Guilt

guiltI recently paid what I thought was a lot of money for a webinar on writing.  The GUILT of spending the money has officially set in now that it’s over.  How do I justify the expense of what’s really a hobby at this point?

First of all, writing is my least expensive hobby.   I spend FAR more money on my other hobbies (exercising and reading, among them).  I spend more money than any sane person ever should on books.  And what I pay for exercise videos and athletic clothing/shoes is flat out embarrassing.

Second of all, writing is an affordable hobby.  Imagine the millions of hobbies that I could be spending money on that aren’t nearly as beneficial (power eating, drinking beer, gambling…) and that are, in fact, far MORE expensive than writing (shopping, skiing, traveling…).

Finally, investing in webinars and buying reference books on writing is necessary for me.  I live in a very rural area where there are no writing groups.  I have young kids and a husband that travels for work so going to writing conferences is out of the question.  An online webinar is the best way for an author in my situation to connect with professionals and other authors for encouragement and advice.

Someday I hope to be published.  At that point there will be a LOT of martini’s and a sense of validation and satisfaction for having invested in myself and my dream.  Until then, I’ll swallow the guilt and Keep on Writing!

 

 

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Rest

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So I’m at the place in my novel where I’ve finished (whew) and I’ve put it down to let it simmer for a month before I lay ‘new’ eyes on it for revisions.  I can’t tell you how hard it’s been to STEP AWAY FROM THE BOOK, ma’am.

I’ve been gathering all of my revision materials (notes, articles, etc.) and working on my query letter in an attempt to keep my head in the story but still I’m full of anxiety.  I don’t even really know why.

I recently went on a 4-day weekend trip with my sisters to Vegas.  We worked out a few times but nothing like what I’d do at home.  On top of that, we did partake of the beverage more than I ever do.  And additionally, I left town with a blossoming cold and came back with a fully birthed sinus infection.  That created a perfect storm for my body to shut down and reject any notion of my former exercise routine.  Somehow over 4 days I’d deconditioned a depressing amount.  It took me at least a week and a half to resume my normal exercise schedule. (I know this sounds like a silly thing–4 days of easy workouts, poor me–but when you look forward to a certain level of exercise it’s actually very hard to accept anything else).

I think my anxiety about stepping away from my novel is a fear of deconditioning.  I’d developed a writing routine that allowed me to finish my fourth novel and stopping feels unnatural.  I’ve written a short story and a blog or two during this hiatus but somehow I still feel like I’m missing something every day.

I realize I’m a type A, OCD-kind-of-gal.  I don’t do well with change and I’m VERY organized and structured in my daily life.  When I change my routine it makes me anxious, period.

What’s my point?  As hard as taking a break has been I know that it’s necessary.  There’s a reason EVERYONE recommends that if you’re going to self-edit you MUST get out of the novel for a period of time.  It works.  Plain and simple.  Go back and read something you wrote over a year ago.  I promise you’ll see it as another person.  It may still be awesome (Go You!) but you’ll see something there that you didn’t see before.

As difficult as it was on my psyche to do a week of wimpy workouts so my body could build itself back up, I know it’s also good for me.  Muscles (and brains) need a break.

So, HERE’S TO TAKING A BREAK! Take some deep breaths and Enjoy! <cheers!>

Currently Reading:

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister (audio edition)

The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1) by D.J. MacHale

City of the Beasts (Eagle and Jaguar, #1) by Isabel Allende

The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #1) by Holly Black

Current Workout Video:

 Body Max by Cathe Friedrich- This is an old school (circa 1998…she’s wearing a headband, people!) hard ass workout!  It’s long, too–90 minutes, I think.  There’s a cardio portion (with a step) followed by a segment of short cardio bursts (on the step) paired with weighted lower body.  Finally she does upper body weights and then abs. I burn over 600 calories when I do this workout.  It’s very hard.  The choreography is not advanced but the intensity is.  Go for it!

 

 

 

 

 


Resolutions and Possibilities

New Year’s Resolutions suck.  Who on planet Earth remembers their resolutions past June?  Hell, I don’t look at them after January 2, but I thought I’d go ahead and use 6 months to make my point because of all the over-achievers who will claim to have their resolutions posted firmly at their desk as a Daily Reminder of their impending failures for 6 months or longer.  Why, people?  Who are you kidding?

Let’s review the New Year’s Resolutions for almost every living adult (in no particular order):  1)Lose Weight (see #2) 2)Exercise 3)Travel 4)Win Lottery 5)More time with family 6)Eat healthy.  You’re lying if you say that none of those were on your list. Now, if you’re a writer *throat clearing* then you’ve also got at least one resolution that has to do with revising, starting, completing, or working on a writing project.

