Monday, February 21, 2011

Day-10 Distraction Monster

The Distraction Monster...I fight him daily.  Not sure how many of you are like this, but keeping my attention to one thing can be a challenge most of the time.  When I'm writing something for the first time, like a new plot twist or something completely different, I can stay at it for a good chunk of time.  If I'm editing or going back over to look for mistakes, I get distracted...a lot.  So much so, that sometimes I completely avoid the task altogether.  If I'm going to be doing this for a living one of these days, I've got to get over that...
Twitter and Facebook keep me distracted.  In my defense, I have learned a TON of information by following authors and agents.   They are a great resource for writing information.  There are always links to really informative articles and blog posts that I have bookmarked and learned from, so sometimes I count scanning all the 'tweets' as writing research.  I need to learn about writing as much as I need to write.  Both will make me better...I just feel guilty when I hear Diana Gabaldon's voice saying she writes every day.
I need to write every day...even if it's just a little...but I haven't written in several days....thus...the guilt.
So, this is me...trying to get back on track
Battling the distraction monster that lurks on the web and jumps on me at any turn where my brain might be the least bit unchallenged...sometimes it jumps on me when I'm too challenged...I'm just looking for that safe place where there's a happy medium.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day-9 Plot Directions

I'm debating about a part of the plot that came to me a couple of months ago.  When I was reading through the chapter, for about the hundredth time, I had an idea come to me.  I just started writing it to see where it went...When I was done, I realized that by adding this really cool plot twist, I had completely changed the circumstances in what was coming up in the next part of the book or series I should say.  I already knew the story pretty well, but now I've added a dynamic that will change everything else.

I'm not afraid of rewrites...I do them and edit all the time.  Sometimes I rewrite a paragraph, sometimes I take out a whole page or pages or just rework a sentence.  The goal is to try and keep the story as concise and still be interesting enough to keep reading it as possible.  I hope in all this I'm becoming a better writer.  That's the goal anyway...
I've done this enough times now that I know to do whatever rewrite on a different page, that way if I go back later and think..."What was I thinking" I don't have to worry about losing what it was before.  I like to keep everything I've written just to go back sometimes and see what I was thinking.  Just because I didn't use it in the story I'm writing currently, doesn't mean I might not be able to use it later.  
But this one plot twist...I just can't decide.  It involves one of the characters well....she goes through a 'life-changing' experience.  Just not sure whether to keep it or chuck it.  I could go ahead and tell you what it is, but at some point if you read this and then my book actually does see the light of day and becomes published, I don't want to ruin it for you...
I just wish I could decide for sure what I want to do...hmm.....

When I decide what to do for sure....I'll let you know..

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 8-Driving Epiphanies

This whole 'writer' thing is new to me.  I haven't been doing it very long, so when dots connect in the story that I'm working on right now, it shocks me and sometimes makes me laugh out loud.
I had one of those 'driving epiphanies' I call them because they seem to always happen when I'm driving down the road.  Out of nowhere, dots that weren't in my vision before connect, questions that I had before are answered and everything makes a little more sense than it did before.  The whole creative process always surprises me, because I hardly ever have one of these epiphanies while I'm actually writing.
It usually happens when I'm either driving down the road or in the shower.  When it's just me and my mind is clear enough to see what's going on in the story.  I wish I could get all these epiphanies at one time so the whole story makes sense, but all I can hear is Diana Gabaldon's voice saying, "Where's the fun in that?"

When she began writing "Outlander", she told us how she had this character that was an American woman making all these wise cracks who suddenly appeared in the woods of a 16th century Scotland.  She didn't know how the character got there or who she was.  All she knew is the character, who turns out to be Claire, one of her main characters, wouldn't shut up.  Diana decided to stop trying to figure out what she was doing there and just write what Claire was saying.  Eventually, she figured it out.  So after hearing her tell that very humorous story, I decided that I'd do the same thing.  I'd let the characters tell me what was going on and I'd just write down what I heard instead of me trying to tell them.  It works much better for everybody if I write that way.
Turns out, some of my best writing is done while I'm driving.  :)
I had a huge revelation today as I was driving down the road.  A connection so out-of-the-blue, it made me laugh out loud on the interstate as I drove. 

