Friday, April 30, 2010

Two baskets

I've been a terrible blogger. I haven't visited or commented on many blogs this week, mostly because my mind has been preoccupied on my revisions. I have been working on this book for so long, focusing all of my energy on it and nothing else, but this week I had a revelation.

It's okay if it doesn't sell.

I know it's hard to believe, but I've really come to accept that. It doesn't mean I'm giving up, and that I don't think it's a good book. It just means that I'm not going to put all my hopes and dreams on this one book, which is what I've been doing. I had myself so psyched out that I thought if this book doesn't sell then that's it, my hopes of becoming an author are over. I know it's ridiculous and it's taken my a while to realize that.

The truth is, I can write another book. In fact, I can take what I've learned from the first and write an even better book. Don't get me wrong, I love my first book and if it does sell that's great, awesome even. It's just that so far I've been putting all my eggs in one basket and now I'm ready to put an egg in a different basket.

What about you do you have more than one basket?

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How soon we forget?

How long it took us to learn how to walk.

How long it took us to learn how to skate.

How long it took us to learn how to ride a bike.

How long it took us learn how to write cursive.

How long it took us to learn how to read.

How long it took us to learn how to cook.

How long it took us to learn how to write proper sentences.

How long it took us to learn how to type.

I could go on and on. On Monday Elana (I love her blog) had a video of Michael Jordan talking about how he was sorry if he made people forget how hard he had to work to be the player he was.

I think sometimes we believe everyone is an overnight success that they didn't spend hours writing late into the night, sometimes early morning. Sure there are the odd few that catch a lucky break, but for the most part I think everyone worked hard to be a published author, or to even write a book. We just didn't see it.

So keep on working.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sucking it in Syndrome

There are many times when I get ready in the morning and when I look at myself in the mirror, I think I look pretty good. I'm having a good hair day, my eyes aren't too baggy and my muffin top is barely visible. Then a week later I'll see a picture of myself that someone has taken without my knowledge and think, "I really look like that."

This is what I think happens. It is a natural reaction to suck in your gut whenever you look in the mirror or pose for a camera. It isn't until you see yourself as the world sees you in a photo that you moan and groan in desperate cries of anguish.

Sometimes I think this is how I look at my manuscript. I'll read a sentence, paragraph or scene and think "Wow, I'm a really good writer.", but then I'll see it after someone else reads it and think "Wow, I really need a lot of work."

My goal, not to suck in my gut when I see myself in the mirror so maybe I won't eat any chocolate that day and to really look at my words like someone whose never read them would.

Let the work week begin.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Be yourself

I stole this quote from my sister in laws blog.

Be Yourself; everyone else is already taken.
(Oscar Wilde)

I think this is great advice to take into the weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back to the Beginning

Inigo: I am waiting for you, Vizzini. You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have. This is where I am, and this is where I'll stay. I will not be moved.

Brute: Ho there.

Inigo: I do not budge. Keep your "Ho there."
(He waves his sword dangerously)

Assistant Brute:But the Prince gave orders --

Inigo: So did Vizzini -- when a job went wrong, you went back to the beginning. And this is where we got the job. So it's the beginning, and I'm staying till Vizzini comes.

I am going back to the beginning of my manuscript and waiting for Vizzini to come.

Wait, he's dead. I hope Fezzik can help me. I'm willing to have my head dumped into a big vat of cold water so I can wake up and figure out a plan.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Organized Chaos

This weekend all of the churches in our community got together and had a food drive for the local food bank. Each church was in charge of a different communities to pick up the food, which was then delivered to our church to be sorted and boxed up for future consumption.

We had a group of people unloading the vehicles, another group emptied the bags and sorted the food, while others distributed the specific food to other tables to be boxed.

I helped out with the sorting table. At times there were bags and bags piled up and when we dumped out the food, the table was full of a mixture of soups, stew, vegetables, and beans (lots of people gave away beans). Slowly we'd designate one part of the table for soup, one for beans etc. Soon the pile of food that had looked so overwhelming was carted away to the appropriate tables, leaving room for more food.

