Monday, January 31, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Confidence is in preparation. Everything else is beyond your control."

Richard Kline

Friday, January 28, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

1) I am sucking at blogging the past couple weeks. This leads me to say I will commit to blogging twice a week at a minimum. Mondays and Fridays. And the days in between? Well, if I remember. Or have time. Or have time and remember. Basically, sorry if I'm sporadic. Things have been hectic I will work to be better. But yeah, Mondays come by for a quote. Fridays swing by for randomness. And every day in between, just stop by. No guarantees there will be anything more than pictures of cupcakes or cute baby animals, but yeah. You'll still come visit, right?

2) I thought taking time off after a major revision would be good for my health. It sucked. My brain nearly exploded from the lack of creative outlet. Decided that wasn't a good plan. So I'm writing again. Or rewriting at least. I didn't realize that the creative outlet thing would cause me serious physical pain. Brain explosions are bad, so listen to your body, people. If it is telling you that even though you're fried from writing, rewriting, revising and rewriting again the same project
a million times. Just listen. It's better than a brain explosion.

3) I just had a friend offer to write blog posts for me when I'm not able to. But he wants to do it anonymously. I told him I didn't want him to sue me for copyright issues. He said it wouldn't be the first time he mystery blogs. I have decided that I'm giving him the code name Janonymous. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Yeah. I thought so too. So you may see periodic blogs from Janonymous now and again. Just forewarning you. He talks about fishing a lot.

4) So Skins is this "new" show on MTV. We don't actually have cable (I know! Blasphemy!). I found out because I saw the commercial for it while I was watching Teen Mom 2 in a hotel room on a business trip a couple weeks back. Skins is not new. It is a BBC show that MTV has remade. Husband and I watched it on Netflix. And you know how when there's nothing wrong with the original, you just shouldn't mess with it? Yeah. MTV, really ... you just shoulda left this one alone.

5) I had a dream the other night that I went to go see Harry Potter 7 part 1 (No, I have not yet seen it,
I think we might be going this weekend.). It was my brother (18yo), sister (19yo) and me. And sitting right in front of us? J.K. Rowling. That's right. Literary royalty right there in front of me, sitting between her kids. Here's what happened--
Me (hushed whisper): OMG! You guys! That's J.K. Rowling!
Brother: Shhhh!
Me: But that's J.K. Rowling!
Sister: Don't do anything embarrassing okay?
Me: But that's J.K. Rowling!
J.K. stands up and heads down the steps, the lights of the theater coming on and spotlighting her as she walks, possibly going to concession stand. Or bathroom. Or just on a casual stroll around the theater as the movie based on her book plays in the background.
**my stack of HP books magically appears beside me--I didn't even have to Accio them**
I stand up and start to follow J.K. with my books.
Sister: Where are you going?
Me: Hello!?!?! That's J.K. Rowling!
Brother: OMG, I don't know you. *ducks down, pulls up hood, pretends he doesn't know me*
I rush off to the fabulous Ms. Rowling and beg for her autograph. She's lovely. Tells me about how she takes her children to see the movies in random non-huge cities so they can enjoy the films without being mobbed. I tell her what a great idea that is. We chat. Not so much on writerly things, but on mother-ish things. I'm an even bigger fangirl now.
*Wakes Up*
Me: Oh no! I'm late for work.
Husband: That sucks.
Me: J.K. Rowling is so normal!
Husband: What the ?
*Runs off to work*

And for reals, I'm off to work now :) Have an abfab weekend, peeps!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy."

Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, January 21, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

I haven't blogged since Monday and I think it has something to do with the fact that I blogged EVERY DAY last week. It threw me off.

Anyway, it's Friday - THANK GOD! This has felt like the Longest. Week. Ever! And that's despite the fact I was able to take Tuesday off from the day job!

1) So yes, Tuesday was my 3rd day of this last weekend. It was supposed to be Monday, but Bossman needed me for a special project, and, well, he does sign my checks. That ended up making this week, Tangled Tuesday for me and the kidlets. Have you seen it? No? Seriously, you need to go see it. One of the best Disney princess movies EVER. No joke. I'm not exaggerating. Really. Go. Now.
2) Speaking of kidlets - for those of you with one or two or ten or whatever ... why, oh why can a child's room NEVER stay clean for more than 2 1/2 minutes? Really? It's killing me. That's all.

