Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Writers' Circle redefined

In my last post, I lamented how I didn't feel comfortable sharing my self-doubts on my blog for whatever reason, and then in the following hours and days, well, all I can say is Wow.

First, there is SO much going on behind the scenes with my bloggie friends, taking control of their destinies, wrestling with similar fears as mine, holding back... I really didn't know about it all because none of us are posting about this stuff.

Can I just say I'm glad I was having my moment? And just for the record, the moment has passed, my problem has been resolved, my fears quelled... Yay! Suddenly I can see blue skies again.

Anyway, several of you sent me emails urging me to elaborate on what was troubling me, and as we shared, I started thinking about the old writers circles of ... oh, 1910.

Back in the day, you had to either migrate (emigrate?) to New York or Paris to find other writers with whom to talk shop. (And wear silly hats.)

You also didn't have representatives (agents), and manuscripts were typed on paper and mailed in boxes to one of four large publishing houses on a wish and a prayer. (The wish/prayer part hasn't changed.)

It's been years since I was in Paris. Ditto New York.

I'm also a mamma now, which would make it tough to hang out at the Algonquin every day at lunch, blowing off steam or whatever.

So Janet Reid declared we all had to start blogging, and I reluctantly did so. Then this thing happened.

I found all these other people doing what I was doing, having similar experiences as me, having different experiences or finding information about different things from me and sharing it... It was amazing, cool, and really great--especially on days like Monday.

I've said over and over how I probably would've given up on this novelist dream a year ago if it weren't for you guys--my bloggie buddies. It's amazing that I can hint that I'm feeling alone and self-doubty, and support comes surging through the ether.

I appreciate you all so much. Once this is all over, I look forward to coming back and sharing with everyone how this journey has gone. Giving back or something. I'll let you know as soon as I can.

And since some of you asked, I've posted an "after" shot of my new writer's cave.

I'll be in here working once school's back in (in a week!), and I'm currently in here as much as I can checking emails, reading blogs, and making these posts.

Have a super weekend, reader- and writer-friends! Remember those lemonade guys? (Was it lemonade?) Thank you for your support.

Til Monday~ <3

Monday, July 25, 2011

To post or not to post

So I had this whole post ready to go for today, and at the last minute, I pulled it.

It's about where I am in the submissions process and my thoughts and concerns--mostly my feelings of self-doubt and second-guessing. But then I got to thinking about all the things we're advised not to put "out there." How we might hurt our prospects through a careless online post.

That makes me sad.

All through this process, you guys have been my support network. Through development, writing, querying, revisions... It's difficult for nonwriters to understand what this path is like--the ups and downs--and it can be very isolating.

It's hard for me to believe that what I put in this little space can truly harm my career. First, I don't write inflammatory posts. Second, even when I do write posts that are borderline rants (have I ever done that?), I temper them with enough rhetoric to make them palatable to any reader.

So I'm frustrated.

We have such a great little writer-friend support circle, one that would be difficult (impossible?) to create were it not for this medium, and now I can't use it.

True confession: It's also hard for me to believe anyone is out there searching for me right now or interested in what I'm posting online at this point. My ego is not that inflated.

One of our bloggie buddies at times will email her posts to some of us to get our responses before she puts them up. As in, "Is this offensive?" or "Am I going to lose all my followers if I put this out there?" I always err on the side of caution. She always posts them anyway.

Then we joke that if this were American Idol (which I don't watch), she'd be Simon and I'd be Paula... I don't think she's lost a follower yet.

What do you guys think? Should we self-censor our posts? Should we put whatever we're feeling out there or hold back the borderline stuff? Is censoring defeating the purpose of what we're even doing here?

I don't know. I'm not naming names. I'm not even saying anything bad about where I am--I'm not in a bad place! I'm just feeling self-doubtish. And I'm sure it's provoked by this move...

So. Terrible about what happened in Norway, yes?

Til Thursday, I'm just over here playing Hamlet. <3

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken or egg?

My parents arrived Saturday (as you know from my last post). They brought my babies, my dad's drill, and a readiness to help me complete the final phase of hanging pictures, making repairs, and sorting. They really are incredible helpers. 

And though we butt heads at times, and my mom and I cross swords occasionally, you wouldn't believe what all we've done to this old house. I should've taken "before" pictures. But it's the reason I've been the absentee blogging buddy this week. Huge apologies.

The good news is all this hard work means I'm that close to being done and able to get to my new normal. I cannot wait.

Flower facing ennui
I've learned what a cat person I am through this. I've watched Flower struggling with all the change, and I swear, I can feel her pain. Moving is possibly the worst thing on the planet. (The process; not necessarily the location change.)

To lighten the mood, JRM took me to see the final Harry Potter film. He's a huge fan of the series, and has read all the books. Possibly twice.

I've red-facedly confessed to some of you that I've only read the first book of the series. I liked it very much, but then the movies started coming out, and I had two little babies back to back, and I started seeing the films before reading the books... and that just kills it for me.

I hate knowing what's going to happen when I read.