While I do think making a list of resolutions every January 1st is setting yourself up for colossal failure (depending on how big you go, of course…lose one pound or 10? workout once all year or go to the gym twice a week?  win a million dollars or a scratch off?)  I also believe having goals is important.  The inherent problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that they’re the BIG ONES that are so often not realistic.  While daily, weekly, monthly (you get the idea) goals are generally more attainable and thus do their job, which is to give you that periodic pat on the back we’re all seeking for an awesome job completed, and what keeps our wheels spinning on towards the next goal.  Go You!

I suppose a list of smaller resolutions would be missing the point.  After all, they are called New YEAR’S Resolutions for a reason, as they’re meant to be worked on over the course of the year, not achieved overnight.  Maybe if we tweaked it a little bit it could still be fun to make the list (like it is for my 8-year-old, who put Clean My Room and Be Nice to My Brother, on her resolutions).  Maybe I should call my resolutions: Fun Possibilities for the New Year.  I mean, if you throw the word ‘Fun’ in there it changes everything, right?  Fun Taxes, Fun Science Fair Projects, Fun Ironing.  Trying on bathing suits fun. Fun is a magical word.

So, here’s my list of Fun Possibilities for the New Year: 1)Write another YA novel and/or find an agent and get a novel published 2)Be nice. (Even when things suck.)  3)Continue current exercise regimen but listen to my body when I need a day off (this is the actual hard part of this one) 4)Put more money in savings..enough said 5)Relax! (Haven’t since 1993…the year my first child was born) 6)Tell my family that I love them more 7)Give more hugs (if you knew me, you’d know that #6 & #7 are really hard) 8)Remember what’s important.  And gradually this list has taken an emotional turn so I’ll just stop there.

What about you?  Did you make any resolutions?

A new part of my posts for 2015 will be my Currently Reading and Current Favorite Workout Video blurbs.  Go Me!

Currently Reading:

House of Thunder by Dean Koontz (audio edition)

The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1) by D.J. MacHale

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Killing the Beasts by Chris Simms (Kindle)

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Current Workout Video:

Cathe Friedrich’s XTrain Series: Super Cuts…I’ve been doing the extreme pre-mix (60 min) and I always use the same weights as Cathe.  I’m pretty sore.  The ab/pushup challenge at the end is awesome.  I’ve pulled it off a few times now:-) *Go Me (my new catchphrase, apparently)!  I’m averaging about 400 cals each workout.

Go Exercise & Keep on Writing!


Bookstores & NanoWriMo

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For those of you on the novel journey with me (hi Mom!), when you walk through a bookstore what are your thoughts?  Holy shit, how can all of these people get published but not me? Someone actually published THIS?!  There are too many people writing novels, I’ll never get in the door.  Are there any stories left to write?  (wait…Yes, mine!)  I love books in an unhealthy way.  I can’t afford to buy all of these and still pay my mortgage….

You get the point, I get crazy excited inside a bookstore.  While my emotions are a mix of self-doubt, exhilaration, giddiness and a little bewilderment at times, I’m ultimately only encouraged and re-energized to keep writing.  I live in a small town now and these days when I venture into the ‘big city’ I always go by a bookstore.  (Maybe that’s part of the appeal, too.  The fact that I’m not able to soak up the awesomeness of a bookstore very often).  My timing for refueling (my creative muse)with last weekend’s bookstore visit was perfect because there are only 4 days until NaNoWriMo starts!

http://nanowrimo.org/dashboard

Will you be participating in NaNo this year?  I’ve participated for the last four years.  I usually start out gangbusters and make my goals right up until mid-November when Thanksgiving planning takes over my life.  I actually bought a coffee mug this year so maybe that will be the key to my success:-)  (I’m a sucker for a cool coffee mug)

To get you prepared, here’s an article posted today on Writer’s Digest about nanowrimo.

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-prepare-for-nanowrimo-to-outline-or-not-to-outline?et_mid=700133&rid=239670219

And one more thing that will appeal to you because of course if you write then you love to read.

While I’m a traditionalist when it comes to reading and having an actual book with pages to turn I do own a kindle.  I’ve discovered the bookbub website.  If you aren’t already using it then go check it out.  They have daily specials on books for your digital device.  The prices are deeply discounted and range from $0 to half (or more) off!  You just sign up to receive an email on the daily specials in the genre’s of your choice.  Very cool!

https://www.bookbub.com/home/

Happy Writing!


Time for a Workout

Have you seen the new Shaun T workout, Insanity Max 30?  Check it out on beachbody.com.

I love me some Shaun T but I won’t be buying this one…just yet.

If you’ve ever read my blog you know that I don’t go to a gym.  I’m an avid home exerciser and over the years I’ve compiled a vast library of workout videos (started back with the original Buns of Steel…oh yeah. That guy is awesome).  I almost cried when collagevideo.com closed!

