Friday, February 14, 2014

What’s Your Excuse?

I love to write. I really do. When I am doing it I’m happier. So what happened this week? I could blame it on writer’s block--except last week my writing group gave me some brilliant ideas so that is no good at least until this scene is written. I could blame it on not having time, which would be a lot more realistic. I mean this is my typical day: wake up, make lunches, get the kids going, get myself ready for the day, take kids to school, go to work, lunch is spent going to my class, or running errands, work, pick up kids or take kids to soccer, get home around 7, make dinner, chores, help kids with their homework, get kids to bed, spend some time with my husband, edit, go to sleep around midnight. There, it is therapeutic to write it down (because as you know, I love to write). I am busy, really busy. It's a valid excuse--except it isn't really because lots of writers are busy, and they still write.

And so the question no longer is what’s my excuse? I could come up with those all day long. The question needs to be: How much do you want this? Do I WANT to write? Yes. Do I HATE paying the fee for not writing? Yes. (I owe 2$ to my writer’s group for this week, ouch!) Do I LOVE my story? Yes. Can I get up 30 minutes earlier? Err...okay there it is. This is my excuse. I like my sleep. I like my 8 hours. I want my 8 hours. And so a new question comes into play. Which do I want more? I wish I could say I was willing to set the alarm for 30 minutes earlier each day. Maybe someday I will.

Until that day--15 minutes earlier actually sounds doable. If you think you could wake up 15 minutes earlier to get some writing into your busy day, join me--not really I’ll be in my PJ’s and I won’t have brushed my teeth yet!--but in spirit. It's always easier to do something if you have a friend. So if you need that extra push, know that you are not alone. And hey, when you are ready for that 30 minute push--go ahead and shove me! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Write On!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

38 Things I want to do while I’m 38

Happy Groundhog Day! I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for good old Punxsutawney Phil, myself being an honorary groundhog, although I do wish he’d see his shadow a whole lot less often! I also envy Phil. Did you know that every Summer he gets a sip of a magic potion that extends his life by seven years? Can you imagine how much you could get done in your life if you had an extra seven years for every year you live? No wonder he can hibernate all winter long. I on the other hand don’t have that luxury and only have so much time to cross things off my bucket list. And so in honor of my lovely 38th, here are 38 things that I want to accomplish this year! Some are easy, some are harder, and some may be downright impossible, but maybe a little of Phil’s magic will rub off on me and when I blow out the candles these wishes will come true.

