Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snowflakes and Feathers

Four pages today, all told. I know I've stayed up late again, but even though that's not great, at least I have progress to report. I had several writing sessions at different intervals during the day (Tuesday). It was a snow day; my older daughter and I didn't even go to dance class due to the snowy roads and the fact that one of my rear tires has sprung a slow leak. So I stayed home and made as much progress as I could.

I helped my younger daughter write a report for Science, working on the book after she and her father left in the 4-wheel drive pickup for her dance class. Something about knowing I have lots to do and have to learn to be productive in smaller chunks of time just flat did it for me today. Every time I sat down to write, I did a lot more writing than internet browsing, and got into flow right away without any trouble. In this wee hour of the morning, I have four new pages to show for it, and a completed chapter as a result. Moxie is on Sunday, and this time I will have pages to bring that are not just another rewrite of something the ladies have already read.

At least in part, I owe my productivity to the new featherbed we got to go on top of the latex topper we got to go on top of our failing pillow-top mattress. I know, I know. I'm like the Princess and the Pea. I just keep adding layers onto the mattress, hoping it will help. But even the Huz, who'd never admit there was anything wrong with the old mattress, slept better last night with the new featherbed, so maybe we've finally found the combination of layers that will work until we're rich enough to buy a new mattress. At least this is definitely an improvement, and I'm betting that if I sleep better, I'll write better. Really? You think?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Working Hours

I shifted my schedule enough last night that I went to bed at about 1 a.m. and got up at 10:30 a.m. (with allowances for a two-hour interruption between 3 and 5 a.m. where I woke up from the mattress being uncomfortable and remembered I'd promised to send an important email to a group I belong to. Time sensitive stuff, so I couldn't delay it or it would have messed up somebody's plans for the day. My schedule has never been stellar, and time management is my Achilles' heel. I'm always working hours when I should be sleeping, and sleeping hours when I should be working. Comes from having started my adult working life on a night shift, I guess, but even now, years later, it has still carried through and done me no favors. I beat the 20-somethings for crazy hours. Well, now I need to change it for good and work hours that are more...ah...normal.

Another obstacle for me is the homeschool. I need to work with my kids for a certain amount of time each day, and even when they're supposed to be working independently, they need more structure in their day. So I'm trying a new system--or maybe it's an old system. Anyway, it involves visual aids and, literally, working hours.

I have two hourglasses. Today, I put one in the kids' homeschool office and one in my office. I got the kids started working and turned their hourglass over, then went upstairs to my office and turned mine over. When my sand ran out, I went down to check on them and see how much progress they'd made. As this is a Saturday but we're playing the catch up game, if they make enough progress they get to go to a movie tonight. And the hourglass in their office lets them know exactly how much time they've got left until Mom appears to lower the boom. The hourglass in my office keeps them from cheating the time on their hourglass.

This means I have to write in one-hour increments, which is hard for me. At the end of an hour, I'm just getting warmed up. But I don't have a choice at this point. I'll just have to learn how to get into flow faster, and be grateful that I get any time at all to write during the day. After all, some writing is better than no writing. Problem is, none of this takes housework or errands into account...but no system is perfect, and this is just a starting point. We'll see where we can go from here. From what I see today, we've all made some progress.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

News and Happy Dance

Okay, here's one of the moments I've been waiting for. I emailed my agent Wednesday; he replied Thursday that From the Ninth Wave is finally in a marketable condition! No more rewrites--at least, not until an editor at a publishing house picks it up. Now he's going to start showing it around the Big Apple, and hopefully it will find a great home with a publisher. Whoohooo!

This might be the one that does it. Now I just have to wait and see, and let Bob take it from here. In the meantime, I'll be working on the second half of the last novel in my epic fantasy trilogy. I'd like to get Shifts of Perception finished as soon as I can, just in case Ninth Wave makes it. And I need to work on the plot for the second Brenna book--assuming I'll need one. Busy, busy, busy....

In other news, I performed (bellydance) at a coffee house earlier tonight. It was fun--this was my third time performing bellydance in public, and it seems like each time I do it, I get a little less nervous. I'm hoping this is a good omen for some future time in which I have to do some kind of press or something for the novels...ah, we're back to the novels again.

Optimism abounds at the moment. Bob likes the book; ergo, all is right with the world (or at least this little part of it). Everything else will take care of itself in due course.

Monday, January 14, 2008


The new bookcase came in, and I've nearly got all my books shuffled around the way I want them. I love it. It's going to be so much easier to work in my office without all the clutter and stacks of papers and books. I'm so pleased at the way it's turning out. I can even open my door and still not hit a bookshelf--the wall I put the new bookshelf on was just long enough to hold two bookshelves and still allow the door to open. Helps that they're quite tall and not extremely wide. After months of clutter, finally there's a place for almost everything and almost everything is in its place. Sigh.

I've caught up on a lot of reading--now I only have one borrowed book left in my house where before there was a pile of them. I've also read Patty Briggs' new book, Iron Kissed, twice--once for myself and once aloud to my husband. My daughters will want to borrow it next.

Now if I can just finish writing the magical battle scene I'm stuck on for the Oantra book, Shifts of Perception, I'll be almost back on track. And one day soon, I'm going to have to work up the courage to call my agent and ask him if this last rewrite of From the Ninth Wave was good enough for him to start showing it to publishers.

Many thanks in advance to everyone who's been sending along good thoughts. I appreciate them more than you can imagine.