Sunday, June 29, 2014

Picture Post and Writing Stuff

Do you remember a few posts ago when I talked about maps? Keep that in mind while I venture off course for just a moment.

Every once in a while, I like to go back through my old writing. This time, I did it to get inspired. Either with a new idea or the motivation to revamp an old idea. Then I decided to start a list of my writing. My categories were: idea or started, some progress, substantial progress, and completed. About 90% of my old writing is fanfiction. And even if you combined a lot of it, it's still not novel length. But you have to start somewhere, right? 

(I didn't track the fanfiction, in case you were wondering)

In the process of all this, I found this binder.



This is the TAKE A LITTLE RIDE master plan binder. There's a printed map of each state in a sheet protector. In with the map is the official state road map and any helpful information I may have found for the story.


Honest to God, I forgot I made the binder. How in the hell does a person forget something like that?! Okay, see that top map? It's dated 2009. Which would've been when the idea struck. That means TALR was my NaNoWriMo idea in either '09 or '10. I'd have to look it up to be sure. It reached it's final completed stage in '12, maybe. That's ridonkulous. 


If you've read TALR, you might recognize this gem that made it into the story. And totally made me want to visit Indiana for real.

So you can understand a little better about what a writer puts into the actual writing process. Sometimes it's more than just pen to paper.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Critique

Just when I thought all hope was lost, I realized MAYBE IT'S NOT.

Today, it rained most of the day. So we couldn't go outside and do fun things (i.e. distractions). So I pulled out my completed manuscript that I've been trying to revise. And I worked on it. Then I read some blog posts about critiquing and finding a critique partner. Because that's what I need. I need someone to hold me accountable, someone to help me set goals and then stick to them.

Then I resorted to googling "how to find a critique partner" and something called Ladies Who Critique popped up. I looked around a bit and thought "what have I got to lose?" So I signed up and replied to a forum post. I've already made a couple possible connections. So we'll see what happens.

This time I think I know a little more about what to do and how to do it. The one other time I tried the CP thing, I was just jumping into the unknown. It seemed to work out okay; but as writers, we were in different places. And her book comes out this summer, I believe. While mine doesn't. 

I'm still afraid that I don't want it bad enough. Then I think I do. I know I do. To see my name on the cover of a book? Seriously. I don't even know if I could handle it. So I can do this. I can do it and I will. This is the dream and I refuse to give up.

On Being Popular

A guy I went to high school with posted this article on Facebook. First, let me say for the record that I was not popular. Neither was the guy that posted it. I imagine the people involved with writing the article weren't popular, either. But isn't there a saying...or an internet meme...about nerds ruling the earth?

I don't know. I wrote about it a bit in TAKE A LITTLE RIDE. The character doesn't want to believe that high school was as good as it gets. If that was the top if your game, I feel sorry for you. I've always believed that if you go to college, all that popularity you worked so hard for is out the window anyway. Because none of it matters anymore. 

But I was a pretty naive person back then. I only realize it now. Maybe I still am, a little bit. I'm sure there were a lot of people doing things that I couldn't even have imagined back then. Maybe that hurts my writing a little bit. Or maybe that's why adults are better YA writers. We know ALL THE THINGS now that we didn't back then and we can educate our younger selves. Or help someone that age navigate it a little better. YA now is different than it used to be too, I think. Maybe because I didn't care about it back then. I didn't want to read about people my age. I read things that were over my head. Maybe that's why I like YA so much now. I feel like I missed some things and I want to recapture the magic. Not that I want to go back to high school. I'd rather...do anything else. I couldn't come up with a good way to finish that. But you get the point.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Compromise

Okay, so here's the deal. I never meant for this to be a parenting blog. Or a life blog. It's supposed to be about writing. But technically, blogging is writing. Right? So as long as I'm blogging about SOMETHING, doesn't that count as writing?

I am still trying to work on fiction when I can, just for the record. I haven't completed abandoned my dream. My priorities have slightly shifted for the time being. Sometimes life just gets in the way and you have to adjust your dreams.

So what I've been doing lately is a lot of soul-searching and reading about how to be a better parent. I mean, obviously I'm making the effort by planning an ENTIRE summer of fun, right? But that's the only part of it. The whole thing stresses me out, honestly. I'm not one of those super moms who can easily guide 3 kids thru the grocery store with no problems. I think part of the problem is that we've NEVER done it before and we don't know how to handle it. Not just me, but the kids too. Not that I'm blaming them. Another scenario...we don't eat out at restaurants very often. Like ever. My husband is cheap and will almost always refuse to eat out. So we've just never done it much. So when we do get to do a fast food place, it's almost always more of a headache than it is worth. And an actual sit-down restaurant? Forget it. Granted, it has gotten easier as they've gotten older...but it's still an outing I'd rather skip.

