Done…Again

The first time I ever set a manuscript aside and said those magic words was probably close to two years ago.  Now if you’ve been following along, what was before I considered myself a writer.  That was back when I did this for “fun”.

I distinctly remember the moment, however.  I suspect I will always remember it, being that it was the first.  I was sitting on the floor of my living room, white pages of type scattered around the low coffee table my Dad made me and marking up the pages with a blue pen.  My husband was sitting on the couch watching something on TV, or perhaps mindlessly channel surfing (I don’t remember that part).  I reached the last line.  I read it again.  I liked it.  I looked up at my husband, equal parts surprised and proud, and said, “I think it’s done.”

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There were no fireworks, but it felt like a fireworks kind of moment.

Absolutely nothing happened with that manuscript after that.  Oh I put all the edits I found into the computer, I saved the file.  But I didn’t give it another thought, unless “it’s not even remotely worth anyone’s time” is a thought.  Until a few months ago.

A few months ago, after finishing my WIP I opened up that file again.  I think it was more out of curiosity than anything else.  Sitting there in the computer chair, I started reading it again.

“Hm, this isn’t bad.  I bet I could just change…”

I was hooked.  I printed it (again) and brought out that pen.  This time, armed with my new knowledge of the writing process and tips from some great writers, I made a lot more changes.  I moved whole chapters, I removed lots of words.

Today I reread it again.  Guess what, it’s good.  It’s not what I had been writing recently (read: it’s not young adult) but it’s good.

It’s done…again.

Only this time it doesn’t have to sit in a figurative drawer (literal google drive).  This time it’s hitting agents near you.

2016 might just be the year.

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Goodbye 2015

Ah, the New Year.  Fresh page, waiting for the type of life to mark it up and make new memories.

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2016, ready for command.

 

But before we get into all that, it’s nice to take a look back over the year that is closing and honor it for what it has taught us.

My family started the year with a non-move.  See, we had a plan to move.  We even started that plan in motion.  In fact, the plan was one step shy of being too far along to possibly stop it.  Then, we stopped it.  We stayed here.  It turned out to be the hardest and yet the best decision we have made yet, my husband and I.  I’m glad we did it.

Before that happened I would’ve told you I wanted to move more than I wanted anything.  I was always looking at other cities, daydreaming about which one I’d live in.  Vacations were not only fun, they were shopping for my new possible hometown.  Now?  Now I’ve realized something rather important.  Something it has taken me 30-something years to realize.  To quote a character in a book I’m writing (so therefore myself, in a weird way only authors understand), “If you can’t find happiness right where you are, you’ll never really find it at all.”

On the heels of that realization, 2015 brought me truth.  I’m a teacher (not a bad one, either) and I’ve always kind of identified myself by that career choice.  Something snapped in me this year and made me realize that teacher is a job not who I am.  It was even harder when I realized it may not even be the job I want for the rest of my life.  There is going to come a point when I have nothing left to give to this job and that scares me.

2015 also brought me the next step.  Thank goodness too, because on the heels of learning I didn’t really need to move and I wasn’t going to teach forever I was feeling pretty down.  If I’m not the teacher who dreams of moving…what the heck am I?  The answer smacked me in the face one morning, waking me up from a dead sleep.  Once the answer was there, I couldn’t believe I’d never allowed myself to think it before.

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The rest of 2015 brought me proof of that.  I took a class with an amazing author.  From him I learned something invaluable, writers are real people.  He is a normal guy, with challenges and talents.  If he can, why can’t I?

I enrolled in an online masterclass on writing, which opened me up to a whole network of writers to support me.  I finished a book.  I finished a second book.  People read my book and liked it.  I finished another book.  I started this blog (hello, world) and I opened a twitter account (yikes!).

As we close out 2015, I’m still teaching (I’m not out of stuff to give yet) but I’m also writing.

I’m finding balance.

I’m finding happiness…right where I am.

