That elusive balance

I still can’t seem to find the balance I want to have in my life. And things keep coming forward that demand my attention, and take me farther from the writing I want to be doing.

However, I think that I could probably continue to do most of the things I currently do and still have time to write. I’m just not managing my time well.

So this week I decided I would write first, before anything else, and give it the first part of my day before I began doing all the other things. I decided this on Wednesday, while I was at the local theater helping out by running kids’ movies all day. Thursday was supposed to be the first day, but then I had to go to the pumpkin patch my friend Todd owns, to talk about some help I’m going for him (answering the phone and scheduling reservations) through their fall busy season. So I picked up the phone and stuff (which is in need of some reorganization) and came home. But then I worked on that reorganization (which still isn’t finished) and then I did some stuff for the theater and then it was time for physical therapy. And then I read some of one of my agent-sibling’s books and then I kind of cleaned my room a little and then I went to bed. So that didn’t work out as planned.

Today has gone better. I started with my Bible and then I had to drive my son to the pumpkin patch (he’s working there, starting today), and then I ignored the siren’s song of everything else that wants me to look at it (theater, SCBWI Oklahoma, dance, pumpkin patch, church stuff, bills) and I sat down to write this blog post. So this isn’t writing a novel or anything, but it’s something. It’s something. I have to keep reminding myself that.

I’ve tacked a piece of paper on the wall next to my desk, to remind me of what my writing priorities need to be. These include (sort of in order, sort of not):

  • A Tuttle Christmas Carol (the knock-off play I’m writing for the theater)
  • My novel on sexual assault
  • My novel about the identical twins
  • The picture book biography I’m researching
  • A story for an Oklahoma comic book
  • Plotting and planning for my middle grade novel
  • At least one blog post a week (woo hoo)
  • At least one poem a week

So, one thing (almost) done for the week. I’m going to try the poem next. A few of my agent-siblings write poetry, and since I’ve always enjoyed it and considered myself rather good at it, I want to get back on that. Maybe I’ll do a book of them or something. I’d probably have to self publish it, but it would be an interesting exercise. Or maybe I’ll just post them on this blog. Two birds with one stone, maybe? Har-de-har-har.

New things

I’m working on a play right now. It’s a rewrite of “A Christmas Carol,” but set in my hometown. The local theater will be performing it at Christmas time. Auditions are Oct. 6-7, so I really need to have most, if not all, of it done by then.

I also have an idea for a picture book biography that I’m excited about. It really isn’t my normal thing, but I like this idea and am intrigued by this person, so I think it will be fun to do. And I am good friends with an amazing picture book biography author, Gwendolyn Hooks, so I am sure that she can help me out if I run into trouble.

Once that is done, it’s back to the two YA contemporaries I haven’t completed. Maybe I’ll be able to work on those and the biography at the same time. But I don’t think I can with the play because I’m on such a tight deadline.

I’m going to a revision retreat this weekend, with SCBWI Oklahoma. I don’t have anything currently that I want to revise but I’m excited about learning new ideas for the future.

I am also doing a writing retreat in early November with some friends. I’m looking forward to this, big-time. Last year I got a lot of words on my YA contemporary on sexual assault. Maybe I’ll get it wrapped up this year. Or maybe I’ll focus on the other one. Or maybe I’ll be completely done with both and I’ll focus on something new, lol!

Just realized that it’s kind of nice that we’re going in November. I could maybe tie my work in with NaNo to keep the momentum going.

But! The next thing I am going to write is a message to my agent, because her debut novel is coming out next week. I’m proud of her. <3

Mindfulness

Yesterday was our first day back at our homeschool co-op. It was a good day. I was mean to my son later that day, over something that seemed important at the time, but in the long view, I don’t know if it was worth being mean or not. It is ever worth being mean? I don’t know how I could have handled it better but I am thinking on it.

Probably the best part of yesterday was when I was about to leave, and another mom asked me how my husband was doing with his medical issues, and I was honest and told her how I was feeling about all of it – to the best of my tongue-tied ability, at least. She listened, and she tried to understand, and she prayed over the whole situation. It was such a relief to have my feelings not explained away or dismissed. I didn’t feel ridiculous or regret sharing with her and it was such a balm to my soul.

Today I’m back in the office, considering my to-do list and working on checking off some things. I’ve got a calming blend in my essential oil diffuser and relaxing spa music on spotify, and my big chunk of amethyst next to me. I feel okay. There’s a small tension still within, but overall I feel better.

I have several projects in my mental inbox, and I’m trying to decide which one I should focus on first.

