Now back to my regularly-scheduled blogging. I hope.

Geez, you walk away from your blog for upwards of two months and apparently someone thinks it’s okay to go in and completely change the updating format. Some nerve. I’ll try to adapt. 😉

So, yes, once again I find myself apologizing for a hiatus. I’m sorry. I really am. Maybe in a few years, when both of the kids are in school, I’ll be able to update more regularly. My hope is that the new schedule I’ve set for myself will lead to my wandering onto this site a little more often (I hope). More on that later.

Actually, more on that now. (See? I’m such a pantser I don’t even plan out my blog posts :P) . Part of the reason I’ve been away from the blog for so long is just how many projects I have on the go at the moment. I’m nearly done the long edits on the novel. I’m rewriting a chapter in that novel from another POV. I’ve started the sequel. I’m working on a query and a synopsis. I’m polishing up a short story for submissions. Plus I’m editing, not only my own work, but a novel for a friend and occasional projects for people in my writing group. And on top of all of that, I’ve been very strict with myself about working out, trying to keep the house in some semblance of order (hahaha) and, you know, not ignoring my kids. Up until a  couple of weeks ago, my method had been chip away at everything a little bit every day. A chapter on the novel. 10 pages of editing for my friend. A page of a short story. Etc. Etc. While I thought this meant that everything would get done at roughly the same time, what it actually meant was that I was forcing myself to switch creative gears rather often during my “writing time” segments during the day. And since those segments are only during Baby D’s nap and sometimes an hour or two in the evening, I barely let myself breathe between those switch-overs. And if there happened to be anything that I was less interested in working on – query letters, say – it was very easy to just work a little bit longer on everything else until the baby woke up. Oh darn, guess I’ll have to work on it tomorrow.

This all became very apparent to me while I was on vacation. I managed to escape the Canadian winter for two weeks this February and I had big plans of all of the writing and editing I was going to do while away. And you know what? I didn’t do much of it. A little bit, yes. But not anywhere near as much as I had “scheduled”. And, at a time when I was supposed to be relaxing, I found myself stressing out about everything I wasn’t doing, everything I had to do when I got home. Especially when my husband pointed out that it was probably really time to get started on that damn query letter.

And once I got home, things didn’t get better in that regard. I continued on my every-project-every-day schedule until I realized that all I was left with at the end of the day was a feeling that I’d accomplished pretty much nothing, nothing was completed and I was still completely stressed out. And that was worrisome. I actually have the opportunity to be pursuing my passion and, while I understand that everything is stressful some of the time, it wasn’t a good sign that the thing I most love to do was stressing me out all of the time.

And so I reset my plans. 6 projects, 6 days, one day off. On Monday I work on the novel edits. Tuesday, short stories. Wednesday, query and synopsis (read: housecleaning). Thursday, editing my friend’s MS and any other editing-for-others on my plate. Friday, since it is #writeclub on Twitter, I’ve slotted in chapter rewrite and sequel work. Saturday is social media and blogging, since I’ve also been remiss at actually following the blogs I follow. I’m also using Saturdays to catch up anything I’m feeling especially behind on. And Sunday is my day off. It might not always work out that way, but that is the standard schedule and I’m giving myself permission to mess with it as necessary. Just last week I had to switch two of the days because I was waiting for an edit to come in. And so far the new process is working well.

And how are those many many projects working out, you ask? Pretty well, I’d say. On the novel – and yes, there is a tentative title, but it’s still pretty tentative – I’m nearly done my “long edits”, then I have to comb through for consistency errors. I’m rewriting one chapter from a different POV (on the advice of a CP) to see which I like better. And yes, I actually have started the query letter writing process, as daunting as it seems.

Short story work is going well too, I think. It’s done, the first round of comments are back and it has been sent off to a few other people. Once I hear back from them, I’ll start polishing it up.

I guess the only other real writing-related “news” is that I’m taking my writing class again next semester! We managed to squeeze it into the budget and I am so excited to get back to it! The only drawback is that a lot of the ‘regulars’ aren’t taking it, but one of my closest friends is for the first time. And I’m definitely looking forward to meeting a bunch of new writers too. 🙂

So hey, I managed a blog post (and yes, Baby D is up. Sigh.) With any luck, I’ll have some time to comment on some others and then I’ll see you all again next Saturday. 😉

Oh, but before I go – proof of Reading Night. 🙂

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Keeping calm and carrying on (sort of)

Baby D seems to have quieted down for the moment. I’ve had all of two hours of sleep today thanks to my darling offspring (yes, both of them. Sigh) and seeing as Baby D screamed all through his lunch and then passed out, I’m not really buying this whole ‘I’m ready to get up after 30 minutes’ bit. We’ll see if I have to cut this off after 100 words…

Okay various updates…well draft three (three, dammit!) has now been sent off to readers, one of whom is already a third of the way through it and has already sent me two screamy emails. She sends me her thoughts and reactions raw and just knowing that I can elicit such visceral responses from a reader is a huge support to my often-flailing confidence (and yes, I do mean ‘flailing’. It gets itself all settled and then starts falling and tries to steady itself by flapping all of its limbs). Sometimes it succeeds but more often than not it falls and it helps when someone shoves another chair under it for me.