3) School mascots come in all shapes and sizes and creatures and sometimes, I wonder who on earth was the mastermind behind some of these creatures. Some are not so bad. My alma mater was the home of the Grizzlies. In the general area, there's also Silver Wolves, Jaguars, Cougars, Hawks, Bengals. So a whole zoo of animals. Then there are Miners, who are pretty rough and tumble and can totally hold their own. But then there is this one school whose mascot is the Beetdigger. Really? I know it dates back, but really? That means they call all their girls' teams the LadyDiggers. Really? Maybe it's just me. Sorry if you're a Beetdigger, know a Beetdigger, were a Beetdigger. But ever since I was 10 and knew that was a mascot, it seriously just made me say "what were these people thinking?" Again, sorry if you're a beet digging fiend, but I really wonder how a beet digger would fair against say, I don't know, a Bengal tiger or a Grizzly bear. Just saying.

4) My brother recently upgraded his phone. This is his new phone. I have severe phone envy.
5) I hate laundry. I don't use that term lightly, either. It's on the list of "bad" words at our house, but seriously, laundry is the bane of my existence. Why? Because it is NEVER DONE. And if you put it off, it becomes like the blob that ate Milwaukee or something and just grows exponentially taking over your entire life. Speaking of which. I must go try to catch up on our laundry now. I know, fun start to the weekend right? Bet you're jealous.

Wishing you a laundry-free weekend everyone! Have a great one!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quote of the Week

"All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope."

Alexandre Dumas Pere

Friday, January 14, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

I don't know about you, but I am almost post-it noted out. Almost.

Hopefully there was something in my post-it notey ways that was helpful to you this week, even if that helpful thing was that one can never have too many post-its.

I'm sorry for being a bit off the grid this week. It was completely unintentional. When I travel for the day job, things can get a little crazy.

1) Speaking of traveling for the day job . . . on Monday I left Salt Lake City in 16* weather and they had to de-ice the plane twice before we could even take off. And then I get to San Jose and what? I could see my breath! It was cold out there (and I know freezing cold on the East Coast too). I felt totally jipped. I mean, I did not head out to California in January to still be cold!

2) After I came home from San Jose, I saw the pile of mail sitting on my home office desk and made a new resolution for this year. Didn't I tell you I sort of add and tweak as I go along? So this new resolution? Stay on top of the mail pile. Of all that is holy, it is pretty crazy to come home from a week away to find a MOUNTAIN of mail on your desk. Yes, Husband could've gone through it, but I'm a bit Type-A about some things, so he just sorts out the junk mail. And we don't get a whole lot of imperative mail (most things are electronic), just things that need to be filed away. Still, it's a lot of filing. I do NOT enjoy filing.

3) Our Christmas tree is still up. I know. I'm lame. But it will be taken down this weekend. Not that it's any excuse, but this is what happens when you have 2 small children, a full-time day job that sometimes requires travel, and you're a writer. One of my friends said if I threw some hearts up on there, I could probably just call it a Valentine's tree and that will give me another month to get it put it away. I like the way she thinks.

4) I'm a planner. But I also am not entirely opposed to spontaneity either. Last night I was trying to plan a summer trip to go visit a friend. She's not a planner. This will be interesting ... Lol!

5) It's Friday. I just wanted to reiterate that fact. Also, 5yo doesn't have school on Monday and Tuesday. We've decided I'm taking a 1/2 day off on Monday so we can take a family trip to see Tangled. There is much little girl excitement at our house.

That's it for now... have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Post-It Revisionocity: Step 4

Dut, dut, dut, daaaaaah

All right, so we've gone through the manuscript, making the revisions applicable to each post-it, right? Right.

And you didn't remove the post-its yet correct? Okay.

We interrupt this blog post with a very important service announcement:

By the time you've gone through and revised according to post-its, it will have been several days, if not weeks, that have passed. If it isn't, take a few days, maybe a week off from the manuscript anyway. You want to be able to review your newly revised sections with fresh eyes. Or as fresh as possible depending on what your timeline is. DO NOT rush if you don't need to. Seriously, publishing is NOT going anywhere. Just saying.

No we return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

Now, we're going to start back at PAGE 1 (or wherever your first post-it is).

STEP 4: a) Read through the newly revised section and decide if you approve / need to do anything else. If you approve, go to STEP 4: b). If you don't approve, go to the next post-it with this step.

STEP 4: b) Accept changes.

STEP 4: c) REMOVE (woohoo!) the post-it and stick it on the wall / window / your first born - wherev -optional - STEP 4: d) Determine what the best organization process for you to see the changes you've made. Is it by topic? In chronological order? Totally up to you.

And here is really where you Rinse and Repeat. So you go through this step for EACH post-it through the entire manuscript.

