy weeks I auditioned for a comedy improv group, and made it. And today I found out that a group of women I know have decided to read my novel for their book club. While I want them to read (and love) it, I actually know these women, so if they turn around and hate it… it’s going to suck. Their high opinions of me as a “budding author” will be forever destroyed. I hope, at least, that no one is offended by something I wrote. I often find myself offending people without making any conscious effort. I would never try to offend someone, but sometimes it happens just the same.

On the book front I have been looking into improving writing from the male perspective, it’s tricky. I found one forum that started as people giving advice on how men think and ended with two of the commentators in a verbal fist fight over who had the right way of understanding a mans thought process. I can pick out the problems with other people’s writing so much more easily than I can with my own.  Then more often than not, when I can find the places in my own work that don’t ring true, I am clueless as to how to fix them. So I guess I will continue to research the topic. I would love to know your thoughts (no verbal fist fights please).

Oh!  A random person who I have never had any contact with gave my book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads! I did a happy dance.

This past week or so has been full of teaching moments between me and my four year old. She wants to learn about everything! Nowadays you can often hear her saying things like “Teach me about…” she asked me to explain how bones are made while going through the drive through window at Wells Fargo. I tried to keep it simple. She already knows a lot about how babies are formed (though she hasn’t figured out to ask how the sperm finds it’s way to the egg… yet) so I went from there, “Well the babies bones grow while it’s in the mommy’s belly. They start out small and soft, but then they get bigger and harder.” That wasn’t enough for her though. “But how are they made?” So I gave her the only answer that came to me, “They are made up of a combination of proteins.” Entirely accurate? No. More than she can understand? Yes. Her response, “Oh.” She asked the babysitter to teach her about “mouse bodies” the other day. Then on a different occasion we were discussing opposites at the dinner table and I asked Emma, “What’s the opposite of stinky?” Her reply, “Pizza.” Obviously. We also had this exchange:

Me: Mommy’s sick, so I need you to be my big helper today.
Emma: And maybe, if I’m helpful I can get a surprise!?
Me: No surprizes today, just my love and gratitude.
Emma: What’s a “gratitude”?
Me: Gratitude means I’m happy and thankful.
Emma: It kind of sounds mean.

Yep, that’s my girl.  But it can all be summed up in this conversation we had one day when Emma was being a little ridiculous.

Me: Emma, what am I going to do with you?

Emma: You’ve just got to love me.

And how could I not?

Just a thought

Too often in life we wait for everything to be perfect, for the perfect place to open up, and the financing to come through, and the perfect job opportunity to be offered and for the stars to align. When what we need to do is step out into the unknown with the eye of faith, knowing (or at least hoping) that things will work out. That isn’t to say that preparation isn’t a good thing. Preparation is essential! But there is a time to stop preparing and, ready or not, start moving.

Painting

I love to paint. It’s a hobby that  have enjoyed for a long time. Am I excellent? No, but I love it anyway. Sadly I don’t have a separate room in my house for all of my various projects so while I am doing any one of them my whole house feels like a bit of a disaster. My kitchen table becomes my hobby table and my projects sometimes spill over into the living room as well. I end up feeling a bit guilty for the mess and try to rush through whatever project I am working on (it only took me a day and a half to sew all of Emma’s costume, mainly because I didn’t want to drag out the mess). I have decided to try some plein air painting, since the weather is nice, and I am hoping that will also help with the inherent messiness of my projects. Painting is cathartic for me, and so is being outdoors, so this should be a great experience.

I found this video on the blog of an artist that I quite admire, and I thought I would pass it along.  Bob Ross’s style isn’t always my favorite, but the video can’t help, but make me smile. “Every day’s a good day when you paint.”