Posts Tagged ‘day job’

A decision

Friday, August 31st, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, fall is a time when the pace of my life quickens. My preschool dance classes start up again, Pilates clients who’ve been on vacation return, and requests for school and library visits start to trickle in. The result of all this is that while, happily, my income goes up, the number of available hours for writing goes down. That’s why I’ve come to a decision.

I began this blog in July of 2010, and since then I’ve written 186 posts (including this one). I’ll be honest here and tell you that I started blogging because I thought that, as a writer with her first novel coming out in a little over a year, I had to in order to establish some online presence. At the time that seemed true, but now it’s not so much the case. There are so many avenues for connecting online, with blogging being only one of those. But like many debut authors, I thought I had to do it all.

At first thinking of something to blog about twice a week was a chore, but over time I started to enjoy writing my blog posts. I was always aware, though, that the time I spent blogging was time I could have been working on my latest draft or revision.While maintaining this blog has been fun (mostly), I don’t feel that the venture has been all that successful. I rarely get comments, and I don’t feel much more connected to the blogosphere than when I started. All of which is entirely my fault, since I know I haven’t made the effort I could have to reach out to other bloggers. But to tell the truth, I think that’s because blogging just isn’t where my heart lies.

My heart lies with writing novels, and I’ve decided that that is where I’m going to invest my scarce and precious writing time. One of the things I’ve learned about writing novels is that you have to write regularly, even when you don’t feel like it. But I’ve decided that that philosophy doesn’t have to apply to my blog.

 So I’m not planning to abandon this blog completely, but I do plan to blog only when I’m inspired to. I’ll be posting on an occasional basis to let you know about upcoming events and to share news and writing tips. But from now on, I plan to do most of my day-to-day online communication through Facebook and Twitter.

So to those of you who read my blog, thank you. I hope that my posts have been of value to you. And I’m not saying goodbye completely, so be sure to check in every one in a while to see what’s new.

But only if you feel like it.

 

 

Bittersweet

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

For me, the end of summer is a bittersweet time of year. Bitter because I adore summer and mourn the end of it, sweet because I plan to squeeze every drop of enjoyment from the bit of it that’s left. So to prepare myself to bid farewell to my favorite season, and in an effort to embrace the coming of fall, let me  share a couple of “favorite” lists with you.

5 things I’ll miss most about summer:

1. Sun! 

2. Not having to do lesson plans. The preschools where I teach dance are closed in the summer, so I get a welcome hiatus from the weekly quest for new teaching ideas.

3. Getting to write on Thursday mornings. Every Thursday in the summer, one or more members of my critique group meet at a local coffee shop for writing, camaraderie, and caffeine. Heavenly!

4. Fun day trips with my husband, like our hike on Rattlesnake Mountain last weekend.

View from Stan’s Overlook on Rattlesnake Mountain, near North Bend, WA

5. The slower, more relaxed pace of life.

 

5 things I’m looking forward to this fall:

1. Sun! Summer came late to the Northwest this year, so I’m hoping there are many sunny days ahead.

2. Dancing with my preschool buddies. I may grumble about the lesson plans, but there’s nothing that lights me up like seeing those eager little faces.

3. Football season. I could care less about football, but while my husband roots for the Green Bay Packers, I sneak off and write.

4. Theater and music. Many of my favorite local theaters start their seasons in the fall. And I have tickets to see Neil Young in November!

5. The quickened pace of life. I’ve loved having a more relaxed schedule this summer, but with fall comes the possibility of something wonderful happening!

What will you miss most about summer? What do you look forward to this fall?

 

 

 

Writing life vs. “real life”

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Yesterday my friend Megan Bostic wrote a post on her blog about whether writers market too much on social media. She mentioned a formula, which I’ve encountered before, that says you should share 25 percent about your books and writing on social media and 75 percent about “real life.”

I understand the principle, but I also started wondering if it’s really possible for most writers to separate their writing and their personal lives. I find that writing permeates every aspect of my existence. I adore my family, my pets, and my friends; I’m dedicated to my work as a dance and Pilates instructor; and there are plenty of activities besides writing that I enjoy doing in my spare time. But if I’m being really honest with myself, I’d have to say that when I wake up in the morning, my first thought isn’t about my family or my work or my hobbies – it’s about my plot or my characters.