I’m one of those people who happily discovered the compact workout craze.  My days are crazy busy and busier all the time but I. Have. To. Exercise.  I can’t function properly without a workout.  I was thrilled to discover the market flooded over the last few years with shorter, uber intense (and fun!)  workout choices that gave me the same sense of accomplishment.  I continued to workout daily mostly using videos that were 30-45 minutes long.  But about a year ago I realized I’d started to gain weight (insert blob music).

About 10 months ago I decided for the first time in my life I was going to actually diet.  I downloaded fitness pal, bought a heart rate monitor and changed up my workouts to at least an hour.  I broke up with Shaun T, Tony Horton and Chalean (I should have stock in beachbody) and started going steady with Cathe Friedrich.  Cathe is an intense mix of the other three but her workouts tend to be longer (although she does have shorter ones as well).

It took a while but I lost 15 lbs.  If you have a heart rate monitor you’ll quickly realize that no matter how intense you workout for 25 or 30 minutes, you can’t burn as many calories as you do in an hour.  Now, I’m not talking to people that went from NEVER excercising to doing a 30 minute workout and lost a ton of weight (duh, of course you did!  Bravo, btw).  I’ve worked out obsessively for a looooonnnnggg time (decades, people) and I realized that 30 minutes may not be long enough (for me).

So, my current workout routine is a minimum of 55 minutes (with an emphasis most days on cardio to get the calorie burn I’m looking for).  Because of my new norm I’d have to do more than one of Shaun T’s workouts at a time and I don’t know about you but once I hear the cool down/stretch music I find it very hard to talk myself into another workout.

I don’t doubt the pendulum will eventually swing back to some shorter workouts mixed in during the week (welcome back Shaun T) but I’m not there yet.

What about you?  Long or short workout sessions?

Find what works for you and DO IT!

Happy Exercising:-)


Fear of Falling

cliffWhat could be worse that falling on your ass in front of millions of people?  How about falling on your ass while naked and then landing on a jagged rock in front of millions of people?  Hello!  Thank you Naked and Afraid.  Aren’t the people on that show scared to death?  I realize that my fears (of rejection from agents, publishers, family members) as an unpublished author  seem small when compared to the millions of unfortunate things that can (and do) happen to people on that show.  Why, people? Why?

Humiliation sucks.  Rejections are humiliating.  And let’s face it.  Life is like high school sometimes, whether we admit it or not we all want to be liked and accepted.  Does that mean we’ll get what we want?  Of course not!  Not everyone will love you OR your novel.  And that’s OK!

Did your dad let you skip school for PMS more than 3 times a month?  Maybe.  But you still had to show up every now and then and you did (finally) graduate and it was worth all the shitty years you had to do it because you earned it!

Keep writing.  Your finished stories are something to be proud of.  After all, the things we have to work the hardest for are the things which we are ultimately most proud of ourselves for accomplishing.  Don’t let the fear of rejection/humiliation (falling) inhibit your dream.

You may fall on your ass and possibly hit a jagged rock but you won’t be naked with millions of people watching…wait, that didn’t come out right.  You know what I’m saying.  Rejection is part of the process.  It’s not the end of the world.  It could always be worse.  Blah blah blah.

My point:  don’t walk around naked near jagged surfaces in front of cameras.  Duh!  Don’t write in the nude and don’t let your fears keep you from your passions.

Happy Writing!


One Hundred Years of Confusion

pileofbooksI’ve been reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I feel kind of lame because I had to reference Spark Notes to follow the story.  I’ve also had to draw a family tree to keep track of the characters who tend to have the same names.  Double lame!

If you haven’t read this literary masterpiece I do recommend it. The author’s voice is probably like nothing you’ve read before.  The story follows a scattered timetable that is almost more challenging to follow than the repeated use of (variations of) the same names.  In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe Marquez had had an editor from today, the novel would have turned out very different.

This novel has it all–love, sex, incest, war, money, insanity, friendship, family, death (murder, suicide, one death by ants, and a few characters die of old-age in their 120’s).  Oh, and there are ghosts and magic, too.  Marquez threw in everything you could possibly want in a story including the kitchen sink.  Whew!

Go check it out.  It will remind you that sometimes ‘outside the box’ actually works. As emerging (YA) authors we’re so focused on making sure we follow all the rules–no prologue! at least 60K words but not more than 80K! first person POV, no wait, make that third person! no f-bombs–unless you really have to–that it’s easy to forget how to enjoy just writing the story.

(Try to) stay true to yourself (a la Marquez) and enjoy writing!  Add One Hundred Years of Solitude to your TBR pile and be inspired.

Happy Writing!