The Kitchen Sink Update

The Kitchen Sink Update

What a whirlwind summer!  Not only did my husband and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, but we also bought a new house and moved.  I’ve had very little time for anything OTHER than being sick (all of July) and moving (all of August), and now we are in a construction zone while we redo our floors.  But hey, I got promoted in June!  To Senior Software Engineer, which feels awesome.

The kittens — gosh they’re not kittens anymore! — have the run of the house again.  It’s been non-stop action while we do the things we can with the floors in the shape they’re in.  Our furniture is piled in the garage!  It’s hard living out of a box!  I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone!

Beyond moving (which is a huge ordeal in and of itself), I received more reviews for the book I’m working on.  A beta reader finished and gave me good feedback.  I think it impressed me the most that my lone beta reader had kept with it and gave me both positive and “needs work” observations.  Her review combined with the others have given me a lot to think about.  I’m three-quarters of the way through the updates.  I hope the finished product is good.

I struggle with fear.  Fear of not good enough.  Fear of how I’m spending my time.  Fear of the unknown.  It’s easier to give up than it is to try.  It’s easier to tell myself that I am not good enough than it is to persevere.  It’s easier to give into the darkness than embracing the cliff jump into uncertainty.  Though I struggle, I hope that I do not stop.

Of course, I need a better workspace before I can do much!  I need my furniture!  I feel like I’m in a shitty resort with no furniture but an awesome outdoor space.  I’ve picked up WoW again since abandoning it in June right before house hunting and moving consumed my SOUL.


Teeny, tiny workstation.  And WoW!

Oh, and my poor bird has become a bat-bird, hanging upside down at night.  We’ve had to move his cage twice because of the floors.  Our dog is too afraid to come in the house, and the cats only want inside the house and then freak out when they do get inside.  But my poor bird.  Hanging upside down.  Watching us.

There’s a story in there, I tell you.  But soon, soon it’ll be done.  I make myself believe it’ll be worth it (it will).I just have to survive to the end of the month.

I just have to survive to the end of the month.  Hopefully, I can start giving updates more often.  Life’s always an adventure in this household!

So for now, I leave a kitten picture because that’s all I am good for these days: never-ending pictures of the girls.

Water, mama!  Kittens need water!

A Snail’s Pace

A Snail’s Pace

What a crazy month!  And it’s almost over, somehow.  My birthday is zooming closer and closer, and that means the end of the month looms.  And then “my month” is over.  Which always saddens me, because I LOOOOVE my month.

In the midst of work busyness, we might be moving/buying a new house.  It’s really putting a crimp in finishing this book, and I end up folding in on myself in self-doubt.

Should I finish it?

Will I finish it?

I feel like I’m moving so slow, I might as well be standing still.  I know I have unrealistic expectations of myself, but that doesn’t mean I can turn off my brain.  And it’s not just in writing that I feel as if I am moving in slow motion.  It seems like everything wants to move slowly, though, in reality, I’m moving at the speed of light.

We found a house.  Now we have to sell our house, but first, we have to make our house pretty.  When am I going to have time to write?  To buy a house, we have to have our house sold, but we also need to make sure it all aligns financially.  Does it make sense to buy a house?  In all of this, I feel this tremendous pressure to be “finished”.  To be done.  Like I’m letting myself down if I do not hold to the timelines I’ve given myself.

So I spin and spin and watch time tick by while I calculate how much I have left.  I wanted to be “done” before my birthday.  Welp, there are three days before my birthday.  I’m not going to be done.

I’ve slacked off on my jewelry commissions too.  Everything seems to be falling behind and I feel like my entire world is spinning out of control.  I have my moments right now where I want to give up.  Just throw in the towel on this stupid book that I can barely find beta readers for.  The little voice tells me that I’m not good enough and will never amount to anything.  That the book must be terrible if people can’t find the time to read it.

And maybe it is.  Maybe I am nothing but a sham, but I won’t figure that out until I finish.  So, that hooker is mine.  That finish line might move, but I’m going to get there.  Even if I have to drag my parched carcass across it.

I.

Will.

Make.

It.

 

This week’s goals:

  • Take a breath.
  • Remind myself that the finish line is mine to set.
  • Drink coffee and carry on.  Maybe it will take forever, but I’ll hit the end.  Eventually.
  • Don’t lose sight of the finish.  I’m coming for you, Mr. Finish Line.
  • Stop putting self-worth in who/how many beta readers read the book.
  • Stay positive.  (This one is freakin’ hard.)
All Roads Lead Nowhere

All Roads Lead Nowhere

My roads are always under construction.  But not the good kind.  Not the kind that gets better each time you drive through them, no.  I feel like I’m the 30-year construction project that only ever seems to get worse, causing traffic backups and delays.  The kind where no workers ever seem to be present making the road better.

