Monday, January 24, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

My iPod. Read that: my fully charged, updated by my family (not me!), iPod.



Kids giggling, even (or especially) when they're planning mischief.


Iced tea.


Flip flops. (You knew that had to be there.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shut UP!

Today's task: read through the Harmony manuscript as it stands thus far -- NO editing allowed. The Internal Editor needs to take a break and just sit quietly in the background. The story is nowhere near finished -- characters still need defining (some of them are elusive and haven't told me much about themselves), scenes still need to be written, some characters have to die (oh, you know how I love conflict - gulp!). It's just not ready for editing. But I haven't written a word since the end of November and I can honestly say that I can't remember what's happened so far.

So I started reading in earnest as my muffins were baking this morning. And that obnoxious voice piped up at the first typo. I shushed her.

At lunch I choked on my salad as I read an amusing bit. One character tried to figure out a mystery and ran off, but in the next paragraph was standing still and tying his hair back. The Editor started to say something about how ridiculous... and I told her to shut it.

Internal criticism is unproductive. It is not the same thing as thinking critically about a mystery or a challenge. Internal criticism just tears at the fabric of confidence. It's so hard to tune out the nagging, but tune it out I must.

Hey, Internal Know-it-all Editor: Shut up, already! Just let me read and write this in peace. You'll get your turn in a few weeks.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Procrastination is a Fancy Word for Fear

I just printed out 97 pages of a manuscript I started in November. The NaNoWriMo is a fun project to tackle. If you like writing, give it a whirl sometime. On October 31st at about 9pm, I decided that the NaNo was my shiny object for the month. (Shiny object = distraction, for those who never have any problem focusing.) The insane goal is to write 1,667 words per day, every day, during November. I ended up around 41,000 words (not too shabby for a working, homeschooling mom), but haven't written a single word on the project since November 30th. Why?

I have one word: fear.

Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear that "there just isn't enough time for writing right now." Fear of conflict (in my everyday life, I despise conflict), which you simply must have for a good story. Fear that I'll just be interrupted. (Oh, that's not really a fear. It's a statement of fact. I can't even speak a full sentence without at least three interruptions.) So... I just put it off. There will be more time to write on Saturday. I'll get a couple hours in after the littles get put to bed. I'll get up early (go ahead... just laugh). There's always something in the way of writing.

No matter what excuse I throw out, though, the root of the problem is one I've long dealt with and have yet to master: I procrastinate because, while I have great intentions, I am afraid that everyone will find out that I am a complete flake and a fraud.

The carefree summer girl who has cute nail polish and snazzy flipflops is not afraid! Remember her? I've written about her before. Ms. Sharkbait, on the other hand, is afraid of all kinds of things. I'm all about the summer girl now. Time to tie the fear to the surfboard and send it out to sea. Time to get busy doing things instead of worrying about them.

All 97 pages are sitting right here next to me. Time to read them, let the story start percolating in my mind again. Time to let those characters finish telling me who they are so I can tell their story the right way. I procrastinated yesterday and said, "tomorrow...." Today is yesterday's tomorrow.

What are YOU going to do?

Friday, January 21, 2011

How Do They Know This Stuff?

Today my four year old informed her six year old brother:

There is no "i" in the word "team."

Now this is perfectly true, both in terms of spelling and sentiment, but I am at a loss as to just how she knows this. She can't spell. In fact, I don't think she could identify the letter "i" with any reliability whatsoever.

Whoever says the kids aren't learning something while staring at the electronic babysitter has apparently not made said device a part of their household "team."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Tough to Get Back Into the Swing of Things

What's a girl to do when the tsunami known as Life swells up underneath her? Grab a surfboard and ride it out, baby! Of course, about the time that the swell towers above the beachfront buildings, threatening everything in its path, this girl realizes something of rather significant import: she doesn't know how to surf. She also realizes that she's afraid of sharks and begins to question the sanity of being out on the ocean in the first place. And then, she wakes up.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has these moments.

I noticed something about my tsunami-like life and the shoes I wear in it -- I've reverted to wearing tennis shoes 99% of the time. The other 1% appears to be spent in socks. It's been a little chilly here, for starters. Also, while Wonder Boy has grown and matured, he hasn't outgrown his uncanny ability to step on me. I like having 10 toes and I like them unbroken -- Things One and Two both have broken toes over the past couple years and I don't want to join the Been There, Done That ranks. So for now, tennies rule.

The tennies also indicate a psychological shift from carefree-summer-mom/girl to must-be-responsible-and-save-the-world-mom/girl. Let me just say that the former is kind of fun to be around and the latter is... well... not. The summer girl wears flip-flops and remembers to wear fun nail polish on her toes -- she rides that tsunami like a pro. That other one? Oh, not only is she not fun to be around, she's shark bait. Personally I'm ready to hogtie her to the surfboard, break a bottle of bubbly over the bow and send her off to sea without a life vest.

Time to find that summer girl.