  • The WIP on sexual assault I was working on before I went back to my Rat Queen revisions. This story feels very close to my heart, and I was making good progress before I put it on pause last month. I could probably get that one done in a month or two if I really put my nose to the grindstone.
  • The WIP I was working on before the sexual assault one. This one was a lot of fun, but I got overwhelmed by the whole thing when I was working on it. I think it will be amazing, if I can ever figure out how to get it where I want it. I’d like to get it over and done with.
  • A play I promised my niece I would write for the local theater, for Christmas. Honestly, it should be done as soon as possible so they have time to prepare for it. This shouldn’t be hard at all, because I’m basically going to just redo “A Christmas Carol” to be set in our small town, but I’m not looking forward to actually putting in the work setting everything up. Making the changes I want should be easy. Getting the rest of the play transcribed from the original story sounds like it’s going to suck, big time.
  • The new, fresh middle grade magical realism that I haven’t even got set solidly in my head, but sounds SO VERY MUCH FUN to write and create! But I really can’t let myself get too deep into it, because I have the other stuff I need to do first. Bother.

So, yeah. I know I need to do the play first, gross. But that way the actors can get to work on their lines and stuff. They definitely need those by November…and October would be even better. Then I think I’ll get back into the sexual assault one – hopefully can wrap that up before the end of the year. Then back to the other YA WIP…and then the new shiny one?!?!?!

Fingers crossed.

Sending it off

I just got finished sending off a rewrite of my YA novel, THE RAT QUEEN, to my agent. It’s always a little shocking finishing a novel, whether the entire draft or an intense rewrite. This one added more than 10,000 words to the novel and completely changed the ending, so it was a big deal, at least to me. I’m happy with the way it has turned out. It’ll be interesting to see what else will change.

Once my agent decides it’s ready, this will be my third novel to go on submission. I hope this is the one that sticks.

I have gotten behind on a lot of things, so I’m hoping to get caught up on the rest of life, then get back to my new YA manuscript. I’m about 18,000 into that one.

I don’t really know what else to say. Like I mentioned above, I’m always a little shocked (and shell-shocked) when I finish something big like this.

Anyway.

A hot commodity

A hot commodity. That’s me.

For more than a month, I’ve told myself that today is the day I get back to writing regularly, and seriously. For a long time, I didn’t have my office and it was hard to focus with the family all around me. Then summer came, and with it, a busy summer at the local theater. But the final production of LOST IN MY WONDERLAND was last night and now it’s time to write.

But I’m a hot commodity because I try to help my family with things. I enjoy it. And they know that the show ended too. And so I’ve gotten requests to work on things for them today. And I had to explain that I have been planning to write more starting today. So that was a thing.

Anyway, between the kids’ chores and stuff and balancing things with the husband at home (probably haven’t written on here that he’s here for two weeks because of heart issues), plus helping my mom with some financial stuff and helping to get ready for the next show, and taking over our family finances, I’m stretched kind of thin. But I have two hours. I’m actually thirteen minutes in right now.

So probably my warm up time is over and it’s time to get crackin’.

<3

Revisions and dance

I’m at my daughters’ dance competition, listening to music in my earbuds and also super loud dance music while I sit in the back row with my laptop. I am looking at my new revisions and thinking about them.

I sound so boring today, but I kind of feel that way. I’m only blogging because I thought that would be a good thing to do today, since I’m not actually writing new words. And I’m only planning to read all my agent’s revision notes, not actually begin revising. But reading all the notes and thinking about them is still progress.

I’m doing well with the instagram writers’ thing. I’m on day 13 and I actually haven’t missed a day yet. It’s basically a miracle.

I’m also just too darn busy with all the other things I do. My eldest is graduating next month and there is an awful lot to do. There’s only ten graduates, since it’s for our homeschool group, and they all get a lot of special things…but Mom gets to do all the work! I’m also swamped with stuff for the dance studio, the local theatre, and my scbwi group. And I love all those things, I really do, but I’m not quite as good at balancing everything as I’d like to be.

Anyway. Back to work. Wish me luck.

igwritersapril

So I’m doing this thing on Instagram this month under the hashtag #igwritersapril. It’s supposed to be fun but it is also a challenge because I am so gosh darn lazy. Anyway, I did the first two days and they weren’t super easy but today’s subject is bookshelf and that sounds very appealing. All I have to do is actually clean mine up a little so it looks presentable and then take a picture of it. Much easier than trying to describe my work in progress using photographs.

Of course I actually have like six bookshelves, so theoretically I could take pictures of all of them. But then I’d have to clean all of them. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So maybe I will. But writing comes first. I can’t really claim to be a writer on instagram if don’t, you know, actually write and stuff.

My darling writing conference starts on Friday. I’m so happy to be going again. I really enjoy it. There’s still time to get registered over at the SCBWI Oklahoma web page, so if you are or wanna be a writer or illustrator, get thee to the site and join us!

