Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Fiver, Christmas style

1. And the work is done. Everyone is off from the day job over in London and I am going to kick back and enjoy this.

2. Need to go buy the foodstuffs for the holiday dinner. I also need to finish the baking.

3. The pile of books to read and the movies to watch has continued to grow. I must start tonight or I'll never finish.

4. I have so much to be thankful for this Christmas season. I am truly blessed.

5. Have a wonderful holiday season with you and yours. See you in 2008!

I may pop in on occasion to update my writing/reading/revision progress, but if I don't, keep on writing!

Currently reading: Valiant (Holly Black)
Currently listening to: In My Arms (Plumb)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Whirling Dervish

Hubby is laughing at me on IM this morning as I try to describe what I think of both of our jobs right now. I thought we would have some cathartic quiet for the holidays, but instead, I think I'll just have to ignore it and come back on January 2 ready to go!

At least hubby's company provided a brand new Blackberry. Yeah!

In the latest news around here, I'm on my final to-do list before the office goes on hiatus and I'm so happy. Trying to schedule everything else for after January 2. It's working! I am so ready to sleep in past 8 and to stay up all night reading or watching movies if I want (I mean I can now, but it doesn't help me get my work done to do that right now).

Everyone's talking about their favorite things at Christmas and mine are (in no particular order)

1. The look of Christmas lights. I like to keep the house dark just as it's turning dusk and then sit entranced by the Christmas lights. It makes me feel all warm and cozy.

2. Finding the silliest stocking stuffers for hubby, like this year's change jar that reads out the total to you in a computer voice. Hahaha. "You now have a dollar thirty-five."

3. Rifling through the drawers and boxes of movies to pilfer the best ones and the annual ones (Santa Clause movies, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Narnia, Love Actually, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, It's A Wonderful Life, and countless others. Even Bill Moyers' The Power of Myth is on my pile this year. And cranking the Christmas tunes and reading Christmas books. Oh this is great.

4. Christmas baking and cooking. Something about a warm sweater and Christmas socks in the kitchen preparing holiday food. I love it. Reminds me of Gram's house.

5. The littered house after unwrapping presents. I love the crunch and clutter of wrapping paper and ribbons and presents stacked precariously on couch cushions. I love the mess of it all.

In the midst of the mess, I'm writing and reading (new Joyce Carol Oates journals are here!) and relaxing.

All's left is tomorrow's Friday Fiver and this blog closes down for the holidays (except for breaking news).

Currently reading: Valiant (Holly Black)
Currently listening to: Celine Dion Christmas

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

At the End of the Line. Period. Full Stop.

Someone wrote this to me today and I'm stealing it. I am definitely at the end of the line. Slept in this morning until 7:30 and feel rested, but I need to get the work done today so I can just walk away from the office and focus on other things.

Loved the Thomas Merton quote Susan Wise Bauer put on her blog about work. I needed that today.

Finally the library has Stephenie Meyer's Twilight waiting for me. I was hold number 300 or something of 350 people and it seems a copy has found its way to my regional library and it's for me! I can't wait. I've heard amazing things about this series (albeit the guy is a vampire) and I'm so curious.

The vampire thing must be a trend. I got the original I am Legend movie from the 1960s starring Vincent Price to watch, have the 1971 Charlton Heston remake coming next week, and ordered the 1998 reissue of Richard Matheson's book I am Legend for Todd for Christmas. Hey, the story was good and we are intrigued because you want to know more after you see Will Smith's version.

Just got off a webinar for work that was really interesting, but I am not an MD, so the writing/planning aspects still befuddle me. I sat there copyediting as the text appeared. Yes, I am a copyeditor! :)

Currently reading: Valiant (Holly Black) (must finish soon to make room for Twilight!)
Currently playing on the iPod: One Republic cd (new)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Week Before Christmas

And my to-do lists are barely holding. I did really good yesterday and am well on my way to doing well today, but I'm losing faith.

I'm tired. Tired enough that my head feels as if it's not attached quite right and I get dizzy when I stand up too fast (so what's new). I'm just going through the motions now. After finishing the end of the year feed, jumping on my early conference call, making sure everyone was up to speed on the happenings from that conference call, and now looking forward to 2008, I just want to go back to bed.

But an email from my sister-in-law is gonna keep me moving this week. She's a single mom of three, works three jobs, and just finished her master's last weekend. She found out a few weeks ago that for another 10 grand and 10 more weeks, she could get another master's degree in a specialty that would guarantee her a better job at triple her current salary. And she could quit her dead-end jobs. And she starts January 7.

I got up thinking there was no way I was going to be able to slog through this week. I was losing sight of why exactly I was slogging through in the first place. What am I thinking? Becoming a novelist, getting a BA in English, a double MFA in fiction and narrative non-fiction? What?

It really doesn't require rocket science, just a few well-placed friends (and a sister-in-law) and I'm back to the races today, determined to resist Resistance and keep moving forward.

What in your life needs a kick in the butt? What do you need to get re-fired up about? What goals for 2008 are you determined to accomplish come hell or high water?

And another thing, when I realize how hard it is to stick to this path, I know I'm going the right way. Resistance comes head on when you are headed toward the right thing.

Keep moving forward!

Currently readin: Valiant (Holly Black)
Currently listening to: Killers new cd

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Goals

So, here's up updated list of goals to accomplish either before the end of the year or that are going on my official 2008 goals list.
This week:
1. Feed frenzy ends tomorrow. I have one more proof, plus a copyedit for the January mid-month feed. Feedback from client Excel update this week. Finish AMA review, and review new dosing guidelines from the pharmacists. Upload docs to Intranet this week.
2. Last of the freelance projects for this year headed out this week.
3. Novel revision ongoing (3 hours a day).
4. College exam studies have resumed. Week one of MFA complete.
5. 2008 business marketing plans progress (1 hour per day).
6. Medical and financial paperwork to HR by Friday.
Before year end:
1. Novel revision ongoing (3 hours a day).
2. Finish HB books, DL books; progress on SD and JB books.
3. Christmas prep for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Christmas cookie decorating on Christmas Eve!
4. Prep for New Year's Eve bash.
5. College exam studies have resumed. Week one of MFA complete.
6. 2008 business marketing plans progress (1 hour per day).
1. Novel revision ongoing (3 hours a day).
2. College exam studies have resumed. Week one of MFA completed; eight weeks to catch up on. :)
3. 2008 business marketing plans progress (1 hour per day).

I'm working on an official business marketing plan for 2008 and 2009 as I'm not sure of my employment status as of June 2008. Probably will stay on, but it's up in the air and I need to make contingency plans. Will know more this week, I think.
Spent the weekend resting, reading, studying, and writing. Caught up with week one of the MFA, and this week it's onto weeks two and three. Shouldn't be hard, my workshop project (short story) is in rough form already in a notebook, so I'm looking forward to lengthening it out a bit.
Saw I Am Legend and was a bit disappointed. Have the original movies it was made off of coming via post this week, so we'll be able to compare/contrast. Will Smith did a great job, but meh on how the story translated to the screen this time.
Hubby bought me Harry Potter 5 so will get to watch that again during the holidays. I also have Lost season 3, and can't wait to dive in as prep for the new season starting in February. They even did a Lost season 4 preview at the movies! I cheered and embarrassed hubby and our friend who was with us.
Windy, blowy, cold up here. But we're snug and cozy. Gotta get to work now.
Currently reading: Valiant (Holly Black)
Currently listening to: New Angels & Airwaves cd

Friday, December 14, 2007

Before I Hop On A Conference Call

I thought I'd post real quick. It's Friday! I LOVE it. I'm finished with just about everything for this week too. A quick status report (in true Friday Fiver fashion)

1. Feeling really good about the day job and how much we've accomplished. The style issues are still hazy and we won't get them resolved until after the first of the year, but the feed has been going great and I've been neck-deep in monographs all week long. I love it, but it really wears me out. But we're good. Next week is the feedback update, but that should go smooth. And my call in a few minutes is a style discussion, but nothing huge has to be decided. Yeah!

2. Finishing up my MFA work. Decided to ready extra chapters (optional reading) and take notes SWB style (Susan Wise Bauer, for those who don't know). I've resumed my reading schedule using her Well-Educated Mind book. Yes, I'm still reading Don Quixote and Pilgrim's Progress! I'm slow! But her note-taking tips for studying work with everything else mind you. Nice to have friends in "well-educated" places. :)

3. Headed to Bellevue to meet with Jen today for our monthly writing chat. I was tired so I thought perhaps I wouldn't make it, but my hubby encouraged me to go. He likes that I come home bouncing off the walls I guess. :) Jen and I get along famously and we get each other all hepped up and inspired, and goodness knows, I need it after this week.

4. Hubby wants frosted and sugar cookies for Christmas baking. Must get on that. I've also got to plan my Christmas menu (roast, mashed potatoes probably). But what kind of pie? When both of us LOVE chocolate pie. Hm, tough call.

5. Freelance work load is still intense. I'm caught up, but more coming in all the time. Expanding my horizons takes a lot of work and it's fun, but I already talked about the freak out day I had this week, didn't I? :) Need to continue writing my new web site and work on my marketing plans.