I know it’s in my head, this feeling.  I know that I’m making progress on my life’s goals.  This month has been amazing.  I’ve gotten a promotion (yay!), hit my 15-year marriage landmark, AND June is capped off with my birthday.  I love my birthday.  I don’t care about my age, but I celebrate the hell out of my birthday.

Still, I judge myself to impossible standards.  At the back of my mind is the little voice that tells me over and over again that I’m not done with my book.  That I’ll never be done.  That I’ll never get anyone interested.  And maybe I won’t, but maybe I will.  It is hard getting past the potholes of life that seem to make my road even worse than it was before.

Some of the enduring lessons this month are:

  • You can’t force life to do what you want, no matter how hard you try.  I have beat and beat and beat against the machine, but it keeps chugging along heedless of my tiny fists.
  • Time is a bitch.  You either have too much of it and no will to do anything or the will to do all the things but never enough time to do them.  I struggle with time.  I want more of it, but I also want the gumption to go ahead and work when I do have it.
  • Trust in my storytelling.  This one is probably the one that’s stuck out the most.  To trust in my storytelling and don’t lean on random regurgitation of exposition.
  • The book will get done.  Maybe not in my timeframe, but it will get done.
  • Enjoy life.  We only get one, right?

So I have it pretty good.  I’ll keep plugging away…

Maybe.

Or maybe I’ll go home, get my favorite snack (honey roasted peanuts with chocolate chips) and hide behind my computer and play World of Warcraft.  That little voice tells me that I’m not meant to be an author.  I should squash it.

Keep it frosty, world.  Go after your dreams.

 

Life Lessons

Summer is nearly upon me.  June is my month!  Not only does it hold my wedding anniversary (15 years this year!!) but it also has my birthday!  I love my birthday.  I’ve never been worried about the years building behind me because I’ve never bought into age being a number that determined who or what I was.  I am fitter now than I was in my 20s.  I enjoy each year that swings by, and I make sure everyone knows that it’s my birthday.

YEE-HAW!

This year, we were supposed to go to Europe, but we sucked and didn’t get our passports in time.  I only JUST learned yesterday that you could go downtown and have a passport renewal processed in a few DAYS instead of a few WEEKS.  We’re going to do something this fall instead!  Still, I took the week of my anniversary off, and I’ll probably use that time to rest, relax, and work on the necessary changes for my book.  My goal is to get it to a place that’s submittable by my BIRTHDAY.

I also took days off on my birthday because why not?  If I can help it, I NEVER work on my birthday.  It is MAGICAL to me!  I probably sound spoiled, and I am.  I’m spoiled.  My mommy spoiled me.  My husband spoils me.

Unfortunately, life isn’t just about the good times.  It’s a mixed bag, sometimes, but it is the good times that keep us going.  It is the bad times that give meaning to the good times.  June is magical, and it will continue to be magical, but in July we’ll have to face some hard truths.  And the worries will pour in again for things I don’t know if I can change.

Oh?  What?  Did people want a book update?  PSH!  It’s coming along.  As I get feedback, I’m assessing and working it into the manuscript.  I’ve received some good feedback, and some of that has required large scale changes.  I balked, because who wants to do that much work again?  Not me.  Certainly not me.

Then I looked myself in the eye and said, “Get your big girl panties on and just get it done.  You could go as-is and be mediocre, or you could make the changes and push it towards the upper limits.”

I still balked, because it was a lot of work.  I already did a lot of work.  I am lazy!  I am also a programmer, so this makes sense.  However, there was an Incident in college that nailed home the idea of doing what you say you’re going to do.

So here I was, a sophomore in college.  I was a good kid, a conscientious kid.  But I was a lazy kid.  My mom had helped me move into my dorm, and we’d set up my half of the room.  My friend was my roommate that year, and we were pretty excited to live together!  She moved in the night my mom had to go home.  That morning, I’d woke up, and she’d had to go to a function early, so her stuff was still in boxes.  It was early.  I stress this because I did not do mornings.

Hell no.

I wanted to sleep.  I wanted the lights to go off and blessed, sweet darkness to carry me back to sleep.

Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen.  My friend was a little bummed that my stuff was all set out and her stuff was still packed up in boxes around the room.  So her mother said she’d get her situated while my friend was at this event or function (I think it was for her music stuff, I can’t remember; the point is my friend wasn’t going to get to settle in until that afternoon).