We have to look at editing that way. If I look at the whole book all at once, I get weighed down with the daunting task, but if I take it chapter by chapter and scene by scene, slowly the words get distributed to their appropriate sentences and I start to make sense of it all. So that's my job this week, take it one chapter at a time. Don't look at the next one until I'm satisfied with the previous. Hopefully I can make some progress.

Side note: We collected 18,000 pounds of food and it was great to see all of the churches working together for a common goal. Very uplifting.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My revision process.

I finish a round of edits and say to myself "I'm finished" and think the book is the best I can make it.

Fast forward a week.

I spend days reading your blogs with all your writing knowledge and advice. I get drafts back from my critique partners and hold my breath as I read their comments.

I hang my head knowing deep down that there's still more I can do.

I spend a couple of days wallowing in self pity. I have no idea how to make my book better. Not an hour goes by where I don't think that I should probably quit because I'll never be good enough. I should just shut down my blog and never write another word.

A few more days pass and the despair starts to lift and I think. "Well, I guess I'll take one more shot at making it better."

I take a chapter and copy it into another document and start to take it apart. After a few hours, I have my computer read it back to me. "Yes, that's definitely better," I say to no one in particular, because it's late at night and my husband is asleep on the couch.

Then I finally go to bed thinking, "What do you know, I guess I could make it better after all."

Now I just have 22 chapters left to go.

PS: Just so you know I blame all of you for keeping me the revision stage. If it wasn't for your great blogs, exuding all kinds of wisdom, I'd been querying right now. Albeit with an inferior product, but still.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Soul Mates

Many, many moons ago, I met my husband. I was fresh out of high school and he had just returned from a mission for our church in California. He wore plaid shorts and weird t-shirts. I thought he was a geek and he thought I was a...well actually I won't say. Two years later we started dating and fell in love.

I know that was the shortest love story ever.

Over my teenage and YA years, I had a certain ideal of what kind of guy I'd like to marry. My husband is nothing like that fantasy and thank heavens. He loves me just the way I am.

When we dream about being getting an agent, we have a certain idea in our heads, sometimes even certain names. I have a whole spreadsheet of agent names, some are familiar to most of us, some not so much. I used to think that I needed to get my ideal agent, which made me nervous to query, because what if my ideal agent didn't like my book, what then, but then I read Elana Johnson's post and my thinking completely changed.

The ideal agent, is the one who loves your book.

It's simple, but so true.

So maybe don't think about an agent you would love to have, think about an agent who would love to have you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back to Reality

Zions National Park - Angel's Landing (I'm in the blue shirt - daughter in grey)

I'm back and two hours after we unloaded and I checked my email, I wanted to get back in our van and drive away again. Funny how it takes a while to get back into the swing of things.

We went to St. George, Utah where we enjoyed the sun and the red rock. Our days were spent hiking, rock climbing and biking, mixed with lounging and eating. Way too much eating.

I had the best intentions of doing a lot of reading and writing this vacation, but could only muster up one book read, one started, and 1200 words written.

At my friend's Susan's recommendation, I bought Donald Maass's book The Fire in Fiction. She did an excellent recap of his book, so go to her blog to get more info, but today as I was reading it a sentence really spoke to me:

All that matters to me is that you stop waiting for magic and embrace passion as a daily practice.

I loved this line because lots of times I sit in front of the computer waiting for magic to hit me, but really what I need is more passion for the project and hard work. Don't forget the hard work.

So, although, it's hard to get back to reality. I'm renewed with a new sense of passion for my projects, one that I hope will stay with me for the long haul. Here's to passion and trying to find where I put my make up.

Plus a couple more photos:

We scrambled up to this climbing spot and since I'm not great with heights, I had to breathe deep

Climbing on petrified dunes was my favorite.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's never too late

I stole this quote from sister-n-laws facebook, because it gives me hope.

Its never too late to be who you might have been - George Elliot

On that positive note, I wish everyone a Happy Easter. I'm gone next week for some much needed vacation (yes, we chose vacation over bathroom, much to my daughter's chagrin). We're going mountain biking, rocking climbing, and hiking plus maybe do a little shopping. I know that's not everyone's idea of a good vacation, but it works for our family. I might post depending on how things are going. If you don't hear from me then I'm not killing my children and we're having a good time. If I do post that probably means I need a break and have locked myself in a bathroom for some alone time. Wish me luck.