Sheesh, and I'm supposed to rest this weekend. LOL

Currently reading: Valiant (Holly Black)
Currently listening to: Michael W. Smith Christmas (can't get enough!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Feeling the Impending Holiday Break

Not that the impending holiday break will be a bad thing! I'm so ready for it! But I can feel it coming and so can my clients and that's when things go haywire. Everyone wants it RIGHT NOW and there are limits to how quickly things can be turned around. I'm doing my best but after almost three weeks of solid deadlines, I'm tired.

So I'm cranking my iPod dock and going for it (plug: I love my Bose! Rachel, you should totally buy it!) and things should be better for the weekend.

Yesterday was freak out day and I just about came undone. You know when you are tired and lots of different things start coming your way at once and you feel a bit disconnected? That was yesterday.

Today is much better.

In writing/reading/revising news, I'm almost done with my work on my short story MFA for the first week. This is my exploratory MFA, but I can get credit for it later if I keep all my papers and written work. It's fun, it's free (except for the books), and I'm learning a lot of great stuff.

Plus a book I copyedited last week is a prereq lit class textbook and is really good. I got it in PDF, so I'm looking forward to working with that too and then using it in my portfolio.

Gotta run!

Now reading: Valiant (Holly Black)
Now playing: Taking Chances (Celine Dion)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday Gratefulness

Trying really hard to be grateful after yesterday's series of snafus (ten extra copies of the business annual report by accident at UPS store, dentist appointment, wrong item in an Christmas present order, it goes on and on) and had to come home and turn on a Christmas movie.

Today, I am so booked that I still need some gratefulness props. Anyone care to share?

What are you grateful for this holiday season?

Me, I've got a long holiday vacation coming up starting December 21 and into January, I've got heat (some people are out of power in very cold weather) and I don't have to travel this year for the holidays (a big grateful sigh with this one).

If you want to post your gratefulness lists, feel free.

In writing/revising/reading news, not much. I ran around yesterday to do end-of-2007 errands for my biz (thus the gratefulness thread through this post) and came home and fell asleep on the couch watching House.

Today I'm determined to make it through my pile of to-do tasks and leave time to write/revise/read, at least moreso than last night.

Currently reading: Valiant (Holly Black)
Currently listening: It's a Wonderful Christmas (Michael W. Smith)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday's Brighter

So I stayed home yesterday and I feel better today. Tired, but what's new. I can feel my Christmas vacation coming up soon and I'm already ready for it.

Hubby and I watched White Christmas last night. It was on television, but they cut all the good stuff out, so we turned that off and restarted it on DVD. As I rummaged through our DVD collection drawers, I found a whole pile of movies I want to watch over Christmas break. I can't wait.

In writing/reading/revising news, slow but steady progress. I mapped out my study schedule for school, and organized my reading piles (2008 is the year of the built-in bookshelf system! for sure!).

A new toy appeared for my office last week: Fly Pentop Computer and it's pretty fun. I'm using it to brainstorm, but intend to use it out at the library or in a bookstore. I'll keep you posted on how this writer brain is able to utilize it. (It's on sale at for those who want to try it out with me.)

Currently reading: Valiant (Holly Black)
Currently playing: Narnia soundtrack

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Bit Somber, Probably Because I Have A Cold

Hard news this weekend. A friend's IVF failed and another friend's 4-yo-old fell out of a tree (20 feet) and broke both her wrists in two places. I am affected by news like that in such a personal way. I had to fight to get into a party mood on Saturday and so had to go to the gym, rant a bit (while hubby kindly listened) and then I felt better. But prayers and thoughts go to both these friends on opposite sides of the country. I'm so sorry.

The neighborhood party lasted 9 hours. I have no idea how in the world we go that long, but when you start at 4 pm and have 10 houses to visit, it just goes that long. Delish food (crab cakes, eggnog, and brown bears aka hot chocolate and rum) and fun conversation and the finale of white elephant gifts being fought over by people who remembered none of it the next day.

This week is much quieter around the office. All the deadlines are met, a few impending ones are still a week away and I have a cold. Thus, I will curl up with my AMA style book on the couch with a blanket and go nowhere today. It is too cold out anyway.

In writing news, I'm going through revision books and really picking up some great tips. I'm writing in my character notebooks and my structure and theme notebooks and I am reading a lot.

In studying news, I'm back to the grindstone. I just realized that if I want to finish my school by the time I'm 40, I'd better hurry up. So studying for tests today, which I plan to take in 2008.

But all that aside, my to-do list is made for today and off I go!

Currently reading: Tithe (Holly Black)
Currently listening to: Boys choir Christmas music

Friday, December 07, 2007

Circling Like a Vulture

Okay, I'm cleaning.

For those who don't know me, since I've been married I have this really crazy habit of avoidance. When I'm stressed and don't want to deal, I clean.

Last night at 12:15 am, I was up scrubbing the bathroom sinks.

I am circling this novel revision and starting to lose control. It's a simple correction that's needed: hire an editor. I just can't help but hold to a very stupid idea that (duh) because I'm an editor, I can self-edit successfully.

Perhaps I will someday. But now, this is the same paralyzing spot I've been in twice before (I recognize the panic) and that I'm up late cleaning clinches it.

I sent an email off to an editor this morning asking for help.

I am now sitting here waiting to feel different, putting on my Tiger Woods anti-resistance mindset, and making faces into my computer monitor.

I'm even more scared, hyper scared, but still completely freaked. This is going pro, as our own Steven Pressfield talks about in War of Art. Not that I mean I'm better or up a level, but my outlook must be: I am a pro.

A pro can take criticism, can fail and still try again, and won't ever give up.

So there's my "outing": I am a pro. I have contacted an editor. I have confessed my freakout to my writing buddy. I am not going to sit in this same pothole again.

In honor of this occasion, I am playing (very loudly) the song by the All-American Rejects (see below).

Now reading: Squashed (Joan Bauer)
Now playing: Move Along (All-American Rejects)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Finished up all my workload yesterday and treated myself to Cahier notebooks from Borders. I also found them for an incredible price at Moleskines Good Prices and I ordered some from them as well.

In revision last night I started work (along with my work on characterization) on my novel's structure. I have a structure notebook and it's just really interesting to look so closely at elements of a novel and to really squeeze and mold them to fit. Writing is more about what you do off the page than what what ends up on the page, in both thinking and writing.

I got a scolding from my writing buddy about picking up two more book ideas to start writing as I revise. So I am reneging on yesterday's post (yeah, it's my blog; I can do that). I am only revising one book. I am not writing any other books. I am jotting in notebooks.

Is everybody happy? (my Swedish great-grandfather Ernest used to ask that all the time)

For today, it's tons of AMA study (a strategy worked out this morning because of style guides that weren't quite ready to update), and later, I'm reading, writing, and revising!

Happy writing day!

Currently reading: Mystic River (Dennis Lehane)
Currently playing: YouTube video of Journey's new lead singer

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Victoria Magazine rebirths.

It's back. Remember the beautiful Hearst-published VICTORIA magazine? The one that folded in 2004 (for reasons still unknown) created by Nancy Lindemeyer, who wowed us for a decade with her visionary pictures and stories and called the romantic in every one of us to dream a little more.

As a writer, this magazine kept me writing with its interviews and excerpts of Joanna Trollope, Madeleine L'Engle, Susan Minot, and Nora Ephron. The pictures of shops, homes, museums, gardens, and everything else answered the call I had to have a beautiful home, to enjoy my home, and to live, to really live in my home.

I have a very solid collection of back issues stored here that start in the 1980s (I inherited my grandmother's collection when she passed on) and I added to it month after month. I've considered selling them, but I can't. Todd's late grandmother gave me her issues too (during one of my last visits to her grandma cottage in California). Between my collection and my mom's collection, I think we have every issue.

The first re-issue came out October 30 of this year and I thought I subscribed via the web site, but I guess not (no one ever billed me nor did I receive the first issue in October), so I am hunting it down online and in bookstores this week. Anyone seen it anywhere? Please leave a message!

Writing, reading, revising began last evening in earnest. My revision of Let Them Eat Cake begins with a serious look at Max Perkins' stout, but even-handed edits for F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (the greatest American novel in history, I believe).

There's also a MG/YA series that I'm starting to play with because of the recent huge sale by another YA author of a similar series. The market is HOT! I have a three-book series titled and semi-plotted, so I'm going to work on that.

Plus, a new epic novel idea is forming in my head that is very similar to The Great Gatsby (that era, story turned inside out) about a poor, naive girl falling for a selfish, myopic rich boy. It's an age-old story, but I have a few twists planned.

The first hint from my revision book is what F. Scott Fitzgerald did. Character notebooks (first half: character history, second half: character voice) and the Moleskin Cahier Notebook is the perfect tool for this. Slim, lined books that let you apply labels to the front cover and are slim enough to handle one character in each. I'm off to Borders to buy all they have!

So some major progress last night. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald developed the novel as a result of an earlier short story that summarized the events that happened before the novel. That is such good fiction! It's not so much what happens in the present, but what's going on under the surface and how the characters react to what happened already off-stage, but which is still firmly imbedded in their conscious thought. Fabulous stuff!

Happy writing!

Currently reading: Squashed (Joan Bauer)
Currently listening to: Sawdust (The Killers)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday Post Storm

So Interstate 5 southbound flooded, Lincoln City, Oregon received 125 mph winds, and I hid indoors until it was over.

Whew. No power outages, no trees down. We coasted through this one just fine. (I'm very relieved; I hate windstorms.)

