Saturday, October 30, 2010

Consistency: Good or Evil?

Consistency: it can be one's greatest victory, or greatest defeat.

 I have begun to be much more consistent this past week and it has been a wonderful victory. Even if I don't have a lot of time I've tried to exercise a little bit every day. Some days I've been able to exercise 40 min, sometimes 15 depending on what my son needs. And it's ok, because I've been consistent. I've also been more consistent at my writing. Somedays its 30 min, somedays 1 or 2 hours. I just have to be consistent.

However, there are those times that I am very good at being consistent at eating chocolate--very consistent. I have also been known to be very consistent at playing mario on the wii and watching netflix. I'm not sure I would consider this a victory. So how do we choose what constitutes a consistency victory or defeat?

Sometimes I come home from working all day with behaviorally challenged kids and collapse on the couch. I feel guilty and think that I'm so lazy, just lying around at home when I should be cooking and cleaning and baby proofing the house and doing laundry, etc. I view it as a defeat, but I just worked all day at a stressful job. The best thing I could probably do at that moment is take half an hour to watch a tv show and unwind before tackling the rest of my to-do list. If I took that half an hour each day to avoid getting burned out it would probably be a victory for me.

What are some of your consistency victories and defeats?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Escaping the Mind Trap

Well, this weekend has been refreshing and interesting. I haven't seen my husband and son since yesterday morning when I left for work. They've been visiting my in-laws and I've had the whole house to myself. Something very interesting has occurred. I have decided that when it's hard for me to write and I feel like I can't escape writer's block, it has nothing to do with me. It has to do with my environment.

Today I didn't need to worry about if my son had woken from his nap, if my husband needed the computer for school, or what chore I needed to do next. My mind was completely uninhibited. I woke up early thinking about where my story was going to go. I was showered at 6:45 am on a Saturday and excited to begin writing. For two hours I typed, rarely pausing, and the story just flowed. I felt completely uninhibited and it was wonderful. I still have another hour I can work before picking my parents up from the airport. I love my husband and son and can't wait for them to get home, but it was also a breath of fresh air.

Another unusual thing happened last night. Because I had spare time I was reading other's blogs and commenting on their brilliance. I was about to comment on one and recognized a name attached to one of the comments. After a little more research I discovered that a friend of mine is a fellow writer like myself. She lives in the same apartment complex, we lead our church choir together, etc. In all of our conversations, for some reason, writing never came up. This is unusual because I usually bring it up with everyone I know. How is this something that never came up? So many times I feel like the writing world is this huge scary place. There are thousands of people working hard to get that coveted agent and publisher. There are so many people, so many different ideas. And yet, on a blog of someone I have never met I came across someone I see every week. Suddenly the writing world seemed so small, and I was so excited to have someone to talk to about things that others just can't understand unless they've lived it themselves.

What do you think? Is the writing world as big as I imagine it? Or is it a small world after all? (It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small small world. Now try to get that song out of your head.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baby Steps

Have you ever seen "What About Bob" with Bill Murray? Hilarious. One thing that his psychotic psychiatrist told him was that he needs to take baby steps. "Baby steps oto the elevator. Baby steps into the elevator. I am in the elevator." As i've been watching my son trying to crawl, I've realized how important baby steps are. Sometimes he looks like he wants to jump right up and run. These are the times that he falls over, bonks his head, lands on his arm, etc. Then it's my job to coming running and comfort him.

Baby steps are so important in writing. It's so hard not to think that I should be running with a New York Times bestseller...right now! Writing is an art and takes time. Each time I make a mistake, fall, bonk my head, etc. it's something I learn from and come one step closer to crawling, and then standing, then walking, and maybe one day I will be jumping up and running with that bestseller. Maybe.

But for now, I feel like I'm still trying to learn to roll over. With patience and perseverence, just like my son, I will figure it out. One step at a time.

How do YOU keep yourself from running before crawling?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Early Mornings

Many times my only wish is the ability to sleep in. Having to be to work at 7 am doesn't offer that opportunity very often, not that Bobby would allow me to anyway. I am on vacation in Idaho and he decided that 5:30 was a good time to get up. I gave in and got up to feed him at 6:00. Needless to say, i was not completely thrilled to be up earlier than if I were getting up for work.
However, it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity. As he rolled around laughing and playing I decided to use the unexpected early hour to work on my manuscript. I was able to get a few more pages done and, surprisingly enough, my mind was clear and excited.
I get down on myself often for not working on my writing more. I decided this morning that it's not necessarily about the time I don't have, but taking advantage of the time I do have. I was able to take advantage of unexpected free time this morning and it felt wonderful. How do you make the most of what little free time I suspect most of you have? How do you make the most of your day?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brain Dead Anyone?

I have heard that there is no such thing as writer's block--that if you can't think of what to write you must not know your characters well enough. I offer another option. It is a universal phenomenon that I suspect most have succumbed to at one point in their life. You are simply and irrevocablly brain dead.
I lead a busy life. I work full time, am a full time mom, cook, clean, shop, get the oil changed in the car, etc. Sometimes when it gets to the time of the evening when I would ideally be able to work on my novel the only thing I am receiving from my brain material is pure static. I know that ideas are lying dormant somewhere in it, but the only thing I can think about is not having to think. This is usually when King of the Hill is turned on. Then I get annoyed with myself, feel guilty, and hear Elizabeth and Sabastian protesting that they are once again being neglected. Other times my family is more important and I need to spend quality time with them. Sometimes I can't believe how little progress I have made toward my writing goals.
"Be not afraid of moving slowly, be only afraid of standing still." I will continue to neglect my novel if it means spending time with my son and husband. I will not, however, ignore my writing completely. Even if it takes several months longer than expected, it will get done. But for now, my son is rolling around and asking for his mother's attention. And I'm never too brain dead for that.