Friday, March 16, 2007

Finally Friday.

So how do you deal with Resistance? Read on.

So DH (dear husband) comes home last night with news of the impending contract negotiations at work (no, he's not union, but his company has contracts for their work) and it still could go either way, but he was a little worried. This means we'll a) be finding a job at another company here in the Seattle area to try and stay here, b) be moving farther north, or c) moving out of state.

Of course, we want the contract to be renewed for another however long span of time, because we want to stay here. But as we sat on our couch and talked about it, I realized something else about Resistance and its cure.

DH has to turn pro. Right now! No waiting for his company or the hiring company to tell us of their decision. They don't decide our fate, do they?

That's the main antidote to Resistance: turning pro.

You know, Tiger Woods wins lots of golf tournaments. So back in the day a few years ago, he was competing at the Masters (this story told in War of Art by Steven Pressfield) and he was set to tee off and a fan flashed his camera right in Tiger's line of sight (from behind the spectator's rope, obviously, but still!) and Tiger had to stop mid-swing. He gave the guy a look (of death, I would think) and stepped back to gather his concentration. Then, 25 seconds after being interrupted by the fan, Tiger tees off and hits the ball 310 yard down the line. (Nate, did I get all that golf lingo right? Hope so.)

Anyway, how did Tiger put his head back in that game in 25 seconds? (I would take me much longer, I know that for sure.)

By being a pro at his game. It didn't matter what anyone did, said, or though about him. He was going forward (with his face set like flint) with his plan, his goals, and his mindset firmly in stone in his mind's eye.

And so I told DH, "We're so foolish! All this time we've been concentrating on me going pro and all my plans and we forgot that you need to do it too!"

And then we came up with a next-action plan to put into place immediately. Resumes that have been requested from other top companies in the area that we haven't sent, a request from his boss's boss to reimburse his school expense (up through his master's) that needs to be sent in (even though it's moot if the contract negotiation fails), and finding out who are the "head hunters" in the area for his specialty and who's hiring right now. And then posting his resume on job boards and getting in touch with every company within commuting distance to find out what's available. That's pro. That's PRO-active. That's what means when it says "never settle."

And so, dear reader, this week has brought an epiphany of sorts into my life. When I get people bugging the heck out of me, even well-meaning friends and colleagues who do not have my best interests at heart and want me to stay "just like them" so they are comfortable, I go pro. It does not matter if your boss refuses to support you or there are no people who "understand" you, it only matters that you do your thing. You go Pro. You aim for the stars anyway.

Next week will be interesting. I'll make sure and post how things come down.

Happy St. Patrick's day tomorrow!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Ides of March

Lots going on in the office. I'm excited as the Ides of March are passing. A lot coming down today: friends finding out where they placed for residency, a PhD student defends her thesis, an event this evening places old friends together after many years, and the trees are blooming in Seattle. An interesting time. It's definitely pre-spring.

I reread Steven Pressfield's War of Art last night and am amazed how his book rings true in my life. I am moving up to another level of professionalism and aspiration and the Resistance this week has been pretty incredible.

I didn't know the universe, (the devil) had so many ways to try and snatch progress out of your hands. It has ranged from potential clients upset at me because I won't get them a job with another client I already have and have had for five years, colleagues who disparage my progress and talk about the good old days when no one accomplished anything and we were all the same, and clients who cross their wires and ask me to re-copyedit a learning guide for fifth graders because they realized the writer sent them the wrong version to begin with. By yesterday, it was humorous and I was laughing.

Because, in place of the Resistance, I choose to focus on my query challenge team who have encouraged me (thanks again, Leah Ingram and team one!) to dig deep and keep at it, the clients who work with me to solve an email communication problem and offer me more work, which I had to turn down to my dismay, and the colleague who writes me emails to tell me to keep at it to beat the other query team! Who cares about that! Howeber, I realized I have a lot to resist the Resistance with in my hands already. Not even mentioning my amazing sister and mom, who both talked me out of my Resistance pothole on Tuesday night and thus, helped me do my work yesterday with aplomb.

If you're getting Resistance to a dream you're trying to reach, don't forget Gratitude. Gratitude is more from The Secret than War of Art; I'm mixing metaphors again, so I'll talk tomorrow about the main contraindication for Resistance. It's amazing and will blow your mind. Tiger Woods uses it and it works! He wins the Masters using this tactic.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wrap It Up Wednesday

We've got stuff to finish up today and I'm ready to get it done. Headed for a weekend away from the office and the work load and the sunshine is peeking out today, which makes me yearn for bigger spaces and a few hours of dreaming.

