Sunday, June 7, 2015

Embracing our imperfections…

I missed my blog post deadline by a week.  I’m sorry.  Personal stuff.  This last week held my son’s first birthday, my thirty-fifth birthday, and some heartbreaking decisions. 
But here I am.  Writing.
No matter what happens in my life, I’m drawn to the writing.  That is how I know that I’m going to make it.  That… and a truly supportive husband, and amazing friends.  I am blessed.  No matter how hard life can be, I truly am blessed.
I started writing when I was a kid.  I’m not really sure how old, because I’d tried a few attempts at writing books back then… but I think I started getting really into it around 13 or 14.  Won some 4-H awards, until they revoked my eligibility because my story was too “mature”.  (Calm down… not that mature. It was about a defense attorney who ran an angel dust cooking and distribution ring, using his clients as his cookers and dealers.)  It was terrible, and a woman who read it said it had a Sister Act flavor to it. LOL 
Why did I write that story?  I was obsessed with John Grisham.  His books were my escape from my life.  I devoured them.  The underdog story.  The Client and The Pelican Brief in particular.  The kid that stood on his own two feet… shoulders broad, jaw set in determination (if not trembling in fear), and took on the bully, the powerful politician, the insidious villain.  They stood against that antagonist who looked down on them, seeing an inconvenience to be managed, rather than a human being with feelings, wants, and a future of their own. The fear didn’t stop them.  They were committed to what they believed in.  They had (in the words of Anne Lemont) moral compasses that still pointed True North.  They could not be beaten down. They did not break.
I lost my way from writing for many years after some negative obstacles discouraged me… but in 2003, when I was 23 years old, and working as an EMT in Columbus, I stumbled into the new Barnes & Noble, and fell in love again.  I had just read Bag of Bones by Stephen King, and it had moved me in a way that made me remember my calling.  I went to the bookstore in search of more of that feeling, and stumbled upon an entire section of books about how to write!  I didn’t know such a thing existed.  I was a very sheltered person, after all.  My first how-to book was The Novel Writer’s TOOLKIT by Bob Mayer.  I devoured it.  Then, over the next five years, purchased and devoured an entire bookshelf of such books… until I read On Writing by Stephen King… this one was the one. 
After ten years, scores of books, hundreds of episodes of Writing Excuses, dozens of blogs about writing, and two NaNoWriMo’s… I had learned how to finish a first draft.
I now have three completed first drafts… and a realization that I do not want it to take another ten years to learn to edit.
So, I have been working on the same manuscript since 2013, and I think that my perfectionism is my greatest enemy.  I was paralyzed by the thought that I was going to wreck the book. (Which, incidentally, was why it had taken me ten years to learn to write it in the first place.)  I know in my head that this is a silly fear… the book sucks in the first draft… but the fear persisted. So, I just re-wrote it.  Then I took what I loved about the first and second drafts, threw out the rest, and now I have this jumbled stack of about 400 pages that don’t quite fit together yet. 
I have learned a LOT about myself, my life, and my inner workings in the last year… here’s hoping that some of that can help me overcome my perfectionism.  Because despite what I grew up thinking… perfectionism is not a good thing.  It is not something to work towards.  It holds us back.  It is okay to be imperfect.  It brings a richness you life that is exquisite and beautiful.
Here's to embracing our imperfections in their entirety.
Cheers.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

He has arrived!

Just a quick update... I tried to do this in the hospital, but my phone was acting hinky... my little man has arrived!

Samuel Clark in all his 7+ lbs of adorable cuteness has stolen my heart like I never could have imagined possible.

We are so happy, there simply aren't words!

Monday, May 26, 2014

“Maternity Leave”

It’s no secret, my blogging has been sporadic since I’ve been pregnant, (I blame pregnancy-brain), but I’m officially calling it. For the next two to three months, I will be on “maternity leave”.

My due date has come and gone, and I’m still pregnant, BUT it’s a pretty safe bet that I will be very busy, VERY soon. ;)  That being said, I’m still reading your blogs, and tweets, and status updates as I pass time from my home or hospital room.  I may not comment much, but I’m probably around. 

I’ve been filling my days with baby books, and home improvements, and YouTube videos on homemade baby food, cloth diapering how-to’s, and breastfeeding tips and whatnot.  Needless to say, it’s been tough to focus on a murder mystery plot while my brain has been in such a happy and busy place… but I will return to it as soon as I have the hang of my brand new job! :)

Until then…

Happy Writing, you guys!

Casey

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shifting gears…

So, I’ve finished my registry, surrendered to the baby shower, taken my birthing classes, and packed my hospital bag.  Nearly everything on my baby-to-do list is complete.

