Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you care? --Really?

Last week, I was reading what I thought was an honest and insightful blog post. You know, one of those rare birds that makes you cock your head and really think. So I clicked the comments to see what others where saying about it and was somewhat depressed to see that one of the first commenters decided to expound upon the author's incorrect use of 'it's' as opposed to 'its.'

All I could think was, "Really? Do people still do this?" To me it's the equivalent of watching a beautiful woman in evening wear descend a grand staircase. When she finally reaches you and flashes a radiant smile, the first words out of your mouth are, "There's lipstick on your teeth."

I used to be in a writers' group with a person who operated like a Word program. Every misspelling, every misuse--she would catch. She never had any comments about the other aspects of your writing: character development, plot, story arc--she was like our own private line editor. It should be no surprise to hear that when she would share her own work, it was flawless. Perfectly executed grammar, never a comma out of place, spelling that would make 5th grade teachers sing like a chorus of angels.

And characters that were flat and lifeless. Dialogue that rocked you to sleep. Pages and pages of, "Wait, what did I just read?"

So do I think typos are important? If there are so many that it becomes a distraction from the story, then yes. Also, they do make work look less professional and rushed, so we do need to try our level best to ferret out the infestations and eradicate them. But I absolutely do not think that a perfect grasp of the rules and regulations of usage are capable of making you a better writer. A more correct one?--sure.

Furthermore--a single typo in a blog post! Excuse me, but who the ---- cares? I don't know about you but personally, I've made a million mistakes in my life. Believe me when I say that typos are the least of them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writer Guilt?

Do you ever get writer guilt? Specifically, do you ever feel guilty that you (probably) spend a huge amount of time not only writing but blogging, tweeting, fb-ing, reading in your genre, reading about writing, reading other blogs about writing ( and agenting, editing, publishing, etc.)

In a nutshell--Do you ever (assuming you're not yet paid to do all those above things) feel guilty pursuing this thing you love?

I do.

Now if you're someone who has come to writing later in life (i.e., retirement from day job, kids are grown and fully functioning adults, spouse plays 80 hours of golf/week) I would think the guilt would either be significantly less and maybe even non existent.

But what about when you're still in the middle of all that? Just starting your day job career, raising little kids, being married to someone who only wishes they had 8 free hours a week (never mind 80.) There is limited time, always. And yet, you feel driven, compelled even to still pursue this part of your life.

For me, it sometimes feels selfish. It feels selfish to have so much going on but I still always carve out time for this. It is a priority for me and sometimes (especially during the school year) that means getting up at 4 in order to make sure it happens.

Still, I don't put writing first. When the kids are up, regardless of where I am, the computer closes. I try to make sure I spend some time talking or watching a movie with the Husband at least a few nights a week. It's never perfect but what balancing act is? You lean a bit this way and then, oh, agent sent revision notes, so you lean back and over the other way. Daughter is sick and wants her mom and you shift your weight back to the other side. Always the balance and you do your best to stay on the rope.

But here's the thing. One day, I picked my kids up from school and my daughter came running out of the building beaming. She asked me, "Mom how many books have you written?"

"I'm working on my third."

"I told my class today that you have three jobs, you're a school psychologist, a mom and a writer. Can I have three jobs when I grow up?"

"Absolutely. And if you're lucky like me, none of them will feel like jobs (well, sometimes they will but you can't say that to a 2nd grader.) You'll be happy to do all three as much as you can." 

But still, I do have guilt.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Professional Photos

Okay, I think I want some professional head shots taken. I really like this guy. But I'm wondering if I'm putting the cart before the horse. After all, it's kind of an investment. What do you think? Should professional photos wait until after you're official? Is it never too early to start getting all your ducks in a row? I'm I spending too much time worrying over something that is not a big deal and I should just make an appointment?

Is this yet another wile attempt at procrastination?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Creative Energy

In my day job, Perseverate is a word I seem to use a lot. A percentage of the kids I work with are on the Autism spectrum and frequently have difficulty getting stuck on a particular train of thought or behavior and are having a hard time shifting onto something else.

I love this word--perseverate.

As I surf through blogs and twitter and websites related to writing, it seems that the topic of writers block has been coming up a lot just lately. I, thankfully, have never had to deal with this. But I imagine for those who have publishing deadlines looming or are counting on their writing to pay the mortgage, writers block can feel like the angry troll blocking the bridge--you just have to get to the other side! You're standing on that bridge, standing, standing, waiting for that damn troll to go away. You can see the other side for God's sake.

You're perseverating on getting rid of that troll and to the other side. To your outcome. The outcome that is a deadline met and a check cashed. All of life begins on the other side of that damn bridge.

Ha, I just thought of something. That damn troll may also be the agent you're waiting for or your offer from the publisher (ahem.) It could be anything really that you are obsessing about and that obsession is blocking you in some regards.

That obsession is the troll.

I was reading yesterday about letting go of outcomes. That when we spin and spin and spin over the outcomes of our actions, we often times remove ourselves from the creative energy of our project itself. We put more time, thought and energy into the wanting of the outcome instead of into the project itself.

Basically, our project is less because of our obsessive desire for the outcome (finding an agent, editor, glowing review, whatever really.)

I don't know for sure what the answer is to this (I'm completely guilty myself.) But I do think it must have something to with shifting. We have to shift those spinning thoughts away from that particular bridge. Maybe we need to take a stroll along the bank we are currently on. Enjoy the thoughts about the bridges we've already crossed (starting to write, finishing a chapter, finishing a book, finding an agent, you get the idea.) Being thankful for where we are and putting out energy into the aspects of our work that we can control...the quality.

If we stroll along that bank far enough, enjoying that moment, we may find another, troll free bridge, just over the next hill.  

So what do you think, any trolls blocking your bridges lately?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How are you torn?

We're home! And we had sooo much fun. I will eventually post some pics once I get them off my camera but right now I felt the need to pontificate on home important I think breaks are.


This one was so perfect because it absolutely transitioned me (and fast) from full blown analytical work mode to relaxed, feeling very creative and ready to write mode. Apparently lying around on beaches and next to pools for 8 days with hardly a care in the world besides picking the next restaurant does wonders for activating the right brain. Well, that and a steady diet of Mai Tais and coconut battered shrimp.

I'm so excited about working on the current wip and feel so lucky to have this unencumbered time for the next two months to work on it. When I sat down to write yesterday and today, it was like getting reacquainted with old friends. I love my characters so much, they almost feel like real people to me.

And speaking of breaks and day job work and such, have I mentioned that I will be switching to a part time work schedule for next year? Yup. Husband and I discussed it and we both felt that I really needed the time to try and focus as much energy as possible on writing. So that is pretty freaking amazing and I'm very, very excited to have the opportunity to shift even more time towards writing.

Although, admittedly, it is bitter sweet because it meant having to switch schools for next year (last years school needs a full time psych) so I had to pack my office and say goodbye to some extremely amazing teachers and wonderful kids that I love. So, yeah, that's hard. I will miss them.

That's how I'm torn. I love what I do and working with kids. But I love reading, writing and all things books as well. I think I would write full time if given the opportunity but I can't imagine giving up working with kids. Maybe in a different capacity? Hmmm.

How are you torn between your life and writing? What choices and/or sacrifices have you made or see yourself making in order to pursue what you love?     

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Off to Hawaii!

Okay, we are in the final countdown to vacation 2011. I'm taking my ipad with me but I'm not sure how much (if any) blogging I'll do. I'm going to be way to busy doing nothing after all.

Have a great week and I'll see you soon.