Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Switching Brain Channels, Push-ups, and Seinfeld

"I'm bored."

My three boys know NOT to say this in my presence. If I hear them, they must drop and give me 10 push-ups. It's a fun trick I learned from another mom.

But I have a dirty little secret: I have a short attention span and get bored easily too.

Last week I read my own novel so much my eyes are still staring at the tip of my nose. I'm sure that's not normal. I needed a commercial break.

My solution? I allowed my brain to switch channels. I dove head-first into my next project, which is a nonfiction piece I'm really excited about. Today my husband and I took a mini road trip to do research. Picture the dog with his head out the window, his ears flapping in the wind. That's how it felt.

In a couple of days I'll get back to my novel. By that time it'll feel fresh and fun again, just like catching a long-forgotten episode of "Seinfeld."

How about you? Does your brain needs to switch gears from time to time?

And the all-important question: what is YOUR favorite "Seinfeld" episode? Soup Nazi? Yada, Yada, Yada? The Bet? If you're too young to know, then excuse me while I run into my room and cry.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Letting Go

Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties

- Gail Sheehy

Letting go isn't easy.

Lately, my husband has been teaching our oldest son to drive. I won’t mention my son’s age, in case social services reads my blog. We live on several acres, so the closest things we could crash in to are cottonwood trees and a horse corral.

Last week it was my turn to take our son. While he slowly drove around our property, my hand “rested” near the emergency brake. While we calmly talked about ordinary things, my heart raced. But you know what? My son did great. He was cautious, curious, and respectful of the machine he was driving.

While sitting in that passenger seat, I realized it’s not easy for me to let go. It could be a control thing, it could be a fear of the unknown, I don’t know for sure. But in my mommy life, and in my writing life, I’m learning that letting go is part of the process.

When writers finish a manuscript, we must give it a goodbye kiss and send it on its way. How will my baby survive in the real world? What will other people think? Simply put, there are many things in life we can’t control.

With parenting, and with writing, we can only do our best and let go of the certainties.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Glitter, Butts, and Rejection

I wish I could remember which author said it, but I once read, “nobody farts glitter.” I love that! Did you get a visual? Me too. The glitter is blue.

I’m devouring information about the craft of writing, and my simple brain has divided the process into four steps:

  1. Write the manuscript
  2. Make the manuscript great
  3. Send the manuscript out
  4. Begin a new manuscript

Or, as Nathan Bransford reminded us in last week’s post, Jane Yolen so eloquently calls it BIC (butt in chair).

One way to guarantee I’ll never get published? Not sending out my work. So, I’m sending out my best stuff. What’s the worst that will happen? Rejection? In the grand scheme of things, I think that’s a pretty small consequence. Does it feel good? Heck no. Rejections sting.

It’s been a looooooong time since I’ve dated, thank goodness. But I loved this hilarious “just not that into you” post by Shelli. She compares rejection letters to dating. How clever is that?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blog Makeover

Thanks to Tory I've learned about shabbyblogs.com. I loved the look of Tory's blog so much I changed my own. If only personal makeovers could take place with the click of a mouse. *Sigh*

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rejoice in your voice!

When I hear a recorded version of my voice, I hate it. It sounds weird, and I immediately clear my throat trying to make it better. But my voice is my voice, and there’s not much I can do about it. I’m sure my husband would love to hear less of it, but that’s another story.

I attended an SCBWI writer’s day this past Saturday. Libba Bray was one of the amazing speakers. One thing she said stuck with me, and I’ll paraphrase: “Your voice is unique. No one else can write the way YOU write.”

I’m always admiring other writers. When I read a novel by Jodi Picoult, I marvel at her ability. Her voice draws me in. Her books make me think long and hard about previously held opinions. I wish I had her voice, but I don’t.

Instead, I have my own voice. When I speak, I might sound like one of the annoying crows that lands on my grass. But when I write, my voice is truly my own. Although I’m amazed by other writer's voices, I realize I can’t try to be like them. I've learned to rejoice in my own voice!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Managing our time...or not!

“Sometimes, people use age as a convenient excuse...Other people, though, go on to achieve their greatest accomplishments in life in later years.” - Catherine Pulsifer

Whew...what a relief! I didn’t start writing seriously until I turned 40. It’s nice to know the lines on my face don’t mean it’s too late to accomplish something amazing.

We returned a few days ago from the ginormous sand dunes of Glamis, CA. While we were on spring break, I didn’t write a thing. At first I felt a little guilty for not “working.” That is, until I read this fun article, “Time Management for the Unmanageable” by Ruth Schiffmann. It made me smile, big time.

After reading it, I said to myself, “Self, don’t be so serious!” Writing has always brought me such joy. If I treat it too much like a real job, what’s the fun in that?

No matter what else I do in life, my greatest accomplishments are my children. They’re nice people, plain and simple.

I have a wonderful husband, a roof over my head, and a full pantry. Everything else is gravy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Email Bar

Well, I've added the "Subscribe by e-mail" bar, and I'm wondering if it works. Brave souls - sign up, and let's test this thing!