*Sigh*

Now I feel less stressed, and my concentration seems to be improving. I even managed to finish all those ‘little things’ around the house that I could never seem to make time for, like organize the spice cabinet, and put my photos into albums!  Not to mention, I finished mending all the clothes in my sewing pile!  That must have been my ‘nesting’. LOL

So, what’s left undone?

20140315_180328

MY NOVEL!

I spent the better part of today, (when I wasn’t napping, or chatting on the phone with an old friend), pouring over it. 

I have two months before the next major gear change… I hope that I can hang on to this new found concentration, and focus!  You can accomplish a LOT in two months!

Happy Writing, you guys!

 

 

.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Home Stretch


Me at 25 weeks, all puffy ;)
The second trimester has come, and it has gone.  I was told it would be the easiest of my trimesters... I certainly hope not.  I was in and out of the hospital after throwing out my back/dislocating rib and tendon, and it got down right scary with my blood pressure there for a minute.  But I am happy to say that things are looking up as I embark on my third trimester!  *phew*

According to all recent labs/appointments, I am healthy, and have completely rebounded.  Baby Sam is kicking with gusto!  And to celebrate, I went out and bought his very first pair of booties & mittens!  :) Aren't they adorable?

In other news:

My WIP... in all it's messy glory
I have managed to work on my WIP every day this week!  Thanks to a little encouragement from my writing buddy, we have managed to check in and get stuff done.  The challenge is, if we write everyday for two weeks straight, we get to go to The Cheesecake Factory! *best motivation EVER*


http://www.yammiesnoshery.com/2013/12/quick-bread-bowls.html
Recipe from Yammie's Noshery
And being pregnant, and the size of an electric car, of course means that food is always on my mind... but I hate eating processed foods, so I have been making a lot of our meals from scratch, (when I feel up to it).  It helps me keep my sodium (and that nasty swelling) away.  That bread bowl is my current favorite! So low in sodium, and so few ingredients! Click on the picture for the recipe.

I feel like I have a lot of balls in the air, right now, but I am feeling so much better, that I'm able to enjoy the challenge again. So I'm putting this all in the WIN column. :)  And I do have to give a shout out to my amazing and supportive husband, who stayed up with me in the hospital when he was running on no sleep, and who kept the house clean, just for me, and who kept the laundry done, and did all those little things that he didn't have time to do, just so I'd be comfortable.  He is my favorite person in the whole world. :)

What are some of your challenges right now?  How are you doing with them?

I will try to blog again soon!

Happy writing you guys!  Stay positive!!!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Another day, another lesson.

I spent a gloriously frustrating, and rewarding two weeks with the main character of my WIP.  I cared a great deal for him, and all his faults and redeeming virtues.  So much, in fact, that he became my glaring blind spot.

He was hurting the story and I didn’t even know it.

I began this novel in early April of 2013, and since have been sweating and toiling over it.  The supporting characters have bleed and morphed.  The story structure has shifted and grown.  But the main character has remained steadfast.  Like a rock.  A dull lifeless rock. But I loved him, and I didn’t see it.

I thought he was the strongest part of my story.  I built things around him. 

I was wrong.

The thing is… I didn’t know I was wrong, until this nagging little plot thread kept waking me up.  I didn’t think it would work with my character… he would NEVER do that.  The problem was, that it needed to happen for the STORY. I just moved around it.  Then one day I hit a dead end in my edits, and I thought… what kind of guy WOULD do that?  How would he get there?  How would this story be different if it where his?

*facepalm*  I mean what the hell have I been doing?

Square peg.  Round hole.

I am so happy that I have stopped forcing my character to be this unnatural guy, and let him be human.  Really human. 

This post may not make much sense… but it’s late, and I’ve had a long day at the keyboard.  My point is this… killing your darlings sometimes means letting them grow. Evolve in ways we may at first resist.  Try not to hold on too tightly to what you think they are… if you do, you may miss out for a long while… like I did.

Some days it seems that I learn something new everyday I write. That is part of the fun though… yeah?

Happy writing, friends!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ack!

I opened up Snarfer, my blog reader software, today and as it updated, I realize that it had been over a MONTH since I’d kept up on all the blogs that I love!

Not only that, it had been a month since I’ve posted in my own blog!

How did that happen?

This month has gone so very fast!  I’ve been swamped trying (and failing) to keep up with NaNoWriMo, visiting family and cooking for Thanksgiving, and preparing for the coming Christmas season.  Not to mention, battling pregnancy brain!

