Pupdate

Now that the dogs are feeling better and have figured out what to do with their tongues— Brigadoon especially. “I have no teeth. How do I hold this damn thing in my mouth now?!”— they’re doing their normal dog things. They’re still on pain meds, but they’re seeming super normal and happy again.

Now that they’re feeling normal, I’m feeling better.

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sleepy dogs in sunshine

Now just waiting for my productivity to catch up again 🙂

Mean Mommy & Comfort Zones

My kid is at a “Try it to see if you like it!” class at the local immersion Spanish immersion preschool.

I thought I was going to get the tour before the class, but it’s after. So, I sat around for a while, then the kids split off to do crafts and activities and stuff. The teacher was all, “Well, you can stay or…” I was all, “Uhhhh…” I waited another minute, then I left. I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and blah blah blah.

So, I left my kid there without saying goodbye. I feel terrible about it. But she’s there with her peers and the women teaching the school are so nice. And I know it’s going to be a rough transition anyway. They said it was going to be a 2-4 month transition for her to be used to the class.

Anyway. I left her.

It’s so hard for her to be out of her comfort zone. And it’s hard for me to push her out of her comfort zone.

Which makes me think about comfort zones in general. This is what makes it so hard to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We’re both playing the mommy role and the 4-year-old with strangers speaking another language role. No wonder we get so complacent.

So, I’m sitting here crying, feeling terrible, but I know this is good for her. Her little brain is so plastic, she’ll pick up another language really quick. And god knows she needs some playmates her own age. Kids she sees more frequently than once a week at Kindermusik. So. I know she needs this. But. Always that but.

I need to push myself out of these comfort zones. I have to start querying books. I have to revise these books until they’re ready for public consumption.

I know I left my kid in a safe place, with kind, competent teachers and I’m a bawling mess. Pushing myself to do more is going to be hard. But, I know, once she’s been there for a little while, she’s going to love it. I know once I’ve reached a new normal, I’m going to love it too. It might take some tears, it might take some exquisitely uncomfortable moments, but, I’m going to do it.

UPDATE:
She loved it. When I was talking to the director after, my kid was, “Sign me up!” I don’t know where she learned “sign me up!” but she said it and we did. She went back today and she was so superduper excited to go in.

I guess I don’t have any excuses anymore. Here’s to climbing over my own boundaries.

On Vulnerability

My friend in my writing group was asking for blog topics the other day and I said, “how about on being brave?”

He wrote a great blog post I totally needed because he’s reading one of my pieces now. (An aside, Bryan Young is crazy talented and you should read his books. Seriously, go do it. Here. Let me help you)

I’m not so sure my main issue is bravery now that I’m thinking about it. I tend to the prickly side. I like to put on my makeup face, wear my armor, and look unapproachable. I skew hedgehog. My spikes? Look how fucking rad they are! But my little pink belly? Fat chance.

It’s vulnerability that scares the bejesus out of me. And that’s the hard part. And it’s been an underlying reason I’ve been hesitant to revise. Because when I revise, I’m one step closer to actually showing people my work. And then they’re one step closer to seeing my novels are poorly executed weird ideas. My jerkbrain tells me this enough already. I don’t need it externally as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched this, but it’s good to post:

Friends who love you and tell you how much they love your stuff are important. But so are friends who post 38 comments on your google doc, then message you with, “So, I finished the first chapter. Tell me what you think. Do they help?”

It’s hard and it’s scary, but, it’s a first step. That first step might be a doozy, but I think I survived it.

Truth Bombs

Recently, I told a friend to pull a title from Amazon. I read their book and was a little o_0 over it. The title was pulled and I was both relieved and felt terrible.

My critique partner and I were talking over breakfast the other morning and LuLo came up. It was my first real effort at a novel worth publishing and it did not go through a very stringent vetting process. The ladies in my moms group, who I love and adore, were much too nice about my book and well, it sucked. Like a lot. So, I pulled it. There are so many reasons why it sucked, which I can go into at length, if you’d like, but… Anyway. My critique partner was still much too kind about it and didn’t come out and say it, but I kind of wish she would have.

It’s nice to hear your story is fun. It’s nice to hear it’s well written. But if that’s not true, you are doing the writer a disservice. High five for the cold, hard truth.

