Thursday, July 25, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

The Late Edition. Again.

*"What's Up Wednesday" is run by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, and is an awesome weekly bloghop that gives readers and writers a great venue to keep in touch through the magical world of blogs. Come hop with us!*

I'm running a day behind again, I see. Again, apologies. I've actually been writing! 
So now it's time for some hoppin' fun. 

What I'm Reading 

Still working on Born to Run. This weekend is going to include a run to the bookstore, so I'm excited to hop around and see what everyone else has been reading. I need some good suggestions on what to pick up for next week! 

What I'm Writing 

Good news here! I spent too much time this summer waffling between two little manuscripts that are equally dear to my heart. But my lovely agent steered me in direction of one in particular. So, Ghost Story* it is! I'm going to spend the next few weeks of summer buckling down and finishing a solid, readable draft of this one. 

 *not the actual title. Just what it will be referred to henceforth, as I always find it amusing when a writer can't come up with a good title. Also, I'm sooo bad at titles.

What Inspires Me Right Now

I've been at this craft for a while now. Since first grade, if you want to get technical. But I've been writing with a major goal - publication - for over ten years now, and really focusing on my work since I moved to my little cottage and started submitting to agents almost four years ago. I've learned a lot from this process, about having courage, and conviction in your self, and your talents. Standing by your work with both pride and humility. It's a bit of a paradox to be a writer, and at the same time hold enough confidence in your work to put it out in the world, and also remain humble enough to recognize the weaknesses in your work, and always strive to improve. Lately, I've been trying to take those lessons learned from one area of my life and apply it to others. There are a few major changes I would like to see, and I had a moment of realizing that I will have to make them happen. They aren't just going to happen to me. And I'm in luck, because being on this journey as a writer has really prepared me to be brave and try new things in the regular world, too.

What Else I'm Up To 

Making things! 
I love designing and crafting. Loooove them. The more I challenge myself to create things, the more I develop as a writer. My artistic mind, however, always thinks I can find a use for things, and so I have acquired quite a pile of Potential Cool Stuff Supplies. Lately, I've been digging through my mountains of acquired nonsense, and actually Making Things. 
I made so many things, that I decided to revamp my old Etsy shop, and get that running again. 
It is both a heck of a lot of fun, and a great excuse to Keep Making Things. 
Here are some of the Things I've Made lately. 

Lemon and Orange

Moon Jelly 

Golden Pear

Seriously. Messing around with a sewing machine and a pile of fleece is super fun. I usually get bored with most things, besides writing, but sewing is another thing I've been doing since I was a little kid, and it just never gets old! 

How's your week going? Made any Big Decisions? Small ones? Spent any time doing something Just For Fun? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

On Making Things Happen

As writers (as most of you are) I think we're all familiar with the concept of "Making Things Happen."
We all understand this, I hope.
It doesn't really work like this -

1. Write manuscript. 
2.  ???? 
3.  Profit. 

There are a few more steps in there. Like revising, and submitting, and revising some more, and then more submitting and later probably more revising. And then Repeat. 
Step One is a big deal. You have to do Step One to get yourself in the race. 
But then, you also have to start running, instead of standing at the starting line, waiting for someone to hand you the trophy. (Or some other heavy handed metaphor for trying.) 

I thought I was pretty good at this concept. That I understood the idea of getting your work out there, and being ready for the ups and downs of pursuing art of any kind beyond being a personal hobby. 
This year, for instance, I just wanted to make some kind of progress on the writing front. To move in some way that I could consider "forward". 
And I did, to my delight and surprise. I snagged an agent! And that filled me with pride and satisfaction for about ten whole minutes, before it just became a reflection of all the other things I have just let kind of fall off the radar while I was on my writing bender. 
Writing and art are my two main goals, of course. The focus of my time here on this spinning bit of rock is to Make All the Things. 

So, I'm on my way with the writing. It might not be an easy road, or a straight road, but I'm on it, and I'm moving forward. 
But there are other things I'd like to change as well, other things going on in my day to day world that I would do differently, if I could. Only... I can! It's a weird thing, to realize that you can totally change things, and then realize that you haven't been doing it, but without any real reason. Or to realize that the Reason was really just an Excuse. 
Now that I have made some progress on the writing front, I've decided to challenge myself in other ways, too. Let's see how far I can go with this idea of Making Things Happen. Maybe not big grand things, but things that are important to me :) 

How about you? Anything you'd like to do differently?  Something as little as changing your daily routine, or as big as changing careers? 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

*"What's Up Wednesday" is run by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, and is an awesome weekly bloghop that gives readers and writers a great venue to keep in touch through the magical world of blogs. Come hop with us!*

Hi all!! So, I've missed a few of these. I know, look at my head hanging in shame. I've been a busy writer, which makes me a slacker when it comes to blogging. But that's what these Wednesday catch ups are all about! 

What I'm Reading 

Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. I'm a sucker for non-fiction. Since my last visit to What's Up Wednesday, I've also read Warm Bodies, World War Z, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. So maybe I need a little non fiction, eh? 
And what did I think? Read 'em all. 
My son just finished Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, and is halfway through City of Ember. 

What I'm Writing 

Way too many things. Halfway through the ghost story, I had a bit of a breakthrough. It's going to need a lot more work. So that one is simmering on the master plot whiteboard. Most recently, I've been tinkering with a MG magical realism story I began loooong ago, building a still rough early draft into a solid manuscript. I'm almost at the halfway point. 

What Inspires Me Right Now

Summer! It's halfway over, at least in school year terms. Tonight is my son's last baseball game of the season. I have to admit that I love fall and winter weather, much, much more than the hot awfulness of our current triple digit heat, but I also love having my little son home all the time, and the weeks are already running out. 

What Else I'm Up To 

Still running! Though I have to admit, not as much in this brutal heat. I ran in my second 5k at the end of June. It was my first timed race, and I made it in 31:55. 

Jen & Me. I'm lucky #15

She almost has me talked into thinking about considering maybe training for a triathlon next year. Maybe. We'll see. (there's swimming. Running? fine. Biking? no prob, bob. Swimming...? Eh....)
Mr. Cate, though, finished third in his age division, with a time of 23:05. And that's after a week of being brutally sick, poor guy. 
We're for sure doing the Electric Run at the end of summer. And probably a few in the fall, too. There's a trail run I'd like to try in October. Gotta keep active, and counteract all the hours sitting in front of the computer, after all! 

Now, off to hop around and visit some more Wednesdayers!