In work news, I am catching up, I think. I have been working on the style docs this week, trying to inhale vast amounts of the American Medical Association style guide during the day. Last night I finished several freelance projects that were just hanging around. Today is the dentist, but I can haul the AMA with me there.

Coming up to free time after work again to read and revise and write! I can't wait.

Happy third anniversary to my sister and brother-in-law. Happy ten month birthday plus one day to my niece, who is too cute.

Happy writing!

Now reading: Backwater (Joan Bauer)
Now playing: New Angels & Airwaves album

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Rec

Okay, so who played all weekend with this new web site that tracks all your money for you?

Yup, me.

It's free, it's endorsed by a NYT writer, and it is really cool:
Mint: Refreshing Money Management.

See if it refreshes you!

In writing/revision/reading news, I'm not moving much. I'm working really hard to wrap up freelance projects, keep up with work style changes and editing, and keep this house clean, and decorate for Christmas. (all done successfully)

The writing/revision/reading is just really slow. I got through one of my 26 books last week and sat up last night to read part of a revision book before succumbing to Cheesecake Factory-induced sleep.

The Christmas tree is up though, a small four-foot fake in a pretty urn from Home Depot brought to me by hubby, decorated in silver, white, and antique brown patina ornaments, the Christmas gifts are all bought and wrapped and delivered or under the tree, and the Christmas music is cranked.

This week, I'm plotting out the Christmas baking schedule and getting my Christmas vacation time in to my boss.

So last week's list (see here) is the same, except for 1, 5, and 10 are now:

1. Feeding frenzy two weeks (December 18) starts today and new style guides and updates must be posted to intranet ASAP. Finish the quick-find guide to AMA and insert into style guide by end of the year. Feedback from client Excel updates by the 15th.

5. Prep for Christmas parties (Dec 8, Dec 24 & 25) by baking a to-be-determined list of goodies.

10. Finish the medical/life/disability insurance paperwork (now that my medical records are finally complete) and send to HR.

Number 10 should actually be number one, but I'll just get to it this week for sure.

Currently Reading: Backwater (Joan Bauer
Currently Playing: The Promise (Michael W. Smith)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. I have been wiped out this week. Seriously, just wiped out. Musta been the 51,425 words I wrote in 9 days, the long weekend with family, and then home to meet multiple very tight deadlines (still ongoing). I crashed yesterday afternoon after helping a client with a very late edit. I feel somewhat normal today.

2. I have to pick up a Christmas tree this next week. Not live, but not a huge fake one either. Anyone seen those that are already in a pot or urn, for decorative purposes? That's what I want. Mom says Walmart, so I guess I have to go IN that store now.

3. Picked up a pile of books from the library and started in. Wish I could do just read (what I want) for a solid month.

4. Hubby's Christmas present arrived and it's very solid (a new black, steel, and glass office desk) so we barely got it upstairs. He's thrilled. I am figuring out my new digicam (Canon Powershot).

5. As November closes, I am so thankful for all that was accomplished this month. Amazing! I am not ready to rest quite yet. Really, after yesterday's rest, I'm ready to go again.


Currently reading: Thwonk (Joan Bauer)
Currently playing: The Promise (Michael W. Smith)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Overload

So, how to avoid holiday overload? I am bowing out of gift exchanges this year. In the past I've done at least four or five with various groups of friends; this year, I'm out of all but the local neighbor white elephant exchange.

It is so easy to get carried away with celebrations and things and events and very good reasons, but I am aiming for a bit more quiet contemplation this year. I have enough.

I have a lot.

I think it's my writing buddy's novel project that has put me in this mood. She's writing about Rwanda and I started poking around on Google as a result.

Running water, basic hygiene, more than one set of clothes--all these are things we take for granted, but the rest of the world may not even have the luxury to have.

I'm not preaching, I'm just downsizing. I'm donating food, clothes, books, and household items to charity. I don't need another five gift exchange items to fill up an empty cupboard.

I'll be enjoying all the fuss and fuddle of the season, trying to make a small difference in the few lives I touch in empathy, by listening, but spending time.

Can't wait!

Currently reading: Tithe (Holly Black)
Currently playing: You Know I'm No Good (Amy Winehouse)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Feeling A Bit Under the Weather

Yeah, I've got the sniffles today. It's cold now (snow expected in the mountains and maybe for us later on this week) and it was bound to happen.

In writing news, I'm reading revision books like crazy. Susan Bell, Noah Lukeman, Renni Browne, and on it goes. Have an entire pile to get through in the next 10 days or so and then the revision schedule will get all filled in and I'll really be into it. I'm trying not to fiddle with the revising quite yet, not until I know how I want to do it. I tend to fiddle and fiddle and ruin perfectly good drafts.

Gearing up to read Dennis Lehane and Ken Follet books and am not sure about this. They are both gritty, hard-boiled thrillers (well, maybe not Follet, but I've still read about the violence in his reviews). I'm so not a fan of violence, but the writing in these men's works is worth it I hear.

It's like reading the last quarter of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. It ran out of steam for me, but I didn't care; her writing was just so poetic and smooth. Sometimes the writing seduces you into reading what you just knew you would not ever attempt.

It sure surprises me! Wish me luck!

Playing on the iPod: Testify to Love (Avalon)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Winding Down Nanowrimo

For those who are still writing (and I know many of you are) on Nanowrimo this year, a few great ideas that I used this year.

1. Write a straight draft with minimal description and for details you're not sure of, just put TK (to come).

2. Don't reread what you just wrote. Just keep moving forward. Don't print the pages, don't scan back on the computer screen; just go forward.

3. Give yourself an hour or two of time and crank the music that puts you in the mood.

4. Let some things go. Work, dishes, laundry, social commitments, just let 'em go for this week. You'll be back to normal next week.

5. When you're not writing, pamper yourself, and let your mind wander. This fills up your imagination for the next writing appointment.

Go for it! Just four days left and you can do it!

Playing on the iPod: Christmas music (assorted)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nanowrimo is Over; Next Goals Up

It's hard to finish a draft. Harder still when you have to have all your Christmas gifts wrapped to hand-deliver by Thanksgiving day.

But it's finished. Was supposed to have spent T-day weekend reading and working on a revision schedule, but spent the weekend eating and playing with my niece and helping my folks move to their new home. Total chaos with baby toys and boxes of books and lots of jokes with the siblings and a sick brother (who got better) and meeting his new girlfriend (very fun) and everything else, but we had a great time and my folks' new home is beautiful.

Onto this week/month:

1. Feeding frenzy week with end of the month feed to get to the client for the day job.
2. A list of freelance projects to finish up in the evenings.
3. Novel revision schedule to plan and begin
4. Reading has slowed and must get back to it. Have a pile of books to claim at the library.
5. Prep for Christmas parties (Dec 8, Dec 24 & 25), get a tree up and decorate, and finish Christmas shopping for hubby.
6. Get back to college exams study schedule and review the month of Latin study that I already forgot.
7. Plot new novel(s) using Scrivener.
8. Interview and hire an editorial consultant.
9. 2008 business marketing plans to chart.
10. Prepare the Northwest Center charity boxes for pickup on Friday.

Playing on the iPod: Michael W. Smith Christmas cd (new 2007 one)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nanowrimo Last Day

As I type this (after a great writing day yesterday that pushed my word count over 63,000 words), I am running a spell check on my entire draft.

Yep, that's right. I'm done with my book and with my Nanwrimo 50,000-word challenge! I wrote past 70,000 words and I'm 90% happy with it (yes, I'm a perfectionist, so sue me).

I did it!

I feel great. I even went to Amazon this morning to buy myself some books to read as a reward for a job well done and then found them all at the King Co library instead (20 holds so far). So when I get back from T-day, not only will I be reading my heart out, I will be starting the next phase of this book project: revision.

Stay tuned for more once I gorge myself on holiday food and spend time with family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nanowrimo Home Stretch

Wrote another 6,000 words Monday and am now past 58,000 words. I only have 12,000 words left in this draft (I can go over if I want) because of the length constraints of this genre.

However, Stephen King is famous for his second draft rule of thumb: second draft = first draft - 10%. Thus, going over won't be the end of the world.

So we'll see.

Feeling good. Got a brainstorm yesterday for another YA title or two, so working with that. I have two very good fiction editors to interview for an editorial consultation in December/January. I'm preparing for a first quarter submission to my new very targeted agent list. And then hopefully after a few more revisions (or not), my new future agent will get my YA out on submission.

At least that's the plan, but best laid plans of mice and men . . .

Have a great day!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nano Third Week

So I'm trying to finish up early, before Thanksgiving. I'm on the final stretch, last 18,000 words. Yes, you read that right. I wrote almost 35,000 words last week.

(yes, I'm tired)

It's not perfect (as Anne Lamott would say, definitely a shitty first draft), but the bones are on paper and the plot works. The description and characterization need some work, as does the dialogue, but I think the story really works. I used Blake Snyder's Save the Cat (screenplay book) for my plotting. He is amazing. Try it, you'll like it.

I couldn't sleep last night after finishing my word count for the day, so I sat up and plotted out the next three 6,000-word sections. Each of those sections encompasses three different storyboard cards (Bad Guys Close In, All Is Lost, Dark Night, etc.) and I know what will happen to finish the book, I just don't know what my final image will be. And that's okay. I've got the opening image, a great midpoint, break into 2 and break into 3, so we're set, but I'm excited to see what my final closing image (which is the synthesis of the opening image and midpoint image) will be.

