A Message from Zoey and Tessa

Dear People of the Internets,

Please to give us a few moments of your time. We are very concerned.

Our pet human – you refer to her as Trisha – appears to have gone quite bonkers. Perhaps she has been afflicted by the rabies. Or perhaps the little white machine she stares into for hours has finally boiled her brains. Whatever the cause, she is definitely many kibbles short of a meal right now and we would like to understand what is happening.

Here are the symptoms of her affliction:

  • She stares for hours at a glowing screen, sometimes into the wee hours of moonlight
  • Sometimes, her fingers go clickety-clack on the buttons for hours
  • When we try to put our paws or noses on the clickety-clack machine, she pushes us away in a most unfair manner
  • Sometimes, when her fingers go still, she cries for absolutely no reason
  • Sometimes, when her fingers are flying, she cackles for absolutely no reason
  • Sometimes, she stuffs in more food than any human has reason to eat in one day

She calls her glowing screen with the clickety-clack buttons a laptop. What is Zoey, if not a perfect laptop? Why would a human choose to fuss over a non-living lump of white plastic instead of cuddling with her adorable feline?

The other day, she took Tessa on a walk and we were overjoyed by this apparent return to normal behavior. But then she walked and walked and walked with her eyes looking off at nothing, mumbling to herself and Tessa almost passed out from heat before she noticed it was too hot to be walking so far with a fuzzy friend and no water!

Our beloved Man Pillow – you would call him Michael – tells us that our Trisha is doing something called writing which will be followed by something called publishing which will then be followed by something called marketing. He says we should be loving and supportive and, most of all, patient.

Patient? We sneeze on patient. Is he kidding? Trisha is in possession of a set of thumbs that we need for her to use frequently, especially to open our bags and cans of food. We cannot afford to be too patient. If she loses what little is left of her mind, we might starve!

What is this thing called writing? Will the next phases – these things called publishing and marketing – make her better or worse? Why would a human creature with plenty of access to food, water and loving fuzzy folk to cuddle torture herself with these activities? Can you kind people of the Internets explain this ludicrous human behavior to us?

Your comments would be most appreciated during this trying time. Now we must go lick all of our parts and find the perfect spot for our fifth nap of the day.

Sincerely,

Zoey & Tessa

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The Math of Revision Goals

The first thing you should notice is that I’ve added a big, ugly countdown widget thingy (look right). I wanted to add one of those nifty % of goal completion bars, but my free WordPress hosted blog account says, “Noooooooooo.”

(Note: Reference to hilarious Little Britain comedy sketches there.)

Which, by the way, is making me seriously consider a sweet web hosting offer over at ThweetBird (a new hosting service specifically targeted toward authors and other creative types where I can get FREE hosting just for being a member of Atlanta Writers Club)…but I digress.

The point here (and I do have a point) is that I have set a very ambitious (some might say ridiculous) goal of getting my first novel into Advanced Reader hands before Labor Day Weekend 2012 (or, before the end of this summer). Why push for the end of this summer?  Because I’d like to have some version of this novel available before Dragon*Con 2012.

NOTE:  No, I am NOT published and my novel is NOT available for sale anywhere at this point. I will announce here, there and everywhere possible when my novel is actually available…and it will be SOON. Hopefully before Labor Day…almost definitely before 2013. (This distinction seems to be a point of confusion for many folks, especially on Facebook).

OK, so why the ugly countdown? Cause I needs me some motivation and accountability. HELP!

My manuscript currently weighs in at 185 single-spaced, MS Word pages. This edit/rewrite is up to Page 45. That leaves 140 pages that need my love and attention. I want to have this beast…um, I mean my beautiful, wonderful manuscript…ready for a small print run (aka ARCs) by Sunday 8/5/12. That means I need to crank through 8-10 pages every day between now and then.

ZOINKS!

If I fail in this initial goal, I will be back here all shame-faced setting a new goal (or A New Hope, if you will). But I want to succeed.  I really, really NEED to succeed.

Any words of advice? Leave a comment! What do you do when you have a painful, marathon goal that seems nearly (but not quite) impossible? The more silly the advice, the better…cause I’ll probably ignore all advice and trudge along at my own pathetically slow rewrite pace regardless. Still, I want advice. Makes me feel less scared and alone.

By the way….The Ronald McDonald House meal was fantabular, spectaculous and all together too wonderful. If you don’t know about the RMDH organization, you should check it out!!

photo credit: ….Tim via photo pin cc

Frantic

Fair warning:  This is going to be one of those self-absorbed, all-about-me posts that the blogging experts tell writers not to write. But seriously, sometimes there’s so much craziness going on, I just need to share (or overshare as the case may be).

First, I got a promotion. Yay me, right? Except I’m very stressed about it. Out of 7 eligible, intelligent, professional-type women on my team, I am the only one who applied…and I had to do some serious soul-searching before I raised my hand. My boss and my boss’s boss are very excited about it. They have been extraordinarily complimentary to the point where I am blushing and also secretly thinking OMG!! These people think far too highly of me. Someday they’re going to figure out I’m not all that and then what am I going to do?

Seriously, what is that about? Is it a woman thing?

