Tag Archives: challenges

Writing on Summer Vacation: Day One

7:00 AM – Okay. I said I wanted to start writing at 7:30. But I need a shower… I can do this.

7:05 – I know I said no social media before work, but just a quick check won’t hurt. Huh. A reviewer needs a Kindle copy of Into Elurien. Guess that’s important, since she’s booked a date on the series blog tour. *sniffs self* Shower first.

7:30 – Definitely need to let my hair air-dry today.  Better to look like a frizzy purple buffalo than to spend another 20 minutes doing that (and overheating myself in the process). Speaking of heat, I know I had shorts here somewhere…

7:45 – Excellent. Everyone’s still asleep. *stomach grumbles* Dammit. Okay, invisaligns out, make a shake with greek yogurt to keep me full a bit longer (I hope), drink that and an iced coffee. I miss being able to sit and sip while I work. Brush teeth, invisaligns back in. Snap self in face with tiny elastic. Perfect.

8:05 – Okay. Writing. Annnnnnd the dogs want out. Might as well check Facebook quickly while they OH MY GOODNESS THERE’S A RUNNING APP WHERE YOU PRETEND YOU’RE IN A FANTASY SETTING AND GET TO GO ON QUESTS?!* I must investigate this immediately.

8:15 – Oops, forgot to put the laundry in. Better do that now if it’s going to line-dry today.

8:20 – Guess I should send that email.

8:30 – Annnd one kid is up. He’s pretty self-sufficient. They both are. My brain is a far greater obstacle than my boys are. It still doesn’t want to settle in and get this chapter fixed so I can move on to fresh drafting. Maybe I’ll warm up with a blog post, see if other kid wakes up. Then I can start after breakfast…

8:45 – (Now) This is my brain on trying to work. If you’ve read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, you know about resistance. I get it bad every time I try to start working. My brain is scattered, no matter what I do. Pomodoro sprints, meditation, visualization to get myself excited about writing a scene, planning, not planning…they help, but not much. On days like today, when my brain is fogged up and I’m recovering from Sunday’s migraine and the world seems to be moving around me at confusing speeds, it’s hard to start. I have zero focus. I’m scattered. My head feels like it’s physically stuffed with cotton. Possibly cotton candy.

The pink kind.

So what am I going to do about it?

I’m going to go make breakfast for Thing 2, I’m going to try to forget how much I wish I had a huge cup of coffee at my desk, and I’m going to publish this post, get my ass back here, put some music on, and work.

Maybe I won’t get the two hours in that I wanted today. Maybe I won’t get this scene revised (quite doubtful, actually, given the speed my brain is working at this morning). But I’m going to try. I’m going to prove to myself, to my muse, to my family, and anyone else who’s watching that I’m committed. I am doing this.

And step by tiny, painful step, I’m going to get through this draft.

Wish me luck.

 

 

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This is so awkward…

I did a thing.

You guys know how I’m trying to stretch myself a bit. Not just in my work, though I am taking on new challenges there, but in my attitudes, my lifestyle, and my actions. I’m trying to push myself out of my comfort zone so I can learn to be more at home in the world outside of my house and maybe add more to it.

Well, one of the things that’s way outside of my comfort zone is any form of public speaking. Or any speaking, unless I’m with people I’m comfortable with. Writing is just easier, so I like to talk through my fingers. It works most of the time, but my discomfort with speaking is likely a huge part of my social awkwardness and desire to never have to go out and talk to anyone in person.

And my anxiety over making phone calls, actually.

So I’ve started a vlog. It’s not a big thing in the grand scheme of the universe, but it’s a huge step for me. It’s another way I can connect with you guys, too, and that’s important when I have no idea how many people actually read posts here. It’s a little more interactive, a little more challenging for me, and hopefully a little more fun for you. Videos will be short. The first one is 11 minutes, but I’m going to try to keep them under eight. I know you’ve got things to do.

Know what I’ve got? A Canadian accent, apparently. That’s been the big comment so far. At least people seem to enjoy it…

Anyway, here you go. Please enjoy my fumbling first attempt at letting the world see what I’m actually like when I’m not hiding behind my keyboard. Some day I’ll release the outtakes so we can all laugh. O.o

I’ve got a page of ideas for things to talk about (mostly non-writing), but if you have questions or ideas for topics, I’d be happy to fit them in. If I know what you want, I can give it to you. 🙂


Yes, I’m Happy About Back-to-School

I’ve seen a few comments recently from parents who are shocked by those of us who are happy that it’s almost time for kids to head back to school. If we don’t want the children around 24/7, WHY DID WE HAVE THEM?