All of this is new to us. And it requires an adjustment period. So maybe this week, we'll just sit around and relax and let life happen and take it easy. If the oldest wants to play on the iPad all day, I'll let him. If the middle wants to paint, I'll help her paint. The youngest...well...as long as she naps at some point, we'll all be happy.

It doesn't always have to be about planning and doing and keeping up and keeping busy and doing and going. Just slow down and let life happen. Let the experiences happen. Don't try to control everything. No matter what. It just makes you miserable. And if you are miserable, chances are everyone around you is to.

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this post to encourage myself to become a better parent. I can do it. I know I can. One week of summer vacay doesn't define my parenting. The last 8 years are a better testament to the fact that I can do better. Now is the time to take charge and make the change and be the parent I want to be.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Fun!

So today ends the first week of summer vacay. And guess what? We survived. Barely. But we did it.

I decided already that we are better off taking a more relaxed approach to the whole thing. I read a blog called The Abundant Mama Project. They posted this list,quite possibly the best summer activity list I found in all my research. It's an easy list that requires minimal effort but still makes a lot of good memories. Granted, we've already done a few of the cliche activities for the summer, like mini golf and a picnic in the park. And we'll probably do a few more, but the Abundant Mama list, I hope, is the one we'll always go back to.

Besides all the activities, the other thing I read up on was how to be prepared for them. Because you might make a snap decision to stop at a park. Or a trip to Grandma's might turn into an afternoon of playing in the sprinkler. So now we're ready for those things.


(Please excuse my shadow. Also, the very best feature of my ancient Equinox? That adjustable shelf. I store my reusable shopping bags on the bottom and the groceries or stroller or whatever else goes on top.)

So, after much research, here's what stays in the car all summer...
-blanket
-paper towels
-sunscreen
-bug spray
-first aid kit
-tissues
-ziploc bags
-diapers and swim diapers
-extra clothes, socks, underwear, swimsuits
-bottles of water
-sippy cup
-baby and big kid snacks (crackers, fruit snacks, non-melty stuff)
-extra formula for baby
-hand sanitizer
-lip balm
-reusable bag
-wipes (baby, flushable and Clorox)
-tweezers, nail clippers and file

I combined several different lists I found on Pinterest into one big summer preparedness kit. I'm one of those people who always over-packs and over-prepares, so I don't really see us using all of these things. But it's nice to know it's all there, just in case.

And now that I'm looking at those original lists, there are a few things I forgot. Like hair elastics, clips and safety pins (from http://aunnajames.blogspot.com). Other sources:
http://pinkpolkadotcreations.com
http://cutest-little-things.blogspot.com
http://snailpacetransformations.com

You can find all the links on my Summer Fun Pinterest board

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer...Fun?

Today was the first day of summer vacation for the 2 older kids. My first day home with all 3 of them, knowing it's not a weekend and I won't get a "break" in a few days. It's a little different for me. I'll be honest. It's going to be a struggle.

Here's the flat out truth. Some women will tell you they don't ever want to have kids. Hey, that's cool. I'm not judging. I have 3 and sometimes I wonder what I was thinking. But I'll be the first to admit (and I probably already have) that I'm not stay-at-home-mom material. I worked for 10+ years. I still feel like I should be working. I'm just not used to being with my kids 24/7. Some people thrive as SAHMs. Me...I struggle. I don't even consider myself a SAHM. You know how Facebook always wants you to update your information? Right now, I think mine says something like "not employed at this time" or something generic like that. I don't want to be classified as "unemployed"...even though I am, and probably will be for a while. And I don't feel like I want to be a SAHM. Not that it's a bad thing. I just don't feel like it fits me...even though that's what I'm doing. I don't know. Maybe I need to change my thinking.

Maybe if I change my thinking, things will be easier. Maybe I should just embrace it. If today was an indication of how the whole summer will be, it's going to be rough and something has to give. Maybe now I'm ready to go work at Pizza Hut.

Don't get me wrong. We had a few good moments today. I took them all to Wal-Mart this morning. Gah. That was a mistake. I will let the pantry go bare before I will take them all to the store again. I couldn't even get the list completed. Got the basics, a few special things to keep them quiet, and then we got out of there. Probably forgetting some of the important things.

I think part of the problem is that the older 2 are...just that, older. We went on a short creek walk this afternoon. I had to use the Moby for the baby and it was totally awkward and uncomfortable. So it's not really fair to the older 2. But it's not fair to baby either because she didn't have a good nap today. I could've used a good nap today.

But I tried...I tried so hard to be prepared for this. I looked at all the "summer fun activity" lists on Pinterest. I made up some rules and came up with some daily plans and contracts to try and insure good behavior. We didn't make it 1 day. I tried to set up limits on screen time. Psh. That didn't even make it thru the morning. Oh well. It's supposed to be about making memories, right? I guess if those memories are about spending all your waking moments on the iPad, then that's your choice...if only I could just get him to sit outside while he does it...