A new twist

So I hosted a SCBWI thing at my house on Saturday. That went well. We didn’t have a lot of people but it was fun and informative. Afterward, Kim stayed and talked to me a little about a manuscript that I am working on revising. I was having issues with something, but after talking it through, I was able to recognize a problem in it I just couldn’t see, and then I had an idea how to fix it – and bonus, it gave me another interesting wrinkle to add to the manuscript, which I love. It just takes things a little bit deeper.

I have critique group tonight too, and I’ve got my pages printed out but not stapled yet. Oh, and I just remembered that I was going to print those double sided and I never turned the paper over. Maybe I should check on that, lol.

Also, here’s a picture after the thing at my house.

Critique partners and writing friends are highly recommended.

Now to check the printer.

Life in the way

I think balance is a huge key to becoming a successful writer. I’m still working on it. Like on the retreat. I wrote like a madwoman and accomplished so much on the wip. But now, back in real life, I’ve yet to do anything. Oh, I’ve done things. I’ve done the things for my friend’s celebration of life. And I’ve cleaned the house and gone out for Valentine’s Day and talked to my therapist and taken care of sick kids and helped my niece with some things and did children’s church and helped my husband with his flat tire and bent wheel and did SCBWI Oklahoma publicity and met with my kids’ ACT test coach. (And, obviously, stuff I don’t even remember.) And now I need to contact my daughter’s college and make sure her application process is going all right. And I need to make sure she’s ready to graduate and that we’ve got everything ordered and ready to go. And I need to encourage my husband to schedule his guys’ day with his male family members. And I need to take care of Easter prep for church. Plus feed these people and keep the house going and homeschool and do the publicity stuff for the upcoming conference. Oh, and get my house actually clean, not just passable, before the beginning of March, when some SCBWI people are coming over. And don’t forget starting to get things ready for Lenora’s graduation and party. Oh, and I’m trying to read a book a week this year and I’m already behind, so catch up on that.

And finish two novels and work on revisions for my other one.

I almost feel like crying reading all of that.

I have the time. I know that. But it’s hard to compartmentalize. To say, “okay, I’m going to write for three hours and not think about the rest of this stuff.” But that’s what I need to do.

Le sigh.

Quixotic

I chose that title because I always liked it on livejournal. It means kind of undescribable, which I like. I suppose I could describe my current mood if I wanted to, but I’m not sure I have that kind of time.

I now have two works in progress and I have also officially begun revisions for my agent on The Rat Queen. I’m excited about them and scared (which is normal for me at this stage.) So far, I’m still in the thinking and reading and putting together the pieces in a new way stage. But I think I can get it done quick and keep working on the wips too, which is crazy.

I also want to get into the fanfic scene again. It’s been on my mind quite a bit. It’s hard, when I feel like I’m not doing enough on my real work, but it’s also deffo writing for pleasure and I think that’s good for me.

And I’m thinking about writing for contests or submitting to magazines or journals. It’s a totally new idea, but I’m ready to try something new – something to keep myself busy and keep writing.

I had the big goal for three years – to get an agent. And now that I have a fabulous one, my goals have been a little more muddled. I wanted to be published. But that’s kind of out of my hands. I have to write, and produce sellable work. But then it’s my agent’s job. But if I have other goals maybe that will help me keep the wind in my sails.

Possible ideas:

  • I’d like to be an SCBWI PAL member. Our local group invites me to PAL events because they say I’m so close, but I want to be legit. If I could get published in a children’s magazine, I’d have that status. That would be cool.
  • I’d like to have 100 fanfics. I was well on my way when I got sidetracked. I can still reach that goal. Who cares if the fandom has dwindled and people won’t read it? A few will. And I can enjoy the stories myself, too.
  • I’d like to be in some kind of literary journal or magazine. I can research those and see if I can work up something to submit. I know I can write short stories because of the fanfic. I just need to do it with original characters. I can do that.
  • I also want to finish my two works in progress and start on Hunting Down Dylan. I think that one’s going to be cool.
  • I’d like to look into other writing groups and see if it would help or hinder me to join others. I don’t want to be so into other groups that I lose my focus on writing or on SCBWI, but I think that it’s possible that being in more groups would encourage me. Plus I could have more stuff on my affiliates page, which I would like.
  • I also want a writing area. Having my office was fabulous and I will probably have it back at some point, but it’s hard being productive without me. Maybe I could move to the cellar. Okay, not really. There’s no electricity. And it’s damp. But there’s no distractions except for the occasional lizard…

 

Okay, so that’s what I got going on right now. I’m going to go take a walk with the fam and then I’m going to get back to¬†working on The Rat Queen because I am a legit writer.