It's been a great week. Not only did I finish my regular work with greater skill and speed, I've also been feeling so good after writing. It really does jumpstart a whole new part of the brain.

Wish me luck. I'm off to attack my next 6,000-word section today.

Playing on the iPod: Taking Chances (Celine Dion)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Writing By Inspiration

Lots of folks whining lately about not being inspired. I gave up the hope of inspiration a long time ago.

It was this quote from Somerset Maugham (along with a healthy dose of Steven Pressfield's War of Art, from whence the quote is taken; who says whence these days? Sigh.)

Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. "I write only when inspiration strikes," he replied. "Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp."

This week, my "inspiration" showed up at the same hour.

Yup, I'm on a roll. I've hit the sweet spot in my first draft progress, where it works. Either that or I've decided to go pro and not look back. Something kicked in last weekend and I've definitely crossed over to the other side.

Maugham reckoned another, deeper truth: that by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration, as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his.
He knew if he built it, she would come.

Most people will point out that I've never written and published a novel. Sure, that's true (not counting the 10 kids books because they shouldn't really), but I had to start somewhere.

It is now. I've gone pro. I'm doing for gold in this novel game.

Anyone care to join me?

Playing on the iPod: Sleeping Sun (Night Wish)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Writing Gives You Wings

Yup, writing is going along smoothly. After grinding through 900-word days, and -900 word days, I'm finally into the power zone of 6,000-word days and 5,000-word days. I love this!

And I get up really early to do it, thus getting the writing done before the work and then getting the work done, so I can read and relax to ready myself for the writing again.

What a concept.

It's nice to be on track finally and making progress through this draft.

Forget Red Bull, just try writing today. And then go to the gym for cardio.

Project Runway debuts TONIGHT! Best tv in the world says I.

Playing on the iPod: Seal's new album

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Honor of the Brave

Thank you all so much for your sacrifice and service. Today is your day.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. I'm so glad it's Friday.

2. The writing has been kicking my rear around all week. This is HAAAAAARD work, folks.

3. The rain is here and will stay here for a long time. Boo.

4. Hubby took all the Halloween candy to work. This is reality and it hurts.

5. WGA strike continues and this video is worth viewing to find out why:

Playing on the iPod: Narnia Soundtrack (Harry Gregson-Williams)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Yes, the blogging has gone quiet because of Nano. I'm using all my writing powers on my novel draft.

If anyone wants info on the WGA strike, here's the web site where you can get updates:

WGA strike update

And happy writing!

Playing on the iPod: Just for Now (Imogen Heap)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Anti-Resistance Thursday

Brought to you today by way too much sugar from yesterday's festivities.

Resistance is fear. But Resistance is too cunning to show itself naked in this form. Why? Because if Resistance lets us see clearly that our own fear is preventing us from doing our work, we may feel shame at this. And shame may drive us to act in the face of fear.

Resistance doesn't want us to do this. So it brings in rationalization. Rationalization is Resistance's spin doctor. It's Resistance's way of hiding the Big Stick behind its back. Instead of showing us our fear (which might shame us and impel us to do our work), Resistance presents us with a series of plausible, rational justifications for why we shouldn't do our work.

Get ready, get set, go NanoWrimo!

Thus why this is short. I'm writing.

Now playing on the iPod: Teardrop (Massive Attack)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

This day is going to be so much fun! We're both working from home today, and eating candy. I'm working hard with job stuff because we have a huge deadline on Friday. Plus, I'm writing! Today is the final day of my first novel writing contest and tomorrow starts Nano! So nothing much in my schedule will change.

I also need to run to the store and pick up some fresh dinner rolls because I figure that tonight is the night we also need a huge roast/potatoes dinner. So we invited a buddy of ours over to help eat it.

Just a quick thought from my writing today. I got going on a scene yesterday that involves the main character and her coworker eating an entire cake during their work shift. The scene was supposed to be a light-hearted look at their friendship and a turning point to the affect of their fathers' friendship on their lives (their fathers knew each other since childhood).

I had an idea of what I wanted to say and how I was going to say it when suddenly the entire scene changed. I often hear writers say their characters take control and do their own thing, but what really happens is that the story opens up to the writer in a new way and it's totally obvious that the character has to go there. A flexible writer trashes her original plans and follows the story opening. This can be done when the story is planned well and has good structure.

Often times, however, I have to control my whim to follow a story as it opens up in order to make sure it's really the right way. It's a delicate process and one that I'm enjoying learning very much.

Have a great day with your family and friends!

Playing on the iPod: Thriller (Michael Jackson) (yes, I'm a child of the 80s and this is the quintessential Halloween song)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday

I'm a bit late updating this blog today because I babysat for my neighbors overnight and we got to telling knock-knock jokes over breakfast. :) I love kids telling jokes. Cracks me up!

In today's Gadget Girl update, I thought everyone would like to get a great refresher for Microsoft Outlook: Erik Sherman's Blog.

Two other items of note are that if you don't use QUICKSILVER on a Mac or Easy Reach finder (formerly Enfish) on your PC, you are missing out. These programs index everything on your computers for easy retrieval. QUICKSILVER has changed my life. And it's free! (Yet another reason to just buy the Mac.)

I am going to keep this post short as I am off to finish up several projects for my job and later, to write, write, write!

Playing on the iPod: In My Arms (Plumb)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Fiction Book Rec

So, while browsing at the bookstore last week, I remembered I had a reading list from some author buddies of mine and on the list and on the table in front of me was Irene Nemirosky's Suite Francaise, a literary novel telling the events of Nazi-occupied France in 1940 and 1941. However, this novel was written by a woman who actually lived there during those years and who later died in Auschwitz. This novel, handwritten in a notebook, was in the possession of her daughter for over 50 years before being published to great acclaim in France in 2004.

According to Wikipedia,

"Némirovsky's surviving notes sketch a general outline of a story arc that was intended to include the two existing novellas, as well as three more to take place later during the war and at its end. She wrote that the rest of the work was "in limbo, and what limbo! It's really in the lap of the gods since it depends on what happens."

In a January 2006 interview with the BBC, her daughter, Denise, said, "For me, the greatest joy is knowing that the book is being read. It is an extraordinary feeling to have brought my mother back to life. It shows that the Nazis did not truly succeed in killing her. It is not vengeance, but it is a victory."

I have only just begun Suite Francaise, but I'm excited to read the book and I plan to pick up the other novel by Nemirovsky that was recently translated and published earlier this year, Fire in the Blood.

I'll let you know what I think.

Playing on the iPod: City (Sara Bareilles)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Fiver Halloween Style

1. Some ruckus-raising high schoolers smashed all our pumpkins last night and then rang the doorbell as if there was an emergency. Some lady walking her dog with a cell phone called the cops, but they couldn't find them. They ruined our neighbors' pumpkins up the street too. Boo!

2. Whoooooooooo. Writing going full blast. I am going to have to take a break from it this morning to finish a book editing project or two. Back to it over the weekend!

3. Hilarious new advanced reader copy from Virgin USA of a book on public libraries. Can't wait to read it. (creepy organ music)

4. Scrubs is back! (scream) I am so happy. This show is one of my favorites and I don't understand why it's not a bigger hit. Watch it; you'll be glad you did.

5. Sending good vibes to K today as she heads in for yet another batch of chemo. We love you, K. GO WSU and keep the faith.

Playing on the iPod: Valkyrie Missile (Angels & Airwaves)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Anti-Resistance Thursday

Oh boy, am I getting it. Not in the usual manner either. And then the little miracles always appear and I am pretty insistent on seeing those whenever I can. This morning we had a few and so I'm inspired to face Resistance head-on today.

The writing is moving along at a steady pace; my to-do list is getting done and I'm lining up the rest of this year for freelance and down-time (lists of books to read by year's end, etc.) and it feels good to be home and getting settled. Of course, the bits of Resistance that continue to show up are signs that I'm heading the right direction and I'm relieved that they are blocking my path. I need to overcome them today to keep going. Here we go!

Here's a bit of Steven Pressfield to get us all fired up.

Sometimes we balk at embarking on an enterprise because we're afraid of being alone. We feel uncomfortable with the tribe around us; it makes us nervous going off into the woods on our own.

Here's the trick: We're never alone. As soon as we step outside the campfire glow, our Muse lights on our shoulder like a butterfly. The act of courage calls forth infallibly that deeper part of ourselves that supports and sustains us.

Playing on the iPod: Move Along (All-American Rejects)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

Some tips on writing dialogue from Monica Wood:

When writing dialogue, eliminate hellos and good-byes. Salutations usually gum up the works without adding a shred of character development or forward motion.
Dialogue from inexperienced writers often reads like this:

"Mitzi, is that you?"
"Yes, it's me."
"What do you want."
"Well, it's about Fluffy."

And so forth, paralyzing the story's momentum. When the phone rings, skip to the point:

Igor picked up the phone. It was Mitzi, bent on delivering the latest installment of Fluffy's confinement.
"She's doing that weird drooly thing again," she said. "I need you to pick up some of her special food."