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I love my boys. They are amazing people who surprise me every day in pleasant (and yes, not-s0-pleasant) ways, and seeing them grow and discover who they are is a gift. I am thankful for them. I think the world of them. I’ve got their backs if ever they have a problem, and no one had better be mean to them if they don’t want me to go all mama-dragon on their asses.

And also, having my kids under-foot all summer has been driving me insane.

Does that seem strange? Maybe it is, to some. I know people who want their kids around all the time, who always put the kids’ wants before their own. I have insane respect for parents who are committed to home-schooling, even if it’s not for me. I know parents who are truly sad when summer is over and school is back in.

Me? I look forward to getting back into routine. No, I don’t enjoy hauling their poor little butts out of bed every morning, especially now that the older guy is acting like a teenager about it. Yes, I wish school ran from 9:30 to 4, which would give us more time in the morning to wake up at a natural time. No, I don’t look forward to fights over homework. But I am excited about the rest of it.

I’m excited to hear about their friends, most of whom they haven’t seen for a few months.

I’m excited to find out what they’re learning, what they’re reading, and what they’re discovering. Last year they both had amazing teachers, and S’s grade 3 teacher did writing workshops with them. I hope this year will be just as good.

And yes, I’m excited to have time for my own work.

I know, it’s practically blasphemy in some circles.

I hardly get anything done when the boys are home. If I’m writing (or doing the necessary social media rounds, or chatting with friends who keep me semi-sane, or [redacted, announcement coming soon]), I feel guilty for neglecting the kids. Not that they’d let me, mind you. Interruptions are frequent, and it can be hard for me to keep my cool when an important scene is disrupted by talk of Lego. And if I say, “forget it, I’m not getting anything done anyway” and leave the office, I feel guilty for neglecting my work…

…and myself. See, writing isn’t just a job for me, and I’d be mighty disappointed if I was just doing it for the money. It’s what feeds me, what satisfies me. Some people get that from housekeeping, cooking, doing crafts with their kids or playing Mighty Machines on the floor. Those things all drain me. Yes, even the kids. I love the boys more than life itself, and we’ve had some amazing experiences together this summer:

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Brimstone Head, Fogo Island

But I do need time to be alone, to create, to be elsewhere.

When school is in, I’ll have that. I’ll be able to throw myself into my work and my obligations in that area while the boys are at school, and I can actually enjoy my time with them when they’re at home because I won’t feel like I should be doing something else. Instead of having my mind scattered between two duties at all times, I’m hoping I can compartmentalize and actually enjoy being in the moment with my family. At least, that’s my theory.*

And you know what? They like school, despite what they say when 7:30 AM rolls around.

So yeah, I’m looking forward to September. This year is going to be an experiment for all of us: it’s the first year both kids are in school full days (but still home for lunch, which is pretty cool), and the first year I have reason to treat writing like a job. It will be the first time I’ll have 4-ish hours a day to get my stuff done, and I’m feeling really good about the possibilities.

I love my kids, and I need time for my work. If that makes me selfish, so be it. I think my kids will be happier when they have my full attention at home, and I’ll be happier when I can work without distractions.

Maybe I won’t go this far…

But I’m pretty darned excited.

This post isn’t to excite anyone about back to school if you’re not feeling it. If you’re sad about it, I don’t think you’re crazy or anything. This is just to ask for a little understanding for the rest of us. We’re not bad parents for needing some time to miss the kids, and having time for ourselves might even make us better moms and dads during the hours we have with our families. We all love our kids, and we’re all doing the best we can with the resources we have available. We have different needs, challenges, and personalities. I just want to help us all understand each other a little better.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans.

LAST-MINUTE EDIT:

I just saw this, and it is PERFECT. And ditto to the school-supply confusion. Doesn’t help that our Walmart ran out of everything three weeks ago, but that’s fiiiiine.

*I know, there are people who can do this no matter what, parents who work from home AND home-school AND take kids to activities AND garden AND have sparkling bathrooms AND eat organic vegan paleo yadda yadda… and I’m not there. I’m disorganized and easily distracted to the point where I’d look into diagnosis and medication if it didn’t affect creativity. My anxiety since I stopped taking antidepressants leaves me unable to deal with a lot of things. I can barely remember to thaw chicken for supper. Maybe by next summer I’ll have learned to juggle, but I just can’t do it right now.

