March 25, 2012

Life, Love and Lit

I am such a slacker! Jeez Louise! What is wrong with me? Actually, nothing is really wrong with me, I just get busy with ... life. As a full time professional at the day job, and a full time mommy of a two and a half year old, there is little time for much else.

So how does one create balance in Life in order to fit Reading and Writing into it?

Ah yes, the question I would love to be able to answer. But, alas, I have no words of wisdom. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. The day job is important to me because, well, it pays my bills and feeds my family. Kind of important stuff, right? The love of my family is also important to me because my son is at an age where he needs interaction constantly. His little brain is going ludicrous speed and I am doing my best to keep up. (Yes, I totally threw in a Spaceballs reference) Boog's imagination is so full of awesomeness right now, I hate to lock myself away in a book or writing for fear I might miss something. Never mind the super cute, but sort of pathetically humbling, moments where he sticks his face between mine and the laptop screen and says, "look at ME, mom!"

But I need the moments to myself to do what I love in order to remain sane, or at the very least, likable. Trust me, you don't wanna be in the same zip code when this chickie here has the cranky pants on. Not pretty. Linda Blair ain't got nuthin on me. So what do I do? At the moment it's all about multi-tasking. It is not unusual to find me standing in the kitchen stirring pasta with one hand and have the other hand holding an open book away from the steam. The only problem with this is chicken tends to get a little too done at times. [Insert sheepish shrug]

The same comes with my writing. I am a horrible blogger, this I know. I see other 'professional' bloggers who post nonstop and I bow to their mastery. I just can't do it. If I manage to read, and finish, a book, I will write up my review and post my thoughts. If something comes to mind that I feel needs to be shared with the masses, I will post. Doing it every day, or multiple times a day, just doesn't happen.

Working on the WIPs falls into this as well. I do my best to find time on the weekends to dedicate even just an hour to writing a new chapter, or editing a chapter, with the WIPs. This usually happens while I have an ear on the washing machine as well. Write a paragraph, pull clothes out of dryer, clothes in washer go to dryer, fill washer, write a paragraph, rinse, repeat.

I have also been known to abuse down time at the day job. Shhhhh... Don't tell anyone, K? *grin* I keep my updated goodies on a memory stick that travels everywhere with me. OCD? Over protective? Slight problem with control? Um...yeeeaaahhhh. Wee bit. So when there is down time in my day, I will plug the memory stick in, crank up the iPod, and discretely disappear into my imaginary world for a paragraph, or page, or even a full chapter depending on how dull the day is.

So now I ask, is this normal? Do any of you out there suffer from the same time management issues? How do you fit in writing into a busy world of full time demands? Is it possible to be a full time professional, full time mom, AND a full time writer? Or even a part time writer? But then can you still fit in the ever important READING? What tricks have you learned? What is the weirdest place or time you have managed to fit in your passions?

March 10, 2012

Back to the [proverbial?] drawing board...

Oh, the joyous world of literary rejection... I suppose I can mark 'never been rejected by an agent' off my list. That's right folks, I have received my first official, yet unofficial, agent rejection. It actually didn't sting as much as I thought it might. Perhaps because I'd prepared for it. Not in the negative thinking sort of way, but in the 'in the real world' thinking sort of way.

How many of you lovelies are familiar with Miss Snark's First Victim blog run by the Authoress? Hmmm. Not many. Well, allow me to introduce you! The Authoress has a fantastic blog and every month she holds a Secret Agent contest (among other fantabulous postings). Peeps are able to submit their first 250 words of a COMPLETE manuscript and the Authoress' Auto Bot (not a Transformers reference, seriously) dooflotchy selects 50 random lucky writers. Once posted on the blog (all anonymous for the author *grin*) followers are encouraged to crit the blurb. During this time a 'Secret Agent' will also give their two cents. If the mysterious agent likes what they see, they may request partials of any of the blurbs posted. It truly is some exciting stuff!

Yours truly was selected for March and I about peed myself when I got the email. I was excited, but terrified. My complete MS has been going under the knife for quite some time, but I was still not sure if the beginning 'worked.' After receiving crits on different platforms, it was clear that no body could tell me how to start it where it would grab. What was the problem, you ask? Well, see, it's because it involves a dream. [Insert cliche groan and eye-roll here] I know... I have heard it a thousand times over and then some. "Never start a book with a dream."

Without getting into too much detail about the whole story, let's just say 'the dream' is pretty much a central conflict to the story line. That's how it originally came to me and I know I can make it work. I just need to find the right angle. That is why I entered the Secret Agent. I had received feedback on both sides of the coin and I was no closer to finding the right answer. I needed to hear from the pros, aka Secret Agent. And I did. "Form rejection." What I have isn't working.

Now I have my answer. Am I giving up on the dream idea? Nope. It is cliched, yes. It has been overdone, yes. BUT!!! It still shows up in books so it still, at least when done right, works for agents and publishers. I just need to find the right way to present it. There is something there in my story, or I would not have so many people tell me they like it and want more, but I am still learning this writing thing. I just need to find the right way to present the dream aspect so that it's new and exciting. A tough feat? Yes. Am I willing to keep trying until I get it right? Abso-freakin-lutely! I love this story and I love the characters. And I am pretty darned sure all of you would like it too! That is when I finally get it...right.

So I am off to the good ole drawing board to once again rewrite the all important Chapter 1. I'm not sure how many times I have redone the first few pages, but that is all part of this wonderful writing game. Sure, it's a pain in the ass, but with every rewrite, rehash, delete, cut, paste, head-bang, hair-pull, and explosive expletive I learn and improve. And THAT my friends is the best part about writing. The journey is ever changing, ever improving, and ever inspiring. Game on!