Similarly, when it's time to hang up, ditch the farewells and disconnect:

"There's nothing wrong with that suptid lizard that a healthy dose of neglect won't cure," Igor said.
"Are you going to start on her? Don't you even think about starting on her."
They went on like this for another ten minutes, until Igor hung up, hauled on his coat, and headed to the pet store.

Good ideas, right? Helps me today as I write, write, write. Am knee-deep in my first draft.

Playing on the iPod: Bad Day (Daniel Powter)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday/Tuesday Mash

Yes, I'm a day behind (but not a dollar short, or behind on my writing, so I'm good).

Life has now slowed down for the traveling two of us. We're tired after a month of being in transit and so glad to be home and gearing up for a fun holiday season! We're with family in Oregon for T-day, but we're home for Christmas! First time in this house and first time in four years! It's going to be great. I finally can get a tree if I want to and I can bake and store up piles of movies and stay at home in my comfy fleece and Ugg boots and eat dark chocolate and Christmas cookies!

I'm adding a Good Reads feature to my blog. We'll see how it looks. It gives my readers a chance to see what I've got on my reading list. And I will definitely link to any reviews that are worthwhile for your enjoyment.

My thoughts are with SoCal as the fires rage. Stay safe, friends!

Playing on the iPod: Enigma Variations (Elgar)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. And it's Friday! I'm so glad. What a drive down south through the wind and rain. All the Seattle floating bridges had nice cresting waves, but I don't think it was too bad. Visibility coming down through Salem was really poor, but I'm here.

2. Writing is moving along, I'm really making progress and enjoying it so much! I will be done with my 35k by October 31. I can't wait. Lots of inspiration this week in the big book sales for several writing colleagues. Go, J and A!

3. Reading piles of writing and history books. Just finished a very disturbing look at the foundations of the Nazi Party and its occult leanings. Very disturbing. Also finishing Cahill's book on the Middle Ages. Next up is a book on WWII events in North Africa and Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire (didn't get through it before London; will recheck it out and finish in November) and the sequel.

4. Perplexed by the massacre in Pakistan surrounding Bhutto's return. Encouraged by Bush's encouragement and award to the Dalai Lama this past week.

5. Enjoying the little things in life today; an Internet connection, a good book, cashmere socks(!), and the chance to give grace, even to those who don't impress me much.

Playing on the Ipod: Love Song (Sara Bareilles)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rainy Thursday.

Just dashing through in between writing madly and dodging rain drops and blustery clouds overhead. Puget Sound is getting it today. I'm headed down to the family for a few days to a wedding reception and to laugh and hang out.

First wedding anniversary spent apart! Yes, hubby was traveling this time. We have been married four years. I can't believe how time flies when you're having fun. :)

Must be off. Have a great day and stay dry!

Playing on the iPod: I Wonder (Kanye West)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Busy writing.

Hello, I don't have much to say today (to make up for yesterday or today's lack of blog posts) because I'm writing up a storm. The October 31 deadline is looming (I'm in the NST Novel Challenge) and then the next day starts Nanowrimo and I've decided to not stop at the end of October (because there is no way I'm going to finish by then). So 35k must be done by October 31 and all 70k done by end of Nanowrimo. I know, I know, that's not the way Nanowrimo works, but this year is how it works for me.

Missing hubby terribly, but he just sent pictures of the managers group squinting into the Arizona sunshine, so he's doing good. When I'm not writing, I'm cleaning out the pantries, closets, fridge, drawers, etc. Sorting is so good for the writing life and I swear this house feels lighter.

Playing on the iPod: Wunderkind (Alanis Morissette)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Non-Fiction Rec for Monday

I know, I'm supposed to be recommending fiction. I'm coming right back to that next week, but I need to recap my London visit for a bit.

While in Oxford at Blackwell's bookshop, I picked up a British paperback, The Inklings, which chronicles the writing group C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and others utilized during their most prolific years. Tolkien used this group as a sounding board for his Lord of the Rings trilogy and C.S. Lewis wrote his science fiction and Narnia books while in this group (Lewis wrote many, many things, including a large volume of the Oxford History of English Literature series for Oxford University Press on English Literature in the Sixteenth Century; I have a first edition copy of this book in my library). After reading The Inklings, I now have a much better understanding of why Lewis and Tolkien were able to write such epic stories. They read so widely, and both preferred the Icelandic mythology to the modern poets (T.S. Eliot was not a favorite at first, but gradually grew on the group as acceptable) and both Tolkien and Lewis actually petitioned the board successfully to change the Oxford literature curriculum from a wide sweep of old/middle/modern literature to old and middle literature, stopping at 1830, thereby omitting the moderns, which was used for many years.

The book is a conglomeration of diaries (mostly from Warnie who wrote one faithfully; Lewis disdained the use of such trifles), which recorded happenings around the most prolific members' writing and publishing endeavors. An editor at Oxford University Press, marooned in Oxford from London during the war, Charles Williams, is the other prolific member, although J.R.R. Tolkien's son, Christopher, was a latter member, which in my opinion is truly appropos.

The book is a quick and fascinating read and worth the trouble to get if you're a diehard Lewis/Tolkien fan and desire to know more. Of course, as I just returned from visiting Lewis' home, I appreciated the filling in of the broad stories I have heard growing up about Lewis' life. I learned many new things.

Playing on the iPod: Littlest Things (Lily Allen)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Fiver.

I've been so busy this week that my blogging has suffered. So a super-duper double-large dose of the top five for this Friday!

1. The writing is moving right along. This weekend I intend to reacquaint myself with my novel game plan and get back on the horse. I admit that journaling and scrawling notes from my intense reading schedule (need to update what I'm reading currently; don't pass out!) is my neutral zone. To actually create a story is my addiction, but my energy levels wane, and with the jet lag from last weekend (see number 2), I definitely went to neutral. I intend to get back to first gear this weekend and then keep accelerating from there. Reading a nifty writing process book I picked up in Oxford still and that is helping me immensely.

2. The jet lag sapped my creativity. I was affected more coming home than going to London. It was the adrenaline, I know. I zonked out in early afternoon and then was awake all night. Finally, hubby kept me out late playing pool late last weekend and that seemed to switch me over to the right circadian rhythm. I finally feel myself today and I intend to use the next six days to catch up on all my work, read, and just enjoy being home. Because I'm headed out for another four days next week. Whew.

3. I was inspired in London to buy for style and beauty. I bought beautiful things in London and here at home this week at stores that surprised me. I've decided to buy because I love it. And to quit taking myself so seriously. And to quit trying to make life perfect. How anal is that?

4. Cancer has returned for several dear friends and so I'd ask blog readers to please support cancer charities and fundraisers (wear that yellow livestrong bracelet!) to find a cure.

5. Trader Joe's is my new favorite grocery store. Metropolitan Market has long been my favorite, but Trader Joe's is so close and the organic milk and eggs are so good. I have long bought regular buttermilk. Have you tasted organic buttermilk ranch dressing? Oh wow. They have salty treats, sugary treats, incredible two-buck Chuck wines, everything. I am sorry to say I've only gone there occasionally. It is my new favorite place!

Happy weekend all. Keep writing.

Playing on the iPod: My Moon My Man (Feist)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

On the road traveling with hubby on his business trip, thus this post is late.

From Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse:

Cleverness is not wisdom.--Euripides
Listen to your elders. There comes a point in every draft when you have to examine a turn of phrase--maybe your favorite one, the one that occasioned the entire piece. Be honest: Does the smarty-pants phrasing illuminate something at the heart of the work, or are yolu just being a show-off, a smart aleck, a writer's writer? Be careful with these beloved phrases--sometimes we can't tell the difference between cleverness and wisdom.

I like that. A great reminder as I scribble away this week, making very slow progress on my WIP, but filling my notebooks as fast as I can scrawl. Who knows if it is good, but it feels great to let it out.

Playing on the iPod: Love Song (Sara Bareilles)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday

If you're into Internet marketing, you know the name John Reese. His Reese Report is worth gold and his Traffic Secrets course, well, I think it has launched most of the successful businesses on the web.

His new venture is Blogrush and while I've had mixed results and am still tweaking it, I thought it was worth mentioning here just FYI, in case people reading wanted to check it out.

Basically, it's a gathering of blog posts that are related to your blog's topic, updated with a widget (similar to my news widget to the right, below) and so far there have been complaints of crappy content, but if I know John Reese, he does not send out a beta project and then just let it sit. His team will tweak it until it works. So, just to let you know.

The Latest on BlogRush

In other news, headed out with hubby on his business trip this week, but will continue to post from my laptop. He's off to another trip next week too, but I can't join him. Bollox!

I assume it will be my chance to catch up on the first three seasons of the Office, clean out my closet for winter, and write and read into the wee hours!

Playing on the iPod: 1,2,3,4 (Feist)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Catch-Up

Home from London. Missing London.

Started reading a British paperback version of Possession by A.S. Byatt on the flight home. Fantastic. If you've not ever read this book, go get it now. It's on every reading list I've seen out there. Antonia Byatt wrote the poetry throughout the book too, which blows my mind.

We bought books at Blackwells bookstores in Oxford and only had a few minutes to pick up what we could before we had to be up in Risinghurst to visit C.S. Lewis' home. Pictures from that and elsewhere on our trip coming soon.

Everything went smoothly while I was gone. Everyone survived and I feel a bit like I'm off to the races already with hubby traveling the next two weeks (I am going with him), so I'll be blogging in fits most likely.

