March Update

For March…

*drum roll*

I MET MY WRITING GOAL, which was to write at least 12 days out of this month.

The total stats are–
Days with writing in them: 13
Total number of Words: 7,762
Total amount of Time: 9 hours and 58 minutes.
Year to date word total: 17,921

Closer. CLoser. CLOser. CLOSer. CLOSEr. CLOSER!

Yep, Writing Peeps! This book is getting DONE! Whaaaaaat!

The “Write” Mind

I didn’t believe it.

I read a thousand articles and blogs by all these experienced writers saying that writing doesn’t have to be done in a certain place, at a certain time. I was skeptical because I had worked up an ideal writing situation. One that would involve me, sitting at a proper desk with a view of a willow tree blowing in the breeze, sipping a cup of fancy tea with a hand-woven afghan covering my shoulders, admiring the lines of sunshine crossing over my research and biscotti crumbs, my glasses resting on the peak of my nose while I tuck flyaway wisps of hair behind my ears from my handsomely messy chignon.

Those authors with published novels and book events, they didn’t know how I needed to write. I was so snotty, embarrassingly so, especially for not even owning a hand-woven afghan.

Here’s the thing about the dream scenario v. real-life writing. In the dream, did you notice ANY writing happening? No? Me, neither.

I’m a romantic at heart, and it is totally like me to romanticize the job. As a disclaimer, I’m not knocking dreams. Believe me. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t want to be a Writer. But I’ve learned a lesson as I’ve set writing goals and forced words out while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or ravaging fifteen minutes of my lunch break. The lesson: Novels don’t magically appear from your mind into querying form just because you position yourself exactly as you are in your dream.

Do you feel like you just learned the Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist? Me, too.

I don’t know why I couldn’t have learned this lesson from the above-mentioned thousands of articles that have basically said the exact. Same. Thing. Other than the fact that I have always been hard-headed. As it is, I’m learning it now. Maybe you’re not as stubborn as me and I can save you some pain from disillusionment. I’m writing this for those pliable minds.

The truth?

Maybe, in the future, there will be some days that look like “the dream”, which is why I am planting a willow tree this fall, but for the most part, life gets messy and unpredictable, and writing can happen EVERYWHERE.

It’s freeing. Suddenly, I’m not tied to a squeaky desk chair.

Don’t believe me?

I’ll give you an example. A computer breakdown thwarts my one hour grocery store trip, and there is only one cashier who can’t move to another register. (I live in a small town.) When I lived in the dream, I would be angry at the world for wasting my time and come home flustered, splatting negativity all over Husband until he was in a bad mood, too. Now, I have my book loosely plotted by scenes and I work one scene at a time, so if I get stuck in this type of situation, I pull out my phone app or the notebook-pen combo and just…start writing. It takes a few moments to think of what I’d last written, but that’s all. It helps, too, that I’m a more consistent writer, so I don’t have to struggle to remember what I was working on or how the scene is supposed to “feel”. When the computer magically starts working again and check-out resumes, I’m not mad. I can genuinely smile at the nervous employee, who expects to be yelled at by those in line, and return home with groceries and a happy heart because I’ve got more words to add to my draft.

See? All because I let go of the dream and got into my “write” mind. Bahaha! Cheesy, I know.

To further the cheese, here are clichés I begrudgingly use in this post because they are true:

1. Practice makes perfect- The more I switch mindsets from Mea-the-Mommy/Wife/Daughter/Full-TimeEmployee to Mea-the-Writer the less time it takes and the easier it gets.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff- In a perfect world, every word I write expresses exactly what I want, preciously detailed, and elicits the feelings I want the reader to feel with no revision necessary. This beautiful, broken world, my Friends. If I get ten minutes, I can’t worry if that was the exact word I needed or if MC wore a green or purple cat sweater in the last scene. I write my best and give myself something to revise later. You can’t edit Nothing.

3. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.- I’m still learning the best way to keep my wits about me, to let go of the romantic image of Mea-the-Writer, and to revel in the slow but steady pace in which I’m able to carve out writing time. Early in this revelation, there were lots and LOTS of times when all I could do was stare at the paper/phone app, reread the same sentence over and over, and declare myself too verklempt to produce anything new. I had to figure out how to Get Over Myself and write what popped into my head. Though the words were not always usable then, I can now keep a significant number of words from the original impromptu writing jaunt. I’m so thankful that something (and sometimes someone *Shout out to CP!*) pushed me forward when I needed it.

I see this transformation, and I’m amazed at how this whole writing adventure bleeds into other aspects of my life–organization, attitude, relationships…

Just finding something you love and going after it full-force…

I have never been so driven. I have never been so happy.

I can’t wait to see what will happen next. I’m my own experiment!

February Update

I’ve told you guys how much I like my planner, but did I tell you that I’m setting monthly check-points to see if that helps get things done? I didn’t?! Well, I didn’t know if it would work yet, since I had on January for a base and February to experiment with, but I’m loving the preliminary results!
I don’t know how many words I truly wrote in January because I started documenting that on the 21st.
But from the 21st-31st, there are 1,577 new words to LibertyBook (formally known as FirstBook).
For February, there are 6,887 new words, and 11 days that had writing within them, even if it was for 5 minutes.
I’m surprised, you see, how motivating documentation can be, and excitement tickles the base of my spine until I can’t sit still.
Let’s celebrate together on accomplishments, my Writing Pals! Accomplishments come in all sizes. Maybe you finally figured out how MC got from Point C to Point D, or you outlined a new scene, or you wrote your novel in a day, or whatever. (I might claim you are the devil if you wrote a novel in a day. No hard feelings. Just an observation.) Accomplishment is accomplishment, people, no matter the packaging. And that’s what I love about all this! That’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?

