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I write young adult novels whenever I'm not taking care of children, making meals, and tackling the Mount Everest of laundry piles.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How Badly Do I Want to Write Full Time?

Let me just say that come this fall I thought I would be back in the classroom. I have been a stay at home mom for almost a decade, but before that I was a fifth grade teacher. I always assumed I'd go back, never really questioned it...that is until about three years ago when I realized that I had been working with children for more than half my life already and I was just done-I'd given all I could give in the daily care and feeding of small people department and I really couldn't imagine doing it anymore--with the exception of taking care of my own children, which I am absolutely up for still:)  Basically, I just woke up and realized that I wanted to write, that I needed to write and that most of what drew me to teaching dealt with words and writing somehow. But we all know how difficult it is to make writing your full time occupation-we can love it, but unless you're publishing pretty regularly and successfully, it doesn't pay the bills. So it becomes a hobby for most of us, a side line thing to do after the full time job that does pay the bills.

My fear though, is that if this becomes a part-time thing that I do after my full time job and after I spend time with my family, will I ever get it off the ground the way I need to to see my story in print? So hubby and I are trying something radical-at least for a couple of planners like us. We are giving me another year-the third in my quest for publication-to try and write something excellent enough to nab me an agent. I will write full time for the first time and see what happens. The only snafu in this plan is that we could really use some extra income.  So, in order to best facilitate my plan, I will be helping my hubby with his second job, the one he hopes to make full time so he can slow down and enjoy life-for one, because he needs to build it up and for two because doing it will net me more income than waitressing or any of the other part time jobs I was considering.

So what type of family business does my hubby have you may ask? I can tell you it involves a uniform, a truck full of chemicals and a very weapony looking backpack. In short, I will be a bug lady. No, I won't be studying them, I will be exterminating them.  Which is funny really since I have an almost pathological fear of all things jumpy, leggy, or stingy. So next year a few days a week, I will strap on a pack full of pesticides and shoot to kill...and then try not to squeal or run or make my really ugly ewwww! face...because somehow I think that might not look too professional.  So now I think this blog might just be about my adventures in bugs and words. That's how badly I want to make this writing thing work!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Getting Real

Okay, I think maybe I have been going about this blog thing all wrong. I'm thinking now that if/when I get published someday, anyone checking out this blog will want to know what I want to know when I investigate a writer's blog, which is: what did you do each and everyday that somehow led to you getting published? I want to know what a writer's reality is so I can compare it to mine, see if it feels similar. So in that spirit, I am changing things up and making my posts more personal.

So this week I managed to write out the first fifty pages of my shiny new WIP only to realize that I am falling into familiar patterns and the book is going quiet on me. I'm not sure why I do this, I just know that I do. The plot grinds to a halt, I start having my characters gloss over their feelings and instead spend inordinate amounts of time having them dissect stuff that in the larger scheme of things, means nothing. Then I get all wrapped up in my own ability to describe something, in making it uber clever and my story goes down the toilet-where incidentally in it's current form, it belong (all except Chapter One which is really good if I do say so myself).

And I found all of this out when one of my crit partners basically told me that chapter one was really awesome and she was super excited to read chapter two--until she actually read chapter two. It was long and boring were her primary comments and I left group trying to justify why chapter two was the way it was to myself, to my mother (who I called like a little baby to whine), and to my husband.

I fumed and sank into a bowl of chips and salsa, watched The Vampire Diaries and basically allowed myself a little self-pity time. But then that night I started thinking seriously about her comments, and guess what? She was absolutely right...and now I know what my problem is, I give my characters too many breathers-time to adjust to their conflicts, to feel better about everything or at least less in peril instead of hitting them with whammy after whammy and pushing them to act on the fly, to think while they are reacting. The crazy thing is that this is basic stuff-I've read advice about this how many times, so why can't I seem to internalize it?

And the only answer I can come up with is, I don't know. Maybe I couldn't see it until I was ready, maybe I needed to internalize other writer lessons first. Who knows? It's frustrating and overwhelming sometimes how much there is to learn about writing well and how many balls have to stay spinning in the air to make a story great. It's a testament to how truly gifted good writers are because they make it look attainable, easy almost and it is anything but.

So now I am redirecting myself and moving forward with a clearer idea of where my story needs to go and what should happen in Chapter Two. Here's hoping that I've had a break through and the writing I do this week will live up to the story playing out in my head because the idea is good and I think if I can do it justice, it could be "the one" that puts me over the top and gets me published.

So no more chips and salsa, 'cause my pants are already tighter and lots more writing. Gulp.