• Forward Progess

    E18QMIt’s a football term, but if you’re an American football hater, don’t zone out! I promise Forward Progress, whether football related or otherwise, is a good thing.

    Here’s the actual (well as actual as Wikipedia can get) definition and if you’re bored or just don’t care, read the bolded stuff:  The exact moment at which the player’s forward progress stops is subject to the judgment of the officials. In particular, for the protection of the quarterback, he is considered down as soon as an official judges that he is in the grasp of an opponent behind the line of scrimmage, and the tackling defensive player(s) will be awarded with a sack. If he is driven backward by the opponent, the ball will be spotted where his forward progress was stopped.

    Right now as I write STORYSPINNER’s sequel, I can relate to a running back who gets the crap knocked out of them on a by-down (or daily) basis.  I’m moving forward, I’m gaining yardage (word count), I get tackled by a two-hundred-and-fifty pound defensive end (or writer’s block/plot failing/burn out moment), and tumble backward, sometimes beyond where I started.

    This morning, for the third day in a row, I deleted more than fifty percent of the stuff I wrote last night.

    It felt a little bit like this:

    clowney(FYI: That’s Jadeveon Clowney laying down one of the sickest hits in NCAA history.  It hurts me to watch it)

    I tell myself to shake it off.  Get back in the huddle and be grateful for the progress I did make.

    Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I want to lay back and give in to the frustration. Or be like that poor Michigan RB and just not get up.

    At the time I’m posting this, I’ve written 1451 words today–that’s a positive gain of 780 words since yesterday.  By the time I roll into bed, I’ll probably have 1,500 words I’ll keep.  That’s forward progress, that’s closer to The End(zone).  It’s not important how many words I had to delete to get to the right ones; what matters is that I have the right words now



  • Lies We Tell Ourselves

    By “we” I actually mean me.

    • Lie:  I can totally do (insert tremendous list of time consuming activities) in two hours.  Truth:  Unless I can bend the laws of science, grow two arms, or have a secret team of helpers hiding in the garage, then no. I can not do a tremendous list of things in that amount of time.
    • Lie:  It’s okay if I didn’t hit my word goal today. I’ll make it up tomorrow.  Truth:  No, I won’t.  Sometimes — like maybe a  tenth of the time that I say this — it actually happens.  Usually I push the “make up work” off till the end of the week and then am oddly surprised when I have 7,ooo words to write on Saturday.
    • Lie:  I’m not going to let it bother me.  Truth:  It’s totally going to drive me crazy, but I’m going to suffer in silence, holding the rotten thing inside until it bursts out of me with some ugly rage when I’m actually mad about something else.
    • Lie:  It’s not for me to judge.  Truth:  I already have.
    • Lie:  I’m so tired. I’ll do the dishes/laundry/blog post/important email in the morning.  Truth:  I will do those things in the morning, but only after I’ve laid awake all night fretting about them.
    • Lie:  I’ll only have a bite.  Truth:  I’m going to eat the whole thing and probably lick the plate.  Self-control…I have none of it.
    • Lie:  I can not start this new book I’ve been desperately waiting for until I finish my draft/finish my edits/paint this piece of furniture.  Truth:  I read the whole book while sitting in front of my computer while I was pretending to be writing.
    • Lie:  My kids will never do that. Truth:  They already have.
    • Lie:  I’m crafty! I can totally paint this piece of furniture/create artwork for that niche above my fireplace/hang those curtains.  Truth:  I might be able to do those things, but it will take me months to do them because I always have a dozen more important things (another lie) than this self-assigned project.  In all actuality, I’ll put off these projects until the day before my parents come to visit then resort to the first lie on this list.

    I’d like to thank my husband for providing the inspiration for this post.  He says to me all the time, “Keep telling yourself that and it might actually happen.”

    And I totally plan to.  🙂

  • Writing is Waiting

    My husband works for one of the world’s largest companies.  He does not understand the publishing industry whatsoever.  When we talk about the wait time between stages in the writing/editing/publishing process he generally says something like, “This business model makes no sense.” I’ve tried to explain it to him — trends, publishing “seasons,” the artistic process — and he rolls his eyes.  He’s convinced there is a better, more scientific way to produce books.

    Until they (someone, you, the publishing industry as a whole) figures it out this magically faster process, writers pursuing publication have to become excellent waiters…and I don’t mean the kind that bring your dinner.  This process is long. Sometimes it’s painful.  But waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing.  If you’re in query hell, or submission hell, or hoping your beta readers will get back to you eventually, the best advice I can give you is to stop sitting around, checking your email (or watching out your front door, in my case).  Do something.  Read in or out of your genre. Work on that sparkly new idea.  Attend a conference. Read a plotting book.

    Writing is waiting, but it’s also an action verb.  Continue writing while you wait.  Then, no matter what happens with this project, your next one will already be underway.

    I swear I’m not looking out my front window for my copyedits to be delivered, but I’ll check again as soon as this posts. I’m writing while I wait, but that doesn’t make me patient.