Thursday, September 30, 2010

Popping the Bubble

Today I'm bursting the small bubble that I've been living in for the past couple of weeks.  We've had an awesome visit with family, and were so sad to see them off to Hawaii.  I wish they could have stayed longer!  I had a ton of fun within the bubble, but now it's time to get back to writing and life on a larger scale.  But those bubble moments are priceless.  When there is nothing in life worth paying attention to except what is right in front of me at the time.  

And, I admit, getting "back into things" (things=writing, and blogs and online stuff) is daunting.  So, as I told a good friend, I'm just going to pretend that I was never away.  I'm starting up my Friday Features again next week, so be sure to stop by and check in during the interviews.  I'm trying to finish revisions before NaNo, and brainstorm enough to start a new project then.  What are you working on this week? 


As you can clearly see, I am not literally inside the bubble.  But Cowgirl and her cousin are. I am the one with the camera in the mirror in the background. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Meeting: Robert IRL

Recently, I have been trying to get back into the swing of things, after a couple of busy summer non-writing months.  I have taken my writing partner's advice.  Instead of fighting my muse, I am "following my energy; going with the flow." Excellent advice, I believe.  I am not abandoning my revision, but I am working on it in smaller batches of time, and giving it space.  (Pun intended?  Maybe.)  And I am thrilled to be working on something new.  I made a soundtrack, which always helps me get into the writing mood, and into the heads of my characters.  Yay for a breath of fresh air in my writing!

Who gave me such excellent advice?  Why Robert, of course.  Anyone who spends time at Robert's blog probably recognized his voice right away.  But, the most special thing wasn't the advice, or even who was giving it, but the way it was delivered.  IN THE FLESH--THREE-D.

Between hugs and awesome food.

I have severely missed Robert since he moved cross-country, and when we met on Friday, it felt as though time didn't even skip a beat since our last weekly writing meeting, nine months ago.  Time wrinkled, and we fell right back into our routine.  Fabulous routine.

This is our table at Andala. Our cafe. From its website:  Andala, the name of the nightingale’s song, brings the authentic tastes of the Old City of Jerusalem to Central Square in Cambridge. 

How cool is that?!

Andala, for me, is as much about deliciously spicy smells as anything else.  I'm always tempted to tell the waiter, "Bring me whatever that is that I smell."  (I think I've actually said that on occasion.)

  Robert at our table, gazing out at the twinkling lights outside.

How loving and direct is Andala's staff?  And patrons at ease enough to remove their footwear?  Such a homey place!

Here we are together, and another glimpse of the cool Andala atmosphere.

And, finally, on our way out, here's Robert looking all svelte on the outdoor patio.

Sigh.  I miss Robert already.  But at least I know that the next time we talk writing at Andala, it will feel as though no time passed at all between our gatherings.  Because that's what it's like with good friends.

Did everyone notice how much better I'm getting at bringing home proof from my IRL adventures?

Any adventures to report?  What have you been up to?  What is your goal for the week?  How's your writing life?  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Monday Meeting: Let's get this roller coaster started!

*That's my awesome husband, daughter and son in the first two cars!*

I've been away from my revisions way too long.  But, I'm gearing up, TODAY--TODAY--to jump back in.  I'm facing the sky as I click slowly up to the top of the hill. Click. Click. Click. Think. Think. Think. Think about revisions, about opening up that document, about re-reading where I left off.  About revising. Think.  Think. Think.

Who's along this roller coaster ride with me?  My husband, giving me support, and room to write--he is the rail that keeps me airborn.  My crit partner Robert, whom I am going to see IRL SOON, is the seatbelt that keeps me in the ride.  Without his early confidence, it would be a completely different ride.

My daily meetings with my coworker Tina keeps my train on the rails, as does chatting with my other coworker Jon.  Last week I met Kris for caramel apple cider (yum), and that added speed to my chugging up the hill.  Thanks Kris!!  Kris is thoughtful and kind, and down to earth--we had a fantastic time talking about writing and books and everything!

All the unpluggers at Tina's The Practice Room give me support in real time--which is invaluable.  Thanks practice roomers! (Oh, and if there is anyone out there who is scared of the practice room--give it a whirl.  It's an incredible tool.)

And when I need to tighten the bolts, I turn to all you and your fabulous blogs.  To give me food for thought and laughs.

And places like WriteOnCon, (go over today for EPIC giveaways!!) and the Blueboards. A lovely collection of people!

Who knew it would take so much to keep me on the rails??  So, if this post seems disgustingly sweet, well, sometimes you just have to say thanks.  So THANKS!!

What are you up to this week?  Any goals?  What kind of roller coaster ride are you on right now?  Who keeps you on the rails?

And, if you're having one of those days--remember the most famous train of all: I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

QUIZ: What Kind of Writer Are You?

When the going gets tough, what kind of writer are you?  Take this unbelievable accurate, scientific quiz to find out!*  Keep track of your answers throughout the quiz, and add up your points below.

1. When wallowing in the I-should-be-writing-but-I'm-just-not-motivated moment, do you:

A. Reach for the Wii remote control to see if you can beat your hula-hoop record of 1,667 swings of the hips.
B. Plan your next IRL get-together with writer friends.
C. Catch up on back Nathan Bransford posts.
D. Pull out that chinese food take-out container.  There must be a forkful of Lo Mein stuck to the bottom!