Regardless, I like to think I'm a good movie watcher! I try to catch the foreshadowing and the hints directors drop along the way. For example, who all caught that image of Dumbledore in the triangle of mirror right at the very beginning before Harry saw himself in it? (When he was at Dobby's grave? Yes?)

Anyway, so I've seen all eight films without reading the books, and watching this final installment, I wondered how much of what went before did JKR know she was going to use later, and how much sort of happened?

As in, when she wrote, did she ever have a moment like this: "I really need a place to hide this diadem. Oh! The Chamber of Secrets! Of course!"

I know when I'm writing, many times I'll be following my storyline, not really paying attention, and I'll discover I've set up this perfect scene without really planning it. So I follow it through, and presto! Good stuff.

I'm never the only one experiencing these types of things. So confess. How many of you have these chicken and egg moments? Tell me about it!

In the meantime, I'm still unpacking, and we've entered birthday season at my house. Sunday is Laura's, and then Aug. 8 is Catherine's. I'll be thinking of you and doing my best to get around, and I'll be back in the saddle before we know it.

Have a great weekend, reader-friends. Til Monday~ <3

Monday, July 18, 2011

In the Transition

So we moved into our new home last Friday, July 8, and in the proceeding week, we moved stacks and furniture from room to room as we painted and refinished floors, connected services, unpacked boxes. It was tiring and intense. But Saturday was the test.

My parents drove with my two daughters from south Louisiana to Indianapolis to see their new home for the first time.

I was so worried about them. We've dragged them away from friends and familiarity, and I wanted them to like their new house. I wanted them to be happy with their rooms, and I wanted them to feel like this was a good thing.

All Saturday, we arranged their rooms, hung pictures, unloaded boxes, assembled little stuffed-animal clusters in welcoming configurations.

The clock was ticking because my "conquer the road" dad had started their journey in the night--they had a good four hours on us. We had to forget sneaking off to see the new Harry Potter, and focus on nesting.

And when my mom called to say they were eleven miles away, we switched into high gear. It was like in those old Captain Kangaroo sketches where they'd speed up the film and play that funny music... remember?

Nothing prepared me for seeing my two little girls' faces for the first time after a three-week separation. We all screamed--! Then we hugged each other and jumped up and down and kissed each other and hugged each other again.

Then we all grabbed hands and ran into the house, first to my room on the downstairs floor, then up the stairs to see their rooms (more squealing), then downstairs again (and again) to the basement to see where we'd set up a television and play area...

After killing myself all day, I was instantly adrenalized. And we kept it going until after 10 p.m., when it was still vaguely daylight but definitely bedtime.

Last night, as I lay in bed reading Carrie for the first time (*snort*), my mind wandered and I began to reflect on the day and all the spontaneous emotions we experienced. Then I thought about a few characters in books I've written, and I thought about the reality of scenes and how important it is to imbue them with true emotions the reader can feel.

While I can't wait to get back to writing again, and I've dubbed this summer "the summer I missed" (it's already mid-July?), these moments of intense, true emotion have made it worthwhile. They're worth savoring and then remembering for later use.

I hope you all had a super weekend and are enjoying your summer days. I'm over here unpacking, but trying to remember the stuff that's flying past as we transition.

Til Thursday~ <3

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm back! ... sort of

The move is done! We're successfully relocated, albeit still in boxes, and I've JUST gotten Internet service again. But I promised to be back today, so here I am.
our living room
I have to confess, I have very little interesting to say simply because I don't have time to collect my thoughts before July 14 begins... in less than two hours!

We've been keeping insane hours since moving to the Eastern time zone, unpacking around the clock (while the girls are visiting g'rents) and around work and job-hunting and workmen... and catching up with old friends who don't have children (i.e., keep crazy hours).

I do have many thoughts to share, but you know how it is when you start to say everything you've been thinking about at the same time and... nothing comes out?

I promise to get my act together for Monday and give us something good to talk about. In the meantime, I'll bore you with pictures of our new home, which I love. As you can see above, our living room is full of boxes. As is my future office-slash-entertainment area.
future office

I can say I've been thinking of you all during the last month. Some of you I can keep up with on Facebook, and I tried to pop in on Twitter as time permitted.

Of course, I've also been thinking about this whole "trying to become a published author" process, and how it meshes with my #1 job of being Mom. And that's the purpose of this blog, right? At least that's what I say is the purpose up there in the header...

The few times I was able to check in, I picked up on the chatter about emerging social media--Google+... --? What is this? I've also noticed more folks trying out Tumblr. Technology moves so fast. (OK--we all know that, but being unplugged for a month enhanced it for me.)

What are you guys thinking about this? Should we even be trying to keep up with technology? Or should we be focusing on our writing?

I've said a million times that blogging has made me more writer-friends and helped me grow in my craft through critique groups and beta partners. It even helped me find my agent.

I'll never be sorry I started this blog. But I honestly can't keep up with all social media and still maintain my writing, my family, and my other jobs and responsibilities.

And I think that's OK.

the kitchen... ahhh...
So there. Something to think about. Have a great weekend, reader-friends! And I leave you a shot of the one near-finished room in the house. Our lovely kitchen.

Til Monday~ <3