1. A Family Vacation. I don’t care where or how long, even if it is just a three day weekend, but I want a true family vacation. One where Dustin doesn't get a million phone calls from work, and I don’t have an edit project that I just have to get finished, and the only soccer playing involved is if we choose to play it together as a family.
2. Finish Room for Two. I want this book to be all the way done--with edits--and a ready to send off to agents. Sky only took me six years to get to that point (I’m there, right? But what if I just changed this one line? Kidding.) If I finish Room this year it will have taken me three years from first writing down the idea until I finished it. That is half the time. SO does that mean the next book will only take me a year and a half? Heck, at this rate it won’t be long until I’m writing a book a month :).
3. Go to Germany with Bear. He’s going. Oma already has his ticket. I just need to figure out how to arrange work and life so I can go also. I really want to stand at Brandenburger Tor when my little guy gets to see our city (Berlin) for the first time, just like I got to do with the girls. Plus, I’m almost out of Badedas so I sort of have to go restock.
4. Read for Fun. I miss just reading for fun. Not having to tear a book apart to figure out what it did right or wrong. Just curling up on the couch with Hertha lying on my feet and staying up until three in the morning because I couldn’t put it down. This year I am going to allow myself to just read for fun.
5. Reread Son of the Shadows. That is my all time favorite book. I love that book and yet I have not read it for years. Why? Because my to read list on Goodreads keeps growing, and I don’t have time to reread books, but I love this book so so so so so much. So why shouldn’t I reread it?
6. Make Stuffed Mushrooms. I love stuffed mushrooms, and I always think I’m going to make them. I even buy the ingredients and then I never do. But this year, just once, I am going to make myself stuffed mushrooms--and if my kids are nice I may even share with them.
7. Read Stephen King’s On Writing. I know, gasp, shock, horror. How can I even say I’m a writer and not have read THIS book? So I guess this is the year I become a real writer :).
8. Attend the First of hopefully many Critiki Retreati. I have the most awesome writer’s group in the world. And this year I get to spend a whole weekend with them writing, brainstorming, eating, and watching chick flicks. It is going to rock!
9. Say Goodbye to My Dear Friend Dr. Pepper. He’s got me through a lot of tough times, but in the end I have to accept the fact that no matter how much I love him, he’s just no good for me. So this is the end.
10. Get Past Level 12 on Tetris! I have this sick sick addiction to this game, and I swear level 12 is going to kill me faster than Dr. Pepper ever would have, but I am going to do this!
11. Take a Breath Before I Say Anything to My Kids When I Find Myself in Frustrated Mode. Wow, that’s a long and lofty goal for me. During that breath I’m going to remember how much I love them. How little and precious they still are (even if one of them is a teenager). I’m going to take a breath, and then I’m going to tell them I love them.
12. Read to My Kids More. Bear and I have been reading The Phantom Tollbooth and it has been so much fun. I love the time I get to spend with him when we read. I want that time with each of my kids.
13. Go on a lot More Dates with My Husband. I love him. I love being with him. He’s my best friend, and we hang out a lot. But I want to go on real dates. Dinner and a movie, a walk in the park--I love him too much to make him take me dancing--but other there are a billion other places where we can go and just talk and be together. Why is it always so hard to find time to just date?
14. Say Goodbye to 38 Pounds of Me. Saying goodbye to the Dr. should help me with this. I like myself, but right now there is just a little too much to like. I think I’ll like myself better if I let part of me go.
15. Do a Load of Laundry Every Day. I’m not just going to leave it all for one crazy day a week. In essence, I’m going to keep on top of the laundry. There will be socks in the drawers if it is the last thing I do! And I mean it this time, even more than beating level 12 of Tetris!
16. Watch a Sunset. One of my favorite memories was standing on a bridge in Iloilo, Philippines and watching the gigantic sun slowly sink into the ocean. I never get the chance to just sit and watch an entire sun set. I’m alway busy racing here and there, catching only glimpses of them. But this year I’m going to pull out a chair in the backyard and watch the sun sink behind the mountains.
17. Learn a New Word Everyday. Maybe I should get me one of those word of the day calendars, but even without it, by the time I turn 39 I will know 365 more words than I did today.
18. Learn 5 New German Words a Day. I have to do more of them because there are so many more I need to learn.
19. Send out 100 Query Letters. Or as many as I need until I get an agent. I don’t love rejection, and I hate all the work of researching agents just to get told. No. No. No. I sort of gave up on Sky early on in the submission process, and I think my characters must hate me for it. This year I’m not giving up on Room. It deserves a home, and I am going to find it one.
20. Take Time Just For Me. Take time to reflect on the beauty of the world, on all of my blessings, and on all that I can become. I won’t worry about schedules, and work, and dinner, and dishes. I’ll just find myself.
21. Praise Someone Everyday. I have a great family support system, and I don’t tell them enough how awesome they all are. This year I will.
22. Write the First Novel Length Draft of The King’s Brother. Two books in one year? Is that a little lofty for me? Maybe, but I’m not getting any younger (obviously :))
23. Wash my face morning and night. I am so bad about washing my face at night. I know it’s important, but at the end of the day, I’m done. I just want to go to sleep. I’ve been lucky my skin has stayed as nice as it has. But I better kick it in gear now before my age gets a hold of me.
24. Floss. Yep. I’m not great at this either, but why not? I brush my teeth all the time, so why can’t I remember to floss all the time? It should be easy. It hasn’t been, but I’m going to add it to the list just for that reason. It’s now part of the 38. Sounds kind of ominous, like the 4400 or something? Hmmm. Can I write a sci fi story about my daily flossing adventures?
25. Organize My Craft Cupboard. Yeah, that one might take me the entire year to accomplish, but by Feb 2, 2015 maybe I will be able to find a glue stick when I really need it!
26. Paint my front door. Not sure what color I’m going for yet, but something other than the boring white it is now.
27. Make my own pickles. So, the Spreewald in Germany is known to have the best pickles in the world. And I just happen to have the recipe thanks to family connections. My kids won’t eat anything but German pickles, but a jar is now over $5 at the local International Store they sell them at, so this one is really going to be a money saver for me. Plus, it will be fun to learn to do.
28. Make a Bedtime and Stick To It. Those moms that put their kids to bed at 7 every night amaze me. I don’t think I could ever do that, but I do want to be better about a bedtime routine, especially since next year I have to wake the kids up about 45 minutes earlier in order to get Minchkin to school on time.
29. Introduce My Kids to the Original Battlestar Galactica. BSG was the show that turned me into a sci-fi junkie forever. I think it’s time I did the same for my kids.
30. Keep My 20 Dollars. My writer’s group has a twenty dollar fee to belong to it. We pay every week if we skip out on writing or on critiques. When we run out of the 20 dollars we either need to pay more or we are out. It is actually great motivation, and so far this year I still have all 20 of it. The goal is to keep it that way!
31. Have Weekly Meetings With My Kids. They are growing up way too fast. I can barely keep track of it. I need to take time to make sure I don’t miss a single moment.
32. Have a World Cup Final Party. Some people have Super Bowl parties. I’m more of a soccer girl. I’m having a party this year and hopefully I’ll be cheering on the USA, but given the bracket we got in, probably not. Still there will be a party.
33. Watch My 6 Hour Pride and Prejudice. I got this two years ago and it is still in the plastic wrap! I don’t care if no one will watch it with me. I am watching it this year!
34. Teach a Workshop at a Writing Conference. This is a little bit of a cheat because I already know I am going to do this, but it has been a goal of mine and this year it is coming true. I will be teaching an Editing Basics and Beyond class at Write Here in Ephraim this March. I’ll be posting more about it as it gets closer, but if you are in the area come on over!
35. Add Some Signed Books to My Collection. I collect signed books. I have an entire case full of them. I definitely plan on adding a few more to that shelf this year.
36. Hike. I used to go hiking all the time. Zion is one of my favorite places in the entire world, but it seems like once I had kids the hiking stopped. But they are all old enough now to come with me, so this year I plan to hike as much as I can. I mean I live in Utah. I should be hiking nonstop, right?
37. Learn a Song on the Piano. We have a beautiful piano in our front room, and I can’t play it. Well I can play Heart and Soul, but that’s about it. So this year I am going to teach myself a song. Any suggestions?
38. Learn to Manage My Time Better. I’m busy. I have way too much to do, and not enough time to do it all. But I think I could have more time if I learned to be more efficient. So instead of complaining that I can’t do it all, This year I want to figure out how to do it all. I’m not talking about being a super woman, just getting the things that need to be done, done.