2. When procrastinating from your epic revision, do you:

A. Check the times of Tina's next The Practice Room to force you to actually unplug for an hour, and then check in with other supportive writers.
B. Take a walk (or run) in the beautiful fall day to get the blood flowing to your brain.
C. Hunt high and low for your emergency stash of Snickers.  Drat, did one of the kids/the dog/your sig. other discover your hiding place?
D. Peruse your blog's sidebar to see if you had possibly missed an interesting post.  Heck, you could comment twice at Tahereh's blog--she'll think you're twice as witty!

3. When your energy is just too low to plug in the laptop to write, do you:

A. Slug out to the store for a coke and a twizzler.  Clearly all you need is a little sugar high to get the juices flowing.
B. Spend four hours crafting that next blog post.  Include links, that picture of you sporting mall hair in the 80s, and a dance-off vlog.
C. Text your writing friend at work.  He's a captive audience, and gives you the what-for when you're all woe-is-me.
D. Hop out of the house to hit the swings with the kids.  Fresh air invigorates the writer's mind.

4. When you want to give up on the long-going project because of that Shiny New Idea, do you:

A. Set the timer, and let yourself draft on that new idea for a while, and then get back to the old project.
B. Run with the new idea and write away, ignoring all other distractions.  Cold cereal is perfect for the kids for dinner.
C. Check out what The Rejectionist says about the themes of your SNI.  She has her talons on the pulse of the publishing industry--you wouldn't dare start any new project unless she said it was HOT.
D. Bake a cake. Cake makes everything better.  And it makes house smells so nice. Mmm. Cake.

5. When your deadline has come and gone, and you're still struggling with the same plot point, do you:

A. Sign up for NANO, even though it is 4 months away**.  It's never to early to start planning your next NaNo novel.
B. Send your chapter to an old trusted crit partner, or a new beta.  Different and fresh eyes may help you gain perspective.
C. Open the Keurig and throw in a fresh K-cup.  Pumpkin Spice is back in season, baby!
D. Read the new batch of queries trashed by The QueryShark.  Distraction is the best thing to get your mind back on track.

6. When you've stared at the blank screen long enough that the blinking black line is burned into your brain, do you:

A. Pour a glass of chardonnay.  Writing flows better when your brain is a little looser.
B. Dance to Karsten's latest vlog.  Man, that dude has moves.
C. Search the internet high and low for Jon.  No, not as a part of the awesome game Where In the Blogosphere is Jon, but really, where is that guy?
D. Log back into the forums at WriteOnCon to read the current feedback to your first five pages.


1. A=3, B=2, C=1, D=4
2. A=2, B=3, C=4, D=1
3. A=4, B=1, C=2, D=3
4. A=2, B=3, C=1, D=4
5. A=3, B=2, C=4, D=1
6. A=4, B=3, C=1, D=2

Tally up your points to see what kind of writer you are:

20-24 points--Writing food junkie.  You're finding yourself more and more often solving problems with your characters by giving them a cupcake.  You know, write what you know.  It would be best for your writing (and your writer's butt) to put down the donut, and back away.  Far away.

16-19 points--Obsessed.  You might be crazy about exercise or writing or food, or all of the above.  But hey, obsession really never hurt any writer, right?  Doesn't every writer need a bit of the crazy to get that novel finished?

10-15--Balanced.  You're a well connected, well supported writer who knows how to set a routine, and lean on writing friends.  It's still a tough road, but you have a system in place to get to the finish line.
Or, you actually oscillate between being an internet junkie, and obsessive, so that you get this balanced score.  The system's not perfect, people.

6-9--Internet Junkie.  You breathe, sleep and eat the internet.  Maybe you should change your title to professional blog writer.  Clearly, the internet is Where You Want To Be.  The upside is that once you finally do finish your book, you will be internet marketing SAVVY!

*Actually, I just made this all up.  EditedToWithinAnInchOfMyLife claims no responsibility for any euphoria or dips in focus that the act of taking this quiz might procure.  Take quiz at own risk. Sole use for purposes of fun only.

**NaNo is not actually 4 months away.  We only have TWO MONTHS to get ready.  Who's with me? Get brainstorming, snowflaking, outlining--whatever is your poison of prep!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday Monday Meeting

Hello everyone! I've been missing all of you.

A ton has happened in my real life in the past couple of weeks. I had a long driving trip with the kids, then the start of their school, and I've also been working on my son's newly renovated room.  My husband did an amazing job of totally redoing the space.  It's AWESOME!!

I bet you think you're getting a picture of the room.  Nope.  Instead, feast your eyes on my husband and I meeting DAR WILLIAMS.

My incredible husband recently surprised me with tickets to a Dar Williams concert, and we stuck around to get a picture.  (How cool is that--the surprising and the sticking?!) Dar is one of my favorite musicians--she weaves beautiful stories throughout her songs.  She's also written actual stories--two middle grade books--AMALEE and LIGHTS CAMERA, AMALEE.  See--I'm holding a signed copy in my grubby mitts.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I read AMALEE, but Dar did a wonderful job of capturing what it feels like to be 11.  She has an excellent middle grade voice.

So, this picture is my inspiration to get back into writing after a few summer months off.  Inspiration because my husband is such an amazing every day support, and inspiration because Dar's music helps me get into my writing groove.  My plan for this week?  To just write (revise).  Every. Single. Day.  And to start visiting your blogs again.

How are you getting into your groove?  What's your plan or goal for the week?  How did your summer treat you?  Met any of your favorite famous people recently?  What's your inspiration this week?

Thanks for sticking around during my blogging break!