But first, we've got to wrap it up.

What's on your to-do list that's been sitting there for days, weeks, months even?

Get a timer and set it for 15 minutes. And concentrate on that task. And if after 15 minutes, you've lost interest, do something else. But if you're into it, keep going for another 15 minutes, and another. If you need breaks between, that's fine too.

People ask me all the time, "how do you do all that you do?"
There's my answer. A stupid kitchen timer and a really manipulative rewards system (M&Ms, Coke, episode of Scrubs, listen to Les Miserables while I work if I do some work first, that sort of thing).

As for me and my writing and editing projects, I'm doing great. Finished up stuff for two clients yesterday, and will finish up stuff for two more clients today, which leaves a full schedule for tomorrow and Friday, but very doable, I think.

But the best news is that I again utilized the muse through all the work yesterday and the plotting of Everywhen has begun in earnest. It's good. It takes elements from so many stories I've read and enjoyed, but with a very new, very fresh spin that I think 9-12 year olds will love. I told my husband last night and he was very intrigued, which is a good sign. My hubby reads everything: kid's books and comics and cartoons in between all his history and economics classes and his management training and hefty job responsibilities managing 20 other people.

Now to outline it, write it, get a few readers' opinions, and get an agent. I've already started writing the query letter for my agent search. It's that good!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A good day.

Today's fantastic. I keep getting calls from clients I love and I get to stay home and work (so thankful for this) and I just saved the first part of our heat pump/air conditioning fund, because I have this feeling that Seattle is going to get a hot streak again this summer (probably worse than last summer as a result of our very early spring this year). Whee!

But in writing news, yesterday was a great inspirational day. I am working most of the time on other projects, but in those spare moments, inspiration strikes!

In other news, fellow Backspacer Jon Clinch's first novel, Finn
is out and he's headed to Seattle this week. Wednesday, March 14 at Third Place Books in Lakewood. I am hoping to get there, but stuff is holding me back, so we'll see. However, this is a great novel (on the violent side, so not for young readers) that Huck Finn readers will just treasure. An incredible view into the world of Huck and his father and mother. Kudos, Jon!

Plus, Jodi Picoult is headed to town next month and then my other Backspacer and FLX buddy, Allison Winn Scotch will hopefully be out from NYC in May for her new novel. Keep your eyes here.

Happy writing!

Monday, March 12, 2007

How to Create Story

So I spent most of the weekend thinking about the book project I'm starting on March 22. Yes, I'm still writing my first draft of the WIP due March 21, but I like to keep my brain busy.

I find inspiration in the oddest places. For instance, this weekend I read a compendium of children's literature (starting back when kid's books were just readers used by the churches to instill the fear of God into youngsters; the children's book movement is definitely more modernized and secularized now). Yes, I am writing a kid's book next.

I'm shocked to discover that I've missed a whole heck of a lot of British books for kids that never got into my hands as a child.

My mom made sure I read everything when I was a kid. I remember cleaning off entire shelves at the library each week, much to the consternation of the librarians, and reading them all within a few days. Our family were voracious readers and we still are. However, I missed a few gems.

I read the Borrowers, but missed Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Rosemary Harris' The Moon in the Cloud (Ancient Egypt) series. I missed Helen Cresswell's The Piemakers. Also a whole pile of Diana Wynne Jones was missed. I also missed Lionel Davidson's Under Plum Lake.

And there's a whole chapter on British historical fiction for kids that I know I never read. It's disheartening, but almost makes me giddy that I have an entire reading future ahead of me.

But as for my writing, I'm concocting a middle-grade reader series that will be big. This is not a popular or modern take on a fairytale, or a series of high school chick lit soap operas that will fade within a month's time. My story must be historic, an epic, biographical, romantic, and timeless. Other authors have poohed poohed my goal, but alas, Tolkien mocked C.S. Lewis' attempt at Narnia, "bothered" according to his biographer, that Lewis attempted his own project with help from Tolkien.

I want this book to be big, so it is taking a lot of planning and plotting. I am stealing a page from R.L. Stine, Tess Geritsen, Elizabeth George, and Janet Evanovich and I'm outlining fastidiously. I'm reading books on archetypes and mythology and legend. I'm researching to make sure the idea is saleable, but enough of a twist that it excites publishing committees and editorial boards. Let's just say, I'm pinning my hopes on this one.

How's your writing going?