Friday, March 23, 2007

Whew, It's Friday

Truthfully, I never thought it would get here. This week has been pretty intense in terms of emotional rollercoasters concerning my husband's job, masses of deadlines, and then me attempting to write through all that. I admit it, I'm weak. So TGIF!

We still don't know what's going to happen with Todd's job, but he did get a raise again, which may only last for the next eight days and however long it takes the company to replace 700 people (six months, a year?). It was welcome to us though, and then Todd started his new semester of class and saw that he had gotten an A on last semester's writing paper, and a 95% in his writing class! Wow! He had a great night.

I babysat my neighbor's two kids the other day (their mom is working 80-hour weeks juggling two jobs, because the old job can't find a good replacement yet) and it was interesting to realize how many families are getting squeezed right now. Everyone is in transition it seems, which is a good thing. I mean, I realize how often in my life I've just sat and let life go by. Now that we're in transition, I see how I am taking life by the horns and going for it.

And that's probably why I'm so exhausted today. Looking forward to tomorrow when I do laundry, clean the house, work on writing projects, and generally slow down a bit. We also have some Netflix movies to watch, which I've been dying to see. Lots of BBC mysteries (Inspector Lynley) and I think Todd has Casino Royale, which we are looking forward to.

So, we can prosper through the fiercest of Resistance, even though we're wiped out both physically and emotionally. If you're feeling the Resistance pain today, hang on, be glad it's Friday, and for goodness sake, take some time OFF this weekend and relax. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Theoretical Thursday

I'm full of theoretical ideas today. The first is that Resistance appears in greater concentration when things are going well and the path is lit to your better self (for those who are still catching up, try reading Steven Pressfield's The War of Art and then you will know all wisdom).

That last statement sounded a little woo-woo, but bear with me here. One can imagine a person who is a telemarketer thinking to herself, "I'm going to help the suffering" and flying to Darfur, and doing good things (something I wish for myself many times each day). The movies make it seem as if the pathway clears for everyone when they decide this. But sometimes, more often than not, things are not clear, disillusionment sets in and the person who had such pure strivings is left feeling wrung out. That's Resistance.

Now, imagine a person who has helped for months in Darfur deciding that she is done and deciding to go home to be a telemarketer. I would say the path home is much less "resisted" than the path to her incredible act of self-sacrifice (oh, that we all would pray for Darfur today). So here's my theory, and yes, I stole it from Pressfield, and it's that as you clean up your life (not that I or you have to head to a war zone or a refugee camp), don't be surprised if things don't go your way. They might, but also, you're going to get people around you who just cannot handle that you're going, or they cannot fathom going themselves and so they take it out on you.

For example, my brother traveled to Israel last year, he also was able to visit Jordan to see Petra (yes, Indiana Jones's Petra), and he loved his time in the Middle East. He's planning to return in 2008 for another trip and hopefully to get to Egypt to see the Valley of the Kings and the pyramids. He called me last week to tell me about the Resistance he's getting from people about his return trip. Heck, my brother would live in Israel or Egypt quite happily and never think he was missing out on much back here in the old US of A. He was astounded to find out how many people were so afraid of the very mention of the Middle East that they begged him, warned him, threatened him, and cried when they found out he might go back. It's not that they will stop him from going, but that they thought he would die, just by going over there. It's true, it is a possibility, but my brother said he felt completely safe in Israel and for much of Jordan (up until the end when they were threatening to close the borders on his travel group and he faced spending the night there without knowing where he could stay.) He was dumbfounded and had to realize that he might be going where, literally, people fear to tread. It's Resistance, because in our society, doing anything different, whether you write, teach, sing, work like Dilbert, or freelance, is looked upon fearfully by many of our peers.

Don't be discourage today if you are attempting something no one thinks you can (or should) do. If at the least, know that this blog, and myself, are rooting you on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Middle of the week again.

Yesterday was one of those days when I couldn't see the forest for the trees. Not a bad place to be, but frustrating, because I thought I needed to see more.

E. L. Doctorow once said that "writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

I tend to forget this advice and want to gallop on ahead. Every time, I have to fall back to the last place I was, because that's the only thing I can see.

It's another form of Resistance as well. Resistance would do anything to keep you snarled up in confusion instead of moving forward with your plans.

So, last night, I fought back. With American Idol on in the background, I sat down and wrote a piece that needed to be finished. Proofed it, tested it, and then broadcast blasted it out to my email list. Resistance had to back down long enough for me to get it done. And now I've checked it off my to-do list and am on to the next thing. What a great feeling!

I encourage you to do that thing today that needs to be done with your writing, whether small or unimportant. It clears the path, and shines the light on even the next action to take.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Getting Things Done

It's spring here, but friends told me that they are getting snow this week, so in preparation for spring!

Most of you know about David Allen's Getting Things Done, the book that has taken on a rather cult-like following, with fans gathering at 43 Folders and elsewhere to dig deep into the book's principles in order to gain control over their lives.

I admit it, I'm a huge fan (although very averse to cults!) and yesterday, was delighted to see an interview with David himself over at my friends' (Linda and Diana) blog, Renegade Writers Talk to David Allen. What fun! To have David Allen talk about GTD as a freelancer. It's just very inspiring. I mean, I use Kinkless and Quicksilver and Devon Technologies, but each time I read anything David Allen says, I'm inspired all over again.

In writing news, I am continuing to outline the novels this week. I'm going to miss my March 21st deadlines for American Masquerade, but there's a good reason for that. It's okay.

Finished three assignments yesterday, including a copy assignment that has been dragging out for a week. Nice feeling. Today is two more assignments, a copyediting test, and lots and lots of first-pass page reading.

Luckily Gilmore Girls in on rerun for a few more weeks.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Book deal news for Monday.

I did sell a book this month and after posting my news on the writer forums and discussion boards, I remembered my own blog! So March 2007 is the month that renews my kid's book writing career.

The book will be published this fall by Tormont in Montreal and it's called "A Princess's Crown." It's a short sticker story book, and it's about a princess, Gwendolyn, who wants a crown just like her mother's (the queen), but can't wear it because it's too heavy. It's based on an Aesop fable about a peacock who wants beautiful wings, but then can't fly because of them. In the story, Gwendolyn tries on all the royal jewels, but can't wear any of them. She receives a special crown, just like her mother's, but smaller and more suitable for her head and as a result, has a wonderful time at the ball.

The book will have full-color illustrations, a sheet of stickers for readers to try different dresses and shoes and jewels on the princesses, and a fold-out ball room where they can use the stickers to create their own stories. I publish as Trish Lawrence, but I'll try to post if and when the book makes it to the United States. I wrote it specifically for the U.S. market (American English), so it should get here.

In other news, I outlined fastidiously all weekend and took copious notes from my daydreaming (and pre-sleep) brain for upcoming kid's book ideas (I admit, I was inspired!). I plan to submit a manuscript to the Random House middle-grade novel contest that starts this spring. I have to submit by June 1 and I may not make it, but I am writing toward it. Thus, this weekend was spent brainstorming and outlining Everywhen (which is not eligible for the contest because it's not set in the United States) and another idea I had, which works for the contest, but that is still untitled and the main character unnamed. But this week should bring more progress on that if my schedule holds!

I rested and relaxed this weekend, watching kid's movies by the hour and just letting my brain roam free. It was great. Also, enjoyed the freshly mowed lawns and kids playing until late last night because of impending spring and the light that lingers longer. It is a wonderful magical time just before dark during spring and summer, isn't it?