It’s Not the Getting, It’s the Returning

I love to get things. I’ll happily go to the store and purchase a pair of fuzzy pajama bottoms or a new bathroom organizer that will do nothing but sit on the wall taunting me with its messy shelves and utter lack of organization.

The problem comes when something has to be returned. See. The getting is so easy, but the returning is soooo hard.

Overboard DVD

A DVD that was “borrowed” and never returned.

clothes

Clothes ordered online that didn’t quite fit right, but were never returned.

oil can

The oil can we borrowed from our landlord and have yet to return. She lives downstairs.

shower rod

The shower rod we bought for … I can’t remember why … and still haven’t returned.

Fault in Our Stars Book

The library book I’ve yet to return.

So what is it? Why am I so bad at returning things?

My best guess – The thrill of getting is way more powerful than my desire to sit on the couch. And there is no thrill in returning.

Cue the awkward segue: Is there anything else more powerful than my desire to sit on the couch?

Yes! NaNoWriMo.

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I’m joining the band of crazy people who have decided it’s a good idea to write a novel in a month. That’s 50,000 words in 30 days folks. At the end of November I’ll have 50,000 words added to my novel. It will be glorious. And you know what else is glorious? I can do it while sitting on the couch!

If anyone wants to be writing buddies, let me know 🙂

How I Conquered My Book Eating Pigeons (or writing conferences are awesome)

A car crashes into a writer’s bedroom. The final line of her manuscript (the only manuscript that can save the world from fictitious book eating pigeons) is left unwritten. Will anyone ever read it? Will her story ever be told?

Pigeon flying

A book eating pigeon poised to attack.  (Pigeon in Flight. Image courtesy of quinet via  Flickr CC Lic. 2.0)

A young woman leaves her “day job” to write insanely humorous urban fantasy. Follow her as she skyrockets to the top of the industry and remodels her house to include a dark, but well lit library.

study or library

My dark, but well lit future library complete with magical potions, because writing is magical. (Study. Image courtesy of CodyR via Flickr CC 2.0)

These aren’t the plots of Hollywood movies. These are the types of thoughts that run through my mind at night. And by night I mean while in bed desperately trying to fall asleep.

These thoughts can usually be divided into two very distinct categories: Fortune and Fame or Doom and Gloom. Examples:

Fortune and Fame – I can’t wait to sell the first million copies of my book!

Doom and Gloom – What if I never finish the book? What if something happens to me, and my manuscript remains the gooey, messy, but delightful draft that only I’ve read?

Fortune and Fame  – This trip will be amazing! Our Mardi Gras costumes will be the best anyone has ever seen and we’ll be on the front page of every newspaper and meet Angelina and Brad.

Doom and Gloom – Unless our plane crashes into an alligator infested swamp.

Yeah, I might have a little anxiety … countered by delusions of grandeur.

I don’t know why my brain does this. Someone please explain to me the evolutionary advantage of keeping myself up all night worrying about book eating pigeons or fantasizing about my Oscar speech for a book that doesn’t even have a title yet.

But I digress.

This weekend I attended the Pikes Peak Writers Conference (PPWC) in Colorado Springs, CO and guess what? I learned things. I learned new ways to think about things. I learned that “things” isn’t a very strong word. Well, I already knew that, but I liked the use of anaphora.

Crows reading

Me looking up the word anaphora. What? You didn’t know I was a crow, with other crow friends? (Reader. Image courtesy of h.koppdelaney via Flickr CC 2.0)

When I sunk into my couch yesterday afternoon, I was filled with a range of emotions, the best being exhilaration. Although, you couldn’t tell from my slack jaw and glazed over eyes.

The conference was three days of workshops, pitch sessions, critique sessions and writerly fun. At times it was overwhelming, and the realities of the writing life can be daunting.

While I was splayed on the couch, my husband asked if I felt discouraged. I didn’t even have to think about my answer. No, I wasn’t discouraged. In fact, I have never felt more encouraged, supported and empowered. I’ve never loved being a writer more.

When 8:00 p.m. rolled around, I was semi-conscious and drooling on a throw pillow. So, I decided to go to bed. And then it happened – I couldn’t sleep. I was up for hours. I reworked my first two chapters in my mind, pondered marketing strategies and, of course, pictured myself walking down the red carpet. There was no worrying, no negative thoughts. Only the positive flowed through my mind.

So, goodbye Doom and Gloom. From here on out, I’m focusing on Fortune and Fame.

Thank you PPWC!

Giving my Resolutions a Little Wiggle Room

So the new year is almost upon us and I thought I would get in on the resolution-making that is happening out there. But instead of setting myself up for failure, I gave myself some wiggle room.

1. Exercise 1 hour every day. Does repeatedly walking from the desk to the fridge count? No? Okay, then scratch that. How about exercise more? Doable right? No rules about type, frequency or duration. Just more. Considering I was a sloth from August to December of last year, this should be easy.

2. Read a book a week. Now I know there are people out there who consume a book a day, but that’s just not me. A couple of years ago, I’d completely fallen out of the habit of reading. Sure I flipped through a couple of Better Homes and Gardens magazines here and there, but I never touched a full-length novel.  Now I’m back in the game and loving it. And I’m ready to do more. Maybe a book a week, we’ll see, but I just want to do better than last year.