Writing update later this week!

Playing on the iPod: Here We Go Again (Kanye West)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

Today is my last post for the next 10 days as I'll be in London, baby!

Today's writing inspiration tidbit is again from Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse.

The Bible is a magical repository for story ideas. Every story is a metaphor with limitless possibilities for retelling.
Place Lot's wife at a school board meeting in Kansas.
Tempt Adam with a Corvette rather than an apple.
Turn Job into a bus driver and give him a test that even God couldn't dream up.

Great ideas, right? I'll say. I'm writing on the plane both ways and will update you when I return. I'm looking forward to letting my imagination soar as I visit the sites in London and day trip to Oxford. We will be visiting Magdalen College and the Kilns, C.S. Lewis' home.

Playing on the Ipod: Narnia soundtrack (Harry Gregson-Williams)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday

If you haven't heard about GrandCentral or have and are curious, Merlin from 43Folders discusses the app and has some really nifty screen shots to show how he uses this service.

GrandCentral by Merlin Mann

I'm on a waiting list for a Seattle number, and hitting up every contact I can find to get an invite any earlier.

In writing news, still slow, but steady. In travel news, we're at T2 days and 5.5 hours until departure to London. The packing is now at final stage and I think I'm taking an even smaller suitcase than I originally thought. This should be fun.

Playing on the iPod: The Glory (Kanye West)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fiction Pick Monday

Okay, so I'm still in the midst of this one, but Ann Packer's new novel is pretty darn good. If you've read her first book, Dive From Clausen's Pier, you'll remember her finely nuanced prose and incredible character development. I don't think you'll be disappointed with her new novel, Songs Without Words, but I'm not done yet.

Met up with Jen yesterday at Starbucks at the Lodge in Bellevue and made out like a bandit at the J. Crew sale. I'm going to be Devil Wears Prada for Halloween, but since Prada is a more than I want to pay for a costume, I'll actually be Devil Wears J. Crew. Sound good? We've got three Halloween parties to go to in one weekend! Good grief.

Spent Saturday out with a friend on his boat on Lake Tapps. Absolutely gorgeous and so relaxing. The boys did a few spins on the water, trying to knock each other off the inner tube by driving as fast as they dared. I lounged in the sun and laughed at hubby who is like a little kid out on the water. It was great. We ate dinner at The Rock and then crashed.

This week is finalizing everything for our London trip and trying to do as much as I can at work as it is the end of month feed frenzy. I hope to see my coworkers next week for the first time! Should be great fun.

Still writing, slow and sure.

Playing on the iPod: Back to Black (Amy Winehouse)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. Finishing up job stuff (the massive backlog of style docs and feedback docs are headed to done!) as I am determined to leave for London with everything in tip-top shape. Finishing up all the freelance that has straggled in over the past six months. Great feeling!

2. Unpacking the boxes I packed in preparation to move over the summer. If I can find my web site mapping docs for my business writer website, I will be doubly thrilled.

3. Got hold of the new Ann Packer novel last night. Cannot wait to read this one. She's a master and one of my favorites.

4. Bought London Moleskine notebooks for me and my travel buddy. They are so cute! This will be great fun. Heard from the C.S. Lewis house, the Kilns, and we have an appointment for a tour on October 2 in Oxford. I cannot wait. Gotta take the number 9 bus from Gloucester Green. :)

5. I love fall. It is my favorite time of year. I was married in the fall and every time it nears October 1, I can feel it in my bones. I think my soul gets all happy to be settling in for the winter too. Each year in the fall, I've been able to see amazing places and this year is no exception. London, baby!

Playing on the iPod: Once soundtrack

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Anti-Resistance Thursday

I'm getting severe Resistance this week (I am going to London/Oxford next week, so can you blame me?) and writing a pitiful amount of words. Some of my writing buddies finished their drafts yesterday. Argh.

Oh well. This is a trip I've dreamed about for a long time and I just cannot wait.

But I'll leave you with some good thoughts on Resistance.

Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you're feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there's tremendous love there too. If you didn't love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn't feel anything. The opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference.

The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you--and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.

Playing on the iPod: Stranded (Plumb)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

For those I know who are stressed out writing their next books under intense deadline (with ft jobs, kids, and other pressures), here's a great one to get your mind wheel turning:

Complication versus Situation: A Primer

I once spent four miserable years on a version of a novel that had a great situation: a murder-suicide that left an orphaned child who was taken in by her aunts. My problem? I mistook situation for complication. A situation, however complicated, is self-contained. A complication, however simple, opens up, affording a path out. Excellent complications afford several paths and, in a short story, you take one path; in a novel you might take five.

So how does one turn a situation into a complication, one that will engender the story's rising action and lead to a climax and a denouement that satisfies both writer and reader? One starts adding, is what one does. Pile it on, baby, until something cracks. What if the depressed person holding a gun to his head gets a phone call--a wrong number? Who might this wrong number be? What might this wrong number say? What if the wrong number is herself a person in trouble? What if the wrong number demands something of the depressed person? How does the depressed person solve this problem?

Bingo, we're writing again.

A good complication illuminates, thwarts, or alters the character's desire. A good complication forces the character to act. A good complication offers the story a point of departure. A good complication raises the stakes. A good complication thickens the plot.

This pushed me back to my writing today. Go for it!

Playing on the iPod: Smile (Lily Allen)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday

I can't draw worth a toot, but a Wacom tablet was a very smart purchase in 2006 (actually a birthday gift) because of the fun I can have playing doodle on my Mac. Plus, on that Mac are Curio and Scrivener, which thanks to the Wacom tablet is like a giant corkboard ready for brainstorming.

I saw Jenny Crusie's office-cleaning series yesterday and loved how she unburied her Wacom tablet as a result and how she uses it just like I do (with the same programs; it's Jenny's fault I am a Curio/Scrivener addict).

Jenny's The Twelve Days of My Office . . .

Her pictures were instant gratification for me. I have a much bigger office, with much less stuff (how did that happen?), but the longing to organize it better, even to sort through the piles of paper, is never far from my heart.


Playing on the iPod: Love Story (Sara Bareilles)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fiction Pick Monday

So while talking over a leisurely breakfast with my beloved great aunt S this past weekend, we got onto the subject of books and what we've read.

Now I read everything, so take that with a grain of salt. What I like may just horrify you, but "all's fair in love and [book choices]."

So I'm going to give some recommendations for fiction. Ignore me, or read and then hate me. At this point, I have very thick skin and will not be hurt by scourges. Truthfully, if you hate it, please don't tell me, because I really don't care. I'd rather hear what you do like.

Yes, I'm all about the power of positive reading.

And . . . I frequently have to read a half-dozen lemons to find the true gem. It's just the nature of publishing, that beast. I am blessed to get advance copies of a lot of novels for my job as content editor at, so that's something. At least I only have to buy 45% of the novels I do read. :)

First book up is Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale (can't imbed a link from Amazon because their site is wonky right now) and this book is fantastic. Much more tawdry and morbid than Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, but still so deliciously good. I love creepy old houses and legends and back story. My own novels are full of that kind of thing.

Setterfield gets great reviews on this book and I agree. Well worth the read.

Playing on the iPod: Back to Black (Amy Winehouse)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. Made it through this week, monograph-heavy as it was. The next ten working days look to be even more intense right up until the day I get on a plane to head over to London (vacation, not work-related). I'm so excited though. It's a dream come true and there will be so much to see. I cannot wait.

2. Headed to see the niece tomorrow. Hope the weather's nice. I feel very here, there, and everywhere with work and the upcoming trip. It is hard to go on vacation, yes? So many loose ends just as you prepare to go. And I'm such a homebody anyway.

3. Writing has slacked off. I am frustrated because the topsy-turvyness has affected the one thing it should NOT be messing with.

4. Finishing up everything freelance-related in good time. Preparing to load up again, this time with writing projects. Very excited about the opportunities coming my way.

5. It is officially fall to me. Cold mornings, staying darker longer. The afternoon sun burning off the cloud cover. It's bliss. My favorite time of year. I love it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Playing on the iPod: Put Your Records On (Corinne Bailey Rae)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fighting Resistance Thursday

Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of inspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chance are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.

Good thoughts, right? As always, from Steven Pressfield's War of Art. Great book! You need it!

Playing on the iPod: Stronger (Kanye West)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

I'm hearing from some that 9/12 might be a tougher day than 9/11. Sending good thoughts out to all.

Yesterday was amazing. In the midst of all the sad memories and sorrow, two of my good friends had their babies! It reminded me that 9/11 can be happy again. Congrats T & J on E's arrival. She's just gorgeous with that dark hair. Congrats to A & C on H's arrival. He's our miracle and we are just thrilled that he's here and such a big boy! Over 4 lbs at just under 32 weeks. It's made me so happy! I can't wait to meet them.

So, my friend, Allison is struggling with getting her writing time in this week. I don't have nearly her excuse (I have no kids) but I'm feeling the same frustration. I like her description of trying to draw blood from a stone. How true.

So, in light of both our struggles to get back to last week's pure undisturbed stream of writing ideas and writing time, I'd like to offer up this inspiration from our inspiring writing coach, Monica Wood.

"It all means little, all the painting, sculpture, drawing, writing . . . it all has its place and nothing more. An attempt is everything. How marvelous!" Alberto Giacometti

Make the attempt.