Well that’s it. Wow, it was really easy to come up with that list. I could have kept going once I started thinking of everything I wanted to do. But for now these 38 will suffice. Maybe next year I can add 37 more, because once you hit 38 you start counting backwards, right? Or do I have to wait until 40 for that?

So how about you? Do you make birthday goals? Got a special day coming up that you are working on a list for? Good luck! And until next time,

Write On!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Books, Books, Books, Everywhere you look!

I love books. I love reading. I have so many bookshelves packed full in my house that my husband actually suggested *gasp* that I get rid of a few books. Not going to happen. My problem is I don't always have time to read. Actually as an editor, I read all day long. I just don't have a lot of time to read books for entertainment and not just to make sure subject verb agreement is in line, or POV isn't being violated, or semi colons are being used correctly. In order to remedy that, I have decided to put books everywhere I possibly can so the minute a free moment occurs, I can read. This is the best way I can think to get my goal of 52 books in for the year.

I'm in the midst of reading six different books right now.

I have my car/purse book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This book goes with me while I am waiting to pick up carpools, so I can get a page or two in during half-time, or when the line at In and Out is extra long. My car/purse book usually takes me longer to read than just my regular nightstand book, but if it is good enough (which this one actually is) sometimes I upgrade it to nightstand book when I need a new one.