3. Write a thousand words a day. Ha! Even when I spend a full day writing, this just isn’t my style. There are days I reach over a thousand and then days I only hit 500. And (gasp) there are days I don’t write at all. Sometimes I just have to step away, take a break, maybe have a few wacky life experiences to fuel my creativity. So, instead of forcing myself to write a certain number of words a day, my goal is to have my second novel finished (and by finished, I mean fully edited, revised and proofread) by the end of the year.

And for those of you who recall the challenge I placed before myself at the November, I have an update. My goal was to have the first draft of my current WIP revised and ready to be chewed apart by beta readers at the end of the month. This month. Well, I failed. And here is my excuse: the holidays. See, this is what I was doing instead:

Making chocolate. It was really easy. I found the recipe on Oh She Glows and just had to try it myself–only 4 ingredients, about 5 minutes for melting/combing, and then a little freezer time. They were super yummy.

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Homemade chocolate!

I saw this snowman on Pinterest and just had to do it. Here is the blog link.

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We made these wreath ornaments to hand out as gifts. They were really easy once you find the mini wreath forms. The tutorial is here.

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This is one my husband made. He’s so crafty 🙂

Lastly, I made this woodland scene advent calendar for my husband. Under each item was a treat or an activity to do together. The blog link for this is here.

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Check out the narwhal in the lake. They really live in the ocean, but I was taking creative liberties.

Now, I did get some work done on the novel and it’s going a little more quickly than I first imagined. So, my new goal is to have it ready mid-January.

4. Journal every day. I tried this last year, even giving the two-sentence journal a shot. I think my last entry was in the end of March. So, I saw this on Pinterest and decided to make one. Here is the link to the tutorial.

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It’s a calendar, with an index card for every day of the year. You pull out the card for the current day, write the year and then a sentence or two about what happened. My husband and I started the day after Christmas, sharing the responsibility for jotting down something witty and memorable. As the years go by, the cards will fill up and you get to reminisce while you journal. I this will be more doable since it is a shared duty and it’s on the coffee table staring at me every night, making me feel guilty.

So that’s it. I could resolve to eat better, but my husband would probably die from laughter. I just discovered you can wrap almost anything in moist bread and deep fry it–no batter required. The possibilities are endless…

UPDATE:

I know it sounds weird. I found a recipe for Indian Bread Rolls stuffed with potatoes on Veg Recipes of India and it was amazing. Then I started thinking of all the other mixtures that could be wrapped in bread and fried. Here are a couple of pics from the Veg Recipes of India website showing the bread rolls being made and what they look like after being fried.

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Image courtesy Veg Recipes of India.

bread-rolls

Image courtesy Veg Recipes of India.

 

Happy New Year everyone!!

I was going to write this post a week ago, but…

You’re given a month’s notice of the impending deadline. A week goes by, then two. Soon, the day arrives. It’s time for your four-hour presentation. Or your in-laws are about to knock on your front door. Or it’s your uncle’s pet iguana’s birthday.

iguana

Igor at his birthday party.
(Image courtesy Patrick Buechner via Flickr)

But you’ve only rehearsed half your presentation,  you haven’t made the guest room bed and you have no present for Igor, the Iguana. Not even a card. You scramble to throw something together. Perhaps a handmade card, with a narwhal on it. Not your proudest moment, but for some of us it happens all too often.

norwal card

Image courtesy Laine Trees via Flickr.

Procrastination. We’re all guilty. I’m procrastinating right now. There are a few things I should be doing instead of writing this post: bathing my cats (Ha! Have you ever seen a wet cat??), researching the origins of the Snuggie, or actually working on my novel.

black wet cat

Image courtesy WATERBOYsh via Flickr.

gray wet cat

Image courtesy Julie Manzerova via Flickr.

annoyed wet cat

Image courtesy Belal Khan via Flickr.

happy wet cat

Weird–this cat actually looks happy.
(Image courtesy Felicity Rainnie via Flickr)

And the farther away the deadline, the more you procrastinate. Well, you tell yourself, you have days, weeks, or months to complete the task. Why worry about it now? There are so many cute cat pictures on Pinterest that need pinning. Then, depending on the size and scope of the project, panic sets in as the deadline approaches. Instead of working on the project little by little, you slam it all out in one caffeine fueled frenzy.

Unfortunately, this process works well for me. I become focused and feverish. And I always get the job done. Except when it comes to my book.

It’s funny. The thing that is most important to me, is the thing I procrastinate finishing the most. Maybe I think I don’t have enough time to dedicate to the project, or I tell myself that I should just get these two things done first, then I’ll edit. I want an uninterrupted block of time to work, and by the time I get those two other tasks done it’s time to watch Sleepy Hollow, and I can’t miss an episode of Sleepy Hollow.

sleepy hollow

Image courtesy Loren Javier via Flickr.

The real problem, though, is that I don’t have a deadline. There is no due date for my project and all these other tasks are time sensitive. The presentation is already scheduled, the in-laws have purchased their plane tickets, and Igor was born on November 28th.

So, I’ve decided to give myself a deadline: December 31st. I will have my entire manuscript edited and in the hands of my beta readers by the end of the year.

deadline

Image courtesy Kalexander2010 via flickr.

I’ll keep you posted throughout the month on my progress. My hope is that it will keep me motivated. Knowing that I will have to announce my progress to the world, or my lovely little group of followers, should be the push I need to disable my Netflix account and edit.