And this one:

Today's the day. No more fooling around.
Set a timer for forty-five minutes, and don't get out of the chair until the timer dings. Even if you sit staring at the page the entire time, you're ingraining a habit.
Chickens and fraidy-cats may begin with five-minute segments.

If, after all your best efforts, the piece you're writing must be abandoned, do not despair. There is no such thing as wasted writing. Sometimes you must search and destroy, search and destroy, search and destroy before finding your true subject. Kiss those hard-earned pages good-bye--fondly, if you can manage it--and take out a beautiful, clean sheet. The new, marvelous thing you are about to write will emerge not despite those abandoned pages, but because of them (emphasis mine).

Train yourself to write through anything and to write anywhere.

Playing on the iPod: 1,2,3,4 (Feist)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday.

Do you use Shelfari, Good Reads, or Library Thing? How did you choose? Which one is best?

How about another option instead?

Lifehacker reviewed Google Book Search and gave it two thumbs up.

I have accounts at all the big three, but I intend to check out Google Book Search, because I like the quotes function possibilities.

Anyway, it looks interesting.

In other news, eWeek discusses the prospect of Facebook indexed on Google. I admit, I changed the information included in my public profile, just because of those same concerns. While I love the Internet, I'm also aware of its excesses.

And last, but definitely not least, my thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those we lost six years ago today. It is shocking to be back to that Tuesday after so many years. God bless you all.

Playing on the iPod: Adagio for Strings (mixed by Tiesto)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Book Rec

Rarely do grammar books read beautifully (well, I think they all do, but I have heard from friends that Amy Einsohn's Copyediting Handbook is pretty "information-dense") unless you love Karen Elizabeth Gordon or Patricia T. O'Conner (no, sorry, Lynn Truss is not on my favorites list, but this is my blog, so my call).

Even The Elements of Style Illustrated is lost on most people (what a great book!).

Virginia Tufte has added her volume to the mix and it's fantastic.

It's truly a beautiful book and so beautifully written. Virginia's book is published alongside Edward's graphic presentation books, which are worth checking out as well.

ETA: Had an exhausting weekend (ended up with a great largish crowd and some stayed until 3 am!) Hubby and I were both tired and so took it easy. I am back to writing today though and hoping to reach 20k today and 25k tomorrow (30k by week's end).

Playing on the iPod: Littlest Things - Lily Allen

Friday, September 07, 2007

News Addendum

Madeleine L'Engle passed away last night.

NYT on Madeleine L'Engle

Farewell, Madeleine, you will be missed. God bless you.

Friday Fiver

1. Hit 20k on the novel first draft! Yippee! I plan to hit 25k this weekend if everything goes well, but it depends on the other four issues I will relate below.

2. Hubby invited way too many people over tonight for pizza (all his coworkers who will be laid off effective today; yes, they are partying; it's how the majority of the world deals with disappointment), and was up at 5 am this morning to get to the grocery store to stock up on soda, beer, and alcohol (don't worry, I will kick out anyone who spills beer on my carpet, seriously). It will be fun. Cheers!

3. I am getting hammered with the job. The first round of feedback from our client is back and well *headdesk* -- their criteria must be like higher than perfect. Today was the first time I got feedback that actually complimented the editor on an enjoyable monograph. I will be strategizing over the weekend because next week I need to be in meetings.

4. All that job stuff has shoved the freelance back, but I have chained myself to the desk and I finished a big project last night after double-checking and triple-checking everything. I finish two other smaller projects today and this weekend will be a large bulk of the big project that I've been working on since March. It will be worth it to just power through on a weekend because there are so many little details.

5. Hubby is so stressed with his new bigger job. It's like a train wreck (but totally unlike the train wreck that unfolded on yesterday's ConstantChatter). There's just a lot that has to transition in the next week and I keep reminding him to lower the threshold. I am also fielding calls from his team throughout his region (multiple states) as our home number was given out by accident. Geez!

With that, I'll sign off for the weekend. I'm looking forward to a calmer week next week. The London trip preparations have begun in earnest. I have a to do list and it's time to get started on it.

Playing on the iPod: In My Arms - Plumb

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fighting Resistance Thursday

I've been listening to Amy Winehouse this week (I can't stop; her music is just toe-tapping good) and her Rehab song is my favorite:

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said no, no, no.

And I sing that in my head when Resistance attempts to sidetrack me from my writing.
I won't go, go, go.

Between her and Lily Allen, my fall 2007 playlist has so much energy! I love it. (Yes, I know Amy W. does really need to go to rehab. I hope she does. If Ray Charles can kick heroin, so can she.)

Another note from War of Art,
If you find yourself criticizing other people, you're probably doing it out of Resistance. When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own.

Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement. Watch yourself. Of all the manifestations of Resistance, most only harm ourselves. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well.

Moving up toward 20k (just shy of 19k this morning) and hoping to continue the progress. Lots going on though, so I have to do other things than write.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

So, who's the aspiring novelist writing over 5,000 words in under 12 hours?

Yep, that's me. I turned off Gilmore Girls last night at 9 pm and wrote until 11:30 pm, went to bed, woke up again at 6:30, starting writing at 7:30 and started work at 8:45 am. It was like a huge breath of air that I just let go of and voila, out came story.

I am over 17k words and feeling great. Yes, the story is rough and I probably used one or two words like a zillion times, but I'm even able to watch for -ly descriptors now and am having fun avoiding them.

So happy writing Wednesday!

From Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse,

There is a special throne in heaven
for poets, who labor in obscurity.
The rest of us harbor an unexpressed hope for fame
and glory.
You might be tempted to write for a market.
You might be tempted to ride the crest of a trend.
That kind of writing is about as stable
and fulfilling as day trading.

Write what moves you.
Write what interests you.
Write what frightens you.
Write what thrills you.
Take a cue from the poets,
bless their underfunded little hearts.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday

Back in the saddle again . . .

I really could get used to those nice long weekends, you know? I enjoyed my moratorium on work, hosted my brother (he and hubby golfed twice), watched stupid movies (Blades of Glory definitely qualifies), and ate great food. I need to go to the gym!

Today I'm back glorifying Firefox yet again. I know, everyone is probably saying enough already, but there's a swell add-on that I think I've used more than any other.

Session Manager is a nifty little deal that basically saves your browsing for you. Say you're online using Firefox (what else would you be using to browse, hm?) and you've got four (or seven) tabs open and the power goes out, or your computer decides to restart on its own (my computer is nearing death and does this), or you close your browser window and click okay to close all of your tabs (I have not done this in a while, but it has happened). You can use Session Manager to find it all again. Once your computer reboots (if it was shut down in the middle), Session Manager asks which browsing session you would like to pull up. If you manually shut down Firefox and want to remember where you were, before you shut it down, go up to Tools > Session Manager > Save Session and then shut down your computer. When you start Firefox back up, Session Manager will ask which session you want to continue browsing.

A very handy way to deal with Firefox. It has saved me a lot of time.

In other news: The novel race is under way. I'm rapidly heading to 25k (my goal for this week) and having a blast. It's a busy week for us this week because of jobs and a huge party we're having (25 of hubby's coworkers and their significant others!!!) on Friday, so if I blog every day, I will impress myself.

Happy Tuesday from rainy Seattle.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. We're getting gorgeous weather in Seattle. Wednesday night we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island for dinner at the very much anticipated Four Swallows restaurant and it was delicious. The fourteen of us got an t-shaped table and the conversation never lagged once. It was a perfect day and was a great sight to see Bainbridge come into view and then on the return trip the city lights of Seattle dazzled us.

2. Great meeting, great time with fellow employees, and great to meet those who came in from London.

3. My bro comes in today for golf with hubby and to eat food, watch stupid television, and generally hang out. I can't wait.

4. Stayed at a swank hotel downtown. The first day I arrived I ran across the street to Seattle's Arundel Books and found an obscure Jacques Barzun book (1971) on writing for five dollars, which is a major score. In between meetings, dinners, talking, and sleeping, I managed to read a bit and I got inspired. More on that next week.

5. The novel challenge begins Monday and I'm ready to go! Will spend this weekend finishing up my notes on plot and once Monday's here, it is go time!

Happy weekend to all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday

I'm going to use the Gadget Girl heading until someone comes and takes it away by force. For those who are new, no, I don't claim this for myself specifically.

Anyway, do you use iTunes to listen to your music on your computer?

Check out the Mac OS X Hints article giving a"Perfect" setting featured on Merlin Mann's 43 Folders.

People have grabbed the screen shot and used the settings for their own iTunes. Interested?

Merlin also has the settings summarized with a link to the original article:

Open the equalizer, and from the pop-up menu, select “Make Preset.” Call it “Perfect,” because it is, and set the following levels, from left to right (skip the Preamp section):
db +3, +6, +9, +7, +6, +5, +7, +9, +11, +8 db

I'm off for a few days to a conference. Talk to you Friday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Book Rec

It's a classic, yes, and better if you can manage to attend one of his two-day seminars in LA or NYC, but Robert McKee's Story is one of those books that will inspire your writing even if you just read the first 75 pages.

A daunting book (just because the hardcover is thick), but a smooth read and one that enlightens you on each page. Ever wonder why some movies just don't do it for you? It's probably their plotting (archplot, miniplot, antiplot, or nonplot).