Second, we are moving. Again. Our lease ends August 15 and we have to be out of this house because our crazy landlady wants back in. Both Mike and I thought our lease ended September 15 and we would be able to transition to a month-to-month lease until we found a new place. Not so. Our landlady is so anxious to move in, she’s scheduled movers for the 16th.

Reality is not our strong suit. Taking quick actions is not our strong suit. Packing is not our strong suit. DOH!

But never fear, we had an extraordinarily lucky house search this time. We are moving to a place we like much better. We like the location, the landlady and the actual home much, MUCH better. So all will be well…if we survive the move without doing violence to each other. I’ll write more about this later, but, for now, let’s just say there’s a rainbow and a pot of gold at the other end of this annoying and poorly-timed storm.

Third, I put my stupid hand up again (I have got to start sitting on my hands) and volunteered to organize a meal for the Ronald McDonald House near my office. It’s a team volunteer event, but I’m in charge. The meal is happening tonight. I’m near crazy deranged with worries….what if they hate the food? What if I didn’t buy enough? What if the meal isn’t ready on time? What if, what if, what if….

Fourth, I want to have Advanced Reader Copies of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away out before the end of the Summer. I’m on page 48 out of 180-ish pages. The re-write process if painful! But I had planned to definitely pay for a table and sell it at the Dahlonega Literary Festival in November. That has been a bright shining star on my horizon for months…but I just found out the Dahlonega Literary Festival is requiring authors who want to sell their books there to pre-submit a copy to the organizer by August 1st.  UGH!!!!! How the hell am I going to make that happen?

As if that isn’t enough writerly stress, I went and signed up for the Atlanta Writer’s Conference. Why? Why did I do that? It’s like I have a sick and twisted desire to torture myself. And get this, I’m planning to submit and pitch my unfinished second novel that will need to be much closer to finished if not actually finished before the conference.

Right now my brain is a crazy train and it is definitely going off the rails and I would really like to jump off. But I can’t. It’s time to pack up all this food and get to work.

And now 20 minutes is up and I have to click the “publish” button even though this post is terrible and probably filled with typos. Sigh.

photo credit: Lansun via photo pin cc

Summer Loving

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Driving up I-75N after a short vacation in St. Pete’s Beach, FL. Well, to be clear, I’m not driving (she says waving energetically at the 15th highway patrol officer we’ve passed today). I’m backseat driving with two of my best buddies in the world making fun of all the “dumb bunghole” drivers on the road and the crazy billboard messages. (Seriously! Who pays for these nasty, hateful things?)

The 20-Minute Blogging Challenge

Photo by katerha.

This is a piggy-back post because it was inspired by this post (which, in turn, was inspired by an article entitled 13 ideas if you are thinking about blogging).

OK, there’s a gazillion “tips on how to blog” articles out there on the internets, but this list/article was one of the most fresh, original and inspiring that I’ve ever read.

That said, Tip #3 makes me go ZOINKS!

“Force yourself to hit publish after 20 minutes.”

Ugh! Really? Let me just tell you, that fills me with shock and terror. The idea of hitting the “Publish” button after just 20 minutes? But, but, but…there will be typos. There will be unfinished, ill-formed thoughts. There will be no pictures (cause I gotta pick the absolute, bestest picture from hundreds).

Still, the fact that it terrifies me makes me think it’s a great idea. And let me explain why.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I have not posted anything on this blog for a while?  Well, much of that has to do with the fact that I am rewriting NSLA, NSFA like a crazy, maniac obsessive-compulsive writerly person. This is the 15th or 20th rewrite, but it feels so much different this time.  Why?

Because this is the indie publishing draft.  The one I’m going to submit to Kirkus Indie Reviews.  The one that I’m going to send out to advance readers. The one I’m going to make available on Amazon and open up to Amazon Reader Reviews.

ACK!

This weekend I read an article in the Summer 2012 issue of Brain World Magazine that probably explains it.  The focus of the article, entitled The Tortured Artist by Contessa Schexnayder, is to highlight new research that might explain the link between mental illness and creative thinking. In the article, Dr, John Baer (a cognitive psychologist at Rutgers University) mentions something called The Sylvia Plath Effect.

Ever heard of it before?  Me neither.

Shuffle aside all the psychological whosits and whatsits, it boils down to this…women’s creativity tends to be depressed (much more than men’s) when they are writing for money OR when they know the work they produce will be evaluated.

What do you think about that?

To me, it feels absolutely true and real and accurate.  It also feels like the classic Catch 22 that plagues too many talented writers…but perhaps it affects women more than men. I have no motivation to create stories and hide them away in a drawer.  I want to connect.  I want to entertain. But neither do I love myself or my writing so much that I think it is perfect and wonderful and must be read by every single person in the world. And what if people hate it?  What if even one person hates it and makes it their personal mission to post bad reviews everywhere? Or, more likely, what if readers who are not my Mom read it and think, Meh…not wonderful, not terrible, could have been better.

I know what many of you are thinking…just publish the gall-darned book already.  Put us all out of your misery.

Soon. I promise. Before the end of the summer.

But right now I am scared and sick with worry and this is causing me to ignore my blogs (and eat too much and claw at nothing in my sleep). So I’m going to try this 20 minute challenge on both my blogs. It’s one way to flex my writing muscles and get past that perfectionist inner editor who keeps screaming, “You’re gonna make a fool of yourself if one single word is misspelled.”

What do you think?