I have my at work book: The Ugly Duckling Goes to Work. This is a slow read as well since I don't always have time to read at work, but when I do I like it to be something that will help me be better at my job or a better employee. My work book is usually always a non-fiction self-help book.

I have my kid book: The Phantom Tollbooth. I love reading to my kids, especially my youngest who still actually likes to snuggle up with mommy and listen to me read. This book is usually something I've already read that I want to share with my kids. Most likely a book from my past, although The Phantom Tollbooth somehow slipped past me in my youth, and it is a lot of fun discovering it now with my son.

I have my school book: Grimms Märchen. Yep, I'm taking a German Fairy Tale class this semester. Wow, do you know what the Frog Prince is about? I mean what it is really about? I love reading these tales in their original German. It takes me a lot longer since, well yeah, my German is not perfect, but it is a great helper on my language skills as well as a fun read.

I have my nightstand book: The Scorpio Races. Just finished Warm Bodies last night (check out my Goodreads link to the right for my review) and since my purse/car book was out in the cold car, I grabbed this one instead. I'm about twenty pages into it, and I really like it so far. I read these books the fastest because I get most of my reading done in bed, or one the couch with my chocolate lab sitting on my feet.

And finally I have my bathroom book: I am Malala. Yes, I have a bathroom book, and I am not afraid to admit it. Mothers of the world know that sometimes locking yourself in the bathroom is the only time you will find peace and quiet (and sometimes not even then). My bathroom book is mostly my bath book, for those rare occasions when I can actually take a long bubble bath without interruption. Everyone needs a bathroom book, if nothing else your guests will be delighted that there is something more to read than the backs of shampoo bottles! (I know, I know, TMI.)

And so I read, whenever and wherever I can. I'm thinking about adding two more categories--a car book audio style to entertain as I drive to and from work when my Maroon Five station on Pandora just isn't cutting it for me. And a book on my Kindle App so I can read even when it is lights out time (even though hard copies will always be my first love). I don't have anything picked out in those two areas so I am open for suggestions! What do you recommend?

How about you? Where do you have books? What are you reading right now? Do you read a million books at once, or do you just race through one at a time? Let me know!

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Article at Eschler

I have a new article up at Eschler Editing, which Angela and I coauthored. It is about fighting against the idea of absolute perfectionism and reaching your goals. If your goal is to write a book in 2014 then you have to check it out!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy 2014

Happy New Year! I’m a bit behind on getting this post going, but I’ve been on an editing marathon (8th graders Nanowrimo stories--more on that later). Last year was a crazy adjustment of not being in school, starting to do more editing with Eschler Editing, and getting a full time job--also editing--for a local university. I’m feeling more confident about things this year. I’ve set five goals for the new year. Spiritual--Family scripture study, Physical--Lose weight, Educational--Read 52 books, Business--continue to take on more edits and blog weekly, and Writing--Finish final draft of Room for Two and write first full length draft of The King’s Brother (I already have an outline/novella for this).

So that’s it. Seems pretty easy. Doing pretty good on everything so far. Sometimes scripture study ends up happening in the car on the way to drop kids at school, and I still haven’t finished a full book (but I’m almost done with Warm Bodies). I’m doing good on the weight loss, already down five pounds since the 1st. Here is my blog, maybe I’ll even post two this week to make up for last week--yeah that’s probably not going to happen. And I have been writing 15 minutes a day. The final draft of room is at 35,000 words right now. So that’s not too bad.

The thing is, I know as time goes by things won’t be so easy. So, I’ve decide to reevaluate my goals at the end of each month and see how they are working out for me. For now all I can do is try. Yeah, yeah I know what Yoda says, but I sort of like what Chester Bernard said, “To try and fail is at least to learn; to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been.” So I’m going to keep trying and learning.

What about you? What are your goals for 2014? Writing a book? Winning the lottery? Getting the laundry done and folded at the same time? Let me know and I promise to send positive vibes your way!

HAPPY 2014!

Write on!