And yesterday I needed that. I participated in a twitter pitch event and got resounding silence in return. And I apparently forgot to put on that armour I forged at the conference last year because I did let it get to me. Fortunately I got the  first screamy email as I was taking a fast-paced walk with my music far too loud and that took the edge right off.

Sounds like Baby D is waking again (sigh), so I’ll wrap this up by saying that I’ve been continuing to work on the short which is now at 3700 words. I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about it, but I’m trying to keep in mind that I don’t have to do something with everything I wind up writing – the point is just to keep writing! Even if this turns out to be less than I’d hoped for, who cares? I’m not going to get good at shorts unless I practice them, right?

Okay, back into mommy-mode!

Wandering in

Aside

*Wanders onto blog*

*Looks around*

Hello?

*Hears crickets*

All right, all right, I guess it’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to update for weeks, (really!) but every time I get around to doing so, something stops me. For instance, Baby 2 has been taking a nice nap and now I can hear him starting to squish. So we’ll see how far this gets…

Writing update first. The editing is going well – better than I would have expected at this point. I’m on page 184 of 221 and most days I am managing my daily five page quota. This is just a first-pass edit – if there is a section that requires a rewrite or much more thought I’ve merely highlighted it to go back to later. That way, these sections can simmer in my brain and perhaps by the time I get back to them I’ll be able to whip them off no problem. My feedback has also continued to be quite positive. I had an intense critique of my opening chapter a few weeks ago – we spent over an hour on it and I wound up having to revise a major detail, but, even then, the overall reviews were very good. And the feedback on the rewrite of that chapter was even better. One of my readers sent me a fabulous screamy visceral response that I go back to and read every time I’m feeling discouraged. That kind of review is *exactly* what my confidence needs.

And my confidence does need a bit of boosting these days. I’ve received nothing but resounding silence from a contact that I’d hoped to get some advice from (to be fair, I may have used an inactive email address, so I’m going to send a follow-up to the other address this week). But there is also the lingering fear of reaching the final stage in a project. And by ‘final stage’ I do not mean that I’ll finish up the first-pass edit, or even the major rewrite sections and say that’s that. But I am reaching the end of the first-pass edit stage. Which means that, at least once the rewrites are done, if I want to do something further with this story I’m going to have to, well, do it. And that thought is vaguely terrifying. I think that part of my sudden lack of confidence in the whole thing is the fact that the great maw of attempting publication is yawning before me with its contingent of monsters including rejection letters, editors telling me to change major details, bad reviews, etc etc etc. But if I decide I’m no good at this, I can just walk away, right?

Except that I can’t. I did walk away once, for a time. Not because I didn’t believe I was any good but because I didn’t have a major project to work on and I had a toddler keeping me busy most of the time. So the writing fell away. And I was miserable for it. I’d been writing my entire life and that was the only significant break I took from it. Yes, the yawning maw is scary. But it’s what I’ve worked towards for my entire life. So, likely in the next two weeks I’m going to have to get out my rappelling gear and start slipping down into the unknown.

Okay, that was the writing update. Onto the baby update! Baby 2 is wonderful and HUGE. He’s just over two months now and he’s already 16 pounds! He’s also my little wonderbaby – almost never cries, was able to hold his head up on day 1, was able to roll over at 6 weeks, sleeps most nights, plays with his toy on level 2 (for sitting babies, which he doesn’t yet do but is far more interested in that level). He has a little baby cold right now, which has turned his squeaks (his trachea hasn’t completely closed yet) into snuffle squeaks which are insanely cute but also very heartbreakingly sad. I have a cold too, but that’s far less important.

And, continuing proud mama time, Kid 1 is reading! He brings home these little readers from school that he’s never seen before and he reads them to me! It blows my mind to see this world opening up before him. Seems unbelievable that a mere five years ago he was as tiny and helpless as his brother. Nothing makes time fly quite like having kids.

There! I made it through a post. At this rate, maybe I’ll be able to unload the 158 pictures that are sitting on my camera from the past two weeks, catch up on some of the blogs that I follow, or do some editing for one of my dearest friends who is also a brilliant writer.