Friday, April 27, 2007

A writing plan.

I think I have a plan for my writing.

I am preparing to receive the 2006 and 2007 mp3 cd collections from the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual New York meetings and am re-listening to the 2005 mp3s. I'm working out a plan! Nothing major, nothing fancy. Just a simple way to start writing what means a lot to me and to prepare the way for my future plans.

It's a great relief to know that I don't have to have a plan just like the next writer. Although I do have a plan similar to writers that I admire. I just know I can't do EVERYTHING. I have to pick and choose.

This week, I've realized that I am trying to do too much in a day. I continually cram in more and more and I'm wearing myself out too quickly. There is a time for everything. I will probably continue to copyedit by day and write by night (contrary to my prednisone-induced announcement of yesterday; never make huge life decisions while on high-dose antibiotics, remember that) and I'm okay with it. As long as everything stays within their boundaries.

My first phase of the plan is to continue writing and publishing book reviews for multiple outlets, while finishing a book proposal or two, writing and shopping a novel or two, and preparing for the next phase, which I'll explain at a later date.

That does not sound too hard. And it's a direction, which gratifies me to no end. When I get too tired, I tend to run around without any attention span. I need to learn to finish well and to plan well and to execute well.

So that's my plan. I'm pleased with it, and relieved that I am headed somewhere at long last.

Do you have a plan? It does not have to be fancy or complicated. Just set down on paper what you'd like to accomplish and then find steps to accomplish that.

And above all, keep moving forward!

Happy weekend! I'm going to be reading and writing for the first part of my plan and hopefully I'll be back to normal health by Monday!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Changes afoot.

Spring always brings new things, new decisions, new focus.

This spring is no different. I'm playing with some major changes for my business. Of course, I'm not going to jinx it by mentioning any of those here yet, but even the prospect of change gets me thinking.

The familiar keeps us where we are. By that I mean change is hard. I am experiencing a sort of separation anxiety with two important pieces of my life: my former home in Oregon and my copyediting biz.

That sounded strange, but bear with me.

It's a whole lot easier to dream a new life up and to wish for it and to wait for it, but when it finally comes, there does come a time further down the road that you suddenly look back and realize that your life has utterly changed and you won't be going back ever again.

I spent 29 years in Oregon, my home state, amongst family, friends, heck, I'm related to a lot of people in that state, and I was more than happy to leave it behind when I married Todd and we moved to Washington. However, in the past nine months, a sort of anxiety has reared its head in that I'm jealous of my family and friends there who get to live and work and play and stay there. It seems a bit ridiculous to me because I am very happy here in Seattle and I don't want move back. I know it's an estrangement of sorts, something I have to go through as I enter the next phase of my life, but all the pulling up of roots and long-held emotions is painful. It's the strangest thing I've ever gone through. (You also have to understand that my siblings and parents are my best friends and I do miss them daily. But I can't live there anymore. I know that.)

I am in a wilderness because of it. I am looking out toward the future, a bit apprehensively, and trying not to look back at Egypt too longingly. I know my life has a purpose and a plan and I know I'm headed somewhere. I think it may be a delayed reaction too. I don't let go quickly. Thus, I'm having to let go painfully.

As to the copyediting, I've done it for twelve years, going on thirteen years. I'm good at it; I get multiple job offers each day and turn most of them down. And I know that my copyediting days are coming to an end quickly. I'm being called on to a writing career. I can feel it. The entire idea of a writing business makes my eyes cross and confuses me to no end. I don't know how to run a good writing business. i don't know how to plan my day in order to get the most writing out of me. All this for copyediting, I know, and so I put one foot in front of the other and take one step at a time. (Lately, I've been going backward, however.) Again, I don't let go quickly. I'm having to let go painfully.

These are hard lessons to learn and they've got me tied up in some knots this week, especially because I'm still recuperating from a rather intense viral infection. But I'm going to post it here, send it out, and trust that just saying it publicly will enable me to do it. I know God will bring me strength to keep walking.

Thus, Keep Moving Forward, means quite a lot to me today.

How about you? Is there a change coming that you are dreading?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We're zooming to May!