I know, I know… I’m only half way-ish through the pregnancy, how can I be that bad this early?  Well, I don’t know, but let me just tell you guys…  the other day, I almost put deodorant on my toothbrush and brushed with it! I just barely caught myself in time! *how awful would that have been?!*   Plus, I nearly put the milk away in the cupboard where the glasses go.  *duh*

At this rate I’d better buy a helmet for the third trimester!

I can only hope that I’m not ruining my book with all this brain scatter!  *fingers crossed*

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  And I hope you all did well with NaNoWriMo!!

Happy writing, friends!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaNoWriMo Nov2013 - Day Two: I miss coffee.

This is my fourth, or fifth, NaNoWriMo... counting Camp NaNos... and things are a little different this year, what with the pregnancy.

For one thing... the big mug of steaming hot coffee that was always cheering me on is not there.  I actually haven't had my beloved cup o' Joe in THREE MONTHS!!!  I'd prefer my child not come outta me all jacked up and jonesin' for more Joe.  Instead, I have ten big glasses of water with lemon every day... and the occasional PowerAde or fruit juice.

Another big change is all my Red Vines, gummy bears, and the orange slices (the candy ones, not the healthy ones) that I usually keep on hand during hard core write-a-thons.  Instead, I have Triscuits, fresh fruits, and yogurt.

I haven't really missed all these things in the last three months (except the coffee!! I miss that every day.), until yesterday.  Sitting at my desk cramming for NaNo makes me imagine that I smell fresh brewed coffee when there is none around.  That part of my brain has been awakened.   But I am still typing away.  Treats or no. 

I will admit.... this was an unexpected side-effect.  I didn't realize how bad some of my NaNo habits had become!  If kiddo wasn't eating everything I eat, I would be binging on junk all month!  (sounds really awesome even though I know how unhealthy it is.  But hey, it's only once or twice a year, right?)

I still love NaNoWriMo... even without the bottomless cup of coffee.  (And I'm still buying my NaNo mug!  That's tradition every year, even if I have to drink water out of it. :)

How is NaNo going for you guys?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

An upcoming appointment with a Stork…

So, I know that I said I would be announcing some BIG news this weekend... and here it is.  Sorry  that it took me so long, but I've been dealing with morning sickness at pretty much all hours of the day and night.

Yeah, you read that right.

Hubby and I are pregnant with kidlet number one! :D

We wanted to wait until the second trimester before we talked about it... I was scared that I'd imagined the whole thing. LOL  I kept waiting for the doctor to walk in and tell me that I'd misunderstood or something.  Funny.  About five of my friends are either currently pregnant, or just had a baby in the last five months, and they all say the same.  Suddenly, everything slows way down, and all you care about it that it's safe and healthy... and not a figment of your imagination!

We're pretty excited and nervous around my house these days.  And between the hot/cold flashes and the early onset pregnancy brain and complete and utter, bone-deep fatigue like I've never experienced in my entire life... I'm still working though my edits.... at a snail pace... but still.

This was one of the reasons why I've missed so much blogging, and my deadline... but I'm somehow okay with it. :)

And my husband has been the most supportive and soothing guy with all the foot rubs, and buying me a pregnancy pillow fit for a queen, gel eye masks for the fridge (amazing for hot flashes, though he laughs and tells me that I look like a character from KickAss in them!), and all the late night take out and snack runs.  He is my hero.  I couldn’t be happier with him. (sorry about the sappy crap… hormones, ya know?) ;)

So what have I been doing the last couple months?

This:

nursery2

There’s lots more to do… but I got tired. ;)  There’s time. (That rocking horse “neh’s” when you squeeze one ear, and you hear horse clomping when you squeeze the other! How friggin adorable is that?!)

Meanwhile… I’m still hoping to have the final draft of my April novel done, and a complete first draft of another work before my ninth month. I’m taking it pretty easy on myself here… but I’m still working.

I plan to take the spring off of writing… so I wanna nice little stockpile of stuff done while I sit at home and grow ever wider. :)

And… I promise that I shall try not to only talk baby for the next six or seven months.  (Try.)

So…YAY!!!

:D

Friday, October 18, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013!!!

I have a lot on my plate... and I'm in edits on my WIP.... but you know what?

 Screw it!

I love NaNoWriMo!  I'm going to do it!

I may not finish.  I may regret it.  But the idea of letting this November pass me by without immersing myself in the creative abandon that I enjoy so much just makes me sad... so I'm going for it baby!

I'll edit my work in the mornings and make my night time the play ground for my NaNo-ing. 

Crazy? 

Yes.

Fun?

Hell yes. :D

I love writing.  That is all. 

Cheers!

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