Friday, October 31, 2014

NaNoWriMo Eve

'Twas the night before NaNoWriMo and all through the house...
~ with apologies to Clement C. Moore
The laundry is caught up; the house is vacuumed and dusted and the bathrooms are clean. I went for a walk, practiced the piano and had lunch with my middle child. I made six pairs of earrings and created a listing on Etsy; then I went to the grocery store and stocked up on coffee, wine, chocolate and my favorite biscotti.

Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month. Which means that for the next thirty days I will be a writing fool, joining the hundreds of thousands of participants worldwide working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Click HERE to find out more.

Now I'm in my pajamas and settled in to put the finishing touches on my character sketches and outline. At midnight, I will start writing. NaNoWriMo, here I come!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Things I Learned at the 2014 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference

I got step-by-step directions on how to create an author website on WordPress. I heard some great tips on how to write for the young adult market. I learned how to create great characters and how to add more conflict to my stories and how to revise them once they are finished. And I discovered that I might as well stop trying to be a "pantser." I don't do anything else in my life that way. If I'm ever going to craft a compelling novel-length work of fiction, I'm going to have to start with an outline. I made new friends and caught up with old ones.

That was all on Friday.

On Saturday, I learned that I shouldn't have left home without my pain meds. Because the kidney stones - according to the CT scan, there are four - decided to flare up about lunch time. I hobbled back to my room and spent the rest of the day sick in bed. I missed the workshops. I missed the drawing for the author baskets and critiques. I missed the cocktail hour and the photo op with the hunky male models. I missed the Maggie Awards Banquet.

The good news is that sometime during the wee hours of Sunday, the pain returned to its usual dull ache. By the time my alarm went off, I felt good enough take a shower, put on my clothes and make-up, enjoy a hearty breakfast, and soak Sunday's craft workshop on writing effective love scenes. It was terrific.

The most important thing I learned at the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference is that I am not ready to give up on my dream of being a traditionally published author. But how to go about it? Do I dig deep into revising my first book? Finish the young adult novel that was a finalist in last year's Unpublished Maggie Awards? Start something completely new?

It's not clear to me yet. But one thing I do know is that writing is going to have to become as important a part of my routine as eating and brushing my teeth. I'm not quite sure where it's going to fit into my busy days. It's likely that I will have to let something else go, at least for a while. But I am determined to find a way. I know it's a lot to hope for. But I'm going to do everything I can to be a New York Times Bestselling author.

It's now or never.

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Personal Credo

Oh yes, the past can hurt. You can either run from it or learn from it.
~ The Lion King

The view from my bedroom window.
This has been a tough year in many ways. I loved and lost; I made mistakes; I have regrets. But everything I learned has helped contribute to making me who I am today.

And for the most part, I like the woman I see when I look in the mirror. She has loving friends and family, a comfortable home, and a satisfying career. She plays as hard as she works and has a thirst for adventure. Even though my life hasn't turned out exactly the way I planned, I wouldn't trade places with anybody on the planet.

But there is always room for improvement. And I decided it was time for me to develop a personal credo - kind of like a mission statement - to remind myself of who I want to be and how I want to move through this world. This is what I came up with.

Pam's Personal Credo.

Be myself, not who someone else wants me to be.
Forgive myself.
Don't look back.
Always speak the truth.
Take pleasure in solitude.
Don't waste time feeling sorry for myself.
Be brave and take risks - lots of them.
Take care of my body.
Do what I love.
Share my life with people who are loving, supportive, open-minded, and kind.
Stop looking for love.
Make art.
Tell my stories.
Travel often.

Am I forgetting anything? I have big dreams and as long as I stay true to myself and my personal credo I believe I will find the courage to make them reality.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On the verge of breakthrough?

Every challenge you encounter in life is a fork in the road. You have the choice to choose which way to go - backward, forward, breakdown or breakthrough. 
― Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

In September, I "reclaimed my sass" as a creative individual.

The month started out strong. I practiced the piano and started a couple of original music compositions. I did some beading and sold some jewelry. I made cold process lye soap from dandelion tea and did some drawing and added a few pages to my novel. I came up with a system to track my progress in all areas.

I told myself: I am an artist.

I believe it now.

But then life did what it does. It pulled the rug right out from under my feet and left me lying flat on the floor.

I'm still trying to find solid ground. In the meantime, I'm not quite the productive machine I was. But maybe that's not the point. Because I am taking care of the most important things. Teaching my students well and keeping an orderly home and cooking healthy meals and being available for RockStar when he needs me.

In the end, perhaps, it isn't about what I produce or create. In the end, perhaps, it's about what I leave behind in the heads and hearts of the people I love most - my children and my family and my friends and my students.

I can only hope that who I am and what I do will be enough to make a difference.