May 9, 2015

Saturday, May 9

Yes, I know a few days have passed, and I have entered no updates. This is what happens when most of the time in the office is spent cleaning out drawers, closets, boxes, and files. The best I can say right now is that I can open the closet to get to supplies and/or manuscripts without being knocked unconscious. We have enough paper to compost the garden for twelve years.

And I’m not finished. Sigh.

Light a candle. Say a prayer. I’m eager to have this chore completed so I can concentrate fully on writing once more.

April 21, 2015

Tuesday, April 21st.

This past week has been a busy one. I enjoy teaching the writing class. It’s a small group of fascinating women, each in various stages of writing development. Since I primarily teach fiction writing, those who expect a course in poetry or how to write for magazines will be disappointed.

I have short-term memory problems (is that age or is it just me??), so I wait until the day of the class before preparing the evening’s agenda. Putting things off makes me nervous and uncomfortable. I like to get busy and accomplish what I set out to do. In this instance, though, I believe waiting until the eleventh hour is best for all concerned.

Progress continues on Upside Down and Whopperjawed. If I had nothing else to do and devoted most of my time to this story, I could finish in about six weeks. Maybe less. April Grace Reilly often seems to sit on the corner of my desk, telling me about her day and the crazy people in her life. Recording her tale in her sassy, witty voice ensures that the story basically tells itself.

Not every novel I write is this easy or this much fun. But that’s another topic for another time.

April 13, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

I’m batting around in my head (ouch) my writing projects for the next month and a half. When several contracts and deadlines occur close together, this can be a balancing act designed to bring sleepless nights.

My inclination is to work on Upside Down and Whopperjawed until the end of May, and if it isn’t finished by then, turn my attention to Honey Dipped Secrets because that deadline is early July. That editor (HDS) wants a very detailed outline of the story. Since it is something I don’t do, it’s going to be a challenge. Twenty pages or thereabouts, single-spaced, broken down by chapters. This is not the way I create stories, but in this instance, I feel it’s the smarter way to go. After all, it’s nice when an editor likes and trusts me, and if she finds a flaw in the plot, we can work it out before the book is written. Who knows? I may love being a hard-nosed plotter. (I doubt it, but I’m keeping an open mind)

Let’s not forget the other book that I have yet to complete. Deadline? August. Eek.  That one isn’t even on my personal schedule yet. Double eek.

March 24, 2015

Tuesday, March 24

I opened my email late yesterday afternoon, and there awaited the manuscript of Pink Orchids and Cheeseheads, complete with editorial notes and suggested changes. I glanced through it and you can’t believe the relief I felt when I saw my editor had not changed the voice of April Grace! This character, who is nearly as real to me as my best friend, has a unique way of expressing herself. She makes up words and doesn’t always abide by the rules of grammar. To change that would be to change her, which would tear me up. So, thank you, Jess, for not touching the way this gal expresses herself.

A good friend pointed out yesterday that there are some things missing from my website/blogsite, so as soon as my website/blogsite-fixing person gets back from her trip, we’ll be working on that.

Why don’t I just do that my own personal self? You remember that list from yesterday? That’s why.

Thunder rumbles and dark clouds approach. I don’t mind a good storm, but having the computer plugged in during an electrical storm is asking for trouble. Not sure how long my battery will last, and I have a lot of work to do. So why am I writing in this journal instead of working on that manuscript? Good question.

That Voice You’re Hearing…Maybe it’s Mine

One thing in my life that has driven me to the brink of screaming bloody murder is when someone interrupts me while I speak. This is one reason I dislike social functions so much. For me, indulging in conversation at a party is like trying to put a leash on air.

I’m not sure why people think the practice of interrupting someone in mid-sentence is all right. Maybe they believe what they have to say is more important than what I’m expressing. Maybe they can’t hear me. Maybe I’m invisible. But when it happens, a red hot arrow shoots through my blood and impacts every cell in my body.

Here’s the thing. I am not much of a conversationalist. I prefer to listen and learn rather than spout.two women talking In my silences, I form thoughts and opinions which I am often reluctant to contribute for a variety of reasons. When I do finally choose to actively participate in, or initiate, a conversation, it’s not just to blabber about the first thing that pops into my brain. I am sharing something that means something to me.

When I’m talking and someone blurts, “Oh, look at that bluejay in the tree across the street!” Or, “I need to call my husband.” Or, “My goodness, isn’t the rain nice?” Or, “I have an overdue library book.” Or, “Oh, that reminds me of something… etc.”, not only do I lose my train of thought (which alone annoys me to no end) but being cut off tells me that whatever I was offering was worthless, meaningless, and boring. It hurts my feelings; it makes me angry. I also find that people often hijack the subject, take over the conversation and leave whatever I had to contribute hanging loose and undone like a half-hung shirt on the clothesline.conversations
When I am cut off more than two or three times within five minutes, I just stop talking. I tell myself, “They aren’t listening anyway, so why waste my breath?”

Maybe this happens to you. Or, maybe you’re on the other side. Are you a chronic interrupter? If you have something to say, can you contain it, or must it come spewing from your lips in the middle of someone else’s sentence? difficult_participants

If people clam up and walk away from you, it might be that you aren’t allowing them to share what’s on their minds. If they are like me, interruptions are like a knife to the heart.

So, if you value these friends and others, stop interrupting them. For once in your life, just be quiet and listen. That voice you hear? Maybe it’s mine.