When you've done that, then .... TA-DAH!

You're wall may look something like this:
And your manuscript should be ready to send off to crit partners - HURRAH! HUZZAH! and now you can say .... Good Night! Maybe go find yourself something to eat since I know you locked yourself in a room for the last several weeks with only coffee. Personal experience tells me that food tastes really good when you can think about something other than revising. Just saying.

And then you get your crits back and the whole process starts all over. Well, maybe not exactly this same process, but you get the idea.

A couple side notes ...
***I don't generally print out my whole manuscript for every round of revisions. It's only about 2 or 3 times during the course of the entire revision process depending on how major the revisions are.

***I try to take a couple weeks off in between revision sessions - by that I mean a couple weeks off after I've gone through and accepted a whole set of revisions before I'll start in on another round.

***Take a break in the midst of all the revising is not a bad idea. Sometimes even just a few hours away will help clear your head.

***Your crit partners are invaluable every step of the way. Bounce ideas off them, vent to them, cry to them.

Hope this series of posts has been helpful for you to see what my process is. Take what you want from it, leave the rest. And good luck on your post-its!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Post-It Revisionocity: Step 3

Hi! I'm back.

Are you? Got your manuscript all post-it noted? All right, let's get started then.

So where were we . . . oh, yes. Step 3.

You need your post-its, manuscript and your computer for this one.

Step 3: a) Flip to the first post-it note in your manuscript.

Step 3: b) Read your post-it note and determine a few things:
  1. Can you read what you wrote? This is really important because, yanno, it's sort of helpful.
  2. Do you think the thought you had initially is still the direction the manuscript should go?
  3. Do you even remember what you were thinking when you wrote this note? Also very helpful.
Step 3: c) If you answer yes to all of the above questions then turn on your track changes and MAKE THE REVISION! (woohoo! yay! finally!) - but do NOT remove the post-it, I'll explain why later.

And no, it's not later yet.

So have at that manuscript! Hopefully you can read all your notes and remember all you were thinking when you wrote them.

Check back tomorrow for the last step of my Revisionocity process because, nope, I'm totally not done yet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Post-It Revisionocity: Step 2

You printed out your manuscript.

You read your manuscript.

Now what?

Step 2: a) GET the sticky notes.

I try to be consistent with size if I am focusing equally on everything. If not, then I might use smaller ones for low priority thoughts. Bigger ones for higher priority.
Step 2: b) Identify the WHAT you want to focus on and make sure you have enough post-it colors.

This is one of the THE most important things about this revision process. (Given my love for the post-it, you didn't think I would make them inconsequential to this process, did you??) This will help you sort out what it really is that you need to work on. Make sure you have enough post-it notes to cover off all your key revision points.

You might want to write yourself a little legend so you don't forget what key focus goes with each color. I recommend sticking them in a row on your desk or your wall or your first born or something. Just make sure they stick.

Super Sticky post-it notes are very effective for sticking. Just in case you were wondering.

Step 2: c) Go back through your manuscript now, and stop at each * you marked. Identify each one with the color post-it note focus it goes back to. Also, jot down any initial ideas you have to go with this * & post-it.

Rinse. Repeat.

Just kidding.

Just repeat Step 2c.

I'll wait.

Well, actually, you do that. I'll be back.

While I'm gone, anyone want to share what your favorite revising office suppliers are? Is it the perfect pen? The ever-popular post-its? Or something else?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Post-It Revisionocity: Step 1

Last Thursday I mentioned my revision process. And I was surprised by the number of people who were interested in what that process is.

I don't talk much about the way I do things because, well, it's the way I do things, it's what works for me and not necessarily what will work for you. With that in mind, though, maybe you can find something in all this revisioning talk to help you with the way you do things.

Remember this?

All right, then. Let's talk about how I got there, yeah? Yeah.

Your book's written. Awesome. Feeling accomplished, yes? Me too. Sending it out to the crit partners so they see your genius, right?

And then you get all the feedback from them and you realize ... your genius may be hidden. Beneath lots of "the"s, "that"s, "just"s and the like. Oh, and maybe you can't have the unicorn rescue the princess off the hot air balloon because, well, that might not end so well.

Now we're revising right? So what do you do first? Well, I don't know what you do first, but for me ... it's

STEP 1: a)Print the manuscript

I know, I know, this is a day and age when we are trying to "Save the planet!" and "Conserve the energy!" and "Quit chopping down trees!" I get that. So firstly, I use recycled paper. Secondly, I print everything possible 2-sided. And thirdly, when I'm all done with the pages, I recycle them.

