Month: March 2010 Page 1 of 3

Check your Wanting

“My dreams turned into phantoms, bringing me more pain than anything else. Sometimes Wanting can be poison, and it taints every accomplishment because nothing is ever enough. Wanting is not just a writer thing; it’s a human thing. Unchecked Wanting can be dangerous because it gives you this illusion that Getting will make things better. And in the mean time, you withhold your own happiness for no good reason.”

– from Natalie Whipple’s post “You Never Stop Being You”

Don’t worry, guys. I’m not particularly torn up with longing or anything. I’ve just had this quote saved for a while, ’cause I think it’s a great one. I know a lot of people who do this, who think things will be better once X, Y, or Z happens. But X, Y, and Z are just excuses people make for not finding happiness now.

On a somewhat related note: “Sit With It”

Fake it till you make it

The other day, my real life writer friend Sarah blogged something brilliant about “Playing Writer”:

Even now, I feel sometimes that I’m “Playing Writer” and while I have the knowledge and the skills, I’m not going to get over my insecurities until I work through them and tell myself that I am capable of doing this task I have set for myself. Sometimes when I’m talking about my book, I start to laugh or I apologize for my story. I’m scared I’m not going to live up to the things I’m saying about writing. I’m worried how someone will react to the words I have placed together — I mean, I want to be taken seriously. And I’m really good at talking the talk. I’m friggin awesome at talking the talk, if only that were the only thing I had to do! But, I have to walk the walk. Write the writing I’m always talking the talk about.

Right on!

I often feel like I don’t have the “right” to call myself a writer yet — like I’m just a kid playing make-believe — until I get some publishing creds to my name.

At the same time, calling myself a writer is a big part of getting myself in the right (write?) mindset. Telling other people “This is my goal, this is what I’m doing, and I will succeed” is a huge motivator to follow through. It’s accountability, you know?

It’s not that I write for other people — I don’t. But knowing that other people are watching me, and rooting for me, makes it a lot harder to watch TV instead of meeting my daily quota. (Of course, ideally I can fit in both…)

Anyway, that’s a big part of why I blog about my process. You guys keep me on track. Thanks, guys!

And with that in mind…

WIP update: 22,600 words, and 5 chapters done. I’m in the middle of Chapter 6 and definitely feeling better about what I’m producing. I’ve finally gotten a handle on the two main characters, AND the action has stepped up. So Chapters 1-3 will need a lot of revision to catch up to the rest.

But who am I kidding? The whole ms will need a lot of revision once the first draft is done!

Is it weird that I’m looking forward to that? (Or is it just walking the walk?)

Recklessly optimistic

Wow, it feels like forever since I’ve blogged. Actually, it feels like forever since everything. This has been an extremely long week, but it has also been far better than I imagined it would be.

Despite my history with caffeine-induced headaches, I’ve been running on Pepsi for the past couple of days. I also bought myself a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream (and ate it in less than 24 hours…) as a reward for all my hard work. Apparently calories = happiness and relaxation. Who knew?

(Brittney also sent me a wonderful care package full of chocolate and pampering, and I’m looking forward to making full use of it this weekend. Thank you!)

The thing is, despite all this CHAOS (yes it deserves all-caps) I’ve been pretty happy. My hard work not only resulted in a smooth workplace move & transition, it also was vocally appreciated/complimented by my coworkers and boss. That kind of thing goes a long way, you know?

Going into this, I knew I’d be working long hours all week, I just didn’t know that I’d sort of enjoy them.

I enjoyed the physical work. My jobs (receptionist and writer) involve a lot of sitting around and staring at a computer screen. This week, I was barely in a chair for more than a few minutes at a time (even for lunch!). Instead I was packing and taping and lifting and hauling. I was directing and assisting. I was organizing and discarding. Maybe it’s tedious work, but I’ve learned that tedious work can sometimes be rewarding, in its way.

(The one downside: my hands are raw and have paper/cardboard cuts all over.)

I enjoyed working with our service people. The locksmith, the movers, the security alarm guys, the phone system techs. Everyone we ended up hiring was really great. The older ones teased and reassured — like your favorite uncles. The younger ones were fun (and a few were flirty) and being around them made me feel young too. I mean, I know I’m young, but most days I act more like 42 than 24. It just felt good to be my age.

(The service people all did really great work, too. I plan to give them good ratings & reviews on Yelp.)

I enjoyed the camaraderie at my workplace. I think the move was good for us — the new building is a refreshing change of scene, and getting there was a chance to break our routine. Everyone pitched in to help everyone else, which created an atmosphere of teamwork and bonding. With just a dozen people, we were already fairly close, but I really think this move brought us even closer.

And I see even more positive things on the horizon. This move was the first big change at work, but potentially not the last. I’m excited about the possibilities for our company moving forward, about the way our corporate culture could evolve. Nothing is for sure, but this week I finally hopped off the fence and decided to root for a certain outcome. We’ll see if my team wins.

In the meantime, I’m going to do AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE this weekend. Other than a friend’s bridal shower, I plan to sleep, eat, read, and write. The end.

I hope your weekend is as relaxing as mine!

Feeling human after all

Confession time: I haven’t done morning pages in a week, and this past Saturday and Sunday I had to lower my word quota from 1,000 words to 500. Sigh.

That said, I’m still making steady progress and writing every day. The WIP just cracked 20k words, and my goal is 80k. (Although it doesn’t feel 1/4 done yet…) So anyway, I’m really not going to beat myself up. And even if I thought I should, frankly I’m just too tired. The Week of Chaos is, in fact, chaotic.

(Plus I just balled my eyes out over tonight’s heartbreaking and wonderful episode of Life Unexpected. Beating myself up now would just be mean.)

Instead I’m going to shower, read, write, and go to bed early. Because the Week of Chaos continues tomorrow. It is a whole week, after all.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this:

• Although we sat way up in the press box, I did take pictures and video at the Houston rodeo. This year they added an event called “mutton busting,” and it was ADORABLE. 5 year olds hugging sheep as they run out of a chute? Can we all say AWWW?

• YA author Justine Larbalestier blogged about “Writing as a Career v. Writing as an Identity”:

I have been a writer since I first learned how as a small child. I have been an author since I sold my first novel. There was a thirty year gap between the two. During the time that I was a writer-not-an-author I wrote hundreds of poems and short stories, and beginnings of novels, and two novels. That writing was a huge part of who I was. When I didn’t write I was miserable. When I was writing a lot I was joyous.

(Psst, Sonja! I thought of you when I was reading this.)

• Last but not least, the ever-hilarious XKCD illustrates why “Porn For Women,” isn’t.

The end of publishing? Think again.

WIP update: Just topped 17,000 words and am getting to the heart of Chapter 5. Strangely, writing feels easier now that the two MCs (main characters) are split up. Not sure what exactly that means yet, but I do think it means something. I guess I’ll address it in the revisions. (That’s my new motto for everything, haha: fix it later!)

To make the most of today, my last Friday of not working (at least for a while), I’m in Houston visiting my parents for the weekend. Trying hard to relax, and to get a lot of writing in. Because next week, the real chaos begins. (Carpets cleaned, locks re-keyed, alarm system upgraded, FURNITURE AND ALL OUR JUNK MOVED IN, unpacking, re-adjusting. Oy.) A workplace move really cures you of wanting to look for houses, by the way. I’ve started to think Andy and I could live in our condo forever.

Anyhoot, I’m off to read and write and relax (and go to the rodeo! yeehaw!) but first, a video. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have already seen this, but it really is worth seeing again, particularly if you’re into reading or you’re aspiring to be part of the publishing industry.

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