Holidays are for…

  1. Hot Cocoa-I make it through 11 months of the year without drinking the chocolaty sweet stuff.  I drink coffee, tea, or apple cider when I want a hot drink.  Something about this time of year makes me crave the chocolate.  Honestly, the blame probably falls squarely on the shoulders of #2.
  2. The Santa Clause-There is absolutely no other movie in existence that has the power to instantly put me in the Christmas spirit like this movie.  Tim Allen is HILARIOUS and my family adores this movie.  Something for everyone, that’s for sure.
  3. Giving-From Christmas Angel to buying gifts for my family, we do it all this time of year.  My husband and I LOVE giving to others, and always have.  It’s a trait that I’m happy we passed onto our children, who light up in a way that is only rivaled by the holiday lights whenever they get to watch someone open a package they lovingly bought.  It’s amazing.
  4. Food-It’s not necessarily that I eat more of it, it’s just that what I do eat is so much better!  Brown sugar baked ham, cinnamon rolls, bacon wrapped peppers, cookies, cheesecake…okay, maybe I do eat more of it.  Still, it’s so good.
  5. Kids-I have ALWAYS loved Christmas and heralded it as one of my personal favorite holidays.  But that feeling easily triples when you have kiddos of your own.  Watching the magic of Christmas and the joy on their little faces…it’s what this is all about.

Happy Holidays, all!  No matter what you celebrate, I hope you enjoy a little time with your family this season.

Don’t forget to comment below with your favorite part of the Holidays that I may have forgotten!

Warning: Mushiness Ahead

Wow, two posts in one day…what’s that all about?  It’s about LOVE…for you people!

I was browsing through some stats on my little blog here tonight.  Just sitting here after a rather crappy day reading other people’s blogs for inspiration and looking at my own statistics.  Yeah, it’s weird, whatever.

Anyway, to my point-you people rock!  You may not be commenting (which always makes me wonder if you’re really reading) but you sure are sharing!  At last check the post from this morning already had 5 shares on Facebook (yeah it’s a small number but it means 4 people who aren’t me felt strongly enough about something I wrote to put it out there in the world…which, if you think about it, is pretty insane).

By far your favorite continues to be the post about my son and his Juvenile Migraines which has been shared a whopping 80 times on Facebook (definitely not all me and most assuredly not all my family, there really aren’t that many of us).

Add to that the fact that 24 people whom I have never met follow my blog progress (alright, for some of you that is a laughably small number but I haven’t been blogging long) and I’m feeling very grateful.

So, in short (oops maybe too late for that) THANK YOU!

You took an otherwise pretty downer of a day and became my little ray of sunshine.  You are showing your appreciation for what I’m doing here and there just aren’t words to explain how amazing that feels.

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Why It’s OK To Fail at NaNo

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This is not how Cat saw this month going
  1. Quantity not Quality is their Goal: Maybe it’s not your goal.  Maybe you couldn’t handle not editing.  Maybe you couldn’t handle not doing the research to make sure everything was on point.  Maybe you just couldn’t put TBD in the middle of an important sentence and keep going.
  2. Not all Books are 50000 Words: Maybe yours is more of a short story.  Maybe it’s going to be a longer one, once your research is done.

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    Amen, sister.
  3. It’s a Crazy Pace for Anyone: Seriously.  Perhaps Steven King, when seized by a great idea, could write at that pace.  But I know full time authors who write well for a living who “failed” at NaNo word counts.  Did you write everyday?  Most days?  Make progress toward a book you’d like to finish?  Then failure is not really the right word for the relationship you and NaNo had.
  4. Idea Block is a Real Thing: It’s entirely possible that your NaNo story didn’t finish because that idea stalled out.  If you’re anything like me (you poor thing) you actually started blocking out two new outlines in the middle of your NaNo writing time.  That idea may have gone a little stale right now, but something else came to life.  That’s okay, I think.15182320749_9aeda84c04
  5. NaNo Isn’t Everything: Yup, you heard me.  It is possible to write for yourself every single day even without it being November.  Welcome to December 1.  I hereby give you permission to continue writing that wonderful novel (or any novel).  Feel free to send me updates on word count, process, or quality anytime.  There is no magic date when your book needs to be finished-just finish it.
  6. You’re in Good Company: I may have finished writing four full length books in the year since I decided to dedicate precious time every single day to writing, but I did NOT finish my NaNoWriMo work for this year.  That’s right…I’m a failure too (damn that sentence was hard to type).

 

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