Monday, December 30, 2013

Face-To-Face

On a whim, I emailed my critique buddy who lives here in town. Not only are we both fiction writers and critique partners, but we're good friends, too. I haven't seen her for awhile due to health problems (both of us), job challenges, her son getting married, the holidays, etc., etc. So I emailed her today to ask if she'd like to meet for coffee since I knew we both had the day off, and she was up for it.

We met at a local place and had coffee (okay, I had a diet Pepsi and a red velvet cookie - bad, I know!) and talked and talked and laughed and commiserated with each other. We talked about our jobs, our families, our faith, and of course, we talked about our writing.

Most of my writing friends are online. I'm deeply thankful for them all because writing is a solitary business. But it is also important to have writing friends off-line, too. Being able to hear the other person's voice and see them face to face is essential for knowing that we are not alone. We can put a face, a voice, a mannerism, a wave of the hand, to that person. Sure, you can Skype with someone, but really, it's not quite the same thing as meeting them in person.

We both resolved not to let so much time go by again before we reconnect. We're also planning to have a mini writing retreat of our own in the next few months. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do nothing but work on my fiction!

In Holiday News...

We had a very quiet Christmas and we will have a very quiet New Year's Eve. We don't ever go out on this night because it's far safer to stay home and it's also a lot quieter. Ha! Does that mean we're getting old? I suppose. My husband told me tonight that he will try to stay up until midnight, but since he is used to falling asleep early every night, I'm not counting on it.

Still, I plan on watching some good movies and having my annual New Year's Eve snack: Lays potato chips and French onion dip. I think I started eating this snack every New Year's Eve when I was in high school, and I've continued the tradition through the years.

Then it's back to work on Thursday! Sigh. I'm not ready. I'd much rather stay home and work on my writing projects. But in a way, it's nice to get back into a routine. I've let my eating habits sort of run by the wayside this past week and a half. Must get that back on track soon! (After the chips and dip, of course!).

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Desperately Missing My Manuscript

It's been almost an entire month since I worked on my novel.

That sentence makes me want to cry. Literally.

Since I have a non-fiction book under contract and already had to get an extension on said contract due to my bout with mono in September/October, I have had to put nose to the grindstone to get this baby done. And I'm almost there. The first draft is on the verge of being finished and then it's editing time. I've really liked the process, of course, and I've learned a lot.

But I've also learned where my true passion is: my fiction.

I actually become giddy when I think about that day when I can finally get back to my novel and immerse myself in it. I can't wait to jump back into the world of fiction writing in blog posts and Twitter feeds. I can't wait to embrace it with every fiber of my being. I can't wait to talk about my writing with my fellow writers.

This entire project has taught me many lessons, but one lesson that stands out above all others is this: I am a fiction writer at heart, and when I am unable to write my fiction, there's a part of me that shrivels up, like a plant thirsty for water during a hot summer day. Only that day has stretched into a month and my parched leaves are about ready to dry up.

Soon, I tell myself. Soon the non-fiction project will be done and I can get back to my true writing love.

Some may ask, why not work on the novel and the non-fiction project at the same time?

Oh, gentle reader, I did try. And I was making a moderate success of it. But then the deadline started looming large and I realized I did not have the energy or the strength to work on both. Maybe if I didn't work a 40-hour a week job, or maybe if I didn't have rheumatoid arthritis snatching away my health at the worst possible moment, I could manage to do both. But I tried and failed.

And really, I'm not making excuses. I'm just accepting my limitations. That's been a difficult thing for me to do, but it's something I've had to do. I can no longer try and do it all, and I refuse to feel guilty for that. In today's world of PRODUCE MORE NOW, I accept that I have to produce at my own pace.

We are alwayso learning, growing, changing. I love that about life.

And on that note, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! We had our family Christmas a little early this year and my husband and I hosted it at our house last evening. It was a truly wonderful time and below is a picture of the tree with the bounty of gifts beneath it. We are an incredibly blessed family. I love them all so much. Family is truly one of the best things about life.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Update

It's December! Goodness. I haven't blogged in awhile.

I've been busy working on my non-fiction book. The first draft is almost completed. It's been a slow, arduous project, but ultimately, a fulfilling one.

I haven't been able to work at all on my novel for the past few weeks, though while on the drive to work today, I did get to thinking about my main character and how she should react in a particular scene. I'm eager to get back to it.

The second Christmas tree is up - I say second because the first tree was decimated by the cats. You can see what they did below (I had only put on the lights, no ornaments, thank goodness).

Since I was in the middle of a rheumatoid arthritis flare, I had pretty much decided I didn't have the energy to  fix this tree or chase cats around all day. But my wonderful husband surprised me with a brand new, pre-lit tree. When he took it out of the box, he sternly told the cats to leave it alone and, surprise, surprise, they have listened (for the most part). I roused myself enough to decorate it, with the help of my daughter, and I think it turned out beautiful.
It has been VERY cold here - a little warmer today, thank goodness, but we've had frigid temps for about a week now. We also woke up to a gorgeous blanket of snow on Saturday morning. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance! www.melissamarsh.net