So here’s some Pi…
Pi
…for getting through another month,fighting for your dream. Here’s to getting closer to your Goal! Here’s to feeling damn good about yourself for persevering through all the things you HAVE to do to get to the few minutes you get to do something you LOVE! Hip, hip, ha-friggin-ray!!

To Planner or Not to Planner?

I have a PLANNER, and I am USING it! Yes, dear friends, I have vowed to be more organized this year, and with all the irons in my metaphorical fire (mom, wife, job, writing, other family, maid, etc.), this has made all the difference. Something else, too… I’m not just putting Things To Do on this list, but also unplanned things I’ve accomplished. So, for example, if I spontaneously make a pair of earrings, I make a note of it.
Oh! And something else… I’m keeping track of my writing time in this amazing contraption! (AND my bank account!) So, when I feel like I’m a stagnating pool of Good for Nothing only capable of harboring mosquito eggs (I kind of grossed myself out a little with that one.), I look back at my planner and realize that I, somehow, carved 50 minutes out of last week last to write 481 words. That is 481 words closer to the end of my first draft, which should fill me with joy. But if that doesn’t help the BLARG feeling, I look at the days I marked Mommy/Son time and remember his sweet hugs and the way he looks into my eyes when he laughs.
Husband has sung the praises of his planner for two years-ish now, and I have finally, FINALLY, acknowledged his song. (I’m stubborn, and I’m working on it.) Now we are a duet, and I am here to tell you I get more done with a planner in my hand than I did without it.
I have a Two Page a Day planner so I can have my work list on the right, my personal list on the left, my bank stuff on the bottom left, and personal appointments or important notes on the top left.
planner 2
Also, it’s pretty, and studies show I am 50% more likely to incorporate pretty things into my life. (The other 50% is reserved for broken things because I love them.) (Wait…I don’t think that math makes sense…)
planner 1
So, if you are on the fence, Planner or Not to Planner, tip the scale to Planner, try it for a month, and if you don’t like it, you’re doing it wrong. Ha!
Later!

Feeling All Kinds of YAY!

On September 19, 2013, I sent off the first draft of FirstNovel Part I to CP. I am feeling all kinds of YAY right now. I was a week behind the deadline I set, but in the grand scheme of things, that didn’t really matter. Why? Because it was my deadline with no other motivations propping it up and because, well, I didn’t pummel myself for missing the deadline and give up. I trekked on and finished it. Which is something new for me. I’m liking this perseverance characteristic I’ve acquired. I’m liking that it’s there because I’ve placed more value on Me. (Yes, I used a capital M. I’m that awesome.)
Part II outlining is already commencing, and I look forward to working my ass off. Who says that? People who love what they do, that’s who. And, currently, that’s me!!!!

It’s Banned Books Week, and in honor of banned books everywhere, here is a video for your enjoyment.

I hope you are getting closer to your writing/life goals! Feel free to share! I love celebrating, and I can e-celebrate with You! (Yes, I used a capital Y. You’re that awesome!)

Aanndd…I’m off!

Blue’s First Beach Trip

Husband, Husband’s mother (GiGi), Blue and I went to the beach.  It was Blue’s first time and the results are as follows:

  • Blue loved, I mean LOVED, the sand. It fascinated him.  All things he discovered in it fascinated him, like grass, old bottle tops, and cigarette butts.  Public service announcement: If you smoke on the beach, please, for the love of God, trash your butts somewhere other than NATURE where others will be.
  • He tolerated the ocean.  He didn’t like water crashing into his face for some reason.  He did, however, like the calmer water where he could splash at it at his leisure, which by the way, is adorable.
  • Pools are the way to go with little Blue, especially if they have a “beach style entrance” and fountainy things in the super shallow part.
  • It is very, very hard to keep a napping schedule on vacation.
  • To my and Husband’s surprise, it is very hard to find a covered floating device for small children in large, beach souvenir shops. (Husband finally found one at Target…Wierd, right?!)
  • I love the privacy and cooking situation in condos.
  • I love the Publix grocery store.
  • Don’t forget to bring/buy salt and pepper and cooking spray when getting food for the length of your stay.
  • While succeeding in making small spaces look larger, mirrored walls also make me self-conscious and prevent me from living in my state of self-image denial.
  • I love beach sunsets.
  • I love beach breezes.
  • I love the smell of saltwater in the air.
  • I loved pulling out a shirt to wear this morning and it still smelled like a beach breeze.
  • I love the feel of the sun on my shoulders.
  • I use the word “love” a lot.
  • I look hot in sunhats.  Also, the sunhat was a good idea because when Blue wouldn’t wear his sunhat, I could remove mine a create a semblance of shade.
  • One-legged seagulls warm the cockles of my heart.
  • If you wear glasses, invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses. They saved my bacon! (You can get cheap ones from Zenni Optical’s website.  Like $20ish)
  • Fresh seafood is so much better than any other seafood on the planet.  So. Much. Better.

Wow, there are more bullets than I thought there would be.  I guess I had more things to say than I thought. It was such a good time, and I’m so thankful for Husband and GiGi being so awesome and helpful with Blue.  Great company! Great trip!

I’ll end with a photo display of our trip.

Laters!

~Mea

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