Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Most Pitiful of All

Oh the saddness of being outside! Our poor dog sleeps inside at night, but goes outside to eat her breakfast. This is her at her most pitiful.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I wish I had insomnia

I do. I wish I had insomnia.

Oh there's some insomniac out there shaking his/her fist at the monitor and thinking I'm an idiot for even thinking this...


Think about how much reading I could get done. These days, it seems like the only reading I can manage to accomplish is in the bath tub. And by the time the tub is full and I shut the water off, sometimes I can hear my daughter crying and hungry. So out comes the plug and out I climb. Luckily it's a deep tub that takes ten minutes to fill... so I get a ten minute read in!

The only thing that guarantees me a few minutes of reading is when I'm pumping milk... ten minutes of being hooked up to the pump, stuck in one spot.

I have books piled up, ready to be read. On the top of the list are some behaviour books to help my son adjust to life as a kindergartener. Who knew THAT would be so hard?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Link of the Day: Publishing Myths

Perusing the blog-o-sphere this morning, I came across a great post at one of my regular reads. Konrath demystifies the publishing industry, something I'm just learning about. It's a great read and I agree with many of his points.

Many writers, whether published or not, seem to believe that their job is simply to write and it's the publisher's job to do "everything else". I disagree. Konrath says it perfectly:
Once you're a writer, you become the CEO of your own business.

This means that I'm also responsible for the areas of my business such as advertising, promotions, marketing, customer satisfaction etc... When my book hits the shelves I will promote it, I will pay for ads if I need to, I will promote it over all other competitors. Because it's not up to the publisher to do everything. If I want my book to do well, then I need to put some elbow grease to work.

The better my book does, the better my company performs, the more my words are worth.

Friday, October 13, 2006


There's one main reason I pursued an agent first rather than a publisher... contract negotiations! Definitely the scariest part of the whole deal. Reviewing my contract gave me heart palpitations, I swear!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Woot! Woohoo! Wahoo! Whichever you'd prefer...

My agent is announcing it, so I'm gonna announce it:

I sold my first book! We, meaning my agent and me, sold it to Trafalgar Square.

Heather Cook's THE ROOKIE REINER, a guide to reining for everyone from the horse expert to the equine novice.


Now I have to a) write the book and b) write the next proposal for the next book! No rest for us word whores!

Monday, October 02, 2006

The tricks

I've heard a lot of women - mothers especially - say that they have no time to write. It's understandable.

First there are the mothers that work outside the home and are raising families. They want to spend as much time with their kids as they can when they are home. They feel guilty when they take some time for themselves to sit and visit with their muse.

Then there are the mothers that work inside the home while raising families. They have kids pulling them in a variety of directions, extra laundry it seems, three meals to cook and clean up after, chores to complete. They too feel guilty if they stop to take time to write because their kids are right there, wanting their attention. Even the ones whose kids are in school find that they try get the household chores done during those times.

I have been in both camps.

Right now I work at home, I have a 5 year old son in kindergarten and a six week old daughter. Before having my daughter, I worked outside of the home.

Here are the tricks:
  1. Forget the muse. She is a slack-ass and never shows up for work. If you were her boss, which you are, you'd fire her butt and send her packin'. This doesn't mean that when she does show up you aren't going to ride her like you stole her... because she serves her purpose ... when she shows up. Writing mothers like us? We don't have time to wait on the muse. We write when our fingers are on the keyboard
  2. It's crap, admit it. When we do sit down and write, some of it is crap. We know it. We don't read back over it and tell ourselves what crappy writers we are, we know that we can always go back and revise. But if there's nothing there to work with, there's nothing to craft into a beautiful piece of writing. Now on the days Ms. Muse shows her face, things don't seem so crappy. Still, go back and revise later, she has her off days too.
  3. Set a timer. When you really think you don't have time, you make it. When the kids have fallen asleep, set a timer for 15 minutes. Put fingers on keyboard and write. When you are on your lunch break, set a timer and write. Then reward yourself with a nice Chai Latte.
  4. Give yourself a break. You are busy. Do not try to do it all. I know that' s silly advice from the woman who has hauled her six week old daughter on four flights already to make writing committments... and has two more flights this week alone... but really, don't beat yourself up for not doing it all. There's plenty more I think I could do, but I am not doing it because I know I am human. Pay attention to your stress signs and don't take on any more projects just because you don't have something to do for six minutes one tuesday morning and figure you can write a query for an article you have no time to write. Instead, write it down and pin it on your wall. Decide that when you are done a current project that you will give your attention to this one, waiting in the wings.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gotta getta plan...

