Monday, July 25, 2011

A Year Goes By

Today is the official one-year anniversary of two special arrivals in my life:

Those early days were stressful. Since they were less than a month old, I still had to bottle feed and stimulate them. Mack was terribly difficult to feed with the bottle--I'd have to stretch him out on his little back feet until he was standing all the way up before he'd latch on. But they were so, so darling.

And look at them now. So big they don't even fit in one picture together anymore:

And now, of course, they have another friend:

Is there such thing as too much animal love? Of course not.

Now I'm just counting the days until the felines get a canine companion... :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Have a Headache, and Other Things That Get in the Way

Pretty much the only thing that is absolutely guaranteed to keep me from writing is a headache. Not just a niggler, but something that's at least a 4 on the 1-10 scale. I suppose it's the combined force of staring at the backlit computer screen, thinking too hard, and hunching my shoulders that makes it so unbearable.

I could say that I've had a headache for the past week, but that would only be partially true. I have had a headache for at least the past four or five days, but it's not been so debilitating. Coffee, Claritin, and Excedrin Migraine seem to keep it well enough in check (allergies, I guess).

So even though I was all chomping at the bit to start writing again once I had my life straightened out, I wrote 1600 words one night and promptly stopped it. I moped around a couple days, then started playing some more Dragon Age II hardcore, then decided I'd start a new game in Dragon Age: Origins to play simultaneously since the story and romance options are better in it and that's all anyone cares about anyway...and those of you who don't play video games are gone now. Sorry about that.

Here's a note: playing 8+ hours of Dragon Age and then watching 2 episodes of True Blood back-to-back will give you some odd dreams.

A thought: Joe Manganiello is one of the best-looking men on television. And his last name is hard to spell.

Here's a secret, and judge me as I judge you: I've always secretly snickered when people talked about their characters talking to them. I've always owned my characters. They do what I want them to do, and there's not much room for compromise. Until today, when a very strong female voice started narrating her opening chapter. It's not new--it's actually a premise I came up with two years ago and did nothing with. But damn, she was really going, and that voice was intoxicating.

So my headache is gone.

Friday, July 15, 2011

There's Always the Next Time

I started writing again last night.

For those of you (who are you?) keeping track, it's been almost three months since I put hands to keyboard for anything other than a tweet or Facebook status update.

Sure, sure--moving, unpacking, stress, stress, company, stress. But it was always there, niggling--you know?

Here's the part I forgot: intimidation.

Damn, it's intimidating to've been out of the game for this long. I've had this great want to start revisions on my novel FOUR, but it's all been in my head. And sure, I did tons of plotting and planning--made that part pretty easy when I wrote my skeleton plot outline for the revision. I even figured out how to capitalize on the best parts of what my draft holds and keep a lot of the good stuff. That's big for me, as I'm usually a "scrap it all and start over" type of reviser. Obviously, I've never actually revised anything.

So I'd been psyching myself out for the past two days about actually starting writing again. See, I need to gut the first third of the draft and write all new material.

But that involves...writing.

Eventually, I lit my candles, started my A Perfect Circle station on Pandora, and figured out a decent starting sentence. After all, it doesn't really matter how great it is this time. This is just another draft, isn't it. And there's always the next round of edits. The perfect image that will eventually come.

Everything's a placeholder, until it isn't.


How about this instead?:

That's Ben Bass, who currently stars as Sam Swarek on one of my favorite TV shows, Rookie Blue. He's not a classically handsome dude, but his character is smokin'. Sexy, funny, brooding, yet intensely passionate. The whole package. He's basically the man I'd like my male protagonist to be. With a ponytail.

Happy writing, friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Totally Totem

So, how many of you have writing desk totems?

I have several:

Each one of them means something to me. It's the stuff I stare off into space at. Sometimes I pick them up or touch them (I'm a fairly tactile person). You can tell I have a predilection for birds. I'm probably going to have to buy more, since I can no longer get the double-window, dual-birdfeeder view like I could at my old office. Something about watching them interact has always helped keep my brain functioning. They were my real totems, I guess... *sigh*

So what about you? What are your little desk inhabitors?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Doing

If you had told me ten years ago that I would one day thrive on routine, I would have laughed. A decade ago Summer loved spontaneity and thrived on change. A decade later Summer craves structure in every part of her life.

This summer has turned out to be completely different than I'd expected. Even in May I had grand expectations of easy closing on the house, unpacking in a week and having a whole month before my dear friend arrived for his visit. A month of nesting, acclimating to home ownership, and most importantly, writing.

Suffice to say, none of that happened. Oh, I unpacked alright. Thank goodness for that impending arrival, too--it lit a fire under my ass like nothing else. I knew he couldn't care less what my house looked like, but I sure as hell did.

Now I'm unpacked and clean, my friend is leaving in the morning, and I'm looking at the calendar realizing that my days are rapidly spiraling towards their new beginning. When I start nursing school on August 16th, it will have been 2 years to the day since I got hurt at work. Two years of learning how to be a "housewife," how to be alone for 85% of the day, how to be my own best friend--and how to write like a full time author.

I went through stages of hating it. The first year was the worst, mostly because I was still so badly impeded by my injury, then surgery and post-surgery physical therapy, etc etc. Then things started improving. I began to enjoy my time at home, and I started taking advantage of all the time to write. Last year, I wrote 3 novels. I started blogging. I found some awesome online friends, and some of them have become in-person friends. I discovered that I could stay at home all the time and feel perfectly fulfilled.

And now nursing school is on the horizon. When I'm not in class, I'll either be working my new job or studying my ass off.

When will I write? How will my relationship evolve with this new change? Will my husband remember what it's like for me not to be the 100% home-keeper?

I've always been good at school. School, I can do. Textbooks, memorization, logging in the hours--that, I can handle.

It's the everything else that I'm afraid of. Since I've been at home, I've discovered a great well of writing discipline inside myself. I tapped it, and it still flows inside me, urging me to sit down at the keyboard and work. Writer. Revise. Anything. And the longer I've gone without it, the worse I'm feeling. Edgy, anxious, crabby on occasion. The novel always in the back of my head.

Yet I'm too structured to be able to devote the mental capacity to writing without having my home in order, without having my office setup the way I need it. And now I have company, which I wouldn't change for the world. As soon as my company leaves, I'll have 4 weeks left.

Four weeks to try to establish a new routine, only for that routine to disappear when school starts.

I'm nervous. I'm worried. I think obsessively about how things will be when school starts, how it will impact the life I've come to appreciate.

Nothing I can do it about it now, except start doing and stop thinking. Come Tuesday morning, I'm going to throw an entire summer's worth of work into my writing, just in case it's the last chance I get...