Ever since I first started writing this story, I've had these two characters that have been bugging me.  They're both moms of two main characters.  So far, with all the other characters, I never have any trouble summoning a picture of what that character looks like.  These two moms were the exception.  When I would think of one or the other, the same description kept popping in my head with hardly any distinction in the two.  It was hard for me to distinguish what each of them looked like separately.  They both possessed similiar physical qualities, so that would confuse me.  For some reason, these two moms were always interchangeable in my brain as far as what they looked like.
Today, I figured out wish I could tell you all of it.
Maybe one day when this book gets published you'll be able to figure it out.  :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day-7-Furry Children

This is my first-born, Dagney.  She was our first 'furry child', we called her.  She was part of our family for 17 years.  We've been married for 20 this year and she was with us for the first 17.  She stayed with me all the time when we were at home.  She would sleep on top of the couch while we were gone during the day or at the corner of our bed.  There was always a white circle of fur, so she could never keep her favorite sleeping 'spots' hidden.  I always thought she was pretty smart for a cat.  She always came when I called her and when she was out of food or water, she always stood by her bowl and meowed to obnoxious levels in order to get my attention.
  If I was sick, she would always lay on me or lay beside me in the bed or on the couch.  I can remember waking up in the middle of the night sweating because she was curled up in the space I created when I slept on my side and then my husband was on the other side surrounding me in tropical temperatures.  The day we finally had to put her to sleep was one of the saddest days of our lives.  Both of us cried the whole day.  Greg buried her in the middle of the two dogwood trees we have in front of the house.

I thought about her today, because I stayed home from school.  I've been dragging with a virus since Thursday and needed to stay home a day and just rest.  A year after we lost Dagney, I finally gave in to everybody else in the family and consented to getting another cat.  I had been relentless in denying our household another furry child because it was so horrible when we lost her.  I decided that although losing her was one day at the end of her life, the rest of her life was really great and she spent it all with us.  This fact made me think we could love another kitty and keep it off the street and out of harm's way by giving it a happy and safe life with us.

The opportunity presented itself around late October, when Cassidy's aide at school, Mrs. Hunter, told Cassidy that her momma cat was going to have kittens.  They talked about the momma cat and her kittens every day for weeks.  Cassidy would come home talking about it.  As it got closer to the date, Cassidy asked if she could go see the babies when they were born.  Since it's really hard to say no to that type of request, I told her we would.  They were born on December 4th,  of 2009 and we went to see them a few weeks later after they'd opened their eyes.  There were three black and white, 'cute-as-a-button' kittens.  Of course, what kittens aren't?  After that, Cassidy wanted one.  Knew that was coming.  The kittens would go to the pound if they couldn't find homes for them, but since there were only three and extremely cute, they were hopeful.

So one of Greg's Christmas presents that he didn't get until the second Saturday in January, was Darcy.  This was taken a few weeks after Darcy came to live with us.  I know...cuteness meter...WAY up.  He's MUCH bigger now.  Probably weighs 20 pounds.
He likes to lay over my shoulders when I'm sitting on the couch working on the laptop.  He can't lay there long now because he's so heavy.  So back to today....

Darcy stayed with me in the bed all day today.  He slept by my feet and between me and the laptop for most of the day.   He sleeps on my pillow with me at night too.  I couldn't help but think about how much joy he's brought us just in the first year of his life.  We laugh at his energy.  He impresses us with his 'fetching' capabilities as well as his ability to open doors and drawers to get a hair tie out so he can play with it.  We laugh at his wanting to pounce on everything that may or may not move.  Sometimes, he plays a little rough.  He's still young and his claws and teeth are still pretty sharp, but for the most part, he's a great addition to the family.  I'm thankful every day that I gave this little guy a chance to be a part of our lives.  I love my boy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Everybody has stress they have to deal with in their lives.  Jobs, family, health issues, relationships....anybody that breathes has to deal with some kind of stress.  Even our kids at school are under stress to perform well on standardized tests.
We have a daughter with autism.  She'll be 12 at the end of this month.  She has been the biggest challenge of my life so far, but I get rewarded daily for all the crap that comes with it.
She's in middle school this year, doing fairly well so far.  Grades are pretty good.  Can't complain about A's and B's and now her science and social studies homework isn't being modified. That's a huge improvement from when she was first showing signs of the onset.  She went from saying two word phrases to gradually losing all her words.  She was almost two and we basically had to start all over again with her speech.
I won't go through her whole life's progress, but it has been steady progress, which is a miracle and a blessing.  Every time she comes and asks me something like a typical kid would do, I marvel at some of the wit she has hiding underneath all the routines and weird noises she wants to make sometimes.
As a mom, my main goal is to get her to a point where she can live by herself or at least be able to work a job and take care of herself.  I don't know if it will ever happen.  I know I won't be here forever and to think that she'll be out in the world without me being here to protect her is my biggest fear.  I know one day, I'll die, which doesn't scare me as bad as leaving her does. I worry about her not being able to take care of herself.  Being homeless, or doing something she doesn't realize is wrong and winding up in jail or in some sort of institution where the people are mean to her.  She has such a sweet spirit.  There's not a person that comes in contact with her that doesn't fall in love with her.
My wish and prayer is that she ends up knowing enough to get around in the world and to have a happy life, despite this thing called autism.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 5- Pictures