Ok. I need to do it. I need to get a plan.

I've been keeping it under wraps for the last few weeks, but my non-fiction book is more than 'under consideration' by a publisher... we have the handshake. They made an offer, we countered (we, meaning me and the agent), they re-offered and we accepted. There were a few mini-hoops to jump through, but the contract is ready to be sent to my agent!

So now... the writing begins.

Oh, what? I have to write it now?

Yes. The writing. Of the book. That I've already sold.

Selling non-fiction books rocks. Sell it, then write it.

I had been waiting until the contract was finalized, but after speaking with my agent we agreed that now was the time to write it. Due date, so far, is April 1st.

The book will be 21 chapters + appendix. Most chapters are relatively the same size... with one or two shorter ones.

So, 26 weeks... 182 days.

This means I need to write a chapter a week. With time off for Christmas.

Scary? Yes. Exciting? YES!

It's my fault... I admit it.

I realized today that my son is far too addicted to video games. He's five.

I know, I know. I can hear you... "five is far too young to be playing video games... MY child doesn't play them..." I know.

I didn't introduce them to him. I didn't want him anywhere near them. Then my mom let him play some games... then his dad let him play during one of their visits. Then next thing you know, mom brought the game box over to our house... six months later I have a little addict.

I tried to limit him, I really did. But like any good drug I kept going back for more. I was suddenly getting a lot more work done during the day. I had an hour or (I know) two of time to work, time to write.

Yesterday his dad brought him home after a visit and brought the PS2 plus Tony Hawk game. "It was the only way I could get him to leave," he said.

I'll skip over the fact that my ex avoids disciplining our son at all costs. I can even understand it. if I only saw my son once a week (shudder) then I'd want to spoil him and skip the discipline too.

This morning I was intending to try out a new church, so I wanted to take my son with me to see the Sunday School. He had been playing the PS2 between breakfast and church. I gave him the countdown. "Ten more minutes, buddy!" then "Five more minutes, buddy!" But when it came time to shut it down... let's just say all heck broke loose.

Meltdown time.

He cried, he threw himself on the floor, he pouted. When we got to the church he would not do a thing. Wouldn't come into the sanctuary, wouldn't go near the Sunday School room. The only thing he'd do is pout and say "I want to play my gaaaaaames!"

So they ALL went away. Every box, every game.

When he realized that this had been done he Flipped Out. He needed a solid 10 minutes in his bed for him to calm down.

This is my fault. I was drawn into the ease of getting work done while he played away and turned his brain into mush. I ignored the pangs of guilt when I'd walk by him, all zoned out on the game. I tried to make it more interactive, I'd talk to him about the games and sporadically watch him play, but for the most part, I let him play.

Now that he's in Kindergarten he is back to getting the interaction and activity that he craves. When he was in day care there was never more than a half hour of game time between coming home and going to bed, what with all the other stuff we had to accomplish in under 3 hours.

I have decided that we're going back to that half hour schedule. He can play his games for half an hour a day. AND, he needs to earn that half an hour.

At first I was just going to get rid of every game. Period. But I know he does enjoy them, and I think that he should be allowed to play them here a little bit because he needs to learn to limit the time rather than just remove the 'addiction'.

I liken it to learning to eat properly. The key to knowing you can control your eating is having tup of super extra triple chocolate supreme in your freezer and only eating a small portion rather than the entire tub in a single sitting.

We live and learn.