Got your manuscript printed out? Okay, good.


STEP 1: b)Read it.

This is the first read through I do. I usually keep a blue or purple (or some color other than black) nearby to put a * where I think I might need to do some work. I try not to think too much about the WHAT I might need to do. That's for later. This read through is for plot and pacing and anything huge and gaping that I can use my 2yo, and on occasion my 5yo, to plug up.

This always takes me a few days. Up to a week or so depending on what's going on at home / day job / life ... you know. So while I give you guys until ... oh, tomorrow, to read your manuscripts and catch up to where I'm at in the process, who already prints out their manuscript for revisions?

What's your Step 1?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Random Stuff Friday

And welcome to the very first list of random thoughts for 2011. Are you stoked? Yeah, I thought so. Me too. Why? Because I've been so filled with randomness for the last couple weeks and I didn't have anyone who would truly appreciate it.

So here goes. But don't set your hopes too high. No guarantees on how exciting or random these thoughts may actually be.

1) So I watched Eclipse with the fam the other day and I think 5yo's comment is the one that resonates the most of all that we said/thought during
the movie: "That vampire has a hairy chest." And you know, it's funny she points that out because I have made that observation before (like when I watched New Moon). And I think I was just obsessed with the hair (pieces) in this movie. Like how come Jasper's formerly pale blonde hair is now golden curly locks, like he should be hanging out with the three bears or something? Luckily, Alice is still awesome, so that made up for a lot of the bad hair. Also, there was still lots of ... "omg, that's SharkBoy!" but that's a conversation for another day.

2) Holiday cards are still coming in the mail. I don't necessarily call them Christmas cards because we have a couple friends who send New Year's cards. Which is cool. But yesterday when I opened one ... holy crap, I got a paper cut! Oh how a paper cut can cut my productivity in half. It's in a weird place on my right pointer finger. I'm right handed. This causes much maneuvering and careful typing and writing. It sucks. My brother and I decided that a death via paper cuts would be one of the most horrific things in the whole world.

3) Speaking of the mail. Look what else came:
I won SUBJECT SEVEN off Solvang Sherrie's blog and ElanaJ was kind enough to let me have a chance to read POSSESSION before it's released in June. Who's jealous? Go on, admit it. I know you want to. :)

4) As I type this, it is 14* outside. I know that's not as cold as some places where you guys live, but I also know that is still pretty FRIKKIN' cold! It's no wonder I own so many sweaters.

5) My brother's a big fan of YouTube. So's my sister. And so are the kidlets depending on what's playing. Here's the last video that had 2yo, 5yo and me laughing so hard we were crying. And my sister and brother laughing so hard at us. I dare you not to have a giggle fest! Oh, and it's better if you watch it in full screen :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Post-It Love

UPDATE: I've had lots of you ask me what my process is and what all the post-its are etc ... so I came up with a plan. Stay tuned for more deets next week!

I watched Eclipse the other day.

And when I was done watching it ... I couldn't even come up with anything witty to tweet. So I just went off to work on my revisions.

Working on revisions reminded me about something I love: office supplies. Specifically, I really like post-it notes. Like, really. For the last round of revisions on one of my projects, I was doing some work around 5 specific points. Lucky me, I had 5 post-it note colors. Woohoo!

After some bonding with my printed out manuscript, during which I learned that when they say post-it notes are "super sticky" they're not jok
ing, this is what my office wall ended up looking like at the end of those revisions.

This was a new process for me, but I really liked it. And it worked well to keep my thoughts organized by key points or characters. Color-coding works, people!

So what's your revision process? Any easy-peasy tips to make things go smooth and easy? Yeah, I was just joking about that last part.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Evolution of Resolutions

It's a new year and I see you over there, going over your list of resolutions. Trying to figure out if what you have on the list are the "right" goals. Reflecting on all that's come to pass over the course of 2010 and trying to decide if you accomplished all the goals you had this time last year.

Personally, I'm one for the evolution of resolutions. Wow, that sounds way smarter than I intended. What I mean to say is that I don't usually sit down and make an entire list of goals at the start of a year. I usually have a few goals that are carryovers from the year(s) before and then as the new year progresses, I add to my goals list.

It's my process and it works for me.

Which, come to think of it, is also how I approach my To Do list. Hmmm, maybe this is why the To Do list is never done . . .

Do you start the year with a list and stick to it? Or do you add to or update your goals throughout the year?

Does your To Do list seem to grow more often than shrink too?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Quote of the Week

"True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice."

Ben Jonson

Looking forward to a great year with great friends! Look out 2011, here we come!