I’m SO Ready for San Francisco!

This will be a short post, because I have a thousand things to do before I leave Thursday (way early) morning.

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1. I am so ready for San Francisco! I’m always ready for the City by the Bay, but right now I am craving some interaction with creative types, authors, editors, movers, shakers. The San Francisco Writers Conference couldn’t come at a better time. Besides, it’s so cold and snowy here, I need a mini-escape LIKE RIGHT NOW.

2. After the last year, I’m finally feeling like a real writer! That’s because I’ve been writing or editing or outlining almost every day. It’s been tough to get on a schedule, and believe me, you would know. I’ve been bitching about my Real Life problems for years now. However, I’m getting better at carving out a space for me and my writing time. It’s true, if you write, you will write more.

3. I’m planning another book, this one YA. Like I don’t have enough to do? This one will have death as a theme, and I haven’t decided whether I should put my story in Michigan, Minnesota, or California. Hopefully, it’ll be funny. Maybe not.

4. I’ve started editing Virtually Yours Forever (for those of you who were wondering what happened to my Beanie Moms), and I hope to self-publish the sequel by the end of the year. I already have a eCover design, it’s just a matter of getting the story to the point where it makes sense. There’s a lot going on with my moms!

5. I’ve undertaken another launch, but since it’s in the gestational stage, I’m not going to talk about it. Don’t want to jinx it.

I know it’s only Monday, but I’m already packing. I’ll be gone for longer than usual (ten days) so I’ve been plotting and planning my Real Life so there won’t be any Real Life disasters while I’m gone.

Finally, I’m praying that Mother Nature will cut me a break this week. Please don’t send any monster blizzards my way on Wednesday or Thursday, PLEASE. I want all airlines to be running on time, without delay. If I miss one second of this conference, I’m going to be super PO’ed.

The Art of a Creative Real Life

I am guilty about complaining about Real Life.

How can I not complain? I’m a busy girl, with lots of interests. I love learning about new things. I consider myself an artist. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a pen in my hand, or charcoal, or paints, or guitars, yarn, violins, hand shovels, fabric, beads, wire, jewels, or exotic food. I’m learning Japanese, in my car and via Rosetta Stone. I read like there’s no tomorrow, not only fun novels and engrossing literary fiction, but history books and biographies. The tired old adage of not having enough hours in a day doesn’t begin to describe the frustration I feel as minutes tick by and my List of Things to Do is not even approaching completion.

Let’s face it: mundane Real Life, with its responsibilities and drama, often keeps me from my Creative Life. There’s a lot of items on the “CON” side. I have kids – yes, they are grown, so what? grown up kids often have grown up problems – and a business – several, actually – and it all sucks up my time. I have a house (huge) and a yard (even huger), both of which require constant maintenance. On the flip side, the Real Life gig does pay the bills, a huge plus on the “PRO” side.

My one defense in the fight against Real Life doldrums is to approach Real Life with a different perspective. It’s really not so hard; you must be creative in order to obtain a creative Real Life.

It’s easy to find inspiration when you’re young and unattached, moody and naive, and infinitely more difficult, albeit not impossible, as you are weighed down by things like paying the rent and starting a family. When my kids were very small, I tapped into my creative side. I used to make their clothes, and of course, cooking is a wonderful way of crafting edible creations.

Soon my days became more harried and time evaporated, but I strove to make every action a creative one. I’m sure my son’s second grade teacher, Mrs. Siciliano, did not appreciate my heart-felt and inspired apologies for his abhorrent behavior, but hey, you do the best you can with what you have.

I’m flabbergasted by the number of people who sit in front of a device and play games or who are otherwise ‘entertained.’ Granted, I’m a huge offender. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of Facebook, TV, or video games (or a number of other mindless distractions) and spend their precious time wasting it away. I’m constantly amazed by people who see what I’m doing and declare, “I’m not creative at all!” I want to shake them silly and say, “Yes, yes, you are! Give yourself a chance.” A person doesn’t have to accomplish a task with pinpoint accuracy; the main thing is to try. The only way to get the juices stimulated is by making the attempt, or in my case, the many attempts. Learn from your mistakes; correct them, and move on.

My time is limited, but I don’t let the lack of it limit me. If the phone’s not ringing at work, I will twist up some wire while I wait for the action to begin. As much as I strive to carve out a niche of quiet for myself, I often don’t have time to pound out a chapter in one of my novels. If that’s the case, I might open one of my blogs (as I’m doing here) and write a few words, or take out my notebook and read what I’ve written in the past and jot down new ideas. I’ll use bits of time to research, update, and catalog.

Living a creative Real Life isn’t a given. It takes dogged determination and a desire to make everything and anything you might endeavor to do a work of art.

Isn’t that what life’s all about?

Vacation Over, Back to Work

The end of NaNoWriMo brings forth many emotions. If you were successful in clocking in 50K words, you’re heady with excitement. If you somehow didn’t make it (I refuse to say ‘fail’ – let’s just call it a momentary setback), you are kicking yourself in the posterior.

This year, I made it. True, the ‘finished’ product is far from a finished novel. In fact, this particular pile of slop doesn’t even have the words “The End” attached to the last page. But…the story is all there for later mucking.

After the marathon writing, squeezing in paragraphs during slow minutes at work, up early, up late while my husband was out of town, I was spent. It’s how it goes. So it’s not unusual for a certain amount of decompression to take place after all that effort.

Need I say it? The last nine days were spent in literary vacation. Oh, I read a lot, on a round trip to Colorado, especially, I just didn’t write anything.

I have pronounced the vacation officially over; it’s time to get back to work.

First off, I have a contest or two to enter, so I need to go over my intended manuscripts and make changes before the end of the month. Then I have Cadence to edit, which is now coming back to me 20 pages of edits at a time. I need to finish re-editing Virtually Yours, and also finish up Clementine.

(Note to reader: I am talking to myself. Excuse me.)

Added to my list of things to do is Christmas. Oh, the dreaded December. My daughter has decided to come home for the holiday. There’s massive cleaning (construction workers in the house, it’s terribly dusty), and other Real Life stuff, but I’m going to try my best to adhere to the wonderful schedule I managed to come up with during NaNoWriMo. Hint to other writers: it’s not so much the schedule, it’s making the most use of your time. Write as fast as you can. 🙂

That’s the entire purpose of NaNoWriMo – not to finish a novel or craft a best seller. It’s to instill a rhythm of writing.

I’m busy. How about you?