Success! (but there’s no finish line in sight yet)

The good news is that I have turned in my fully rewritten manuscript to my fabulous book coach and I believe it is a much better novel than it was before. The revisions were completed ahead of schedule and all of my money has been kept safely away from the evil agents of The Dark Side. (Whew.)

I should feel like this:Success JoySo why do I feel like this?Success AnxietyBecause there is so much more work to do, that’s why! There’s the whole publishing process (working with an editors, designers, etc) and then there’s the networking with potential reviewers process and then there’s the never-ending marketing process. And then, if I do this all right, I get to start the whole creative process over with the second book in this trilogy (tentatively titled Sometimes We Strike Back).

Oh, and did I mention that I have a ghost novel rewrite that I promised to two literary agents before Spring? (Whee!)

As Leia tells Han right after they escape from the Death Star, “It’s not over yet!”

photo credit: tricky (rick harrison) via photopin cc & kevin dooley via photopin cc

J.J. Abrams To Direct Star Wars?!?! Game On!

JJ Abrams and George LucasOne glorious piece of news managed to penetrate the miasmic brain funk currently surrounding my person during this final week of novel rewrite madness.

J.J. Abrams is going to direct Star Wars Episode VII.

And this is how I feel about that piece of news:

Ecstasy

I have more to say on this subject…crazy, weird, ecstatic, lunatic ramblings that might even be mildly entertaining for someone to read. And I will post those thoughts soon. I will. But first I’ve got to finish this [bleep]ing rewrite in the next two days. Doh!

In the meantime, let me just tell you this J.J. Abrams news; it is a SIGN. It is a synchronicity. It is a magical wink from the universe that everything, everything, everything in my personal little project is ON TRACK (despite any annoying appearance to the contrary).

photo credit: Joi via photopin cc & h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

I Think I Can, I Think I Can…

“You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.”

Abraham Lincoln

Bumblebee with Paper Flower

photo credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via photopin cc

Fear Can Be Your Friend

Coffee_Novelist FuelOh, Yeah! According to my January novel rewriting/revision schedule, I’m supposed to turn in at least 9,000 words to my writing coach before I go to bed tonight. Instead, I emailed over 14,000 words to her last night. Ha! Obviously, my daring and diabolical motivational strategy is working perfectly. If I keep this up, I might actually have this draft ready a week or two early. WOO HOO!

And what is the key ingredient to this success? Fear.

Which, I must admit, gives me some pause. You see I have always been and probably ever shall be a HUGE proponent of Yoda’s teachings, especially this quote:

“Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight.”

I’m one of those annoying types who believes that everything in this life should be about Love and Light and Creative Energy. Stuart Smalley is my hero. So why is it that I’m only able to conquer my worst demons with a fear-based strategy administered by a tough enforcer?

The easy answer is my momma raised me right. Which means that I learned early on that my main “job” in life was to be a good daughter, a good student, a good neighbor and a good citizen. And there were serious consequences for falling too far off the path of goodness. There was no doubt in my mind that, if I strayed too far from decency and goodness, my momma would take me out. OUT!

I suppose that’s part of why this strategy is working for me, but I think there’s a much more important element in this equation that may not be so obvious right at first – Love.

I love creativity. I love writing. I love my crazy, imperfect first novel and its Star Wars infused message of love, forgiveness and hope. Publication will carry that message out into the world. If just one person who reads my novel feels a little bit better about life, then this novel will be a success. And yet, I am a perfectionist and fear sending out a novel with my name on it that is not absolutely perfect and as wonderful as it can possibly be. Every time I stumble and fail to meet a goal on this project, fear (aka The Dark Side) wins another battle. Last year, it was a tiny battle between me, myself and I with all three of us taking some losses.

These non-profits my friend picked to fund if I fail this month…WHOA! They are all about fear, hatred and aggression on a much larger scale that hurts society as a whole. Every dollar in their hands is (in my opinion) a weapon for evil. Now, successfully completing this project has become necessary in order to defend a valuable resource from an evil foe.

I think it’s impossible to live your life without feeling fear. I think the true Jedi feels fear, recognizes it, controls it, and, with a loving heart, uses fear to take positive action for the greater good.

Do you think I’m crazy? Maybe. But here’s a quote from another great and wise teacher that seems to indicate I’m on the right path:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

-Nelson Mandela

[photo credit: bluestar_tam via photopin cc

When Resolutions & Writing Goals Don’t Work

You may disagree with me, but I think everyone needs this friend:
Mean Girl with GunShe’s the friend that thinks you are so much smarter, more talented and ten times more amazing than your current achievements indicate. She’s the friend that will sit by you drinking wine and dreaming of better days for years if that’s what you really want to do. She would never willingly hurt you without a good reason.

However…

She’s also the friend that can be trusted to pull the trigger if you really NEED her to do it. If you hand her the gun, buy the bullets, and give her very explicit instructions on when to fire, she can be trusted to get the job done.

I am lucky enough to have this friend (though she shall remain anonymous for now).

When I tried to create my writing goals for 2013, I was stuck. Hopelessly stuck in my own messy quagmire of self-loathing because I had not finished my main 2012 writing goal. Specifically, I did not finish the re-write of my first novel before 2013. Argh!

I just can’t get past it. The current novel needs to be done and out there, but I keep failing myself:

  • I made at least 3 different resolutions in 2012 to finish my final rewrite of this novel
  • I posted a countdown on this blog – twice!
  • I even prepaid a huge sum of money for self-publishing
  • I’m only 60% through the rewrite

It’s time to pull out the big guns. As of Birthday 2013, I have one goal:

Finish the rewrite of my first novel and send it to the publisher by 2/8/1013.

Here’s how we’re going to get it done:

  • I am 60% finished
  • I am going to turn in the remaining 40% (calculated by word count) to my trusted friend on the following schedule:
    • 9,000 words on 1/13/13
    • 9,000 words on 1/20/13
    • 9,000 words on 1/27/13
    • Remaining (end of story) on 1/31/13
    • The finished product will be submitted to the publisher by 2/8/13

Here’s the most important part…Thanks to my friend (aka Book Coach), I now have new consequences for failure and a fabulous reward for success:

  • I have given my trusted (and much wealthier than me) friend access to my bank account.
  • If I fail to turn in any of my 4 assignments this month, she will donate $50 from my account to a non-profit organization that I would hate, hate, HATE to get one single penny of my money.
  • If I complete the assignment and submit the full manuscript on schedule, my wonderful man pillow and I will be going on a trip to Ireland in April or May of this year. (Woo hoo!)

Let the games begin…and may the odds (and motivation) be ever in my favor!

photo credit: Luciano Meirelles via photopin cc