I, being a good girl, of course, piped up with, “I’ll help too!”

And I intended to help, but only after I got more sleep.

It was early.

My friend left, and her mother started working. I  rolled over to go back to sleep, and her mother asked if I was going to help.  I can’t remember what I said, it was probably something about covers and lights and sleep and oh dear Lord, it was too early to move.

I can’t remember the woman’s words, but they were to the effect of, “Don’t say you’re going to do something unless you intend to do it.”

Man!  What a guilt trip!  What a life lesson!  Because I realized that I had said, “Oh yes, yes, yes, of course, I am going to do this good thing, but only after I put me first.”

Me, first.

Now, I’m still a little selfish and spoiled, but that event resonated in my soul because I realized that I was putting me first.  I ended up getting out of bed and helping my friend’s mom put away my friend’s things.  We set up her room so beautifully, and I was eager for my friend to come back and see it.  I got more out of that experience than if I’d slept, even though it was a lot of work.  Even though, I had to get my butt out of bed.

It not only felt good to help my friend (who was surprised and warmed by our efforts) but also to follow through on my word.  To achieve something I said I would do.

I’ve carried that forward through my entire life.  I throw myself into the things I say I will do, so while I balk at the work I need to do on this book… I will do it.

Because I said I was going to finish this and get this submittable by June.

Maybe I’ll hit that deadline, maybe I won’t, but I will persevere because I said I’d do it.

In the end, it’s not been as bad as I feared it would be.  I’m making really good progress and getting to refine as I go along.  I’m hoping for greatness.  I want to reach for the stars, not settle for the clouds.

I may not get there, but damn, I’m sure gonna try!

The First Summit

After two years in the making, I have finally written the final word on this Manuscript.  The Fucking End.  Only it’s not, right?  This is the first mountain, and it might feel like the largest peak to scale, but even that’s not true.  Now it’s time for the first readers to get the book and assess the book and tell you all the things you did right.  And all the things you did wrong.  Right and wrong are trigger words that give highs and lows depending on who likes the work you do.

I need to remember my core belief:  You can’t please 100 percent of the world 100 percent of the time.  There are always going to be people who don’t like what you’ve done.  Stories are personal and subjective.  However, I am fully prepared to learn from even the people who don’t like what I’ve made.  In every walk of life, I believe, we have the opportunity to learn and grow.  I expect to grow a lot in the coming weeks as I start thinking about where and how I want my story to find a place within the larger book world.

I need to start asking questions like:

  • Do I self-publish?
  • Do I find an agent?  Try to get into an agent-only publishing house?
  • Do I submit to an indie publisher?  
  • What are the pros and cons of all publishing options?

The part of me that’s terrified wants me to say the book isn’t ready, regardless what beta readers may say.  It’s the part of me that says, “No, no, you need to re-write it from the beginning again to make it even better!”  The other part of me recognizes the fear talking.  Maybe I do need to re-write the book once more, but if I do, then I need to make sure that it’s for the good of the story and not to hide behind my fear of rejection.

So here I sit, both delighted and exhausted to be ‘done.’  I know it’s not really ‘done,’ but for right now I can go no further without feedback.  It’s time to relax, have some coffee, play with my kittens, and make more jewelry for a bit.  I’ve earned a respite while I await feedback.

Write on.

On the Road; Well Traveled

On the Road; Well Traveled

Before Christmas, I was stuck in the curve of failure and the loop of confusion.  I couldn’t wrap my head around how I was going to tie everything together.  I had different ideas that only loosely connect.  Thank God for my alpha reader who has tirelessly read each and every version of this manuscript I’ve pumped out.  I can extrapolate what works and what doesn’t by her reactions, and she’s come to know and love the characters, helped name them when their names didn’t feel right.

So here I am, on the cusp of 100,000 words and I’m winding down to the ending.  I have a good idea of the direction the story is going to go, but I’ve been surprised before.  That’s the best part of immersing yourself into a different world: experiencing the surprising twists and turns of people who exist only on the pages of a story that you’ve written.

When I finish and get this story as polished as I can, I will get a hard copy printed for me as a celebration of my success of completion.  I’ve blown past the curves and loops of failure and confusion, made it through the red lights of enemies and rejoiced in the speedbumps of friendship.  Sometimes, it helps to know when to pull away and let the creative mind rest.

Home stretch!  This weekend is a working weekend; time to hunker down and fall back into the lives of characters I’ve created.