I feel guilty saying that. Does the fact that I think more about the people I’ve created in my head than the actual human beings around me make me some kind of sociopath? Does it mean that I don’t care about the people in my life? I don’t think so. I think that, like many writers, I’m just hard-wired to make my creative work my top priority.

I try to share about my personal life on social media, I really do. Take this blog for instance. I’ve posted about cancer survival (and how it affects my writing), about my husband (and what he’s taught me about book promotion), and about trips we’ve taken together (and how I managed to write during said travels.) You see, writing is so interwoven with the rest of my life that I can’t simply set it aside or separate it out.

So I apologize if I’m talking to much about my writing process and too little about what I did on my weekend. That’s probably because I spent most of it writing.

What do you think? Do you wish writers would share more about their personal lives and less about their writing processes?

 

Panic Management

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

My life is about to go into overdrive. In the month of March alone, I have four high school visits, two bookstore events, and a library event – each of which requires preparation and promotion. This, of course, is on top of my regular teaching jobs, my push to finish the first draft of my novel, my duties as YA Expert Guide for the CBI Clubhouse website, and preparation for the big SCBWI WA conference in April. All I can say is…yikes!

Every time I look ahead in my calendar, I go into stress mode. My heart rate revs, and I break out in a sweat. I’ve always been a good time manager, so that isn’t really the issue. What I need right now is a plan for panic management.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: First, I will avoid thinking too far ahead. I’m aware of all the things I need to get done, and I know the dates I need to complete them by. So I can let go of anxiety about things that are set to happen in April and instead focus on preparing for the first event in my queue, which in this case is a presentation at my stepson’s high school. I seem to breathe easier if I can work on one thing at a time instead of trying to have my fingers in every pie.

Second, I will streamline. Much as I’d like to create a custom presentation for each high school I visit, I simply don’t have the time. So I’ll come up with a general presentation that I can use multiple times. Along the same lines, if a speaking engagement doesn’t absolutely require handouts, I’ll do without them. Under normal circumstances, I’d give every gig my all. But right now, that’s just not possible.

Third, I’ll give myself breaks. Tempting as it is to try to work twelve hour days, seven days a week, I know my constitution can’t handle it. So in spite of the craziness, I’ll make time for exercise, dinner with my husband, and the occasional trash-TV binge.

Last of all, I’ll borrow Steven’s motto: “Sometimes I can do my best. Other times, my best will have to do.”

What do you do to fend off panic when life gets overwhelming?

The whirlwind begins!

Friday, January 27th, 2012

After the excitement of FLYAWAY‘s release in December, January has been a pretty quiet month. A big snowstorm here in Seattle, had me housebound for a week, so I was able to put in some solid chunks of time on my WIP.

 

 

But the period of relative calm ends here. This weekend, I kick off a flurry of activity by traveling to Bellingham, in northern Washington, for a reading and signing at Village Books on Saturday at 2 p.m.. Then February starts with a bang with school author visits at Edmonds-Woodway High School and a signing at Moonraker Books in Langley, on beautiful Whidbey Island, on February 12th at 1 p.m.

Then comes March! This is the month I’m really looking forward to, because I get to do a series of author events with my Elevensies pals Megan Bostic, Kiki Hamilton, Kathy McCullough, Carole Estby Dagg, and Kendare Blake. We’ll be doing panels at Third Place Books Lake Forest Park on Wednesday, March 14th, at 7 p.m., at the Timberland Library in Olympia on Thursday, March 15th at 7:30 p.m., and at Garfield Book Company in Tacoma on Friday, March 16th at 7 p.m. Add in a couple of school visits, one in Olympia, and one in Seattle in conjunction with Parkplace Books‘s Read Across America Program, and March looks to be a packed month.

And then there’s April. Lovely April, when I’ll be presenting a breakout session on Authenticity in Fiction, as well as a joint session with my agent, Chris Richman, at the annual SCBWI WA Conference in Redmond.  You’d think the excitement might end there, but no. In May, I’ll be traveling to Los Angeles to give a talk at the downtown L.A. library on the evening of May 24th.

And of course, on top of all this, I’ll be teaching dance and Pilates and acting as YA Expert Guide for the fabulous new CBI Clubhouse website. Oh, and did I mention that I’m writing a novel?

Got any exciting events you’re looking forward to this winter and spring? Tell me about them!