Why is it that I'm so fascinated with the sky?  What would possess a seemingly intelligent individual to walk outside in 30 degree weather on a Saturday morning, in her robe and take pictures of the sky?  I opened the door this morning just to see outside for a minute.  Sometimes I do that....not really sure why.
When I opened the door, this huge cloud line was floating right along in front of my house.  It was a mix of clouds and the Sun, which we've not seen in a while around here.  I instantly turned around, went back into the bedroom and grabbed my phone,which has an excellent camera on it.  I walked outside on my front porch, like an idiot.  No shoes, just my old pink and white plaid, fuzzy robe around me.  I even had to turn sideways so as not to flash any passersby in their vehicles as they passed our house.  I held out the phone to make it look like I was taking a picture of something at the end of the porch so I wouldn't have to see them looking at me like I was a complete fool.  Then, since it was around 7:30 in the morning, no other cars came and I could shoot some pictures without fear of being overly exposed.
For a mom in her 40's, that might not be a good thing for the drivers.  Wouldn't want to hurt anybody with the vision of my robe's plunging
Anyway, no drivers were injured and I got some really good shots.  My bare feet were freezing so I only took three pictures.  Yes, I do own house shoes.  Here are the fruits of my really fast labor.  :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 4-Stretched too thin

I know, I know....I hear it all the time.  I have to go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here...and then when I get home, I have to do this, this, this this, this this and this.  What is it with all of us American women thinking we have to do EVERYTHING all the time???
We watch programs and read magazine articles about how to get organized.  There's even the Flylady...bless her for all the work she's done to help women get organized.  I've fallen in and out of the Flylady's program...right now, I'm out of it.  When you walk into my house, you can tell it too...CHAOS!
I can't keep up....I admit it.  I'm so distracted with everything...I can't get anything done.  I'm working a full time job, trying to keep the house clean, do the laundry, help middle-school aged kid with autism with her homework and feed everybody something besides cereal every night for supper and write a novel all at the same time.  I want to be able to do it all well....but truthfully, if we all eat and make it through the week with everybody having clean underwear, I feel like I've done something. 
I was watching Oprah's trip to Australia and she was interviewing a family (she crashed their party) and asked them what they thought the main difference was between Aussies and Americans.  They all agreed that Americans live to work, and Aussies work to live.  They take longer vacations and their whole outlook is more relaxed than in America.  Jealous, much?  Yes, I am.
I'm not really sure when we got so out of whack and out of balance, but that's what it feels like.  I'm sure there's a list of statistics somewhere that shows when Americans started working so much more and resting so much less.  I feel like we need to take a step back as a country and slow down a little, but I don't see that happening.  It's just not in our nature for some unknown reason.  It's wishful to think one day I might put even a little of the 'Aussie philosophy'  to practice.  I'd like to think when I retire, that I'd be able to, but we stay so broke most of the time, I doubt I'll ever be able to retire.  I'll probably just switch professions and work, work, work until I'm dead.
I know there are other moms out there like me--stretched too thin and longing for a slower pace to their life.  Hopefully, we'll get to enjoy some sort of more peaceful existence before we reach Heaven....