The more writing I’m doing, the more work I’m putting into it, the more I want to hear honest critiques. I don’t want to hear it’s good if it’s dog shit. I think I’m coming to a new place in my writing, where I’m feeling brave. Where I can send out queries. Where I can get the feedback I need. I’ve been doing more research on the Dunning-Kruger effect. I think I’m getting better at this and I can judge my own abilities better. Or maybe I’m still as hopelessly hopeless as I was before ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We report. You decide. heh. or something.

In any case, I feel like I’m taking steps forward. I don’t feel as scared. I’ve written some really terrible stories. And that was that. Nothing bad happened. As far as I know. But, I don’t feel so frightened of sending my books out into the world. I’ve been working through my revision block. And now, this. Things are moving forward and I’m feeling like a new, stronger, braver person.

Revision

I was scribbling in my journal the other day, trying to work through why I hate revision so much. And I think I’ve made some headway.

I’ve rambled a bit about my ~process~ before. I’m a pantser and don’t take kindly to outlines. I fly by landmarks. How I get there? I have no idea. I just know I do. I’m a discovery writer. I like finding out how things work and how they fit together. Continue reading Revision

Revision

I’m back in Khazad-dûm. And it’s really not so bad. I outlined the Defiant Canary in my notebook and it’s really quite pleasing. It’s nice to have a path and know where I’m going and what I’m going to do.

The strangest thing about this book, I’ve made each POV switch its own chapter. I have a tendency to head-hop, but with three POV characters, it’s hard to keep it all straight. So, each is labeled with its respective owner.

Having the outline has made a world of difference. I cut out all the weird little half page POV snippets before I ran across them with a blue papermate. I can’t even tell you how demoralizing it is to be on a good clip with the revision and then finding there was all this weird work to do to get it into shape.

I think I have to have a set system for revision. I can’t just hack at it pell-mell as I usually do. I think the first step is to write down the outline and weed out all these weird half-page POV barfs. Do all the major structural stuff. Then use Suzanne Johnson’s excellent monster revision workshop. Like oh my god, take her workshop. It’s incredible. Her plotting workshop is rad af too. I think if I outlined, I wouldn’t have to take this first step of doing this structural step. But outlining is so meh in my brain. I’ve used her plotting ideas and melded them with my pantser ways to keep things organized better. Everything I’ve written since taking that workshopping class is in such better order and will be easier to revise. Anyway.

I’m feeling real good about this. I’ve been sending chapters as I revise them to my beta readers. It’s a fun story and there’s cultists and Cthulhu-esque whales and all manner of nonsense.

I think I have a real good chance of releasing this by June. That’s my plan. And then I think I’ll release Mort the month after. And then… I’m not sure. Probably The Washed Up Astronaut. Anyway. I have a ton of work all lined up. I’m looking forward to it. And I’m getting excited to see where this will take me. The more I write, the better I feel about what I’ve been writing. Anyway. I’m feeling super hopeful and excited and rad.

Writers and Other Solitary Critters

My favorite part of this past NaNoWriMo was the group I fell into. My local region runs an IRC chatroom and we kept showing up into December.

I’ve been home with the Entropy Machine since she was born. I’ve missed having co-workers. I mean, I know I’m doing important work and blah blah blah, but damn, I miss having grownups to talk to. (I could write another article on women’s work here, too. I probably should)

Anyway. We’ve formed a little group, encouraging each other, using a group spreadsheet to track our word counts (compliments of yours truly and my mad spreadsheet skills) and goals for the year.

It’s weird to have a group like this when it comes to writing. I’ve been flying solo for so long with my words that having a group like this is a huge privilege. They’re keeping me on track and one more reminder in the morning to get up. I set the coffee maker to go off at 5 and I know someone else is going to be in our chatroom too. Helps me to stay motivated and the word wars are just great.

That said, it’s hard to find a community of writers. It’s hard to find your place and who you need. I joined the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America and I love them. But, I need to have something a little more. The daily group has been the answer I’ve been looking for.

I wish I had some advice for finding a writing group. I suppose finding groupings of writers and spending time with them is the first step. 😂

That said, what advice do you have to find your tribe?

Because when's the last time you trembled from delight?