On Inching Forward

Today I signed with the literary agent I’d been hoping to partner with. She warned me my manuscript would need work, that I’d have to be open-minded and teachable in continuing to shape it. I’m nervous about what I don’t know, but I told her I believe in my story–and I believe in hard work. So here’s to the next stage in the process.

I need this button.

My Own Cheerleader

I hope all of you had a restful holiday season. For Christians, it’s the time when we reflect on the lengths God was willing to go to in order to begin undoing the horror of this world. For others, it’s simply a time to hang with family and friends and eat a lot. In any case, it’s a time many of usĀ want to enjoy but are secretly glad when it’s over. Because routines.

I mentioned before that I made the foolish choice to work on novel edits all through the month of December because I’d promised an agent I’d send her a full manuscript after the first of the year. It was a stressful and hard thing to do, and sometimes I had to set the work aside in order to really be with the people I love (without that glazed look in my eye).

Stuff happened in December, too, that threatened to derail my editing–things that had nothing to do with Christmas. For one, my beloved Frodo hurt his eye pretty bad and we had to rush to the vet on Christmas Eve. He sustained permanent damage. I cried. My novel languished.

PSX_20160907_095857

But I finished the draft today. I saved the last chapter on the computer, swallowed the lump in my throat and tucked it away. I need to savor this moment because no one cares about it but me. Also, I need to celebrate this accomplishment because I could send it to the aforementioned agent and she might very well say, “That’s nice. Not for me.”

The joy could evaporate with a single email, and then I will have to regroup. When the sting wears away.

So I’m not rushing. I’m sitting with this quiet joy for as long as it lasts.

P.S. Happy New Year.

 

 

I Will Survive (NaNoEdMo)

I’m supposed to edit 33 chapters of my novel to send to an agent by the first of the year. Yes, during the holiday season. I told myself there’s never a good or bad time to work on edits. I hope I’m right.

man in santa claus costume
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

To cope with holiday merriment, work, teens, and crippling deadlines I’m sleeping–a lot. This is because, for me, the only alternative stress response is to sleep too little. And I’m too old to sleep too little.

I was going to try to NaNoEdMo myself during the month of December (which means butt in chair every day, no exceptions), but I soon realized I’ll only make it out alive if I take off one day per week.

No editing on Sundays.

Not gonna lie, it’s exhilarating to see the number of remaining chapters shrink. I need a good probiotic, of course, but it feels mostly good to be in my manuscript so relentlessly.

Still, other things have to give in order for me to make this deadline. Not family stuff, but some of my ideals. For instance, I bought all my Christmas gifts online from big box stores in a two-hour period on Cyber Monday, and it’s likely I’ve already forgotten what I purchased.

It wasn’t cozy. I didn’t feel like Christmas.

But, listen, we can do anything for a month, right?

**You should forget NaNoEdMo and try NaNoWriMo sometime**

 

 

From 40 Years Old, With Love

Two of my kids are enrolled in high school and college at the same time. This wasn’t a thing when I was in school, but it’s all the rage now. Since my oldest only has a driver’s permit, he can’t take his younger brother to their college campus without a licensed driver (read: mom) in the car.

So here I sit on a blue chair in a recently painted hallway, watching college students act bored before class. I feel one million years older than they are and, yet, I’m surprised when they ignore me and my laptop. Because, seriously, I’m as cool as they are, and maybe even cooler. I dress cute, and I dye my hair, so they can’t know how much gray I have.

chair feet floor jeans
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

But then I catch a glimpse of myself in the window and, yes, okay…

I’m working through edits of my novel, a chapter at a time, while I wait for my sons to get out of class. I may not be young (Are the 80’s back? because that’s what it looks like from this chair), but I know what to do with my time. I know how to be productive.

How many of these kids have no idea what they’re doing in school or life? Which, fine. They have time to figure it out.

But if this saggy face is the price I had to pay for finally figuring out what I want to do when I grow up, and how to do it, I’ll take it.

Yes, my nonchalant kiddies, I’ll take it.

And I hope the same happiness for you, someday.

The End of the Beginning (or the Beginning of the End)

Last night, I finished the first draft of my current novel. After I typed the last words, I hit save, closed my laptop, and stared at my closet doors.

From my writing perch, AKA my bed, I thought about all the hours I’d spent creating this story. It was six months of good/hard//exhausting.

And now it’s time to leave story world and become Ruthless Editor.

woman person knife kitchen
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

I wanted to do something to celebrate getting over this big hurdle, but I didn’t want to get out of my pajama pants, so I told my husband and kids to get ice cream and live it up without me.

How did I celebrate? By watching an Alfred Hitchcock Hour on YouTube by myself.

And now, to kill my darlings.