 


Birthday Breakdown and the Rest of the What’s-Uppage

Caution: Here be self pity. SLAP ME ALREADY.

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been sort of kind of a little bit not here so much lately.

No hard feelings if you haven’t.

I haven’t done a ROW80 update in a while, haven’t participated in WIPpet Wednesday for a few weeks. Mostly it’s because I have nothing to share or update. I’m stuck. Frozen. Dead in the water. THE THINGS THEY ARE NOT GOING SO GOOD IN MY BRAIN-HOLE is what I’m saying. I can’t write, can’t even make sense of my own work when I read over it, can’t focus, can’t brain today I have the dumb, what have you. Can’t think of much to write about here, obviously.

Maybe it’s the pressure. My editor was sick, but he should be ready for me to send my manuscript soon (hence the reading over for continuity issues after I made changes). I’m honestly terrified that I’m going to get this thing back with nothing but a message that says “this is crap, try again.”* Now, that would work out to be less expensive for me than an actual edit, but it might not be the best thing for my spirit. Or my career. Or my sanity.

I can’t read blogs about publishing right now. Thinking about formatting is giving me stomach issues. Celebrating friends’ successes is still making me happy, but I can’t think about my own work right now. I’m thiiiiis close to saying screw it, I didn’t need to follow that dream, I’m fine, it was a stupid idea anyway and wasn’t likely to come to anything because I lack guts and persistence and other good stuff.

I won’t, because momentum, but it’s a thought.

Oh, and I’m looking at eighteen-year-olds on Twitter who finished a draft of a novella and are like “I AM THE BEST WRITERER EVER AND AM GOING TO MAKE A BRAZILLION DOLLARS WHEN I PUBLISH THIS NEXT WEEK WHO WANTS TO PHOTOSHOP ME A COVER LOLZ” and wonder where I can get some of that confidence (if not some of that business sense, because that sounds like a bad plan to me). Because I feel like a bad writerer right now.

I’m going insane, basically.

On top of that, AJ is going through a really bad time at work. He doesn’t take it out on me or the kids, but it’s still one more thing that I’m worried about, and it means that I can’t really talk to him about my self-imposed issues. Because really, I’ve brought this all on myself, so what right to I have to gripe? Well, except here…

*headdesk*

In other news, I turned 33 yesterday. I can’t really take credit for this achievement, as I wasn’t responsible for bringing myself into the world and I’m fairly risk-averse, so survival was likely… but I’m still really happy about this turn of events. Another spin around the sun is definitely something to celebrate, and too many people don’t get to enjoy lives as long as I’ve had. I got to see both of my parents on my birthday for the first time in years, got a FaceTime call from my extended family in Ontario (and they sang “Happy Birthday” to me, which made me cry), spent 6 hours driving (not the most fun part), saw a juvenile bald eagle (which I count as a gift from Mother Nature, because why not), had a lovely evening… good times. OH, and epic cutie-pie Sidney Crosby scored a goal in the final hockey game of the Olympics, and I’m pretty sure that was just for me.

On every birthday I declare that THIS is going to be my year, the year when I do things and make things happen and yadda yadda. Maybe this is it. Or maybe every year just builds on the one before, and there is no one year.

Time will tell, I guess. Until then, I’m going to keep on going. I’m starting an online course today about using Scrivener. It’s my favourite writing software, but I only understand its most basic features and would like to know more. This won’t help with the fact that I need to learn how to use Word and track changes for editing (Help? Anyone?), but it will help when it comes time to publish. I have a friend’s book I promised to look over, and I’ll get to that once this ms has gone to the butcher editor. I’ll have a cover artist starting soon, which might be a nice distraction. And there are projects lined up, begging for attention…

It’s not that there’s nothing to do, it’s just that I can’t do it.

Except that I will. I’m just going to keep going and trust that things are going to get better. That’s a good plan, right?

RIGHT?

*To be fair to my editor, he would probably phrase it more nicely, as a shit sandwich. You know, where you frame the harsh bits in niceness. Like, “This was an interesting effort. But it sucks. Hey, I saw a picture of your cat and she’s really cute.” BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE NICEST THINGS HE WILL BE ABLE TO FIND TO SAY.


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