On the advice of a friend, I'm only reading this book before I plunge back into my novel work for the Novel Success Team Fall Writing Challenge that starts next week. I believe one can get too caught up in the how-to process and neglect the actual writing.

The sun is back out today in Seattle, the I-5 construction is complete, and teachers are back to school today readying their classrooms.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Fiver

1. Hubby is negotiating for a great job! Which means we get to stay here! Very exciting and brings such relief.

2. What a whirlwind week! I've not been home all week as usual and I can tell. The job/freelance work/writing is fine, but the messy piles have grown. Getting ready for London, baby!

3. Met up with Jen, my fiction writing buddy, up at the Lodge in B-vue yesterday for a great chat. It always inspires me, plus I then found a great sale at Banana and got home in record time even with all the construction going on.

4. We're hosting all of hubby's team in two weeks (like 25 people!) and I'm so not ready. It's the big "goodbye" for this account and it's sad to see everyone headed out to their new jobs. Times are a-changing.

5. School has begun or will begin and that means I've got some studying to do too. This summer put me a bit behind with my study goals, but I intend to catch up quickly this fall.

Happy weekend! Happy birthday, Mom!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Talking 'Bout Resistance, Willis.

Well, have I had a week of it. This had nothing to do with the job or the freelance. The job actually was fantastic and has been loads of fun. The freelance is back down to a dull roar. The writing is actually going well too.

The Resistance has to do with being in the middle of friends fighting. Never mind that the friends are scattered all over the United States, but they had a get-together last week (that I had to miss) and major drama happened.

The timing of the inciting events just sucked, and the weekend was overshadowed by angry words and a whole lot of drama (on both sides) and I got drawn in to try and make peace by those who were not active participants, but who were significantly affected and stood watching on the sidelines.

It brought to mind some of my favorite parts of my book on resistance: The War of Art,

"Cruelty to others is a form of Resistance, as is the willing endurance of cruelty from others. . . . Creating soap operas in our lives is a symptom of Resistance. . . .

A victim act is a form of passive agression. It seeks to achieve gratification not by honest work or a contribution made out of one's experience or insight or love, but by the manipulation of others through silent (and not-so-silent) threat. The victim compels others to come to his rescue or to behave as he wishes by holding them hostage to the prospect of his further meltdown, or simply by threatening to make their lives so miserable that they do what he wants.

This will not be resolved anytime soon, and that's okay. A member of the group has left and perhaps others are preparing to go as well as a form of protest. That is fine. I believe everyone has a right to do as they please. It's a free country. I know they leave because certain behavior by the group just has gotten out of control. I've seen the behavior and the passive-agressive downright mean actions of a few people did not help the situation. But again, I believe everyone has a right to do as they please.

I just think we're a bit too developed as a society (not to mention friends for almost five years now) to be reverting to such low, insipid attacks. I am scunnered by it this morning (great scottish word, right?).

It just really smacks of Resistance to me. What in our lives are we avoiding by acting like this?

Remember, Steven Pressfield said it best in his prologue to War of Art:

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever seen one his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I'll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.

Take down Resistance and just let it go.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

Before I inspire everyone to drop everything they are doing right now in order to write, I wanted to point out a helpful comment I received yesterday from someone at Feedburner/Google.

Don wrote,

actually, feedburner is a publisher service not an rss reader. we help pubs optimize their rss feed, get analytics and if they want, insert ads. we deliver content to all the different places that consume rss feeds - websites, itunes, services like bloglines and my yahoo, etc.

so, it's not and either / or with bloglines.

See, I told you I'm not technically a Gadget Girl.

Thanks, Don, for your help in figuring this out. I got it now! I will check out the link you provided too!

In writing stuff, big news from a fellow writer buddy. Allison Winn Scotch just sold her second novel! She'll be writing it in our Novel Success Team Fall Challenge that runs from Labor Day to Halloween while I finish my YA novel draft. A whole bunch of FLX folks are joining us too. Should be great fun!

So, with that good news, this was good writing inspiration for me this week:

Routine Maintenance Schedule for the Writing Life

Once a week: Skip to the next part of whatever you're working on, no matter how stuck you feel.
Once a month: Write all day without talking to anybody.
Every three months: Send something out for publications, just to keep your hand in.
Every six months: Clean your workspace: Pitch obsolete files, lumpen drafts, rejection slips, leaky pens, old mail. Clear away the dross, and you'll be able to think more clearly.
Once a year: Take a chunk of time, whatever you can afford--three full days, minimum--and go someplace where your writing will not be disturbed except for eating and sleeping.

from Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gadget Girl Tuesday

Okay, so someone said that I qualified because I keep up with all this stuff. I say that I'm not quite there yet.

I don't have an iPhone.

And today's Gadget Girl rec is just one of those foundational things to survive on the Internet. An RSS feed.

I use Bloglines, although Feedburner is a good one as well.

Anyway, this is a simple way to keep track of blogs and other updated content sites without having to troll through a blog roll on a daily basis. If you look up on to the right of the url that is this blog, you'll see an orange RSS feed button. If you sign up for either Bloglines or Feedburner, you can then use that orange feed button to subscribe to this blog.

Now, other people swear by to keep track of numerous sites. But is a bookmarklet tool, not an RSS feed. So if you don't want to subscribe to this blog, but want to tag it, use instead.

I use both on a daily basis. Sometimes I want to just tag a site into a category; other times, I want to keep up with the newest content.

I recommend both.

Once you get those working for you, you'll never run out of stuff to look at online, as if that was ever a problem to begin with.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday Book Rec

If you have not read any of the Hinges of History series written by historian and thinker, Thomas Cahill, you're missing out.

The first book, How The Irish Saved Civilization, stands on its own two feet and is worth reading more than once.

The second book,
The Gifts of the Jews, is an interesting look at Jewish culture and its singular impact on the West.

The third book,
Desire of the Everlasting Hills, talks about Jesus, both biblical and historical.

The fourth book,
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter, is my current read.

The fifth book,
Mysteries of the Middle Ages, is my next read.

A great series, one worth exploring, written by a truly great writer and thinker.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Fiver.

1. I'm on the laptop this morning because we are getting all our carpets cleaned. Luckily, our neighbor does this professionally and we get the culdesac discount. Yippee!

2. However, I'm tired because I spent most of last evening moving furniture from carpeted areas to hardwood areas. Our house is a mess, but it's always good to clean for fall. (I guess I'm not much of a spring cleaner then, hm.)

3. Novel Success Team Writing Challenge begins on Monday and goes until October 31. I plan to finish a draft, my friend Allison plans to finish, and I think other writers also have plans to give it a go. Plus, if we don't finish by then, we can use NanoWrimo to finish!

4. This has been a very exhausting week because of a multitude of things: work issues and stress, interviews galore for hubby (which is a great thing!), and lots of house cleaning chores completed (gutters, pressure washing of deck, driveway, sidewalks, and flagstone patios). We're having friends over for some fun tonight!

5. I will have to leave process behind in order to finish my draft in the Novel Success Team Writing Challenge. I may never learn process in this novel writing game, but the goal is to simply complete a draft right now, not become Janet Evanovich overnight.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Resistance

And I'm back with another few good thoughts about Resistance (and we have lived it this week; one thing after another after another after another).

Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.

Or this:

When a writer begins to overcome her Resistance--in other words, when she actually starts to write--she may find that those close to her begin acting strangely. They may become moody or sullen, they may get sick; they may accuse the writer of "changing," of "not being the person she was." The closer these people are to the awakening writer, the more bizarrely they will act and the more emotion they will put behind their actions.

They are trying to sabotage her.

The reason is that they are struggling, consciously or unconsciously, against their own Resistance. The awakening writer's success becomes a reproach to them. If she can beat these demons, why can't they?

Often close friends (or colleagues, families, couples) will enter into tacit compacts whereby each individual pledges (unconsciously) to remain mired in the same slough in which she and all her cronies have become so comfortable. The highest treason a crab can commit is to make a leap for the rim of the bucket.
The awakening artist must be ruthless, not only with herself, but with others. Once you make your break, you can't turn around for your buddy who catches his trouser leg on the barbed wire. The best thing you can do for that friend (and he'd tell you this himself, if he really is your friend) is to get over the wall and keep motating. The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Writing Inspiration Wednesday

My writing prompt for this morning is:

In Making Shapely Fiction, the witty and wonderful Jerome Stern cautions against writing the "bathtub story." A bathtub story opens with the protagonist taking a bath (or occupying a similar confined space). During this bath, the protagonist thinks of, ruminates upon, wonders about, and analyzes the past, present, and future, but he never gets out of the bathtub.

At some point, somebody in your story has to do something. How about now?

(from Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse: Ideas & Inspirations for Writing)

Now go write!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nifty Firefox Widget

If you haven't heard of Stumble Upon, you're in for a surprise.

It's a whole 'nother world on the Internet.

Stumble Upon is a widget you plug into Firefox that asks you to check off your interests from a list of choices (writing, books, design, shopping, fashion; some of my picks) and it nests a Stumble! button into your Firefox browser header. Whenever you're bored online (LOL), just press the Stumble! button and it sends you to a web site that guaranteed to be interesting.

A few of my Stumbles from today:



Web 2.0


Free Books


Head here: Mozilla to download Firefox and the Stumble Upon add-on.

You'll be glad you did.