Can you believe how quickly April flew by? I half-expected it to move just as slowly as March. For me, March was a perfect month. April has been too fast.

But one good thing, spring is here. The birds and the flowers and the sunshine! I am loving it.

Lots to keep me busy around here. The fiction work continues in earnest. I've been reading again in Jane Smiley's "13 Ways of Looking at the Novel" and soaking up Jane's descriptions of her reading 100 novels in 3 years time. Doesn't that just sound fantastic? It can be done. Once May sweeps are over that is. I plan to read this summer just like I did as a kid in summers. When I'd clear off entire shelves of books in the library and have them mostly done by that evening. Those were the days. Draped sidways across a wingback chair, a pile of books at your side, just reading and reading.

Reading is so important for fiction writers too. I hear horror stories of aspiring novelists who say they've not picked up a novel in a decade. It almost makes me want to run and hide. Don't fall for that purist trap. You will never publish if you do not also read and read voraciously. Poetry, plays, novels, non-fiction, cereal boxes.

A writer does not write from an empty space in one's head. It comes from literature. It comes from cultural literacy, knowing about things that can only be found in books. It comes from dreaming through another person's creation. It comes from being swept off to another world often and quickly.

Don't be a purist. Read and read well.

Keep Moving Forward.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Still here.

Who would have thought being allergic to sulfa drugs would bring on such reactions? Still delerious at night, even with prednisone and Benadryl. Still feeling under the weather and very drugged, but other than that, I'm doing great.

So, I've been thinking quite a lot about England lately, probably because I'm headed there with a friend in the fall for a week. We're set to spend time mostly in Notting Hill and Soho, and will definitely waste a day in Harrod's (I am so excited!).

It's a dream come true for me to go (for my friend too) and I'm pleased our schedules are finally aligned so that it can happen. Todd is a bit bummed he doesn't get to go, but once he figured it he could call it a scouting trip for the "big trip" he and I will take later on, he was okay. Plus, I think he's relieved to not having to shop with two girls (shopping with just me is enough for him!).

I've been ruminating on sense of place in fiction. Where a book is set often sets the mood, tone, theme, and ultimately believability of a story. I mean, had Daphne du Maurier not set her book at Manderley, would we really believe that a mere housekeeper could frighten the second Mrs. de Winter quite so terribly? Or the setting for the new very "Rebecca"-esque "Thirteenth Tale" that came out in 2006. It is a delicious setting: another fine house, where the story of a crumbling old house is told. I get goosebumps even now and my sisters have borrowed the book from me. I may have to get another copy soon! in Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian," her descriptions of Europe seen first through the eyes of a young girl and than her father years before just melt off the page and into your senses. You feel that you are there. I knew I could smell the dirt in the climactic scene when they climb down below the church, creepy and delicious as it was. Often, writers don't spend enough time luxuriating in a place so that their readers are drawn to spend time there. Even Janet Evanovich makes you feel the New Jersey heat rising from the asphalt roads, and you feel as if you too see the tired 1950s homes in her parents' neighborhood rising from your own imagination.

A good writer gives her readers just enough to dream for themselves. Thus, movies will never replace books. They'll just be a perfect complement for us book lovers who want to discover if what we dreamt matches what others imagined.

Keep Moving Forward.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A New Day

After a long weekend of extreme illness, I'm back. Whew. I'm surprised I'm still here. I do have a doc visit follow-up today to make sure I'm a-ok, but I feel so much better. I had a sulfa drug reaction, high fever, full-body rash and hives, itching, delirium, swollen ears, noses, fingers. So strange. First time ever I've reacted to drugs like that.

Thus, not much done on the writing. Could barely focus on my hours of movies that hubby kept putting in the DVD player to keep me busy the past three days like the BBC Pride & Prejudice.

I don't remember much of anything either, I was boiling at such a high temp (101.4 most of the time). Love aloe with lidocaine. It's my new favorite thing. And water, blessed water. I love it!

Thus, today is going to be spent putting things back together again and getting caught up with my clients. The writing work will commence this evening.

I have to say, however, three days on the couch did wonders for me. I feel so invigorated! I definitely needed time off. Now to do the laundry and the dishes that stacked up while I was sick. :)

Keep Moving Forward!